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Theism/Atheism Dichotomy

R0b1Billion
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2/18/2013 12:52:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
After many years of highly-contemplative atheistic/agnostic thinking, I am starting to lose the distinction between theism and atheism. For the studious, science reveals, predicts, and innovates new ways of contemplating the universe. For the religious, God provides a sense of purpose, morality, and direction in life. These two concepts really should not contradict.

Religion is never going to pass scientific muster. It never has, and it never will. But science is never going to be complete as a paradigm in and of itself. It has shown no indications of ever being able to capture the essence of the human psyche. There is always going to be a spiritual side of human existence, and once you accept this, the difference between theism and atheism falls away. The theist cannot accurately define God, and I've not witnessed too many that have tried. God to the theist is not different from whatever spiritual connection the atheist uses to explain the reality around her.

But aren't there atheists that aren't spiritual, or who are completely materialistic? I would argue that there aren't, because there is no scientific basis to conclude that your free will, emotions, etc. are a result of pieces of matter flying around and interacting physically/chemically. Holding out for the day when the "life" force is found is hardly scientific reasoning, since you would obviously not be looking for truth, but more-so for science that fits your mold of "truth."

The atheist lives a spiritual life as much as the most devout theist. Whenever we laugh and cry we are exercising spirituality - things that make no scientific sense but that we understand at a level more real than science will ever be. The theist envisions an entity that controls the life we see around us, but is that any different, in any meaningful sense, than the Gaia hypothesis? Atheists see scientific processes that explain nature, but "Gaia" (or "nature") could be construed to be God if looked at in a certain perspective. God could have created the big bang; God could be the Gaia energy, God could be a never-ending nothingness that somehow produces life. God isn't a white man, with a white beard and robe, who is constantly judging us, punishing us, and getting angry about our sins. God is simply whatever you want to call the reason we exist.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
TolerantSpirit
Posts: 37
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2/18/2013 12:54:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
But aren't there atheists that aren't spiritual, or who are completely materialistic? I would argue that there aren't...

From that point your argument just went rather downhill...
Think before you talk.
TolerantSpirit
Posts: 37
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2/18/2013 12:56:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/18/2013 12:54:53 PM, TolerantSpirit wrote:
But aren't there atheists that aren't spiritual, or who are completely materialistic? I would argue that there aren't...

From that point your argument just went rather downhill...

However up to that point it was pretty good.
Think before you talk.
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,732
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2/18/2013 1:23:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/18/2013 12:56:24 PM, TolerantSpirit wrote:
At 2/18/2013 12:54:53 PM, TolerantSpirit wrote:
But aren't there atheists that aren't spiritual, or who are completely materialistic? I would argue that there aren't...

From that point your argument just went rather downhill...

However up to that point it was pretty good.

You can't explain your spirit through science, and you can't ignore the fact that you have feelings and thoughts that don't obey any laws of physics. You could say "I believe that some-day science will explain thoughts and emotions" but that is a spiritual argument since science has no dictum that science shall explain (or account) for anything more than it currently does. We are inherently spiritual beings whether we like to admit it or not and we won't ever have all the "answers."
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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2/18/2013 1:42:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/18/2013 1:23:52 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
You can't explain your spirit through science, and you can't ignore the fact that you have feelings and thoughts that don't obey any laws of physics. You could say "I believe that some-day science will explain thoughts and emotions" but that is a spiritual argument since science has no dictum that science shall explain (or account) for anything more than it currently does. We are inherently spiritual beings whether we like to admit it or not and we won't ever have all the "answers."

I wouldn't claim we'll ever have all the answers...

But it does indeed seem as though we're as you say: bit's of matter flying around and interacting physically and chemically.

We observe Regular, direct, correlation between brain injury and certain emotional/psychological changes... It seems that particular parts of the brain deal with different aspects of how we think and we're getting more and more information about how it all works All the Time..

I'm not saying we'll ever have an Absolute/full picture of it...

but the brain is made of physical parts... neurons.. which act in regular, predictable, physically dictated manners....

Sure, it's super-complicated, and we might never understand it fully... but that is Absolutely NOT a reason to claim that there's anything Supernatural going on..

It would seem (remember brain-injuries) that our particular manner of Conscious existence, our "Psyche" and all, is a phenomenon that relies upon/is dictated by your Brain, a Physical thing that reacts in Regular physical ways....

