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Atheism is a belief

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/30/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,408 times Debate No: 74564
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (24)
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Many atheists today claim that atheism is not a belief. There are many different arguments being used to defend this idea. This is a list of the main arguments I have come across.

-It is not a belief system
-It is not possible to not believe in a non-existent.
-It is not a belief; it is the lack of belief.
-Belief is not formed by critical scientific investigation but by emotions, feelings and unsubstantiated opinion. Atheism is based off of scientific evidence.

To start things off I will give you the definition of belief.

Belief - "conviction or acceptance that certain things are true or real."*

Believing is accepting an idea when it is not 100% certain to be true. Theists believe that God exists even though there is no defining evidence that proves it. My argument is that atheists believe that God does not exist. Because I am making a claim the burden of proof lies on me.

----------Atheism is not a belief system.----------

Belief - "conviction or acceptance that certain things are true or real."*
System - "a set of facts, principles, rules, etc. classified or arranged in a regular, orderly form so as to show a logical plan linking the various parts."*

I have broken down the term "belief system" above. If we give atheists the benefit of the doubt to the claim that atheism is not a belief we can remove the term belief. We will get back to that later.

Let's look at the word system. A set of facts arranged to show a logical plan linking the various parts. The idea of atheism falls under the definition of system. Atheists do not accept the idea of God because of logical assumptions they generate from scientific facts. This is the system for their thought process. It would be safe to state that there is a system connected to atheism. As stated above we don't have to call it a belief system. At least until I can prove that atheism is also a belief.

----------It is not possible to not believe in a non-existent.----------

This statement is nothing more than a vain attempt to use ambiguous (confusing) wording to confuse any opposition. The use of so many negatives makes it hard for some to understand what is actually being said.

"You cannot disbelieve something that does not exist". If this statement is true, then how is it true that "you can believe something does not exist"? If atheists are right and God does not exist, there are still people that believe in something that does not exist (God). Since this situation is true then the claim that "it is not possible to not believe in a non-existent" is false.

To make the statement true you would have to replace non-existent with something never conceived. "It is not possible to not believe in an unconceived notion". A person cannot not believe, or believe, in something that has never been thought of. God is a conceived notion so he does not fit into this statement. Therefore when faced with the questions of do you believe in God? Do you believe in the idea of God? Or any similar variations relating to God the answer is yes, no, or I don't know.

----------It is not a belief; it is the lack of belief.----------

Belief - "conviction or acceptance that certain things are true or real."*
Lack - "the fact or condition of not having enough; shortage; deficiency; or complete absence."*

"Lack of belief" in the existence of God is "not having enough belief, or any belief, in the existence of God." The only difference between not believing and lack of belief is that lacking belief in the existence of God is not always atheism. Not having enough belief in the existence of God is stating that someone doesn't fully believe in the existence of God. If that is the case then there must be some belief in the existence of God, even if it's only a tiny bit. The other option available is the person has no belief in the existence of God, In which case they do not believe in the existence of God.

Not believing is the same as lack of belief when the term lack is used to describe a complete absence. Also the term lack of belief cannot be used without the subject. What are you lacking belief in? The full statement is "lack of belief in the existence of God", "no belief in the existence of God", "not believing in the existence of God".

----------Atheism is based off of scientific evidence.----------

Many atheists claim that science proves that God does not exist. This is why they feel that atheism does not fit under the definition of belief. They claim that there is no doubt scientifically that God is not real. If this is the case then atheism would be considered knowledge and not belief.

Two things atheists use to disprove the existence of God are evolution and the big bang. These are two of the biggest scientific arguments given in the support of atheism. There is one problem with atheists claim. Evolution and the big bang are both theories. Scientifically these explanations are not laws or facts. They both have evidence to support their claims, but for a theory to become law it must pass every test. Failure to satisfy one test means that it is false. Neither the evolution theory nor the big bang theory has passed every test. This does not mean that they are wrong, but it does mean that they are not 100% proven facts. We now come to the conclusion that atheist believe in evolution and the big bang theories. They cannot claim that either of the two are 100% factual.

With this in mind it is safe to make the claim that atheist believe in science. They believe that science will eventually disprove the existence of God. Going back to the original claim that atheism is knowledge and not belief, we can see that this is not the case. Atheism is not knowledge it is a belief.

