Defining Atheism

There are very different definitions of "atheist" floating around out there. By and large, Christians tend to define an atheist as "one who says 'there is no god.'" Atheists themselves, on the other hand, tend to define an atheist as "one who says, 'I do not believe in god.'" I think the latter of the two is the more appropriate definition, given that it is the one adopted by those who wear the label. Christians, please understand that when I personally say, "I am an atheist," I am saying, "I do not believe in God." I could be more specific and say that I am an a-Jehovaist, an a-Allahist, an a-Thorist, an a-Zeusist, an a-Amun-Raist, and so on, but I don't see the need, as "atheist" is a nice summary for all of these other things.

This leads me to a second observation on Christian apologist debate strategy. There tends to be this strange strategy by many Christians of listening to what someone believes (e.g., "I don't believe in God. I'm an atheist.") and then responding with, "Well, you say you don't believe in God, that means you're not an atheist but an agnostic. An atheist would say, 'There is no God,' but that's not what you said." I don't really understand this strategy. However you characterize my beliefs, even if we disagree on the label, does not change the fundamental nature of my beliefs. Nevertheless, it's almost as if the apologist is trying to "win" by convincing the atheist that they mislabeled themselves.

So, in the interest of clarity (even without agreement, necessarily), I submit that the definition of an atheist, which most atheists themselves have adopted, is "one who says, 'I don't believe in a god.'" To those who have a theistic perspective, you won't convince me that my perspective is wrong simply by trying to re-label my beliefs. The simple fact remains that, for me, there is not enough evidence to support the theistic perspective. If you want to change my mind about that, give me evidence, not a new label.
Paxtian Paxtian
26-30, M
3 Responses May 5, 2012

http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3Aendtime+Bible+prophecies+are+soon+to+be+fulfilled%3F+Zechariah+12%3A2-8,+Ezekiel+38-39,+Matt+24%3A30-42&sourceid=ie8-activity&hl=en<br />
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MANY top scientists, from microbiology to astronomy, see SO much evidence of Intelligent Design that they reject atheist brainwashing & worship the Almighty Creator<br />
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http://www.DissentFromDarwin.org<br />
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http://www.IntelligentDesign.org<br />
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http://www.creation.com

I guess it depends on what you mean by "many." Anywhere from 0.1% to 5% of scientists could be considered "many," since it's more than just a few people. However, if we're resorting to a "this many people in support of a theory justifies the theory" argument, the overwhelming majority of scientists do believe in evolution, not intelligent design. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution.

All that being said, I'm not quite sure why evolution came up at all in your response. My original post described my intent when I say "I'm an atheist," and didn't mention evolution at all.

If your argument is, "Proving that evolution is false will, in turn, prove that there's an 'Almighty Creator,'" I would have to disagree. I think your argument is even stronger than that, though, and I will attempt to summarize it as, "I can show evolution is false, which proves that MY 'Almighty Creator' is THE 'Almighty Creator.'" I would again have to pause here and note the disconnect, analogizing to Pascal's wager.

In particular, I'm assuming that you are a Christian, given that you're asserting that Biblical prophecies are soon to be fulfilled. However, let's say that evolution can be discredited, strictly arguendo. How would that prove that the Christian God, and not (say) the Islamic God, or one or more of the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, or any other number of gods out there, is "the god" or "one of the gods"?

Stepping back from the larger question, and focusing back onto your specific posts, there's a lot of information in those links, and I'm not going to digest it all, because A) I don't have time, and B) I have better things to do. So if you can help me out by narrowing it down and focusing on one or two very specific articles that you believe demonstrate the existence of a divine creator, I would take the time to read those and respond more pointedly.

