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  1. #61
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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    theophobia [ˌθɪəˈfəʊbɪə]
    n
    (Psychology) morbid fear or hatred of God
    theophobiac n

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/theophobia

    There have been many debates on ODN about whether God exists. Atheists, while asserting that there is no reason to believe in God, have never proven God does not exist. And recent threads by atheists suggest they have a very real fear or even hatred of God.

    Given that the choices for the origin of the universe are 1) that the universe is self-creating (which doesn't seem very logical) or 2) that it was created by a deity of some kind, why are ODN atheists so adamant that God does not exist? In a recent poll , twenty ODN atheists self-identified as believing there is very low or zero probability of God existing. Why did they not choose "50 percent" probablity, or even the relatively moderate "Lower than 50 percent but not very low" position?

    Is it because they are theophobiacs, and can’t get past their own morbid fear or hatred of God? Would acknowledging that God may exist and simply has not made Himself known to them be psychologically impossible? Is it just less frightening to the subconscious for them to claim "There is no God" rather than admit "I don't know God"?

    If so, what is it in their lives that caused this morbid fear or hatred of God, and prevents ODN atheists from recognizing that they are really agnostics? And why are they not willing to think logically, and admit that if they really do hate God, then they may actually believe that He exists?

    So, I ask all ODN "atheists" to step forward and explain why you are so certain that God does not exist. And if you are not certain, how can you maintain the position of being an atheist instead of an agnostic?

    Why are you certain that you are not actually theophobic, and repressing a true belief in God?
    Greetings;

    My certainty comes from a number of experiences. As the grandson of a Methodist minister, I gave it a really good effort...nothing. Then I joined the U.S. Navy and traveled to many places where civilizations had once thrived and had since died out. The effort these ancient peoples went to profess their beliefs was no more or less great than anything the current religions have gone to. I cannot see how these religions were any more "right" or "wrong" than any others. Then I went to college and studied the history of human religions and mythologies. I began to see there are serious patterns involved. I could also see how the religions we have now were created by putting together all the beliefs and stories that came before them. One can see where god(s) were invented to explain those things that were beyond their ability to comprehend, and as we move towards the modern era, the need for gods to explain these things has diminished as we have found other means to explain the incomprehensible without gods.

    As to why I am certain that I am not theophobic, it is because, as an atheist, the subject of the fear/hatred does not exist. I do not hate people who believe in god. I only object when religious people think they have the right to judge me, or tell me how to live my life, according to their beliefs.

  2. #62
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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    So, I ask all ODN "atheists" to step forward and explain why you are so certain that God does not exist. And if you are not certain, how can you maintain the position of being an atheist instead of an agnostic?

    Why are you certain that you are not actually theophobic, and repressing a true belief in God?
    My foremost argument against god is one of probability and observed human behavior.

    1. There are and have been innumerable religions invented by human beings. All of them make supernatural claims. Thus far I have never seen personally, or seen compelling evidence of a supernatural event. This leads me to believe they are typically fantasy. Also, if any of them are to be believed, all the others are false. This means that at least the vast majority of them must be false, and there is little reason to believe in any particular one, so chances are very good they are all false inventions of human beings who are prone to inventing fantasy constructs to make them feel better about their lives.

    2. I would have an expectation that if there were a divine being with an active will and intelligence that worship of them or following their instructed precepts would lead to better lives. What I find is that individual character and fortune is far more predictive of a good life than the religion you choose to worship. People of many different faiths as well as those who hold none are more or less equally likely to find success and peace and the same goes for being despicable monsters. This tells me that religious beliefs in regards to morality are no better or worse than purely secular systems pointing to a lack of a superior intelligence or moral standard beyond the human sphere.

    3. Nearly all religious systems make extraordinary claims which prove to be false upon rigorous examination. This leads me to seriously question the validity of any other claims they make based on the same systems of reasoning and evidence.

    I think God is very probably a fiction, and even if there is a deity of some kind, its especially unlikely that Christians (the dominant God worshipers in my part of the world) is an accurate depiction of said deity since its formulation is largely arbitrary and fixed rather than discovered and challenged.

    There are components of Christian belief I find morally abhorrent and there are certainly behaviors of Christians I find to be highly objectionable, even hate worthy. There are other components I find admirable and there are religiously motivated acts I very much approve of.