With everything broken down to its basic meaning we can see that atheism is a belief. And since it also falls under the definition of system we can call it a belief system. A belief system is not the same thing as a religion. I think that many atheists oppose the label "belief system" because it closely relates to religion. Religion is a belief system; a belief system is not always a religion. To sum things up there is no gene that makes a person believe or not believe in God. People choose to be atheistic, just as people choose to believe in God.

*Definitions from Webster's New World College Dictionary.


1. This shows a fundamental lack of knowledge of what an Atheist is. Atheism is a lack of belief in any sort of deity. One cannot claim that a lack of belief is belief the same way that in a debate, the side arguing the affirmative cannot try and penalize the negative side by claiming that it has not supported its claim. The negative position is simply providing a reason why it does not believe in the claim made by the positive side; it is not required to make a claim in the opposite respect.
2. Although I have just explained why atheists are not required to make a claim to be considered an atheist, I am going to turn around and give exceptions. There are anti-theists and strong atheists who claim that there is no God. If one makes that sort of claim, then I would agree that they must possess a belief. This example reflects the spectrum of atheism. In the middle of the spectrum, there is agnosticism. This can range all the way from agnostic atheism to agnostic theism. Once you escape the range of agnosticism, you reach ever-increasing and ever-dishonest rates of claims that either a God exists or a God does not. Trying to blanket everyone into one section of the spectrum is a dishonest and weak straw man.
3. Atheists must make pragmatic assertions. As an atheist, I live my life as if there is no God. I do not thank whatever gods may exist for my not dying while crossing the street, though I acknowledge that said gods may exist. A human will drive himself or herself mad trying to keep himself or herself completely intellectually honest all the time. In order to stay sane, humans must make pragmatic assertions according to what their position most closely represents and live their lives by it, though it does not perfectly represent their positions. In the case of agnostic atheists, we must make the pragmatic assertion that we should live our lives as if no gods exist. This being true, when pressed for scrutiny, we will show our true colors and admit that the possibility of gods existing is there.
4. Many atheists you have read about or met may be against religion. I cannot speak for all atheists on this point, but it is a common one held by atheists. Not only are you putting people into boxes by assuming that all atheists make this claim, but you are also misunderstanding their position by doing so. Claiming that religion has a negative influence on the world is not the same as making a claim on the existence of a deity. Atheism deals very strictly with the existence of a deity and no other arguments, however suggestive, made by people who happen to be atheists.
Debate Round No. 1


1 - I made the initial claim that lack of belief is a belief. There is belief in a positive and belief in a negative. The belief that God exists is the positive and belief that God does not exist is the negative. Because I made that claim, it was up to me to prove my claim. I never made the assumption that atheist needed to defend why they believe there is no God or gods. My intention was to debate whether or not atheism is a belief. Anyone who accepted this debate has the responsibility of having to provide evidence that my claim is wrong because they would be making their own claim. To be clear, I wholeheartedly agree with you atheist do not need to explain their belief or why they believe it.

2 - I know that each atheist is different from the next. I am against the idea of using a part to judge the whole. What I am arguing is that all atheists believe that God does not exist. That is their truth based on what they believe. The atheist who lives his life and doesn't argue whether or not God exists still believes that God does not exist, just as the atheist who lives his life trying to disprove Gods existence. They are very different in their behavior but ultimately they both possess the belief that God does not exist.

3 - Agnostic and atheism do not mix just as agnostic and theism do not mix.

Agnostic " "A person who believes that the human mind cannot know whether there is a God or an ultimate cause, or anything beyond material phenomena"*
Agnosticism " "the doctrine of agnostics: distinguished from ATHEISM"*
Atheist " "a person that believes that there is no God"*
Atheism " "the belief that there is no God, the denial that God or gods exist"*

A true atheist believes with conviction that there is no God or gods. An agnostic doesn"t bother with the question of whether or not God exists because they believe that the answer is unreachable. An agnostic can live his life never acknowledging God but that does not make them an atheist. If an agnostic makes the claim that God does not exist then he or she would be considered atheist.
Let"s look at it this way.
Statement 1 " "I don"t think it is possible to tell if God is real."
Statement 2 " "I don"t believe that God exists"
If you look at this statement you can see that they don"t fit together. How can you make an assumption on the existence of God if you truly believe that it"s not possible to prove? You are a theist, agnostic, or atheist. The three do not mix.

