ATHEIST WORLD VIEW
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There's no unified atheist worldview just as there's no unified theist worldview. You can't form a worldview based upon a single question that most people today don't give two hoots about.
I'm curious about the ferocity I see from people in this forum when theists ask for the answer to a question from the "Atheist Worldview".
I get that atheism has no unified view as it just means that we don't believe in god. However, that one factor gives a completely different view on many topics compared to that of a theist. For those whose entire belief systems revolve around the existence of a god, it seems that there is often earnest curiosity about how an atheist might view certain topics, without assuming that all atheists have the same opinion.
Perhaps there's a difference between saying you want to hear about responses from "AN atheist worldview" instead of "THE atheist worldview"? If we were having a conversation about police trust/brutality, I may want to ask POC for their views because POC's worldview is going to be totally different from mine as a white person. But of course, each individual will have their own opinions and experiences as they only have that one thing in common.
It sounds like the term "Atheist Worldview" has been abused in ways that I haven't experienced. I can imagine how that may lead an atheist forum participant to be passionate about ensuring that there's no misunderstanding about our all having different views.
I'm curious whether there's something I'm missing here?
Hey there, Jade. How ya doin", girl? Thought I might give a go at answering your question about why there tends to be such a "revulsion" to the Atheist World View term. This may not be the total reason(s), but it should give you some idea.
Let's use the Stamp Collector analogy, since it is familiar and easy to understand. Say Person 'A' collects stamps. Naturally, person 'A' could have quite a bit in common with other stamp collectors, and share very similar views with those individuals regarding stamp collecting.
Now, Person 'B' does not collect stamps. Has no interest in stamps. Does that mean Person 'B' is suppose to have some common "bonding" views or interests that he shares with all the other non-stamp-collectors in the world? No. Absolutely not.
Let's take it a step further, though. Let's say Person 'B' has no opinion of stamp collectors one way or the other. As far as Person 'B' is concerned, it is none of his business if they collect stamps, just as long as they do not bother him with their hobby. Fair enough, right?
Unfortunately, those who do collect stamps simply cannot understand how any person could NOT LIKE stamp collecting, and it infuriates them (and disturbs them) to have people around who do not collect stamps. As a result, the stamp collectors begin organizing and trying to pass rules that prevent the non-stamp collectors from participating in any major (and most minor) decision-making activities.
And one of the methods used by the stamp collectors is to lump all the non-stamp collectors into one big group and claim that the overall collective view of the non-stamp collector group is detrimental to everybody else. But the ONLY "collective view" non-stamp collectors have is simply that they do not collect stamps. Period. Otherwise, they really have nothing else in common, unless it is just pure coincidence.
In other words, non-stamp collectors would mostly be quite content to simply be left alone and not be bothered by stamp collectors. However, a majority of stamp collectors are not willing to let that happen. Hence the ferocity toward the "Non-Stamp Collectors World View."
Hope that helps.
Re: 'Perhaps there's a difference between saying you want to hear about responses from "AN atheist worldview" instead of "THE atheist worldview"?'
Perhaps they should drop both "atheist" and "world" from the question and just ask "What is your view on x?" The presumption that my view on everything is influenced by being an atheist is just plain silly, as is the presumption that my view on y can be predicted by my view on x. Here's an example: I'm a feminist, but I feel no sisterhood with SWERF and TERF feminists. None. And I'm profoundly relieved they are a tiny, tiny outpost out there on the fringes of feminism. I keep my fingers crossed that if we keep forgetting to send them food and water they'll simply fade away.
Yeah, I totally get where you're coming from with not wanting to be identified with SWERF and TERF feminists. That's a good point.
While I get the analogy and see how it's valuable to a point, I don't think it communicates the ways that atheism can affect worldview. Not being a stamp collector is unlikely to affect someone's views on politics and human rights, while someone being an atheist is quite likely to affect those things.
Thanks to both of you for your insights. I totally agree that it's silly to lump all atheists together, and can also understand a theist expressing a desire to hear from the "atheist perspective/worldview". I'm often curious about the "theist perspective/worldview" while understanding that these opinions vary wildly, but still on the whole seem quite separate from atheist views. Though maybe I need to be more careful about lumping theists together.
