Agnostic pan/polytheist, former atheist here.
If you've ever lived an emotionally authentic life, you'd know there are some things about you and others that simply cannot be explained by logic (ex: why you love certain genres of music. You can give yourself a million logical reasons not to love it, yet you still can't un-love it). You'd know how trying to ''rationalize'' your feelings is ultimately futile, and only leads to confusion and loss of integrity.
However, your atheism's most fundamental tenet is that science and logic are the only valid ways to understand things (I know because I used to believe that). Spiritual proofs are dismissed by default.
So here's the thing: how do you justify that?
Since you definitely care about what's justified and what's not, how do you justify dismissing various methods of justifying things? If you can't do so without resorting to dogmatism, then, well...how are you any better than the other religions you despise?
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Hi Hanni the witch... welcome! Jumping right in, eh? Have you read or hung out here or “stumbled” onto the site? I myself stumbled onto it... anyhoo, just thought I’d “chit chat” first. Interestingly enough I do read/own witch/spell books .
You bring an interesting topic to the table, which in part, I’ll address; “ trying to ''rationalize'' your feelings is ultimately futile, and only leads to confusion and loss of integrity.”
The root of feelings is one’s system of “beliefs” or what is assumed to be true. For myself, through various experiences and “feelings” my goal has been to get to as close to what is “true” as humanly possible with the understanding that it may not be (in some cases, ever so slightly). For myself it’s more like a confidence level...this leads to feelings (both comfortable or uncomfortable) and a deep sense of inner peace because I focus on what is real and have a deep appreciation for life.
“Feelings” themselves are not a tool that leads one to what is true.
Your remarks regarding “dogma” and “religions you despise” are warm and fuzzy, leaving me with a feeling of a bubbling chuckle building within ...
However you defined yourself as an atheist is you - please don’t transfer how you felt in the past onto “us”
Ideas are worthy of ridicule.
FYI - I will define this once, after which I will not “I, as an atheist, with-hold belief in a deity”. Do you need the why?
Forgive me, I'm very socially awkward, so...yeah, let's just dive in straight :P
First and foremost I said I'm a pan/polytheist. Not atheist.
As to the feelings thing, I beg to differ. How do you, say, for example, give a logical explanation of why I am attracted to the same sex or not feeling like my biological sex? There isn't even a truth value in it--my sexual orientation/identity is not based on any assumption that's objectively true or false. And this is just one of the countless examples of feelings that are not rooted in logic.
I propose that it's the other way around--what you believe to be true must have its roots in your feelings. I had my angry atheist phase because I was seeking an identity as a young rebel, and all I knew about religion was that many of them are authoritarian. Now I'm still a rebellious young trans woman, but my knowledge about spirituality has expanded and thus I no longer hold that same position.
And since our ''truths'' depend on our emotions, you can't explore what is and what isn't true without exploring your own emotions. So, ironically, to deny your feelings as something ''real'' is unrealistic. I used to deny the existence of my gender dysphoria precisely because I thought that it wasn't ''real'', and that I could ''remove'' it with science and logic. That had turned out to be utterly futile and killed me inside.
Rant over. Anyway, so, I'd like to hear your response to my question :D
@Hanni ... just read this - I love this thread is fuckin’ active ...
“How do you, say, for example, give a logical explanation of why I am attracted to the same sex or not feeling like my biological sex? There isn't even a truth value in it--my sexual orientation/identity is not based on any assumption that's objectively true or false. And this is just one of the countless examples of feelings that are not rooted in logic.“
I guess that’s one way of looking at it. I don’t know, I’m not a “scientist” in any field - just a human. I don’t look for logic in human behaviour (on an individual basis) that’s hard to pin down. Personally, I don’t give a fuck about gay, strait, trans, etc - I “care and evaluate” a person and then determine my own actions/feelings in response (usually). How do you pin down “gut feelings”, “genius/savant”, “psychopathy”, etc. However study in these fields do move the human condition and relationships with each other towards a better interaction (well being). Was science right regarding “women” at the turn of the 19th century? Or psychology right when being gay was classed as a mental health disorder? What spurred the changes and corrections and additional knowledge- advancement in processes, re-evaluation of methods and in the end (loose term) change? (It wasn’t theists ;) ....
“what you believe to be true must have its roots in your feelings.”
So, sooo close. What you believe to be true “creates” your feelings. For example... I say to you “<£+•. @&’beh mosh,”
What do you feel? Now...
I just said (using alien language) you’re beautiful.
How do you feel?
I just said (using alien language) you’re a social experiment!
Now how do you feel?