It's ridiculous and unsupportable to say any more about it as there's no reason to think you've got a soul hiding somewhere in some alternate plane of existence mirroring the real world ;)
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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2/18/2013 3:40:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/18/2013 12:52:27 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
After many years of highly-contemplative atheistic/agnostic thinking, I am starting to lose the distinction between theism and atheism.

Theism is a belief in god.
Atheism is the negation of that.

For the studious, science reveals, predicts, and innovates new ways of contemplating the universe. For the religious, God provides a sense of purpose, morality, and direction in life. These two concepts really should not contradict.

Inasmuch as science leads us to a true depiction of reality, and god doesn't exist, then they should contradict. At this point, though, you've conflated atheism with science and theism with religion. While it may seem inevitable that one leads to the other, this is not necessarily the case. Atheists can eschew science and theists can eschew religion.


Religion is never going to pass scientific muster. It never has, and it never will. But science is never going to be complete as a paradigm in and of itself.

You'll have to explain further on this.

paradigm - A worldview underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject.
https://www.google.com...

It would seem that scientific theories, by definition, are paradigms.

It has shown no indications of ever being able to capture the essence of the human psyche.

Science often shows no indications of ever being able to capture the essence of some components of reality ... until it does.

There is always going to be a spiritual side of human existence, and once you accept this, the difference between theism and atheism falls away.

Well, no, for several reasons:

1. Spirituality is a different subject than god, and I'm not sure that one entails the other, even if some depictions of god certainly include an underlying conception of spirituality. In short: you can believe in one without believing in the other. Thus, even if some form of spirituality were to be true, it need not affect the status of atheism or theism since it doesn't necessarily have any bearing on whether or not a god or gods exist (let alone whether or not people will suddenly start/stop believing).

2. Even if spirituality entailed a god (and we ignored the belief component), it wouldn't eliminate the distinction between theism and atheism, it would simply eliminate the actual adherents. Theism will still refer to a belief in god and atheism would still be its negation.

3. What's spirituality?

The theist cannot accurately define God, and I've not witnessed too many that have tried. God to the theist is not different from whatever spiritual connection the atheist uses to explain the reality around her.

To say that there is an "accurate" definition of god presumes that a god-being exists against which we could measure the accuracy of any definition. Rather, I'll concede that the definitions are accurate by default, in the sense that they accurately portray the concept attempting to be conveyed, merely leaving open the question of whether or not it refers to an existing object with said attributes.


But aren't there atheists that aren't spiritual, or who are completely materialistic? I would argue that there aren't, because there is no scientific basis to conclude that your free will, emotions, etc. are a result of pieces of matter flying around and interacting physically/chemically. Holding out for the day when the "life" force is found is hardly scientific reasoning, since you would obviously not be looking for truth, but more-so for science that fits your mold of "truth."

That some belief may not be grounded in scientific reasoning, or even rational reasoning, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.


The atheist lives a spiritual life as much as the most devout theist. Whenever we laugh and cry we are exercising spirituality - things that make no scientific sense but that we understand at a level more real than science will ever be. The theist envisions an entity that controls the life we see around us, but is that any different, in any meaningful sense, than the Gaia hypothesis? Atheists see scientific processes that explain nature, but "Gaia" (or "nature") could be construed to be God if looked at in a certain perspective. God could have created the big bang; God could be the Gaia energy, God could be a never-ending nothingness that somehow produces life. God isn't a white man, with a white beard and robe, who is constantly judging us, punishing us, and getting angry about our sins. God is simply whatever you want to call the reason we exist.

Sorry, but until you explain what spirituality is, and how it is exercised by expressing emotions, this entire paragraph is meaningless. Atheism is about what we believe, not how we act. Being an atheist doesn't mean I have to explain or justify anything through the lens of scientific reasoning.

This post is little more than: atheists and theists act the same according to some high-level generalization, therefore they are the same!

You say you are losing the distinction between atheism and theism. Let's test that.

Person 1: "I believe in a god."
Person 2: "I don't believe in any god or gods."

