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Theologian in Training

Atheism

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Semalsia
[quote name='Theologian in Training' post='1661787' date='Sep 23 2008, 02:59 PM']OK then, for the sake of clarification, what is it you would say you believe?[/quote]

I believe in a objective truth. The hard part is in figuring what the truth is. On a purely philosophical level I'll admit that it's possible God exists. And at the same time I can't see God anywhere, so I'll have to assume that there isn't one.

[quote name='Theologian in Training' post='1661787' date='Sep 23 2008, 02:59 PM']Also, in Sam Harris' book "Letter to a Christian Nation," he admits that one person is right and one person is wrong and accepts the consequences if he is wrong. However, he uses this as a justification to prove that indeed he is right. So, he does not necessarily subscribe to the maybe there is God theory.[/quote]

Oh alright. That was the impression I had about him, but maybe you know better.

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Vincent Vega
[quote name='Semalsia' post='1661766' date='Sep 23 2008, 10:14 AM']I don't even like to use the word myself, because of these semantic troubles it gets you into. If you insist on using atheism to mean a positive belief that there is no God, then when you talk to an atheist you'll risk getting laughed at for not knowing what atheism is. I guess I'd suggest instead of assuming you know the person from a label, you'd actually start by asking what his/her views are. I'm not sure there has to be a separate word for every possible nuance imaginable.[/quote]
Oh, I guess that's my fault then. I tend to go by strict definitions of words. So when I think of an A-theist (non-Godbeliever), I think of someone who doesn't believe in God. I don't lump deists, agnostics, and so forth in that category, for they acknowledge the presence or at least possibility of a god.

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Theologian in Training
[quote name='Semalsia' post='1661929' date='Sep 23 2008, 05:00 PM']I believe in a objective truth. The hard part is in figuring what the truth is. On a purely philosophical level I'll admit that it's possible God exists. And at the same time I can't see God anywhere, so I'll have to assume that there isn't one.



Oh alright. That was the impression I had about him, but maybe you know better.[/quote]

So then, because you don't see Him you conclude that He does not exist? Is that the only reason for your disbelief or are there other factors as well?

Also, based on my research and what I have read from them, most atheists hold the belief that one's default position should be the non-existence of God and it is the believers job to make that person believe. Do you subscribe to the same idea or do you think something different?

Lastly, do you believe in a soul?

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Balthazor
Come visit me I am living in one of the most Atheist countries in the world. The reason for atheism?

Forced atheism through communism is one. But the biggest reason I extract is that they are tired of the years of religious power struggles.

A lot of them though really don't beleive in God because Beleif in God would mean that they would have to alter the lifestyle of sex, drugs and alcohol and many are more willing to keep this, than gain God. The culture of pre-marital realtions here is stronger than anywhere else I have been. People plan for children outside of marriage here. It is kind of like bizarro world. Edited by Balthazor

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Semalsia
[quote name='Theologian in Training' post='1662193' date='Sep 24 2008, 01:45 AM']So then, because you don't see Him you conclude that He does not exist? Is that the only reason for your disbelief or are there other factors as well?[/quote]

That's the reason.

[quote name='Theologian in Training' post='1662193' date='Sep 24 2008, 01:45 AM']Also, based on my research and what I have read from them, most atheists hold the belief that one's default position should be the non-existence of God and it is the believers job to make that person believe. Do you subscribe to the same idea or do you think something different?[/quote]

I'd agree with that. If I look into a fridge and see no cake in there, then my position should be that there is no cake. And obviously not that there [i]is[/i] cake there. If someone is saying there's cake in the fridge, then that person should then show me the cake or I'm not going to believe it.

[quote name='Theologian in Training' post='1662193' date='Sep 24 2008, 01:45 AM']Lastly, do you believe in a soul?[/quote]

No, I don't. No one has ever shown that we have a soul.

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Semalsia
[quote name='USAirwaysIHS' post='1662057' date='Sep 23 2008, 11:10 PM']Oh, I guess that's my fault then. I tend to go by strict definitions of words. So when I think of an A-theist (non-Godbeliever), I think of someone who doesn't believe in God. I don't lump deists, agnostics, and so forth in that category, for they acknowledge the presence or at least possibility of a god.[/quote]

I think you'll find both definitions of atheism. One that says that it's a belief that there is no God and another saying lack of belief in God.

