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  1. #161
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    NO...it is not...and your link did not work, futureboy.

    And some would refer to them as being strongly atheistic with regard to that specific deity. Sorry.
    Don't be sorry. Anyone can be wrong.

    Dude, you literally just said that you can't have a rational discussion with me because you thought I was trying to re-define strong atheism. So, the actual content of the discussion I was forwarding was irrelevant to you just because you disagreed with my use of the term.
    Dude, I am telling you that if you are going to re-define "strong atheist" there is no way I can discuss this topic with you rationally.

    Not everyone here is going to re-define "strong atheist."

    First of all, your original remark in post # 88 made absolutely no reference to strong atheism.
    No it didn't. It said exactly what I intended to say. I stand by my remarks there.


    Second, my response to you in post # 148 didn't refer to strong atheism in any way either, and specifically brought up issues surrounding beliefs and the nature of beliefs vs. evidence, in general. Your response to that completely ignored the statements I made regarding beliefs vs evidence.
    Bottom line..."strong atheism" is defined as an assertion or belief that no gods exists.

    Deal with that.

    So while I understand that you now say your post # 88 was intended to refer to only strong atheists as commonly defined, my very first response to it had already introduced other topics related to the question of beliefs vs. evidence based on the statements you made referring to atheists in general, and not specifically strong atheists. I get that you wanted to clarify that post # 88 was about strong atheists, but in doing so you have completely ignored any further discussion about the topics introduced afterwards and the questions posed to you.
    Here is what I am saying: If an atheist asserts a "belief" that there are no gods...that "belief" is no more "rationally justified" than a theistic "belief" that a particular god exists.

    Like I said, please re-read my posts. If you want to continue the discussion I raised in my very first response to you, you should at least want to/be able to do that in order to understand what I was talking/asking you about.
    If you disagree with anything I have written here...tell me why you disagree and we can discuss it.

    I'm sorry, Frank, but the way in which you have ignored not only the general direction of the discussion I've been trying to have with you but also specific questions to you, as well as your terse and somewhat dogmatic dismissal of any further considerations of what it means to have strong atheistic positions really makes it seem like you're just out to bicker. Again, not everyone is out to argue with you.
    If you disagree with anything I have written here, futureboy, tell me why you disagree and we can discuss it.

    I suspect it might be better to pick one specific thing...and discuss that until we resolve it...and then move on to something else.

    I would choose the definition of "strong atheist" if I were you.

  2. #162
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    NO...it is not...and your link did not work, futureboy. Don't be sorry. Anyone can be wrong.
    I'm again sorry you're being so stubborn with this, but you said that the term isn't used as I described, and I simply provided you with an example where it is actually used in that way. The link works fine for me, but here is the text:
    Strong atheism, also sometimes referred to as explicit atheism, goes one step further and involves denying the existence of at least one god, usually multiple gods, and sometimes the possible existence of any gods at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    No it didn't. It said exactly what I intended to say. I stand by my remarks there.
    Again, in post 88 you refer to atheists in general using the term "atheists". You later clarified (twice) that your post refers only to strong atheists. Now you're saying that you said exactly what you intended to say, meaning your statements in post 88 are about atheists in general?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    Bottom line..."strong atheism" is defined as an assertion or belief that no gods exists. Deal with that.
    I have - I've provided an example explaining the somewhat deeper considerations of the different types of theists with regard to how they reject claims and assert their antithesis. But again, the question about strong atheists is somewhat pointless and this is all really irrelevant to the further discussion I attempted to promote with my very first response to you, which you still seem to be ignoring. As I stated earlier, I think a meaningful discussion could be had by exploring the implications of denying the existence of certain deities such as Zeus, while maintaining that strong atheists who also deny the existence of all the other more main-stream deities are being irrational. Where does one draw the line? At what point does it become acceptable to take a strong atheistic stance and deny the existence of a modern deity just like we've long since done with those such as Zeus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    Here is what I am saying: If an atheist asserts a "belief" that there are no gods...that "belief" is no more "rationally justified" than a theistic "belief" that a particular god exists.
    Then it's merely an issue of you not expressing yourself clearly, since post 88 makes no reference whatsoever to strong atheists' belief that there are no gods.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    If you disagree with anything I have written here...tell me why you disagree and we can discuss it.
    Well, at least you're no longer simply assuming incorrectly that I disagree with anything you've written, and are now asking whether that's the case, so I guess some progress there. Again, I'll simply direct you to and ask that you re-read my previous responses to you where I have clearly expressed the ideas I think are worth considering that have nothing to do with pointless bickering about what strong atheism is.

  3. #163
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    I'm again sorry you're being so stubborn with this, but you said that the term isn't used as I described, and I simply provided you with an example where it is actually used in that way. The link works fine for me, but here is the text:
    Strong atheism, also sometimes referred to as explicit atheism, goes one step further and involves denying the existence of at least one god, usually multiple gods, and sometimes the possible existence of any gods at all.
    I tried your link several times...to no avail. The link says something about "Thought.com." I have no idea of what that is and I am not interested in looking it up. But perhaps it is a site that decided to re-define strong atheism.

    Here is a link to Wikipedia that defines it:

    Positive atheism, also called strong atheism and hard atheism, is the form of atheism that additionally asserts that no deities exist.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negati...sitive_atheism

    That is the only definition I've ever seen used...but whatever.

    Here is my original post. Let's start there...and let's take it sentence to sentence.


