Misconceptions about Atheism


Avatar DarkGhost
28 Jun 2013 09:59
Most Christians I meat and tell them that I'm an atheist. Well the conversation usually goes like this. Person: you don't beleive in God?!?!? Me: nope. Person: you're going to hell since you don't beleive in God. Me: if I don't think there is a god what makes you think I beleive there's a heaven and hell? Person: you're still going to hell.
Avatar Skittles
28 Jun 2013 15:03
In reply to DarkGhost
Lol, it happens.
Avatar DarkGhost
28 Jun 2013 21:05
In reply to Skittles
It also gets anoying.
Avatar xXRinoaMayXx
29 Jun 2013 09:11
In reply to DarkGhost
Not meat. You don't eat us
Avatar DarkGhost
01 Jul 2013 05:26
In reply to xXRinoaMayXx
Also it was around 3 a.m
Avatar Skittles
29 Jun 2013 21:28
In reply to xXRinoaMayXx
But what if I was a cannibal? :-p
Avatar HullBreach
01 Jul 2013 04:24
In reply to Skittles
It means that you "prey", instead of "pray".
Avatar DarkGhost
29 Jun 2013 20:57
In reply to xXRinoaMayXx
I knew I misspelled it, but I was too lazy to go back and fix it.
Avatar xXRinoaMayXx
27 Jun 2013 11:21
Because he's God. He's not human. He's not an alien. He's God.
Avatar HullBreach
26 Jun 2013 03:06
I'll start off with a few questions:

1. I've never met an atheist who had a valid argument for the non-existence of God. Any time I ask, the atheist claims that the burden is not for him/her to prove then changes the subject or keeps redefining atheism in circular arguments. This gets frustrating because it seems like a kid covering ears, closing eyes, and screaming. Can you please explain to me how you have gained the faith to believe that no supreme being of any type exists that is higher than mankind?

2. If atheists believe that God does not exist, why are so many (I realize not all) vocally opposed to believers unobtrusively expressing their faith in a deity that the atheists don't believe exists? It's one thing to have a belief shoved down one's throat, but peaceful exercise of the belief in God seems to be met with hatred all the time.

3. How to many people become atheists? Moving from the default position of agnosticism (the general notion, not subset) to theism or atheism takes some kind of influence. Was a prayer unanswered? Did a theist wrong the person? I've never known someone who became atheist who didn't have something traumatic happen.

4. What is the moral foundation for atheists? Theistic religions are based on absolute morals. If atheists disregard such notions, what is seed for morality?
Avatar Mr.Gangsta
01 Jul 2013 02:04
In reply to HullBreach
The seed for morality?..... I hate when people try to use that, we can all agree that murdering people is bad right? I mean it is wrong to cut someone's limbs off right? Or do I have to read a book to know that that's wrong? Everyone's born with a sense of Morales. I mean where did the first people before religion know that murdering's wrong.

I've noticed that most military people are religious, so its okay for them to take the lives of others?
Avatar HullBreach
01 Jul 2013 04:32
In reply to Mr.Gangsta
Look at people on ancient times. They murdered all the time. The Romans had fights to the death in the coliseum as standard entertainment. Worshippers of Moloch sacrificed their own children by burning them to death inside an oven. Egyptians brutalized their slaves and buried them alive. Aztecs sacrificed women on altars. The Chinese buried workers in the Great Wall. Plenty of cults existed in India, Europe, and Mesoamerica, that involved routine murder.

Then look at modern times at what the lack of faith does through Stalin, Hitler, Kim, and Mao.

