Talk:Atheism/archive1

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Syntax Query

I'm not sure one can have a "disbelief". One can have a belief that the supernatural or God does not exist but this per se is a belief rather than an absence of a belief (or "disbelief"). I'd change it but, of course it's locked. --Crackertalk 01:47, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

There are active and passive senses in which the term "atheism" can be used, but because of the nature of the term the active sense is by far the most common. There is the active denial of the existence of God, and there is the passive lack of belief in the existence of God. These senses are logically equivalent because they both equate to "God exists = False", but they are pragmatically distinct, because denying the existence of X, and X being amongst the things you have never considered the existence of, are different psychological states. The argument for them being different psychological states is that if "X being amongst the things you have never considered the existence of" were psychologically equivalent to the denial of the existence of X, then we would have to hold an infinite number of beliefs in the non-existence of all logically possible Xs, but since the human mind is finite, this cannot be the case. Orgone 20:57, 22 April 2007 (EDT)

Another great page

A superb bit there were evolution is confused with atheism. Another great bit about "most reviewers" with NO supporting facts whatsoever

Removed Hostile joke edits, added citations

What in the world is going on here? Who put the part about Christians "cherry-picking" the Bible in there? And how about that nonsense about Christians "killing those who try to convert you, stoning homosexuals" etc.? I don't believe the Bible says anything about beheading people of other religions. I think we've confused it with Islam. Scorpionman 23:10, 6 March 2007 (EST)

Now that's a post free of bias. --Prometheus 01:45, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
Now that's racist. Just because this is a conservative view, you don't have to diss Islam. - Poke-Dude

democracy

I maintain that no democracy has ever elected a atheist to highest office. If you have examples then please share.

Former Australian PM Bob Hawke; former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski. I'm sure there are others, but one counter-example is sufficient, after all.
And even if it were true that all elected leaders were theists, that wouldn't imply that God is guiding the electorate; could simply be that the electorate don't like atheists and agnostics much. Tsumetai 18:49, 7 March 2007 (EST)
Everything happens because of God's divine will. So if atheists never get elected, I'd say it's pretty clear what God wants. --Ashens 19:41, 7 March 2007
Everything? Literally? Tsumetai 11:39, 8 March 2007 (EST)
Hmm… if everything is divinly condoned, and, indeed, ordained, no one can be held responsible for anything they do, can they? Free will, slayed in one fell swoop. --Prometheus 01:48, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
Bob Hawke was an agnostic not atheist, likewise Kwaśniewski. Agnostics acknowledge the possibility of God. Thefore my original contention stands.
Your original contention was that "no democracy has ever elected a leader who did not believe in God or a higher power," which is still false. Tsumetai 11:39, 8 March 2007 (EST)
Let me quote Kwasniewski: "I am an atheist and everybody knows it" - the atheist/agnostic thing is under debate because he is sometimes quoted to be one or the other. So categorizing him as an agnostic may be convenient for you, but it's not the full picture. However, in general, I find it ridiculous to force a connection between Atheism and politics like that. Atheism is not about politics (as the Kwasniewski article shows - he "denounced the 'Godless' tone of the European constitution", despite referring to himself as an atheist), so connecting the two is quite random. I'll remove the section based on the Kwasniewski bit. If the man says in an interview that he's an atheist, that's good enough for me. --Sid 3050 11:13, 8 March 2007 (EST)
according to wikipedia he describes himself as an agnostic in Polish. As i do not speak Polish I cannot follow the references, however, I would assume that he speaks Polish better than english so statements referring to himself as atheist are either mistakes or mistranslations.
I would think that a speech of that importance would be fact-checked and proofread to avoid such mistakes or mistranslations. Especially since this apparently happened more than once. I don't know what's up with him, either; but things seem to be too complex to allow a simple categorization for him. --Sid 3050 11:37, 8 March 2007 (EST)
Its not unknown for newspapers to report inaccurate stories :)--AustinM 12:08, 8 March 2007 (EST)
  • Allow me to assist. I'm studying Polish, so I followed the link to the citation given by Wikipedia. Here's my translation of what Kwasniewski originally said: "I, an agnostic [agnostyk], am one of the most active and convinced believers [zwolennik, which could also be translated as "advocate," "proponent," etc.] in an irrefutable fact: the presence of Christian traditions in the foundations of the European edifice." [1]

So, I guess Kwasniewski styles himself an agnostic rather than an atheist, though I feel like the distinction is quite academic in this debate. Moreover, I'd note that one doesn't have to believe in Christianity to accept as a fact that there are Christian traditions in much of European society and culture. An agnostic, an atheist and a fervent Christian can equally appreciate the beauty in Michaelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, though I don't doubt that the Christian might experience some sort of religious feeling in that space that the agnostic and the atheist wouldn't feel. --SmithHall 01:59, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

Ashens, Adolf Hitler got elected. Draw your own conclusions where I'm going with this argument. Invoking the Will of God is hardly an excuse for apathy. --Gulik 04:10, 11 March 2007 (EDT)
Adolf Hilter was not an atheist. He was actually proud to have eradicated atheism. He apparently believed in an interventionist god and divine providence. Hardly atheist positions. However, he also had problems with independent organized religion. It was a problem he intended to tackle after the final victory. Order 21:57 (AEST)
Also, Hitler was not elected - he was appointed by President Hindeburg and could only achive a majority in the Reichstag by expelling the Communists. Bolingbroke 23:24, 11 March 2007 (EDT)
Prime Ministers Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Yitzchak Rabin of Israel were openly (ethnically Jewish) atheists- others were likely as well. Golda Meir was once famously asked whether she believed in God, and answered "I believe in the Jewish people, and the Jewish people believe in God". Also presidents Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus and Nursultan Nezerbaev of Kazakhstan are well known to be atheist, as was independent India's first prime minister Jawaharlal NehruHappyentropy 05:02, 31 March 2007 (EDT)

Time for change

This is one of the worst Conservapedia articles that I have read. I am preparing an article to replace it totally. I will do so unless someone has a legitimate objection. --Horace 19:47, 7 March 2007 (EST)

Actually, to say that it one of the worst is probably to overstate matters. Still intend to replace it though. --Horace 20:29, 7 March 2007 (EST)

Well, I posted my version, only to have it immediately reverted by BenjaminS. --Horace 22:08, 7 March 2007 (EST)

Why is it worth noting?

