Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

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Realworldjack
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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.

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Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #21

Post by brunumb »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 10:49 pm Okay, back to the article I supplied,
One of the biggest surface differences between atheism and agnosticism is that atheists tend to be more outspoken. Their outspoken nature is mostly due to the fact that they have more conviction in their set of beliefs.
Notice, it does not say, "the lack of belief", but rather, "their set of beliefs". My question is, would this author be correct to say there would be Atheists who would have "a set of beliefs"? In other words, if there are folks who claim to believe (which is not lack of belief) there is no god, or gods, should we consider these folks to be Atheist? If they are not to be considered Atheist, then what should we consider them to be?
I fail to see why so much weight is given to the opinions of the author of that blog or whatever it is. When one reads a statement like "One of the biggest surface differences between atheism and agnosticism is that atheists tend to be more outspoken", one has to wonder just what evidence the author has compiled to make their case. And what sort of case would be based on how outspoken one group is compared with another? Laughable. Also, just because the author makes a vague claim regarding "their set of beliefs", that does not mean that the statement is actually valid. Atheists obviously have all sorts of beliefs, but with regard to gods, the existence of said beings is not one of them. That's all it takes to be an atheist. Why people get their knickers in such a twist over labels like atheist and agnostic is a real puzzle. Their motivations in doing so would make for an interesting discussion in itself.

By definition, all people who admit to a belief in god(s) are theists. Everyone else by default is an atheist. Simples. Agnostic is really an irrelevant and useless term that only muddies the waters. As pointed out many times, it refers to knowledge rather than belief. As far as I am concerned, no one actually knows if there are gods or not, so everyone is essentially agnostic in that regard.
Christianty: 2000 years of making it up as you go along.

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Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #22

Post by Miles »

brunumb wrote: Fri Jan 07, 2022 1:06 am I fail to see why so much weight is given to the opinions of the author of that blog or whatever it is. When one reads a statement like "One of the biggest surface differences between atheism and agnosticism is that atheists tend to be more outspoken", one has to wonder just what evidence the author has compiled to make their case. And what sort of case would be based on how outspoken one group is compared with another? Laughable. Also, just because the author makes a vague claim regarding "their set of beliefs", that does not mean that the statement is actually valid. Atheists obviously have all sorts of beliefs, but with regard to gods, the existence of said beings is not one of them. That's all it takes to be an atheist. Why people get their knickers in such a twist over labels like atheist and agnostic is a real
When I read it I began to wonder if the author has graduated from high school yet---it's pretty amateurish---or even modestly acquainted with atheism, particularly after reading that "True atheists firmly believe that God does not exist . . . ," and "Atheists are strongly convicted [sic] that the supernatural isn’t real. . . ," and "their basic human morality is just the result of programmed survival instinct."

It is a truly laughable piece of drivel.


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Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #23

Post by Tcg »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 10:49 pm
Notice, it does not say, "the lack of belief", but rather, "their set of beliefs".
Also notice this is but some author making claims about what they think applies to others. Let's see, what's the logical fallacy for assigning a position to others?
My question is, would this author be correct to say there would be Atheists who would have "a set of beliefs"? In other words, if there are folks who claim to believe (which is not lack of belief) there is no god, or gods, should we consider these folks to be Atheist?
Yes. Some atheists may possess belief that god/gods don't exists. That doesn't change the fact that they lack belief in god/gods. All atheists lack belief in god/gods some also possess belief that god/gods don't exist. This doesn't change the definition of atheists no matter how hard some theists wish it would.


Tcg
To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

- American Atheists


Not believing isn't the same as believing not.

- wiploc


I must assume that knowing is better than not knowing, venturing than not venturing; and that magic and illusion, however rich, however alluring, ultimately weaken the human spirit.

