A day to mourn

malau

IT is a day to mourn. A passenger plane with 295 souls on board is shot down over the Ukraine and on the same day Israel launches a ground offensive in Gaza.
This is a world divided by conflict.
The performance of evil by ordinary people is one of the most disturbing social phenomena. It is not confined to one state or one nation.
Jesus was pretty clear on the subject of violence. Loving your neighbours – and your enemies – is the centrepiece of his gospel.
But in the end, we all make up our own minds on the validity of that. Free will allows some people to take up arms and kill others seemingly without care.
George Buttrick, in his book Christ and History, said we could not be lifted from the human dilemma without our consent, for we have a certain freedom to cross a moral border from right to wrong.
To continue to trust in grace, love, kindness and generosity is difficult in a world gone mad.
What we need is faith that we can do more than survive. Ultimately, we are citizens of heaven and this apparent global madness will probably make sense when we finally escape the shadowlands.

In 2009 Queen Rania of Jordan made an urgent plea on behalf of all the civilians living in Gaza for a “humanitarian ceasefire” and for the international community to do all it can to help alleviate the suffering. Her message is just as relevant today.

Advertisements

231 thoughts on “A day to mourn

  1. Doh! –> “It is not confined to one state or one nation.”
    But it IS confined to ALL of them (including the religious state and umpteen others).

    If you create ‘teams’ and herd everybody into one or another (or several) of them, conflict (and usually escalating conflict) is inevitable. Give a pyromaniac matches and lament the ‘evil’ of the house burnt down????
    Brilliant!

    ‘twould never occur to an anarchist

    Like

    • “There seems to be no end of those singularly ordered minds who can conceive of no radical system of reform except something is to be torn down, ripped up, blown to pieces, or annihilated after some terrible fashion. These persons will have it that the Anarchist is a mere destructionist, – that he is bent upon levelling down all existing institutions. They see blood in his eye and dynamite in his boots as they sadly inquire: “Well, what do you propose to substitute in their place, after you have levelled down all existing institutions?” —Henry Appleton

      Like

      • That’s something I’ve never been accused of having—> a “singularly ordered mind”.
        But I do have a mind that responds to circumstances according to need ~ at the time. The fewer ‘rules’ there are less the chance ~ or need ~ of strife.

        And I doubt any real anarchist is a pure “destructionist” who’s ” bent upon levelling down all existing institutions.”….the key word being ‘ALL’. As someone who’s been a ‘conscious’ (thinking) anarchist for a long time I’m the first one to say there are some remarkably useful and worthwhile institutions.
        The trouble arises when people are forced into institutions designed by ~ and for the purposes of ~ other people. There are plenty of examples, from ‘democracy’ and ‘convention’ and ‘culture’ through to ‘morality’ and ‘taxation’ and conscription’.
        And the institution of ‘religion’ of one sort or another, to some degree or another, is more deadly than the others because it permeates every one of those others.

        If we’re going to packaged, labelled and treat like plastic ‘Transformers’ then we may as well not be here. And some who see that give up and shrivel up and blow away. Others live a life of ‘quiet desperation’.

        Anarchists refuse to surrender what billions of years of evolution has bequeathed them, and fight for the right to be what they are. As my sister-in-law was fond of saying:- There ere worse things than being dead. —>

        “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
        Thoreau

        ps…..as for:- “no radical system of reform except something is to be torn down, ripped up, blown to pieces, or annihilated after some terrible fashion.”
        ……….one might point out that not even your god has been able to defeat the Devil one sin at a time.

        Like

      • There’s that Robin Hood complex again! Yes of course you are better and wiser than anyone else!!! Or so you think. There’s not much difference between you and the nutty religious fundies really. Birds of a feather… 🙂

        Like

      • It seems that these pretend rebels are so narcissistic that they would have a very difficult time believing in anything greater than themselves. The unbelief of an atheist doesn’t prove anything about the existence of God, it just proves the small mindedness of some humans.

        Like

      • Still can’t get it right I see.
        The “Robin-Hood Complex” is a hallmark of godbothering evangelists: including Fundies.