    I find most apologetic to be very weak in foundation, even if they are strong in reasoning past that foundation. Push to the foundation and you get ignored or receive one of the arsenal of cop-out answers. It becomes clear they generally have no interest in questioning their beliefs, only in defending them. This is not to say Christians or Theists are bad debaters or stupid or anything else. In fact I've been worn down and more or less beaten many times. But I've not seen in that time any compelling evidence for a specific God or supernatural powers at work, only an open door to such a possibility when meanwhile strong probabilities argue that possibility is slim to none.
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  3. #63
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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    I want to believe in a God. I really do. (Not the Christian one mind you, but some sort of all powerful creator, orchestrator). Yet I just can't make myself do so. There is no evidence I can find that can convince me.
    The Sparrow, Member of the God-Awful Atheist Syndicate

  4. #64
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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSparrow View Post
    I want to believe in a God. I really do.
    Why? What difference would that make to your life?
    .::The Swindall::.

    "...In the beginning, man created god"

  5. #65
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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Swindall View Post
    Why? What difference would that make to your life?
    It could POTENTIALLY mean some of the following:

    Suffering may have meaning or serve an ultimate purpose.
    Bodily death is not the end of everything
    Some 'force' out there might take mercy upon me and help me in shitty times
    Prayer might work.

    Basically I'm thinking it might make the bad things in life easier to bear.
    The Sparrow, Member of the God-Awful Atheist Syndicate

  6. #66
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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    I just realized how truly horrible this OP is.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    theophobia [ˌθɪəˈfəʊbɪə]
    n
    (Psychology) morbid fear or hatred of God
    theophobiac n

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/theophobia
    Providing the definition of a word does not an argument make. And, of course, Evensaul makes NO argument WHATSOEVER - ZERO, NONE, ZIP - throughout this entire OP.

    There have been many debates on ODN about whether God exists. Atheists, while asserting that there is no reason to believe in God, have never proven God does not exist.
    DOH! Phooey. The classic "you can't prove God doesn't exist" argument. Wow. Really? Does it REALLY fall on my shoulders to spit out the obvious "can't prove a negative" jargon?

    And recent threads by atheists suggest they have a very real fear or even hatred of God.


    Seriously. Is this a joke? If an atheist doesn't believe in something, then how could he fear or hate that something?

    Given that the choices for the origin of the universe are 1) that the universe is self-creating (which doesn't seem very logical) or 2) that it was created by a deity of some kind, why are ODN atheists so adamant that God does not exist?
    Or "deities" of some kind.

    Is it because they are theophobiacs, and can’t get past their own morbid fear or hatred of God? Would acknowledging that God may exist and simply has not made Himself known to them be psychologically impossible? Is it just less frightening to the subconscious for them to claim "There is no God" rather than admit "I don't know God"?

    If so, what is it in their lives that caused this morbid fear or hatred of God, and prevents ODN atheists from recognizing that they are really agnostics? And why are they not willing to think logically, and admit that if they really do hate God, then they may actually believe that He exists?
    Notice that Evensaul does not make ONE assertion here. Just rather meaningless questions.

    So, I ask all ODN "atheists" to step forward and explain why you are so certain that God does not exist. And if you are not certain, how can you maintain the position of being an atheist instead of an agnostic?

    Why are you certain that you are not actually theophobic, and repressing a true belief in God?
    Evensaul, is this really your idea of an OP. You literally typed up this OP and submitted it WITHOUT including an actual ARGUMENT in it (other than your vaguely sniffable insinuations as to what your position is)? And then to top it all off, you ask the hateful and fearful atheists to do YOUR work for you. Actually, no. YOUR work was to make an argument FOR your position (whatever that is). You're asking us to do some work, when you haven't done any yourself.

    So, I ask all ODN "atheists" to step forward and explain why you are so certain that God does not exist.
    Oh, I did this Even. You remember, don't you? Remember my non-belief thread - the biggest in ODN history - where you racked up chains of neg reps so long that they served as appendixes to the arguments of yours that I mightily crushed. You remember your concession. Remember that you could not defeat - or comprehend, at times... the argument. Considering what happened in that thread, are you certain that you are not actually a Hermanphobiac, and repressing true belief that the Christian God does not actually exist? Is it because you are a Hermanphobiac, and can't get past your own morbid fear or hatred of Hermanleadread?

    Originally Posted by HL

    atheophobia

    n
    (Psychology) morbid fear or hatred of atheists, or, in some cases, one particular atheist (hermanlead).

    atheophobiac n

  7. #67
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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    I'm not sure about theophobiacs, but I can say why I was an atheist and what had me trapped by it for 15 years.

    1. I didn't understand that my (atheist) philosophy required faith as well, and therefore was no more valid than religious speculations (ofc some atheists have no theories, but this is rare - anything an atheist cannot prove that they think is true is pure faith - from black holes making new universes, to dark matter, you name it).

