Sam Hill,Let's make a deal. I won't define your religious
belief for you if you will refrain from defining my non-belief for me.Agreed?
Claiming to know beyond all doubt that there is no higher being makes no
sense.Claiming to know beyond all doubt that there is a higher being
makes no sense either.I believe that deep down, we are all agnostic.
It's just easier for some to admit.
Samhill – “Does the phrase above, Atheists claiming something to be
"inherently evil", strike anyone else as fundamentally goofy?”No, why would it? I guess it depends on how you define
“evil” but personally I can think of a whole slew of examples that
could rightly be called evil without requiring someone to believe in a theistic
god (i.e., personal, intervenes in our world, takes an interest in me,
etc…). How about a Taliban member throwing acid in the face of
a young girl because she either wants to go to school or doesn’t want to
be forced to marry a 40 year old… I’ll call that evil.As
to the rest, Skeptical Chymist’s answer was excellent. Most atheists I
know fall into the #2 category. And that by definition, atheism is not a
philosophy… it is simply a word used to describe a non-believer.Think about it this way – do we have words for
“non-astrologer” or “non-Alchemist?” Does being a
non-astrologer mean you subscribe to a philosophy? Of course not… you
simply don’t believe in astrology.
@samhillThe way I understand things, an "agnostic" is
someone who does not know whether god exists or not. An "atheist" is a
person who does not believe that god exists (a-theism would literally mean
"without belief in god"). The categories that these
distinctions allow are then:1. Agnostic theists - people who don't
know whether god exists or not, but believe that he/she does.2. Agnostic
atheists - people who don't know whether god exists or not, but don't
believe that he/she does.3. Gnostic theists - people who claim to know
that god exists4. Gnostic atheists - people who claim to know that god
does not exist.Personally, I am in category 2, an agnostic atheist.
I am not certain whether god exists or not, but I believe that he/she does
not.In my opinion, both the gnostic theists and the gnostic atheists
are fooling themselves. There is no absolute proof either way. In my opinion,
however, the evidence for the existence of a god is about as convincing as the
evidence for giant pterodactyls inhabiting Mount Everest. You can't prove
that they're not there, but there is no convincing evidence that they are.
"...older atheists who see religion as inherently evil..."------------------Does the phrase above, Atheists claiming
something to be "inherently evil", strike anyone else as fundamentally
goofy?One of the problems I have with Atheism as a philosophy is
that it is, at its core, about the least logical and most faith-based philosophy
I can think of. Particularly since the basic thesis, that there is no
"God", is so completely antithetical to the rational, objective,
empirically-based, **scientific** basis on which most Atheists I know insist
their philosophical reasoning rests.Anytime someone positively
asserts a negative, i.e., that something does **not** exist, they make a claim
for which there can be no logical proof. For which, in fact, there can be no
**logical**, and certainly no scientific (for which **all** claims must be
subject to skepticism) reasoningConsequently, I have concluded that
Atheism is one of the most faith-based (lacking scientific proof) of all
philosophies.So, I suppose I should cut some slack for those who
speak oxymoronically of the "inherent evil" of religion.