        Anarchists have no desire nor intent to ‘Fix the World for Jesus”, nor rob the moslems to feed the jews.
        Anarchists DON’T seek converts ~ even if crucifying them or burning them at the stake could achieve that; neither do they assume the arrogant assertion that they can ‘save’ mankind….nor even a single man. (Even less a demonstrably-dense married one! 😉 )

        An anarchist seeks only NOT to be forced into some demonstrably stupid, pointless and unworkable construct put together be some arrogantly supercilious moron with an IQ the same as his hatsize. Nor even a ‘Democratic Majority’ of them.
        …..let alone a Divinely-Decreed herd comprising the bottom 80% of such fwits.
        You know,,,, the people who think ten of them, each with an IQ of 25 amounts to an IQ of 240. (sic: they’re not much good at arithmetic either).
        …….since that allows them to walk on water or re-enliven corpses.
        (Which makes me wonder why they’re not all over in palestine resurrecting all those dead kids…..or at least producing magic wine for their grieving families…….assuming the israelis would allow them access to the water to do so. Or why they’d need water anyway. Blood’s cheaper and more plentiful over in that little corner of god’s intelligent Creation, as always.)

        now…..where was I??
        Oh! I know:- the definition of insanity: doing the same things over and over and expecting different outcomes.

        Yep! That was it! 🙂

        Like

      • In the first place, Karen, I don’t “pretend” my views or position: I live them, and have the official documentation and decades’-long history to prove that.
        And being a ‘rebel’, not a term of my choosing, is not a matter of fad-following or ambition. I’d much sooner prefer not to have to be.
        What’s more ~ if you knew me or anything about me (or could see where and how I live ~ you’d realise that ‘narcissism’ is as remote from my existence as brains appear to be from yours.

        And finally, what the unbelief of THIS atheist proves about god is that I can’t walk on water.
        Why don’t you, or some other member of the Faith Flock, show me how it’s done??
        Bryan promised to walk across the Yarra on his way to work once, but then he decided to quit his job and so it never came to anything.
        (But I’ve still got the gumboots I bought for him….and you’re perfectly welcome to them, so there’s no need to even get your feet wet at all.)

        Let me know when and where, and we’ll all come to document the power of your (non-narcissistic!) Faith.

        Like

      • In the first place, Karen, I don’t “pretend” my views or position: I live them, and have the official documentation and decades’-long history to prove that.

        Ok let’s see that documentation!

        Like

      • More false assumptions and/or examples of sheer ignorance!
        1….I have never ‘played’ the sharemarket. Only a ‘true believer’ does that, and often loses a fortune as a result of the ‘belief’ that they can ‘win’ (or go to heaven, or whatever.) I never saw it as a game, and only did it for the money.
        …and did it well. VERY well.
        I’ve never made a losing trade, and am the only person I know who made a profit (over 11%) out of the T2 float ~ by getting out of them about 8 days after the float. Those who didn’t lose their shirt and hung in there ~ ie the ‘believers’/sheep , managed to regain their purchase-price only about 18 months ago ~ after TWELVE YEARS of miniscule dividends often under 2%. —>
        http://www.smh.com.au/business/a-magic-moment-for-t2-shares-20120730-23a30.html

        2……. I liquidated all my holdings some months ago: for personal reasons ENTIRELY related to my ‘anarchic’ views and lifestyle (on several levels). Unless we see hyper-inflation rates, in the millions-percent, I have ample stashed to fund my life-style and interests for about fifty years without ever making another penny.
        You??

        Incidentally, the problem with the Abbey Hoffman types is that they need a crowd to ‘make it work’…..and when you get enough onboard the whole thing falls apart for all the usual reasons ‘organisations’ (up to and including World Government) MUST fall apart.

        I long ago learnt that he travels fastest (and best, and most effectively) who travels alone.
        http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/winners.html

        I suppose the know-all ‘believer’ types don’t absorb real wisdoms ~ and couldn’t adopt them even if the did.
        They expect to get their reward after they die!
        Gawd!!

