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For everybody: what does being an atheist mean to YOU?
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Posted 4/16/12
having an open mined,
knowing what has been proven is true and untill then being open about all religion and letting people think what they want to.
a lot of my friends are christian and i dont mind that but i do not beleave what they beleave in and thats all.
i think that there is more prouf in science than there is in a story that was roat a very long time ago,
you could say that in houndreds of years time that there youst to be wizards and there was a very bad one called voldermort and he was defeated by a brave harry potter...
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Posted 4/20/12
Being an atheist to me means I just plain don't care about any religion.
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Posted 4/24/12

Epicurus (341 - 270 BCE)

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?
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Posted 4/25/12

shinto-male wrote:


Epicurus (341 - 270 BCE)

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?


Alexander Pope from his Essay on Man

All nature is but Art unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction which thou canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason’s spite
One truth is clear, ‘Whatever IS, is RIGHT.’

For the less poetically inclined, Liebniz, extracted from his Essais de Théodicée sur la bonté de Dieu, la liberté de l'homme et l'origine du mal

Objection I

Whoever does not choose the best course is lacking either in power, or knowledge, or goodness.

God did not choose the best course in creating this world.

Therefore God was lacking in power, or knowledge, or goodness.

answer

I deny the minor, that is to say, the second premiss of this syllogism, and the opponent proves it by this

prosyllogism

Whoever makes things in which there is evil, and which could have been made without any evil, or need not have been made at all, does not choose the best course.

God made a world wherein there is evil; a world, I say, which could have been made without any evil or which need not have been made at all.

Therefore God did not choose the best course.

answer

I admit the minor of this prosyllogism: for one must confess that there is evil in this world which God has made, and that it would have been possible to make a world without evil or even not to create any world, since its creation depended upon the free will of God. But I deny the major, that is, the first of the two premisses of the prosyllogism, and I might content myself with asking for its proof. In order, however, to give a clearer exposition of the matter, I would justify this denial by pointing out that the best course is not always that one which tends towards avoiding evil, since it is possible that the evil may be accompanied by a greater good. For example, the general of an army will prefer a great victory with a slight wound to a state of affairs without wound and without victory. I have proved this in further detail in this work by pointing out, through instances taken from mathematics and elsewhere, that an imperfection in the part may be required for a greater perfection in the whole. I have followed therein the opinion of St. Augustine, who said a hundred times that God permitted evil in order to derive from it a good, that is to say, a greater good; and Thomas Aquinas says (in libr. 2, Sent. Dist. 32, qu. 1, art. 1) that the permission of evil tends towards the good of the universe. I have shown that among older writers the fall of Adam was termed felix culpa, a fortunate sin, because it had been expiated with immense benefit by the incarnation of the Son of God: for he gave to the universe something more noble than anything there would otherwise have been amongst created beings. For the better understanding of the matter I added, following the example of many good authors, that it was consistent with order and the general good for God to grant to certain of his creatures the opportunity to exercise their freedom, even when he foresaw that they would turn to evil: for God could easily correct the evil, and it was not fitting that in order to prevent sin he should always act in an extraordinary way. It will therefore sufficiently refute the objection to show that a world with evil may be better than a world without evil. But I have gone still further in the work, and have even shown that this universe must be indeed better than every other possible universe.
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Posted 4/25/12
All very well. but "the greater good" was the catchphrase of the creator of the NKVD as his reason for killing anyone who might have threatened his boss, Stalin. Until as the sole commander of Stalin's powerful internal security, Stalin saw HIM as a threat and had him executed. As far as I know history does not record weather Nicolai Yezhov thought that this too was for the 'greater good'
Posted 4/25/12

papagolfwhiskey wrote:

All very well. but "the greater good" was the catchphrase of the creator of the NKVD as his reason for killing anyone who might have threatened his boss, Stalin. Until as the sole commander of Stalin's powerful internal security, Stalin saw HIM as a threat and had him executed. As far as I know history does not record weather Nicolai Yezhov thought that this too was for the 'greater good'
And this "greater good" idiom gets another twist. when it combined with utilitarianism and capitalism.Case in point, what's the rationale behind the civil defense for Ford's exploding Pintos, through the method of cost(liability)/benefit(profit) analysis.