Which one's the atheist and which one's the theist? Be honest now.
TolerantSpirit
Posts: 37
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2/18/2013 4:30:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/18/2013 3:40:15 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 2/18/2013 12:52:27 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
After many years of highly-contemplative atheistic/agnostic thinking, I am starting to lose the distinction between theism and atheism.

Theism is a belief in god.
Atheism is the negation of that.

For the studious, science reveals, predicts, and innovates new ways of contemplating the universe. For the religious, God provides a sense of purpose, morality, and direction in life. These two concepts really should not contradict.

Inasmuch as science leads us to a true depiction of reality, and god doesn't exist, then they should contradict. At this point, though, you've conflated atheism with science and theism with religion. While it may seem inevitable that one leads to the other, this is not necessarily the case. Atheists can eschew science and theists can eschew religion.


Religion is never going to pass scientific muster. It never has, and it never will. But science is never going to be complete as a paradigm in and of itself.

You'll have to explain further on this.

paradigm - A worldview underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject.
https://www.google.com...

It would seem that scientific theories, by definition, are paradigms.

It has shown no indications of ever being able to capture the essence of the human psyche.

Science often shows no indications of ever being able to capture the essence of some components of reality ... until it does.

There is always going to be a spiritual side of human existence, and once you accept this, the difference between theism and atheism falls away.

Well, no, for several reasons:

1. Spirituality is a different subject than god, and I'm not sure that one entails the other, even if some depictions of god certainly include an underlying conception of spirituality. In short: you can believe in one without believing in the other. Thus, even if some form of spirituality were to be true, it need not affect the status of atheism or theism since it doesn't necessarily have any bearing on whether or not a god or gods exist (let alone whether or not people will suddenly start/stop believing).

2. Even if spirituality entailed a god (and we ignored the belief component), it wouldn't eliminate the distinction between theism and atheism, it would simply eliminate the actual adherents. Theism will still refer to a belief in god and atheism would still be its negation.

3. What's spirituality?

The theist cannot accurately define God, and I've not witnessed too many that have tried. God to the theist is not different from whatever spiritual connection the atheist uses to explain the reality around her.

To say that there is an "accurate" definition of god presumes that a god-being exists against which we could measure the accuracy of any definition. Rather, I'll concede that the definitions are accurate by default, in the sense that they accurately portray the concept attempting to be conveyed, merely leaving open the question of whether or not it refers to an existing object with said attributes.


But aren't there atheists that aren't spiritual, or who are completely materialistic? I would argue that there aren't, because there is no scientific basis to conclude that your free will, emotions, etc. are a result of pieces of matter flying around and interacting physically/chemically. Holding out for the day when the "life" force is found is hardly scientific reasoning, since you would obviously not be looking for truth, but more-so for science that fits your mold of "truth."

That some belief may not be grounded in scientific reasoning, or even rational reasoning, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.


The atheist lives a spiritual life as much as the most devout theist. Whenever we laugh and cry we are exercising spirituality - things that make no scientific sense but that we understand at a level more real than science will ever be. The theist envisions an entity that controls the life we see around us, but is that any different, in any meaningful sense, than the Gaia hypothesis? Atheists see scientific processes that explain nature, but "Gaia" (or "nature") could be construed to be God if looked at in a certain perspective. God could have created the big bang; God could be the Gaia energy, God could be a never-ending nothingness that somehow produces life. God isn't a white man, with a white beard and robe, who is constantly judging us, punishing us, and getting angry about our sins. God is simply whatever you want to call the reason we exist.

Sorry, but until you explain what spirituality is, and how it is exercised by expressing emotions, this entire paragraph is meaningless. Atheism is about what we believe, not how we act. Being an atheist doesn't mean I have to explain or justify anything through the lens of scientific reasoning.

This post is little more than: atheists and theists act the same according to some high-level generalization, therefore they are the same!

You say you are losing the distinction between atheism and theism. Let's test that.

Person 1: "I believe in a god."
Person 2: "I don't believe in any god or gods."

Which one's the atheist and which one's the theist? Be honest now.

http://i188.photobucket.com...
Think before you talk.
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,732
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4/1/2013 2:59:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Theism is a belief in god.
Atheism is the negation of that.

You cannot disbelieve in something that was not believed already to begin with. If you didn't believe in god, you would have nothing to negate.

