Define what is a true Atheist

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OnceConvinced
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Define what is a true Atheist

Post #1

Post by OnceConvinced »

There are many threads on this website asking about what a true Christian is. One thing we have learnt is that even if we just ask the Christians what a true Christian is, none of them seem to be able to come to an agreement on it. We get wide and varied answers.

So let's ask this question to those who identify themselves as atheists.

What makes a true atheist?

Does it involve the disbelief of anything other than gods?

Does it mean that you must declare there is no god?

Apart from not believing in any gods, are their any philosophies, dogma, doctrines and practices that a true atheist should follow?

Should true atheists believe in evolution?

Does being a true atheist require you to rebel against anything or anyone?

Does being a true atheist require you to hate anything or anyone?

Does being a true atheist mean you should want to commit immoral acts?

Society and its morals evolve and will continue to evolve. The bible however remains the same and just requires more and more apologetics and claims of "metaphors" and "symbolism" to justify it.

Prayer is like rubbing an old bottle and hoping that a genie will pop out and grant you three wishes.

There is much about this world that is mind boggling and impressive, but I see no need whatsoever to put it down to magical super powered beings.


Check out my website: Recker's World of Fantasy

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Post #2

Post by Divine Insight »

I don't personally think of the term "atheist" as being a description of someone. Therefore the idea of whether someone is a "True Atheist" or not seem rather silly to me.

From my perspective the term is merely a convenient label that is useful in communication in terms of attempting to convey an idea of where a person stands on a particular issue or question. And even then it's just a label used to convey a quick idea, not intended to define a person's precise views in depth.

It basically conveys to me the idea that a person either simply doesn't believe in any existing god myths, or it might mean that they are actually convinced that there cannot even be such a thing as a "God".

I also recognize that some people may even be using the label to mean something different yet, so I feel it's always best to ask if I care to know any details.

I personally don't use the label of "atheist" to describe my position on things in general. I prefer to use the term "agnostic". But at the same time I don't consider this term to define me.

I'm not an "Agnostic". I'm a human. ;)

Agnostic is simply quick summary of my position on the question of the true nature of reality (including whether or not their might exist a God or spiritual essence to reality).

I simply don't have sufficient information to answer those questions in any definite way. Therefore I am (without sufficient knowledge to answer those particular questions (i.e. a-gnostic or without knowledge)

This obviously doesn't apply to all possible questions. I think it's fair to say that I am a hardcore "atheist" with respect to the Abrahamic religions. :D

But that's a very specific limited case.

In the meantime I would much prefer to be called an Earthling, Human, or even a Musician. ;) Although the last term could be debated.
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Re: Define what is a true Atheist

Post #3

Post by rikuoamero »

[Replying to post 1 by OnceConvinced]
Does it involve the disbelief of anything other than gods?
I think you should have put the word 'require' there, instead of 'involve', like you do for the follow on questions.
No, an atheist just doesn't believe in a god or gods. Whether it's an active disbelief (as in, they declare it formally) or they probably aren't even aware of the concept of a god, is another question entirely.
Does it mean that you must declare there is no god?
Not in my eyes, no. How would such a claim be justified? To say "There is no god" and for it to be justified, would mean having to scour the entire universe.
It's one thing to say "I don't believe in a god, because so far, I have not encountered one", but a different thing altogether to say "There is no god, period".
Apart from not believing in any gods, are their any philosophies, dogma, doctrines and practices that a true atheist should follow?
Nope.
Should true atheists believe in evolution?
Nope.
Does being a true atheist require you to rebel against anything or anyone?
Nope.
Does being a true atheist require you to hate anything or anyone?
Nope.
Does being a true atheist mean you should want to commit immoral acts?
Try and guess what I'm going to say for this.
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Some force seems to restrict me from buying into the apparent nonsense that others find so easy to buy into. Having no religious or supernatural beliefs of my own, I just call that force reason. -- Tired of the Nonsense

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Re: Define what is a true Atheist

Post #4

Post by wiploc »

OnceConvinced wrote: What makes a true atheist?
Anyone who is not a theist is an atheist.


Does it involve the disbelief of anything other than gods?
Answer: No.

Nitpick: "Disbelief" means either not believing or believing not. So disbelieving in gods means either that you lack the belief that they do exist or that you have the belief that they don't exist. So, "disbelief" is an awkward word to use in a conversation like this. It tends to muddy exactly the point that you are trying to clarify.


Does it mean that you must declare there is no god?
Theists believe that gods do exist.
Strong atheists believe that gods do not exist.
Weak atheists (everybody else) don't believe either way.

It's all a matter of what we believe; none of us have to declare anything.