Re: "Though maybe I need to be more careful about lumping theists together."
If you can get theists to open up and tell you what they actually believe, the diversity is mind blowing. I've heard "Christian" beliefs no Christian sect would recognise- and that's just discussing religion.
@Stone Jade: "I'm often curious about the "theist perspective/worldview"
There is no such thing.
A belief in God does not dictate a world view. 30,000 Christian sects with all sorts of crazy beliefs. Mormons and their magic underwear or secret handshakes, Islam with it's Jihad and tossing homosexuals off of buildings and where the mention of the prophet can land you in jail or worse, Quakers and their refusal to serve in the armed forces, Mennonites and their refusal to educate themselves past the 6th grade, the Crazed Baptists who protest against dead gay soldiers at their funerals, Evangelic and their talking in tongues or willingness to be bitten by a snake and insisting the world is 6000 years old. This list goes on forever.
It is the religion around the belief that seems to create issues. There are loads of people that quietly believe in a god, pray, and quite possibly believe in miracles without all the craziness. I want to say that if there is a theist world view it is on of some magical force out there someplace willing to intervene. but I can't even say that because the Deists believe in a God that does not intervene at all. Then you have the Pantheists and find out God is just everything and everything is god. There is no Theist World View. The Christians are only pretending.
@Stone Re: "While I get the analogy and see how it's valuable to a point, I don't think it communicates the ways that atheism can affect worldview."
Keep in mind, my analogy was incredibly general and simplified, but I understand what you are trying to say. However, while atheism may have some form of impact on one's personal opinions/views, that impact ranges very widely from subtle to extreme based on the individual. Meaning, that every single person is still a unique being in his/her own right, and if there is anything in common with another atheist, it is pretty much no more or no less coincidence than having anything in common with anybody else. And (if I remember correctly), your primary concern relating to this was why does it seem many atheists become so "hostile" when grouped into some imaginary "Atheist World View" category. Well, primarily (and this is just my personal opinion), I would say it is because your average atheist is considerably independent and is not a big fan of being "labeled" by others, or being told, "since you are an atheist, then this must be what you believe about (insert any subject)." Yet, this is exactly what a majority of theists do in a dishonest attempt to clump us all into one big like-minded group so they can point to "how dangerous" we are to society. So, yeah, I can see where a tad bit of anger might seep out from time to time from atheists who are confronted with such nonsense. Hope I was able to clarify that a little better for you. *grin*
Thanks for everyone's responses. I can definitely see all of your points. Something that I've been adjusting to as a mostly lurker here is how focused this group is on debate and precise usage of words. And I really appreciate that. It just takes some getting used to since I'm accustomed to lazier language use. Ha!
I re-read this thread and it made me remember something I said decades ago.
"Yes, I do have an atheist world view. Absolutists don't matter. The world does."
Hey Jade: @ For those whose entire belief systems revolve around the existence of a god, it seems that there is often earnest curiosity about how an atheist might view certain topics, without assuming that all atheists have the same opinion.
I want to point to something @GLACIER said above. Obviously he needed to expand it a bit. "There is no unified Atheist world view just as there is no Unified Theist world view. "
Theism like atheism DOES NOT HAVE A WORLD VIEW. It is not your belief in god that creates the problem. It is the Dogma You follow. Look at the difference in religions. Mormons - raised millions to defeat prop 8 in California. JW - Isolationists. Quakers, Amish. Christians that believe in science and do not have a problem with abortion. Idiots that stand on street corners near cemeteries where dead soldiers are being burred and insist that God Hates Fags. There are over 30,000 Christian sects and while we can lump some into midstream, there is a whole lot of crazy crap out there. AND IT'S THE CRAZIES, THE ACTIVISTS, THAT GET UP OFF THEIR BUTTS AND INFLUENCE THE LAWS. Do we need to move into ISLAM and their idea of God? The Jains also believe in gods. Shinto has gods. Wica has a goddess. There is nothing at all "Theists" around the world, have in common. There is no theist world view, "WHETHER OR NOT YOU BELIEVE IN A GOD.'