    2. I was afraid to be wrong. I had staked a lot on my atheism, and I didn't dare change my position or look like a flake.

    3. I wanted to be my own master. I wasn't willing to serve a higher power, even if it was righteous and good. I was unwilling to be subservient.

    Now, I wasn't afraid of the religious, but I did often think less of them. Religion is based on faith, and personal experience, and I thought I was above those sentiments.
    He who has an ear, let them hear.

  8. #68
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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gherkin View Post
    I'm not sure about theophobiacs, but I can say why I was an atheist and what had me trapped by it for 15 years.

    1. I didn't understand that my (atheist) philosophy required faith as well, and therefore was no more valid than religious speculations (ofc some atheists have no theories, but this is rare - anything an atheist cannot prove that they think is true is pure faith - from black holes making new universes, to dark matter, you name it).
    Let's assume that's true. Let's assume that atheism (the nonbelief in the existence of any god) requires just as much faith as does theism (the belief in the existence of some god). Now, why should this count as a good, epistemic reason to accept theism and to reject atheism???

    Clearly, it's not a good, epistemic reason. So for you to list this as a reason that you switched from being atheist to being theist doesn't withstand scrutiny.

    2. I was afraid to be wrong. I had staked a lot on my atheism, and I didn't dare change my position or look like a flake.
    This would be a good reason to switch to theism ONLY if you had also come to believe that theism is more likely than atheism to be the case. But you've said nothing about believing that theism is more likely than atheism to be the case. In fact, you've said just the opposite. You said that you accepted theism for the same reason that you previously accepted atheism -- on faith.

    3. I wanted to be my own master. I wasn't willing to serve a higher power, even if it was righteous and good. I was unwilling to be subservient.
    Being willing to be subservient to a god SHOULD some god exist is not the least bit of evidence that some god DOES exist. For example, I myself, about as atheist as they come, am absolutely, without question willing to be subservient to a god SHOULD a god exist. This, however, is evidence only for my psychological state of mind and is, again, no evidence whatsoever for the proposition "A god DOES exist."

  9. #69
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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Let's assume that's true. Let's assume that atheism (the nonbelief in the existence of any god) requires just as much faith as does theism (the belief in the existence of some god). Now, why should this count as a good, epistemic reason to accept theism and to reject atheism???

    Clearly, it's not a good, epistemic reason. So for you to list this as a reason that you switched from being atheist to being theist doesn't withstand scrutiny.
    First of all, this was never a note about why I switched.

    Secondly, you merely ask a question and say the answer is no, without any reason.

    Third, I specifically noted that some rare atheists have no theories beyond their lack of belief in Gods - and I exclude them from requiring faith. I just find that they are very rare indeed. Most atheists I know of bow to the chapel of popular science, and have one or several things they believe in which are not proven (which does imply faith).

    This would be a good reason to switch to theism ONLY if you had also come to believe that theism is more likely than atheism to be the case. But you've said nothing about believing that theism is more likely than atheism to be the case. In fact, you've said just the opposite. You said that you accepted theism for the same reason that you previously accepted atheism -- on faith.
    Again, this was never why I switched in the first place - but what kept me from switching. Please re-read my post as you are misinterperiting.

    Being willing to be subservient to a god SHOULD some god exist is not the least bit of evidence that some god DOES exist. For example, I myself, about as atheist as they come, am absolutely, without question willing to be subservient to a god SHOULD a god exist. This, however, is evidence only for my psychological state of mind and is, again, no evidence whatsoever for the proposition "A god DOES exist."
    Totally off point again. I was saying why I stayed an atheist, not why I changed later on. I was noting my sentiments from when I was an atheist, not my current feelings as a theist. In addition, I was also not discussing why I switched. I hope that is cleared up.
    He who has an ear, let them hear.

  10. #70
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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gherkin View Post
    First of all, this was never a note about why I switched.
    I'd like to hear the story some time Gherkin, though probably not in this thread. Your political views are very unusual for a Theist in my experience.

    But it sounds like you are saying you were Theophobic when you were an Atheist, correct?
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    I wouldn't go so far as to say theophobiac, no. I just didn't think they were right, or as critical of thinkers.

    I'll be glad to recount the story sometime - though it's more a conflux of events than a single story.
    He who has an ear, let them hear.

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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    I do not fear or hate God. I fear and hate what people do in the name of God. (Obviously I mean just the negative things. I don't fear or hate charity. But I do fear and hate the witch burnings, holy wars and the dark age.)
    abc

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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Do people who don't believe in the boogeyman fear the boogeyman? Of course not. Any reason that the same logic should not apply to atheists and God?