It is because of those examples that a book with laws of morality were needed.
Avatar Samurai Bob
26 Jun 2013 17:20
In reply to HullBreach
I can answer your first question. I've obtained this information from Stephen Hawking's "Does God Exist?" Episode on the Science Channel. Anyways, you say God created the universe, right? Lets go back before the big bang. The point of singularity was so small with so much mass, that it was a black hole. As we know, modern day black holes stop time. So, in theory, there was no "time." for God to create singularity, and thus the universe.
Avatar HullBreach
27 Jun 2013 01:16
In reply to Samurai Bob
I am familiar with what Stephen Hawkings said, and it relied in the false assumption that God resides within our time continuum. A Being described as being eternal cannot reside in a universe with a finite flow of time and a discrete beginning.
Avatar Samurai Bob
27 Jun 2013 01:33
In reply to HullBreach
If God does not reside in our time continuum, how does He have to power to control events in our continuum?
Avatar Skittles
27 Jun 2013 01:22
In reply to HullBreach
And a being that doesn't reside "within" time can't do anything.
Avatar HullBreach
27 Jun 2013 01:32
In reply to Skittles
Think of it this way: you are a two-dimensional being. All you see are lines wherever you travel (kind of PAC-Man like). A single line inscrutable your path. (It's kind of funny that Futurama just covered this.) Now, a three-dimensional being comes along and can see you and your universe from "above". This 3D being considers your universe flat, like a geometric plane. In the same way, imagine yourself as you currently reside (which is obviously not difficult). A 4D, 5D, etc., being looks at you from beyond what you can see. This being can tell everything you can do without you ever knowing it. Extend this to time, which is an evolving concept in modern physics. Traditionally, it was believed that a single time dimension exists. Now, some theories point toward multiple time dimensions. Heaven and Hell aren't the sky or underground, as simplistic explanations from ancient mythologies derive; they could very easily exist at higher planes of existence. Some new age believers call this the Astral Plane. Whatever the name, it explains how a higher being can exist that we can not see but can still experience, when He frequently makes His presence known.
Avatar EpicArtifex
26 Jun 2013 14:08
In reply to HullBreach
1. I can't help but feel you might be referencing our conversation in the other recent blog here, and I think you've really come away with completely incorrect impressions of my points.

I was not redefining atheism. I was defining it. Your definition was wrong. There really isn't any argument here, that's just a fact, the word has a definition and you didn't understand it entirely correctly.

Atheism is the null position. It is the default hypothesis, the blank slate, not believing any one specific claim until it has been sufficiently proven. It is not the active disbelief in a god, it is the lack of belief in a god, and believe me, there is a difference. Since it is simply the lack of belief, it does not require faith.

You say that the burden of proof does not lie on religion, but this is also incorrect. Burden of proof isn't a matter of opinion, it's a matter of logic and science. Religion is a hypothesis, and is subject to the same level of scrutiny as all other hypotheses. What you're saying is the equivalent of a scientist coming up with an idea, then expecting everybody else to consider it correct until they can totally disprove it.
Naturally, nobody else has any obligation to believe this person, since they have not provided sufficient evidence. In this case, absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence. All the other people have to do is to show how the first scientist's arguments aren't valid, and that's enough to dismiss it.

2. They don't necessarily believe he doesn't exist, they just don't believe he exists. Subtle difference, but not the point.

They are opposed because religion is, overall, a force for bad. Atheists are, in general, just as nice as theists. To say otherwise is both insulting and incorrect. They still have a sense of morals, however it is driven not by a fear of punishment, but by a sense of obligation to help others. Therefore, it's clear that even without religion, people would still uphold the same courtesies that they do within religion.

All that leaves is the bad stuff.

Religion kills people. Lots of people. It's killed lots of people in the past, it starts a hell of a lot of wars, some of which are still ongoing. Nobody ever starts a war in the name of atheism.

Religion is, objectively, not a good thing. Sure, everyone likes their own religion, but coming at it from an atheistic perspective, they're all dangerous, and why wouldn't they be?

Religions use brainwashing, slavery, murder and indoctrination in order to keep the fantasy going. Sure, it isn't all of them, and we get that, but we tend to believe that the cons far, far outweigh the pros.

3. The question is, why did they become Christians? The universal presence of atheism and the generally localised hotspots of religions shows that atheism is the default position, and that people are simply raised to believe whichever is the predominant religion in their area.

