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Old 01-15-2013, 10:50   #1
hooligan74
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Atheism, Theism and Agnosticism

It seems to me that there is a fairly pervasive misunderstanding of these terms within our society. Here they are as I understand them to be:

Theism: A belief in a god or gods.

Atheism: A lack of belief in a god or gods.

Agnosticism: A lack of certain knowledge regarding the existence of a god or gods - or, in some cases, the belief that knowledge of the existence of a god or gods is unattainable.

If the above definitions are accurate, then one cannot simply describe themselves at "agnostic", they are either agnostic theists or agnostic atheists.

What say you?
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:08   #2
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First, anyone that hasn't seen it should look at
Why is it so hard to admit Atheism is a Religion?
http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1282322

2300 posts and never agreed upon.



Religious Issues





CD, someone that has never heard of any god and never heard of any religion, are they...
theist?
atheist?
gnostic?
agnostic?

I would very much apreciate a yes or no for each of the four.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:12   #3
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Guess that makes me an Agnostic Atheist.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:29   #4
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I don't believe in Athiests
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:56   #5
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Nope, not gonna do it...

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JBnTX: "Freedom of religion doesn't mean you can worship any God, anyway you see fit or not even worship any God if you so choose. [...] Christianity should be the only religion protected under the constitution, and congress shall make no law restricting its practice."
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:02   #6
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Originally Posted by dbcooper View Post
I don't believe in Athiests

I have often said the same about theists.

Based on logic and observing alleged theists, I don't believe anybody really believes in god/gods. Among other reasons - First, they seem to have an unsually hard time following simple moral rules that an atheist like me has no problem with - making me very skeptical of how strong their belief in the threat/reward of religion is. Second, they are very, almost hysterically, afraid of letting in any knowledge that could shake their beliefs and are very strict about avoiding contact with evidence or argument that undermines their beliefs. Even those willing to argue, in this forum, are often angry about atheist input.

It's the conduct of people who want to believe, not people who do believe.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:05   #7
hooligan74
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Originally Posted by Glock36shooter View Post
Guess that makes me an Agnostic Atheist.

You and me both, Glock36. I lack a belief in any gods, but I don't claim to *know* that no gods exist. I don't ascribe to the belief that God/gods are not knowable, however.

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Old 01-15-2013, 12:23   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syclone538 View Post
First, anyone that hasn't seen it should look at
Why is it so hard to admit Atheism is a Religion?
http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1282322

2300 posts and never agreed upon...

Ah, thanks! I didn't know there was a genesis (sorry for the religious pun) for this debate - I picked up on it from some of CavDoc's posts in the political forum.

So, it would appear that CD has cemented the fact that he is agnostic, but seems reluctant to answer whether he is an agnostic atheist or agnostic theist.

He further appears to have the mistaken notion that atheism requires an absolute belief of the lack of gods, versus a lack of belief that gods exist. I'll admit it is a nuanced difference, but an important one, IMO.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:29   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bren View Post
I have often said the same about theists.

Based on logic and observing alleged theists, I don't believe anybody really believes in god/gods. Among other reasons - First, they seem to have an unsually hard time following simple moral rules that an atheist like me has no problem with - making me very skeptical of how strong their belief in the threat/reward of religion is. Second, they are very, almost hysterically, afraid of letting in any knowledge that could shake their beliefs and are very strict about avoiding contact with evidence or argument that undermines their beliefs. Even those willing to argue, in this forum, are often angry about atheist input.

It's the conduct of people who want to believe, not people who do believe.
I's jus funnin
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:59   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syclone538 View Post
Religious Issues
In the hopes that some useful discussion can actually come out of this thread (unlikely), I do have a question/problem with the graph. I like the idea overall, but there is a coordinate on this chart that doesn't make sense. Imagine an individual that is 100% on the y-axis (completely gnostic), but also located at exactly zero on the x-axis (midway between theist and atheist). What would that person be 100% certain of exactly?
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JBnTX: "Freedom of religion doesn't mean you can worship any God, anyway you see fit or not even worship any God if you so choose. [...] Christianity should be the only religion protected under the constitution, and congress shall make no law restricting its practice."