Apart from not believing in any gods, are their any philosophies, dogma, doctrines and practices that a true atheist should follow?
I'm a utilitarian, so I think you (regardless of whether you are an atheist) should be nice to people. But that doesn't mean you aren't an atheist if you aren't nice.



Should true atheists believe in evolution?
Everybody should believe in evolution. This has nothing to do with whether you are an atheist.



Does being a true atheist require you to rebel against anything or anyone?
No.



Does being a true atheist require you to hate anything or anyone?
No.



Does being a true atheist mean you should want to commit immoral acts?
No.

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Re: Define what is a true Atheist

Post #5

Post by help3434 »

[Replying to post 1 by OnceConvinced]

I personally don't have a concept of a "true atheist" but I have seen atheists in this forum uncomfortable with applying the term "atheist" to those who believe in supernatural entities like ghosts but not in God.

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Re: Define what is a true Atheist

Post #6

Post by Tired of the Nonsense »

wiploc wrote:
OnceConvinced wrote: What makes a true atheist?
Anyone who is not a theist is an atheist.


Does it involve the disbelief of anything other than gods?
Answer: No.

Nitpick: "Disbelief" means either not believing or believing not. So disbelieving in gods means either that you lack the belief that they do exist or that you have the belief that they don't exist. So, "disbelief" is an awkward word to use in a conversation like this. It tends to muddy exactly the point that you are trying to clarify.


Does it mean that you must declare there is no god?
Theists believe that gods do exist.
Strong atheists believe that gods do not exist.
Weak atheists (everybody else) don't believe either way.

It's all a matter of what we believe; none of us have to declare anything.



Apart from not believing in any gods, are their any philosophies, dogma, doctrines and practices that a true atheist should follow?
I'm a utilitarian, so I think you (regardless of whether you are an atheist) should be nice to people. But that doesn't mean you aren't an atheist if you aren't nice.



Should true atheists believe in evolution?
Everybody should believe in evolution. This has nothing to do with whether you are an atheist.



Does being a true atheist require you to rebel against anything or anyone?
No.



Does being a true atheist require you to hate anything or anyone?
No.



Does being a true atheist mean you should want to commit immoral acts?
No.
The word theology can have numerous overlapping or interconnected meanings. Theology may or may not involve the concept of a creator.

the·ol·o·gy
n. pl. the·ol·o·gies
1. The study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.
2. A system or school of opinions concerning God and religious questions: Protestant theology; Jewish theology.
3. A course of specialized religious study usually at a college or seminary.
[Middle English theologie, from Old French, from Latin theologia, from Greek theologia : theo-, theo- + -logia, -logy.]

theology
n, pl -gies
1. (Theology) the systematic study of the existence and nature of the divine and its relationship to and influence upon other beings
2. (Theology) a specific branch of this study, undertaken from the perspective of a particular group: feminist theology.
3. (Theology) the systematic study of Christian revelation concerning God's nature and purpose, esp through the teaching of the Church
4. (Theology) a specific system, form, or branch of this study, esp for those preparing for the ministry or priesthood
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/theology

Theology is all about having a very specific set or well conceived system of beliefs. Atheist (A=without; Theos=theology) and atheism are about having NO theological beliefs. As an atheist I do not believe that there is no God, in exactly the same way as I do not believe there is no Santa Claus. I simply lack belief in those things. I have no belief in God, the gods, supernatural beings, magical beings, or the existence of the supernatural in any form. Atheism is not a system of belief. Atheism is a lack of such beliefs. It's a significant difference.
Image "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this." -- Albert Einstein -- Written in 1954 to Jewish philosopher Erik Gutkind.

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Re: Define what is a true Atheist

Post #7

Post by wiploc »

Tired of the Nonsense wrote:
The word theology can have numerous overlapping or interconnected meanings. Theology may or may not involve the concept of a creator.

the·ol·o·gy
n. pl. the·ol·o·gies
1. The study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.
2. A system or school of opinions concerning God and religious questions: Protestant theology; Jewish theology.
3. A course of specialized religious study usually at a college or seminary.
[Middle English theologie, from Old French, from Latin theologia, from Greek theologia : theo-, theo- + -logia, -logy.]

theology
n, pl -gies
1. (Theology) the systematic study of the existence and nature of the divine and its relationship to and influence upon other beings
2. (Theology) a specific branch of this study, undertaken from the perspective of a particular group: feminist theology.
3. (Theology) the systematic study of Christian revelation concerning God's nature and purpose, esp through the teaching of the Church
4. (Theology) a specific system, form, or branch of this study, esp for those preparing for the ministry or priesthood
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/theology

Theology is all about having a very specific set or well conceived system of beliefs.
That's news to me. It doesn't accord with common usage, or most dictionary definitions, or even the definitions that you posted yourself.