        Like

      • An anarchist using the share market reveals a phony anarchist I would think. You gotta laugh at these types.

        Like

      • So??….
        —–> “So you made enough money using “the system” to pretend now to be a REAL anarchist. You really make me laugh Dabs!”
        Only dills laugh at things they don’t understand.

        As I said in a post that wasn’t –> I’ve always been anarchistic, even as a little kid. It’s my nature. I have the runs on the board. (You know my name Bryan ~ and have access to newspaper archives?: Look up the front pages of the 60s/70s. (and I was recently told one incident had made it onto Google about 6 months ago Worst photo ever, but the comment by the Chief Commissioner made a point or two.)

        And what’s more, there’s nothing in the Anarchist’s Handbook that says one can’t take advantage of whatever’s available so long as you don’t sell your soul in the process. Think of it as ‘wildcrafting’ * nature’s bounty ~ as opposed to prostituting oneself for a stale sandwich some bureaucrat reckons is your worth ~ which gives you just enough to get by on, with bugger-all to spare for doing ‘good’ things. And lots of the sandwich-brigades were (and are), as you say, “playing” the markets according to the system’s rules. People I know lost up 85% of their superannuation funds by relying on the ‘System’. (and others lost their jobs virtually penniless.) I made a motza, contrarian that I am.**

        But it’s also my religious streak showing through. A godly purpose I pursue as and when. eg Matthew 6:26–30

        “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. ….. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,” etc. etc.
        …and in the same vein God made sheep to be shorn. They feel more secure and reassured that way.
        Is it my fault that god made me a shearer? 🙂

        And I share the wealth. My mate, retired after a hard lifetime of hard work, lost 85% of his super-funds in the GFC (though the managers were still collecting massive pay-packets ). Then, when he realised how simple it was if you make your own rules, he put what was left into the markets. In the five or six years since he’s recovered every penny and has paid off the mortgages of his kids….as well as funding a rehab. house for alcoholics which (having been one) is his pet project these days.
        There are other such ‘happenings’, scattered through the years. They spread goodwill all over the place.
        I’m sure Jesus would approve.

        ps… keep in mind the huge ‘financial-advice’ Combank scandal currently in the news. No anarchist would’ve been so stupid!
        *http://www.wordwebonline.com/search.pl?ww=7&w=wildcrafting
        ** the sample market charts won’t post

        Like

  2. ps…But what makes you think the world (“a world gone mad.”) has ‘gone’ mad?
    ’twas ever so….and we keep stoking the flres.

    Like

      • Good one! (never heard it before).
        But it certainly wouldn’t persuade me to Creationism!
        ……even if that meant it COULD all be laid off on a ‘Goddunnit! …and who am I to challenge the Creator’s design?’

        Like

  3. The world of “BELIEF”
    From a thug killing a girl to the use of cluster bombs flame throwers and Atomic bombs the word “BELIEF” [or equivalent] has been used as justification.
    People naturally gather into groups .
    Then the fun starts !!
    The TV show survivor is a perfect illustrator of the power the word “BELIEF” has .
    There is zero difference between royal families of old and any you call fascist.
    Their “BELIEF ” they are better than anyone and are willing with no empathy to do anything.
    And still today you people follow their descendants :- pathetic .
    And a man fired a rocket and killed 295 people on a “BELIEF” ::- PATHETIC

    Like

    • So what BELIEF makes you think that your viewpoint is more valid, more legitimate that anyone else’s?
      How can you judge and criticise anyone for BELIEF, when it is your BELIEF that leads you to use words like pathetic to describe their BELIEF.

      Can you live and exist in the world without BELIEF (atheistic or otherwise)?

      Like

      • So davinci
        And still today you people follow their descendants :- pathetic .
        And a man fired a rocket and killed 295 people on a “BELIEF” ::- PATHETIC
        What is wrong calling these pathetic.
        Fancy admiring the descendants of the original mafia.
        What would be more pathetic than killing 295 on the excuse of modern day tribalism . A belief they are more important than the other tribe next door.