For the studious, science reveals, predicts, and innovates new ways of contemplating the universe. For the religious, God provides a sense of purpose, morality, and direction in life. These two concepts really should not contradict.

Inasmuch as science leads us to a true depiction of reality, and god doesn't exist, then they should contradict.

Science doesn't tell us that Star Trek transporters can function. That is not to say that science contradicts Star Trek transporters.

At this point, though, you've conflated atheism with science and theism with religion. While it may seem inevitable that one leads to the other, this is not necessarily the case. Atheists can eschew science and theists can eschew religion.

I've essentially conflated them, yes, to show that there are mainly two schools of thought in my country: religious Christians and scientific atheists. And I'm saying that I don't recognize the real disagreement between them. Evolutionist versus creationist? "God" might as well have set off the big bang and designed the evolutionary process himself. What's the beef?

Religion is never going to pass scientific muster. It never has, and it never will. But science is never going to be complete as a paradigm in and of itself.

You'll have to explain further on this.

paradigm - A worldview underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject.
https://www.google.com...

It would seem that scientific theories, by definition, are paradigms.

Agreed. But these paradigms, in and of themselves, don't approach questions like why we're here, what constitutes consciousness, or what the difference is between the living and the non-living (we cannot create life, and thus don't have a clue what it's made of). Furthermore, even the most rigorously-explored scientific theories are subject to interpretation. For the same reason Democrats and Republicans can interpret the data to "clearly" show their side is in the right (even when it's the same data on the same subject), scientists and the religious can interpret scientific data to provide their own faith-based conclusions. An atheist might see the big bang as a result of random quantum fluctuations, and a theist might see it as god snapping his fingers. They are not necessarily saying anything different, they are simply applying terminology they possess (i.e., quantum flux, God, etc.) to concepts they don't understand. If An ancient Babylonian saw a Russian Panzer rolling on his home town, he might report that a great Lion descended on them and destroyed them with its tail and claws. Perhaps another man would see a great boulder, rolling down on them. They are not in argument, they simply are interpreting what they see from a different perspective (not in an inherently different way, however).

It has shown no indications of ever being able to capture the essence of the human psyche.

Science often shows no indications of ever being able to capture the essence of some components of reality ... until it does.

"Science will explain it one-day" is a slippery slope.

There is always going to be a spiritual side of human existence, and once you accept this, the difference between theism and atheism falls away.

Well, no, for several reasons:

1. Spirituality is a different subject than god, and I'm not sure that one entails the other, even if some depictions of god certainly include an underlying conception of spirituality. In short: you can believe in one without believing in the other. Thus, even if some form of spirituality were to be true, it need not affect the status of atheism or theism since it doesn't necessarily have any bearing on whether or not a god or gods exist (let alone whether or not people will suddenly start/stop believing).

Being "spiritual" without "God" is essentially meaningless. Since we know nothing about spirituality in a technical sense, then what you call "God" and I call "spirit" is really nothing different. You say it's a lion, I say it's a boulder. What does a spiritual atheist say, exactly? That they believe in a life-energy of some sort that does not entail, by any means, an old white guy with a beard? I would love to hear someone break down their spiritual atheistic philosophy for me, ripe with comments that are technically baseless.

2. Even if spirituality entailed a god (and we ignored the belief component), it wouldn't eliminate the distinction between theism and atheism, it would simply eliminate the actual adherents. Theism will still refer to a belief in god and atheism would still be its negation.

No new arguments.

3. What's spirituality?

The belief that there is more to life than what we know.

The theist cannot accurately define God, and I've not witnessed too many that have tried. God to the theist is not different from whatever spiritual connection the atheist uses to explain the reality around her.

To say that there is an "accurate" definition of god presumes that a god-being exists against which we could measure the accuracy of any definition. Rather, I'll concede that the definitions are accurate by default, in the sense that they accurately portray the concept attempting to be conveyed, merely leaving open the question of whether or not it refers to an existing object with said attributes.

No sane person gives God's attributes.

You say you are losing the distinction between atheism and theism. Let's test that.

Person 1: "I believe in a god."
Person 2: "I don't believe in any god or gods."

Which one's the atheist and which one's the theist? Be honest now.

