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Definition of Atheist
Posted: 27 July 2013 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 226 ]
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Lausten,

I see you are agreeing with LilySmith, Who has stated the standard definition of
Atheist and has been unable to comprehend the problem that is being addressed here.

But I expect more from you, I have been to your website and can see that you have a brilliant mind and are quite capable of deep thought.

If you wanted to you could be a big help in viewing the paradox and help come up with a logical and common sense answer that would bring the Atheists and Christians closer together instead of this “you’re the enemy” type of mentality that exists today.

What ever we do, let’s have fun in doing it.
Mike

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Posted: 27 July 2013 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 227 ]
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Mike,

No, a theist does not have to believe in God as Creator.  A theist only has to believe a God or gods exist.

No, an atheist does not believe in the power of God because he doesn’t believe in God.  I suspect an atheist would say he believes natural forces are responsible for all that exist.

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Posted: 27 July 2013 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 228 ]
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Mike,
You speak of the “Power of God” as if this is a condition created by the common belief of a group of people. Correct me if I am wrong.

This “power” actually already has a name in Medicine. It is identified as “mass hysteria”.

Medical Dictionary
mass hysteria n. 

a) Spontaneous, en masse development of identical physical or emotional symptoms among a group of individuals, as in a classroom of schoolchildren.

b) A socially contagious frenzy of irrational behavior in a group of people as a reaction to an event.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mass+hysteria

IOW, a common biochemical response to certain stimuli, produced by endorphins in the brain.

While we often use this expression in a negative way, such as a “lynch mob”, each individual is partaking and reinforcing the justification of such an action. The individuals in the mob become “infected” with the urge to be part of such a travesty.
Often the participants later reflecting on their actions may ask themselves, “why did I do that” and “I got caught up in the heat of the moment”
However, when used in a positive way, we see this expressed in 40,000 people rooting for the home team, also known as “home team advantage”.

This apparent power is caused by the mirror neural network in the brain, where the enthusiasm of others “invokes” a empathic response, which in turn affects (infects) and reinforces the mass expression of support.
The home team, also inspired by the mass “mental support” (the 12th man on the field) may play extra hard and win the game.
Then, when reflecting back people will feel satisfaction of having been partly instrumental in winning the game and say “we did it, we won”!

Thus when you speak of the Power of God, you are addressing a physical reaction to an observed event by a group of “receptive minds”, i.e. a mass response, where each individual reinforces the mind set of the group.

Thus “the power of god” can be both beneficial (every person feeling compelled to help one another in case of disaster) or in a destructive way (the Crusades, Jihad, burning witches, exorcisms, etc.).

In a herd of buffalo, this may be expressed in a stampede over the cliff or may be seen in the exquisite evasive weaving of a school of fish. But this power does not exist independently, it is created by the minds of the participants and vaporizes the instant the mob (school, herd) disperses, when people go back to their usual ways of exercising self control.

There is nothing special (holy) about this common phenomenon. The perceived power is created in the mind of each individual and is apparent in almost every social or herd organization.

[ Edited: 27 July 2013 02:22 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 27 July 2013 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 229 ]
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Write4U - “There is nothing special (holy) about this common phenomenon.”

I’m curious what phenomena would qualify as “special(holy)”?  If there is such a condition, what criteria might be applied in discerning it?

[ Edited: 27 July 2013 06:38 PM by brmckay ]
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Posted: 27 July 2013 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 230 ]
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LilySmith - 26 July 2013 03:52 PM

Since the existence of God cannot be proven either way, both a theist and an atheist have a belief concerning the existence of God.  Their positions are by faith since no proof exists.

It has nothing to do with God being the Creator or anyone’s definition of a “good Catholic.”  Nor does it matter whether a theist believes in creation or evolution.  If he believes in God, he is a theist.  If he believes no God exists, he’s an atheist.  That’s the end of it.

I vote for LilySmith’s take on this.  Especially the reference to “God” rather than “a god”, “gods”, “supernatural beings”, etc.

Rather than define Atheist,  better to improve the definition of God.  Then, theist and atheist can both at least try to refer to the real deal.  Whether in belief or disbelief.

