Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Argue for and against Christianity

Moderator: Moderators

Realworldjack
Guru
Posts: 2250
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:52 pm
Location: real world
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 41 times

Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #1

Post by Realworldjack »

From another thread,
An atheist, by definition is someone who lacks belief in a god or gods. Full stop.
So, I'm sort of confused, and was wondering if I may get some help here? Can anyone explain the above quote to me? From the same thread we read,
Lack of belief is quite clearly not a belief.
Is the above quote suggesting, Atheists simply lack belief in god, but do not insist there would be no god?

I am honestly asking these questions in order to get a better understanding, because I do not believe all Atheists would identify with the above. In other words, I believe there are folks who are firmly convinced there are no gods. If the folks who are firmly convinced there are no gods are not Atheists, then what would they be referred to as? If these folks who are firmly convinced there are no gods are to be considered Atheists, then we do not have a "full stop" as stated above.

For further consideration, and discussion, I would like to post a quote from the web, along with supplying the full article this quote derived from.
Atheists are not agnostic. The most important factor that differentiates an atheist from an agnostic is that atheists have firm disbelief in God, while agnostics are merely doubting.
https://www.cyberateos.org/are-atheists ... 20at%20all.

User avatar
1213
Savant
Posts: 9059
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:06 am
Location: Finland
Has thanked: 127 times
Been thanked: 157 times
Contact:

Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #2

Post by 1213 »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:32 am From another thread,
An atheist, by definition is someone who lacks belief in a god or gods. Full stop.
So, I'm sort of confused, and was wondering if I may get some help here? Can anyone explain the above quote to me? From the same thread we read,
...
It is funny how it has changed. And I can understand it. Previously atheist was a person that denies God 's existence. But, because it is a difficult position, it has been rejected and now they just like to say it means they lack belief. If they say "God does not exist", it would mean they would have to prove that, and obviously it is quite difficult, which is why all relatively intelligent atheist don't like to use the old definition. :)

Realworldjack
Guru
Posts: 2250
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:52 pm
Location: real world
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 41 times

Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #3

Post by Realworldjack »

1213 wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 12:09 pm
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:32 am From another thread,
An atheist, by definition is someone who lacks belief in a god or gods. Full stop.
So, I'm sort of confused, and was wondering if I may get some help here? Can anyone explain the above quote to me? From the same thread we read,
...
It is funny how it has changed. And I can understand it. Previously atheist was a person that denies God 's existence. But, because it is a difficult position, it has been rejected and now they just like to say it means they lack belief. If they say "God does not exist", it would mean they would have to prove that, and obviously it is quite difficult, which is why all relatively intelligent atheist don't like to use the old definition. :)

Previously atheist was a person that denies God 's existence. But, because it is a difficult position, it has been rejected and now they just like to say it means they lack belief.
The problem I have here is though, according to the article I supplied, there are folks who firmly believe there is no god. The question then would be, would these folks who claim to believe there to be no gods be considered, Atheists? If not, then what would they be considered to be? If they are considered Atheists, then we do not have a "full stop" when it is said,
An atheist, by definition is someone who lacks belief in a god or gods. Full stop.
Next,
If they say "God does not exist", it would mean they would have to prove that
Correct! In other words, they would own the "burden of proof". Therefore, in order to avoid the "burden", one makes no certain claims. However, I am attempting to understand how one who takes such a stance would be under the impression, they would have any sort of advantage over the Christian who makes no certain claims they cannot demonstrate to be fact? In other words, if I as a Christian, simply explain what it is I believe, along with the facts, and evidence in support of what I believe to be true, what burden do I own?

TRANSPONDER
Guru
Posts: 1985
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:05 am
Has thanked: 263 times
Been thanked: 943 times

Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #4

Post by TRANSPONDER »

Yes. Atheism is simply a lack of belief. Specifically in the god -claim. An atheist can have belief in ghosts and even an afterlife, but if they don't believe in any god -claim, they are atheist.

However in practical terms, Thinking atheists tend to be rationalists, humanists, skeptics, logically critical, tend towards the Liberal and are flexible in matters of sexual morality, but none of these thing are Rules that you get in a 10 point list with with the atheist party -card and demand for donations.

Aside 'what is a god?' (it's up to the god -claimant to define it. If they want to call the Eiffel tower 'God' and argue that proves God exists, we'll refer them to dictionaries of accepted usage (1) the argument has two trouser -legs:
'A cosmic creator' (not necessarily identical with one of any particular religion), or a Deity as described in a particular religion, probably with a Holy Book. The point being that an atheist can say that they are not convinced by the cosmic creator arguments but they positively disbelieve that Biblegod could be possible - at least as described. Thus when atheists say 'There is no God' they are usually referring to the god of the Bible (given that nothing is 100% sure) but they admit more of a possibility of a cosmic creator. (in my case about 2-3% more credible).

It gets a lot more complicated than that, friend :roll: trust me, but keep those basics in mind and you won't go far wrong.

(1) if they want to play the Humpty dictum and invent their own language, it's nobody's fault but theirs if nobody understand them.