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Old 01-15-2013, 13:58   #11
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I can't see the graph (blocked by USAF firewall), but it sounds like they would be 100% certain that they don't know if they believe in gods or not?
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Old 01-15-2013, 14:20   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hooligan74 View Post
It seems to me that there is a fairly pervasive misunderstanding of these terms within our society. Here they are as I understand them to be:

Theism: A belief in a god or gods.

Atheism: A lack of belief in a god or gods.

Agnosticism: A lack of certain knowledge regarding the existence of a god or gods - or, in some cases, the belief that knowledge of the existence of a god or gods is unattainable.

If the above definitions are accurate, then one cannot simply describe themselves at "agnostic", they are either agnostic theists or agnostic atheists.

What say you?
You're right. Atheists and agnostics are different degrees of the same thing. Knowledgeable atheists don't say there is no God because that is a logically indefensible as saying there is a God. The only logical position for an atheist to take is there is probably no God. This is where the theists get tripped up. They can't say there probably is a God because that implies a lack of faith.
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Old 01-15-2013, 14:49   #13
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Originally Posted by muscogee View Post
You're right. Atheists and agnostics are different degrees of the same thing. Knowledgeable atheists don't say there is no God because that is a logically indefensible as saying there is a God. The only logical position for an atheist to take is there is probably no God. This is where the theists get tripped up. They can't say there probably is a God because that implies a lack of faith.

Nope, you can be an agnostic theist. You *believe* there is a god/gods, but admit that you don't *know* there is a god/gods. Boom. Agnostic theist.

There are definitely theists and atheists that both claim they *know* that god/gods do/do not exist. Those would be gnostic theists or gnostic atheists.

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Old 01-15-2013, 15:08   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geko45 View Post
In the hopes that some useful discussion can actually come out of this thread (unlikely), I do have a question/problem with the graph. I like the idea overall, but there is a coordinate on this chart that doesn't make sense. Imagine an individual that is 100% on the y-axis (completely gnostic), but also located at exactly zero on the x-axis (midway between theist and atheist). What would that person be 100% certain of exactly?

On this topic, however, you have just illustrated how being gnostic or agnostic doesn't paint the whole picture (I assume that's what you were saying in the above post).

You have to be gnostic/agnostic about *something*. You can't simply say "I'm agnostic" as that means nothing without further context.

I'm looking at you Cavalry Doc....

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Old 01-15-2013, 16:05   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hooligan74 View Post
Nope, you can be an agnostic theist. You *believe* there is a god/gods, but admit that you don't *know* there is a god/gods. Boom. Agnostic theist.

There are definitely theists and atheists that both claim they *know* that god/gods do/do not exist. Those would be gnostic theists or gnostic atheists.
You can't know there is no God so the distinction is a matter of semantics. They're the same thing.
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Old 01-15-2013, 16:11   #16
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Does claiming to know, or thinking you know, count as being gnostic?
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Old 01-15-2013, 16:32   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syclone538 View Post
Does claiming to know, or thinking you know, count as being gnostic?
I would think so. You don't have to be right in order to hold an opinion. Plus, the whole point of this sort of graph is that everything is a matter of degree. No one is perfectly gnostic on either side of the debate. The most devout theist would still have a small amount of doubt as they are still only human. I myself could arguably be the most gnostic atheist here as I think the non-existence of any deity can be known with as much certainty as anything can be known (ie 99.999% certain) allowing only for the same probability that I would assign to santa clause or the easter bunny.
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CavDoc: "You consider yourself as non-religious, and I consider you a religious zealot."

JBnTX: "Freedom of religion doesn't mean you can worship any God, anyway you see fit or not even worship any God if you so choose. [...] Christianity should be the only religion protected under the constitution, and congress shall make no law restricting its practice."
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Old 01-15-2013, 17:14   #18
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If atheism is a religion then not collecting stamps is a hobby.
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Old 01-15-2013, 17:27   #19
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There is a God.
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Old 01-15-2013, 17:37   #20
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There is a God.
You're right. It's me. I'm God.
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Old 01-15-2013, 17:42   #21
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prove it!
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Old 01-15-2013, 17:57   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syclone538 View Post
First, anyone that hasn't seen it should look at
Why is it so hard to admit Atheism is a Religion?
http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1282322

2300 posts and never agreed upon.



Religious Issues




CD, someone that has never heard of any god and never heard of any religion, are they...
theist?
atheist?
gnostic?
agnostic?