The majority of non-stamp collectors do not have the option of just being left alone. The religious are knocking on out doors, handing us pamphlets in the streets, appearing in our news programs to tell us of God's latest wrath. (See my post on Religious Views of the Hawaiian Volcano.) You have tagged our money with "In god we trust." You push religion in schools. Hell, if the religious could ever get together and agree on something in our culture, we actually would have a Christian nation and it would look exactly like ISLAM or Christianity in the dark ages.
America is not, nor has it ever been a Christian nation. It was founded by groups of religious people who were escaping religious persecution in England. When they arrived in America and recognized the need to form a new government, they all wanted one that WOULD NOT INTERFERE IN RELIGION. They created a SECULAR GOVERNMENT. They did this to PROTECT RELIGION FROM THE GOVERNMENT. We - the atheists - still honor that tradition today. The religious are stepping all over it with their prayer in schools, Bibles in court, oaths to god, etc..... God is a fantasy and has no opinion about anything. Theism, a belief in a god, creates no issue at all. Religions are the problem. Religions are throwing homosexuals off of buildings. Religions are bombing abortion clinics. Religions kill their kids so they can get into heaven.
Don't forget, for the Americas, these "colonist" escaping religious persecution eventually mostly wiped out the native population, and then segregated the few survivors to lousy land they did not want for themselves. And then later brought slaves over from other colonies to work their fields.
Not that the America's settlers were particular worse than any other group of people. Just make no mistake, US history is as bloody and dark as the rest of them.
Sorry, I forgot that I already responded. Now I have two responses. I think they are similar, choose the one you like.
Yes, all people everywhere were equally violent and bloody.
@Glacier Re: Everybody equally violent and bloody
Hey! So not fair! I, for one, am NOT bloody. I have you know I always wash up after being violent. After all, cleanliness is next to godliness, so they say....*arms folded and nose turned up indignantly*...
Edit to add: Plus, I don't want cooties. Ick.
I'm not!!!! How dare you say that. I'm a pacifist. You f(*&*&&*(*&)^&_(&*+)(*+)(*+_ Just wait till I find out where you are. I'm gonna _)(&)(*^*&^)*(&_)(*_*(^(&^%^)(*&+_)( and the horse you rode in on!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hey there, pilgrim, you better smile when you say that.
There are different degrees of atheism. Some atheist may have their belief in science. Some may have their own personal beliefs. Atheists choose what they want to believe in. Regardless, it is not just the whole "god" (I refuse to capitalize it) debate. It can include other religions and/or beliefs.
To clarify forming beliefs about the world is how we *ALL interact with reality. This must necessarily include atheists, but atheism itself is not a belief, but rather the absence or lack of one single belief.
Nor does atheism require any beliefs.
It may sound pedantic but these are important distinctions when the word beliefs are used in a generic sense, a belief that no objective evidence can be demonstrated to support is as far removed from believing a scientific theory like evolution or gravity, as it's possible to get. So we must be careful when we use the word belief as it isn't really a generic term.
IMO asking atheists on "their" world view is like holding a dick measuring contest at an LGBT convention.
I just got back from the dick measuring contest at the Korean national LBGT convention. Did I miss anything?
Sorry to burst that bubble. No atheist believes in anything. They know things. Atheism is fundamentally the "lack" of beliefs, especially in any god or gods. Additionally, atheism is NOT a belief. What you may call my beliefs are actually my knowledge and knowing that knowledge since it is backed up with hard empirical evidence. I do not have beliefs in anything. I may have hypotheses. But, hypotheses are not beliefs. They are conjectures. And in my case, my hypotheses are probably incorrect. Then again, all those other hypotheses, such as string theory and m theory and multiversal existence are probably just as incorrect as my hypothesis that there is ONLY one universe and it has existed forever. But that is another babbling.
Always remember, ONLY religions have beliefs. Not atheists. At least none of the atheists I have ever met.
Clarification: Although I am best described as "militant anti-religionist," that does NOT mean I am going to go out and bomb churches and/or shoot Absolutists in the streets and/or drive a vehicle into a crowd. No, the "militant" is mostly a philosophical mind set. As Absolutists feel it is their moral imperative to save everybody's "soul" even if it kills everybody; for me, it is my moral imperative to rid the human species of ALL religions. However, that shall never happen in my lifetime. But, I am going to do everything within my power to counteract their indoctrination processes which amounts to nothing more than mental rape, emotional molestation, and psychological terrorism.