4 - I do apologize for any misconceptions with my original argument. I do not believe that all atheists are the same, and I don"t have any issues with people who do not believe. I truly believe that a person"s beliefs are their own and as long as it doesn't affect others around them there is no explanation required. On that note I do hope that everyone can find God, but I would never try to force that on anyone.

*Definitions from Websters New World College Dictionary.


1. You are equivocating not believing with rejecting: They are not the same. As I said earlier, there is a spectrum of atheism. The atheist that believes and claims that there is no God or are no gods is at the extreme end of the spectrum. Most atheists, including me, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and nearly every atheist you will find championing social media, are at the opposite end of the spectrum. The agnostic-atheist claims that he or she has no knowledge of a God or gods, and some even claim that knowledge of a God or gods cannot be known. This is a claim on the agnostic's knowledge, hence agnostic. The second part of the word--atheist-- comes from the stance that they take on belief. Some agnostics will say, "There is no evidence for a God, but I am going to believe in one anyway for pragmatic purposes." Although this is a rare case, agnosticism is not something that is exclusive to non-belief, and atheism is not something exclusive to and should be equivocated with rejection of a God or gods.

2 and 3. You are incorrect on both points. Agnosticism mixes with atheism, and agnosticism mixes with theism as well. Your definitions are flawed and were clearly picked for the purposes of the argument. As to avoid bias, I am going to go with the first definition I can find, and that so happens to be at for each of these definitions.

Agnostic: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.
Atheist: a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
Theism: the belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation

These definitions, chosen using unbiased methods, fit the parameters I have set out perfectly. The agnostic's claim is that of knowledge, hence unknown and unknowable. Although I hold contention with the assertion that all agnostics claim that the existence of a God or gods is unknowable, the focus is still on the fact that agnostics are making a claim on their state of knowledge. The definitions of theism and an atheist fit perfectly as well. They make the claim on belief. As for your statements, they are both correct, but you are drawing the incorrect conclusion. You are pretending that "I don't believe that God exists" is the same as "I reject the idea of God existing." The agnostic-atheist is saying the former, and he or she is also saying, "I am completely willing to be convinced if evidence is provided one way or the other, but no evidence exists." You may also be inclined to ask how one "assumes" that God does not exist based on lack of knowledge. Most atheists do not. Most atheists simply do not believe in a God, and that follows naturally from there being no evidence. Just as most rational-minded people admit that there is a chance that an animal resembling Cthulhu could exist on some distant planet in some distant galaxy but do not believe in it until evidence is provided, most atheists acknowledge the possibility of the existence of a Deity but do not believe in Him/Her/It until evidence is provided. It is the default position to lack belief and yet not reject. This is the position of the agnostic-atheist.

4. I enjoy the hospitality and commend you on your respect, but that is not what I was addressing in my argument. I was saying that you are basing your argument off of what pragmatic assertions atheists make. I am going to pragmatically live my life as if there is no God or are no gods; however, I am going to continue asserting that I do not know for sure. When I say that organized religion has no part in today's society, that is not an argument for or against atheism; it is an argument that the infrastructure that provides people with religion being flawed. A theist can make this argument; an atheist can make this argument. It does not matter what atheists live their lives like pragmatically because humans will make things into little packages for easy consumption. The same is true of theists. I think you would agree that most Christian men agree that looking at a woman lustfully is wrong, yet many do not avidly restrain themselves from doing so. This is because pragmatically, the Christian man is saying, "I know that I am a terrible person, but my human desires are too difficult to overcome, especially when I believe that I am going to be saved either way," even though he believes that it would be the best course of action for him to avidly restrain himself. I could now make the argument that all Christian men who do this believe that it is okay to look at women lustfully. Of course, this is not true because pragmatic assertions do not line up with deeply thought out beliefs, and the beliefs should be the only point of discussion in a debate centered around beliefs.
Debate Round No. 2


I will continue to argue your points, I enjoy debating, but I need to point out something first. The original argument was whether or not atheism was a belief. This argument has moved from that point to, is there such a thing as an agnostic-atheist in the 2nd argument. You have mentioned that the two are different from each other but we are still at the point where atheism is a belief based off of a person"s belief in science or lack of evidence to prove Gods existence.

1 - People reject ideas for two reasons.

1.They know for a fact that the idea is false.
2.They believe that the idea is false.

