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Journal Stargoat's Journal: Atheist and Faith 18

I was reading some journals today. There was a discussion about Atheism and Faith. (Aside to AC - very uninteresting troll. A good troll should be more elegant.)

It was supposed that an atheist requires faith to be an atheist. This is not true. It does not require faith to be an atheist.

There are suppositions that humans make as they move through life. Chief among these are the suppositions:
1. the environment we interact with is real.
2. laws of reality do not change
3. the reality that we experience is the same reality that all other people experience

Once a person accepts these suppositions as fact and we all do (except perhaps The Man in the Shack), then there is one more supposition that most people believe. They may argue that they do not believe this, but they do.
4. a thing must be proven true rather than proven false

Almost none of us believe in Might Jove sitting on Mount Olympus. This is because there is no proof for it. Almost none of us believe in unicorns, again, because there is no proof for it.

All the atheist does is acknowledge that there is no more proof available for the existence of Yahweh than for Jove. The atheist also acknowledges that there is no more proof available for a Great Spirit, Transcendental Being, Prime Mover, or The Force than there is for the existence of a Yahweh.

Because there is no proof, therefore the atheist does not believe. The atheist is not required have faith because the atheist is rational.
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Atheist and Faith

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  • by grub ( 11606 )
    That's an old nugget they like to throw out.
    It's usually in the same conversation where they throw out the "atheism is a religion" crap.
  • If you opt to not believe in god, because the evidence is lacking, then at the same time it becomes hard to believe in their not being a god, because the evidence for that is lacking as well.

    Granted, all religions fall into that logical trap; there may or may not be any god that any person or group or persons likes to hold on to. And of course disproving a deity's existence is damned near impossible - hence at some point you have to either believe the deity to exist or not.

    Of course, religion itself ev
    • by grub ( 11606 )

      it does take faith to believe that there is no god, hence atheists do have faith.

      It doesn't take faith to say "show me the evidence."

      I don't believe in unicorns, that doesn't take faith.
      • Considering that the word "unicorn" is just a Latin translation of the Greek word "rhinoceros" , and the original descriptions of a unicorn all have the feet of an elephant and the tail of a lion and one or TWO horns on the nose, I'd say your belief that unicorns don't exist requires a hell of a lot of faith that the evidence is wrong.

        • by grub ( 11606 )
          Sigh. OK, classic fairy tale unicorns. Nice and white with horns.
          • Classic Fairy Tale Unicorns? They exist too, but are a GM animal created by man.

            Bred by Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1988. Pretty easy, you just take a certain breed of goat, add some horse DNA, and use bonzai techniques to twist the horns and some growth hormone to get them incredibly large for the breed.

            But the original point is that most myths come from very honest people who are trying to help society by creating a memorable story; and that if you know the truth behind the myth then b

      • it does take faith to believe that there is no god, hence atheists do have faith.

        It doesn't take faith to say "show me the evidence."

        Saying it, no. But what you do while waiting for the evidence may itself require faith. If you opt to take the absence of evidence to mean that whatever you asked for evidence on does not exist, then you have made a faith-based decision.

        Of course there is nothing inherently wrong with placing faith in something not existing anymore so than there is something inherently wrong in placing faith in something existing. But ultimately, when dealing with the question of a deity both of those options require

    • If you opt to not believe in god, because the evidence is lacking, then at the same time it becomes hard to believe in their not being a god, because the evidence for that is lacking as well.

      That is the issue. There is no evidence for the non-existence of Jove or the unicorn. People do not believe in these because there is no evidence that they exist. In fact, without proof of existence, people do not believe in most things. Further, there is no evidence that such a thing could be made to exist.

      All unde

    • But nonetheless, it does take faith to believe that there is no god, hence atheists do have faith.

      I have to wonder what you mean by "faith" here. Are you of the opinion that there is not (or perhaps, cannot be) sufficient evidence to render a belief that God does not exist rational to hold?

  • Depends what you mean by faith.

    I would say *reductionism* requires faith. It requires faith that the people who are gathering evidence for your pet theory are all telling the truth, and faith that the people gathering evidence against your pet theory are all lying.

    "Faith can move mountains" is a statement that atheists like to laugh at- but faith in their engineering abilities allowed Japanese engineers to move an entire natural island to build Kansai International Airport.

    Faith isn't belief *against* evid

    • Godel was convinced that it was impossible, from a purely mathematical proposition, for God NOT to exist.

      I don't suppose that intellectual diminutives like Richard Dawkins compare favourably in their application of logic and analytical integrity to Kurt Godel.

      In fact, Dawkins has demonstrated only that he is emotionally passionate - and not particularly rational, at all.

      Most people don't come close to imagining Godel's God. They are - in fact - pagans with a pantheon of one constituent.

      Absolute being is no

      • True- but it's even more basic than that.

        To believe a single thing to be fact, means you have to have faith that you are not hallucinating and that your senses aren't lying to you. To have a description of that fact, you need to have a very religious faith in a given set of definitions. This is the level of faith I struggle with.

        For any given Philosophy P, I can reiterate down and decide if it is a logical and rational philosophy or not, that is, is it internally consistent (even if externally and judging

  • Which is a barricaded fortress.

    The Atheist believes his mind is a complete and functioning unit, while completely ignorant of the content and effect of the unconscious aspects of that mind.

    The mind cannot be understood through use of the mind alone.

    And what good is a definition of Reality, proposed by a being that cannot even understand itself?

  • I think the need for "proof" before believing something to be true is wrongheaded. "Proof" is the kind of thing one gets in mathematics. I haven't got a proof that Washington was the first president, that I have a brother, or that the sun will rise tomorrow; but I believe each of those things. What I do have, however, is quite a lot of evidence that those things are true. Am I being irrational, by your lights?

    But replacing "proof" with "evidence" leaves your main thesis in a questionable position. Because t

    • Observation is proof.

      • But proof of what? If I observe what appears to be water, is that proof that I'm observing actual water? (I'm thinking of mirage situations.)

        Insofar as our senses are fallible, an observation that appears to be an X can only be evidence, not proof, that one has observed an actual X.

      • There are few things that are less reliable than an eyewitness, which raises doubts about your third supposition. People are likely to believe what they are conditioned to believe even more than what their senses tell them. Their testimony will reflect their beliefs more accurately than actual events. I have to go along with the others. Lack of evidence proves nothing.

"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults." -- Peter De Vries