I would though, point out that the expression, “existence of God” is a small flaw in an otherwise excellent summary.  Existence being better thought of as the inherent nature of God, rather than something God does. This might explain why “proof” is difficult.

[ Edited: 27 July 2013 06:34 PM by brmckay ]
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Posted: 27 July 2013 07:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 231 ]
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brmckay - 27 July 2013 05:54 PM

Write4U - “There is nothing special (holy) about this common phenomenon.”

I’m curious what phenomena would qualify as “special(holy)”?  If there is such a condition, what criteria might be applied in discerning it?

Perhaps you did not read close enough or I failed to make it clear that the concept of being filled with the Holy Spirit is natural phenomena and is expressed both in religious fervor or in the synchronization of herd (group) behavior. Both are natural phenomena and the “emotional identification” is generated in the same part of the brain.

Let me illustrate with a very amazing (but not Holy) synchronization of ovulation in women, where the natural cycle of a dominant female seems to induce a synchronicity in all the females to ovulate at the same time as the dominant.
This is a real time phenomenon and is also related to the function of mirror neural network, IMO.

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Posted: 27 July 2013 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 232 ]
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brmckay - 27 July 2013 06:21 PM
LilySmith - 26 July 2013 03:52 PM

Since the existence of God cannot be proven either way, both a theist and an atheist have a belief concerning the existence of God.  Their positions are by faith since no proof exists.

It has nothing to do with God being the Creator or anyone’s definition of a “good Catholic.”  Nor does it matter whether a theist believes in creation or evolution.  If he believes in God, he is a theist.  If he believes no God exists, he’s an atheist.  That’s the end of it.

I vote for LilySmith’s take on this.  Especially the reference to “God” rather than “a god”, “gods”, “supernatural beings”, etc.

Rather than define Atheist,  better to improve the definition of God.  Then, theist and atheist can both at least try to refer to the real deal.  Whether in belief or disbelief.

I would though, point out that the expression, “existence of God” is a small flaw in an otherwise excellent summary.  Existence being better thought of as the inherent nature of God, rather than something God does. This might explain why “proof” is difficult.

You have touched on the crux, the definition of God.

Personally I have no objection to the term God as a linguistic term for the Wholeness of the Universe. I have no objection to the term Brahma as the dynamic but “implaccable” condition and expression of Universal Potential (a term which I personally prefer to use) which may become reality. This is adressing the same unknown creative process with different terms.

But to assign human shape, emotions, and behaviors to God is a vain and simplistic attempt at defining that which has escaped the greatest scientists and philosophers, so far. Yet each interpretation of God is confused, contradictory, and/or false.
How can a theist expect to find common denominators, when another theist disagrees in the details and an atheist is automatically excluded by virtue of non-belief in a particular God?

My general response to this mess is to advocate for “cleaning up your own backyard” before accusing anyone of having a messy back yard.
Scientists at least are honest enough to say “We don’t know, but your “known” definitions of the same God are divergent and therefore are false” (all of them!).

[ Edited: 27 July 2013 07:47 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 27 July 2013 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 233 ]
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Write4U,
RE: Post #228
Great information, I can see that how that works, thanks.

There is a word that is getting a lot of play in the Christian movement; it is the word “Sovereign”.


Atheists test definition using the word Sovereign.

Atheist do not believe in the Sovereign of God as the creator but does recognize the Sovereign God as supposed being having power and authority with Christians.

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Posted: 27 July 2013 10:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 234 ]
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MikeYohe - 27 July 2013 07:50 PM

Write4U,
RE: Post #228
Great information, I can see that how that works, thanks.

There is a word that is getting a lot of play in the Christian movement; it is the word “Sovereign”.


Atheists test definition using the word Sovereign.

Atheist do not believe in the Sovereign of God as the creator but does recognize the Sovereign God as supposed being having power and authority with Christians.

key word “supposed’.

But to recognize a human condition or action does not necessarily mean agreeing with the concept.
In fact, if we analyze the statement Sovereign God having authority with Christians, we can already see an inherent conflict. “My God is sovereign and your god is just a fantasy.