No one rejects an idea just because they reject it. There is a reason why they reject it. Since the proof for atheists is based on belief in science, (evolution and big bang are just theories) or the belief that there is not enough evidence, atheism is a belief

3 - (4th argument) Pragmatic assertions are based off of evidence or lack of evidence. You can have the atheist who makes a pragmatic assertion based off of scientific theories, which is a belief. And then there is the atheist who makes pragmatic assertions based off of lack of evidence for the existence of God, which is also a belief because no one can truly say that there is definite evidence that disproves God (or proves God).

(Off topic argument)
2 - My definitions were picked from Webster"s New World College Dictionary, I made sure to cite my work at the bottom of each round. First, I haven"t made a claim to what you believe. I cannot tell anyone what they believe. That is up to each individual. What I did was give definitions to words that have been around for centuries. You gave me the definition of atheist and agnostic. Both of them match with the definitions I gave. If you are agnostic, you don"t make the claim that "I believe that God exists" or "I don"t believe that God exists" because you believe it"s impossible to tell. If you make either claim then you are no longer agnostic, you fall under theism or atheism.

The "New atheist" movement is trying to change the definition of words to fit their arguments. They cannot just change the meanings of words to suit them. If people do not like being labeled by those definitions they can create a new word to call themselves. They cannot take words that have been used for centuries and decide that you want to change their meaning. "New atheists" are also attempting to claim agnostics and bring them into their inner circle. Aggressive atheists are trying to recruit any one and every one they can. This is why many have started to use the term agnostic-atheist like the two are peas in a pod (Just to be clear, I don"t believe you are an aggressive atheist).

You mentioned Richard Dawkins and others and claim they are agnostic. If Dawkins truly believes that there is no way to know if God exists, why does he spend so much effort trying to disprove Gods existence? Dawkins is not agnostic he is an atheist. A true agnostic would not bother with the battle between theist and atheist because he believes that there is no way to prove either side.


The argument as to whether or not an agnostic-atheist exists relates directly to the topic. You are claiming that atheists must make a claim that a God or many gods do not exist. That claim is fundamentally flawed because an atheist can be an agnostic; most are. In the same light, some atheists fit perfectly into the straw man you are making, but they do not make up most atheists. In fact, they are the vast minority.

1. You are ignoring my points and continuing to claim rejection. Atheists do not have to reject the existence of a God or gods. Not believing and rejection are too vastly different concepts. I have already provided an example, but I will do so again for the sake of the argument. Were Ernest Rutherford to claim that atoms have a small, positive core before doing any testing, it is the default position to not believe him. Even if he was correct, which he was, the intellectually honest person must refrain from believing until sufficient evidence is provided. In Ernest Rutherford's case, he went out and found evidence, so now we accept his model as the standard for how an atom is structured. In religion's case, evidence for the supernatural has never existed and will never exist by definition. To have evidence, something must be natural.

Claiming that atheists "reject" in the first place is ignoring everything that I have said up to this point and repeating the same rhetoric. I am going to ignore "reject" and replace it with "disbelieve" in this case because I have explained to you several times why atheists do not necessarily have to reject the existence of a God or gods. Claiming that atheists make a pragmatic assertion because of science is just ridiculous. There is no evidence for a God or gods. No science is going to explain that away. It is just intellectual honesty to admit that making a claim on something for which there is no evidence leads one to the incorrect conclusion at the same rate as guessing.

Pragmatic assertions can also be based on lack of evidence. If there is no evidence for something, then there is no reason to believe in that thing. The theist has made the positive claim by stating that there is a God or gods and listing of its/their characteristics. When theists inevitably fail to provide evidence, the atheist will continue to disbelieve without rejecting. Also, one does not need to disprove God. You are trying to turn the burden of proof back on the atheist, and that is not how the laws of logic and debate work. The person making the positive claim must provide evidence, and the negative must refute the evidence-- not make a negative claim. It is a bit like a plaintiff lawyer telling the defendant to prove that his client was not at a crime scene. If the plaintiff lawyer cannot provide any evidence that the defendant's client was at the crime scene, then there is no court case. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. In that case, it is the plaintiff lawyer.