        Like

      • You can confirm his religious bent by listening to the lyrics: “ooo! Now they see Him, now they don’t” ….etc.
        Obviously a hymn in praise of Jesus. 🙂

        Like

    • Atheism is a belief. Only the lazy or deluded would deny it. If atheism is not a claim of any kind, then it is simply meaningless. On the other hand, if the atheist wishes to claim that his atheism is true, then that must mean that atheism is a claim, and claims need to be defended, evidence provided and reasons given.

      Like

      • Yet again (“Atheism is a belief. Only the lazy or deluded would deny it.”)
        No it isn’t! Why do you persist in refusing to take word of one who IS atheist?
        Do you also presume to instruct Einstein about relativity, or a dog about the meaning of the smell of catshit.
        What makes YOU the arbiter of what is?

        I reality, only the lazy or deluded ~ or superciliously arrogant ~ would proclaim it to be so.

        …….and more accurately, strawmen notwithstanding:- On the other hand……you have five digits.

        Like

      • ….and if ‘evidence’ of the non-existence of god (s) was needed:-
        As has been stated (and NOT refuted):- Non-attendance is proof of absence.

        Like

      • Such a narrow view Bryan and others .

        “BELIEF ” is used by many in areas nothing to do with faith .
        The thug who kills a girl does so with a belief he has the justification.
        And the masses follow a leader and do many horrid things on the leaders bequest with nothing more than a “BELIEF ” in that person.
        A leader with that much belief given to them can get the masses to even kill themselves .
        And those at the top of religions are no different .
        So to you statement Bryan :-evidence provided and reasons given
        The millions killed in wars and lets mention JIM JONES and the guy firing the rocket at the plane .

        Like

      • I do not believe in god, gods or the supernatural. This is a claim. I do not assert that there is no god, gods or the supernatural. Another claim. These claims make me an atheist. Why are these claims meaningless? Why does this absence of belief require defending? What evidence would you like me to provide? Or am I not an atheist by certain criteria?

        Like

      • Not copping out. You tell me how I you’d like me to provide evidence of my absence of belief and it’s all yours.

        Like

      • Of course atheism is meaningless it’s a nothing, a nullity. Until a “god” is established it’s the starting premise that’s all.

        It’s the absence of a claim.

        Like

      • The Scandanavian Sceptic (or Why Atheism Is a Belief System)

        “I don’t believe that Sweden exists,” my friend suddenly declared from across the coffee shop table. He took a sip of espresso and stared intently at me, clearly awaiting a response. I paused, my cinnamon roll halfway to my mouth, as I digested what he’d just said.

        “Pardon?”

        “I don’t believe that Sweden exists,” he repeated. “I think it’s just a political conspiracy, designed to motivate other European citizens to work harder. All that talk of the best health care system, the highest standard of living, of tall and beautiful people. It sounds like a myth and I’m not buying it. I don’t believe in Sweden.”

        I stared at my friend silently for a moment, allowing the sounds of the coffee shop to drift over us as I pondered. In the background, the radio began playing ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba.

        “What do you mean, ‘You don’t believe in Sweden’?” I finally replied. “That’s insane. If Sweden doesn’t exist, how do you explain IKEA furniture, or the Swedish chef on The Muppet Show, or what glues Norway to Finland? That’s a staggering claim! What’s your evidence?”

        “What do you mean ‘evidence’?” he asked.

        “Evidence,” I said. “You must have more than just a hunch but some pretty impressive evidence for your belief. I know Sweden only has 9.5 million inhabitants, but you can’t simply deny outright that it exists!”

        “Aha,” said my friend sagely, “I see your confusion. You think that my denial of Sweden is a belief. But it’s simply a non-belief and so I don’t need to give evidence for it.”

        “Come again?” I said.