IMO, the exclusivity of most religions prohibits a “merging of the mind” around a single “well defined” concept. At least, in science, there is general agreement about the Universe and how it began.  If there is/was any indication of a sentient Causal Agent before the BB, science has yet to discover it. In theism there is no consensus of any kind, just an acceptance of the Holy status of mankind in the “eyes’ of God.

On the contrary we are Holy only in the eyes of humans.

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Posted: 28 July 2013 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 235 ]
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Atheist do not believe in the Sovereign of God as the creator but does recognize the Sovereign God as supposed being having power and authority with Christians.


If you’re using this phrase as a test for atheists then I failed Mike. An atheist (and yes the are several more detailed definitions as Shook has amply pointed out) has shunned a belief in a god, any god or goddess for whatever personal reason. In a religious argument it is a refutation of the existence or or influence of a supernatural being or beings, hence a negative, a challenge for theists to prove the existence of a god, thus a positive. Stating that an atheist has a “belief system” simply because a god can’t be proven emperically is putting atheism on a par with theism, which it isn’t. And as to the sovereignty of a “god” over a xtian, why would an atheist recognize this concept when there is no god to recognize? An atheist could say that xtians are guided by a CONCEPT of a supreme being but not an actual entity as once again there is no proof of the existence of a god. There is however ample proof of the actual creation of gods and goddesses for, to borrow a phrase from environmental ethics, anthropocentric purposes.

 

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Posted: 28 July 2013 07:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 236 ]
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Write4U - 27 July 2013 07:20 PM
brmckay - 27 July 2013 05:54 PM

Write4U - “There is nothing special (holy) about this common phenomenon.”

I’m curious what phenomena would qualify as “special(holy)”?  If there is such a condition, what criteria might be applied in discerning it?

Perhaps you did not read close enough or I failed to make it clear that the concept of being filled with the Holy Spirit is natural phenomena and is expressed both in religious fervor or in the synchronization of herd (group) behavior. Both are natural phenomena and the “emotional identification” is generated in the same part of the brain.

Let me illustrate with a very amazing (but not Holy) synchronization of ovulation in women, where the natural cycle of a dominant female seems to induce a synchronicity in all the females to ovulate at the same time as the dominant.
This is a real time phenomenon and is also related to the function of mirror neural network, IMO.

I wasn’t quibbling, and understood your original post.  Just was actually curious.

The sense of the sacred has played a major role in human history.  As with all aspects of our behaviour, the degree of quality/veracity/authenticity varies from individual to individual, group to group, religion to religion.  I would say that a large part of being human is this exaggerated range of relativity in our subjective experience.  I’m not talking about intelligence per se, but about the nature of our self reflection.

Mindfulness meditation would be an excellent starting place for theists as well as atheists.  The practice of increasingly honest, objective study of the subjective moment.  No expectations, agenda or pre-existing parameters.  The definition of God/Reality becomes more authentic as the parallax of relativity subsides.

For me, this is the actual pressure motivating evolution.  Self discovery.  The conventional understanding; based on randomness, survival, and propagation only describes a holding pattern.  A state of inertia. Unapplied potential of consciousness.

Defining God/Reality can no more ignore the study of consciousness than it can the study of physics.

[ Edited: 28 July 2013 07:40 AM by brmckay ]
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Posted: 28 July 2013 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 237 ]
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Write4U
Post #234

But to recognize a human condition or action does not necessarily mean agreeing with the concept.

Yes, that’s kind of the idea here we need to talk about. The Atheist must recognize that we at the very least agree that God does exist, not as a deity but as a demon.

The Pope has already done this same type of step in agreeing to Evolution. But not as the Atheists see Evolution, but as the Christians see Evolution. And the Pope was able to end the battle of Evolution vs. Creation. The Pope did not do this out of the goodness of his heart, he did this because half the Christians now believed in Evolution and the Pope could see the handwriting on the wall. One would think that the Pope’s agreeing with Evolution would have made half the Christians Atheists because they did not see God as the Creator in the 6 day bible version.

The Church must have known that the Christians that did not believe in the 6 day bible version already believed in God as a Power and not a Deity. Otherwise the church would have almost been destroyed by such a move.

The Pope made this move in 2007 and the membership of the church did not change and the number of Atheists did not increase.

