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Posts tagged ‘Atheist’

Poll of Twitter Atheists on Definition of Atheism

I am running a poll to establish the most common definition of atheism from twitter atheists. I consider that twitter represents the common layperson view in contrast to the more philosophical specialist view and want to have some sort of idea of how that relates to atheism. Initially my goal is to do this from a sample of 100 responses to asking atheists to define what atheism mean to them but I might well extend it beyond that number. Here are the results so far that I will continue to update. I have not identified the people who have responded but given only their response. Please feel free to contribute to this poll if you have not already.

Here are the results which I have categorised into:

 Definite Weak Atheism (lack of belief in gods)

Suggestive of Weak Atheism (lack of belief in gods)

Definite Strong Atheism (denial or assertion no gods exist)

Suggestive of Strong Atheism (denial of or assertion no gods exist)

*Disbelief in gods

Other

*I have put this in a section of itself for two reasons. Firstly, some atheists are reflecting there is both an active and passive ‘disbelief’, one which would be supportive of weak atheism (passive disbelief) and the other of strong atheism (active disbelief). Given this it is unclear in what sense the word is being used. Secondly, I believe that atheists using this are equating it with weak atheism not realising it could well speak of strong atheism.

Definite Weak Atheism (lack of belief in gods:

  1. “Atheism: lack of a belief in the existence of a God or gods”

  2. “Atheism means a lack of belief in god”

  3. “atheism is, all by itself, nothing more than the lack of belief in god(s)”.

  4. “lack of belief in gods”.

  5. “The lack of belief in God or gods”.

  6. “Lack of belief in God or gods.. nothing more, nothing less!”.

  7. “Odd, it was a single definition for me: a lack of belief in gods”.

  8. “..atheism isn’t a knowledge claim. Atheism is simply the absence of belief in god(s)”

  9. “Lack of belief gods. I consider that the definition because it applies to all variations of #atheists”.

  10. “A lack of belief in gods or other superstitions.”.

  11. “an absence of belief in the idea that there are gods, or any other form of being, responsible for our creation + existence”.

  12. “The lack of belief in a god, of course”

  13. ” A lack of belief in god”.

  14. “The lack of belief in the existence of a god or gods”.

  15. “A- means without and theism means belief in god/s > “without a belief in gods”

  16. ” Absence of belief in god”.

  17. “Simply a disbelief or an absence of belief in the existence of a god or gods”

  18. “Absence of belief in gods”.

  19. “Lacks belief in God(s)

  20. “lacks belief in any gods”.

Suggestive of Weak Atheism (lack of belief in gods)

  1. “Yes, atheism is the default position when you are born… Just like the lack of belief that America exists”.

  2. “I guess it’s the disbelief in gods due to the fact that the proof for gods hasn’t actually been demonstrated. I’m not denying gods existence. I just don’t think there’s adequate grounds for belief in them. I think that’s within the bounds of the dictionary term for atheism, maybe creeping into agnosticism definition”

  3. “Atheism=The opposite of theism or not a theist.”.

  4. “non-belief in an unprovable invisible non-entity. Also belief in the reality of our brief existence on Earth”.

  5. “Atheist – one who does not believe in a god.”

  6. “A word for ‘not believing in gods’ that theists try to limit to suit their agenda”

  7. “For me it’s not believing in any deity, whether that be the christian god, Allah, buddah, I simply don’t believe any exist”.

  8. “Not believing in God or Gods”.

Definite Strong Atheism (denial or assertion no gods exist)

  1. “no god no devil no church…..religion is an alternative lifestyle not the “truth”

  2. “the absolute denial of the existence of God or any other gods”.

  3. “as an atheist,I simply define it as believing there is no god,no higher power. Anything beyond that is unique to each atheist”.

Suggestive of Strong Atheism (denial or assertion no gods exist)

  1. “a state of mind that is not defined by a divine that does not exist”.

  2. “n rejection of belief in God or gods”.

  3. “fairly consistent theme here isn’t there? We have examined theistic claims and rejected them due to lack of evidence”.

  4. “rejection of a person/creator”.

  5. “rejection of theistic faith is #atheism”.

  6. ” the rejection of the claim of god or gods existence (usually through lack of evidence & evidence to the contrary)”

Disbelief in God or Gods

  1. “Disbelief in the existence of God or Gods. But I wouldn’t go as far as that. I want to know what “God” is first.”

