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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 09:06 AM
Original message
Define YOUR atheism.
Since it is clear that there are those that lurk here and use what they read in R/T, I would like to take this opportunity to define what my atheism is (since there seems to be some misunderstanding about what atheism is on the part of many people in R/T). Feel free to do the same. I know this is a stark difference in this forum from our usual tasks of organizing militant takeovers of society, mocking the religious, making sure we all fundamentally stick to the holy text of atheism, and planning on how we will kill them all with our massive amounts of power in society, but it might be interesting.

For me, it is a simple lack of belief in any gods. I see my position as the null hypothesis. Any statement of a god would need to be proven and that hasn't been done. I don't "disbelieve" in gods because, to me, that presupposes that there is a god and that I just don't have the wisdom to believe or I am just that much of a heretic that I choose not to. I actually hate the term atheist because it is defined by the theists but it is the best we have. I don't actively state there is no god but just don't believe in any. To me, the odds that there is a god are very, very, very slim...approaching zero slim. Given objective proof, I would "believe" but that isn't going to happen. I do not have a god-shaped hole in my heart. I am not reacting to bad treatment by religion in my past (I went to a Catholic minor seminary and have very good memories of that and many very good friends to this day from that experience). I do not have a lack of morals. I am surprised and confused at the amount of things that are attributed to my simple lack of a belief in any god.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. Mine is the same, a simple lack of belief in the theist assertion of god.
And that lack of belief is 100% based on the lack of any evidence whatsoever to support the theist assertion of god.

And nothing more.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
2. I lack a belief in gods. Though for most specific gods I will say for practical purposes
that there is zero chance they exist.
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"

I was raised in a somewhat non-religious household. My parents are both believers but dislike organized religion. My father's family is Jewish while my mother's is protestant (with one Crazy Converted Catholic sister). I went to church once and synagogue once. I did study the major religions somewhat extensively in my late teens early twenties. That's where I really started to find most religions rather distasteful. The more I read the more I realized how truly twisted the holy books are. Having never been religious I mostly find the whole thing confusing. I really have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that adults believe in talking snakes, magical golden plates, and soul saving zombies.

My wife tries to explain the religious world view to me sometimes (she was mormon until she took a feminist lit class in college) but I just don't get it. I have a lot of believers that I love and care about, I just don't understand the religious part of them.

Besides the baby eating and occasional virgin sacrifice, I think I have pretty strong morals. My wife's family is mormon and a pretty big family. My wife's mother, who is very religious, had a tricky moral dilemma a couple of years ago and I was the one she called for advice. I took that as a pretty big compliment.
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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 02:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. Ditto. Lack of belief. It took me a while
to actually understand the difference between agnostic and atheist of which I am both. There still could possibly be something we are yet to know about or understand. But as of yet, I don't believe in any of the descriptions of what this god is supposed to be. I have tried in my youth and I did once believe. Never had a bad experience at church, but as I grew older and read more I just couldn't believe anymore. I also don't think it is really a choice. I can't just force myself to believe, nor would I want to. Given some empirical evidence this could change but I doubt it.
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 04:36 PM
Response to Original message
4. Skepticism has forced me to accept the conclusion that there are no gods.
Skepticism is the search for the truth using verifiable evidence.

The universe is made of one kind of stuff, natural stuff, and there is no supernature. Religions have failed to demonstrate any evidence for their claims beyond some very basic facts (i.e. Mecca is a city in Arabia.) Humans believe in gods because of psychological, emotional and visual tendencies that natural selection has caused for survival purposes. Because there is no planning or redesigning in evolution, those processes have side effects that do not outweigh their benefits to survival, at least for most of human existence.

Religion is a self-perpetuating oppressive instrumentality that serves the hegemonic power structure. It's values usually have either no basis in fact or exist only to perpetuate submission. Faith in particular is a singular evil. Any purpose served by religious institutions can be better served by secular ones.
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laconicsax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
5. The short version is that my rabbi gave a Yom Kippur sermon.
It was about how questioning what we're told is an integral part to Judaism, and studying Torah to learn what being Jewish meant to us individually, so I studied the Torah. Half-way through Numbers, I realized that being Jewish, for me, required abandoning the Torah and belief in God. I struggled with it for a while, but came out of it realizing that I was happier not having to try to maintain such dissonant cognitions as those required by my former faith.