If the Atheists would confirm and recognize the “Power of God” as a demon then the two thoughts of ideas between the Christians and the Atheists would be able to communicate again in a constructive manner. 

The church would prefer the Atheists not exist at all. And if they do, it is better for the church if the Christians are confused about what an Atheist a thinks. The Christians now think that the Atheists are hard headed and narrow minded when it comes to the issues of God. And the “Belief” part of God that the Atheists are unable to comprehend is happening because the Atheists will not recognize the “Power of God” as a demon that does exist.

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Posted: 28 July 2013 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 238 ]
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Thevillageatheist
Post #235

And as to the sovereignty of a “god” over a xtian, why would an atheist recognize this concept when there is no god to recognize?

Because the fact that there is no god does not address the fact that this non existent god does exert power over it believers.

Just because we do not believe in Santa Claus does not mean we do not recognize the power of Christmas has on people.

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Posted: 28 July 2013 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 239 ]
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brmckay - 28 July 2013 07:04 AM
Write4U - 27 July 2013 07:20 PM
brmckay - 27 July 2013 05:54 PM

Write4U - “There is nothing special (holy) about this common phenomenon.”

I’m curious what phenomena would qualify as “special(holy)”?  If there is such a condition, what criteria might be applied in discerning it?

Perhaps you did not read close enough or I failed to make it clear that the concept of being filled with the Holy Spirit is natural phenomena and is expressed both in religious fervor or in the synchronization of herd (group) behavior. Both are natural phenomena and the “emotional identification” is generated in the same part of the brain.

Let me illustrate with a very amazing (but not Holy) synchronization of ovulation in women, where the natural cycle of a dominant female seems to induce a synchronicity in all the females to ovulate at the same time as the dominant.
This is a real time phenomenon and is also related to the function of mirror neural network, IMO.

I wasn’t quibbling, and understood your original post.  Just was actually curious.

The sense of the sacred has played a major role in human history.  As with all aspects of our behaviour, the degree of quality/veracity/authenticity varies from individual to individual, group to group, religion to religion.  I would say that a large part of being human is this exaggerated range of relativity in our subjective experience.  I’m not talking about intelligence per se, but about the nature of our self reflection.

Mindfulness meditation would be an excellent starting place for theists as well as atheists.  The practice of increasingly honest, objective study of the subjective moment.  No expectations, agenda or pre-existing parameters.  The definition of God/Reality becomes more authentic as the parallax of relativity subsides.

For me, this is the actual pressure motivating evolution.  Self discovery.  The conventional understanding; based on randomness, survival, and propagation only describes a holding pattern.  A state of inertia. Unapplied potential of consciousness.

Defining God/Reality can no more ignore the study of consciousness than it can the study of physics.

I agree. No one can deny the Wholeness of the Universe and the infinite potentials it contains. How can we access these potentials? Religion seems to work for its members. Unfortunately, exclusive (well defined) religions themselves do not work for each other. I see it as a field with beehives, each hive has its own “hive mind ” but serves one queen only and will kill any intruder. The potential that holds the hives together, also keeps the hives apart.

[ Edited: 28 July 2013 01:08 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 28 July 2013 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 240 ]
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Because the fact that there is no god does not address the fact that this non existent god does exert power over it believers.

Just because we do not believe in Santa Claus does not mean we do not recognize the power of Christmas has on people.


We’re obviously addressing two contrasting points here, and you’re begging the obvious as all professing xtians are influenced by the CONCEPT of a supreme sovereign being. Now whether that being exists or not (emperical v. Rational based belief) is irrelevant to a person of faith much as a child who believes in an actual “jolly old elf” who brings them presents. those of us who were affected by this fairytale as children continue to enjoy it as a special holiday all the while knowing that it’s just a folk story. We don’t worship the spirit of St. Nicholas, there is no litany spoken on his behalf nor strictures that if broken would bring down his wrath and no fiery hell to punish the unbeliever. Well, you might get a bit of coal in your stocking ... . So the power of Christmas, or happy holiday doesn’t exert the hold over a culture as does a religious belief. It’s a celebration and nothing more, even though the fundies Sooo want it to have a religious significance.

 

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