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Atheists Don't Exist.


R. S. Martin
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Obviously, this is branching out from the other thread about "I don't believe in atheists." Apparently some Christian pastors tell their followers to say that to people who claim to be an atheist.

 

I'd like to see some discussion around the concept that atheists don't exist. When I was on the phone with my little sister a week ago, she tried telling me that I do believe.

 

Of course atheists believe in some things. Believe is a common word used for many things outside religious belief. Here are a few examples:

  • I believe we had agreed to drop the subject.
  • I believe the earth is round though I have never been far enough out in space to actually see for myself.
  • Many people believe that "Slow but steady wins the race."
  • Obviously, your parents believe in you or they would never have trusted you with the responsibility.

That is the type of thing I had assumed at the time that she meant. I realize now that she was in effect telling me that atheists don't exist. That other thread focused on the proper response to "I don't believe in atheists." I'd like to see more discussion around the existence/nonexistence of atheists if anyone cares to discuss it further. I can't think how to formulate my question or exactly what my question is.........

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"Atheists don't exist" is bullshit, and we know that - after all, here we are. It's amazing to hear someone say something like that, because it's just so disconnected from reality. Kind of like saying "I don't believe in the moon" or denying the existence of your left hand or something like that.

 

I think that someone who makes the claim that "atheists don't exist" or "I don't believe in atheists" or "you do believe in god, you just won't admit it" or what-the-hell-ever is really saying something about themselves, not about atheism, or about a given atheist. What they're saying is that there isn't room in their worldview for atheism to be a possibility at all, therefore they have to deny that it exists.

 

Hardcore Xians have a lot invested in being right; after all, the faith assigns some pretty dire penalties for disbelief, not just in the implied threats of hellfire after death, but in the very real social and psychological punishments a community of believers will inflict on someone who dares to question the meme, or decides to leave. Disbelievers are a threat, because we offer the possibility that Xians and Xianity might be wrong. If not that, we offer the possiblity that the Xian belief system isn't unassailable - that it can be questioned, queried, and even rejected.

 

I think it's also an ego trip, as much as anything. I mean, if you tie your entire life, your feelings, actions, thoughts, upbringing, psychology, job, self, and just the sum total of your very being into a particular belief system, it can be very frightening to have that belief system challenged or threatened. If your Self is entangled with your beliefs, a challenge to your beliefs is a challenge to your very being, your existence. Hell, I'd freak out too. I'd make up all kinds of wacky, illogical, stupid denials and excuses about it too, to protect my ego.

 

If someone were to claim to me that "atheists don't exist", my response would probably be a matter-of-fact, "Actually we do, you just don't want to admit it." Or if someone were to insist to me that "You really do believe, you do!" I'd probably be moved to ask, "Why are you so invested in my believing your religion?" or "Why does my lack of belief make you so uncomfortable that you have to deny it?"

 

That all's what I think, anyway, at 7 AM when I'm trying to get some caffeine into m'self. :coffee:

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Interesting. I think that they're forgetting that their own Bible acknowledges atheists... not in the most friendly of ways, but it still does.

 

Pslam 14:1 - "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good."

 

:scratch:

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Apparently some Christian pastors tell their followers to say that to people who claim to be an atheist.

This conjures up the image of two 5-year kids on a playground, one turns to the other and says invisible friends aren't real and don't exist and to grow up, so the other turns around and shouts "Well then you don't exist! Stupid doody dumbhead! And stop being mean to me!!". Then he runs off and cries.

 

Anyway, here's what our good friend Ray Comfort says about this pressing matter:

 

There can be no such things as an atheist. This is why: Let's imagine that you are a professing atheist. Here are two questions for you to answer: First, do you know the combined weight of all the sand on all the beaches of Hawaii? We can safely assume that you don't. This brings us to the second question: Do you know how many hairs are on the back of a fully-grown male Tibetan yak? Probably not. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that there are some things that you don't know. It is important to ask these questions because there are some people who think they know everything.

 

Let's say that you know an incredible one percent of all the knowledge in the universe. To know 100 percent, you would have to know everything. There wouldn't be a rock in the universe that you would not be intimately familiar with, or a grain of sand that you would not be aware of. You would know everything that has happened in history, from that which is common knowledge to the minor details of the secret love life of Napoleon's great-grandmother's black cat's fleas. You would know every hair of every head, and every thought of every heart. All history would be laid out before you, because you would be omniscient (all-knowing).