Atheism, for me is simply the null hypothesis. They said there's a god and that was his law. I saw no justification for either belief. The Abrahamic god is as likely as Vectron with His kindly Claw.

Show me evidence a god, afterlife, etc exist and I'll consider it with an open mind. There's no dogma, no ritual, and nothing sacred in my atheism. Just an open mind.
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. How can you just throw Vectron under the bus...
...after all he has done for you?!
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laconicsax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Vectron just doesn't seem likely.
I mean Golden Wings, Knees, and a kindly Claw make sense together, but a beard?

Plus, no one has ever found the Ancient Scrolls of Vectron written by Vectron nor have historians figured out when the first age of Vectron was.

I do miss Vectron... :(
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
8. Essentially the same here, minus the seminary
I was born atheist. When I was 8-years-old my mother (an on-again, off-again church goer) decided we needed churching so she began taking me and my sisters to church. There began my indoctrination into Christianity. It stuck and I was a devout Christian for the next 20 years. Along the way I developed doubts, partly fueled by the fact that things in the Bible just didn't make sense, combined with the growing cognitive dissonance. I had to ignore things that didn't mesh with my personal beliefs and which seemed absurd, make excuses for God's abhorrent behavior, etc. I tried to squelch my growing doubts with more Bible reading, more prayer (talking to my hands and never hearing anything back) and plain denial. Finally I had to admit to myself I no longer believed.

I don't believe in gods--any gods. I'm both confused and frustrated when Christians think I'm just having a teenage rebellion against their god. They can't grasp that I lack belief in him and all of the thousands of gods they don't believe in as well. If I'm ever presented evidence for one or more gods I'll weigh it and make a determination. Until then I have no reason to believe in gods any more than I have reason to believe in Santa Claus or fairies.

I'm not "evil" or immoral. I've worked for non-profits my entire adult life and I give to numerous charities. My life is rather ordinary, even downright boring by most standards. I'm perplexed by people who insist I cannot be moral because I don't believe in gods nor do I practice a religion. I'm frightened by the ones who insist they'd become serial killers without their god.
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Soylent Brice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
9. mine:
there is no god up in the sky... tonight
no sign of heaven... anywhere in sight

-Trent Reznor

in all seriousness though, mine is defined quite plainly:

there are no gods, mystical forces, sacred-holy-or otherwise magical spirits.

there is the universe around you and if you can't be in awe of that than what use is it to even attempt to explain anything else to you.

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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
10. For me it's simple shorthand for "I don't believe in any gods."
Edited on Tue Oct-25-11 09:05 PM by salvorhardin
That's all, and nothing more. If you want to know why I don't believe, or what I do believe (much more interesting, believe me) then you need to get to know me, or let me throw a couple of dozen other labels at you. I prefer the former, because people read into labels what they want.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
11. A lack in belief in supernatural beings.
People always look at me funny when I tell them I'm a Buddhist Atheist, LOL.
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-11 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
12. My atheism = Communism, of course!

Just kidding.

I really can't add much to what everybody else has said: I just don't believe in any deities and am still waiting for evidence. Based on humanity's past experience, I think that will be a very long wait.

I was not "horribly hurt by religion as a child." I was raised SoB (Southern Baptist), which put me in the same position as a Jewish kid in NYC or a Catholic kid in Boston - I was immersed in the local superstition from birth and had to draw my own conclusions much later, when I escaped from religion's cheerleaders.

Much later than that, I was introduced to Sophisticated Theology and thought it was even dumber than SoB theology. At least the SoB's are pretty consistent on the basics of what they believe. The Sophisticated Thelogians would have me read the Bible, then torture logic to believe that what I read somehow meant something radically different from the plain words on the page. (A trick I can still see almost every day in R/T.)
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laconicsax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-11 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. But don't you know?
Those who wrote the Bible had to rely on complex metaphors to get their message across because they knew that their fellow believers were too stupid to understand lucid writing.
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