Fire safety had been a major concern at Ford since the mid Sixties. Arjay Miller, then company president, had been involved in a fiery crash while driving his new 1965 Lincoln Continental. When traffic slowed unexpectedly, he was rear-ended by another car. The fuel tank started to leak and a spark sent the rear of the luxury car up in flames.

Fortunately, the driver's door wasn't damaged and Miller was able to get out relatively unscathed. He went on a crusade for safer fuel tanks, and worked with several suppliers for systems that would contain highly flammable gasoline and give motorists a wider margin of safety. He even testified before Congress about the importance Ford Motor Company placed on the matter. What went wrong with the Pinto, then?

Records indicated that Ford had first conducted rear-end collision tests on the Pinto in December 1970, months after it was already in production. Initially, 11 carefully coordinated crashes were conducted, and in all but three of them, gas tanks ruptured and often burst into flames. In the three tests that didn't result in fires, the cars had prototype safety devices that engineers had developed while working with suppliers.

Most effective was the use of a rubber bladder/liner produced by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Despite rupturing the exterior of the tank, no fuel was spilled, and no fire resulted. It was estimated that the unit cost of bladders would have amounted to $5.08 per car.

The second method that had been employed was an extra steel plate attached to the rear of the car just behind the bumper, isolating the tank from direct contact during impact. It successfully warded off a blow at 30 mph, helping to keep the tank intact. No company cost analysis was done at the time, but experts felt that this part could have cost up to $11 per car to install.

Engineers found that the majority of the ruptures were caused by two factors: 1) the filler neck breaking off and allowing fuel to pour out, where it could be exposed to an ignition source; and 2) the tank being penetrated by contact with the differential mounting bolts and right shock absorber.

This is where a third successful fix had been devised -- a rather simple plastic insulator fitted on the differential that would keep the bolts from ever making contact with the fuel tank. Cost of this item was less than $1.

Several company memos presented as evidence during the civil trials revealed that these remedies were discussed, with the conclusion that to shut down production and retool would be too expensive. Most damaging to Ford were memos found and published by author/researcher Mark Dowie in the muckraking magazine Mother Jones that detailed a cost analysis of corporate liability in the event of having to compensate crash victims.

Experts calculated the value of a human life at around $200,000, while a serious burn injury was worth about $67,000. Using an estimate of 180 deaths and 180 serious burns, someone put on paper that the cost to redesign and rework the Pinto's gas tank would cost close to $137 million, while possible liability costs worked out to around $49 million.

Comparisons were drawn up between the Pinto and the imported Capri that was being sold by Lincoln-Mercury dealers. Both cars were of similar size and construction, but everyone agreed that the Capri's fuel tank was in a much safer location: up and away from the rear bumper, and less vulnerable in a rear-end collision.

Ford engineers argued that to place the tank any higher up in the Pinto would rob the trunk of already meager storage space, and that even a set of golf clubs would have a hard time being squeezed into the leftover space.

Ultimately, 27 people were determined to have been killed in rear-end-crash explosions involving Pintos. In one of the few cases brought to trial, a California jury awarded a boy who had been severely burned and disfigured a total of $126 million. The driver of the car had died from her injuries a few days after the accident.

When the memos regarding the liability assessments were entered into evidence, the case was as good as over. Even after a judge reduced the amount to $3.5 million on appeal, this was far more than the company had ever counted on paying. It was a real wake-up call for Ford, whose legal teams went to work to try and settle as many of the pending cases as possible out of court.
(citation)

In a capitalistic society, it's profits over people's welfare as the "greater good".
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Posted 4/26/12 , edited 4/26/12

papagolfwhiskey wrote:

All very well. but "the greater good" was the catchphrase of the creator of the NKVD as his reason for killing anyone who might have threatened his boss, Stalin. Until as the sole commander of Stalin's powerful internal security, Stalin saw HIM as a threat and had him executed. As far as I know history does not record weather Nicolai Yezhov thought that this too was for the 'greater good'


A Theist might argue that God is all knowing, all powerful, and infinite, whereas Stalin and Nicolai Yezhov were both faliable and human.
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Posted 4/26/12

DomFortress wrote:


papagolfwhiskey wrote:

All very well. but "the greater good" was the catchphrase of the creator of the NKVD as his reason for killing anyone who might have threatened his boss, Stalin. Until as the sole commander of Stalin's powerful internal security, Stalin saw HIM as a threat and had him executed. As far as I know history does not record weather Nicolai Yezhov thought that this too was for the 'greater good'
And this "greater good" idiom gets another twist. when it combined with utilitarianism and capitalism.Case in point, what's the rationale behind the civil defense for Ford's exploding Pintos, through the method of cost(liability)/benefit(profit) analysis.