Also, anecdotal evidence on your part isn't the most convincing. I can instantly dismiss it, because I know many people who are atheists and have not had horrible things happen to them.

Also, that argument is actually somewhat offensive. You're essentially saying that atheists don't disbelieve in God because they've thought about it, but rather because of some petty grudge or wrongdoing. You're implying that the only logical conclusion is yours, and that any other conclusion must be based on irrational, illogical things, such as pain, offence or spite. Please give us more credit. We do actually think about this.

4. The general consensus amongst atheists is to not be jerks. We build upon that however we deem to be appropriate. Obviously you get mean atheists, but the same can be said of any beliefs.
Avatar Waffle King
30 Jun 2013 03:00
In reply to EpicArtifex
I'd like to point out that religion does not kill people. Unless it involves human sacrifice.

No, it's even in the Commandments. Thou Shall Not Kill. You know.

No, no, people kill people. More specifically, stupid people and/or mentally unstable people.

I can guarantee you that if atheists were the majority over Christians, and some slightly unhinged atheist got himself some role in power and did not like religion, he would more than likely attempt killing them.

You complain about Christians overgeneralizing atheists with "not all atheists are this, not all atheists are that" and yet you simply use those same types of statements versus religion.

I don't want to kill any of you nonbelievers, now do I? I don't condone slavery or persecution do I now?

You also make it seem like we're religious only because we're afraid of Hell.

I'm a nice person because I enjoy being a nice person. I feel obligated the same way any other nice person does.

Your entire argument is pretty much the same that you're dismissing from the religious folk.
Avatar EpicArtifex
30 Jun 2013 06:59
In reply to Waffle King
I never said that people only follow religions because they're afraid of Hell. If they did, however, that would at least be a reasonably rational reason, but being an atheist just because a theist offended you in some manner would not be.

Yeah, people kill each other. I'm not saying that an atheistic world would be totally murder-free or anything, but religions give more reasons for people to want to kill each other. Just look at religious extremists. Car bombings, 9/11, etc...

While not all religion is dangerous, I'm just pointing out that not everybody sees it as a good thing at all, to explain why they are so vocal about it.
Avatar HullBreach
01 Jul 2013 04:38
In reply to EpicArtifex
I notice that you didn't bring up the atheists who led murders of millions: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Kim.
Avatar Waffle King
30 Jun 2013 15:36
In reply to EpicArtifex
It might not be rational or reasonable, but it happens pretty damn often. Are you telling me you've never seen "if god iz reel den y do roses hav throns" or one of the many variants? It basically equates to "I don't get what I want, God isn't real."

Yes, and those car bombings and hijackings were totally in the Bible, right? God told them to.

I'm pretty sure the reason why the Middle East is volatile is because of political stuff, and religion is just a scapegoat for it. They enjoy their dictatorship, and use religion to oppress the others. Communism does this too, only communist nations are usually atheist.

Religion is a positive thing by default. Humans are the ones that kill and do terrible things.

Again, you rely too heavily on generalizations in your argument. I'm pretty sure I've never crashed a plane, and the millions of other religious people in the world that aren't lunatics also probably don't crash planes either.
Avatar EpicArtifex
30 Jun 2013 18:44
In reply to Waffle King
I specifically said that I acknowledge that not all theists are extremists.

However I think the assumption that religion is by default a positive thing is altogether another matter.

In the eyes of an atheist, the teaching of things that are considered to be very unscientific yet are taught as facts is certainly a bad thing. The encouraging of people to derive all their morals and the way they live their life from a book written by a bunch of desert-wandering nomads is a bad thing. People being encouraged to spend their lives praying for what they want, which draws emphasis away from the priority of actually striving to get what you want, is a bad thing.

Everyone thinks their own religion is a good thing, but that doesn't mean that religion is necessarily a good thing by default.