 

Bear in mind that one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, Thomas Edison, said, "We do not know a millionth of one percent about anything." Let me repeat: Let's say that you have an incredible one percent of all the knowledge in the universe. Would it be possible, in the ninety-nine percent of the knowledge that you haven't yet come across, that there might be ample evidence to prove the existence of God? If you are reasonable, you will be forced to admit that it is possible. Somewhere, in the knowledge you haven't yet discovered, there could be enough evidence to prove that God does exist.

 

Let's look at the same thought from another angle. If I were to make an absolute statement such as, "There is no gold in China," what is needed for that statement to be proven true? I need absolute or total knowledge. I need to have information that there is no gold in any rock, in any river, in the ground, in any store, in any ring, or in any mouth (gold filling) in China. If there is one speck of gold in China, then my statement is false and I have no basis for it. I need absolute knowledge before I can make an absolute statement of that nature. Conversely, for me to say, "There is gold in China," I don't need to have all knowledge. I just need to have seen a speck of gold in the country, and the statement is then true.

 

To say categorically, "There is no God," is to make an absolute statement. For the statement to be true, I must know for certain that there is no God in the entire universe. No human being has all knowledge. Therefore, none of us is able to truthfully make this assertion.

 

If you insist upon disbelief in God, what you must say is, "Having the limited knowledge I have at present, I believe that there is no God." Owing to a lack of knowledge on your part, you don't know if God exists. So, in the strict sense of the word, you cannot be an atheist. The only true qualifier for the title is the One who has absolute knowledge, and why on earth would God want to deny His own existence?

 

The professing atheist is what is commonly known as an "agnostic" - one who claims he "doesn't know" if God exists. It is interesting to note that the Latin equivalent for the Greek word is "ignoramus." The Bible tells us that this ignorance is "willful" (Psalm 10:4). It's not that a person can't find God, but that he won't. It has been rightly said that the "atheist" can't find God for the same reason a thief can't find a policeman. He knows that if he admits that there is a God, he is admitting that he is ultimately responsible to Him. This is not a pleasant thought for some.

 

It is said that Mussolini (the Italian dictator), once stood on a pinnacle and cried, "God, if you are there, strike me dead!" When God didn't immediately bow to his dictates, Mussolini then concluded that there was no God. However, his prayer was answered some time later.

 

Excerpted from God Doesn't Believe in Atheists by Ray Comfort

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If you insist upon disbelief in God, what you must say is, "Having the limited knowledge I have at present, I believe that there is no God." Owing to a lack of knowledge on your part, you don't know if God exists. So, in the strict sense of the word, you cannot be an atheist. The only true qualifier for the title is the One who has absolute knowledge, and why on earth would God want to deny His own existence?

 

I'm really get sick of this "atheist" vs "agnostic" crap. I am an atheist, I don't believe in god. I don't deny the possiblity of one though. That would require absolute knowledge and that doesn't exist. I know very, very few atheists who aren't open to the possiblity, they just haven't been given sufficient evidence. Any honest person (no matter what they claim for a title) should be open to possibilities, but insistent on proof for such positive assurtions. No proof, no belief. That simple. No belief = no theism = atheist.

 

IMOHO,

:thanks:

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If you insist upon disbelief in God, what you must say is, "Having the limited knowledge I have at present, I believe that there is no God." Owing to a lack of knowledge on your part, you don't know if God exists. So, in the strict sense of the word, you cannot be an atheist. The only true qualifier for the title is the One who has absolute knowledge, and why on earth would God want to deny His own existence?

 

I'm really get sick of this "atheist" vs "agnostic" crap. I am an atheist, I don't believe in god. I don't deny the possiblity of one though. That would require absolute knowledge and that doesn't exist. I know very, very few atheists who aren't open to the possiblity, they just haven't been given sufficient evidence. Any honest person (no matter what they claim for a title) should be open to possibilities, but insistent on proof for such positive assurtions. No proof, no belief. That simple. No belief = no theism = atheist.

 

IMOHO,

:thanks:

 

Their error is in the definition. Atheist/atheism in no way claims to KNOW that there is no god anywhere. Indeed that would be the pinnacle of absurd egocentric thought for no man can know everything. The entire premise made is therefore absurd.

 

There is a distinct difference between ones "knowledge" and ones "belief". As regards my knowledge, I neither know of any god, nor do I know that there is no god - ergo, I am agnostic. As regards my beliefs, I have no belief in any god - ergo, I am atheist.

