Atheism vs Fundamentalism

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Atheism vs Fundamentalism

Post #1

Post by Haven »

It’s unfortunate that a lot of the discussions here turn into a debate over two perspectives at the extreme end of the belief continuum — one being atheist, the other fundamentalist Christian believer. In discussions like that, opinions that fall somewhere in the middle tend to get drowned out a bit.

Discussion question: what do you think about this? Is there a way to make “the middle” more relevant here?
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Re: Atheism vs Fundamentalism

Post #2

Post by Miles »

.


Fundamentalist belief: god exists
Atheist belief: god does not exits

Q. what would the middle position be?



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Re: Atheism vs Fundamentalism

Post #3

Post by Difflugia »

Haven wrote: Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:26 amDiscussion question: what do you think about this? Is there a way to make “the middle” more relevant here?
I think you're right, but as long as the topics are debates, I suspect that's what you'll get. Posting more questions in General Chat than in the debate subforums might change that a bit, but it's also possible that the site just attracts or keeps those with more polarized views rather than less.

In the same vein, I'd like to see a few more secular discussions about the Bible and history of Christianity, but those conversations tend to devolve into inerrancy apologetics within a few posts, seemingly no matter how the question is worded. I suspect that variations on "what's the theology of your agnosticism" conversation would end up about the same way.
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Re: Atheism vs Fundamentalism

Post #4

Post by Haven »

Miles wrote: Wed Feb 10, 2021 3:33 pm Fundamentalist belief: god exists
Atheist belief: god does not exits

Q. what would the middle position be?
There are a lot of middle positions.

-"God exists, but not everything the Bible / the Church says about him (or her, it) is literally true"
-"God is present, but does not 'exist' in the same way as ordinary objects"
-"I don't know whether or not god exists, and I haven't decided my belief status"
-"God exists or doesn't, either way, it is irrelevant"

Millions of people hold these positions, but unfortunately there aren't many around here.
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Re: Atheism vs Fundamentalism

Post #5

Post by Haven »

Difflugia wrote: Wed Feb 10, 2021 4:56 pm
In the same vein, I'd like to see a few more secular discussions about the Bible and history of Christianity, but those conversations tend to devolve into inerrancy apologetics within a few posts, seemingly no matter how the question is worded. I suspect that variations on "what's the theology of your agnosticism" conversation would end up about the same way.
Sad but true. I'm deeply interested in Biblical history and textual criticism, and would love a good discussion of it. Unfortunately, it would go back to the inerrancy discussion (which seems absurd to me, as Biblical inerrancy is demonstrably false).
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Re: Atheism vs Fundamentalism

Post #6

Post by Miles »

Haven wrote: Wed Feb 10, 2021 5:42 pm
Miles wrote: Wed Feb 10, 2021 3:33 pm Fundamentalist belief: god exists
Atheist belief: god does not exits

Q. what would the middle position be?
There are a lot of middle positions.

-"God exists, but not everything the Bible / the Church says about him (or her, it) is literally true"
-"God is present, but does not 'exist' in the same way as ordinary objects"
-"I don't know whether or not god exists, and I haven't decided my belief status"
-"God exists or doesn't, either way, it is irrelevant"

Millions of people hold these positions, but unfortunately there aren't many around here.
To be clear here, the overwhelming position among atheists is not that god does not exist, a statement that presupposes knowledge, but that atheists do not believe he exists.

So the middle position you speak of has nothing to do with statements of certitude such as: "god exists, but. . . . ," "god is present, but. . . .," "I don't know,. . . . " and "god exists . . .," but a position dealing with belief:

theist noun

the·​ist | \ ˈthē-ist
\
plural theist
Definition of theist
: a believer in theism : a person who believes in the existence of a god or gods
________________________________________
atheist noun

athe·​ist | \ ˈā-thē-ist
\
Definition of atheist
: a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods : one who subscribes to or advocates atheism



So, I await a reasonable middle position between "I believe god exists" and "I don't believe god exists.



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Re: Atheism vs Fundamentalism

Post #7

Post by Haven »

[Replying to Miles in post #6]

I see your point. I just don't think that someone who is a theist, or believes in some higher reality, has to approach their beliefs as a fundamentalist. Religious liberalism has been a thing for a long time.
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Re: Atheism vs Fundamentalism

Post #8

Post by Haven »

[Replying to Miles in post #6]

I guess another thing is, as someone who took a long absence (five years) from this forum, I’ve just really noticed how it’s changed. Most of the moderate theist voices that used to be active here are no longer with us, so the only theists still around are the fundamentalists. There also used to be a few “spiritual” / heavily philosophical nontheists around, and now there don’t seem to be (aside from myself). So the debaters left seem to me to be more extreme, because a lot of the nuanced voices just ... aren’t here anymore.

Ah well. Change is the only constant I guess?

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Re: Atheism vs Fundamentalism

Post #9

Post by TRANSPONDER »

There are 'middle positions'. They can vary quite a lot, from 'a lot of what's in the Bible is not true (talking donkeys or mobile stars, for example) but generally what it tells is true such as (for instance) Jesus existed but was not divine, did not resurrect but was a wise teacher.

To be a Christian, one does not have to be a fundamentalist (which correctly means 'taking what the Bible says as true, pretty much).

That said, there are true and false positions. There is either a god or there isn't. Jesus either resurrected or he didn't. One is either true or it is not and there is no true or valid middle position on such matters. Compromise may save a debate but it is just twice as wrong. I put it this way. The sun either rises (appears to) in the east or west. A middle position (it rises somewhere in between) helps nobody.

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Re: Atheism vs Fundamentalism

Post #10

Post by TRANSPONDER »

[Replying to Haven in post #4]

Yes. Those are 'middle positions' in the sense of not having come to a firm conclusion about one or other of these claims. But about the claims, they are either true or not.

But there are 'middle positions' there, as well. Such as with the resurrection. Jesus either rose from the dead or he didn't. One middle position could be that the story is more or less true, but Jesus did not actually die and just woke up. That isn't a middle position that would satisfy the believers, though.

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