    Hi, Futureboy. New here. Gotta get started somewhere...and this was the first thread to catch my eye.
    I cannot imagine you have any problem with sentence number one.

    I agree with your initial premise..."theistic beliefs" truly are not rationally justified.
    I cannot imagine you have any problem with sentence number two.

    Neither, however, are atheistic "beliefs."
    If you have a problem with that...tell me what it is.

    Some atheists assert that they have no "beliefs"...but some do. The "beliefs" of those atheists are as suspect as the "beliefs" of theists.
    Here is the qualifier for that last sentence. I am stating that some atheists assert they have no beliefs. Obviously my previous statement does not apply to them. That previous statement does apply to "...but some do." And I assert that the "beliefs" of the atheists who have "beliefs" are as suspect as the "beliefs" of theists.

    What in the world can you disagree with on that?



    It seems to me to be important to recognize that in the context of "religion"...most, perhaps all, "beliefs" are not rationally justified. They are just "beliefs"...guesses, of a sort, about the true nature of the REALITY of existence.

    Do you agree?
    Okay...deal with this.

  4. #164
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by this.

    How does one measure the "weight of a claim?"

    I suspect, what you mean (given the rest of your post) is whether the claim runs counter to pre-existing assumptions, facts, or understanding. I would argue that that doesn't make the claim more weighty, it makes the "against" column larger.
    I see no reason evidence can have "weight" but a claim can't have "weight", but I'm not a word arguer, I argue ideas, so I go with your definition here (unless you are going to be "that guy again .......

    Now, a claim of supernatural something (for instance) has a "larger against column". Are we good so far?



    (actually, it sounds like the "against column" is weighing down the claim
    (just trying to keep a bit of humor in my argumentation)

    ---------- Post added at 05:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:01 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Underlying this is an implicit definition of "extraordinary" that says they are claims for which we already have disconfirming evidence. Those claims need strong confirming evidence for sure, not because they are extraordinary fundamentally, but because the positive evidence has negative evidence it needs to outweigh.
    Well, I tried to get away from the term "extraordinary".

    However, I don't believe there has been a documented case of the supernatural so that type of claim would need, as you say " strong confirming evidence for sure, not because they are extraordinary fundamentally, but because the positive evidence has negative evidence it needs to outweigh.",
    Do you agree?

    ---------- Post added at 05:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:08 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    In all of the examples of claims I think would fall into "extraordinary" in Sagan's mind, I can't think of one where the rational skepticism isn't based on pre-existing understanding or evidence, but on the nature of the claim itself.

    I suppose something like, "I met a married bachelor" today might be one because it is internally contradictory, but I think most of what we are talking about are claims that counter something we feel we already know or understand.

    Does that definition make sense? Am I missing something?
    Could you condense this down a bit please?

    ---------- Post added at 05:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:10 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    No, God has confirmed that He is who He says in numerous ways to my mind concerning His Word. Personally, He has also answered prayer and shown me grace and mercy by drawing me to His Spirit. After my father died, I was looking for meaning. I returned to Africa, and I continually had people who believed in God placed in my life - my uncle, my roomie at the place I worked, his friends, other work acquaintances. Then the accident. Then back to Canada. I was skeptical but decided to investigate further. That was over 38 years ago. That is my personal experience that you can doubt, but to me it is real.
    I truly believe you are being sincere and I appreciate your candor.

    The problem here is:
    Let's say I had decided God did exist and I wanted to worship in the manner God has chosen. I narrow my search to Christianity, Judaism, and Muslim. How to decide which is true, since they are mutually exclusive? You have spoken of a personal experience that confirmed your belief. I have actually spoken to Jewish people before, and they often have a similar personal experience that confirms their belief.
    Jews and Muslims were around the time of Christ, and they deny Jesus is God and that he rose from the dead. They have ancient text with prophecy and history as support just as Christians do.
    I realize you believe Christianity's text is stronger. I have read some of the other two religions text as well and submit the are very similar in strength.
    How am I to decide?

  5. #165
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    I tried your link several times...to no avail.
    Frank, I offered you the actual text from the website. It really seems as though sometimes you just scan over what is written and don't invest the time to take it all in...

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    Here is my original post. Let's start there...and let's take it sentence to sentence.
    I've already responded to your post. Please re-read my posts carefully, and if you'd like to answer the numerous questions I've now asked you or wish to discuss the topics/ideas I've raised further, feel free to do so.

  6. #166
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by future
    Quote Originally Posted by frank
    NO...it is not...and your link did not work, futureboy.

    First, I should note that the link did work for me, I think it is function of the way certain browsers truncate the display of links and our really old database.

    Second, the author of the "thoughtco" article does agree with future's definition. But let's be honest, the author is really just a blogger. He has no formal philosophy training that I can tell (he has a "Masters of Arts" but bizarrely doesn't say in what), and makes several fundamental mistakes in his article.

    Rather, we should accept for the purposes of this thread the more mainstream definition provided by Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/a...cism/#DefiAthe

    Therefore, in philosophy at least, atheism should be construed as the proposition that God does not exist (or, more broadly, the proposition that there are no gods).





    Quote Originally Posted by Even
    He can’t summarily dismiss my beliefs and the process I went through, when his own experience with faith in science is similar.
    Well he isn't warranted in summarily dismissing your testimony, that is kind of the definition of summarily. Rather, he would need to provide some kind of rationale for why he would dismiss that testimony in order to justify a rejection of the claim.