2. You are ignoring what I am saying and restating your argument. An atheist is not someone who necessarily has to make a claim on the existence of a God or gods; an atheist states his or her beliefs on the matter. The atheist says, "I do not believe in a God or gods." Some atheists say, "I reject the existence of a God or gods," but those people are not our subject matter today, for they do not represent all of atheism just as the Westboro Baptist Church does not represent all of Christianity. Your idea of someone having to be agnostic, atheist, or theist is just incorrect. An agnostic makes a claim on his or her knowledge of the matter. An atheist or theist makes a claim to his or her belief on the matter. Those things can and do overlap.

I am going to ignore this paragraph, for it is a pure ad hominem that has no place in a debate.

Everything we disagree upon is the definition of an atheist. Whether or not you enjoy it, an atheist does not have to make a claim on the existence of a God or god. Richard Dawkins is an agnostic-atheist because he does not make the assertion that there is no God/are no gods. Dawkins asserts that it is intellectually honest to not believe because that is the default position. Were I to make a claim about what happened before the Big Bang, something unknown and possibly unknowable, then I could make the same arguments for you. I am going to make the ridiculous claim that before the Big Bang, Isis and Osiris sat around forming a plan as to how to form the universe. If you are to be believed, then everyone must make a claim on the matter. Every single person must either claim yes, you are definitely correct or no, you are definitely incorrect. There is no evidence for either, and both positions are equally unjustified. The correct course of action in that situation is the position which we will hopefully both take. We will both not dismiss the idea, but we will say that there is no evidence, so we will not believe it. We will continue to make a pragmatic assertion that Isis and Osiris did not formulate the plan to create the universe, and we will spread our opinions about how people who whole-heartedly believe such things are being ridiculous. We are Richard Dawkins in that situation. Richard Dawkins has chosen not to believe outlandish claims and has pragmatically asserted that they are incorrect while admitting that there is a chance that they could be correct, however small.
Debate Round No. 3


What I claimed was if an agnostic made the claim that God does not exist then he was not agnostic, he would be an atheist.

These definitions are from Webster"s New World College Dictionary. Not my definition. The dictionary placed the capitalization in the definition.

Atheism - "the belief that there is no God, the denial that God or gods exist"
Agnosticism - "the doctrine of agnostics: distinguished from ATHEISM"
Agnostic - "A person who believes that the human mind cannot know whether there is a God or an ultimate cause, or anything beyond material phenomena"

1 - I have not been ignoring your points. There are two meanings within the definition of atheism. The first is when a person does not believe that God exists. The second is when a person denies or rejects God"s existence. I never claimed they were the same thing. Your whole argument here shifted from is atheism a belief to who has to prove if God does or does not exist. I am not debating the existence of God. I am debating that atheism is a belief, which you have pointed out several times in your own argument.

2 " The only thing I said about an atheist who makes a claim is that they have the burden of proof for that claim. The same rule applies to a theist. An atheist does not have to claim anything to be atheist. It is their belief, and beliefs don"t need evidence. Claims need evidence.

If atheism is not a belief, how does an atheist answer this very simple yes, no, or I don"t know question? Do you believe that God exists?
Yes = Theist
No = Atheist
I don"t know = Agnostic

It is as simple as that. An atheist cannot claim to KNOW that God does not exist because as you have admitted, there is no way to prove it. We aren"t debating the creation of the universe, and the question doesn"t concern the reasoning for the belief. Atheism is a belief.

(Off Topic)
"Richard Dawkins is an agnostic-atheist because he does not make the assertion that there is no God/are no gods." This is a cut and paste from your last post. "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God" This is a cut and paste from an article written by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins definitely made the assertion that there is no God, and he has done is several times.

"The atheist view is correspondingly life-affirming and life-enhancing, while at the same time never being tainted with self-delusion, wishful thinking,"- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion. This quote is from Dawkins" own book. The "delusion" he is talking about is the belief in God. He believes that theists are delusional and obviously favors atheism. In no way is Dawkins agnostic.

This is the link from the Huffington post with his article.


1. It appears that the argument has been concluded unless you are going to go back on what you have just said. You have admitted that the first definition of atheism is a person who does not believe that a God or gods exist. Disbelief does not warrant rejection; therefore, not all atheists must make a positive claim on the existence of God or gods. Unless you are claiming that disbelief warrants belief, then you are admitting that an atheist does not have a belief; he or she has a disbelief.