 

What is so difficult for people to grasp in this?

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Their error is in the definition. Atheist/atheism in no way claims to KNOW that there is no god anywhere. Indeed that would be the pinnacle of absurd egocentric thought for no man can know everything. The entire premise made is therefore absurd.

 

There is a distinct difference between ones "knowledge" and ones "belief". As regards my knowledge, I neither know of any god, nor do I know that there is no god - ergo, I am agnostic. As regards my beliefs, I have no belief in any god - ergo, I am atheist.

 

What is so difficult for people to grasp in this?

 

Exactly! :thanks:

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If you insist upon disbelief in God, what you must say is, "Having the limited knowledge I have at present, I believe that there is no God." Owing to a lack of knowledge on your part, you don't know if God exists. So, in the strict sense of the word, you cannot be an atheist. The only true qualifier for the title is the One who has absolute knowledge, and why on earth would God want to deny His own existence?

 

What Comfort fails to realize is that, by his own logic, he is as agnostic as the next guy; and one could do a bit of creative editing and turn the tables a bit:

 

"If you insist upon belief in God, what you must say is, "Having the limited knowledge I have at present, I nonetheless believe that there is a God." Owing to a lack of knowledge on your part, you don't know if God exists. So, in the strict sense of the word, you cannot be a theist."

 

So by his own logic, Comfort isn't a theist, either. Therefore, he must be an atheist! :crazy:

 

Having the limited knowledge I have at present, I believe that Ray Comfort is a douchebag. Not to mention a crap apologist. He's doing what I've seen not a few Xians do, which is confuse belief and knowledge, and assume that absolute knowledge is required for a belief about anything. Which is just bullshit.

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To say categorically, "There is no God," is to make an absolute statement. For the statement to be true, I must know for certain that there is no God in the entire universe. No human being has all knowledge. Therefore, none of us is able to truthfully make this assertion.

 

...

 

Excerpted from God Doesn't Believe in Atheists by Ray Comfort

 

Hello, I'm new to the forums.

 

Here is my $0.02 on this paragraph. It's not true. ;) Let's use a different analogy. One can say reasonably about any snake hole that there is no gorilla in it. I don't have to search any particular snake hole thoroughly to see that, indeed, there is no gorilla in it. All that is required is knowledge of a the size of the snake hole and the size of a gorilla. From this knowledge we can infer that a gorilla is too big to fit into a snake hole. It's the same way with God and atheism. One does not have to search the Universe thoroughly and attain complete and absolute knowledge of It's every nook and cranny to say that there is no God. In order to say that, all one would have to do is to show that any facet of the concept of God (for instance, omnipotence) is logically inconsistent with any observation about the Universe, in the same way that one facet of the concept of a gorilla is inconsistent with only one observation about the snake hole.

 

I think I might have overemphasized my point there.

 

Also, for the record, I'm not an atheist who says that there is no God but an agnostic atheist.

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I'm really get sick of this "atheist" vs "agnostic" crap. I am an atheist, I don't believe in god. I don't deny the possiblity of one though. That would require absolute knowledge and that doesn't exist. I know very, very few atheists who aren't open to the possiblity, they just haven't been given sufficient evidence. Any honest person (no matter what they claim for a title) should be open to possibilities, but insistent on proof for such positive assurtions. No proof, no belief. That simple. No belief = no theism = atheist.

 

IMOHO,

:thanks:

Agreed! I think people like Ray Comfort just have too much time on their hands :HaHa:

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Let's say that you know an incredible one percent of all the knowledge in the universe. To know 100 percent, you would have to know everything. There wouldn't be a rock in the universe that you would not be intimately familiar with, or a grain of sand that you would not be aware of. You would know everything that has happened in history, from that which is common knowledge to the minor details of the secret love life of Napoleon's great-grandmother's black cat's fleas. You would know every hair of every head, and every thought of every heart. All history would be laid out before you, because you would be omniscient (all-knowing).

 

Bear in mind that one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, Thomas Edison, said, "We do not know a millionth of one percent about anything." Let me repeat: Let's say that you have an incredible one percent of all the knowledge in the universe. Would it be possible, in the ninety-nine percent of the knowledge that you haven't yet come across, that there might be ample evidence to prove the existence of God? If you are reasonable, you will be forced to admit that it is possible. Somewhere, in the knowledge you haven't yet discovered, there could be enough evidence to prove that God does exist.