And for the record, the bible specifically orders people to kill non-believers on numerous occasions.
Avatar HullBreach
01 Jul 2013 04:44
In reply to EpicArtifex
It sounds like you think your religion is the best, as well. Despite what you keep trying to tell me through constant changing of definitions, atheism is a religion that takes faith to believe. I have offered to debate you on the existence vs. non-existence of God, basing everything on facts only. I challenge you to show me that atheism is some "default" position and not a religion. How strong is your faith?
Avatar EpicArtifex
01 Jul 2013 06:48
In reply to HullBreach
I never redefined atheism, I just defined it. If you considered this to be redefining, then the only reason for that is that your previous understanding of the word was incorrect.

When people grow up in cultures with no Christian influence, do they know about God, Jesus and the bible? No, because they need to be taught it. They are born atheists. I'm not sure what more proof you need, If you still think that atheism is a religion, then you still have no understanding of what 'atheist' means, despite the numerous times I've explained that.
Avatar HullBreach
01 Jul 2013 11:05
In reply to EpicArtifex
If you cannot prove it, then it is a belief you take on faith.

As for the definition, think of ternary database storage:
TRUE - belief for
FALSE - belief against
NULL - lack of a concept in the belief for or against

The NULL is agnosticism in one of its numerous forms. FALSE and TRUE are the derived beliefs.

Believing that something is false is much different that lacking a positive or a negative belief. You may try to switch the definition of atheism all over the place, in an attempt to dodge that it is a religion, but the facts still stand. Look anywhere for the detailed definitions of atheism versus agnosticism (even Wikipedia), and you will see. Since such concepts are complex, a simple one sentence definition cannot cover the whole range.

My challenges are still open to both debate you on the topic of God's existence, with us taking these sides:

1. You - prove that God does not exist
2. You - prove that atheism is the default stance
3. Me - prove that God exists
4. Me - prove that atheism is not the default stance

I also challenge you to actually prove to yourself that the events of the Bible did not happen - that Jesus never died and rose from the dead. You would have to be honest with yourself and actually research everything you can. This goes beyond the limited scope of anti-Christian websites. You would need to dive into historical documents, manuscripts, and the Bible itself. Anything less than a full search of all existing information would just be a dishonest justification for not opening ones eyes to the whole picture.
Avatar EpicArtifex
01 Jul 2013 14:56
In reply to HullBreach
I'm not sure what on Earth I can do to reiterate this any further, but atheism is not a belief. It is a lack of belief. Agnosticism is all well and good, but there are only ever agnostic atheists or agnostic theists. You can't have 'just agnostic'. It's a logical impossibility.

You ask me to look at Wikipedia. OK then.

The first sentence on the Atheism page.

"Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities."

The rejection of a belief. It isn't "The belief that deities do not exist," it's the lack of belief that they exist. I'm not 'redefining' atheism to suit my needs, I am a logical person and that would not be at all logical. What I am doing is clarifying what it actually means, since you still seem to be confused on this matter.

If you want to look at this in terms of black and white logic, analogous to a computer, then fine, I'll continue that.

Theism- The belief that there is a god.

Atheism- The lack of belief that there is a god.

They are binary. Mutually exclusive. You cannot simultaneously believe in God and not believe in God. Either you believe in God, and you are a theist, or you don't, and you're an atheist.

Note that atheism is not the lack of any spiritual beliefs at all. You do get spiritual atheists, who believe in higher powers, but so long as they don't believe that the higher power is a deity, then they are an atheist nonetheless.

"This person believes in God."

It's pretty clear that there is literally no possible way that someone could be an atheist and a theist simultaneously, or neither simultaneously.

As for agnosticism, you're still taking in the extremely common misconception as to exactly what it means.

To quote Wikipedia again, "Agnosticism is the view that the existence or non-existence of any deity is unknown and possibly unknowable."

See, it isn't your belief about whether the deity exists or not, it's your belief about how certain anybody can be IN their beliefs about their god. It's a belief on a whole different axis altogether. It pertains to deities, yes, not whether they exist, but rather whether it's possible to know for certain they exist.