Why is it "... also worth noting that two of the biggest mass murderers in history, Pol Pot and Stalin, were atheists."? This passage seems to be an attack on atheism by association them with mass murders. It seems out of place an a tossed on note that detracts from what is being said otherwise. While these are indeed despicable people and acts, to single out two recent historical events while other atrocities continue to be preformed today by members of all faiths is disappointedly one sided. --Mtur 22:38, 7 March 2007 (EST)

  • A couple of things worth noting. First, Stalin was a former seminarian, who studied to be an Orthodox priest in Georgia until he was kicked out for radical activities. This doesn't necessarily signify any particular religious belief on Stalin's part, especially since seminaries in Georgia were essentially the place to go for radical-minded young Georgians of the late nineteenth century to meet like-minded individuals.

Second, after meeting with Stalin (I believe at the Moscow Conference in 1943), Churchill later said something to the effect that he thought Stalin believed in God in his own way (or that Stalin had said as much to Churchill). And it's been well documented how Stalin encouraged the revival of the Russian Orthodox Church in the newly liberated western borderlands of the Soviet Union during the war, though this seems motivated largely by an interest in using the church to secure the loyalties of the new Soviet subjects to the regime. --SmithHall 02:06, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

Yes, I hear they were both foreigners too. --Horace 22:39, 7 March 2007 (EST)

Even with the edit that you have made, it seems to be making a falacy by association. Short of going to the Christianity (or any other article about a religion) and saying that Robespierre was a Christian, Liberal, and a Lawyer. The point I was trying to make is that listing the infamous members of a group especialy in the context of the paragraph that it is in makes no sense. The paragraph is "Atheism is closely tied with Secular Humanism. Popularly-known Atheists and Secular Humanists include Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Stephen Jay Gould, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Other famous atheists include Pol Pot and Stalin." -- Pol Pot and Stalin are not Secular Humanists. It would be more reasonable to make a section that just lists all of the despicable members of a group rather than trying to tack them on to a group of people who deplore their actions.
One more point to make, while Albert Einstein was not an atheist. One of his well known quotes on God is "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings." This was a reply to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein who asked Einstein "Do you believe in God?". Baruch Spinoza wrote one of the more interesting (at least to me) arguments of the existence of God. I doubt that you could ascribe weak or strong atheism to either. --Mtur 23:02, 7 March 2007 (EST)
I didn't make that edit. I agree with you. --Horace 23:06, 7 March 2007 (EST)


Hitler too seems to have joined the list, I have a cite [2]

[[User:Cracker|Cracker 23:46, 11 March 2007 (EDT)

"This "argument" does not take into account the fact that God is beyond our understanding and has a good reason for allowing evil that we simply can't understand." Just a few questions about this assertion. First of all, who is this "we" refering to and is it possible to have a reference for the "God is beyond our understanding" portion of the sentence?

The origins of atheism

"...as a result of the incomplete historic record."

This is a truly bizarre bit of reasoning. No new-born child can have any concept of a deity. It is only when religious doctrines are instilled by others that some form of theism may, or may not, take over. A different geographical location: a different doctrine.

Everyone is an atheist at birth; it is sheer nonsense to speak of "the origins of atheism" or of its "historical record."

CAS


Agreed, so I shifted it to "christian views of origin" as thats clearly what it was --Mj 13:07, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

This is still redundant, atheism is clearly older than Christianity. Atheism, a lack of belief in God, clearly originated when the first being capable of thought came into existence.--Favor 17:48, 13 May 2007 (EDT)

Links

Why are there so many links about the decline of atheism? A new survey in the U.S. shows that the number of 18-25 year olds who are atheist, agnostic or nonreligious has actually increased from 11 percent in 1986 to 20 percent today: Religious Decline in U.S. Follows Europe

Here is another helpful page that could be included in the links section: 10 myths -- and 10 truths -- about atheism

I've chopped them all out for now. If someone wants to pick out a few of the best to include, go right ahead. But 32 links for an article of this size is just ridiculous. Tsumetai 10:02, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

Problem of Evil

Seriously, folks, the Problem of Evil is an actual theological problem. Thomas Aquinas and other theologians have spent a lot of time working on it. There's really no point in pretending otherwise.

Written from Atheist POV

This article appears to be written from an atheist's POV. Crocoitetalk 20:15, 28 March 2007 (EDT)

I haven't read the entire thing yet, but I noticed several errors in the introduction alone (such as the inclusion of a Christian missionary in the "list of famous atheists"). The article definitely deserveas a look. MountainDew 20:16, 28 March 2007 (EDT)