2. Yes, I completely agree. If an atheist makes a claim to the existence of a God or gods, then he or she has the burden of proof. As I have said numerous times, an atheist does not have to make a claim. As for your question of, "Do you believe that a God exists?" the answer would be no, by definition, for atheists. What you are claiming is that disbelief warrants belief, and that is frankly ridiculous. A state of not believing does not warrant a state of belief in the opposite of a subject. It is a bit like me claiming that if one is not a Republican, one must be a Democrat. I would then go on to say that all non-Republicans make the same claims to the political and economical policies. Clearly, this is ridiculous because there is a spectrum of non-Republicans just like there is a spectrum of atheists. As for agnostics, it deals very strictly with knowledge. The agnostic must make a claim as to his or her belief in a God or gods, but he or she is still an agnostic whether or not he or she chooses to believe or not believe. Gnosticism is a state of claimed complete knowledge. A gnostic is someone who believes that he or she knows for a fact the claim he or she is making. Like an agnostic, a gnostic can be a theist or an atheist. You would not say that one must be atheist, agnostic, theist, or gnostic. This is because you are grouping categories that have nothing to do with each other. An agnostic makes a claim to his or her knowledge, and a gnostic makes a claim to his or her knowledge. An atheist makes a claim to his or her belief, and a theist makes a claim to his or her belief. The knowledge and belief claims can be mixed; they are not mutually exclusive. A gnostic can be either a theist or an atheist, and an agnostic can be either a theist or an atheist. What this argument is boiling down to is you are claiming that the disbelief in a claim is tantamount to a belief. You are playing with definitions. You could do the same with absolutely everything, but you are not allowed to do this. A disbelief is not tantamount to a belief.

(Off Topic)
I do not feel like I should be forced to defend Dawkins, so this is the last statement I will make on him. You have only supported what I said when you look at the article title "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God". I will not make a claim to the existence of a God or gods, but I would agree that the chances are slim. I think you would agree that the chance that Carl Sagan's intangible purple dragon existing in my garage is next to zero. He is applying the same logic to a God or gods, and he is saying that the chances are next to none. Even so, he has admitted that he cannot prove that a God or gods do not exist, so he will refuse to make a flat out assertion. Of course, he may have done so in the past that I have missed; neither he nor I can speak for the entirety of atheism. I was using him to provide an example. If what he says is to be trusted, then he is best described as an agnostic-atheist.
Debate Round No. 4


I have not contradicted myself or backtracked in my argument. Trying to state this is a tactic to win a debate without proving your claim. I have been consistent through out my posts.

Again, I never made the assumption that atheist must claim that God does not exist.

And again I have not claimed that all atheist reject the idea of God. That is one of the two definitions for atheism. Not believing or rejecting the idea of God. In reality you are saying that atheism or "agnostic-atheism" is rejecting the idea of God. You say that you would rather use disbelief.

Disbelief - "refusal to believe" (Webster's New World College Dictionary)

"Disbelief does not warrant belief" This is a quote from your last post. First this falls under my first argument against the idea that "its not belief its lack of belief".
Your political party reference makes the assumption that I am only giving two choices. To believe in God or not to believe in God. I never made this assumption. This is the 3rd time you have misrepresented my argument (Straw man) in an attempt to prove me wrong. As stated above, as well as in my other arguments, there is the option of not knowing if God exists.

When a person is placed in the position to believe something (God or science) and there is not enough evidence to make a definite correct assumption; the answer they give will be a belief. You either believe, you don't believe, or you believe something else. They are all beliefs. There are only two ways to have an absence of belief; one is to disregard or ignore the question. If you ignore the question you can not be theist, atheist, or agnostic. The other is to never be put in the situation to form a belief, being Ignorant of the situation.

"The agnostic must make a claim as to his or her belief in a God or gods," This is a quote from your last post. An agnostic does not make a claim if God or gods exist. All of the definitions used for agnostic show that a true agnostic believes that there is no way to tell if God exists. Even the definition you used in your second post.

"Most atheists simply do not believe in a God, and that follows naturally from there being no evidence." A quote from your last post. "Atheism is a belief" this is my argument. You keep going back and forth in your own argument claiming that atheism is not a belief, but then you make these statements through out our argument contradicting yourself.

"This is because you are grouping categories that have nothing to do with each other". A quote from your last post. Again you have misrepresented my argument. I have been the one separating the categories. You are the one grouping the categories.