Axis is actually a very appropriate analogy. You can imagine it a lot like a graph, with agnosticism on one axis, and theism on the other. You can be anywhere in the graph, agnostic theist, agnostic atheist, gnostic theist or gnostic atheist. What you can't be, however, is agnostic without being either an atheist or a theist, because as I demonstrated earlier, that's literally logically impossible.

Hopefully that clears up where you went wrong on the definitions front.

I must confess that I am getting slightly frustrated with you consistently asking me to prove God doesn't exist.
I have told you many times that I cannot do that, because there is no way to disprove something's existence if you always just say "Well that was what he wanted. We don't know why, but he wanted you to think that."

It's unfalsifiable, and therefore not a worthy hypothesis unless you can prove it to be true without a doubt. That's why the burden of proof is on you. It's just the space-teapot analogy all over again.

You can't prove for certain that there isn't a teapot floating in space orbiting Mars in such a way that we will never see it. Just because you can't disprove it, however, doesn't mean it's a valid because of that. It's exactly the same with any claim, including religious ones. The burden of proof lies on the one making the positive claim, not the one criticising it. Why should I believe anything there isn't sufficient evidence for?

Since it's impossible for me to disprove God's existence without you just chalking it up to convenient omnipotence or 'God works in weird ways,' there's no point in my trying to argue that, and I consequently refuse to do so, because it would be a pointless endeavour. That does not, however, make your claim true by default.

I'm interested to know how exactly you would intend to prove that Christianity is the default position. Would you mind explaining that in your reply?

Finally, you tell me to disprove the events in the bible to myself. Well, they're physically impossible. There. Done. Just because there's a lot of books about something doesn't override the fact that it details stories that disobey the laws of physics.

If people from the distant future found the entire Harry Potter series, along with the countless Harry Potter fanfictions on the internet, couldn't they make the same argument? "There's a hell of a lot of books about this one guy, and from loads of different authors, telling about all his magical adventures. Sure, they're physically impossible, but there's so many books that it must be true!"

Books don't prove anything when physics disagrees.
Avatar HullBreach
01 Jul 2013 18:45
In reply to EpicArtifex
You just agreed with what I said about ternary logic without realizing it:

TRUE - theism
FALSE - atheism
NULL - agnosticism

In databases, NULL represents an unknown value. For example, lets use ternary logic with the text string of the phone number for "Jenny". If her number is entered as "867-5309", then there is a value to notate that she has a phone (TRUE). If the value is blank, then there is the notation that she lacks a phone (FALSE). If her value is left as the default empty state, it is not known whether or not she actually has a phone (NULL). A NULL value is the default, since the question has not been asked of her. TRUE and FALSE are polar opposites. NULL may or may not equal either, once more information is gathered, if ever.

If you can provide the historicity of Harry Potter to me, then I will join the quiddich league and send my kids to Hoggwarts. If you cannot, then I will continue to believe that the characters and events just make for interesting story telling.

If you discount the Bible without even a passing familiarity into its historicity and accuracy, then I pity you for not looking into the facts. I have challenged you to research the extrabiblical references so that you can properly understand the issues. As it is now, you have not based your arguments on any original research. All I keep hearing is psittacistic parroting and empty polemics from what you hear of others. If you want to live in ignorance, then so be it. I've tried to open your eyes to ideas beyond those which you think you know at your young age. (I remember when I thought I knew it all.). All I can do is hand you the mustard seed, and you can decide what to do with it. I essentially consider this discussion over, since you won't listen to logic or reason. If you are interested in listening with an open mind, then I will speak. Otherwise, lets just leave the discussion where it stands.
Avatar EpicArtifex
01 Jul 2013 21:34
In reply to HullBreach
I'd rather you didn't insult me by suggesting that I'm just parroting what others have told me. The vast majority of what I've said is stuff that I've thought of.

Explain how the bible is inherently different to how the Harry Potter series could be perceived in the future. They are literally both just collections of writings. I don't see why the bible is necessarily more legitimate than any other. You say extrabiblical, but I included that in my analogy by pointing out the various fanfictions and other references you'd find to the series.