Question: since when do the Boy Scouts stop scouts from getting to Eagle because they're atheists? Should I give back my badge & ring? That'd be sad. Is there a cite on that?-AmesGyo! 20:18, 28 March 2007 (EDT)
[3] --Mtur 20:21, 28 March 2007 (EDT)
Balls. Oops. Tough, "eagle scout" is still staying on my C.V., if not my abbreviated resume.-AmesGyo! 20:22, 28 March 2007 (EDT)
Technically, the key there is "reverent". To that extent, I will point you to a quote from Carl Sagan "It is very hard to look at the beauty, intricacy, and subtlety of nature without feeling awe. I don't think even the word reverence is too strong."[4]. This matches closely with Spinoza's concept of God[5] in that the universe itself is God and He is manifested in the natural laws. It is not a close personal God who cares about each individual but a vast and natural one. You might also find The Religion War by Scott Adams an interesting read - it is sort of a Socratic dialog with a bit of a plot (it is meant to make someone think and ask questions rather than entertain). One of the questions that is asked in it "is it possible to have a definition of god that both belivers and atheists accept and believe exists?" --Mtur 15:02, 29 March 2007 (EDT)
I knew a guy in high school who was both gay and an atheist, and he waited until after he received his Eagle to let these be known. Two days after he got Eagle, he was kicked out of the Boy Scouts. MountainDew 15:03, 29 March 2007 (EDT)
I'm an atheist, and I think this article has atheist bias. The section about Christian violence is unnecessary. However, I've checked the article's history, and it seems to be a vast improvement over what it was. I don't think it's necessary to explain atheist complaints with Christianity. By it's nature, atheism rejects ALL religion, so picking on Christianity is unfair. It's equally unnecessary to criticize atheism from a Christian standpoint. This article should once again be rewritten, this time with a definite purpose in mind: explain what atheism is, what its origins are, and be concise, accurate, and exhaustive. It is not our task to defend or attack it.
Mechrobioticon 15:02, 1 April 2007 (EDT)
I think we'd better make sure that it comes out clear from the article that it is not okay to be atheist. We don't want to corrupt the youth. --USAisDoubleplusgood 20:06, 18 April 2007 (EDT)
Well someone here is tolerant. It's people like you that make atheists hate christians more than other religions.--Favor 17:55, 13 May 2007 (EDT)
Although... I just saw your userpage. Why did you post this? Parody?--Favor 17:55, 13 May 2007 (EDT)

Lets not redefine the meaning of atheism. Let us use Philosophy reference works

Atheism defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (one of the foremost philosophy reference works) is the denial of the existence of God. [6][7] Recently a number of atheists have attempted to redefine the meaning of atheism as a lack of belief in the existence of God because they wish to shift the burden of proof in regards to the question of the existence of God. [8] Conservative 07:43, 21 April 2007 (EDT)conservative

denial of the existence of God would seem to imply that God exists. How about describing relgion as denial of the non-existence of God? Some people simply don't believe there is a God. Some people simply don't believe the world was created by a large chicken called George, they are in denial of the existence of George. Your citation is sourced and as such should certainly be included.
The citation for Recently a number of atheists have attempted to redefine the meaning of atheism as a lack of belief in the existence of God because they wish to shift the burden of proof in regards to the question of the existence of God. didn't work. What's this shift the burden of proof nonsense? Person A claims X exists/is true. Person B disagrees. Surely Person A is under obligation to provide proof? I believe in a large chicken called George. Are you now obliged to prove to me that George doesn't exist?
Some of the atheists who have attempted to redefine the meaning of atheism seem to have succeeded here, here, here and here
This article needs sorted. I'll not bother because what ever sensible edits I do they'll get reverted or trashed.
WhatIsG0ing0n 12:54, 21 April 2007 (EDT)
I came, I tried and as expected Conservative immediately reverted, no questions, no discussion. Better version here.
WhatIsG0ing0n 06:28, 23 April 2007 (EDT)

Firstly: "denial of the existence of God would seem to imply that God exists." Certainly not, in fact clearly the opposite. Secondly, "How about describing religion as denial of the non-existence of God?" No one describes religion that way because it's a silly double-negative. Nevertheless, there is a real, if subtle, distinction between:

  • The doctrine or belief that there is no God,

and

  • A lack of belief in the existence of God.

And i don't agree with Conservative's viewpoint that it is a recent distinction, there is simply a real difference between passively not believing in the existence of something (as WhatIsG0ing0n points out, in that sense we all don't believe in an infinite number of logically possible things), and actively believing in the non-existence of something. If i'm right, i think that many Christian Theologians would draw a distinction between someone who had heard the teachings of the Bible and chosen not to believe or follow them, and someone who hadn't been able to make that choice, a baby or member of an isolated community, for example. (Although here is not the place to get in to that aspect of Theology, suffice to demonstrate that the distinction is valid, and it has history).
To clarify, the distinction is not a logical one, its pragmatic, and it does not help an atheist shift any burdens of proof. The question of where the burden of proof lays, either on the atheist to disprove God, or the theist to prove God, is independent of the distinction between the active and passive senses of the term "atheism", because they are both logically equivalent, and so if you can even call yourself an atheist, you are automatically atheist in the active sense anyway! Orgone 21:49, 22 April 2007 (EDT)

"The question of where the burden of proof lays, either on the atheist to disprove God..." For arguments sake I'll pretend to be an atheist: How does one disprove something that doesn't exist?
What method, or perhaps methodology, would you recommend?
Auld Nick 13:04, 19 May 2007 (EDT)

George Bush Jr.'s view of atheists

Did Bush I really say that thing about ("atheists shouldn't be considered citizens")?

How come a President who gets a blow job from his secretary "had to be removed from office", but a President who openly discriminates against 12% of his own citizens was left alone?

Middle Man

He did indeed, according to this site at least. Orgone 18:45, 23 April 2007 (EDT)

It was Bush Sr. And he didn't discriminate, he equated them with being inhuman. --Hojimachongtalk 17:56, 13 May 2007 (EDT)
How is that not discrimination? Hitler equated Jews as being inhuman, and slave holders equated african americans to being inhuman or subhuman. Both of those would be considered forms of descrimination. - comatoseraccoon

Boy Scouts of America

I removed the following lines from the article:

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are one contemporary group known to discriminate against atheists. The BSA has been sued several times by Scouts who had been denied the rank of Eagle solely because they were atheists.