Fire safety had been a major concern at Ford since the mid Sixties. Arjay Miller, then company president, had been involved in a fiery crash while driving his new 1965 Lincoln Continental. When traffic slowed unexpectedly, he was rear-ended by another car. The fuel tank started to leak and a spark sent the rear of the luxury car up in flames.

Fortunately, the driver's door wasn't damaged and Miller was able to get out relatively unscathed. He went on a crusade for safer fuel tanks, and worked with several suppliers for systems that would contain highly flammable gasoline and give motorists a wider margin of safety. He even testified before Congress about the importance Ford Motor Company placed on the matter. What went wrong with the Pinto, then?

Records indicated that Ford had first conducted rear-end collision tests on the Pinto in December 1970, months after it was already in production. Initially, 11 carefully coordinated crashes were conducted, and in all but three of them, gas tanks ruptured and often burst into flames. In the three tests that didn't result in fires, the cars had prototype safety devices that engineers had developed while working with suppliers.

Most effective was the use of a rubber bladder/liner produced by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Despite rupturing the exterior of the tank, no fuel was spilled, and no fire resulted. It was estimated that the unit cost of bladders would have amounted to $5.08 per car.

The second method that had been employed was an extra steel plate attached to the rear of the car just behind the bumper, isolating the tank from direct contact during impact. It successfully warded off a blow at 30 mph, helping to keep the tank intact. No company cost analysis was done at the time, but experts felt that this part could have cost up to $11 per car to install.

Engineers found that the majority of the ruptures were caused by two factors: 1) the filler neck breaking off and allowing fuel to pour out, where it could be exposed to an ignition source; and 2) the tank being penetrated by contact with the differential mounting bolts and right shock absorber.

This is where a third successful fix had been devised -- a rather simple plastic insulator fitted on the differential that would keep the bolts from ever making contact with the fuel tank. Cost of this item was less than $1.

Several company memos presented as evidence during the civil trials revealed that these remedies were discussed, with the conclusion that to shut down production and retool would be too expensive. Most damaging to Ford were memos found and published by author/researcher Mark Dowie in the muckraking magazine Mother Jones that detailed a cost analysis of corporate liability in the event of having to compensate crash victims.

Experts calculated the value of a human life at around $200,000, while a serious burn injury was worth about $67,000. Using an estimate of 180 deaths and 180 serious burns, someone put on paper that the cost to redesign and rework the Pinto's gas tank would cost close to $137 million, while possible liability costs worked out to around $49 million.

Comparisons were drawn up between the Pinto and the imported Capri that was being sold by Lincoln-Mercury dealers. Both cars were of similar size and construction, but everyone agreed that the Capri's fuel tank was in a much safer location: up and away from the rear bumper, and less vulnerable in a rear-end collision.

Ford engineers argued that to place the tank any higher up in the Pinto would rob the trunk of already meager storage space, and that even a set of golf clubs would have a hard time being squeezed into the leftover space.

Ultimately, 27 people were determined to have been killed in rear-end-crash explosions involving Pintos. In one of the few cases brought to trial, a California jury awarded a boy who had been severely burned and disfigured a total of $126 million. The driver of the car had died from her injuries a few days after the accident.

When the memos regarding the liability assessments were entered into evidence, the case was as good as over. Even after a judge reduced the amount to $3.5 million on appeal, this was far more than the company had ever counted on paying. It was a real wake-up call for Ford, whose legal teams went to work to try and settle as many of the pending cases as possible out of court.
(citation)

In a capitalistic society, it's profits over people's welfare as the "greater good".


I recall that someone once chided another someone for this great sin or irrelevence, how one should address the topic at hand and all that...it seems he has forgetten this altogether whenever there is an opportunity to rail at Capitalism.
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Posted 4/26/12

longfenglim wrote:


papagolfwhiskey wrote:

All very well. but "the greater good" was the catchphrase of the creator of the NKVD as his reason for killing anyone who might have threatened his boss, Stalin. Until as the sole commander of Stalin's powerful internal security, Stalin saw HIM as a threat and had him executed. As far as I know history does not record weather Nicolai Yezhov thought that this too was for the 'greater good'


A Theist might argue that God is all knowing, all powerful, and infinite, whereas Stalin and Nicolai Yezhov were both faliable and human.