I would very much apreciate a yes or no for each of the four.
Honestly, someone that had no clue that a question had ever been asked or heard any postulation on the subject would be simply ignorant of the question.

My answer would be no to all four, as there is not enough information to answer the question yet. If you find such a person, don't tell him anything, and then let me ask him if he believes a god exists or not. Then I can answer more accurately.

It would be like asking a person from the 1800's whether or not Zithromax is good to use for a cold or not.

You'd have to tell them about antibiotics, viruses, and how antibiotics can cure bacterial illnesses, but are not too effective at killing viruses. Of course, it's much more complicated than that, but that's another week long class.


I would label that person as simply ignorant, not in a bad way either. In order to have an opinion, one should at least consider the question first. If the person spontaneously asked themselves the question and came up with an answer they believed, we'd have to know the question they framed to themselves and the answer they arrived at to know for sure.

Last edited by Cavalry Doc; 01-15-2013 at 18:24..
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Old 01-15-2013, 18:06   #23
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prove it!
Thou shall not put the Lord, thy God to the test.
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Old 01-15-2013, 18:18   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hooligan74 View Post
It seems to me that there is a fairly pervasive misunderstanding of these terms within our society. Here they are as I understand them to be:

Theism: A belief in a god or gods.

Atheism: A lack of belief in a god or gods.

Agnosticism: A lack of certain knowledge regarding the existence of a god or gods - or, in some cases, the belief that knowledge of the existence of a god or gods is unattainable.

If the above definitions are accurate, then one cannot simply describe themselves at "agnostic", they are either agnostic theists or agnostic atheists.

What say you?
Sorry for the late reply, but I've been running around a lot today. I had a post already done, but left it for a while and it disappeared when I tried to preview it. So, anyway, here's my take on the subject.

Theist: One who believes there is a deity
Atheist: One who believes that there is no deity
Agnostic: One who believes that they don't know whether there is, or even has been a deity or not.

There are some that like the two dimensional graph. with the ability to know perpendicular to the belief of whether there is or was a deity.

I see things in a linear fashion. Atheism and theism are two sides of the same coin, polar opposites along a gradient of belief in a deity or belief that there is no deity.

Atheist > Atheistic Agnostic > Agnostic < Theistic Agnostic < Theist.

That seems to answer a single question on a single plane much more logically to me. None of us know. If we do, we would have proof to show others that they too could reproduce the results of. It's not there. Whatever happened at the beginning of what now is the nature of the universe, none of us were there to witness it, unless a deity is has a handle on GlockTalk. If so, PM me, I gotta hear that story.

Anyway, this is a very touchy subject for some, because I also see Atheism as a religious belief. Many claim only a passive lack of belief in a deity, but them call all other beliefs a "scourge on the human race that must be eliminated if we are ever to be truly free." or otherwise claim that the elimination of theistic beliefs are one of their primary missions in life. That sure sounds religious to me.

Atheism and Theism are beliefs based on faith. It's very obvious from an agnostic point of view. But I do tend to take the 1st Amendment approach to religion.

Quote:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
So, no religion should be favored by our government, and all the people should feel free to believe and practice their religion the way they want to. Politics is a separate issue, and votes count, both ways.

We have a pretty good balance in the country in my opinion. Many things are legal that are opposed by the religious, many things aren't legal that are opposed by the majority of voters.

It's a representative republic, and that's what you get there. I certainly don't feel repressed. On rare occasions, mildly inconvenienced. After visiting very religiously restrictive countries like Saudi Arabia, where I watched a young boy whacked across the nose with a 1/2 inch cane for not moving fast enough to the mosque during the call to prayer. Yeah, I was a bit pissed, but when visiting in rome, leave the romans alone. Their house, their rules.

So that's it. To the rest that are uncomfortable with other people having other beliefs, get over it already. The day that all of humanity agrees on everything is the day that only one human is left alive. That's gonna be a sad day for a lot of people.
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Old 01-15-2013, 18:26   #25
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Originally Posted by Glock36shooter View Post
Guess that makes me an Agnostic Atheist.
More accurately, your claim of a passive lack of belief would land you in Atheistic Agnostic territory, but your feelings that you must combat other belief systems sure seems to be based on more than a passive lack of belief.

I know accuracy has eluded you lately, but do try.
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