    But his having done so with the scientific method doesn't really impact that at all, it seems a bit more of a tu quoque fallacy or a two wrongs make a right fallacy. I understand using that (frankly valid) example of him doing the same thing himself as a learning point, but not necessarily as a justification.





    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor
    I see no reason evidence can have "weight" but a claim can't have "weight", but I'm not a word arguer, I argue ideas,
    I ask because I'm legitimately curious here, I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say a claim has "weight."

    Evidence having weight (ie how much legitimate warrant it adds to a claim) seems intuitively reasonable to me. If you think of a scale with one side being "accept the claim" and the other being "reject the claim" the analogy seems to fit well.

    I guess I'm just having a hard time understanding what it would mean to say claim a has more weight than claim b. Is it something to do with the claim's impact? Sorry, could use a bit more elaboration here.



    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor
    unless you are going to be "that guy again .......
    It happens sometimes. :-)



    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor
    Now, a claim of supernatural something (for instance) has a "larger against column". Are we good so far?
    Hmm, I'm not quite prepared to accept that that is the case. What specific facts or understandings do we have that would be automatically placed against any claim of the supernatural?

    And to lay some of the cards on the table about that question, I definitely agree that we have some personal accepted philosophies that would make that true, but I think they more fall into that psychology category, rather than warrant category. Take a materialism bias or the semmelweis reflex for example.



    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor
    However, I don't believe there has been a documented case of the supernatural
    I think it really depends on what you mean by "documented case" here. If it means a case that everyone agrees was supernatural, sure I'd agree with you, but then we have a hard time agreeing on the moon (https://exemplore.com/misc/Is-the-Mo...ow-Moon-Theory).

    I guess it really is a matter of what we are talking about when we say documented or proven or whatever. There are certainly cases out there of proposed supernatural events with positive evidence in support and evidence against. I would wager that there are a few cases out there where the for evidence outweighs the against evidence if we just assess the case itself. I'm not sure that that makes it proven though.

    And that isn't that odd of a situation. We have a hard time with documenting a lot of what the Romans did. Heck, there were entire empires in the middle east that existed for thousands of years that we have only two or three clay tablets from later periods talking about.

    That doesn't mean we automatically accept them. I think they have to be taken on a case by case basis.




    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor
    Could you condense this down a bit please?
    Hopefully.

    I think what Sagan meant by "extraordinary claim" was a claim that went against some set of accepted understandings on his part.

    Take Plato's Cave. The denizens of the cave would have a hard time accepting a claim that the figures they were watching were shadows because they had a large set of accepted understandings about their world.

    Or to take an example Sagan might have appreciated more; take tectonic forces in the Earth's surface (uggh, I can't believe I'm citing WSU as a UW alum ;-) ). When the theory that the continents moved was first proposed it was soundly rejected and (sadly) laughed at. There isn't really anything crazy about the theory or the proposal. Nothing about the claim itself is really that extraordinary.

    What caused that reaction was that there was a large set of existing "facts" and understandings that had to be invalidated. From archeological dating, to biology, to geophysics. There was a large set of scientific understanding based on deductions assuming the continents were more or less static. And a lot of findings supporting that hypothesis.

    IE there were a lot of supporting pieces of evidence to say the theory was wrong. So it took some very strong and conclusive evidence to overcome those pre-existing defenses.
    Last edited by Squatch347; Today at 07:49 AM.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  7. #167
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Various comments addressed to me.
    Not my comments, Squatch.

    I did read them from someone...cannot remember who.

    ---------- Post added at 10:12 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:08 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Frank, I offered you the actual text from the website. It really seems as though sometimes you just scan over what is written and don't invest the time to take it all in...
    As I said...I don't know who that person is, but Squatch seemed to cover that quite nicely in his last post.

    I've already responded to your post. Please re-read my posts carefully, and if you'd like to answer the numerous questions I've now asked you or wish to discuss the topics/ideas I've raised further, feel free to do so.
    I've read them carefully...and I really would prefer to start over so that we are not using a scattergun.

    My point was that "beliefs" whether theistic beliefs or atheistic beliefs are equally suspect (not rationally justified.)

    Not sure how you can think otherwise, but if you do...fine with me.

  8. #168
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    As I said...I don't know who that person is, but Squatch seemed to cover that quite nicely in his last post.
    He also forwarded a definition of atheism which implies that atheism in general means to hold that God doesn't exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    I've read them carefully...and I really would prefer to start over so that we are not using a scattergun.
    I stand by my responses and questions. You can quote them specifically and respond to individual parts, if you wish to avoid "scattergun". There is no need to start over.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    My point was that "beliefs" whether theistic beliefs or atheistic beliefs are equally suspect (not rationally justified.)
    And since you again don't specify what kind of atheistic beliefs (whether specifically atheists' beliefs about deities or just any atheists' beliefs in general), I refer you to my original response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    Not sure how you can think otherwise, but if you do...fine with me.
    Again, I don't understand why you keep implying that I've disagreed with you. If you'd just take the time to read my posts and respond to them, we would be able to have a discussion which wouldn't require that you make such assumptions.

  9. #169
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    Not my comments, Squatch.

    I did read them from someone...cannot remember who.
    Ohhh...Haha, yes you are right, I put you in there rather than Belthazor. Sorry.


    Fixed
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  10. #170
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    He also forwarded a definition of atheism which implies that atheism in general means to hold that God doesn't exist.
    There certainly are people who suppose that atheism, in general, means to hold that god doesn't exist. The etymology of the word supports that meaning. Atheism comes to us from the Greek through the French...and derives: "a" (without) + "theos" (god)...and therefore originally meant...being without a god. (One cannot be without a god if any gods exist, so the implication of the etymology is that no gods exist.)

