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Thread: Which label is correct?

  1. #1
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    Default Which label is correct?

    I have some questions. Why do we really use the word Atheist to describe a person who does not believe in (a) God? I read somewhere that, if nobody believed in God or adhered to any religion, Atheists would not exist. How could you have an 'absence of God' if God does not exist anyway.
    I note also that technically, any child (and any other person)anywhere in the world who has not yet been told about a Deity is also an implicit Atheist.
    Are we perhaps here Rationalists? Again I have read that a Rationalist is a person who holds a view that appeals to intellectual and deductive reason as the source of knowledge or justification, which contrasts to sensory experience such as introspection, feelings or authority.
    Your views on this subject will be appreciated.
    Last edited by Icho Tolot; 19th July 2017 at 06:53 PM.
    Se tutaj religioj estus fortiritaj de nia Tero , la vivojn de la tuta mondloĝantaro plibonigus. (For a translation, please see my profile)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Which label is correct?

    Here's the AFA working definition, as seen on the home page:
    Atheism is the acceptance that there is no credible scientific or factually reliable evidence for the existence of a god, gods or the supernatural.
    Historically,
    The Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc began in South Australia in 1970 when the members of the Rationalist Association of SA decided that a name change would proclaim their basic philosophy, which began in Greece 2500 years ago.
    EJB

    Iím not one of the dead ones yet. - Ms Fishie.


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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Which label is correct?

    Quote Icho Tolot said View Post
    I have some questions. Why do we really use the word Atheist to describe a person who does not believe in (a) God? I read somewhere that, if nobody believed in God or adhered to any religion, Atheists would not exist. How could you have an 'absence of God' if God does not exist anyway.
    I note also that technically, any child (and any other person)anywhere in the world who has not yet been told about a Deity is also an Atheist.
    Are we perhaps here Rationalists? Again I have read that a Rationalist is a person who holds a view that appeals to intellectual and deductive reason as the source of knowledge or justification, which contrasts to sensory experience such as introspection, feelings or authority.
    Your views on this subject will be appreciated.
    Atheists lack a belief in god[s]. That in itself is not an absolute knowledge claim. Most thinking atheists are agnostic atheists, meaning that they are aware that absolute knowledge about anything has epistemological problems.

    Yeah, technically a chair could be an atheist, but it is usually meant in the sense of an awareness about claims of deities, and a rejection of such claims.

    Lastly there are many rationalists who claim to believe in god. This is possible, because not everyone is rational all the time, or when considering all things.

    It is perfectly possible for an atheist to believe in fairies or whatever. That doesn't make all atheists rational.
    Just stick to the idea that science tests falsifiable hypotheses to destruction.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Which label is correct?

    The "a" prefix is used to indicate absence.

    Other examples of its use:

    "Asexual" means without sex.
    "Apolitical" means without politics.
    "Amoral" means without morals.
    "Gnosis" basically means "knowledge". "Agnostic" means "without knowledge".
    "Theism" means belief
    "Atheism" means without belief.
    Last edited by Stubby; 19th July 2017 at 09:57 PM.
    "Send me money, send me green, heaven you will meet. Make your contribution and you'll get a better seat" - Metallica, Leper Messiah

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Which label is correct?

    You may be paraphrasing Sam Harris here, from Letter to a Christian Nation:

    Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.
    So we are atheists mainly due to the fact that a majority of our species are theists.

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Which label is correct?

    In a world where there is a widespread expectation that I believe in something, I find that the word "atheist" is a convenient shorthand for the fact that I don't.

    I used to identify as agnostic but I found that that was too often taken as convenient shorthand for "please try to shove your belief system down my throat".

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  12. #7
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    Smile Re: Which label is correct?

    Thank you for the various responses. Yes, I can see now that Atheists are not necessarily Rationalists. However, I still think that there is a degree of similarity in that Atheists do not believe in any Deity and...< The Atheist Foundation of Australia recognises scientific method as the only rational means toward understanding reality. To question and critically examine all ideas, testing them in the light of experiment, leads to the discovery of facts.>
    I naturally quote from the philosophy of the Atheist Foundation.
    Nevertheless, I now understand that the word "Atheist" must be appropriate in terms of its current definition.
    Last edited by Icho Tolot; 20th July 2017 at 06:37 PM.
    Se tutaj religioj estus fortiritaj de nia Tero , la vivojn de la tuta mondloĝantaro plibonigus. (For a translation, please see my profile)

  13. #8
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    Default Re: Which label is correct?

    We are all different, IT.

    I spoke, not from a perceived need to correct, but to provide what might be a useful benchmark.

    By the way, as regards the large text: is there a vision issue? I use a web browser, but with the (Ctrl) and (+) keys together I can enlarge the text and images on any particular page.

    (Ctril) and (0) - that's zero not capital letter "o" - together reset the size.
    EJB

    Iím not one of the dead ones yet. - Ms Fishie.


  14. #9
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    Default Re: Which label is correct?

    Quote Icho Tolot said View Post
    Thank you for the various responses. Yes, I can see now that Atheists are not necessarily Rationalists. However, I still think that there is a degree of similarity in that Atheists do not believe in any Deity and...< The Atheist Foundation of Australia recognises scientific method as the only rational means toward understanding reality. To question and critically examine all ideas, testing them in the light of experiment, leads to the discovery of facts.>
    I naturally quote from the philosophy of the Atheist Foundation.
    Nevertheless, I now understand that the word "Atheist" must be appropriate in terms of its current definition.
    We do not represent ALL atheists, IT. It is quite possible to find members of the AFA, or the AFA forums who may disagree. We don't beat members over the head with a big stick if their opinions differ.

    Perhaps we should! [giggle!]

    But it is a free world, or it should be. Chances are, most atheists who have thought about their lack of belief would come to similar conclusions though.

    Magic don't work. Science does.
    Just stick to the idea that science tests falsifiable hypotheses to destruction.

  15. #10

    Default Re: Which label is correct?

    Hi All
    My understanding is that an atheist doesn't reject anything, considers everything, and accepts only what can be proven. Am I right or am I wrong?
    Cheers Bill

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