I could argue the same of anyone who tries to explain god to me. Unless I'm talking directly to the burning bush (and even then the possibilities of lighter fluid and ventriloquism ought to be considered). And if the 'greater good' is some omniscent plan of such grandeur that our mortal little minds cannot possibly understand ... then all we are left with is faith


For me, the problem I have there is once religion gets 'organised'... Faith translates into "do what I say because my understanding of this old book is greater than yours" We are expected to obey other fallible humans, entirely on a basis of 'because I say so'

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Posted 4/30/12
Atheism is rejection of the belief that deities doesn't exists...but, i don't know why they don't want to believe...
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Posted 4/30/12

KnowThyself wrote:

Atheism is rejection of the belief that deities doesn't exists...but, i don't know why they don't want to believe...


What has -wanting- to believe to do with believing or not?

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Posted 5/6/12 , edited 5/7/12

JustineKo2 wrote:


longfenglim wrote:


JustineKo2 wrote:I try to find common ground with people and not let things they've said linger. This is why I ended my conversation with longfenglim in the past because the gains versus the effort in continuing to do so were just not appealing to me. Basically, I try to keep my posts short and my conversations shorter.


What conversation? The only conversation I could remember is you saying basically that all atheists must believe so and so, and I just said you are wrong, and here is why you are wrong.
Yes you posted an explanation disagreeing with me, but it was an overly-intellectual reply to a pretty simple concept. And furthermore, you delve into topics in a complex way without defining a clear purpose and identity for your readers to go by. Currently, even after all your posts on the topic of religion I've read, I still don't know whether you are a Christian, some type of apathetic gnostic, deist or noodle worshiping Pastafarian. It's difficult to even put your statements in the right frame of mind unless I have a bit of background. So, basically I'm asking here, now, can you provide that info please?

But perhaps I should also provide a bit of background of my own, actually more about my posting style and intent:
My posts about any particular subject are almost always reflective and of a hypothetical nature. I dislike stating things in "a matter of factly" way, and if they seem that way, they are actually a lot less "this is how it is" or "expect to be edumacated by what I've said" than they seem.

So your assumption that "All atheists must believe so and so" is something I never even said, but you incorrectly assumed. What I actually said, and I'll quote myself exactly "I would like to state a small summary of the atheist perspective on religion that they might want to communicate to someone with a theist perspective."

This means there is a generalized view of the world that, whether or not has a supernatural being somehow overlooking it and was it's creation, it's still typical for people to want to impart the view of a loving god existing on others, and use that towards a means of influence and ultimately a vice to control others because of the natural element of fear of the unknown that exists in every human. I never said any other person, or any atheist supports this view, or that some kind of group mentality amongst atheists exists and that if you don't subscribe to this you are not allowed to be a "follower of the religion of atheism."


Your first objection, it seems, is that I do not clarify my religious affiliation, that you could not tell whether I am a Christian, a Hindoo, or a worshipper of the Invisible Pink Unicorn. Such an objection, however, does not detract from the verity of my assertions, for a man could be an atheist, and be no more wise than the Catholic, or be a Protestant, and no more foolish than the Mahometan. Indeed, if you came into my post to augur my religious affiliations, you are travelling to the desert to seek water.

You also assert that I misrepresent your view. I may have misrepresented your views, but only because such misinterpretation is supported by your quoted post, viz.


I would like to state a small summary of the atheist perspective on religion that they might want to communicate to someone with a theist perspective


I may be making too much of the use of the definite article, but to say that 'this is the atheist's perspective' is to say that there is only one atheist perspective, and this is it. This, of course, means that every Atheists must subscribe to this view in order to be an atheist, because it is 'the atheist's perspective'. You may object, by pointing out that you qualify this statement by saying that atheists may 'want to communicate to someone with a theist perspective', but, the structure of the sentence clearly implies that this means only that your fellow atheists may rephrase this one way or the other, if they elect to tell it at all. By way of analogy, suppose that this were a Roman Catholic tract instead of an atheist one, and reads as follow:


I would like to state a small summary of the Catholic Perspective on the perpetual viriginity of Mary that they might want to communicate to someone with a Protestant perspective


This quote, it is clear, would be interpreted that the summation to follow is the definitive Catholic Perspective on the perpetual virginity of Mary, and the communicant can express these ideas in their own way and fashion, should they want to communicate it at all to the Protestants.

