The Instigator
Yvette
Pro (for)
Winning
31 Points
The Contender
bpv1
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points

Atheism is a lack of belief in a god

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 11 votes the winner is...
Yvette
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/10/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,701 times Debate No: 12307
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (21)
Votes (11)

 

Yvette

Pro

I disagree with a statement bpv1 has made and I would like to get deeper into this subject with him than he had in the debate where it was made (which was with another person). I thank bpv1 for accepting my challenge and look forward to our debate.

I take issue with bpv1's statement about whether atheism is a belief, namely, I quote:

"There can be only two positions out of which one may be the absolute truth regarding the existence of God.

Statement 1> God Exists
Statement2> God Does Not Exist."

This is what is known as a false dilemma, as absurd as claiming only two political beliefs exist--there are anarchists, communists, socialists, progressives, ignorants, apathetics, reactionaries, conservatives, fascists, etc, etc, etc. Similarly, these are not the only two things which an individual might believe about the existence of a god. A person might believe in more than one god, or in the existence of a creator(s) but not gods, or a person may lack any belief in a deity at all.

It happens sometimes that theist dictionary writers record atheism as they see it, which has always been in the unflattering and easy-to-attack light that my opponent's statements show.

I will give an example: I may have heard from all my friends that a pink floating teapot capable of changing viewers' hair color instantly is on display at the local museum. I may be skeptical, but I do not deny it's existence. I simply doubt (doubt: defined as "a status between belief and disbelief, involves uncertainty or distrust or lack of sureness of an alleged fact") whether my friends really had their hair color changed by a pink floating teapot on display at the local museum (especially when their hair remains the same color). I make no claim it does not exist. I am simply doubtful.
bpv1

Con

I thank Yvette for the challenge.

["There can be only two positions out of which one may be the absolute truth regarding the existence of God.]

Statement 1> God Exists
Statement2> God Does Not Exist."

[This is what is known as a false dilemma, as absurd as claiming only two political beliefs exist--there are anarchists, communists, socialists, progressives, ignorants, apathetics, reactionaries, conservatives, fascists, etc, etc, etc. Similarly, these are not the only two things which an individual might believe about the existence of a god. A person might believe in more than one god, or in the existence of a creator(s) but not gods, or a person may lack any belief in a deity at all. ]

I do not understand how my opponent could compare the existence of God, ‘an absolute idea' with the various political BELIEFS.

With your permission let me rephrase and simplify the question of existence.
Statement 1> Yvette Exist
Statement 2> Yvette Do Not exist

I would request my friend to please enumerate the other possibilities of absolute nature (not with reference to anything else) as statement 3, 4, 5 etc.
Debate Round No. 1
Yvette

Pro

We both agree that a thing either exists or it doesn't. We have no disagreement on that point. What we disagree about is whether it is possible to not believe in something. According to you, it is only possible to believe in something and to believe it does not exist.

If that is true, the Pirah´┐Ż people must simply not exist.

Now let's get back to your statement of my existence. At the present time, I either exist or I do not. Again, you have no disagreement there. But let's say a friend of mine is trying to convince their friend how incredibly cool I am.

"Why Billy Bob, you wouldn't believe how mind-bogglingly awesome Yvette is! She's a millionaire!"

"Why, you're right," their friend might reply. "I don't believe it at all."

Billy Bob accepts that his friend may indeed have a millionaire as an ally, that I may indeed exist. But he is not convinced, because it is an extraordinary claim which is dubious at best. It is possible, but dubious. His position is one of doubt. He does not believe I exist, at least not as his friend defines me, yet he doesn't deny my existence either.

According to you, this situation is impossible, am I correct?
bpv1

Con

Thanks for the post…

[Billy Bob accepts that his friend may indeed have a millionaire as an ally, that I may indeed exist. But he is not convinced, because it is an extraordinary claim which is dubious at best. It is possible, but dubious. His position is one of doubt. He does not believe I exist, at least not as his friend defines me, yet he doesn't deny my existence either.]