Atheist (A=without; Theos=theology) and atheism are about having NO theological beliefs.
I believe that definition is unique to you. Many atheists believe that no gods exist.


As an atheist I do not believe that there is no God, in exactly the same way as I do not believe there is no Santa Claus.
You say don't believe that there is no Santa? I'm having trouble taking you seriously.


I simply lack belief in those things. I have no belief in God, the gods, supernatural beings, magical beings, or the existence of the supernatural in any form.
Claiming not to have any opinions on any of those subjects is not how one earns credibility. If I claimed not to have any opinion at all on the topics of gravity, heliocentrism, and evolution, would you believe me?


Atheism is not a system of belief.
Right. Atheism is just not having the belief that gods exist.


Atheism is a lack of such beliefs.
If you're saying that atheism is not having a system of belief, you are wrong. Many atheists have systems of belief.

If you're saying that atheism is not having any beliefs about the supernatural and supernatural beings, then you're way off base.

It's true that there's no single definition of atheism that has universal acceptance, but two of them have such widespread acceptance, and are supported by so many dictionaries, that they cannot reasonably be said to be wrong. Your definition isn't either of those. Whatever's in third place is way back behind those too, among the also-rans. And yours--even if it isn't unique to you, which wouldn't surprise me--is way back behind those also-rans.


It's a significant difference.
Atheists get to have opinions about god. Strong atheists believe that there are no gods. You don't have the authority to revoke our credentials as atheists just because your eccentric personal definition that doesn't happen to include us.

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Re: Define what is a true Atheist

Post #8

Post by Tired of the Nonsense »

OnceConvinced wrote: There are many threads on this website asking about what a true Christian is. One thing we have learnt is that even if we just ask the Christians what a true Christian is, none of them seem to be able to come to an agreement on it. We get wide and varied answers.

So let's ask this question to those who identify themselves as atheists.

What makes a true atheist?

Does it involve the disbelief of anything other than gods?

Does it mean that you must declare there is no god?

Apart from not believing in any gods, are their any philosophies, dogma, doctrines and practices that a true atheist should follow?

Should true atheists believe in evolution?

Does being a true atheist require you to rebel against anything or anyone?

Does being a true atheist require you to hate anything or anyone?

Does being a true atheist mean you should want to commit immoral acts?
I personally do not consider anyone a true atheist who subscribes to any form of supernatural belief. Beyond that, an atheist is not required to "believe" in anything in particular.
Image "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this." -- Albert Einstein -- Written in 1954 to Jewish philosopher Erik Gutkind.

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Re: Define what is a true Atheist

Post #9

Post by wiploc »

OnceConvinced wrote: ... So let's ask this question to those who identify themselves as atheists.

What makes a true atheist?
An atheist is anyone who isn't a theist, anyone who doesn't believe that gods exist.


Does it involve the disbelief of anything other than gods?
No.


Does it mean that you must declare there is no god?
No. There may have been atheist Popes. Atheism is about what you believe, not what you say.


Apart from not believing in any gods, are their any philosophies, dogma, doctrines and practices that a true atheist should follow?
There are things everybody should do, like washing your hands after using the toilet. But these have nothing to do with whether you are an atheist. An atheist is one who does not have the belief that gods exist. No other philosophies, dogmas, doctrines, and practices affect whether you are an atheist.


Should true atheists believe in evolution?
Everybody should, but this has no effect on whether you are an atheist.


Does being a true atheist require you to rebel against anything or anyone?
No.


Does being a true atheist require you to hate anything or anyone?
No.


Does being a true atheist mean you should want to commit immoral acts?
No.

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Re: Define what is a true Atheist

Post #10

Post by KenRU »

OnceConvinced wrote: There are many threads on this website asking about what a true Christian is. One thing we have learnt is that even if we just ask the Christians what a true Christian is, none of them seem to be able to come to an agreement on it. We get wide and varied answers.

So let's ask this question to those who identify themselves as atheists.
In my opinion:
What makes a true atheist?
Having no belief in a god or gods.
Does it involve the disbelief of anything other than gods?
No.
Does it mean that you must declare there is no god?
No.
Apart from not believing in any gods, are their any philosophies, dogma, doctrines and practices that a true atheist should follow?
No.
Should true atheists believe in evolution?
They do not have to, no. Whatever they believe must not involve a god or gods.
Does being a true atheist require you to rebel against anything or anyone?
No.
Does being a true atheist require you to hate anything or anyone?
No.
Does being a true atheist mean you should want to commit immoral acts?
No. But the word immoral does not mean the same thing from person to person.
"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." -Steven Weinberg

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