        “Yes,” he continued, warming to his theme, “I don’t have to provide evidence for my non-belief in Atlantis, El Dorado, or Shangri-La and nor do I need to do so for my non-belief in Sweden. You see I’m not making a claim of any kind—quite the opposite: I’m claiming nothing, I’m merely rejecting one of your beliefs—your belief in Sweden.”
        http://www.rzim.eu/the-scandanavian-sceptic-or-why-atheism-is-a-belief-system

        Like

      • Interesting article I suppose. But tell me does anybody really find this stuff compelling ?

        A massive straw man built to show that atheism is really a positive statement.

        Meh. You’d have to be skating on pretty thin ice to even look at clutching any of those straws.

        Like

      • Yes Bryan. I’m technically an agnostic. I knew that long before you ever asserted otherwise. Still makes me an atheist as well. And I have contemporary documentary evidence about the existence of Sweden too, including photo taken of Öland two weeks ago. Vill du har någonting annat, Bryan?

        Like

      • I’m an atheist because I don’t believe in the existence of any deity, and I’m an agnostic because I do not claim to know if a deity does or does not exist. As for Sweden, I don’t need to have a “belief” in its existence or otherwise. I have documentary evidence spanning years which will confirm its place in reality – that’s why I asked if you wanted anything more to help you or your NonSweden friend believe.

        Like

      • An atheist is somebody who does not believe in God.

        So that’s all it takes”
        Q. Do you believe in God A. No = Atheist

        Is there any point whatsoever wondering exactly what kind of atheist that person is ?

        Why bother? What does it accomplish ?

        Like

      • “You can’t be both.” I just demonstrated otherwise. Atheism and agnosticism are two different concepts and are not mutually exclusive. Just like you can believe in gods without knowing that they exist (agnostic theism). Happy to point you to the literature/references.

        Like

      • Hey Bry

        “Atheists believe God doesn’t exist and can be challenged for evidence”

        Really says who?

        “Agnostics simply don’t know”

        Newsflash nobody knows, (even Stenger in “God the failed hypothesis” leave it open that a god could possibly exist). Christians don’t know as much as anybody else. Anybody who says otherwise is just pulling your leg.

        You might have different intentions but it sure reads like that this splitting of hairs has very little to do with accuracy and is just trying to create a bunch of arbitrary straw men to build an argument on.

        PS the Sweden thing is false equivalence really the best way to build a case ?

        Like

      • ???? “That’s just a huge copout (AGAIN). Cojones? Nup! :)”

        Um….unlike there being absolutely NO evidence of the existence, I’m happy to send you a photo of the conjones in question.

        Will you promise to post the photo…..or are you also into hiding evidence of anything you don’t like?

        Like

      • WHOEVER fired the shot ( and the doubts are rising dramatically) one thing is for sure:- It was a functionary of ‘The State’ doing the bidding of the State.
        And as such probably had some other nasty proclivities, too.
        Like religious ‘Belief’.
        God only knows.
        But it’s not likely it was an atheist.
        And I’ll offer long odds it wasn’t an anarchist.
        Any of you clever people ~ and particularly those who hear divine voices in your heads ~ are welcome to contact me and get your bet on.

        God wouldn’t lead you astray with dud info., would he?
        And you might be able to recoup the money you lost in the markets. 🙂

        Like

      • “IF” the atheist wishes to claim that his atheism is true”

        NO real atheist would make a ‘claim’ about NOT believing in something; let alone such a stupid claim. It’s not as though they’re godbotherers! 😉
        …and ‘truth’ has nothing to do with the issue anyway; it isn’t even applicable.

        IF my auntie had balls she’d be my uncle, right?
        Neither premise is valid ~ they’re both Strawmen.

        Like

      • STILL got your brain soaking in the bedside stand I see! —>

        “You still make me laugh though with double standards! Then again, no-one’s perfect.”

        Firstly: I don’t see any ‘double standard’. Can you point it out?
        Secondly: I’m glad I can get you laughing, however inanely; laughter is good for the soul, and I’d be pleased if I played a part in improving yours.
        Thirdly: If I can make money AND cheer up life’s lemon-suckers by showing them a ‘better way’ then I reckon that’s getting as close to the ‘perfection’ benchmark as most others 🙂

        …..and in any case, since god made me what I am, are you REALLY suggesting he got it wrong and made me less than perfect??