    Modern, Internet debating atheists found it convenient to assert (perhaps, pretend) that the word derives from "a" (without) + "theist" (someone who BELIEVES a god exists)...and therefore means without a BELIEF in a god. This is a blatantly incorrect etymology. Fact is, atheism came into the English language BEFORE theism...so it cannot have derived that way. So I understand why Squatch may have done that.


    I stand by my responses and questions. You can quote them specifically and respond to individual parts, if you wish to avoid "scattergun". There is no need to start over.
    If you have a question you think to be important to our discussion, ask it again. Otherwise I will assume I have answered all of your relevant questions. I am not going on a hunting expedition to figure out what question(s) you still want answered.


    And since you again don't specify what kind of atheistic beliefs (whether specifically atheists' beliefs about deities or just any atheists' beliefs in general), I refer you to my original response.
    ANY "BELIEFS" as to whether gods exist or not...are suspect whether made by theists or atheists. None are "rationally justified." Once a thing becomes "rationally justified" it ceases to be a "belief."

    Again, I don't understand why you keep implying that I've disagreed with you. If you'd just take the time to read my posts and respond to them, we would be able to have a discussion which wouldn't require that you make such assumptions.
    Okay...ask a question that you consider significant...and I will attempt to answer it.

  11. #171
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    There certainly are people who suppose that atheism, in general, means to hold that god doesn't exist. The etymology of the word supports that meaning. Atheism comes to us from the Greek through the French...and derives: "a" (without) + "theos" (god)...and therefore originally meant...being without a god. (One cannot be without a god if any gods exist, so the implication of the etymology is that no gods exist.)

    Modern, Internet debating atheists found it convenient to assert (perhaps, pretend) that the word derives from "a" (without) + "theist" (someone who BELIEVES a god exists)...and therefore means without a BELIEF in a god. This is a blatantly incorrect etymology. Fact is, atheism came into the English language BEFORE theism...so it cannot have derived that way. So I understand why Squatch may have done that.
    Words don't have intrinsic meanings, they have usages. As much as I personally enjoy the study of language and its use, along with etymology and the history of languages, I have to respect every language's natural propensity to evolve and change based on its use and the preferences of those using. The usefulness of language is the core value which should be - and is automatically/naturally - upheld above all else. Throwing away language's or a word's usefulness in order to uphold original or traditional meanings of old is, in my opinion, little more than dogmatism and should be avoided. Indeed, you'll find that such dogmatism is naturally fought by the language zeitgeist.
    We have no choice but to accept how the various terms and permutations of "a" + "theos" have evolved based on their usefulness. And if you think about it, the way in which use of the terms has evolved over time is in a real way indicative of how our thinking about the concepts has also evolved, as a gradual shift away from simply asserting that there's no god to the rational skeptical conclusion most agnostics uphold nowadays. It's something which should be embraced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    If you have a question you think to be important to our discussion, ask it again. Otherwise I will assume I have answered all of your relevant questions. I am not going on a hunting expedition to figure out what question(s) you still want answered.
    Well, I've brought up the topic of the acceptability of maintaining strong atheistic stances with regard to clearly out-of-fashion deities such as Zeus and questioned where the line is or should be drawn. I asked you, since you've said you uphold the agnostic position, if you don't also hold that some deities such as Zeus or Odin actually don't exist - or even other proposed supernatural entities like fairies.
    Here's what I originally posted in # 162 above:
    As I stated earlier, I think a meaningful discussion could be had by exploring the implications of denying the existence of certain deities such as Zeus, while maintaining that strong atheists who also deny the existence of all the other more main-stream deities are being irrational. Where does one draw the line? At what point does it become acceptable to take a strong atheistic stance and deny the existence of a modern deity just like we've long since done with those such as Zeus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    ANY "BELIEFS" as to whether gods exist or not...are suspect whether made by theists or atheists. None are "rationally justified." Once a thing becomes "rationally justified" it ceases to be a "belief."
    To which I asked what's wrong with holding the strong atheistic belief that Zeus doesn't exist? Is it just a belief that Zeus or fairies for sure don't exist, or is that rationally justified? Where do we draw the line and why?

  12. #172
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Words don't have intrinsic meanings, they have usages. As much as I personally enjoy the study of language and its use, along with etymology and the history of languages, I have to respect every language's natural propensity to evolve and change based on its use and the preferences of those using. The usefulness of language is the core value which should be - and is automatically/naturally - upheld above all else. Throwing away language's or a word's usefulness in order to uphold original or traditional meanings of old is, in my opinion, little more than dogmatism and should be avoided. Indeed, you'll find that such dogmatism is naturally fought by the language zeitgeist.
    We have no choice but to accept how the various terms and permutations of "a" + "theos" have evolved based on their usefulness. And if you think about it, the way in which use of the terms has evolved over time is in a real way indicative of how our thinking about the concepts has also evolved, as a gradual shift away from simply asserting that there's no god to the rational skeptical conclusion most agnostics uphold nowadays. It's something which should be embraced.
    Okay, but considering the true etymology of the words "atheist" and "atheism" is seems appropriate for Squatch to use it the way he did...the post from Squatch that started this area of discussion.

    As far as I can see, an atheist is someone who denies the existence of a deity. Many people deem that a reasonable description. Now we seem to have invented something based on a false etymology...that separates atheist into "strong" and "weak"...with the "weak" being much closer to agnosticism.