I said you are wearing pink pants. Are you? How do you feel? If you aren’t wearing pink pants you might think I’m stupid and laugh at my comment. Or you might think I’m psychic because I’m right. You do “determine” what you believe to be true and the emotions attached to that belief.
It’s the standard of “determining” what is true and buying into “belief systems”.
“I had my angry atheist phase because I was seeking an identity as a young rebel, and all I knew about religion was that many of them are authoritarian.”
I never let go of a god belief based on anger. I came out of a high control-religion and am viewed as an apostate by them (the low of the low) lol. I held my god belief and reasoned myself out of a tangled mess of beliefs my brain was shaped into (by others and myself - a joint project). In the end, I logically came to a final conclusion that I had no reason for belief in god. To this day, no one has offered a “method” to determine as close to humanly possible “what is true” then, for myself, the scientific method.
I find this method keeps me “grounded” in reality. I love mind-candy, but I do not base my life decisions on “inner ideas of truth”. Self-deception is an easy way to feel good and justify about anything.
I’ve never experienced the journey of “gender” identity and my sexual preference was socially acceptable so I didn’t have those issues, however there are other posters on this forum who have.
Well I can't and wouldn't argue against the fact that science/psychology has become very advanced and is constantly changing. But I'd say that we also owe thanks to secular and spiritual culture overall, who fought against traditional Christian patriarchy and made society more tolerant. I would concede that theists hadn't pushed for progress, but that's because they were pretty much all conservative Christians, and new-age/spiritual religions are only emancipated fairly recently.
I see the point of your thought experiment, but my position still stands. Talking with me in an alien language would confuse the hell out of me, and is definitely creepy as f*ck if it's nothing but words (and thus no expressions and body language).
Now how do I explain such feelings? Logically, the best reaction is to shrug it off as something unimportant/irrelevant to me, like Data from Star Trek would've. And yet that's not how our minds are built at all--the emotional human experience seems to stand on its own regardless of logic, and to deny such experience would be like forcing ourselves to become androids.
And the pink pants thing doesn't seem to have much to do with feelings either--your argument is based on presuming that I give a shit about whether or not you're a psychic (and thus, if you're wrong I'd say you're dumb, and if you're right I'd start worshiping you).
But in real life, my response would be confusion--then judging by my relationship with you, I'd either start wondering what you're really trying to say (after all, most communications aren't verbal) or simply get spooked out. ''Are you a psychic?'' probably wouldn't cross my mind to begin with, unless I'm looking for a psychic assistant or something.
As for the final part, all I can say is that I feel your pain, and I stand with you--I, too, know that institutionalized/organized religions are often suppressive and intolerant, and I don't buy the single omnipotent super-good-god bullshit any more than you.
However, this doesn't mean therefore religion is fundamentally not good or unreal--religion is supposed to be a method of exploring spirituality, something science and logic don't do by definition. There could be a religion out there that's suitable for you, no matter how obscure it may be!
@whitefire or Wf13 ;) then ” in real life, my response would be confusion--then judging by my relationship with you, I'd either start wondering what you're really trying to say (after all, most communications aren't verbal) or simply get spooked out. ''”
Yes - awesome. You didn’t buy my bullshit. But we bought the bullshit growing up and when we scrunched our brow and looked confused, we were told the “defect” was in us ...and with soooo many believers and the perfect word of god , “naturally” we were wrong and didn’t understand.
Personally any “idea” of religion doesn’t appeal to me.
Community, shared ideas, asking for help, “bare bones” truth (hopefully with a sense of humor and well meaning intent), responsibility and being held accountable - these I value, and I do find many of these values here.
And don’t forget “Bones” - damn it Jim!
That's really awesome :D
I'm sorry, but it seems that it's not me who's doing a straw man, but it's you who's resorting to pure denial.
Hear me out: isn't it true that atheists (specifically, New Atheists) claim to argue on behalf on science and logic, in which other ways (spiritual, emotional, religious, etc) of knowing things are wrong by default? (And I personally know this because I used to be a staunch atheist just like everybody else here.)
What's more, if you now claim that atheism actually DOES regard non-science/logic as viable, then your usual justifications of atheism would be no more (in)valid than other forms of faith (or, well, other forms of ''thoughts''. I know you don't like the word faith). Therefore, your belief system is now fundamentally paradoxical.
Now, it'd be nice if you resolve this paradox (or, well, admit that your denial).
Hanni the witch...
I’m going with it! You’ve opened my eyes to determining what is true and I’m thankful!
Ryan Reynolds is first on my list. I’m writing him as soon as I’m done this post because I looovvvveee him and I feel he lllooooovvveeeess me...second, I’ve felt what I might describe as anger with my kids, at times, - I’ve often “reasoned” this feeling out, but no more!!!