[quote name='Balthazor' post='1662690' date='Sep 24 2008, 04:21 PM']A lot of them though really don't beleive in God because Beleif in God would mean that they would have to alter the lifestyle of sex, drugs and alcohol and many are more willing to keep this, than gain God.[/quote]

But couldn't they just believe in God that allowed them to do what they wanted? There's probably even plenty of christian churches that allow all those things.

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Phazzan
[quote name='Balthazor' post='1662690' date='Sep 24 2008, 11:21 AM']Come visit me I am living in one of the most Atheist countries in the world. The reason for atheism?

Forced atheism through communism is one. But the biggest reason I extract is that they are tired of the years of religious power struggles.

A lot of them though really don't beleive in God because Beleif in God would mean that they would have to alter the lifestyle of sex, drugs and alcohol and many are more willing to keep this, than gain God. The culture of pre-marital realtions here is stronger than anywhere else I have been. People plan for children outside of marriage here. It is kind of like bizarro world.[/quote]

That's a pretty shallow interpretation. There are more christians who engage in things like sex, drugs and alcohol then there are that don't. It's easier to believe in god and rationalise a sinful lifestyle than it is to deny the existence of god completely. Best of both worlds, right? There are also many atheists that live more "virtuous" lifestyles than dedicated Catholics. It might not consist of superficial things like confession and penance, but their desire to be good, moral and virtuous is as strong as any Catholic. Not me though.

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homeschoolmom
[quote name='Phazzan' post='1663538' date='Sep 25 2008, 02:03 PM']Not me though.[/quote]
Well no.... of course not. Thanks for clarifying. :mellow:

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Winchester
[quote name='Semalsia' post='1662960' date='Sep 24 2008, 05:42 PM']I'd agree with that. If I look into a fridge and see no cake in there, then my position should be that there is no cake. And obviously not that there [i]is[/i] cake there. If someone is saying there's cake in the fridge, then that person should then show me the cake or I'm not going to believe it.[/quote]
It is in the nature of cake to be seen. Poor analogy.

The default position of humanity does not, historically, seem to be atheism.

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Theologian in Training
[quote name='Semalsia' post='1662960' date='Sep 24 2008, 06:42 PM']That's the reason.



I'd agree with that. If I look into a fridge and see no cake in there, then my position should be that there is no cake. And obviously not that there [i]is[/i] cake there. If someone is saying there's cake in the fridge, then that person should then show me the cake or I'm not going to believe it.



No, I don't. No one has ever shown that we have a soul.[/quote]

Ok, now I am a little confused, because you identify yourself as an atheist, but given that you admit the probability that God exists wouldn't necessarily make you an atheist but more an agnostic. And, yet, at the same time, you seem to subscribe to the theory that the burden of proof is on the theist, something that has come to be known as "weak atheism." [url="http://www.conservapedia.com/Weak_atheism"]http://www.conservapedia.com/Weak_atheism[/url]

Given this, would it be more fair to say that you really are not one or the other but in the process of searching?

Also, while it is true God and the soul is intangible, insofar as we cannot see Him or it, how do you explain other "intangibles?" For example, the air we breathe, or, to take it to a "deeper" level, the ability to fall in love, to name just two off the top of my head?

Lastly, you explained fleeting moments of the possibility that God exists. What discourages you from pursuing that possibility?

Thanks again, this is very helpful

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SpareTime
[quote name='USAirwaysIHS' post='1662057' date='Sep 23 2008, 07:10 PM']Oh, I guess that's my fault then. I tend to go by strict definitions of words. So when I think of an A-theist (non-Godbeliever), I think of someone who doesn't believe in God. I don't lump deists, agnostics, and so forth in that category, for they acknowledge the presence or at least possibility of a god.[/quote]

you are correct. most atheists will make the distinction of calling themselves "agnostic atheist"..they don't acknowledge a God, but they think that a god can be neither proven nor disproven.


[quote name='Theologian in Training' post='1664021' date='Sep 26 2008, 12:47 AM']you seem to subscribe to the theory that the burden of proof is on the theist,[/quote]

The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. if I claim God exists, and someone says, "He does? Show me." and then I say "Show me he doesn't!", then I have just shifted the burden of proof--which is generally frowned upon in the debate world.

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Semalsia
[quote name='Winchester' post='1663728' date='Sep 25 2008, 09:14 PM']It is in the nature of cake to be seen. Poor analogy.[/quote]

I meant seeing in a figurative as well as literal sense. As in, there is no sign of God. I don't think it's unreasonable to say that while God may not be seen, he's actions on the world should be visible. It follows since every action causes change and all change is visible. To say otherwise would be to say that God doesn't affect the world and that would be deism.