I understand you could easily respond with, "Well, why don't you find one or two brief articles that prove evolution?" Let me preempt that argument by saying that my happiness is not conditioned on converting you to any sort of worldview. That is, I have no interest in trying to convince you of "the truth," whatever that term may mean. Secondly, I'm not an advocate for evolution--I'm not a biologist, and certainly not extraordinarily familiar with the terms of evolution. I accept it, because it's currently the best theory science has to offer (tentativeness, which is one of the principles of science), and because no one has offered a better explanation to me (especially one coming out of a religious text).

our religion, being both mine and yours, meaning we both define ourselves as Atheists, meaning we both belong to the group in some form or fashion.<br />
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and I apologize, I reread your post and believe I may have been trying to respond to someone elses post I was also reading...I guess the only excuss I have is that I had multiple sites up on religion, a few pertaining to Atheism. I made a mistake and apologize for it

Atheism is not a religion--it's the complete lack thereof. Atheism is to religion what bald is to hair color.

So your comparing it ti bald and hair color. Thats nice. Im glad you know bald is not a hair color.
but that isnt an argument.
So godzilla is to Tokyo as reality is to life?
fiction is to nonfiction as retard is to genius?
what exactly does throwing out a comparison do?
we show that we believe it is like one thing, not that it IS like one thing.

I guess its best just to say. Taoism....Buddhism...look them up...just a couple forms of religious Atheism. (actually not sure if Buddhism is spelled right though lol.)

Atheism is not a religion, its a label. when filling out a questionnaire that asks about religion an atheist will generally put N/A (not applicable)

I wouldn't know that, last I checked I don't speak for anyone but myself (thus I am only really arguing on my behalf)
Christianity is a label too. You label a Christian as a Christian correct?
The other argument us just as invalid...unless your job is to make and distribute questionnaires, which is still a rather biased way to get information. Unless you target everyone, which putting a question of wether you are Atheistic or Christian on a Atheist website is not doing, than a questionaire can be admissable as anything. I don't speak for all Atheists, and I know neither do you, so I really don't think we could say what an Atheist generally does aside from claim disbelief in god.


one thing however, against my own argument (since nobody else has said it)
Atheism, like any religion is a group of ideals, yes, but since its just ideals its easy to call it whatever you want. No matter how you look at it a computer is still a computer, Atheism is a belief/ideal held by many people its not a physical object, so like God you could say whatever you want about it, and it would and can be an undesputable fact, at least in your eyes (and it really can't be disputed because like God, the Christians provide no proof for him, and other religions provide no proof against him)
Atheism like any other religion is usually only defined by a single set of ideals, instead of saying say "Catholic Christian" most people lump all Christians together as Christian.
An atheist very well may define himself as an Atheistic Buddhist, its actually fairly common.

So arguing wether Atheism is a religion or not, is like arguing over wether God exists or not, both people can be right, and both people can be wrong. There are Atheist such as yourselves who believe it is not a religion, usually its better to not argue against religion with this viewpoint (as your irreligious, why should it matter to you?), and then there are the Atheist such as myself, who define our beliefs as Religion, which of course both sides have every right to believe as they like (obviously neither side wants someone elses beliefs stuffed in their mouths (I would like you to notice I said beliefs rather than religion...while its not really important here, I like to let people know, there are Atheists who are just as bad as Christians with trying to force a person to believe as they do...some people like myself are just too damn stubborn to, lol)

So if you would rather reject the facts that I have stated with the facts you have not stated, by all means, do, I understand that you believe your way, and I believe my way.

Thanks for clarifying!

3 More Responses

Agnostics believe that there may be a higher power, but dont believe in an outright deity.<br />
Atheism, and those that believe in it, do not believe in god or other gods. Buddhists for example have no actual god or godlike being, they have Buddha.<br />
Theism is the belief ina diety or diety, Athiesm is the opposite, the belief that there are no deities. You are the one trying to redifine OUR beliefs...

Can you tell me who "our" is that you refer to? It's not clear from the context of your post. I'll also note that the only term I try to define is "atheism," which is not in conflict with your definition, and is the group to which I would say I belong. So I'm quite confused about your comment.