- Irvin D. Yalom

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Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #24

Post by Difflugia »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pm
Difflugia wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:35 pmThe main advantage for the atheist would be a shorter list of magical things that they believe in.
Are you insisting the Christian claims involve, "magic"?
Yes.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pmOr, would this simply be a "figure of speech"?
Yes.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pmIn other words, are you suggesting there is something to the Christian claims, and it involves magic?
No.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pmOr, would it be better to say you believe there to be nothing to the claims, other than myth, legend, etc.?
Yes.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pm
Difflugia wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:35 pmI can't in principle say that there are no gods
Why is this? Is it because you do not know (Agnostic)? Or, is it, you cannot demonstrate, (burden of proof)?
I don't know what you consider the distinction between these two. It's like someone claiming that there's a horse in my garage. If I look in my garage and don't see a horse, don't smell a horse, and there's no horse poop on the floor, I conclude that there's no horse. I can't prove that there's no horse, because the horse might be invisible or fast enough to always run somewhere I'm not looking, but I'm confident to any arbitrary standard that there's no horse in my garage. It's always possible that the horse could will itself to be visible or choose to walk in front of me, but I'm not holding my breath.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pm
Difflugia wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:35 pmbut I believe it with the same level of certainty that I believe there are neither leprechauns nor extraterrestrial teapots in solar orbit.
Right! And there are many Christian who would say, "I believe the Christian claims, with the same level of certainty that I believe there are neither leprechauns nor extraterrestrial teapots in solar orbit".
Sure. To extend my horse analogy, if I look in my garage and don't see a horse, I might decide that I really, really, really wish I had a horse, so I do. I hang a saddle on the wall and buy a bale of hay to feed it. When a horse-atheist asks me why my horse never eats any hay, I ask them a bunch of nonsense questions ("Are you suggesting that there's no such thing as horses? A bunch of people that you've never met saw my horse once, so how do you explain that, Mr. Science Man?") and then smugly announce that they actually know that I have a horse and they're just jealous. Besides, they can't actually prove that I don't have a horse.

It's kind of like that.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pmIt means nothing when they say it??????????
That's right.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pmSOOOOOOO????? What?
There's not really a horse.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pm
Difflugia wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:35 pmThere's little reason beyond "you can't prove otherwise" to believe any of those things.
OPINION noted! But not a very good opinion, in my opinion.
You're right. I'm probably just jealous.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pmCan you see the point?
Yes.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pmAll you are doing is to share an opinion. You are not demonstrating anything at all, other than your opinion.
Right. I can't prove that there's no horse.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pmWith this being the case, it would seem you, and I, are in the same boat.
I can't prove there's no invisible boat, either, but I'm swimming for shore. You're welcome to join me.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:47 pmYou have your opinion, while I have my opinion. I am fine with this being the case. What say you?
"Please keep swimming! There's no boat, it's getting dark, and I can see the shore!"
My preferred pronouns are he, him, and his.

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Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #25

Post by 1213 »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 12:42 pm ...
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?
In that case I think you don't have burden of proof. If person says, "I believe", or "I don't believe", there is no burden of proof. If person says "this is true", or "this is not true", then the person has the burden of proof.

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Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #26

Post by TRANSPONDER »

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.
:D Yes indeed. There have been a few debates about that. But the quality of being atheists - not having a god -belief - must (inevitably) apply not only to those who have thought about it and remain unconvinced by the god - claim (Thinking atheists) those who do not believe, do not care and don't know or want to know (tabula rasa atheists (1) people who have never heard of the god -claim or don't understand it which includes remote islanders with no religion and a large cooking pot which is all the reception a missionary can ever expect (and the (Sentinel islanders have a special exhibit in the atheism hall of fame) and of course Babies and this is the nub of the debate and why it matters. Are babies born Theists or atheists? The atheism position is they must be atheist on the basis that they have never heard the God -claim. Theism likes to lay claim to them having an innate God -belief, but the atheism position is to deny that.

That being the heart of that argument it follows that animals also are atheist. Not atheists as that implies the possibility of thinking about it but atheist by not having a god - belief because they cannot. It follows that squirrels, armadilloes and my pillows are all atheist (but not atheists) as are rocks, clocks and your socks. technically.