Your last objection, it seems, centres on the fact that it seems too 'intellectual' for so simple a concept. My only answer to that is that it is only 'overly intellectual' in that your simple is so full of errors that it needs to be corrected. If I were to simply assert that 'My opinion is that God created the world in literally seven day, with woman coming out of the man's rib and all that', and you were to respond by posting up a involved summary of scientific explanation of abiogenesis and of the theory of evolution, it would hardly be just for me to object to your complex explanation simply because the concept exprest in my original post is 'simple'.
Posted 5/7/12 , edited 5/10/12
Means you don't have the split personality called religion.

Serious.
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Posted 5/11/12
First time poster,

But I do study both theology and philosophy.

Atheism means a lot of things to those who are atheist. I am not one. In brief what I know about atheists is that they do not believe that there is another reality above this universe.


An Atheist does not believe in God. Usually, they do so based upon certain beliefs either about God, or about the world.
Note the way that it is bounded. It is either the one: God cannot exist, or it is the second: the world as it is does not require or suggest that it had a creator.

That organizes the belief structure of what an atheist is. An Atheist is one who believes God does not exist based upon the fact that God cannot exist, or that the world does not require or suggest that it has a creator.

As for the epicurean argument, there are problems with that ancient formula.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Answered by the fact that God has to allow for evil in order to create.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Answered in the fact that most theologies posit an ultimate defeat of evil.

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Answered by the proposition that true human freedom entails a reality where good and evil are in combat.

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Answered in the given that God must allow for evil, but that God engineers creation in such a way that good overcomes evil in the end.


Those were just short responses that are admittedly, off topic. I felt that as an aside, it represents the contest of arguments that exist between atheists and theists. I wrote it not so much as to argue points, but so as to get at the context of atheism. In order to really understand Atheism, you also have to understand what it opposes. In the same way that one understands a swordsmen more by seeing one fight with swords against an opponent.

Atheism as a concept makes no sense if one does not have a conception of theism. In the same sense that one could not understand what a protest is about without knowing what is being protested. Therein lies the interesting conundrum sometimes posed by theists: "if there were no God, there'd be no atheists."

But this explains a bit of the duality that exists within atheism itself. Even though it has an object: God, it also has to have a belief about existence itself in order to justify the non-existence of God.
Posted 5/11/12

Holofernes wrote:

First time poster,

But I do study both theology and philosophy.

Atheism means a lot of things to those who are atheist. I am not one. In brief what I know about atheists is that they do not believe that there is another reality above this universe.


An Atheist does not believe in God. Usually, they do so based upon certain beliefs either about God, or about the world.
Note the way that it is bounded. It is either the one: God cannot exist, or it is the second: the world as it is does not require or suggest that it had a creator.

That organizes the belief structure of what an atheist is. An Atheist is one who believes God does not exist based upon the fact that God cannot exist, or that the world does not require or suggest that it has a creator.

As for the epicurean argument, there are problems with that ancient formula.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Answered by the fact that God has to allow for evil in order to create.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Answered in the fact that most theologies posit an ultimate defeat of evil.

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Answered by the proposition that true human freedom entails a reality where good and evil are in combat.

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Answered in the given that God must allow for evil, but that God engineers creation in such a way that good overcomes evil in the end.


Those were just short responses that are admittedly, off topic. I felt that as an aside, it represents the contest of arguments that exist between atheists and theists. I wrote it not so much as to argue points, but so as to get at the context of atheism. In order to really understand Atheism, you also have to understand what it opposes. In the same way that one understands a swordsmen more by seeing one fight with swords against an opponent.

Atheism as a concept makes no sense if one does not have a conception of theism. In the same sense that one could not understand what a protest is about without knowing what is being protested. Therein lies the interesting conundrum sometimes posed by theists: "if there were no God, there'd be no atheists."

But this explains a bit of the duality that exists within atheism itself. Even though it has an object: God, it also has to have a belief about existence itself in order to justify the non-existence of God.


There is neither good nor evil, only profitable and non-profitable.
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