Being consistent
Posted: 13 February 2013 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]
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My friend Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist), whom many here probably know, posted a list of answers to 15 questions atheists are tired of answering, from a gentleman named Sean Curry. [http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/02/13/buzzfeed-addresses-the-15-questions-atheists-are-sick-of-answering/#disqus_thread] The first silly question is “Why do atheists hate God?” In answering the question, Curry posts a definition of atheism: “The belief of theory that God does not exist.”

That’s a mistake, both intellectually and socially. Framing it that way places a burden of proof on atheism. That is inconsistent with our observation that we have no burden to prove a negative.

“God does not exist” is not a theory. There is no evidence one way or another, nor could there be. The claim isn’t amenable to proof or disproof. We can’t have that both ways either. Theists distort the meaning of “theory” all the time to suit their ends. We can’t afford to do the same thing.

You can believe that there is no god but that belief is and must be personal.

It’s all a matter of framing the question. There is no evidence of a god, any more than there is evidence of an infinite number of other things we could imagine. Therefore, I don’t operate from a presumption that there is a god, or waste my time worrying about it. I don’t believe in a god, and to people who push their theism on me, I’ll tell them that they have no basis in any known reality for that belief; it is entirely a product of their wishes. This isn’t a weak position. I have no problem lambasting people for unfounded theistic beliefs. But if we hope to be taken seriously, we must be consistent. And as a group, we’re not doing it. This all goes back to how thoroughly we’ve allowed theists to get into our heads.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 13 February 2013 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The one question I don’t see on that list, one I am truly tired of answering, is, “Then what do you believe in?”. I usually pick something like, “I believe that water freezes at zero degrees Celsius and boils at 100 degrees Celsius.” What I really feel like saying, though, is, “I believe you are a douchebag.” But I try to keep it classy.

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Posted: 13 February 2013 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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You make a good point. When a theist asks “Do you believe in God?” what they really mean is “My God exists, do you believe in Him?” which of course is silly.

I like to play along though… “...of course God exists, and She is pissed! She can’t believe so many Americans would take away the very free will She gave us from so many women by forcing them to have their rapists babies! You’re not denying God are you….? ”

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Posted: 13 February 2013 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It’s all a matter of framing the question. There is no evidence of a god, any more than there is evidence of an infinite number of other things we could imagine. Therefore, I don’t operate from a presumption that there is a god, or waste my time worrying about it. I don’t believe in a god, and to people who push their theism on me, I’ll tell them that they have no basis in any known reality for that belief; it is entirely a product of their wishes. This isn’t a weak position. I have no problem lambasting people for unfounded theistic beliefs. But if we hope to be taken seriously, we must be consistent. And as a group, we’re not doing it. This all goes back to how thoroughly we’ve allowed theists to get into our heads.


I also read the questions/retorts and while it was humorous (cracked me up as usual) refuting god to a committed theist is tantamount to telling a nine year old that santa doesn’t put your presents under the tree, your parents do it. And you can lambast all you want but their lives are indelibly tied up with their belief system. IOW, every aspect of their lives is filtered through the church. They can’t function without an angel on their shoulders and religious symbols pepper any and all discussions. They give no thought to scientific explanations because their religion answers ALL of the questions. Every discussion I’ve had with hard core and even liberal xtians can be countered by a bible quotation ad nauseum and those who do understand the scientific explanations campartmentalize them or seek some common ground in scripture. The bottom line is that atheists who attempt to show the falacies in religion to those with an xtian mindset are spitting in the wind. Luckily, blasphemy in this country is allowed or I would be run out of the vilage on a rail, or hanged by torch wielding fanatics bent on saving my soul by beating the devil out if me. And as to their theistic beliefs being unfounded, look at the other side of the coin. aLL of their beliefs are founded by the bedrock of xtianity, the bible: morals, ethics, marriage customs, child rearing, dietary laws, ceremonial days (today’s Ash Wed), customs (a choo, god bless you) dress codes, to name a few. And BTW, it’s difficult to get theism out of your head when you came from that mindset and are surrounded by it. At least I know their arguments and can use them in a discussion for those who are curious. For the committed, well, they’re the real zombies. Plowing through life trying in vain to live a pure bronze age existence. Only those on the edge who legitimately question the authority of the group will be reached and the rest is up to them. Education is the key, the more you have, the more you doubt.

 

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Posted: 14 February 2013 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 13 February 2013 01:21 PM

It’s all a matter of framing the question. There is no evidence of a god, any more than there is evidence of an infinite number of other things we could imagine. Therefore, I don’t operate from a presumption that there is a god, or waste my time worrying about it. I don’t believe in a god, and to people who push their theism on me, I’ll tell them that they have no basis in any known reality for that belief; it is entirely a product of their wishes. This isn’t a weak position. I have no problem lambasting people for unfounded theistic beliefs. But if we hope to be taken seriously, we must be consistent. And as a group, we’re not doing it. This all goes back to how thoroughly we’ve allowed theists to get into our heads.


I also read the questions/retorts and while it was humorous (cracked me up as usual) refuting god to a committed theist is tantamount to telling a nine year old that santa doesn’t put your presents under the tree, your parents do it. And you can lambast all you want but their lives are indelibly tied up with their belief system. IOW, every aspect of their lives is filtered through the church. They can’t function without an angel on their shoulders and religious symbols pepper any and all discussions. They give no thought to scientific explanations because their religion answers ALL of the questions. Every discussion I’ve had with hard core and even liberal xtians can be countered by a bible quotation ad nauseum and those who do understand the scientific explanations campartmentalize them or seek some common ground in scripture. The bottom line is that atheists who attempt to show the falacies in religion to those with an xtian mindset are spitting in the wind. Luckily, blasphemy in this country is allowed or I would be run out of the vilage on a rail, or hanged by torch wielding fanatics bent on saving my soul by beating the devil out if me. And as to their theistic beliefs being unfounded, look at the other side of the coin. aLL of their beliefs are founded by the bedrock of xtianity, the bible: morals, ethics, marriage customs, child rearing, dietary laws, ceremonial days (today’s Ash Wed), customs (a choo, god bless you) dress codes, to name a few. And BTW, it’s difficult to get theism out of your head when you came from that mindset and are surrounded by it. At least I know their arguments and can use them in a discussion for those who are curious. For the committed, well, they’re the real zombies. Plowing through life trying in vain to live a pure bronze age existence. Only those on the edge who legitimately question the authority of the group will be reached and the rest is up to them. Education is the key, the more you have, the more you doubt.

I would a agree except for the part of them being grounded in the bible, church, etc.  My point in this post and others is that though it *seems* to be grounded in those things, it’s really grounded in a psychological state of mind that’s absurd once you think about it. (I just put up a post on Is God a boy or girl) to discuss this.

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