TRANSPONDER
Guru
Posts: 1985
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:05 am
Has thanked: 263 times
Been thanked: 943 times

Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #5

Post by TRANSPONDER »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 12:42 pm
1213 wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 12:09 pm
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:32 am From another thread,
An atheist, by definition is someone who lacks belief in a god or gods. Full stop.
So, I'm sort of confused, and was wondering if I may get some help here? Can anyone explain the above quote to me? From the same thread we read,
...
It is funny how it has changed. And I can understand it. Previously atheist was a person that denies God 's existence. But, because it is a difficult position, it has been rejected and now they just like to say it means they lack belief. If they say "God does not exist", it would mean they would have to prove that, and obviously it is quite difficult, which is why all relatively intelligent atheist don't like to use the old definition. :)

Previously atheist was a person that denies God 's existence. But, because it is a difficult position, it has been rejected and now they just like to say it means they lack belief.
The problem I have here is though, according to the article I supplied, there are folks who firmly believe there is no god. The question then would be, would these folks who claim to believe there to be no gods be considered, Atheists? If not, then what would they be considered to be? If they are considered Atheists, then we do not have a "full stop" when it is said,
An atheist, by definition is someone who lacks belief in a god or gods. Full stop.
Next,
If they say "God does not exist", it would mean they would have to prove that
Correct! In other words, they would own the "burden of proof". Therefore, in order to avoid the "burden", one makes no certain claims. However, I am attempting to understand how one who takes such a stance would be under the impression, they would have any sort of advantage over the Christian who makes no certain claims they cannot demonstrate to be fact? In other words, if I as a Christian, simply explain what it is I believe, along with the facts, and evidence in support of what I believe to be true, what burden do I own?
He's right of course, that is assuming that atheists did reject God in that way. That's arguable. Mainly because the logical position of atheism being now based on agnossticism (we don't know whether a god exists) the logical mandate on the Belief position is 'So I will not believe in one until we do know'.

That means that to believe in such a god without knowing is not logical and is some kind of Faith -claim.

It's quite simple and logical which is why I suspect this was always the logical position of atheism no matter what atheists said or what Theists say that we said.

Because the above means thjat you can't blame atheists for adopting the logical position, not because it's convenient but because it's logical. Atheists are not making the claim; theists are. So the burden of proof is on them. If they don't like the logic they can admit "Well, I don't know that a god exists". And that's not a bad start for an examination of the evidence for (or against). Or they can simply dismiss logic as a human invention. Some do.

User avatar
David the apologist
Scholar
Posts: 351
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:33 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 9 times

Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #6

Post by David the apologist »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:32 am From another thread,
An atheist, by definition is someone who lacks belief in a god or gods. Full stop.
Apparently, my left sock is an atheist.

You learn something new every day.
"The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed to say it, because it is most shameful.
And the Son of God died; I believe it, because it is beyond belief.
And He was buried, and rose again; it is certain, because it is impossible."
-Tertullian

User avatar
Difflugia
Guru
Posts: 2287
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:25 am
Location: Michigan
Has thanked: 1832 times
Been thanked: 1356 times

Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #7

Post by Difflugia »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 12:42 pmHowever, I am attempting to understand how one who takes such a stance would be under the impression, they would have any sort of advantage over the Christian who makes no certain claims they cannot demonstrate to be fact?
The main advantage for the atheist would be a shorter list of magical things that they believe in. Whether that helps in an argument or not, I'm not sure, but it certainly can't hurt.

I can't in principle say that there are no gods, but I believe it with the same level of certainty that I believe there are neither leprechauns nor extraterrestrial teapots in solar orbit. There's little reason beyond "you can't prove otherwise" to believe any of those things. In fact, there's objectively more evidence for either of the latter propositions than for a god's existence in that sincere people claim to have seen leprechauns and we actually know that teapots exist.

Whether it helps in an argument or not is perhaps an open question, but if one can eliminate possibilities that are mere "you can't prove its," then in a practical sense, solving problems becomes much easier. A mechanic that doesn't waste time ruling out gremlins, evil wizards, and Jesus for every single car problem, for example, will be much more efficient at their job.
My preferred pronouns are he, him, and his.

User avatar
Difflugia
Guru
Posts: 2287
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:25 am
Location: Michigan
Has thanked: 1832 times
Been thanked: 1356 times

Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #8

Post by Difflugia »

David the apologist wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:40 pmApparently, my left sock is an atheist.
That's funny, mine's Jesus. Prove that it isn't!
My preferred pronouns are he, him, and his.

User avatar
brunumb
Prodigy
Posts: 3926
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:20 am
Location: Melbourne
Has thanked: 2991 times
Been thanked: 1623 times

Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #9

Post by brunumb »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:32 am I am honestly asking these questions in order to get a better understanding, because I do not believe all Atheists would identify with the above.
Specifically who are you referring to when you say "all atheists"?
Christianty: 2000 years of making it up as you go along.

User avatar
brunumb
Prodigy
Posts: 3926
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:20 am
Location: Melbourne
Has thanked: 2991 times
Been thanked: 1623 times

Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #10

Post by brunumb »

David the apologist wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:40 pm
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:32 am From another thread,
An atheist, by definition is someone who lacks belief in a god or gods. Full stop.
Apparently, my left sock is an atheist.

You learn something new every day.
I'm assuming that you regard your left sock as 'someone'. Do you have a personal relationship with your left sock? Just wondering.
Christianty: 2000 years of making it up as you go along.

Post Reply