I understood your computer analogy exactly, you've simply misinterpreted mine. The whole point of what I am saying is that it's a binary thing. Atheism is literally the lack of theism. Anything other than theism, including "Well, I'm not really sure," falls under atheism. Until you accept the real definition of agnosticism, instead of this false one that you continue to insist is correct, then it will be impossible to have any kind of a coherent argument on the matter, because you have your definitions extremely confused and it seems that no amount of explaining on my part is going to get through to you in that regard.

I have not said a single thing that was not logical or reasonable. I'd really rather you don't patronise me and resort to petty ad-hominems to vent your frustration at my continued arguing. Making passive aggressive remarks along the lines of "You're young, therefore you're wrong," will not make you any more correct when you have failed to accept the actual definitions of the words you continue to use. You told me to look at Wikipedia? I did, and it agreed with me. You told me that scriptures would answer my questions? You failed to explain how they're inherently any different from Harry Potter. If you're going to be frustrated with this argument, then by all means continue, but please don't take out your frustration by accusing me of refusing to listen to logic, because I have not heard one logical argument that was not based on entirely incorrect understanding of terminology which I have repeatedly attempted to correct you on, and you have failed to even acknowledge that your definitions might be incorrect, despite Wikipedia agreeing with me.
Avatar Skittles
30 Jun 2013 13:47
In reply to EpicArtifex
Not to mention, general proscriptions for discrimination, hatred and killing of: homosexual men, "witches", etc.
Avatar Skittles
30 Jun 2013 04:59
In reply to Waffle King
You really should read your own Bible WK. o-o

Firstly, the Commandment in question actually translates to "Thou shalt do no murder." And there's a very good reason for this: later in the same text, God commands the Israelites to go out and slaughter Canaanites en masse but - get this - to keep the virgin woman "for themselves". Not very wholesome, that near genocide of several tribes and implied kidnap of young girls for sex.

Not a good comparison. The problem is, atheists have no "holy" text that is sacred. We've no shared dogma that commands us to kill people for either imaginary crimes (like the Bible does when it commands "suffer not a witch to live") or as stated in Leviticus that you should stone to death homisexual men who have had sex "for they have done what is shameful". Or as Deuteronomy enumerates that unbelieving famiky members should be stoned to death, and that their immediate family should be the first to get their hands on them. We don't have these absurd sacred rules that can, without any reinterpretation necessary - do and justify ridiculously immoral actions.

Now sure, an atheist can be just as bad a bloke as basically any theist, but given the lack of sacred commands that is believed to have come from a deity, we can't "justify" such actions the way believers can quite easily do without deception.
Avatar HullBreach
02 Jul 2013 12:23
In reply to Skittles
Thank you for cherry picking and misquoting out-of-context Old Testament historical verses. I'm glad that Christians follow Leviticus, instead of the New Covenant that the Jesus dude explained.

It does nothing for your argument to grab a list off some Christian-hating website that uses historical documents of the ancient Israelites and apply that to the entire world to condemn 2 billion people. By the way. Leviticus also said that everyone needs to build a fence around the roofs of their houses, so that visitors done roll off and die when sleeping there. I'm going to take a day off work to build that fence right now.

It might be better to ask such questions of Jews who do not follow the new covenant that was put forth by the sacrifice of Jesus. (I'm sure they would have a great answer, too!) Christians follow what Jesus taught. Sme of it builds upon the Old Tesament, and some of it supersedes the Old Testament. None of Leviticus is relevant to being a Christian (but it is fascinating to read the rules of hygiene they practiced before modern sanitation existed).
Avatar Waffle King
30 Jun 2013 20:47
In reply to Skittles
Poop. I wrote a long reply but it didn't send.