The boy scouts are a private organization. That they have been sued is not relevant to this article on atheism. I think the threshold for inclusion of these sentences on this encyclopedia would be very high. HeartOfGold 23:28, 10 May 2007 (EDT)

Sorry, not following your argument there. In a section relating to discrimination against atheists why wouldn't one include those sentences? What is the relevance of your comment that the Boy Scouts are a private organization? Why isn't the fact that they have been sued relevant? Remember, this is Conservapedia. We don't censor here. --Horace 04:25, 15 May 2007 (EDT)
That's okay, I'll try to help you follow it. This is an article on atheism, not the BSA, not discrimmination against atheists. Including the BSA in this article appears to be misplaced. Perhaps it would be better suited on an article on bias against atheists, or the boyscouts, or elsewhere on the internet. In this article, whether or not intended, it does appear to be sophistry, a snide jab at the BSA, and the relevance is questionable. HeartOfGold 01:20, 16 May 2007 (EDT)
So your point is that in a section headed "Public Disapproval of Atheists in America" it is irrelevant to refer to the Boy Scouts discriminating against atheists? --Horace 03:18, 16 May 2007 (EDT)
Discrimination is legal in private organizations, as far as I know. The attempted juxtoposition appears liberal. Are you trying to make some sort of point? HeartOfGold 14:32, 16 May 2007 (EDT)
While true, an important point you overlook is that BSA is not strictly a private organization. They accept government funding from the Combined Federal Campaign, and have free use rights to public property and facilities (or when not free, severely discounted, such as renting Ft Camp Hill for the Jamboree for $1.00 total) and the sitting president of the US is considered the nominal head of the organization. Public money and resources is being used to support this organization, which is well and good generally, but not if they're going to discriminate on religious grounds. There are rules about public funds supporting social prejudice.
That said, the Boy Scout line as written seems a bit out of place in the context of the article. In a section/article detailing notable incidents of contemporary atheist discrimination it might fit, but by itself not so much.
--Rex Mundane 15:32, 16 May 2007 (EDT)
You raise valid points, but I know the menonites rent public facilities in a nearby town, and they probably discriminate more severely than the BSA. E.g., the BSA, from what I have read, really do not care what you define as your "higher power." Ultimately, we need to remember that this is a conservative encyclopedia, and not a liberial soap box. If the BSA discrimination is noteworthy (as measured by news articles and/or commentators) it might warrant its own article. Mind you, these are my opinions, being submitted for others' considerations. HeartOfGold 15:51, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

[Moved from another page by HeartofGold] you make it seem like I hate the boy scouts when I'm actually a member of the boy scouts of america and do not dislike them in any way. I was merely pointing out a controversy(one of the few related to the boyscouts) that would give a more prominent example of prejudice against atheists seeing as how there have not been any religious wars or genocides against them at this point in time. - comatoseraccoon 00:06, 16 May 2007

As I noted on your talk page, I moved your contribution to the Talk page for discussion, but as of this writing, you have not participated there, or on my talk page. The article was on athiesm, not the boyscouts. Also, I did compliment you on another edit on your talk page. You are also welcome to seek opinions of others with regard to the relevance of your contribution, or discuss it on the Atheism talk page. I was a member of the cub scouts once. I apologize if my remarks on your talk page or the atheism talk page implied that you hated the boy scouts. Whether or not intended, the juxtoposition of the BoyScout discrimination allegations on this article seems more like a mockery of Conservapedia than informative. HeartOfGold 14:32, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

What is the relevance of the fact that the discrimination might be legal? --Horace 18:41, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

POV removed

Lower divorce rates are not indicative of high ethical standards on their own. Who is to say that divorce rates aren't lower because Christian marriages end when one spouse is caught cheating but this behavior is tolerated in atheist marriages? While I personally applaud lower divorce rates, the conclusion isn't shown from the information provided. Learn together 02:20, 15 May 2007 (EDT)

I would encourage you to re-read your Bible. It is clear that divorce itself IS immoral for ANY reason, even adultery! I am adding the disputed section back. GodWarrior 20:28, 15 May 2007 (EDT)

While I do not wish to participate in an edit war, I will participate in a discussion. I agree with Learn together. Also, not that it matters in the context of this dispute, but my Bible says MT 5:31 "It has been said, `Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery."--NIV That being said, I also contend that athiests might be more likely to engage in fornication in lieu of marriage, which would be another reason why atheists have a lower divorce rate--they may have a lower marriage rate. HeartOfGold 01:26, 16 May 2007 (EDT)
I would encourage you to choose a moniker that expresses your views, not one chosen to mock others. I stick by my original statement. Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot never divorced. Will you go on their article pages and tout their high ethical standards? Learn together 02:01, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

The correct interpretation of Matthew is that "divorce" is only permitted in the case of marital unfaithfulness during the courtship period. Problems with translation may lead one to believe that divorce was permitted after the actual wedding, I assure you this was not the case. However, since you both seem to disagree with me, I will refrain from adding back the section until consensus is reached. I will not respond to further personal attacks about my name, just because you and I have a different view of Him does not give you that right. Using three people as evidence is flimsy at best, I am simply arguing that IN GENERAL, lower divorce rates correlates with higher ethical standards. I would also encourage you to find some evidence that atheists have lower marriage rates rather than speculataing. Even if that turns out to be true however, I am not sure it would be relevant. GodWarrior 14:14, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

I will perform my own interpretation of the verses in question using a concordance tonight. Meanwhile, I guess I interpret including this in an article on atheism to make it sound like atheists are moral, and hence good role models. It seems to be a point of view. And, it seems to me to be a form of statistic mining to discuss only divorce rate while excluding pre-martital living arrangments (common-law-marriages) that end (in "common-law-divorce"). HeartOfGold 18:35, 16 May 2007 (EDT)
  • "The normal lifestyle of American young adults is to live together for a period of time in a type of informal trial marriage. These relationships frequently do not endure.
  • Couples enter into their first marriage at a older age than in the past.
  • A growing percentage of committed couples have decided to live in a common-law relationship rather than get married. This is particularly true among some elderly who fear reduction in government support payments."[9]
I would not be opposed to including statistics on pre-marital living arrangements among different religious groups. Perhaps we should simply present both sets of statistics without drawing conclusions from them. I think they are both clearly relevant to the subject of atheist morality, but can be interpreted in many ways so leaving out the conclusions might be the best course of action. Also, I am certainly not suggesting that all atheists are good role models, just that their attitudes toward divorce might be better than those of other groups. In retrospect, I would have phrased the disputed paragraph differently. GodWarrior 19:47, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