I still like the cake analogy. Also, I like cake.

[quote name='Winchester' post='1663728' date='Sep 25 2008, 09:14 PM']The default position of humanity does not, historically, seem to be atheism.[/quote]

True, but historical prevalence is a poor argument in favor of anything. For example, slavery and warfare have been nearly universal throughout history and yet that's no reason to oppose liberty and peace.

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Semalsia
[quote name='Theologian in Training' post='1664021' date='Sep 26 2008, 03:47 AM']Ok, now I am a little confused, because you identify yourself as an atheist, but given that you admit the probability that God exists wouldn't necessarily make you an atheist but more an agnostic. And, yet, at the same time, you seem to subscribe to the theory that the burden of proof is on the theist, something that has come to be known as "weak atheism." [url="http://www.conservapedia.com/Weak_atheism"]http://www.conservapedia.com/Weak_atheism[/url][/quote]

Again, this kind of depends how you want to define atheism and agnosticism. They can also overlap when in their broadest meanings. And yes, I would identify with weak atheism (and not with strong atheism).

[quote name='Theologian in Training' post='1664021' date='Sep 26 2008, 03:47 AM']Given this, would it be more fair to say that you really are not one or the other but in the process of searching?[/quote]

I think it would be foolish not to be open to new ideas, but I'm not actively searching for God. More like passively waiting. If that makes sense.

[quote name='Theologian in Training' post='1664021' date='Sep 26 2008, 03:47 AM']Also, while it is true God and the soul is intangible, insofar as we cannot see Him or it, how do you explain other "intangibles?" For example, the air we breathe, or, to take it to a "deeper" level, the ability to fall in love, to name just two off the top of my head?[/quote]

We can't see air directly, but there are other ways to sense it. We can feel wind on our skin, hear it in the trees and see it in the waves. All such intangible things are sensible in some fashion. That's why we know of their existence! And I would argue that the same should apply to God also. If God acted in the world, we'd be able to sense it somehow.


[quote name='Theologian in Training' post='1664021' date='Sep 26 2008, 03:47 AM']Lastly, you explained fleeting moments of the possibility that God exists. What discourages you from pursuing that possibility?[/quote]

Pursue how? Admitting the possibility of God is really a dead end. There's nowhere to go from there.

[quote name='Theologian in Training' post='1664021' date='Sep 26 2008, 03:47 AM']Thanks again, this is very helpful[/quote]

I'm glad it is.

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rkwright
[quote name='Mr.CatholicCat' post='1660636' date='Sep 21 2008, 04:59 PM']I went through a phase in my life where I went first through agnosticism, secondly through atheism, finally into anti-theism, until the phase came to a close. The whole phase took in my estimation about five to seven years. In my personal observation, some people take this as a shock, and still others refuse to believe it.

People who are agnostics and atheists have their own reasons for believing/disbelieving and criticizing/doubting, which it is possible some of these people don’t even really know why themselves. In my personal experience they could all follow back to the question, “is God self-evident?”

Too much could be written though, just a small reflection.[/quote]

I was surprised to see you using that portion of the Summa as a pseudo argument for Atheism. I think you may have misunderstood what Aquinas was saying when he uses the term 'self-evident'.

In simple terms, Aquinas is rejecting St. Anslem's ontological argument. Objection 2 is actually Aquinas's version of Anslem's argument. The ontological argument is a 'self-evident' argument that; that is by the term God we know God has existence. Aquinas doesn't like this. For him proving God is not so easy that when we hear the word we know God exists.

I have a copy of Peter Kreeft's 'Summa of the Summa' which explains good portions of the Summa. This is what he says in relation to this article:

If the existence of God is self evident, it is superfluous to try to demonstrate (prove) it. No one proves 2+2=4 or 'something exists'. In Article 1, St Thomas shows that God's existence is not so obvious that it needs no proof; and in Article 2 he shows that it is not so obscure that it cannot be proved. Thus he refutes both extremes of "dogmatism" and "skepticism" about the existence of God.

Last Kreeft says that Aquinas does not believe the proposition that "God exists" is the same as "Bachelors are male" or "Wholes are greater than parts" (self-evident propositions).

I think for Aquinas, proof of God is not a math problem (self-evident), but an argument from the natural world around him. He uses motion and causation, not 'word games' as some have called Anslem's arguments.

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