"You are playing with definitions" A quote from your last post. I have given the exact definitions from Webster's New World College Dictionary. Those definitions have not been disproven in this argument in any way. You have actually backed up my definitions with your own in round 2. My argument is based off of those definitions. I have not played with the wording in any way.

(Off Topic)
"I do not feel like I should be forced to defend Dawkins". A quote from your last post. I did not bring Dawkins into the argument. You were using him as evidence for your argument and it backfired on you. I was actually the one who threw this part of the argument to the side saying it was not relevant to the main Idea.


You are claiming that atheism is a belief. Belief requires a claim. If you are admitting that the atheist does not need to make a claim on the existence of a God or gods, then the argument is concluded.

You have said that atheism is a belief. A belief requires a claim. I can only infer that the claim you are assuming atheists make is that they reject the idea of a God or gods. As has been clearly demonstrated, this is not true. Atheism is a spectrum in which some reject and some do not. Although some atheistic claims do require belief, atheism as a worldview does not.

If you are agreeing that an atheist does not need to reject, or make a claim on, the existence of a God or gods, then this debate is concluded. Also, I would agree that agnostic-atheists disbelieve rather than reject.

You have once again provided a colloquial definition rather than a philosophical one. Your definition is used for situations such as when a person stares at something in disbelief, or refusal to believe. A more accurate definition for this situation is Merriam-Webster's: "a feeling that you do not or cannot believe or accept that something is true or real." The definition you provided warrants rejection, but it is incorrect. Disbelieve does not warrant a claim, and consequently, it does not warrant a belief. As i have stated innumerable times, being in a state of not knowing and disbelieving are not mutually exclusive. most atheists do not believe and admit that they are in a state of not knowing, hence agnostic-atheist. You know this, but you have refused to provide any refutation and continue to state that agnostics and atheists are mutually exclusive.

What you are doing is providing a false dilemma. You are assuming that one must either accept with full knowledge, deny with full knowledge, or not make a claim without knowledge. These are false, for there are many positions one can take. Your whole argument up to this point has been based around the idea that any position taken is a belief. This does not work, as it defies logic.

You have once again ignored everything I have said and then reposted your original statement. The word agnostic comes from the word gnostic, someone who claims he or she has full knowledge of a subject. This means that both agnostic and gnostic are claims to the knowledge of the subject-- not the belief. Once again, knowing there is no way to tell if a God or gods exist does not exclude one from believing one way or the other.

I have never once contradicted myself. What you are doing is assuming that disbelief in something warrants belief, pointing out the fact that atheists lack a belief in God or gods, and claiming victory while hurdling further and further into ignorance. Not believing does not warrant belief. You have never once even made an argument as to why that is; you have assumed this to be true since the very beginning as if it were fact. It is not, and it is a ridiculous stretching of words to try and shift the burden of proof.

This is untrue. You have been grouping agnostics, atheists, and theists all into one group of claims made about belief. I have stated numerous times that agnosticism is a claim to the knowledge of the person and the other two are claims to the belief of the person, and you have neither acknowledged nor attempted to disprove the fact.

I absolutely did not back up your definitions, and your failure to see how the definitions were different proves your absolute ignorance in the nuance of the wording of the definitions themselves. This completely explains why you have refused to accept that agnosticism is not a claim to a person's belief but his or her knowledge. You have used colloquial and archaic definitions to support your points and acted as if I accepted your definitions in the first place. I provided definitions of my own which I found in an unbiased manner, and you continued to act as though I accepted your definitions anyway.

(Off Topic)
I never used Dawkins as evidence; I used him as an example. You were the one who decided that it needed to be elaborated upon, and you also act as if I have admitted defeat on the subject. Your assumed victory neither contributed to the argument nor was relevant in the first place.
Debate Round No. 5
24 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Bonetoy 3 years ago
Yes Webster did believe in God but he was an educator and this is why he made his modified version. He wanted people to be able to understand the Holy Bible because he knew that the definitions of words change. The changes he made, although minor, I don't agree with. But to each his own. His dictionary on the other hand was focused on keeping the meanings of the words true to their origins. Not to make this a history lesson, he learned many different languages to make his dictionary as accurate as possible. This was to help the United States grow as its own nation. It could not keep using the British dictionary, as you said each country will have their own bias.