Oh, the world this has opened up for me! I’m opening my spell book and using it on a many a poster in here! I feel there are some that could use/deserve it!
Stop acting like a child. If you want people to respect you and your opinions, you better stop fooling around and start engaging in debates honestly.
“You talkin’ to me?!?!” “You talkin’ to me?!?!?”
Note: just @poster name when you want their attention
What makes you feel I’m being childish? Interesting...I don’t feel I’m being childish...
Of course you don't, which makes you even more childish.
Also, I think it was you who were replying to me...?
I was pointing out - normally we:
@POSTER to direct their attention to it and to clarify who we are answering/talking to
Some might do that; some might even wear funny hats. Neither are a requirement for atheism. For example: I was an atheist long before I had the foggiest idea what science and logic were even about.
With all due respect, ''some might do that'' is an understate. The entire atheism thing is pretty much based on trumping spirituality with science, as evidenced by what every atheist on this site says.
Entire post above
No it absolutely isn't, atheism is simply the lack of belief in any deity or deities. What atheists may or may not claim doesn't change what atheism means, and this is a very simple concept, just why angry theists can't or won't understand it is baffling. Nyarlathotep even took the time to illustrate your error with a simple analogy, and it clearly went way over your head.
I am an atheist, which means I don't believe in any deity or deities, now you can know this and only this about me based on my claim to be an atheist. All else I would need to make you aware of. Do try to grasp this...and why your errant claims assigning beliefs and claims to atheists generally is facile nonsense.
''atheism is simply the lack of belief in any deity or deities''
Did I mention I used to be a staunch atheist just like all of you? Do you really think I don't know this?
What I'm trying to do is to discuss whether or not this position is justified.
Yet you just keep repeating the same old rhetoric and not answering my questions. I don't know, looks like a red herring fallacy?
@ hanni the witch
"The entire atheism thing is pretty much based on trumping spirituality with science, as evidenced by what every atheist on this site says."
I must assume you are basing your definition of an atheist from your own personal experience, because that is definitely what my path to becoming an atheist was not.
I was raised a theist, left organized religion at approximately the age of 20, and spent the next 40+ years attempting to get closer to my definition of a god and it's spirituality. I did a lot of researching and talking to religious leaders. Over the years I slowly exhausted and eliminated a lot of nonsense based purely on common sense. After discovering the many atheist videos, I was able to form my thoughts, and came to the inescapable conclusion I was an atheist.
For myself, it is not a simple case of "science trumps spirituality" but finding the right tool to use in separating reality from imagination and woo woo.
For myself, rational and critical thinking trumps imaginary concepts.
You're right about organized religion being fulled of unjustified bullshit, and much of ''spirituality'' blatantly misunderstanding the physical world. You're absolutely right about this.
But still, this doesn't mean that spirituality is just ''imaginary''; after all, spirituality is all about human experiences isn't at odds with science at all. Yes, many spiritual people misunderstand science, but science people also misunderstand spirituality, so it's both ways.
So my point stands still even though I basically agree with you. There isn't a ''reality vs. imaginary'' dichotomy because spirituality and science explores fundamentally different things--both are about reality (after all, human experiences are part of reality).
@ hanni the witch
We may be talking about two different concepts. To avoid confusion, could you please offer your definition of "spirituality"?
@Nyar...you’re up?!?! I thought I was the only one with weird sleeping patterns (it’s 4:11am)
Yeah, my scheduled is all messed up. I seem to be sleeping in 2, four hour shifts, a day.
@hanni the witch
Oh dear, YET ANOTHER ONE.
"So here's the thing: how do you justify that?"
You seem a bit confused. An atheist is simply a person who does not believe in gods.
NOTHING ELSE IS IMPLIED OR INFERRED. I need justify nothing, as I have no agenda about what you think believe. .
"However, your atheism's most fundamental tenet is that science and logic are the only valid ways to understand things"
WRONG :There are no tenets for this atheist. I simply disbelieve (due to to a lack of evidence. Alack of belief in god(s) is not a philosophical , moral or political position. Atheism is a morally neutral position.
"----how are you any better than the other religions you despise?"
Hav we met? I don't think so,. Yet you have the arrogance to presume to know what I and other atheists think about anything .
-"-how are you any better than the other religions you despise?"
Oh for fuck sake. A final non question; I do not despise any religion, nor do I think I'm better than any theist . I don't think I'm better than any other person. However, I think I'm probably better informed and better read than most of the apologists we get here. The same goes for all the atheist members on this site, so far, imo.