    That is one of the problems with using descriptors for which there is no solid agreement. (An example would be the political "liberal" and "conservative")

    I actually describe my agnosticism for this reason...because sometimes the descriptor DOES NOT WORK. I think it worthwhile to post that description again:

    I do not know if gods exist or not;
    I see no reason to suspect gods CANNOT EXIST...that the existence of gods is impossible;
    I see no reason to suspect that gods MUST EXIST...that gods are needed to explain existence;
    I do not see enough unambiguous evidence upon which to base a meaningful guess in either direction...

    ...so I don't.




    Well, I've brought up the topic of the acceptability of maintaining strong atheistic stances with regard to clearly out-of-fashion deities such as Zeus and questioned where the line is or should be drawn. I asked you, since you've said you uphold the agnostic position, if you don't also hold that some deities such as Zeus or Odin actually don't exist - or even other proposed supernatural entities like fairies.
    Here's what I originally posted in # 162 above:
    As I stated earlier, I think a meaningful discussion could be had by exploring the implications of denying the existence of certain deities such as Zeus, while maintaining that strong atheists who also deny the existence of all the other more main-stream deities are being irrational. Where does one draw the line? At what point does it become acceptable to take a strong atheistic stance and deny the existence of a modern deity just like we've long since done with those such as Zeus?

    To which I asked what's wrong with holding the strong atheistic belief that Zeus doesn't exist? Is it just a belief that Zeus or fairies for sure don't exist, or is that rationally justified? Where do we draw the line and why?
    The problem that I see is that there is no clear agreement on what "strong atheism" is. If I were to use the definition I see as almost universally accepted...that "strong atheism" is the assertion that "there are NO gods"...it would seem inappropriate to use it the way your question is posed.

    If you are asking me whether I "believe" Zeus exists...I would say, "No, I do not 'believe' that Zeus exists." MIND YOU...that is not the same as saying, "I 'believe" Zeus does not exist."

    Futureboy, I attempt as much as possible (not always successfully) to stay away from absolutes when discussing the existence or non-existence of any gods.

    If I were to assert: "Zeus does not exist" how would I go about proving that if challenged? Why would I want to bother? Why would someone be asking that question?

    So when you say "holding a strong atheistic 'belief'" that Zeus doesn't exist...why not just ask, "If you had to guess...would you guess that Zeus exists or does not exist."

    I would answer, "My guess is that Zeus does not exist."

    If I were then asked, "Why do you guess that way?"...I would respond, "Have you seen any good movies lately?"

    AND I WOULD PERSIST WITH THAT RESPONSE.



    I hope this counts as an answer, but if it doesn't...and you want to ask any follow up questions...give it a shot. Or if you other questions you feel ought to be asked, do it. I'm right here.

    ---------- Post added at 01:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:21 PM ----------

    Let me add to that...

    ...if YOU were asked to PROVE that Zeus or those fairies do not exist...

    ...how would you go about it?

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    Now we seem to have invented something based on a false etymology...that separates atheist into "strong" and "weak"...with the "weak" being much closer to agnosticism.
    Again, I don't think it's based on false etymology - it's just the natural evolution of how we use the words based on how our own thinking has evolved and provided different/addition needs for usable language. This is the reason most pages now define atheism as simply the lack of belief in a deity or deities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    The problem that I see is that there is no clear agreement on what "strong atheism" is. If I were to use the definition I see as almost universally accepted...that "strong atheism" is the assertion that "there are NO gods"...it would seem inappropriate to use it the way your question is posed.
    I would've thought that, based on our discussion up to this point, it would be clear that I'm using "holding a strong atheistic position with regard to a specific deity" to mean someone who believes that a theistic claim is false, and actually believes that the antithesis of that theistic claim is true (the deity does not exist).

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    I would answer, "My guess is that Zeus does not exist." If I were then asked, "Why do you guess that way?"...I would respond, "Have you seen any good movies lately?"
    Could you elaborate on what you are implying with such a response about seeing movies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    Let me add to that...if YOU were asked to PROVE that Zeus or those fairies do not exist...how would you go about it?
    And this is where an interesting discussion can be had about the apparent acceptability of holding to strong atheistic positions with regard to out-of-fashion deities.

    What's wrong with holding the strong atheistic belief that Zeus doesn't exist? Is it just a belief that Zeus or fairies for sure don't exist, or is that rationally justified? Where do we draw the line and why?

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Again, I don't think it's based on false etymology - it's just the natural evolution of how we use the words based on how our own thinking has evolved and provided different/addition needs for usable language. This is the reason most pages now define atheism as simply the lack of belief in a deity or deities.
    How can you NOT see it as a false etymology. The reason given by most most Internet weak atheists for using atheist...is because they say the word MEANS that, BECAUSE "a" without + "theism" (a belief in GOD) = "without a belief GOD." They often insist that I, an agnostic, have to consider myself an atheist because I lack that "belief."

    It is obviously and objectively a false etymology...and you should be able to see it and acknowledge it.

    BY THE WAY...EVERY atheist I have known in non-cyber life has been a strong atheist. I have known several atheists personally...and they assert absolutely and emphatically...that NO GODS EXIST or that they "BELIEVE" NO GODS EXIST.

    Just about the only place one really finds "weak atheists" is on the Internet.