  2. “Simply a disbelief or an absence of belief in the existence of a god or gods”

  3. atheism = nontheism … the idea that “god exists” is unevidenced and therefore unwarranted (disbelief)”.

  4. I define atheism as disbelief in gods”.

Other

  1. “Assigning the same reality test to the idea of religion & the supernatural that I do to everything else in life”.

  2. A lack of acceptance of theistic claims as truth”.

  3. the complete absence of falsifiable evidence that supports any claim for the existence of God (or gods)”.

  4. “No proof or reason to believe a god or gods exist”.

Conclusion: 

On the evidence gleaned from this very limited poll I think it’s reasonable to conclude that a lack of belief in gods (or some variation of the same idea) is the most common definition of atheism for layperson atheists.

Alleged Contradictions and Proposed Resolutions!

A common objection to Christian theism by skeptics is to propose that the Bible is so full of contradictions as to be unreliable. Whilst it is true that there are some contradictions in the Bible it is my position that there are far fewer than skeptics propose and none of any consequence to Christian theology or doctrine or practice. This section of my blog will list alleged contradictions from skeptics and offer resolution. It is important at the outset to set the logical criteria for something being a contradiction and that is found in the Law of Non-Contradiction:

A thing cannot be a and ~a at the same time and in the same context.

That is the principle which must be violated for any charge of contradiction to stand.

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“Is anything impossible for God? Matthew 19:26 says no whilst Hebrews 6:18 says yes. Care to explain”? 

Matthew 19:26 – Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Hebrews 6:18 – God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.

The proposed contradiction seems to be that the Bible claims both that with God all things are possible and with God some things are impossible.

The resolution is in considering how possibility is here thought of in Christian theology. It is not that God can do do absolutely everything – a proposition that would include doing the logically impossible including things like creating married bachelors or  square circles or rocks so heavy he couldn’t lift – but rather than can God can do everything that it is logically possible to do. On this definition, and given that it would be logically impossible for a morally perfect being to do that which is morally imperfect – lie – then the alleged contradiction disappears.

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Positive or Challenging Statements from Atheists!

This section will note comments from atheists that I consider to be positive or challenging. Although my blog is set up to expose the flawed thinking common with atheists it would be misleading and out of balance to paint a picture that nothing positive or challenging is ever said.

 

Atheists and Misunderstandings or Misrepresentations of Theism, the Bible, Christianity or Theology

This section of my blog will be devoted to exposing atheist misunderstanding or misrepresentation of theism, the Bible, Christianity or Theology. Atheists in general are not at all very well informed about these matters and confuse taking Internet quizzes and statistics drawn from them for knowledge. As always I’m happy to stand corrected on anything I post where persuasive reasons are provided warranting that correction.

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“Poorly written fiction: Matthew 10:38 – Referencing the crucifixion before the crucifixion even happened”.

‘And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me’.  (NIV)

This is a misunderstanding of the verse because there is no clear reference in it to the crucifixion. Those who heard these words would have a definite fixed reference point for what is stated in the witnessing of those before Jesus who had to literally carry their cross to their crucifixion. Even if one were to think of Jesus as only a human, the most you would have in this passage is irony, i.e. that in making the statement to something familiar Jesus was unaware that in his own life he would have to literally do this and to his death. Bring in the divinity of Jesus and you then do not have irony, but a subtle fore-telling of Jesus of the manner of his own death (compare Mark 8:34). What we don’t have in either situation is ‘poorly written fiction’ as the author of the comment asserted.

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“Religious beliefs remain unchanged even with opposing evidence. Science changes to fit evidence, even if it’s harsh”. 

This misrepresentation or misunderstanding of theistic beliefs is easily refuted by the counter-examples of changes in religious beliefs in light of evidence on subject matter such as evolution, the causes of diseases, the nature and proper application of the Scriptures (in Christianity) and so on. That these changes in light of the evidence is not universal within religions does not change the fact that within some religions and with some religious beliefs change does occur in light of the evidence It also ignores that the scientific method is set up, via it’s assumption of methodological naturalism, to *only* accept evidence for natural explanations and entities.

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“We’re not split between atheists & theists, but between those that rely upon evidence & those that trust in myths”. 

Aside from the unjustified, begging the question unsubstantiated nature of this tweet it is but a misrepresentation of a large number, if not the majority of theists, who hold their beliefs upon at the very least the perception of some evidence but most certainly not through trust in myths. One also has to wonder upon what evidence the atheists are supposed to be relying upon? We aren’t told nor directed to what that might be.