 

Let's look at the same thought from another angle. If I were to make an absolute statement such as, "There is no gold in China," what is needed for that statement to be proven true? I need absolute or total knowledge. I need to have information that there is no gold in any rock, in any river, in the ground, in any store, in any ring, or in any mouth (gold filling) in China. If there is one speck of gold in China, then my statement is false and I have no basis for it. I need absolute knowledge before I can make an absolute statement of that nature. Conversely, for me to say, "There is gold in China," I don't need to have all knowledge. I just need to have seen a speck of gold in the country, and the statement is then true.

 

To say categorically, "There is no God," is to make an absolute statement. For the statement to be true, I must know for certain that there is no God in the entire universe. No human being has all knowledge. Therefore, none of us is able to truthfully make this assertion.

 

I say there are no flying reindeer. According to your logic presented here, since I have not tested every reindeer in existence to see if it is capable of flight, I must therefore accept the possiblity that there might exist a reindeer that might indeed have the capacity to fly. The only way to satisfy your argument is to seek out each and every reindeer on this planet and push it off a cliff to see if it can fly; if it falls to its death, then my assertion that reindeer cannot fly is still not satisfied until I push yet another reindeer off that cliff until each and every reindeer on this planet has fell to its death at the bottom of a cliff. Yet, this will still not satisfy this argument; for there may have at one time existed a reindeer that was able to fly. Just because I killed each and every one in my sadistic test of faith doesn't necessarily mean that there might have existed a reindeer that could fly at one point in time. So, suppose I construct a time machine and commit the rest of my existence to travelling to various points in time of the existence of reindeer to see if they fly. I might even get numerous generations to commit to such an examination, since the possibility of me examining every reindeer that had ever existed is a task that will take well beyond my rather limited life expectancy to complete. Let's imagine that multiple generations have, with a time machine at their disposal, managed to send each and every reindeer that has ever existed to its death at the bottom of a cliff testing it to see if it is capable of flying. Even with these extraordinary measures, your argument is still not satisfied, since there may exist some planet in the cosmos where reindeer may fly. And yet, even if there were a grand spaceship constructed capable of speeds exceeding that of light capable of reaching each and every planet in the cosmos in order to pursue this test, by your argument, it is still not satisfied since we have not yet tested reindeer that exist in parallel universes.

 

In spite of this, an Atheist will still assert that a reindeer cannot fly; not because an atheist is all-knowing, but rather that an atheist knows that, given our limited knowledge of the physics that govern the universe, there is nothing of a reindeer that will allow it to defy the laws of gravity. Should an atheist be presented with a reindeer that does indeed glide across the sky in flight, then they would have no choice but to accept that, against all odds, a flying reindeer does in fact exist. This would cause an atheist to admit the existence fo flying reindeer is real.

 

Given this, I ask you; which is a more sensible position; that of an Agnostic, who accepts the possibility that reindeer might be able to fly, or the that of an atheist, who asserts that reindeer cannot possibly fly until presented with evidence that they can? I say to you now, it is the Agnostic that is absurd and the Atheist that is sensible, and I challenge you to prove otherwise.

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Here is my $0.02 on this paragraph. It's not true. ;) Let's use a different analogy. One can say reasonably about any snake hole that there is no gorilla in it. I don't have to search any particular snake hole thoroughly to see that, indeed, there is no gorilla in it. All that is required is knowledge of a the size of the snake hole and the size of a gorilla. From this knowledge we can infer that a gorilla is too big to fit into a snake hole. It's the same way with God and atheism. One does not have to search the Universe thoroughly and attain complete and absolute knowledge of It's every nook and cranny to say that there is no God. In order to say that, all one would have to do is to show that any facet of the concept of God (for instance, omnipotence) is logically inconsistent with any observation about the Universe, in the same way that one facet of the concept of a gorilla is inconsistent with only one observation about the snake hole.

 

Good post, I don't think it was overemphasized. Of course, Ray "I need God for" Comfort will probably disagree.

 

Also, for the record, I'm not an atheist who says that there is no God but an agnostic atheist.

 

For the record, there is no difference.

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Did someone say reindeer can't fly??? How dare you! Everybody KNOWS that reindeer fly. How else would they get Santa to the top of the chimney to bring in his presents for the good kids? It's simply illogical and impossible to state that reindeer can't fly.