    I would've thought that, based on our discussion up to this point, it would be clear that I'm using "holding a strong atheistic position with regard to a specific deity" to mean someone who believes that a theistic claim is false, and actually believes that the antithesis of that theistic claim is true (the deity does not exist).
    Then stop using the descriptor, because I am saying that to me...a strong atheist is someone who denies the existence of ANY AND ALL gods.

    Why use the descriptor when its meaning is in contention?


    Could you elaborate on what you are implying with such a response about seeing movies?
    It is a way of saying, "Let's change the subject."

    And this is where an interesting discussion can be had about the apparent acceptability of holding to strong atheistic positions with regard to out-of-fashion deities.
    If "strong atheist" means "to deny the existence of any gods"...it cannot be used that way. As far as I am concerned...that is what it means.

    So since we cannot agree on what "strong atheism" means...why not simply avoid using it...and instead describe what you mean.

    If I cannot agree with someone about what the word "agnosticism" means (and that happens) I eschew using the descriptor, and instead use my full description. The one I gave you up above.

    What's wrong with holding the strong atheistic belief that Zeus doesn't exist? Is it just a belief that Zeus or fairies for sure don't exist, or is that rationally justified? Where do we draw the line and why?
    There you go again. You are using a descriptor about which we are not in agreement.

    AND WE ARE PERILOUSLY CLOSE TO HAVING A DISCUSSION WE OUGHT NOT TO BE HAVING IN THIS THREAD. PERHAPS, IF YOU WANT, YOU CAN START A THREAD DEVOTED TO THIS SIDE-BAR TOPIC. I WILL ATTEND.

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2
    No, God has confirmed that He is who He says in numerous ways to my mind concerning His Word. Personally, He has also answered prayer and shown me grace and mercy by drawing me to His Spirit. After my father died, I was looking for meaning. I returned to Africa, and I continually had people who believed in God placed in my life - my uncle, my roomie at the place I worked, his friends, other work acquaintances. Then the accident. Then back to Canada. I was skeptical but decided to investigate further. That was over 38 years ago. That is my personal experience that you can doubt, but to me it is real.
    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    I truly believe you are being sincere and I appreciate your candor.

    The problem here is:
    Let's say I had decided God did exist and I wanted to worship in the manner God has chosen. I narrow my search to Christianity, Judaism, and Muslim. How to decide which is true, since they are mutually exclusive? You have spoken of a personal experience that confirmed your belief. I have actually spoken to Jewish people before, and they often have a similar personal experience that confirms their belief.
    Jews and Muslims were around the time of Christ, and they deny Jesus is God and that he rose from the dead. They have ancient text with prophecy and history as support just as Christians do.
    I realize you believe Christianity's text is stronger. I have read some of the other two religions text as well and submit the are very similar in strength.
    How am I to decide?
    Thanks for the question!

    Islam is a smorgasbord of religious beliefs since Mohammed was influenced by various religious beliefs (Zorstrianism, Judaism, aberrant Christianity, pagan tribes of the half moon). It acknowledges OT scriptures and the people of the Book yet it states things that oppose both religions (every religious belief is exclusive, even though some claim inclusivity like Ba'haism).

    ***

    Christianity claims a fulfillment of the Jewish Scriptures. Check to see if its reasoning answers OT prophecy.
    Can you justify that it does not.

    God made a contidtion covenant with Israel (Deuteronomy 28:15). The people agreed to follow the laws of the covenant (Exodus 24:3-7). The covenant was ratified by a blood offering. God required the sins of the people be atoned for every year in a specific manner of animal offerings (Exodus 30:10). It required the mediation of a priesthood, and a tabernacle, in which to present the offerings (Leviticus 16:1-3; Leviticus 23:1, 31; Exodus 29:42-45, etc).

    The people never lived up to the requirements of the covenant (Nehemiah 9:29; Isaiah 24:5; Hebrews 3:18), and God continually sent prophets and teachers to these people (Amos 3:7; Isaiah 1:1; Jeremiah 1:4: Daniel 9:4-6, etc) WARNING them to repent of their idol worship and following other gods or He would bring judgment on them. God did bring judgment on both kingdoms, sending them into exile, the Southern Kingdom in 586/587 B.C. (Daniel 9:4-6). In doing so He destroyed their temple and land. Daniel pleaded with Him for mercy upon his people. God gave them seventy sevens of years (490 years) AFTER they returned to the land before He would bring in everlasting righteousness and put an end to their sin offering (Daniel 9:24). This would be accomplished AFTER the anointed One was cut off(killed) and the temple and city ONCE AGAIN destroyed (Daniel 9:25-27).

    Daniel also prophesied about the power of the holy people being completely shattered (Daniel 12:7) in fulfilling prophecy, and this knowledge would be revealed in the last times, the end of the age (Daniel 12:13). Daniel interpreted a dream of the King regarding a statue and to its meanings. Daniel lists four empires that would arise and control his people, and during the fourth empire, God would set up a kingdom that would not be destroyed (Daniel 2:40-45).

    So, did these prophecies come about? Was Jerusalem destroyed once again? When did that happen? Was it during the time of the fourth kingdom?

    Ask yourself whether Matthew 24 came about as prophesied. Jesus pronounced that the temple would be destroyed within the lives of that generation (Matthew 24:3-4, 34-35).

    Did that happen?
    What is recognized as the timespan of a generation in the Bible?
    I claim from Scripture that Jesus was speaking of 40-years. Dispute this interpretation if you wish. Let's see the logic behind the interpretations.