[According to you, this situation is impossible, am I correct?]

I won't say that this situation is impossible. This is a purely relative scenario. A friend of you explaining about you to somebody else is not going to impact your absolute nature and no property of you will be altered, but the understanding of Billy Bob about you. The way your friend explain you to Billy Bob, Billy Bob's imagination and experience with similar stories etc. will determine the way he cognizes it.

[What we disagree about is whether it is possible to not believe in something. According to you, it is only possible to believe in something and to believe it does not exist.]

Of-Course it is possible no to believe in something. "You can claim that you experienced a miracle and I can reject it because I do not believe in such things" Belief is personal and is irrespective of the fact and the absolute reality. It is determined by one's understanding, perception and conceptualization in the mind.

You can believe in either of the following:

1>The universe is finite
2>The universe is infinite

1>God Exists
2>God do not exist

1>The Universe was created
2>The universe is not created

1>There is life after death
2>There is no life after death

You can't believe in both the statements simultaneously. Believing in statement 1, by default, qualifies you to be a non believer of statement 2 and vice versa.

The idea of God is absolute. Lack of belief is no an intermediate between belief and non-belief it is non belief itself.
Debate Round No. 2
Yvette

Pro

RESPONSES
"I won't say that this situation is impossible. This is a purely relative scenario. A friend of you explaining about you to somebody else is not going to impact your absolute nature and no property of you will be altered, but the understanding of Billy Bob about you. The way your friend explain you to Billy Bob, Billy Bob's imagination and experience with similar stories etc. will determine the way he cognizes it."

You present zero reasoning for why lack of belief is impossible in one scenario and possible in another. If anything, lack of belief is less possible in daily life and more possible with intangible, far-out supernatural concepts. Whether or not I believe in a god is not going to impact me either unless I choose to live my life differently because of it.

"Of-Course it is possible no to believe in something. "You can claim that you experienced a miracle and I can reject it because I do not believe in such things" Belief is personal and is irrespective of the fact and the absolute reality. It is determined by one's understanding, perception and conceptualization in the mind."

This contradicts the claim you just made above that belief is irrespective of the fact and the absolute reality.

"You can't believe in both the statements simultaneously. Believing in statement 1, by default, qualifies you to be a non believer of statement 2 and vice versa."

You've already stated above that it's possible to not believe something, yet still haven't presented a reason why it's not possible for theological concepts. And let me make this clear: you also contradict yourself because you just stated it's possible to be a non-believer of one of the two statements. There is no reason why you cannot be a non-believer of both.

"The idea of God is absolute. Lack of belief is no an intermediate between belief and non-belief it is non belief itself."

Non-belief IS a lack of belief. It's the same thing.

CONCLUSION
My opponent's position that lack of belief in a god is impossible is arbitrary and a matter of convenience. He has failed to present any reasoning for why this must be so and contradicted himself.
bpv1

Con

Thanks Yvette for the post….

My opponent is confused with absolute concepts and Relative ideas and seems like, trying to explain both with the same relative terms.

"Of-Course it is possible no to believe in something."

This is purely personal as explained in the previous post.

"You can't believe in both the statements simultaneously"

I think this may not require much explanation. You have claimed yourself to be an atheist and so you must be in a position to reject one of the statements from each category mentioned in the previous post. Unless you do so, you contradict yourself.

Atheism: http://en.wikipedia.org...

Saying that you lack belief, you do not reject the existence of God. You believe that God may Exist. It is no different from, the position where Dobzhansky or Richard Dawkins saying that life and all the creatures might be created, but we don't believe, and call themselves as Evolutionists.

First you need to define yourself whether you are an Atheist, Weak atheist or and agnostic. My opponent's claim of ‘lack of belief' does not apply all the atheists who strongly deny and disbelieve the existence of God. Con's position i.e. lack of belief in God (quite personal) believed by her to be as atheism but insubstantial to distinguish her from an atheistic position that denies the existence of God.