        …..d’you reckon he’s a chinese manufaturer or something? 😆

        Like

      • Yep! …”OOO he loves to dance that little sidestep!”
        Obviously a christian.
        It’s how the Romans used to be able to distinguish lion-tucker from the general crowd.
        Some things never change! 🙂

        Like

  4. All historical sources indicate that conversion to Christianity in the apostolic age was conditional on becoming what we call a consciencious objector today. That is because Jesus’ words to turn the other cheek were seen as inconsistent with Jesus’ teachings.

    To make things even more interesting, when soldiers asked John the Baptist what they should do, he told them to be content with their wages and do no violence to no man. This raises an interesting question about being able to continue being a soldier when violence was used to supplement one’s income, not to mention getting paid for the job the soldier was commissioned to do namely employ violence to achieve certain outcomes.

    But the problem is that Christianity compromised this doctrine in favour of political power. And in its place, came the devilish doctrine of “Just War” where we go to war because our cause is just.

    Like

      • I never utter the word “BELIEF” in regard to my view.
        I am just a very limited animal with a finite existence with set ability of thinking,sensing that the environment has required I have .
        My capabilities and limitations are way short to understand the universe .
        As for what is outside this universe well that is very very much out of my ability .
        And even there are many people much smarter none are made from different genetics that would make them a thousand fold smarter.
        Knowing my limitations is makes any claim of “belief”from me as being utter crap .
        How many billions over twenty thousand years have stated a “BELIEF” but really have spoken UTTER CRAP.
        I will not play that game of delusion of self importance.

        Like

      • So what’s the point to labelling people ? If somebody is really an agnostic is that like half a point to your side or a small step towards their conversion?

        If not what’s the point of brining it up ?

        Like

      • HI Bryan

        Ok fair enough but why is an accurate description necessary, what’s gained by such a description.

        Do I believe in God.

        No

        As far as I’m concerned that makes me an atheist – I lack belief in God. Do I have absolute knowledge of any kind that God doesn’t exist. Nope – so I suppose in the eyes of some that makes me an agnostic. I fundamentally don’t believe because of the paucity of evidence for God so maybe I’m really just a sceptic.

        But at the end of the day does it matter? Do I believe in God ? – No.

        What’s to be gained by the splitting of hairs ?

        Like

      • Sez who???? —> “If you don’t know you’re agnostic. You’re not a real atheist.”
        Atheism is ~ and has repeatedly been here ~ defined as being ‘godless’, ‘without god’ etc. The etymological roots and developments have been made abundantly clear and are undenied ~ even by godbotherers.

        It doesn’t matter how much you don’t like it, the facts are the facts are the facts……’Godless’ ~ and NONE of the authoritative sources require (nor even, strictly speaking, permit) any element of ‘belief’. You’re simply wrong ~ and show the stunbbornness that only someone trying to establish lies to make a favoured point, can muster. Sorta like the israeli Propaganda Unit of the Ministry of Bullshit.

        If you want to assert your viewpoint then use a word that suits ~ or make one up: godbotherers do it all the time! At least it makes ignorance ‘respectable’.

        Like

      • Well that’s your opinion. Not backed up by evidence of course. But then again that’s never worried you. If you’re an atheist you should not hide behind false definitions. Cojones?

        Like

      • Once again that long-unanswered question:- Is a day-old child atheist or a ‘believer’?
        Please explain the process of reasoning you say is necessary to form a belief in one state or another.

        Like

    • Hi Bryan,

      I’ve read a few blogs on religion and I’ve always been bemused that every now and then there’s a debate as to who the “real Christians” are. I’ve got to admit I’ve never seen the point.

      In a similar vein I can’t really the point of worrying if I’m a “real atheist” or not.

      Like

      • I ….er, ‘believe’, Bubba, the point is that while the shitfight over who’s who can been maintained ALL of them can claim to be too distractedly busy to try defending the underlying false assumptions.