    ***

    RABBINICAL Judaism is a belief that was formed after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 when the Mosaic Laws could no longer be upheld in the manner Israel had agreed to. It cannot conform to what was agreed upon at Mount Sinai. Thus, Judaism was 'reinvented' at the Council of Yavne. I understand somewhat that Rabbinical Judaism believes that God has given them oral laws that deal with the transition from the full-fledged sacrificial system. I don't see how this claim related to the OT. Many, many, rabbis down through the years have sought to interpret these oral traditions and a couple of centuries after A.D. 70 these oral traditions were put into written form. A Jew accepts on faith these traditions are oral teachings that come from God.

    http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Art...ral_torah.html

    ***

    Peter

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    How can you NOT see it as a false etymology. The reason given by most most Internet weak atheists for using atheist...is because they say the word MEANS that, BECAUSE "a" without + "theism" (a belief in GOD) = "without a belief GOD." They often insist that I, an agnostic, have to consider myself an atheist because I lack that "belief." It is obviously and objectively a false etymology...and you should be able to see it and acknowledge it.
    As I explained, it's not based on a false etymology, but on the natural evolution of language and the needs of those using it. Whether it is or isn't a false etymology is irrelevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    BY THE WAY...EVERY atheist I have known in non-cyber life has been a strong atheist. I have known several atheists personally...and they assert absolutely and emphatically...that NO GODS EXIST or that they "BELIEVE" NO GODS EXIST. Just about the only place one really finds "weak atheists" is on the Internet.
    I don't know, it's possible there's an age gap. In any case, it's clear that most online sources now define atheism as simply lacking a belief in a deity or deities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    Then stop using the descriptor, because I am saying that to me...a strong atheist is someone who denies the existence of ANY AND ALL gods.
    And as I've explained, the usage appears to have changed, for clear reasons of usability and the pointlessness of discussing the blanket strong atheism it may have meant at some other time. Case in point: the need to use the term "strong atheist" at all. Of course you might say that this clarification is only necessary because of "weak internet atheists" messing up the holy and immutable etymology. But the fact remains that words don't have intrinsic meanings, they have usages, and those can and do change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    It is a way of saying, "Let's change the subject."
    Meaning you don't have any good reasons for believing that Zeus doesn't exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    There you go again. You are using a descriptor about which we are not in agreement.
    What about my statement makes it an invalid use of the descriptor?
    What's wrong with holding the strong atheistic belief that Zeus doesn't exist? Is it just a belief that Zeus or fairies for sure don't exist, or is that rationally justified? Where do we draw the line and why?
    The use of "strong atheistic belief that Zeus doesn't exist" has nothing to do with the disagreement we're having above. It's simply focusing on a specific deity, and saying nothing of whether the person in question also denies any/all other deities. Feel free to assume the question is referring to a strong atheist in the sense you're used to: someone who denies any/all deities. The question is about the apparent acceptability of their denial of one specific deity.
    Really, your difficulties which the descriptors should not be a problem since it's quite clear what I'm asking and you could just answer the question. If you want to, go ahead and answer it by using the descriptor of your choice, since the descriptor itself is not really germane to the actual question and what it implies with regard to the acceptability of various beliefs held by people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Apisa View Post
    AND WE ARE PERILOUSLY CLOSE TO HAVING A DISCUSSION WE OUGHT NOT TO BE HAVING IN THIS THREAD. PERHAPS, IF YOU WANT, YOU CAN START A THREAD DEVOTED TO THIS SIDE-BAR TOPIC. I WILL ATTEND.
    I don't think it's a side-bar topic at all. This thread is about believing theistic claims which haven't met their burden of proof and how doing so is irrational. The same principles can also be applied to believing the opposite of the theistic claim(s). However, since there are apparently some specific theistic claims which are perfectly acceptable to deny outright and say that those deities don't exist, the question arises why that would be the case and where the line is drawn?

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    As I explained, it's not based on a false etymology, but on the natural evolution of language and the needs of those using it. Whether it is or isn't a false etymology is irrelevant.
    You are absolutely correct, it is irrelevant. BUT...since I have been told by weak atheist HUNDREDS of times during the 20 years I have been doing Internet debate with atheists that atheism is a result of "a" being added to "theist" making it "without a 'belief' in gods...RATHER THAN a "belief" that no gods exist...IT IS A FALSE ETYMOLOGY.

    Just sayin'.

    I don't know, it's possible there's an age gap. In any case, it's clear that most online sources now define atheism as simply lacking a belief in a deity or deities.
    Without a doubt. Although there are many exceptions. I have run into several strong atheists on-line. But as I said, I've never run into a weak atheist in the non-cyber world.

    And as I've explained, the usage appears to have changed, for clear reasons of usability and the pointlessness of discussing the blanket strong atheism it may have meant at some other time. Case in point: the need to use the term "strong atheist" at all. Of course you might say that this clarification is only necessary because of "weak internet atheists" messing up the holy and immutable etymology. But the fact remains that words don't have intrinsic meanings, they have usages, and those can and do change.
    Yeah...but for the most part, this one hasn't. So...why not just stop using it in your discussion with me.

    Meaning you don't have any good reasons for believing that Zeus doesn't exist?
    No, meaning I want to change the subject.