  14. #74
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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by tanstaafl28 View Post
    Greetings;

    My certainty comes from a number of experiences. As the grandson of a Methodist minister, I gave it a really good effort...nothing. Then I joined the U.S. Navy and traveled to many places where civilizations had once thrived and had since died out. The effort these ancient peoples went to profess their beliefs was no more or less great than anything the current religions have gone to. I cannot see how these religions were any more "right" or "wrong" than any others. Then I went to college and studied the history of human religions and mythologies. I began to see there are serious patterns involved. I could also see how the religions we have now were created by putting together all the beliefs and stories that came before them. One can see where god(s) were invented to explain those things that were beyond their ability to comprehend, and as we move towards the modern era, the need for gods to explain these things has diminished as we have found other means to explain the incomprehensible without gods.

    As to why I am certain that I am not theophobic, it is because, as an atheist, the subject of the fear/hatred does not exist. I do not hate people who believe in god. I only object when religious people think they have the right to judge me, or tell me how to live my life, according to their beliefs.
    Your beliefs appear constrained by those things you personally hear and see, and yet you "know" there is no God. How would you explain the origin of life? What theory on that origin and subsequent evolution of life forms are you so certain of that you completely exclude the possibility of God or some other god?

    ---------- Post added at 04:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:27 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSparrow View Post
    There is no evidence I can find that can convince me.
    You've self-identified in the poll as being absolutely certain there is no God. Can you explain, then, how life began? Where did the first spark of life come from in the first life form? Or where the first matter came from? Which is more likely, a perpetually existing and all-powerful being that created matter and other life forms, or perpetually existing non-sentient chunks of matter and/or gas that somehow create life? How can you be completely certain that the first could not be possible, and (presumably) believe the second is possible?

    ---------- Post added at 04:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:35 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Do people who don't believe in the boogeyman fear the boogeyman? Of course not. Any reason that the same logic should not apply to atheists and God?
    If you knew someone who spent a considerable portion of his life on the internet arguing that the boogeyman didn't exist, and he seemed hostile to the boogeyman, and there were a recognized "phobia" term for hatred and fear of the boogeyman, wouldn't it be reasonable to wonder whether he had that phobia?

    ---------- Post added at 04:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:49 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    I do not fear or hate God. I fear and hate what people do in the name of God. (Obviously I mean just the negative things. I don't fear or hate charity. But I do fear and hate the witch burnings, holy wars and the dark age.)
    You self-identified as "knowing" there is no possibility that God exists. Why? Why did you not choose "50 percent" probablity, or even the relatively moderate "Lower than 50 percent but not very low" position? What makes you so certain God does not exist?
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    You self-identified as "knowing" there is no possibility that God exists. Why? Why did you not choose "50 percent" probablity, or even the relatively moderate "Lower than 50 percent but not very low" position? What makes you so certain God does not exist?
    How does the above, in anyway relate to the below?

    MyXenocide - I do not fear or hate God. I fear and hate what people do in the name of God. (Obviously I mean just the negative things. I don't fear or hate charity. But I do fear and hate the witch burnings, holy wars and the dark age.)
    I think I answered your questions in the thread that contained this poll. I am not entirely sure which thread it was. Could you link it?
    abc

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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    If you knew someone who spent a considerable portion of his life on the internet arguing that the boogeyman didn't exist, and he seemed hostile to the boogeyman, and there were a recognized "phobia" term for hatred and fear of the boogeyman, wouldn't it be reasonable to wonder whether he had that phobia?
    It depends on why he's arguing that there's no boogeyman.

    If that person is arguing that there's no boogeyman because a large number of people not only believed that there is a boogeyman but their belief was effecting society in general which includes that person's life, I would say his issue is with boogeyman believers, not the boogeyman itself.
    Last edited by mican333; December 5th, 2011 at 09:40 AM.

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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gherkin View Post
    First of all, this was never a note about why I switched.
    You wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by Gherkin
    I can say why I was an atheist and what had me trapped by it for 15 years.

    1. I didn't understand that my (atheist) philosophy required faith as well . . .
    It is not an unreasonable interpretation of your words to take them to mean that you came to believe that atheism and theism both require faith to be believed.

    BTW, this is a gross misunderstanding of what 'atheism' is. Atheism is not a belief. Atheism is a non-belief.

    If under normal conditions I peer into an ordinary hat and see no rabbit inside a hat, faith is not required for me to believe that I see no rabbit inside the hat. My senses, not faith, tell me no rabbit is in the hat. On the contrary, faith would be required for me to believe that, in spite of what my senses tell me, there actually is a rabbit in the hat.