        In less-theological contexts, I ‘believe’ that’s known as a ‘sucker punch’. 😉

        Like

      • NONONONONONO!!!!

        “What are you on about?
        I suppose we could go on like this forever posting different opinions about what words really mean.”

        THE WORLD DOESN’T NEED YET ANOTHER BIBLE!!

        Like

    • You said: Once again that long-unanswered question:- Is a day-old child atheist or a ‘believer’?

      Neither. Obviously. To form a belief you have to make a choice. Obviously. So much for your unanswered question

      Like

      • Based of course on the assumption (or straw man if you will) that atheism is a belief.

        Like

      • It’s arguably a straw man as it’s an essentially false construct created by yourself for basing your argument upon.

        IF atheism is not a belief then your contention “To form a belief you have to make a choice” is irrelevant and your argument about the child cannot stand.

        If you really want to split hairs it may be more of an argument from a false premise than a true straw man – but at the essence there is a misrepresentation of the opposing position (atheism is a belief) that is the hallmark of a straw man fallacy.

        Like

      • I don’t know why the idea of a “belief system” is something you find off-putting. Presumably anyone who believes anything in any non-random fashion has a belief system of some sort. It obviously bothers you. This is just a semantic game to avoid having to back up your belief.

        Like

      • It’s a strawman because you ignore a position (disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods – Oxford English Dictionary online) and replace it with your own position (that Atheism is the belief that there is no god). You then ascribe the second position to Bubba and myself and add in the odd ad hominen for good measure (ie anyone who doesn’t accept your position is lazy and/or delusional).

        Like

      • er…..THAT’S (“Why is it a strawman? Do you know the definition?”) a strawman.
        🙂

        Like

      • Hi Bryan,

        “I don’t know why the idea of a “belief system” is something you find off-putting.”

        Another straw-man, my you do like your logical fallacies don’t you?

        “Presumably anyone who believes anything in any non-random fashion has a belief system of some sort.”

        Maybe – what if it’s just intuitive? Even if we let that slide I can’t see how that applies equally to a lack of belief or non belief. Tell me do I need a licence to not drive a car?

        “It obviously bothers you.”

        Yep logical fallacies do bother me, well spotted. Mind you I tried to make it pretty clear to Dom what my feelings were on intellectual sloppiness so I can’t give you too much credit.

        “This is just a semantic game to avoid having to back up your belief.”

        Of there’s a semantic game happening all right, I’m just not the one teeing off. This is more about you trying to create some type of definitional debate advantage. Fair enough if you don’t have a strong position you might as well try to weaken your opponents. But much as I understand your motives I can’t agree with the methods.

        Like

      • You didn’t answer my question
        I don’t know why the idea of a “belief system” is something you find off-putting?
        Perhaps because you’d have to back up your belief if you admitted it was one.

        Like

      • “But I say you pretend you haven’t made the intellectual commitment you clearly have made.” I never claimed any “intellectual commitment” whatever that means. This is about you misrepresenting mine and others positions with false definitions to shore up your own stance. By definitions I am both an atheist and an agnostic (which are not mutually exclusive concepts).

        Like

      • You don’t understand intellectual commitment? It’s when you make a choice…like atheism, or Christianity……But you can’t be an agnostic and an atheist at the same time Stu, as I’ve pointed out before. .

        Like

      • Hi Bryan,

        Sorry I thought you were making a statement with your straw man not asking a question.

        But since you asked I don’t find the concept of a “belief system” off putting.

        I’m happy to back up the beliefs that I have. But if you’re asking me to back up beliefs that I don’t have then that’s a different (and quite odd) kettle of fish.

        ” But you can’t be an agnostic and an atheist at the same time Stu, as I’ve pointed out before. .”

        Yeah but here’s a tip the world doesn’t revolve around your say-so. You can say it until you’re blue in the face if your like, that don’t make it so.

        Like

      • I think it’s a pretty common concept that agnosticism and atheism are two different things An atheist asserts there’s no god or divine being. The word originates with the Greek atheos, which is built from the roots a- “without” + theos “a god”.