As Con's explanation of ‘lack of belief' is from her own personal understanding alone and so it can't be generalized.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Con challenged the debate saying that more positions can exist than the below mentioned, on the question of existence of God.
[Statement 1> God Exists] [Statement2> God Does Not Exist]

Con failed to list any than taking the discussion to different directions.

Con has confused with God with various religions comparing it with political parties.
Debate Round No. 3
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
Roy:
You've forgotten "probably yes" and "probably no". You can find something unlikely or think to a reasonable agree that it is true/untrue while recognizing that you cannot know for sure. That, after all, is how science works.
Posted by Cogito-ergo-sum 6 years ago
Cogito-ergo-sum
@ Roy
99.9% Agreements is high, also means you have a 0.1% of being right though, doesn't it? Religion is just a war of attrition and if you happen to be on the side of a winning army (I base this on imperial/religious conquests - e.g the Crusades). Plus you've created a dichotomy in that a Christian is an atheist with regards to anyone else's God but their own, it doesn't make sense.

Before the 'birth' of Christ it was common to call someone an Atheist - http://en.wiktionary.org...
Or Websters state it to be 1551 - http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
I count ten ways to respond to the question "Does god exist?"

1. Yes
2. No
3. I don't know.
4. The question assumes a false premise, that God either exists or does not
5. The answer is irrelevant, so I do not consider it
6. I don't understand the question ( perhaps due to having no concept of god)
7. The question is meaningless because eithr the property of existence does not apply to God or the concept of God is nonsensical
8. I have promised not to tell, sorry
9. Only a priest and/or full professor is qualified to say, so I cannot
10. The question is incomplete, you must further specify "God" to be answered

Some of these work better than others.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
cogito, "What would you call someone who no longer believed in Zeus? Ra? et cetera."

If they did not believe in another god, then they would be "atheists." If they took up belief in another god, then they would be "converts." Note that Christians, or any other monotheist, agrees with atheists in not believing in 2499 of the 2500 (or so) monotheistic gods recorded and also in not believing in any of the tens of thousands of gods of polytheistic religions. That's better than 99.9% agreement!

Around 1800 it was common to call any non-Christian an "atheist." Jefferson was a Deist, and so the city of Philadelphia banned all of Jefferson's writings from their public libraries as works of an "atheist." The ban was not lifted until 1840. Historical usage can be confusing.
Posted by Atheism 6 years ago
Atheism
Yeah, it made me just facepalm.
Posted by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
Oh, man. That was a pretty hilarious gem there at the end wasn't it?
Posted by Atheism 6 years ago
Atheism
//Con challenged the debate saying that more positions can exist than the below mentioned, on the question of existence of God.
[Statement 1> God Exists] [Statement2> God Does Not Exist]

Con failed to list any than taking the discussion to different directions.

Con has confused with God with various religions comparing it with political parties.//
Please note this was from CON'S ARGUMENT! He therefore just forfeited the debate, attacking all of is own points, unwittingly or not. Automatic 7 points for pro.
Posted by Cogito-ergo-sum 6 years ago
Cogito-ergo-sum
@RoyLatham

What would you call someone who no longer believed in Zeus? Ra? et cetera.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
cogito. The dichotomy is between those who have a belief in a god and those who have no belief in a god. That's both clear and useful.

The term for someone who doesn't believe in astrology is "skeptic." Religion is important, so it gets a special term, but but it is often useful to have a word for non-believers in other theories. For example, those who don't believe in global warming crisis are also skeptics.
Posted by Cogito-ergo-sum 6 years ago
Cogito-ergo-sum
@RAVEWAEN
I mentioned this to Yvette, I disagree with the term Atheist as it is a redundant position to be in.
Someone who has no concept of God isn't an atheist, it is a non-position, what would you define someone like that as?
Also, as Sam Harris said so eloquently, what is the term for a non-Astrologer? One doesn't exist.
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