    What about my statement makes it an invalid use of the descriptor?
    What's wrong with holding the strong atheistic belief that Zeus doesn't exist? Is it just a belief that Zeus or fairies for sure don't exist, or is that rationally justified? Where do we draw the line and why?
    The use of "strong atheistic belief that Zeus doesn't exist" has nothing to do with the disagreement we're having above. It's simply focusing on a specific deity, and saying nothing of whether the person in question also denies any/all other deities. Feel free to assume the question is referring to a strong atheist in the sense you're used to: someone who denies any/all deities. The question is about the apparent acceptability of their denial of one specific deity.
    Really, your difficulties which the descriptors should not be a problem since it's quite clear what I'm asking and you could just answer the question. If you want to, go ahead and answer it by using the descriptor of your choice, since the descriptor itself is not really germane to the actual question and what it implies with regard to the acceptability of various beliefs held by people.
    Look...as far as I am concerned, a strong atheist is an individual who asserts that NO GODS exist...or asserts a "belief" that NO GODS exist.

    If you cannot go along with that...let's terminate this particular part of the conversation.

    I don't think it's a side-bar topic at all.
    I do, but I may be wrong. If no moderator suggests we move it elsewhere...we can continue to hammer each other here. But as far as "strong atheist" is concerned...I've made my position clear.


    This thread is about believing theistic claims which haven't met their burden of proof and how doing so is irrational. The same principles can also be applied to believing the opposite of the theistic claim(s). However, since there are apparently some specific theistic claims which are perfectly acceptable to deny outright and say that those deities don't exist, the question arises why that would be the case and where the line is drawn?
    Okay...give me an example of a "specific theistic claims which are perfectly acceptable to deny outright" and then prove it.

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    Thanks for the question!

    Islam is a smorgasbord of religious beliefs since Mohammed was influenced by various religious beliefs (Zorstrianism, Judaism, aberrant Christianity, pagan tribes of the half moon). It acknowledges OT scriptures and the people of the Book yet it states things that oppose both religions (every religious belief is exclusive, even though some claim inclusivity like Ba'haism).

    ***

    Christianity claims a fulfillment of the Jewish Scriptures. Check to see if its reasoning answers OT prophecy.
    Can you justify that it does not.

    God made a contidtion covenant with Israel (Deuteronomy 28:15). The people agreed to follow the laws of the covenant (Exodus 24:3-7). The covenant was ratified by a blood offering. God required the sins of the people be atoned for every year in a specific manner of animal offerings (Exodus 30:10). It required the mediation of a priesthood, and a tabernacle, in which to present the offerings (Leviticus 16:1-3; Leviticus 23:1, 31; Exodus 29:42-45, etc).

    The people never lived up to the requirements of the covenant (Nehemiah 9:29; Isaiah 24:5; Hebrews 3:18), and God continually sent prophets and teachers to these people (Amos 3:7; Isaiah 1:1; Jeremiah 1:4: Daniel 9:4-6, etc) WARNING them to repent of their idol worship and following other gods or He would bring judgment on them. God did bring judgment on both kingdoms, sending them into exile, the Southern Kingdom in 586/587 B.C. (Daniel 9:4-6). In doing so He destroyed their temple and land. Daniel pleaded with Him for mercy upon his people. God gave them seventy sevens of years (490 years) AFTER they returned to the land before He would bring in everlasting righteousness and put an end to their sin offering (Daniel 9:24). This would be accomplished AFTER the anointed One was cut off(killed) and the temple and city ONCE AGAIN destroyed (Daniel 9:25-27).

    Daniel also prophesied about the power of the holy people being completely shattered (Daniel 12:7) in fulfilling prophecy, and this knowledge would be revealed in the last times, the end of the age (Daniel 12:13). Daniel interpreted a dream of the King regarding a statue and to its meanings. Daniel lists four empires that would arise and control his people, and during the fourth empire, God would set up a kingdom that would not be destroyed (Daniel 2:40-45).

    So, did these prophecies come about? Was Jerusalem destroyed once again? When did that happen? Was it during the time of the fourth kingdom?

    Ask yourself whether Matthew 24 came about as prophesied. Jesus pronounced that the temple would be destroyed within the lives of that generation (Matthew 24:3-4, 34-35).

    Did that happen?
    What is recognized as the timespan of a generation in the Bible?
    I claim from Scripture that Jesus was speaking of 40-years. Dispute this interpretation if you wish. Let's see the logic behind the interpretations.

    ***

    RABBINICAL Judaism is a belief that was formed after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 when the Mosaic Laws could no longer be upheld in the manner Israel had agreed to. It cannot conform to what was agreed upon at Mount Sinai. Thus, Judaism was 'reinvented' at the Council of Yavne. I understand somewhat that Rabbinical Judaism believes that God has given them oral laws that deal with the transition from the full-fledged sacrificial system. I don't see how this claim related to the OT. Many, many, rabbis down through the years have sought to interpret these oral traditions and a couple of centuries after A.D. 70 these oral traditions were put into written form. A Jew accepts on faith these traditions are oral teachings that come from God.

    http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Art...ral_torah.html

    ***

    Peter
    But, Christianity has "borrowed" from other religions as well. For instance Christmas. It is not Jesus birthday, it was a Pagan holiday adopted by Christianity.

    Also, no offense to your claims here for you may be correct, but similar types of claims are also made by Judaism and Muslims using similar evidence.
    Those religions also have "personal experiences with God" that confirms their belief is correct.

    Again I would submit, no person can make a truly free will decision on this subject if they don't clearly know what the are choosing between...

    If God chose Jews to "send his message" he would have known (since he knows the future) their success would be limited as most humans that have ever lived are/were not Christian. Why would God choose a method of communication guaranteed to reach only a minority of the people that have ever lived?

 

 
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