 

There's not only stories (some of them well recorded and written and published, as well as oral folklore) but there are even songs and artwork of every sort (from cheap cards and kindergarten drawings to elaborate electical lighting and the like) to prove it!

 

These songs are faithfully sung every Christmas on every loudspeaker in every supermarket throughout the Western world. The artwork is available in every store that carries Christmas cards. The lighting is set up in public and private spheres every December.

 

If you don't believe that reindeer can fly, you might as well say God doesn't exist. And that the whole point of this tirade.

 

Let those with ears to hear, hear, and those with eyes to see, see. Let everyone gifted with an intellect understand. I'm making a point.

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Also, for the record, I'm not an atheist who says that there is no God but an agnostic atheist.

 

For the record, there is no difference.

 

Maybe, I haven't yet reached a conclusion. I know there are those that disagree though, and I thought I would cover my bases in case I got caught in a debate.

 

Anyway, thanks everyone for your kind responses.

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Obviously, this is branching out from the other thread about "I don't believe in atheists." I'd like to see some discussion around the concept that atheists don't exist. . . I'd like to see more discussion around the existence/nonexistence of atheists if anyone cares to discuss it further. I can't think how to formulate my question or exactly what my question is.........

 

Prima facie, the Christian argument sounds absurd and can be answered as many have done above. There is a more sophisticated version, though, that is not so easily answered and, if correct, would show the responses above to be question-begging (although it would itself be question-begging if not accompanied by reasons).

 

So, take a Christian who believes the Bible to be divinely inspired and without error. That Christian, necessarily, believes these words found in the book of Romans:

 

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

 

The Christian case, then, is that atheism isn't a problem with belief, but rather with sin. The atheist doesn't reject God's existence because she doesn't believe God exists, but because she "suppresses the truth" of God's existence because of her sin. This is consistent with the passage in Proverbs quoted above, because it merely says that one who states, "There is no God" is a fool. Presumably, this is because their hearts were darkened because of their suppression of truth.

 

So, if the Bible is inerrant, then there are no atheists (i.e. all people know that a God exists, they simply suppress this truth because of their sin). Many Christians accept the antecedent, so they must accept the consequent.

 

Atheists don't accept the antecedent (i.e. They believe that there are errors in the Bible), so they don't have to accept the consequent. The argument revolves around the truth of the antecedent.

 

Proving or disproving the inerrancy of the Bible also seems, prima facie, to be a simple task. One book says the women arrived at the tomb at one time and another says they arrived at a different time (and there is even disagreement between the number of women who arrived). But, it turns out that Christians can be as Quinean as the rest of us and can change any part of their worldview to accommodate a recalcitrant experience based solely on pragmatic reasons. Seeming clear contradictions, then, are explained in extraordinary ways that Christians accept.

 

I think this is a more generous way of reading the "there are no atheists" statement. While I disagree (I consider myself an atheist), the suggestion is not as patently absurd as it, at first appears. It is based on certain commitments that may or may not themselves be patently absurd. At most, then, the belief that there are no atheists is only indirectly absurd.

 

I hope this helps, Ruby.

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Exbeliever, what version of the Bible did you use? I've seen that passage before but this version makes it clearer than most. All of them do support the inerrantist view that atheists don't exist. I think, however, that it is absurd to contradict reality. The Bible is written on the assumption that the earth is flat, yet even inerrantists reject that view. Why can't they take our testimonies at face value?

 

Anyone who reads the threads on here about the meaning of atheism knows beyond a doubt that atheists don't NOT believe in God--they think no evidence exists for god's existence.

 

There is a major difference. To say God does not exist is not possible because we can't ever know. To say there is no evidence for God's existence means we are open to new information.

 

I think the people who reject that we really mean this must either have no clue about testing a hypothesis or be awfully suspicious people--and this raises the issue of their own integrity. Why can't they just believe what we say? How can we explain so they will believe?

 

Talk about unbelievers!?!?!

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Exbeliever, what version of the Bible did you use? I've seen that passage before but this version makes it clearer than most. All of them do support the inerrantist view that atheists don't exist. I think, however, that it is absurd to contradict reality. The Bible is written on the assumption that the earth is flat, yet even inerrantists reject that view. Why can't they take our testimonies at face value?

 

Anyone who reads the threads on here about the meaning of atheism knows beyond a doubt that atheists don't NOT believe in God--they think no evidence exists for god's existence.