As for agnostic I can see it has spread apart to where it has become two different words. One which describes a person who makes decisions purely on what he knows. The other describes a person who does not make any decision because of what he does not know. Opposite ends of the spectrum. This is why the English language is the most difficult language to learn.

But I stand by my argument that an atheist can not be agnostic (under the definition I used) But I understand that there are atheists who are agnostic (under the other definition used)
Posted by Chaosism 3 years ago
As I said, I won't lie. I am from the U.S., but I have witnessed this "misalignment" of definitions many times before. I have done some research on this and found that the American definition does contain religious bias for the most part. Noah Webster was very religious, and actually wrote a modified version of the bible, updated with his definitions and cleaned up the "bad" parts. In the early 1960's, his dictionary was accused of permissiveness and failing to teach proper English. The American Heritage Dictionary is a subsidiary of this that was created to pertain specifically to American English usage. American Dictionaries are based on American usage and therefore, encompass any bias that exists. I hope this is helpful in some way.
Posted by Bonetoy 3 years ago
It never dawned on me that I would be arguing with some one from Europe. The whole problem with people in the United States (We are the only ones that matter) (Which I do not believe by the way). That definitely makes a difference in my argument. I will have to go back and research the origin of the word and how they split apart.
Posted by Chaosism 3 years ago
OK, I found it. One must use the "American" version, not the "British & World" version. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. This addition is there to account for the American use of that word (like Webster's definition is American). ~75% of the United States is Christian while only about half of U.K. is Christian. The American definition in influenced by the high percentage of Christian population in the United States. One who lacks belief in *a* god might also claim that the Christian God, specifically, does not exist (an assertive claim), but he remains more or less neutral regarding *a* god. From a Christian point of view, only the "the God of the Bible doesn't exist" is experienced, which influences the use and meaning of those words for them, which is the majority.
Posted by Chaosism 3 years ago
I am most certainly not trying to lie. I am looking at the Oxford online dictionary ( Where did you find that definition? I'm certainly interested in that.
Posted by Bonetoy 3 years ago
Full definition of agnostic from Oxford dictionary.

A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

Try again, you can not lie by omission to prove your point.
Posted by Chaosism 3 years ago
Here comes that pesky definition problem again...
Oxford Dictionary:

Relating to knowledge, especially esoteric mystical knowledge.

Noun : A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.
Adjective : (In a non-religious context) having a doubtful or non-committal attitude towards something.
Agnostic pertains to knowledge, not belief, and originates from the Greek word "gnostic" meaning "relating to knowledge". Such an example in English would be "prognosis", roughly meaning prior (pro-) knowledge (gnosis). The prefix "a-" means "without".

Most Atheists are agnostic. It is also possible for a theist to be agnostic, meaning that one believes that a god exists but also believes that no one can know the truth for certain.
Posted by Bonetoy 3 years ago
Yes. If you say that there is an even number, and I don't agree with you or believe your claim, then I believe there is an odd number. The other option is I can say I don't know, which is the equivalent of agnostic which is not the same as atheism.
Posted by Chaosism 3 years ago
This is not a debate, nor an assignment; this is a comment section. I just picked a quick one, but others can be found.

I agree with 'lack of belief is the same as disbelief', but I don't really see your point. Not believing something is not the same as believing the opposite. For instance, if we have a jar of jelly beans and I tell you that there is an even number of them (without counting), does your disbelief in my claim necessarily mean that you believe that there is an odd number of them?
Posted by Bonetoy 3 years ago
You used a wiki site as a reference. Wiki sites are not legitimate resources. Every college in the United states will reject any assignment with references to wiki sites. Belief system is not one word. It's two words brought together to describe a concept.

Lack of belief is the same as disbelief (from your own Oxford source) disbelief is the same as not believing. (look up the definition) The Websters and Oxford dictionaries have the same definition.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Chaosism 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:21 
Reasons for voting decision: Despite my discussion with Pro in the Comments, I shall vote as objectively as I can. Pro opened the debate with pre-loaded, pre-refuted arguments which forced his opponent to address those rather than present his own arguments. If these arguments were what the debate was specifically about, then it would be OK. Conduct to Con. The spelling and grammar appeared equal by both participants. The arguments were very ad nauseam, and were basically a long, painful definition war. From an objective standpoint, I cannot discern whose argument was better, so arguments are a tie. Pro used the dictionary to back up his definitions, and cited the only source. Sources to Pro.