It may sound silly but it would be sillier to claim that socks are god -believers (it has to be belief or not). Atheists say it is just as silly to claim that Babies have a Theism or even animals do. And yet there is an innate feeling that can be called 'reverence for God', or at least for the Authority. It manifests as respect for parents and elders, Rulers and the breeding pair, charismatic leaders and orange -haired wannabe dictators. It is not knowledge of a god but a social cohesion -instinct that authority and religion exploits very conveniently.

(1) and the ones that are easy meat for the well -hones evangelism -sales package.

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Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #27

Post by TRANSPONDER »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:23 pm [Replying to TRANSPONDER in post #4]

I do not think you are answering my questions? The author of the article I supplied claims there are folks who are convinced, (hold the opinion, believe, make the claim) that god, nor gods, exist. Is he correct? Or, would it be impossible for one to hold to such a position? If the author is correct, the question would be, would these folks who hold such views be considered, Atheist? If we should not consider them to be Atheist, then what should we refer to them as? If we should consider these folks Atheist, then we would have to say there would NOT be a "full stop" when one makes this statement,
An atheist, by definition is someone who lacks belief in a god or gods. Full stop.
Because if we are to consider said folks as Atheist, then there are Atheists, who hold a different position than simply a, "lack of belief" and rather make certain claims.
I'm sure I did answer that, but anyway.

Anyone who does not believe or buy into the god - claim is an atheist. Ah...I think I get you. Yes, the sliding scale of credibility. Dawkins seems to have confused matters with his 'strong/weak atheist' sliding scale. Which is how (hopefully on the basis of fair assessment of the evidence) convinced they are of the credibility of the god -claim or any particular god. There nevertheless has to be a cut -off point (though I'm prepared to credit a central point of doubt either way) between belief and non -belief. Has to be one or the other (1). Not belief (not buying into the claim) means atheist, whatever degree of conviction one has. To specifically get to your point, as I understand it, one can never KNOW that a god exists or does not. But one can be pretty convinced a god does exist or does not. Logically that is not invalid. The logic then applies to whether one has evaluated the evidence fairly and correctly, or has not.

(1) 'don't know' (agnosticism) is the knowledge position on which either belief or non - belief is based, agnosticism is not a belief -position.

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Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #28

Post by TRANSPONDER »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:38 pm
TRANSPONDER wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:16 pm 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.

That's arguable. Mainly because the logical position of atheism being now based on agnossticism (we don't know whether a god exists)
And this is my question? Is Atheism, and Agnosticism, one, and the same now? The way in which I understand it is, the Agnostic claims not to know. Are we now saying this is the position of the Atheist? If not, then what would be the difference between Atheists, as opposed to Agnostic? Next, how should we refer to those who may claim to be convinced there are no gods, and gods do not exist?

To reiterate, and this is a constant and recurring misunderstanding - agnosticism is the Knowledge position. Theism or atheism is the belief position.

"I do not know whether a god exsts, (agnosticism) So I will not believe until I do know." (atheism - logical) or 'I will believe it anyway.' (Theism -illogical).

Of course there is the matter of being convinced by the evidence and I can understand some theists being convinced. The evangelicalarguments are very persuasive. But what is often found that when the evidence is shown to be unsound (Genesis is a myth, Prophecies failed, Nativity is unhistorical, Resurrection is contradictory) they will often revert to denialist Faith. Not always. Rachel Slick (poster child of atheism) simply deconverted after trying to validate the Bible and failing. believer
Of course irreligious theists (who really belong in the humanist camps along with Deists and atheists) can also revert to Faith when arguments such as Constants, Kalam or appeal to unknowns Fail. I can never understand why, since a Deist-god has nothing whatsoever to do with how we should live. I'd guess they Used to believe in a religion, gave that up for Deism, but still have Faith and a dislike of atheism. :)

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Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #29

Post by TRANSPONDER »

Tcg wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 10:20 pm
David the apologist wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:00 pm
Hey, if "lack of belief" is all it takes to be an atheist, why require that atheists be people?
Oh, my. Is this going to lead us to the watermelons or rocks or chairs are atheists too argumentation? Atheists are people who lack belief in god/gods. Hamburgers are neither atheists nor theists by the simple fact that they are not people. Yes, atheists are people.