I don't feel like writing it again. You're wrong because fill in the blank. There.
Avatar Skittles
26 Jun 2013 04:12
In reply to HullBreach
4) And where did I say that atheists disregard the notion of ethics? That's a new one to me.
Avatar HullBreach
26 Jun 2013 04:19
In reply to Skittles
Absolute morality, not morality in general

Judeochristianity sees the absolute foundation as the 10 Commandments. Penn Jillette accepted Glenn Beck's challenge and drafted his Atheist 10 Commandments, whichbasically overlapped about 8 of the original ones.
Avatar Skittles
26 Jun 2013 04:32
In reply to HullBreach
Absolute morality is nonsense. For starters, most of the 10 Commandments habe nothing to do with morality at all. At best 4 do, each of which are blatantly obvious to the point that no sane person thinks it's the "right" thing to do. Heck, the 10th is really just thoughtcrime against an impulse that we are naturally endowed with: covetousness of what we don't have. Nothing about it necessitates evil, it's what drives progress, even the good variety.
Lastly, the 10 Commandments leave off all manner of evil actions, which leads to my next point.

Secondly, some of the evilest actions that aren't forbidden in the 10 Commandments are positively recommended by God himself, including direct commands all through Exodus (and the rest of the Pentacheuch) for both slavery (Exodus 21:20-22) and genocide (eh, just Google it, I can't remember the exact verses). Also, the slavery then was not much (if at all) different from what was done in America. They could enslave ANY non-Israelite for life, and there's even a loophole to allow enslaving fellow Jews.

Lastly, God's recommended moral prescriptions aren't "absolute". You certainly don't think near genocide is moral, yet God repeatedly commanded it of the Israelites to various Canaanite tribes (when with his power he could've merely convibced the Canaanites to reform) which means you MUST think God's commanding of slavery and genocide is moral in those instamces. But then you've merely endorsed relativism, i.e it was moral for that time when commanded by God, but not anymore.
Avatar HullBreach
26 Jun 2013 13:07
In reply to Skittles
Using a blog on misconceptions of atheism as a soapbox to baselessly attack Judeochristianity kind of destroys the notion of peaceful discourse. It is for examples like this that atheists have the stereotype of being hateful and narrow-minded by those of faith. Please keep the discussion civil.

I was asking you about Penn Jillette's Atheist's 10 Commandments. What are your thoughts?
Avatar Skittles
26 Jun 2013 13:21
In reply to HullBreach
I have been civil and I'm certainly not on a soapbox. The blog was what is stated it was about. You asked me questions, I gave my responses in both a clear and emotionally detached manner (the bold was for emphasis, nothing more), then complained I'm perpetuating the stereotype that atheists are "hateful" for responding. I'm sorry man, but if you're going to make claims about Christianity offering a solid moral absolutism, you're going to need an essentially impossibly good case, given the texts you're drawing from and the contortions they inevitably force you to make in moral discussions.

As I said, most of the 10 given in the Bible hardly have to do morality besids 4 of them, which were obvious. I could care less about what Penn Jilette drafted as his 10. He's hardly a spokesperson for atheists. If I tried, I doubt I'd need 10 Commandments to make a good moral foundation for ancient peoples.
Avatar Skittles
26 Jun 2013 03:59
In reply to HullBreach
4) Oh and the 2500-year old Euthyphro Dilemma covers this claim.
Avatar HullBreach
26 Jun 2013 04:26
In reply to Skittles

That dilemma is invalid under Judeochristianity because God /is/ good. The argument therefore becomes circular and has no meaning. Since God created the universe, everything is as He commands, from the Big Bang to the thermodynamic freeze. I'm not sure how The dilemma would hold up to other religious philosophies, though.
Avatar Skittles
26 Jun 2013 04:37
In reply to HullBreach
Oh that's easy to deal with, because then I can merely ask the following to reinstate the Dilemma:

Does God have control over his own nature? If not, not only is he not all-powerful but then morality is STILL arbitrary because then what is moral is only moral because it happens to reflect what God's nature arbitrarily is.
If so, then morality on that view is, again, arbitrary because God can control his nature to determine what is moral.