Yes, I completely despise any AND all religions. I am an equal opportunity anti-bigot if you like. Is there such a thing as an anti-bigot? I mean, since ALL Absolutists are bigots, does that makes us atheists anti-bigots? Well, I should not lump all atheists into that summation. We do have one here who is a transphobic bigot and claims to be atheist...
Damnit. Bad Arakish, bad Arakish. Quit your damned ranting... **sounds of hand smacking in the distance**
Edit: P.S. - Now I saw Sheldon's reply. Dangit.
Your post seems somewhat ironic, as is it not the "atheists" that have redefined "atheism" to try to shift the burden of proof?
The approach seems to be that theism is etymologically something like deity-ism. Which implies a belief that reality is one with one or more deities. It is then suggested that "atheism" is equivalent to "not theism", that it is its logical complement so to speak. As can be seen on this website https://www.define-atheism.com/ where the "official" definition of atheism is an: "absence of belief in deities". So for convenience I will refer to this definition as the "official" definition.
But as I understand it etymologically the "a" is not equivalent to "not", or the logical complement, it equivalent to "without".
So consider these two belief statements.
A) Reality is one with one or more deities.
B) Reality is one without any deities.
They are not logical complements of each other, but they are mutually exclusive. Now with regards to belief about those two statements a person (ignoring ones that don't believe in existence and thus deny that there is reality and ones refusing to think about it) could take one of three positions:
1) a belief that (A) is true and therefore (B) is false
2) a belief that (B) is true and therefore (A) is false
3) not know whether to believe (A) is true or whether to believe (B) is true.
With the older terminology position (1) is known as "theism", position (2) is known as "atheism", and position (3) is known as "agnosticism". For convenience I will refer to this definition of atheism the "common" definition to distinguish it from the "official" definition, that implies atheism is the taking of position (2) or position (3).
I assume those that take position (1) tend to be happy identifying as a theist.
I also assume that those that take position (3) tend to be happy identifying as an agnostic.
And I assume that those that take position (1) or (3) tend to identify the other as the other identifies itself, and tend to identify those that take position (2) as atheists. And that seems to be a problem because those in group (2) tend to prefer the "official" definition mentioned.
But why would those that take position (2) tend to prefer the "official" definition? Well it allows for statements such as people are born atheist, even though they aren't born taking position (2). It also allows new converts to position (2) to hide their belief, as they can say identify as an atheist without exposing their belief in position (2). It also gives new converts to position (2) a sense of expertise in the area, as they can claim that the others "don't understand atheism", and this sense of expertise can be important for those that are keen to be thought of as intelligent regardless of merit, while giving them some cover to avoid justifying their belief in position (2). Though those more familiar with this terminology shift can still simply ask them whether they take position (2) or not. Also a person can converted from position (3) to position (2) more easily, as they their identification of themselves does not change.
So who on this forum takes position (3) but favours the "official" definition of atheism?
Why do those on the forum that do take position (2) that prefer the "official" version prefer that version when it hides their belief (position (2))?
As a side issue here is a quote from Huxley regarding how he came to the word agnostic:
"When I reached intellectual maturity, and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; a Christian or a freethinker, I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until at last I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. "
It is clear that Huxley was using what I refer to as the "common" definition of atheism, because if he had been using the "official" definition he would have identified as one. I got the quote from https://infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/sn-huxley.html if anyone is interested.
If you assume deities do not come in integers (English: if there are no 1/2 deities), then those seem to be complements of each other.
If the above was not complements of each other than this would be wrong as there would need to be additional options. So which is it: are A & B complements of each other or not?
At the time of writing 3 on the forum had agreed with you but 0 disagreed. It seems to me to possibly indicate the poor comprehension abilities of those in this group.
You snipped what was stated so it was out of context. What was actually stated was:
So consider these two belief statements.
A) Reality is one with one or more deities.
B) Reality is one without any deities.
They are not logical complements of each other, but they are mutually exclusive.