Definitions of Atheism used in debate

I have removed this section because it was illogical. It appeared to be a response to a (presumably atheist) argument about the burden of proof and the existence of god or gods. The section confused the concept of burden of proof with the concept of active or passive consideration of whether a god or gods exist. The two concepts are logically distinct. --Horace 02:57, 15 May 2007 (EDT)

'Atheist' at dictionary.com... JustineA --(Niandra)--talk 02:53, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

The Problem of Evil, The Problem of Origins

Is there a reason why we're giving philosphical positions of atheism vs. theism under this article? If this truly is deemed to be necessary, then why no mention of Kalaam, which is a stronger argument than the weak First Cause one that is presented? (Although ultimately all the arguments are fruitless; they have weight or merit only according to your point of view.) Learn together 20:13, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

Problem of Origins section

Hi, I'm removing the bits about creationst's viewpoints from this section as they don't really have anything to do with aetheism and don't aid the article in any way. If anyone disagrees please post here to let me know why! Cheers. MatteeNeutra 18:31, 22 May 2007 (EDT)

Inclusion of agnostic statistic appropriate?

I really think that stat adds something to the article and increases understanding about religious attitudes in those countries. I believe this is the point of an encyclopedia. Also, I believe that a citation is required for the part about atheists being a minority for all of recorded history requires a citation because recorded history encompasses every culture in every part of the world for which we have records. This seems like it would be tough to prove. GodWarrior 18:39, 23 May 2007 (EDT)

It is usually good practice to wait for a response to your proposed changes. The statistics on agnosticism have little relevance here as agnostics are not atheists. For this reason I would say that the agnostic statistic should not be included. I agree that there does need to be a citation for the minority statement, and that sentence should be removed if one cannot be found. MatteeNeutra 18:53, 23 May 2007 (EDT)

If you believe a comparative religion breakdown is important then I would advise you to see if a similar article exists where you might be able to add information, or, if it does not exist, create it for the benefit of the conservapedia community. To piggy-back it on this article is inappropriate.

The idea of 'how can you know all cultures from all time' is unnecessary. That's more of a wiki way of looking at things; we're allowed to just put the truth if its something any student of history would know. Global cultures from earliest times forward talk extensively about the gods they worship. How many talk about their atheism? While there have been forced governmental programs of atheism: The Cult of Reason, Stalinist Russia, Communist nations, overall world trends have been theistic since earliest recorded history. And I do believe that's common knowledge. Learn together 19:23, 23 May 2007 (EDT)

"How many talk about atheism?" None, obviously. If a society hasn't created a God, why would it talk about the non-God it hasn't rejected because it hasn't created it? What a strange point. And what a strange idea, too, that you think it would back up an argument against atheism - people from thousands of years ago could not benefit from the thousands of years of knowledge - philosophical and scientific - that humans have amassed since, that can show a range of ideas about supernatural existence or non-existence. More often than not, non-existence, but...
I'm going to have to agree with learntogether. The agnostics stat should not be included. This article is not about "religious attitudes" in France, its about atheism. The citation would be nice, but its not needed. Thats my opinion, as I believe it is an established fact.Bohdan Talk 19:44, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
Certainly I agree that most of recorded history is full of theism. However, if one were atheist would they write about it? It seems unlikely. Given the large sections of the world that were once dominated by heathens(China, Russia), I think it is far from obvious that the statement is correct, especially in its current form which is quite absolute. As for the agnostic stat, I just thought that since it's a related topic that it was appropriate. However, since everyone seems to disagree I'll leave it alone. GodWarrior 00:21, 24 May 2007 (EDT)
Sounds good.Bohdan Talk 00:22, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

I have updated our definition of "atheist" so it includes two groups:

  1. "disbelievers": those who believe that God positively, absolutely does not exist
  2. "the unsure": those who neither believe in God or disbelieve, i.e., they are unsure whether He exists or not; they haven't made up their minds; they have an open mind on the question

Many people - including our own writers! - get the meaning of "atheist" and "agnostic" confused. Maybe we need a chart

We have reasons No one can tell for sure
God exists Believers
God might exist, might not exist The unsure Agnostics
God does not exist Atheists

Only people who want to "put one over on you" would deliberately blur crucial distinctions, so to have integrity and inspire trust our article should clarify everything. --Ed Poor 07:03, 28 May 2007 (EDT)

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell has said many times that he is agnostic. I know he has said that he is an atheist too, but to include him in the well-known atheists seems to be wrong because he has said that he is agnostic. Would you also include him in the well-known agnostics article?--AdrianP 03:17, 26 May 2007 (EDT)

If what you say is true, and you can find a site quoting his own words saying he is an agnostic, then I would say remove it. The same thing had to be done with Gould. Learn together 03:27, 26 May 2007 (EDT)


I changed the article to show atheist opinions on atheism and its role, esp. Dawkins opinions on atheism as a majority of opinion with regard to the Gods of other religions, ie, a Christian is an atheist with regard to Quetzalcoatl. This was removed. Why? It was a legitimate point about atheism, relevant to the discussion of atheism - but some yellow, lily-livered fellow changed it, as it did not accord with their views. I know this site has a bias, but....