    Secondly, you merely ask a question and say the answer is no, without any reason.
    False. That faith is not a good reason to come to a belief about the world is implied.

    To be more explicit about this I'll point out to you that even were atheism a matter of faith (which as I've pointed out to you, it isn't) that is still no reason to accept anything else on faith. As I implied, faith is not a good reason to believe some proposition accurately describes the world.

    Third, I specifically noted that some rare atheists have no theories beyond their lack of belief in Gods - and I exclude them from requiring faith. I just find that they are very rare indeed. Most atheists I know of bow to the chapel of popular science, and have one or several things they believe in which are not proven (which does imply faith).
    You don't seem to know the definition of atheism. Perhaps you should look it up. In no definition of atheism of which I am aware does the definition include a positive belief in anything else. Atheism is about non-belief, not belief.

    BTW, what do you mean by "popular science"? Are you attempting to draw a contrast between "popular science" and "real science"? If so, then please define the way in which you are using those terms?

    Again, [being afraid to be wrong or to appear to be insincere] was never why I switched in the first place - but what kept me from switching. Please re-read my post as you are misinterperiting.
    OK then, what specifically was it that you were "afraid of being wrong" about? Can you at least clarify that much?

    Totally off point again. I was saying why I stayed an atheist, not why I changed later on. I was noting my sentiments from when I was an atheist, not my current feelings as a theist. In addition, I was also not discussing why I switched. I hope that is cleared up.
    Fine. So you "felt trapped by atheism for 15 years," in part because you were "unwilling to be subservient." So what?

    Since atheism is not an unwillingness to be subservient, you obviously were not trapped by atheism for this reason, but perhaps were "trapped" by your own psychological needs.

    All in all, you simply have a very poor understanding of what atheism is.

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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    All in all, you simply have a very poor understanding of what atheism is.
    I'm not sure that is fair to say. Atheism varies from person to person and there are many debated definitions of it. He was an atheist for some time so clearly he at least has a good idea of what his state of Atheism was and that's certainly a decent understanding to start from. He also acknowledges there are atheists who he does not feel are "faith based."

    I do think on the theist side (and to some degree on the atheist side) there is a mingling of atheism and naturalism which is not always helpful even if it is often true. Being an atheist tends to mean you are a naturalist to some degree but the reason one may be a naturalist or an atheist tends to be separate and the implications are separate as well.

    Atheism is as you say, a non-belief and for many its based on conclusions based on life experience and observation. Generally it is a rejection of the popular religious expression in the culture and then a rejection of all such systems. It doesn't require faith, just a preponderance of doubt. I'd say more than 50%, because at 50% you may well still stick with a faith system "just in case" or because it gives you comfort. To take the label and stigma of being Atheist you have to be more certain than that, certain enough you make a significant cultural decision.

    Once you make that call, well you still have to have some kind of positive world view, or less commonly an apathy towards having one. Naturalism is a pretty common default and you will tend to support whatever explanations are leading in science because that is the body of research and learning in the naturalist sphere.

    You also tend to want some ethical standard. Most atheists just borrow common wisdom from culture, a lot of which is informed by religion or other traditions as well as simple common sense. Some get a bit more advanced and turn to a particular secular ethical system such as secular humanism (my personal favorite) but there are others.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    ...I would say his issue is with boogeyman believers, not the boogeyman itself.
    No professional psychiatrist could make that determination without meeting the subject, yet you don't hesitate to make an instant and absolute diagnosis of a hypothetical subject. Amazing. Tell me how you can make that call so easily, and thereby completely exclude the possibility that he is repressing a belief in the boogeyman.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: Are ODN "atheists" theophobiacs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez
    All in all, you [ie, Gherkin] simply have a very poor understanding of what atheism is.
    I'm not sure that is fair to say. Atheism varies from person to person and there are many debated definitions of it.
    Gherkin wrote: "I didn't understand that my (atheist) philosophy required faith as well, and therefore was no more valid than religious speculations."

    I've yet to see a definition of atheism that says atheism "requires" faith. Perhaps your experience is different than mine and you have seen such a definition. If so, will you please provide a link to that definition?

    Fact is, Sig, to rationally believe that a hat contains no rabbit, all one need do is to examine the hat and find no rabbit -- and that's not a faith-based belief. That's a belief based on the evidence provided by one's senses.

    Faith is required to believe, in spite of the evidence you have to the contrary, that the hat DOES contain a rabbit.

 

 
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