This is why most philosophers hold the Euthyphro dilemma as still valid. Also, that counter of yours assumes that everyone believes that God is by definition what goodness is, which clearly not everyone does.
Avatar HullBreach
26 Jun 2013 04:38
In reply to Skittles
God can control everything but chooses to provide free will, while knowing the outcomes.
Avatar Skittles
26 Jun 2013 04:44
In reply to HullBreach
That would make him masochistic.

And the sort of free will required there (known as libertarian free will) has small support in philosophy because it doesn't really make sense, even its top proponent doesn't know how to square it properly.
Avatar HullBreach
26 Jun 2013 04:47
In reply to Skittles
Call it what you will, but it seems solid to me.
Avatar Skittles
26 Jun 2013 03:55
In reply to HullBreach
I like questions. Bear with me, this is a bit lengthy.

1) Well, the burden of proof is necessarily on one making some sort of positive claim, which would include any atheist whom claimed that no kind of deity can be said not to exist.
As for valid arguments against God's existence (Yahweh specifically, since the concept of a deity is an unfalsifiable thesis which makes tackling the overall concept of a deity moot) include things like the Logical Problem of Evil, the Euthyphro Dilemma and the Argument from inconsistent Revelations, and an argument I created a little while back (it's a work in progress) that seems original.
And it's not faith. Having valid and sound arguments against a particular position isn't what I'd call faith in any meaningful sense of the word.
You really should check some youtube videos by some skilled and interesting atheists. I'd recommend the users: TheoreticalBS (the 'BS' bit isn't shortened in his actual username), SisyphusRedeemed, KnownNoMore and CounterApologist. I mean it, you really should check out their work, if only to expand your horizons. They're each kind, well-versed and convey their arguments very well, especially TBS who you may recognize as a soap actor from "The Bold and the Beautiful".

2) I hardly see atheists making a fuss over believers who unobtrusively worship their god. But the problem is that the obtrusiveness is everywhere, from blocking stem cell research, to anti-evolution actions having success in schools here in the South (when biological evolution is something understood even better than gravity and with nigh insurmountable amount of evidence) to extremist Muslims being so easily offended that a single cartoon drawn by a small Scandinavian cartoonist managed to bubble into an international incident. These are not inocuous, they're very real threats to society and to progress each firmly rooted in religion.

3) Agnosticism is not the default position. Agnosticism deals with the possibility of knowledge with regard to a thing, it has nothing to do with a belief. Hence why there are Agnostic-atheists, who don't believe in a god and who think that even if there is some sort of all-powerful being, knowledge of its existence isn't or possibly cannot be known. The actual default is not believing in something. For example, you didn't believe in Zeus before you heard of him, and that remained after you heard. The default is null, not pro, which is all atheism itself is. Where an atheist goes beyond that is their perogative.
Really, you think people only become atheists because of bad things happening? Besides being irrelevant (if it were the case), many atheists I've spoken to (myself included) merely ended up looking deeper into their faith and religion, and coming to the conclusion that God (Yahweh) was an impossible entity to exist (like a square circle) or that the arguments against His existence was more sound.

4) Theists don't have an "absolute" moral foundation. Even theist philosophers only argue for an objective foundation, which is different. Atheists often (at least in my experience) don't necessarily agree on what foundation there is for ethics. It's a philosophical issue in the field of meta-ethics, and there is no consensus among philosophers and the issue itself is only seen as over by those not really in the discussion. I myself ground morals in the promotion of the overall well-being of conscious creatures.
Avatar Waffle King
26 Jun 2013 02:58
My usual problem with atheists (or Christians, for that matter) is the ratio of intelligent and rational ones to the completely uneducated ones is not a good one.

The overwhelming majority of atheists I know are just bitter, spiteful douchebags, to put it nicely. It's not one-sided, I'll give you that. I know a lot of Christians that are blind sheep, uneducated in their own religion, and yet more than willing to judge and condemn someone for something they don't like. It just so happens that I know more smarter Christians than I do atheists. Probably because there are more Christians than atheists in general.
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