Dawkins gives a neat sound bite (the actual quote comes from before his time), but it is fundamentally incorrect for theism in general. Firstly, it is false for polytheistic religions which not only have more than one god, but many of which acknowledge gods outside of their pantheons. Historically, you may recall that the Romans basically 'married' their god worship to that of the Greeks. Secondly, it misses that some religions overlap. Christians, for instance, do not believe that Jews are atheistic in regard to the Christian God. Only that they fail to realize the full manifestation of how God has revealed himself. Likewise, even worshipers of Quetzalcoatl would not be considered to be atheists even if from the general Christian perspective the worship of Quetzalcoatl totally misses the mark of who God is. I hope that makes more sense than just applying a reason of 'yellow, lily-livered fellow' ;-) Learn together 01:27, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
I believe that Jews, Christians, and Muslims for the most part acknowledge that they worship the same God, but are you suggesting that practitioners of polytheism also worship our God? GodWarrior 10:43, 29 May 2007 (EDT) (I made no such claim, but they are still theists. Learn together 12:08, 29 May 2007 (EDT))
You're all atheists with regard to Thor, or Guanyin, or Sumerian Gods, or Manitou, correct? I dislike some of what Dawkins says, and he is nowhere near as extreme as some seem to think or as some others would like, but he is right here, and I think that Learn together has lost what I was trying to say with regard to Dawkins' statements - that everyone is an atheist with regards to most other Gods, and that therefore atheism is a default and not a minority opinion. That's all. Blackjuice 10:50, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
The default position is theism. Someone being wrong from another person's point of view does not make them an atheist, only misguided in their beliefs. Paul didn't tell the Athenians they were atheists. He just wanted them to come to an understanding of the love gift and salvation given to them through Jesus Christ. You also may wish to see Paul's discussion of general revelation in Romans for a similar picture of theism even though they do not know Jesus. Learn together 12:08, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
So... what? What is your point? That you aren't an atheist with regard to Thor? Similarly, the default position according to modern psychology, philosophy and neurology is tabula rasa - and therefore, no one is born into believing in God, they have to develop that if it develops at all. The default position of all humanity is atheism, from birth. If you can find evidence to the contrary from a bona fide publication, written by someone renowned in the profession and of recent origin, then I will retract that, but it seems unlikely, especially given that it is, well, a given. And add that to the Dawkins idea of being an atheist with regard to all religions other than your own, and bam, atheism becomes the default perspective of all mankind to at least some extent in adulthood as well. Yes, I see now why it was someone like you who would have deleted the edit. Do you really think that an atheist would read the Bible to find answers? It seems like a strange proposition. In any case, it is essentially a poor edit on your part to delete something relevant to the discussion that happened to contradict your own beliefs. I'm sorry, but you appear somewhat small-minded in this instance, and it is a flaw of this site that such edits could go on, especially when such an obvious and overriding bias is involved on your behalf with no back-up or, even, a point and evidence to contradict the point I made, and others make. Blackjuice 12:17, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
I am not sure how you missed my point so completely. The Bible example was to show that even within Christian theology alternative views of God are not considered atheist, only misguided. I already showed the views of polytheism above. There is no default position of atheism at birth. At best there is no position at all. Learn together 12:38, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
You are confusing a-theism with anti-theism. A baby is an atheist, because a baby does not believe in God or Gods or a supernatural creator. Maybe you have some anecdotal evidence to the contrary, but unfortunately that won't cut it. As for the other point, my original edit was that some atheists, including Dawkins, consider everyone to be an atheist with regard to other religions technically - the edit was not about the Christian theologist's view. It was a legitimate point in an article about atheism, and it would show a more balanced - indeed, "trustworthy" - view on the subject if both sides were shown: that theists on this site believe that atheism has always been a minority historically, and that atheists believe that isn't so, and that atheism is the default position of all humanity. It's a neutral, completely non-reactionary point to make, that was removed for the barest of reasons. Hence my dissatisfaction with the article as it stands, and your position on it.
You could also make the point that only those things we see exist, since that is the default position of babies. I removed it because Dawkins, in talking about theism, misrepresents theism. This article, as written, is neutral, neither condemning nor condoning atheism and not getting off into tangents. Atheism has been a historical minority position. That is neither good nor bad, and to reflect away from that with questionable philosophy arguments is not good protocol. Learn together 13:16, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
I'm not saying that atheism is true because babies are technically atheists, nor am I saying that only what we see exists, which isn't actually the baby's position either - experience something once at any age and it exists in your world, whether currently you can see it or not. Anyway: This article isn't about theism - so whether Dawkins misrepresents theism is a moot point. He was discussing atheism. He was representing an atheist perspective on an issue to do with atheism, and he is an atheist. That couldn't have anything more to do with atheism if it tried. It's not questionable philosophy to bring up psychological and neurological fact, either. Would it not be easy to simply appreciate that maybe once, just once, you were in error? It was undoubtedly a legitimate point, and I would therefore conclude that the edit had little to do with attempting to create an objective and informative article and more with pushing a perspective. I don't have much truck with most of this site, and I mostly amend factual errors in pages I know about - particularly, Asia and China-related topics - because I hate to see factual innaccuracy anywhere that calls itself a site of information, and I know that I can't change or realistically influence the perspectives of the users of this minority site, so I don't try. But when I see an edit that I made with no purpose other than to show a more rounded perspective on an issue deleted for no reason that is obvious, it is somewhat annoying. Does this make sense to you? Blackjuice 13:29, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
Our viewpoints are not the same on this issue, and I see little more I can add that hasn't already been discussed. You may wish to consider a style that does not involve personal attacks or insinuations even if this is an issue that you feel passionately about. Learn together 14:36, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
There are no personal attacks in there whatsoever. You have a viewpoint - you deleted an edit contradicting your viewpoint that tried to show an alternate side to the issue. Ergo, you are pushing your viewpoint instead of attempting to produce an objective article. That is not an ad hominem attack, that is a statement of events, and while it reflects poorly on you and the site, it is also not an attack. I agree, there is nothing more to discuss - but you could try to be slightly more open, even in this narrow splinter of wikipedian technology and right wing Christian ideology.