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“Pascal’s Wager Fixed”. 

Although not defending Pascal’s Wager which is a flawed ‘argument’ for belief in God I have included this post here as it serves well the purpose of showing how atheists either misunderstand or deliberately misrepresent theism. Why they would do the latter in a forum such a twitter where their misrepresentations can easily be exposed is beyond and is for them to answer.

The misrepresentation in this table is in making Roman Catholicism, Baptists and Evangelicals mutually exclusive to each other, something that they are most definitely not. An accurate representation would of course have spoiled the effect of the image on the table but to sacrifice the facts for effect isn’t very rational or honest.

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“Questions that scare religionists “Who created God?” since they claim everything needs a creator”. 

This seems to be a fairly common misconception with some atheists. In fact in response to this comment I replied by asking which religious persons of note claim that ‘everything needs a creator’ and got immediate response from another atheist stating, ‘All of them!’.  It most certainly is true that at lease one religion – Mormonism – believes in an endless regression of creators with no starting point and there might well be others but it is just as certain that the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, define God as eternal and uncreated. On this definition it is logically absurd to ask the question, ‘Who created God?” for it translates into asking, “Who created that entity that is defined as being uncreated” and that makes no sense. If atheists are going to engage with religious people then they have to do so on the God they believe in and not some strawperson version of that God and with the Abrahamic religions, that means engaging with God as defined as an uncreated being.

Note: I suspect the source of this question and why it is increasingly popular among atheists is Richard Dawkins in his book, ‘The God Delusion’. If so, then it once again demonstrates how uninformed he is on theology as well as how unthinkingly some atheists fall blindly into line behind most anything he states.

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Brief Responses to Stupid Statements from Twitter Atheists

Brief Responses to Stupid Statements from Twitter Atheists

Twitter is a great place for social interaction and even some limited debate on the age old subject of theism vs atheism. However, it is limited to 140 characters per tweet so this page is to give brief responses to some of the stupid statements that are made on Twitter by various atheists.

“If you are created in your god’s image, why does your god have a chest with nipples on it?”

(This tweet confuses the incarnation of God the Son for how God exists in his essential nature and in which we are said to be in his image). 

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“Did you know that every argument you can make for your god can be used for any other god too?”

(Counter-example 1: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof of the existence of God – How could a Jew or Muslim use that argument for god for their god?)

(Counter-example 2: The universe is proof of the existence of a non-interventionist god -How could this argument for a god be used for any interventionist god?)

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“Was William Lane Craig right to defend genocide and child murder. Yes or NO?” 

(This question is a good example of the fallacy of complex question and the proper response to it is to bring out the hidden question within it that has been answered affirmatively, i.e. Is it the case that William Lane Craig has defended genocide and child murder?). William Lane Craig has addressed this question at least once that I know of and the answer is in the negative – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP9CwDTRoOE (beginning at 1:45:40)

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“How can God be perfect? Everything He ever makes…dies”. ~George Carlin

(This statement not only makes a non sequitur leap from God being perfect to nothing dying but also demonstrates a very poor understanding of Christian theology in which life is eternal and possibly even also the universe when there will be a ‘new heavens and a new earth’. The Christian message is that death is defeated by Jesus Christ, that it has no sting and that everlasting life is what God provides).

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“When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”—Sir Stephen H. Roberts

(This statement is fundamentally flawed as the reason Christian theists dismiss all other possible gods is because the God they believe exists informs them that he is the one true and living God hence the others false – made of wood, stones, worshiping the creature rather than the creator etc. This is a very different reason as to why atheists dismiss god(s) and indeed, if it was the same as that of the Christian theist then they wouldn’t be atheists at all because they’ d have belief in the one true and living God

To overcome the objection that the Bible teaches the existence of other gods as real, one can simply concede that arguendo and then point out that even on that the reason is still different, i.e. based upon God’s command to not worship them or have dealings with them (dismiss them) and not on the same reason as the atheist – some supposed lack of evidence for their existence). 

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“What has your God done for you that you couldn’t have done for yourself”? 

(This question is really silly, not realising that on the Christian worldview, without the existence of God as Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, there would be no people to do anything for anyone, never mind for oneself’. Although the response is given from the Christian worldview, any theist, who views God as that Creator and Sustainer of the universe could give the same response). 