 

There is a major difference. To say God does not exist is not possible because we can't ever know. To say there is no evidence for God's existence means we are open to new information.

 

I think the people who reject that we really mean this must either have no clue about testing a hypothesis or be awfully suspicious people--and this raises the issue of their own integrity. Why can't they just believe what we say? How can we explain so they will believe?

 

Talk about unbelievers!?!?!

 

RS,

 

I used the NIV translation, but I think it is just as clear in the NASB (a more woodenly-literal translation):

 

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

 

I think you (and others here) are right to make the distinction you have about the definition of "atheist." Unfortunately, most philosophical encyclopedias and almost all dictionaries define atheism as a positive belief that a god or gods does not exist. This is in spite of the careful definitions given by many contemporary atheists like Anthony Flew (i.e. until recently), George Smith, Gordon Stein, Jeff Lowder, and others.

 

Most people tend to call what we think of as atheism, "agnosticism." I really don't think it a hill to die on. They can call me whatever they want. Theistic belief is simply holding the proposition, "A god or gods exist." I do not hold the proposition, "A god or gods exist." I am, therefore, without theistic belief--i.e. atheistic. Further, I don't hold the proposition, "No god or gods exist." I don't hold this because (a) I don't think there is enough agreement about what a "god" is to know whether or not there is one and (B) because it seems I would have to have infinite knowledge of the universe to know whether or not this proposition was true. Similarly, I do not hold the proposition "Leprechauns exist," (i.e. in a non-fictionalist way) nor do I hold the proposition, "Leprechauns do not exist," for the same reasons. I would consider myself an aleprechaunist as well.

 

I am not saying that one can never affirm a universal negative (i.e. "An x does not exist."). An earlier commenter rightly pointed out that it is perfectly valid to do so in some cases. I can say, for instance, "A square circle does not exist," because it would be logically impossible. Apparently, the earlier commenter believes gods to fall into this category (presumably because of the logical problem of evil). Personally, I don't believe the problem of evil to be that conclusive for all concepts of god. Process theologians, for instance, do not demand that a god be omniscient or omnipotent or even always omnibenevolent. I don't see how the logical problem of evil defeats this concept of god. Also, I believe that Christians can rearrange other beliefs in their "web of beliefs" that make the argument less effective. They can, for example, simply state that what is thought of as evil really is when it comes to god. So, while the logical problem of evil may well defeat some concepts of God, for me, it is not conclusive. I can't rule out all concepts of god by it.

 

These conversations are very important when determining a burden of proof in debates about God's existence. One who believes they have some kind of knowledge has the burden of defending the assertion of that knowledge. Because I do not hold a positive proposition, I do not have a burden to defend in the debate. I can listen both to those who affirm the proposition "A god or gods exist," or deny it. I can point out weaknesses in both arguments.

 

Further, I should say that I find the statement, "No evidence exists for the existence of a god or gods," equally as problematic as the ones above. It may well be that evidence does exist for the existence of a god or gods, but that I just don't know what that evidence is. I guess it is even possible that I am aware of evidence that proves the existence of a god or gods, but have not understood the evidence properly. I prefer, rather, to take one argument at a time and consider it in dialogue with someone who claims to have knowledge of something.

 

Yet another possibility is that the existence of a god or gods is not the kind of thing for which one can have "evidence." There are many problems in philosophy that point out beliefs we hold without evidence. The classics are the existence of other minds (as opposed to automaton) and the fact that the universe is more than 10 seconds old. These are beliefs we hold without evidence. Some Christian "apologists" (notably Plantinga) argue that a god's existence is exactly of this type of belief.

 

Personally, I think it most reasonable to adopt a skeptical position regarding the existence of any being outside of my experience. Fairies, ghosts, Santa Claus, and gods are outside of my experience. If someone were to tell me that they have knowledge of the existence of one of these beings, I would be happy to hear their evidence (if they have any). I believe that it is reasonable to only accept these existence claims if offered good reason to do so. I believe it is unwise to accept the existence of beings outside of our experience without evidence. This is why I am an atheist.

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I must have inadvertantly added the emoticon. It has nothing to do with my post.

 

That is what I sort of figured. I think you can go back in and delete it if you want to. Click on "edit," then choose "full edit" or "quick edit," and make any changes you want to make. Just so you know, a statement may show up at the bottom of your edited post stating that you edited it but I wouldn't worry about that.

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