Well our labels are clear; there's no doubt about that. But I would challenge person 2 to explain to me exactly what this "god" is that they don't believe in, and to explain to me what life is and how it developed without something else there to supply some sort of means for us to come about. Saying that "random quantum fluctuations" created life doesn't make sense, because there is no scientific explanation for this. Even if we could provide it, how would random quantum flux exclude the idea of God? Who's going to interpret the data on them to explain where they came from?
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
DakotaKrafick
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4/2/2013 7:43:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Theists believe in some deity's actual existence; atheists don't. All else is irrelevant with regards to these descriptors and I see no reason why you should find the difference between them insignificant.
DakotaKrafick
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4/2/2013 7:51:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/1/2013 2:59:51 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
Theism is a belief in god.
Atheism is the negation of that.

Do you know what it means for something to be the negation of some proposition X?

You say you are losing the distinction between atheism and theism. Let's test that.

Person 1: "I believe in a god."
Person 2: "I don't believe in any god or gods."

Which one's the atheist and which one's the theist? Be honest now.

Well our labels are clear; there's no doubt about that. But I would challenge person 2 to explain to me exactly what this "god" is that they don't believe in, and to explain to me what life is and how it developed without something else there to supply some sort of means for us to come about. Saying that "random quantum fluctuations" created life doesn't make sense, because there is no scientific explanation for this. Even if we could provide it, how would random quantum flux exclude the idea of God? Who's going to interpret the data on them to explain where they came from?

You are committing both two and three: https://atheistdatabase.wordpress.com... (yes, this is my blog).
DakotaKrafick
Posts: 1,517
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4/2/2013 7:55:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/2/2013 7:51:47 PM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
At 4/1/2013 2:59:51 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
Theism is a belief in god.
Atheism is the negation of that.

Do you know what it means for something to be the negation of some proposition X?

I must have accidentally deleted Rob's response when quoting. The above question was not directed at drafterman, but Rob. In other words, it should have looked like this:

At 4/1/2013 2:59:51 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
Theism is a belief in god.
Atheism is the negation of that.

You cannot disbelieve in something that was not believed already to begin with. If you didn't believe in god, you would have nothing to negate.

Do you know what it means for something to be the negation of some proposition X?
AlbinoBunny
Posts: 3,781
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4/4/2013 9:13:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/18/2013 12:52:27 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
After many years of highly-contemplative atheistic/agnostic thinking, I am starting to lose the distinction between theism and atheism. For the studious, science reveals, predicts, and innovates new ways of contemplating the universe. For the religious, God provides a sense of purpose, morality, and direction in life. These two concepts really should not contradict.

Religion is never going to pass scientific muster. It never has, and it never will. But science is never going to be complete as a paradigm in and of itself. It has shown no indications of ever being able to capture the essence of the human psyche. There is always going to be a spiritual side of human existence, and once you accept this, the difference between theism and atheism falls away. The theist cannot accurately define God, and I've not witnessed too many that have tried. God to the theist is not different from whatever spiritual connection the atheist uses to explain the reality around her.

But aren't there atheists that aren't spiritual, or who are completely materialistic? I would argue that there aren't, because there is no scientific basis to conclude that your free will, emotions, etc. are a result of pieces of matter flying around and interacting physically/chemically. Holding out for the day when the "life" force is found is hardly scientific reasoning, since you would obviously not be looking for truth, but more-so for science that fits your mold of "truth."

The atheist lives a spiritual life as much as the most devout theist. Whenever we laugh and cry we are exercising spirituality - things that make no scientific sense but that we understand at a level more real than science will ever be. The theist envisions an entity that controls the life we see around us, but is that any different, in any meaningful sense, than the Gaia hypothesis? Atheists see scientific processes that explain nature, but "Gaia" (or "nature") could be construed to be God if looked at in a certain perspective. God could have created the big bang; God could be the Gaia energy, God could be a never-ending nothingness that somehow produces life. God isn't a white man, with a white beard and robe, who is constantly judging us, punishing us, and getting angry about our sins. God is simply whatever you want to call the reason we exist.

You're changing the definition of God. I think it should be distinct from nature at the very least because it now assumes intelligence. Atheism, theism, science and spirituality are four distinct terms and none of them necessitate each other. You define spirituality as being used whenever we laugh or cry? So basically you define God and spirituality into existence?

I think the distinction between atheism and theism is a very important one.
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