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View Poll Results: Do you consider yourself an agnostic or atheist?
agnostic 57 36.54%
atheist 99 63.46%
Voters: 156. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-16-2014, 02:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoByFour View Post

To me the best any of us can say is "I do not believe there is a god-figure, but I have no actual knowledge about it"
I think this is one of those things that gets over thought a great deal. If we want to be consistent, epistemologically, how can we know anything? Our senses could be wrong, we could be brains in a jar, we could be automata, we simply can't know.

So if we come back a step and begin from the premise that 'actual knowledge' is not available to us, what we have are the tools of our reason and intellect combined with our senses to try to understand the reality in which we find ourselves. It seems perfectly reasonable to me to say "I do not believe in a god or gods because I cannot the enough evidence which when evaluated in a rational,logical manner would lead me to that conclusion." Or, in short, I don't believe in a god. Or we use the idea of knowledge in a very normal and human manner, and say "There is no God", in the same way one might say "There are no unicorns". It is not entirely accurate, true. But human language and communication is not built for absolute accuracy, and it is really quite silly to demand that non-theists somehow hold themselves to a impossibly high standard of semantic accuracy compared with the rest of the world.

Until believers stop "knowing" that their chosen deity is real, "knowing" what he/she/it wants, and "knowing" what will happen if he/she/it doesn't get what it wants, it seems to be straining at gnats to complain if an atheist asserts, "God doesn't exist".

All that was to say this is essentially why I self identify as an atheist. Technically I am an agnostic atheist naturalist humanist epicurean utilitarian, with perhaps a few other classifiers tacked on, but when discussing theology and the supernatural, the most important thing is the list is atheist, so I leave it at that. I we were discussing epistemology, I might lead with agnostic, moral philosophy might result in utilitarian, and so on. To say atheist is not a fully accurate and complete answer, but it is a succinct approximation which is generally good enough.

-NoCapo
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Old 03-16-2014, 03:44 PM
 
Location: OKC
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I a agree with NoCapo. To "know" something doesn't necessarily imply a metaphysical certitude, only a functional certitude.
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Old 03-16-2014, 03:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoByFour
This is my point - there is no universal agreement on what it means when someone says "I am an atheist".
So very true. There seems to have been quite a bit of circumlocution (my new favorite word) applied to the term. It is up to us who wish to call ourselves atheist to make this clear.

Atheist concisely means you are not a theist (god believer).
which is logically consistent with...
If you are not a theist, you are an atheist.

If you wish to claim your are not an atheist, you are in fact claiming you are not not a theist, which can literally be interpreted as calling yourself a theist. Edit: So if you do not wish to be known as a theist, do not say, I am not an atheist.


I do not know how to make this more simple


Edit2: This does not mean I do not understand why some people who are not theists, wish to avoid labeling themselves as atheists. The word carries a bunch of stupid baggage probably placed upon it by believers with the intent to make ambiguous. But for the lub of Jeebus, please do say, "I'm not an atheist" and not expect me to consider you a theist.

Last edited by NOTaTHEIST; 03-16-2014 at 04:21 PM..
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:12 PM
 
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I might add, the poll question needs a "both" response, as that is what most (I would argue for all) atheists are; agnostic atheists. Anyone who claims knowledge that no god does or even could exist, is making an assertion they will quickly find untenable.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Haiku
4,162 posts, read 2,591,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
All that was to say this is essentially why I self identify as an atheist. Technically I am an agnostic atheist naturalist humanist epicurean utilitarian, with perhaps a few other classifiers tacked on, but when discussing theology and the supernatural, the most important thing is the list is atheist, so I leave it at that. I we were discussing epistemology, I might lead with agnostic, moral philosophy might result in utilitarian, and so on. To say atheist is not a fully accurate and complete answer, but it is a succinct approximation which is generally good enough.

-NoCapo
I pretty much agree with that. I tend to think of this as a philosophical debate though, so I think of this almost entirely in terms of epistemology and not of theology. I really don't think about the notion of god at all otherwise.

My wife tells people I am an atheist, but when someone asks me I say that I have personal beliefs but I prefer to keep them to myself. If someone really presses me I say I do not believe in the Christian god but otherwise I am agnostic on the whole issue.

It is an emotional issue for many and I really don't think it is worth putting my beliefs into some bucket that can be argued over.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apathizer View Post
Do you consider yourself an agnostic or atheist? Why? I'm just curious about the two perspectives differ, and more importantly how agnostics and atheists differ.

I consider myself a highly skeptical agnostic. As I understand it 'god' is defined as a 'supernatural' entity that is beyond the perception and understand of humans. Such a concept seems completely impractical/useless to me because, by definition, it's impossible to know if such a thing exists because there is, and probably never will be evidence to support or discredit such a concept.

While I do acknowledge the existence of god is technically possible, at present there's absolutely no way we can know, and probably never will. So if something is unknowable, being in any way concerned about it seems like a complete waste of time and energy.

I don't identify myself as an atheist because most atheist I know of seem just as convinced there is no god as most theists are convinced there is. Consequently, many atheists and theists are imperious and self-righteous - personal characteristics that, to me, seem counterproductive.

I'm also completely open to perspectives of theists as well. As a secularist I'm genuinely curious about what motivates someone to be religious when it seems to me there's absolutely no direct evidence that god exists. I've read a couple books and some psychological research that offers plausible explanations, but am also curious to get first-hand perspective of why some persons are convinced of god's existence.
I guess I am both. I think being an agnostic refers to what you know, while being an atheists refers to what you believe. I don't know, for a fact, whether or not god exists, which makes me an agnostic. However, I do not believe that god exists, so that makes me an atheist.

I want to emphasize that just because I say I don't know there is no god, that doesn't mean I consider it the least bit likely. Frankly, I think the odds god exists are vanishingly small.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoByFour
My wife tells people I am an atheist
Me thinks your wife is one smart cookie. Sorry, I couldn't help myself


It's perfectly fine to not want to tell people you're an atheist. I often avoid the term in polite conversation myself, so I totally understand. It took Bill Maher many years to openly refer to himself as an atheist, even though that's what he was all along.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogersParkGuy View Post
I guess I am both. I think being an agnostic refers to what you know, while being an atheists refers to what you believe. I don't know, for a fact, whether or not god exists, which makes me an agnostic. However, I do not believe that god exists, so that makes me an atheist.

I want to emphasize that just because I say I don't know there is no god, that doesn't mean I consider it the least bit likely. Frankly, I think the odds god exists are vanishingly small.
That sound perfectly sound to me. I consider myself an agnostic atheist.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:41 PM
 
Location: OKC
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I have called myself and atheist, agnostic, and christian. I'm not afraid of the labels.

But I'm in the unusual position of rejecting the distinction between a "god" and a "near-omnipotent alien." I see these as equivalent, interchangeable terms.

With the recent discoveries of multitudes of habitable planets, I tend to believe it is very possible that near-omnipotent aliens exist somewhere in this dimension or others. (I think there is nearly a scientific consensus that life outside of earth probably exists, given the raw number of planets that make it possible.)

Accordingly, I may be the first secular theist. I don't believe in religion, but I do think there is a strong possibility that something we should rightfully call a god does exist. Not an Abrahamic god, perhaps, but one equivalent to a Norse or Greek god.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:42 PM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,732,234 times
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But I change my mind all the time, I should add.
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