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“The Brilliant Logic of Christianity”

pic.twitter.com/WVEWX4ex

(This is an excellent example of the misconceived view some atheists have on Christianity. It is, to any informed Christian reading it laughable, if not so seriously misguided. On the Christian worldview: 

God did not create man and woman with original sin nor, on every Christian theology,  did God ever necessarily have that in ‘mind’. 

God did not impregnate a woman with himself – this confuses and conflates the distinct persons involved in the Christian doctrine of the trinity. 

God did not kill himself as a sacrifice to himself – this also confuses and conflates the distinct persons involved in the Christian doctrine of the trinity. 

The sacrifice of Jesus was not, on every Christian theology, intended to save us from a fate God had already condemned us to but rather to save us from a situation created by man via the exercise of freewill. 

Note: In a Calvinist theology it might be said that God did have original sin in mind and did save the elect from a fate created by God). 

If atheists are going to make a serious attempt to use mockery of Christian doctrine to undermine it then it would be an fine example of brilliant atheist logic if they first understood and then fairly represented said doctrine). 

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Which is it, is man one of God`s blunders or is God one of man`s? – Friedrich Nietzsche 

(This quote allegedly from Nietzche is a fine example of a stupid tweet because it most obviously commits either the logical fallacy of false dichotomy or of complex question or both!.

On the fallacy of false dichotomy the quote attempts to present us with an either/or situation when there are in fact other possibilities to the two presented:

a) Is man one of God’s blunders

or

b) is God one of man’s blunders

but

c) Man is as God intended and for the glory of God

On the fallacy of complex question it’s obvious that within the question is a hidden question that has been affirmatively answered

Q: Is man or God a blunder A: Yes. 

The proper response of this, is to question that loaded point and to request it be established, not simply discretely assumed. 

So A1 ‘Sorry, I don’t grant what your question assumes, i.e. that man or God is a blunder. So you need to establish that to my satisfaction first before your question has legitimacy’. 

Two fallacies in one quotation… not very clever. 

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“Sorry proof and god do not go in the same sentence! You have never seen god & have no proof of him/her/it”

(The stupidity of this statement is rather amusing.. the guy writes a sentence containing the words ‘proof’ and ‘god’ in the same sentence but saying that ‘proof and god do not go in the same sentence!  Doh!)

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“George W Bush said God told him to invade Iraq for the Weapons Of Mass Destruction. There wasn’t any. God lied. OOPS!”

The stupidity of this statement that has been re-tweeted by many persons on Twitter is rather obvious. It doesn’t follow that because Bush (allegedly) said God told him to invade Iraq for Weapons of Mass Destruction that God did in fact tell Bush to invade Iraq. Bush, could for example be using God for his own ends, or could be mistaken that it was God that lead him to that conviction.  This, not to mention the irony of an atheist, concluding that a God they lack belief in, or deny exists, ‘lied’!. The main point is though that the post displays non sequitur reasoning.

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“Let’s be clear: if you are anti-abortion AND anti-contraception, you are not pro-life. You are anti-sex”.

This is another fine example of non sequitur reasoning. It reduces itself to a bare assertion that exhibits reasoning that simply does not follow. Why can’t a person be anti-abortion and anti-contraceptive and pro-sex? The author makes no attempt to explain, nor elaborate and when questioned upon it chose not to respond. Until they, or another atheist explains the reasoning by which the statement logically and necessarily follows it can be dismissed as a fallacious assertion.

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“It doesn’t matter what verse of the Bible you quote, the fact remains God is pretend, so Jesus was lying”! 

This is a very good example of both the arrogance of many atheists, their habit of making claims to positive knowledge that they cannot substantiate as they are obliged to upon request and their even more frequent habit of displaying their ignorance of logic (the science of correct reasoning.

The positive claim that this poster could not substantiate is of course when they assert, ‘the fact remains God is pretend..’ but even if we were to grant this arguendo would it logically and necessarily from that fact that ‘Jesus was lying’? The answer of course if no, it doesn’t logically and necessarily follow. It is a non sequitur as shown easily by considering other possibilities like Jesus was deluded or simply mistaken in his views. If either was true then he was not lying and the non sequitur is plain to see. Three statements made:

1. It doesnt’ matter what verse of the Bible you quote.

2. The fact remains God is pretend.

3.  So Jesus was lying

and not a single statement of the three justified, substantiated or true.

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