Section about Biblical View

Is that really relevant? I mean, the biblical view of Atheism is pretty obvious. It's kind of like talking about the opinion of a politician regarding his opponent. -- Noam Samuel

I think that it is interesting, even though I might already know the biblical view, to see what exact scriptures touch on the subject. --Ben Talk 08:40, 20 June 2007 (EDT)

clerical support of some atheism

I've heard several ordained priests support temporary atheism as a method of examining ones beliefs to refine them. Would that be a good thing to add to the article in some form?

Unless this is a position held by a Christian denomination, the information would be misplaced. In traditional Christian thought, that would certainly be an odd position to take - and that is an understatement. Learn together 11:40, 24 June 2007 (EDT)
I was talking to Jesuits.
While I don't doubt your conversation and your sincerity, I think you will find that is not a part of Jesuit doctrine. Traditionally acceptance of Christ is not something that is traded in for a period and taken back. That concept would make most Christians cringe. Learn together 00:07, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

Strong and Weak Atheism

Your definition of Strong and Weak Atheism is wrong. Strong Atheists think they can disprove the existence of God, weak Atheists believe there is no evidence for God, and so assume none exists.

"The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God. - Psalm 14:1 (KJV)}}

That's so funny. Then that means that most of the intellectuals in this planet are fools. It really puts the word "fool" in perspective. Maybe the word "fool" meant "brilliant" in the old times.

Yep, and there's a lot of "brilliant" folks occuping Hell right now. Think about it. Karajou 22:45, 28 June 2007 (EDT)

"But whosoever shall say to his brother "thou fool" shall be in danger of hellfire." --PF Fox 00:40, 29 June 2007 (EDT)

Atheism and Communism section

The Marx quote should be "[Religion] is the opium of the people." as the original quote is "It is the opium of the people." Kazumaru 16:07, 30 July 2007 (EDT)

Fixed (I'm taking your word for it). Philip J. Rayment 12:11, 5 August 2007 (EDT)

Comma out of place

There's a comma out of place in the list of "well known atheists" but I can't fix it. Mellie 00:52, 1 August 2007 (EDT)

I found a space out of place, but no comma.  :-) Fixed, and thanks. Philip J. Rayment 12:11, 5 August 2007 (EDT)

At the risk of violating the 90/10 rule, I protest.

What am I protesting? Why, the "Atheism is Illogical" section, of course. Not believing in any god is no less logical than not believing in unicorns. I can't prove they don't exist, because I can't survey every centimeter of the universe at every point, or know everything about the universe. Kazumaru 18:07, 13 August 2007 (EDT)