Tcg
:D It can freak atheists ouite quite a bit, but I don't see why it should.Given that atheism is god - belief or not, technically, anything that cannot believe in a a god is a- theist. It is NOT An atheist. Atheism is the state of not having a god -belief. And atheist is a person who does not have that belief. I think it is a mistake to let ourselves be mocked by those who do not understand the logical structure into allowing the even more absurd 'Babies, boulders, buns and bunnies are all god -believers'. Trust me, they will.
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 10:49 pm
Tcg wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:56 pm
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:32 am In other words, I believe there are folks who are firmly convinced there are no gods.
Sure, there are. And those folks lack belief in god/gods. That is the definition of atheism. Yes, atheism is simply a lack of belief in god/gods. Why do some try to confuse it?


Tcg
Okay, back to the article I supplied,
One of the biggest surface differences between atheism and agnosticism is that atheists tend to be more outspoken. Their outspoken nature is mostly due to the fact that they have more conviction in their set of beliefs.
Notice, it does not say, "the lack of belief", but rather, "their set of beliefs". My question is, would this author be correct to say there would be Atheists who would have "a set of beliefs"? In other words, if there are folks who claim to believe (which is not lack of belief) there is no god, or gods, should we consider these folks to be Atheist? If they are not to be considered Atheist, then what should we consider them to be? If they are to be considered Atheist, then we cannot make a "full stop" on this statement,
An atheist, by definition is someone who lacks belief in a god or gods. Full stop.
That "atheism and agnosticism is that atheists tend to be more outspoken" is clearly misunderstasnding the relation between agnosticism and atheism.

What they (and I frankly think it is anti -atheists here) mean by 'agnostics' is "atheists that are nice and quiet like they used to be in the Good Old Days". 'Atheistss', often finger -pointed as 'new atheists' are those who have used the internet as a voice which we never had in the past. Apart from that we are just the same atheists as the old atheists were and both were the logical conclusion (not believing) of not knowing (agnosticism).

The outspoken -ness is not in fact anything to do with convictions about beliefs (and I'll take the best view of that rather than intended to make atheism faith -based) but it's true that more and more information and debunks have come out. Morality used to be a sure fire apologetic but is now dead in the water. There are more to go but honestly, Atheist apologetics doesn't seem to have grasped them yet. When they do our confidence will be through the roof.

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Re: Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief?

Post #30

Post by TRANSPONDER »

Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 10:49 pm
Tcg wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:56 pm
Realworldjack wrote: Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:32 am In other words, I believe there are folks who are firmly convinced there are no gods.
Sure, there are. And those folks lack belief in god/gods. That is the definition of atheism. Yes, atheism is simply a lack of belief in god/gods. Why do some try to confuse it?


Tcg
Okay, back to the article I supplied,
One of the biggest surface differences between atheism and agnosticism is that atheists tend to be more outspoken. Their outspoken nature is mostly due to the fact that they have more conviction in their set of beliefs.
Notice, it does not say, "the lack of belief", but rather, "their set of beliefs". My question is, would this author be correct to say there would be Atheists who would have "a set of beliefs"? In other words, if there are folks who claim to believe (which is not lack of belief) there is no god, or gods, should we consider these folks to be Atheist? If they are not to be considered Atheist, then what should we consider them to be? If they are to be considered Atheist, then we cannot make a "full stop" on this statement,
An atheist, by definition is someone who lacks belief in a god or gods. Full stop.
Of course they would be (by definition) atheists. But their logical position on the god claim may be untenable. They may be claiming to be more certain than the evidence (lack of or negative evidence) warrants. It really only matters if one gets into a debate, as the logical position has to be sound. For the atheist, anyway.

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