From your post,I can't work out if you are simply an ignorant believer or a troll. Doesn't really matter to me you understand, the outcome will be the same . I will do my best to ignore you. But don't worry, there are a few here who will engage you simply for the entertainment value. As far as I can see, apologists on atheist forums hold the position of village idiot, which one doesn't see very often these days.
''You seem a bit confused. An atheist is simply a person who does not believe in gods.
NOTHING ELSE IS IMPLIED OR INFERRED. I need justify nothing, as I have no agenda about what you think believe.''
It's not me who's confused, but it's you who's flat-out paradoxical. You explained what atheism is (which I already know because I HAD BEEN ONE), then claim it has no agenda.
Do you think climate change deniars don't have an agenda? What about flat-earthers? If it's obvious that they have agendas, on what ground should I NOT think atheism and every other -isms have agendas as well? And why even be ashamed of agendas (after all, agendas can be pushed with a good cause)?
''WRONG :There are no tenets for this atheist. I simply disbelieve (due to to a lack of evidence. Alack of belief in god(s) is not a philosophical , moral or political position. Atheism is a morally neutral position.''
OK, I feel like talking to a brick wall now. You keep repeating your position (which I already know) as if it's an escape mechanism. Now tell me: one what GROUNDS does an atheist argue?
And what's ridiculous is that you just claimed that atheism is not a philosophical position. I'm sorry, I don't insulting people, but this is level 100 ignorance.
''Hav we met? I don't think so,. Yet you have the arrogance to presume to know what I and other atheists think about anything .''
Why do you have the arrogance the presume to think I DON'T know? Tell you what, I had been a staunch atheist who read every Dawkins book and rehearsed every argument.
And to make it clear, by ''then how are you better than the other religions you despise'' I mean: if atheists cannot prove that their reasoning is superior, then they're no more logical than other belief systems, notably the religions they despise.
READ the text if you want a meaningful debate!
I'm astonished that you just straight out called me ignorant/a troll, without justifying said accusation. And those vicious insults. Sheesh. No wonder people like you have such a bad, bad reputation :P
A basic grasp of language, and the ability to read a dictionary.
1. disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.
See, no mention of agendas, science, logic, or any beliefs or claims, just the lack or absence of one particular belief. You are projecting your own views onto atheists and as cranky47 says, it's pretty arrogant. If you want to debate on here try asking what people think, rather than telling them. You could also explain why you think your religious beliefs don't need to be properly evidenced, as its pretty facile to simply claim they are beyond physical examination, if all they are based on is blind assertion then they have no epistemological justification. Besides, it is axiomatic that all non existent things are beyond physical examination, so you are placing your beliefs in the fiction category yourself with this claim.
Again, don't you know that I've known the definition of atheism since like, 7th grade?
Throwing dictionary stuff at me doesn't prove your point. It's a DESCRIPTION of what it is, and that's IT.
What if I lacked belief in a round Earth?
What if I lacked belief in giraffes?
What if I lacked belief in fedoras?
What if I lacked belief in the Indian Ocean?
What if I lacked belief in Napoleone?
You see what I mean? You see how unconvincing your rhetoric is?
''You are projecting your own views onto atheists and as cranky47 says, it's pretty arrogant.''
For the very last time, I LITERALLY WAS YOU. I used to be staunch atheist like any of you, having had memorized every same old argument.
So it's not me projecting ''my own views'' onto you, it's you who are stubbornly denying obvious facts (and you're not good at it either), just because it is in disfavor of atheism. This is REALLY frustrating because this is NOT what a good debate should look like.
''You could also explain why you think your religious beliefs don't need to be properly evidenced, as its pretty facile to simply claim they are beyond physical examination, if all they are based on is blind assertion then they have no epistemological justification.''
Sure, let me explain (once again!).
Since you're demanding physical proof for non-physical things, there is and never can be satisfactory evidence for you, and thus making atheism unfalsifiable because you can never be disproven in this sense.
Given this, how is atheism better than those crackpot creationist theories?
That seems false.
Oh I agree, in that your description of atheism is so cartoonish that of course you have nothing but ridicule for atheists. I'm suggesting that is by design.
I'm sorry that you don't like my description, but really? Do you really like being offended by the slightest incongruence? I didn't insult you personally (whereas you guys keep doing that to ME), so what's even your complaint?
What's more, I was presenting my inquiry in a philosophical context, my intent is to have a rational debate. Whining about me not saying exactly as you want is not constructive at all. Remember: all thoughts are subject to questioning!
Also, you're quoting me out of context. I was arguing that if you demand physical evidence for non-physical things, then there can't be satisfactory evidence for you, resulting in atheism being unfalsifiable. And since you've got the brains, why don't you start with presenting your counterarguments?