First, atheism is not "not believing in any god", but a "belief in no god". That is, it is a believe in a universal negative, not a lack of belief in a positive.
Second the comparison with unicorns is not a very good one. Whilst many atheists argue that the idea of god is illogical, I've never heard anyone argue that the idea of unicorns is illogical, particularly if you are arguing that no such creature exists or has ever existed anywhere in the universe. I don't believe that unicorns exist here on Earth at the present time, because I believe that we would most likely have found evidence of them if they exist, but I'm not prepared to claim (as atheists do about God) that there never was a horse-like creature with a horn. While there is no pictorial or fossil evidence of such (which does make their past existence unlikely), this lack of evidence is not itself evidence that they never existed, and apart from the lack of evidence, there is nothing inherently unbelievable about the existence of unicorns. An atheist applying that logic to God would end up no longer being an atheist (perhaps an agnostic instead), because the atheist position is, umm, not logical!
Third, beyond your flawed analogy, you have not actually refuted the argument in the "Atheism is illogical" section of the article.
Philip J. Rayment 23:21, 13 August 2007 (EDT)
Number one: I may be biased on this issue, being an atheist myself, but I've always personally stuck with the first one.
Number two: I'm willing to bet a lot of people would argue that a MAGICAL horse with a magical horn on it's head is illogical, as is the typical depiction of unicorns.
And number three: There's not much there to refute. It just kind of descends into an old man rambling incoherently for two paragraphs about how you can't prove a negative. As interesting as that is, it doesn't prove that the belief that there are no divine entities to be illogical. Kazumaru 23:38, 13 August 2007 (EDT)
  1. This article is about atheism, not your particular version of it. Atheism is a belief in no god, despite many atheists equivocating on that point to avoid the illogicity of the belief.
  2. Neither Conservapedia's article on unicorns nor Wikipedia's article on unicorns makes any mention of magic in association with them. I'm not an expert on unicorns, but your claim that unicorns are typically depicted as magical appears to be unfounded.
  3. Your inability to find coherence in the argument is your problem. Although the quote is light-hearted and loosely put, it is clear enough and makes a valid point. Nevertheless, perhaps you do also have a point, in that the argument in the quote is really saying that it is illogical to argue that God can't exist, not that it is illogical to believe (as a matter of faith) that there is no God. But then don't atheists generally deny that belief is involved, and claim their view to be rational?
Philip J. Rayment 06:46, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Far be it from me to question your logic, but... Many atheists, wouldn't that imply a majority, thus putting those with the opinions you describe in the minority? Ah, one of the many problems of trying to define atheism as anything more than "A lack of belief in a God."
I cannot find what is not there, Phillip. The last two paragraphs are about the general impossibility of proving a negative statement, not about this one in general. If I recall correctly, isn't your God omnipotent? And thus incapable of moving quickly, as he is already everywhere? Kazumaru 15:57, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
I'd like to jump in here, if I may, as it is an interesting topic. It seems to me all arguments about atheism must be about the belief, or lack thereof, in God, not whether or not one can say with any certainty that God actually exists. The latter has never been proved one way or the other. Dictionary.com defines atheism as "1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God. 2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings" (nowhere does it say anything about if God can't exist, which is a separate, and perhaps, illogical argument). I know several atheists (or people who claim they are atheists) whose beliefs could basically be summed up thusly: 1) "I do not believe in a god, or that one ever existed", 2) "I cannot prove this", and 3) "As with anything else, there is always the chance I am wrong; I just think that chance is quite remote, and does not alter the fact that I still do not believe." Philip seems to imply that statement #3 means the person is not a true atheist, as "[atheists] claim ... that there never was a [God]." When it comes to the unproveable, all ayone can say is what they believe, not what the facts actually are (when someone says "there is no God," what they are saying is "I believe there is no God"). If, as people seem to be saying, atheists are only people who say "there is no God; I know this with 100% certainty" then all atheists are intellectually dishonest and stubborn, not being albe to admit that there is always a chance that they are wrong (and the same would be true of people who say "I am 100% certain that there is a God", rather than "I have an unwavering belief in God"). I obviously don't believe in unicorns. Now, is there a chance, however remote, that some (perhaps magical) horse with a horn does or did somehow exist? Sure. Why not? Anything's possible. Does that make me "undecided"? Not at all. Am I "not believing in any unicorns"? I certainly am. Do I have a "belief in no unicorns"? That too. I imagine if you replace "God" with "unicorn" in the 3 part statement I made above, Philip would agree with those statements. Dr. Kennedy's bit of sophistry aside, not believing in God is no less logical than believing in God. As with any such things, you can't prove a negative, so atheists can fairly say that it is incumbent of those who do believe in God to prove it to those who don't (particularly a specific God whose actions and desires are known to humankind). Just like unicorns or Bigfoot. PortlyMort 08:56, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Paragraph breaks would be nice! :-)
Yes, I've also heard atheists "admit" that they can't prove that there is no God. They seem to do this when pressed on the point, but otherwise argue as though belief in no God is the only rational view to have, and even make fun of and denigrate those who do believe in God. (And this covers the range from vandals posting abusive comments on Conservapedia to academics such as Richard Dawkins). So the result is something like this: "There is no evidence for God, there is evidence against the existence of God, belief in God is illogical, people who believe in God are stupid, we have to exclude God from the education system, science, etc. (i.e. we can't even consider the possibility), but oh, we admit that we can't actually say for sure that He doesn't exist!"
I disagree that "not believing in God is no less logical than believing in God", and I question that the onus is on believers to prove that God does exist. Consider this argument:
It is more sensible (logical) to believe that the universe was made by a Being capable of creating the universe, than to believe that the universe formed out of nothing for no reason.
Now that doesn't scientifically "prove" the existence of God (science is a tool for the study of the natural world, and God is a supernatural being, and not available for scientific study). But I consider it a very good argument that belief in God is far more reasonable than a belief in no God. There are a number of similar arguments that can be advanced; this one is not alone. I believe that this puts the onus on the atheists to show that their belief that the universe popped into existence out of nothing—contrary to all that we know from science—is the more reasonable one.
Philip J. Rayment 10:09, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
First off, I'd just like to say it's nice to have a rational discussion on a topic like this, and I appreciate it. Some editors here (and I won't name names) would reply to my post with something along the lines of "Statistics show that atheists are more miserable with their lives and 20 times more likely to be mass-murderers so don't bring your god-hating, atheist loving, liberal talk here. This is your last warning." It's refeshing not to have to deal with any of that. However, I do feel you are putting words in atheists mouths here. The whole "people who believe in God are stupid" thing is not a necessary part of being an atheist, and a minority viewpoint. You seem to say that all (or nearly all) atheists denigrate the faithful, which isn't true. As for the result of the line of thought you presented, that we have to exclude God from science, you yourself backed up: "science is a tool for the study of the natural world, and God is a supernatural being, and not available for scientific study," your words.
Now, your argument above, "It is more sensible (logical) to believe that the universe was made by a Being capable of creating the universe, than to believe that the universe formed out of nothing for no reason," is compelling (and certainly better than Dr. Kennedy's quoted in the article). The universe must have come from somewhere (perhaps there's a chance it always existed, but infinity is a very hard concept to fully grasp), and if one wishes to define "God" as whatever created it, then you start to get into more of a semantic argument. I think a rational atheistic response would be "yes, something created the universe. I don't know what or how. There is scientific evidence for a big bang, but no one can really say what caused it. I don't pretend to know, which is the difference. Attibuting the creation of the universe to an all-powerful, sentient, human-like being doesn't make any more logical sense than any other creation myth." A more agnostic/skeptic approach might be "sure, the universe came from somewhere, so to believe some sort of 'god' created it makes some sense. However, exactly what that 'god' is cannot be known or rationally expalined. Nevertheless, religion attempts to do just that." To believe in a god is no less logical than being in no god. However, believing in a specific god (such as God as presented in the Bible) is a matter of faith rather than logic. The two aren't necessarily always compatable. PortlyMort 14:05, 14 August 2007 (EDT)

Needed improvements

I enhanced the article on atheism today and removed the uncited material. Now the article on atheism needs to be expanded as the uncited material was removed.

Here are some suggestions:

-I suggest atheism and ethics as a new section.

-I also think the atheism and communism section should be expanded to mention Stalin and Mao. Also the atheistic persecution of Christians and other theists should be mentioned and cited.

-The atheist Sigmund Freud stated that theism was unhealthy in regards to a persons psychological development. Here is something regarding this matter: http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2001-rst/921.html I think we need more though.

Conservative 20:09, 13 August 2007 (EDT)

This article should mention Enver Hoxha and his Albanian atheist paradise. Militant atheism and the persecution of theists should definately be included. Bohdan 20:15, 13 August 2007 (EDT)