Notice the first sentence which you left out. It indicates that (A) and (B) are both belief statements. The logical compliment to a belief that reality is one with one or more deities (which is (A)) is a lack of belief that reality is one with one or more deities. So the logical complement to (A) would be the "official" atheist definition mentioned in the response you were quoting from. I had already spoon fed you that much in the paragraphs preceding the part you quoted. Everyone makes mistakes, and I guess you could have just glanced at it. The weird thing is that 3 others had agreed with you, and no one seemed to notice your obvious mistake.
Hopefully you can re-read it and understand it now, but if you are still having difficulties, just mention it.
Christ, watching apologists torture language using semantics to ignore facts is tedious. As Nyarl points out you are presenting a false dichotomy, as we are not limited to two choices, there is at least one more, which is that we don' t know whether a deity exists. This of course will always apply to deities defined in ways that make them unfalsifiable.
The fact a claim is unfalsifiable does not validate it, quite the opposite in fact, and I would always disbelieve any claim that by definition we can know nothing about.
The lack of a belief is not itself a belief, this is one of the most absurdly stupid pieces of rhetoric some apologists resort to. Lastly you are conflating knowledge with belief, they are not the same thing. Worse you are using the well worn and tediously disingenuous religious apologist trick of trying to imply any beliefs not based on absolute certainty somehow have parity, this is not only absurd, but completely wrong, and absolute certainty is an epistemological impossibility. Objective evidence is what lends weight to whether a claim or idea is valid. The best method humans have for this is by far and away empirical science, and this can also be objectively demonstrated by the impressive record of success it has amassed in a very short time.
Please note when I talk about science's record of success I am referring to it's achievements in explaining the natural physical world and universe, and not to the choices humans make about how that knowledge is used.
Just how slow are you. You are replying to a post that shows that there was no false dichotomy. One clue is that with a dichotomy there are two positions that can be taken, when in the post you are replying to there are 3. One clue to that is that they are labelled (1), (2) and (3).
The issue has nothing to do with whether a statement is falsifiable or not. I didn't suggest a lack of belief is a belief. I clearly distinguished between two definitions of atheism which I refer to as the "official" or the "common".
I am not sure what you mean by your suggestion that I am "trying to imply any beliefs not based on absolute certainty have parity..." where is that suggestion? I don't personally consider a reasonable, logical belief to have parity with an unreasonable illogical belief for example, but I do not see where that even comes up in the post, so do you mean something else by your remark, or is it like with your claim that a false dichotomy had been presented, that you are either being intentionally dishonest, or have not comprehended the post you are replying to.
What position do you take by the way (1), (2) or (3)?
Positions 1 and two are mutually exclusive, but positions 1 and 3, and positions 2 and 3 are not. I do not believe any deities exist, and am agnostic about all claims that are unfalsifiable. It is by definition impossible to know anything about an unfalsifiable claim, and so I am agnostic and withhold belief.
I see no rational reason to believe a claim for which no objective evidence can be demonstrated, and about which nothing can be known. Since god claims are either falsifiable or unfalsifiable like all claims, I treat then accordingly.
"Your post seems somewhat ironic, as is it not the "atheists" that have redefined "atheism" to try to shift the burden of proof?"
Atheism like all words is defined by common usage, so no atheists are not trying to redefine it, certainly not on here since I've been here anyway. Though many theists have tried to define it as an assertion, it is one of Breezy's favourite tricks to try and reverse the burden of proof from the claim a deity exists (theism) to those who disbelieve that claim (atheists).
disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.
This accurately defines my position. As I said I am also an agnostic when god claims are made that are unfalsifiable, like the much used religious apologetics argument "you can't prove god doesn't exist". This of course would axiomatically be true for all unfalsifiable claims.
"A) Reality is one with one or more deities.
B) Reality is one without any deities."
I can disbelieve proposition A without claiming to know that proposition B is true. Proposition B is a claim, it would carry *some burden of proof, and atheism is not a claim. Though some atheists do make this claim of course.
"3) not know whether to believe (A) is true or whether to believe (B) is true."
The definition of agnosticism is the belief that nothing is known or can be known about the nature or existence of something (in this context deities). This does not mean an agnostic does not know whether to believe the claim, you can still believe or disbelieve something even though you take the knowledge position of agnosticism, and again why would I believe something exists if I believe nothing is known or can be known about it? Agnosticism by definition is the position that no compelling evidence exists to support the belief, as such evidence would be knowledge of the claim.