        But an agnostic neither believes nor disbelieves in a god or religious doctrine. Agnostics assert that it’s impossible for human beings to know anything about how the universe was created and if divine beings exist.
        Agnosticism was coined by biologist T.H. Huxley and comes from the Greek agnostos, which means “unknown or unknowable.”

        Like

      • “An atheist asserts there’s no god or divine being.” This is not true Bryan. Repeating an assertion does not make the Oxford English Dictionary incorrect just because you want it to be true. Neither does refusing to accept that atheism and agnosticism, while different, are not mutually exclusive concepts.

        Like

      • OK let’s look at some other dictionary definitions of atheism.

        Merriam-Webster’s: (Atheism) a : a disbelief in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity

        Compact Oxford English Dictionary: (Atheism) the belief that God does not exist[

        Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary: (Atheist) someone who believes that God or gods do not exist

        And agnosticism? T.H. Huxley in the 19th century coined the term “agnostic.” He described the meaning of this word and its genesis rather specifically:

        “When I reached intellectual maturity, and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; a Christian or a freethinker, I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until at last I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure that they had attained a certain “gnosis” — had more or less successfully solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. And, with Hume and Kant on my side, I could not think myself presumptuous in holding fast by that opinion “..

        Like

      • And I might add

        a·the·ist (th-st)
        n.
        One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.
        The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

        atheist (ˈeɪθɪˌɪst)
        n
        1. (Philosophy) a person who does not believe in God or gods

        adj
        2. (Philosophy) of or relating to atheists or atheism
        ˌatheˈistic ˌatheˈistical adj ˌatheˈistically adv
        Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

        a•the•ist (ˈeɪ θi ɪst)
        n.
        a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being.

        [1565–75; < Greek áthe(os) godless (a- a-6 + -theos, adj. derivative of theós god) + -ist]

        a`the•is′tic, a′the•is′ti•cal, adj.

        a`the•is′ti•cal•ly, adv.

        Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

        And in the Thesaurus
        Noun 1. atheist – someone who denies the existence of god
        disbeliever, nonbeliever, unbeliever – someone who refuses to believe (as in a divinity)

        Adj. 1. atheist – related to or characterized by or given to atheism; "atheist leanings"
        atheistical, atheistic

        Like

      • Hey Bry,

        Seems to me that this straw-man thing of yours is really starting to get out of hand 😉

        “I think it’s a pretty common concept that agnosticism and atheism are two different things”

        Well so far it seems to be common to you and you alone.

        Atheism concerns a lack of a belief.

        Agnosticism concerns a lack of knowledge.

        Belief and knowledge are not the same thing. One can have or lack a belief on a subject without absolute knowledge of the subject material.

        Like

      • Yes I see what you are saying. But Look at the dictionary definitions below . Huxley defined “agnosticism” in such a way as to exclude atheists: Those who “know” either that a deity does not exist, have — as Huxley put it — “attained a certain ‘gnosis’” and therefore are rather specifically not what he envisions as “agnostic.” It’s quite simple really.

        Like

      • Congratulations on finding a dictionary with a limited definition of atheism, and also for quoting one with the broader understanding of the term (a person who does not believe in God or gods). Maybe you can find a dictionary with the narrow understanding of agnosticism. Huxley coined the term, its meaning has moved on bit since 1869.

        Like

      • Well I actually found several dictionary definitions that support my view. You may not wish it to be so but there’s the evidence. And you now want to change the original and commonly accepted definition of agnostic because you don’t agree with it? C’mon Stu, you can do better than that!

        Like

      • “Well I actually found several dictionary definitions that support my view.” Yep, including one with the broader definition (unless you want to assert that the first definition from the American Heritage Dictionary was incorrect). Again, congratulations. As for agnosticism – I accept the common understanding of not knowing for certain if gods do or don’t exist. Again, happy to point you to some reading on agnostic atheism if this is still unclear for you.

        Like

      • Eh? The American Heritage Dictionary describes an atheist as “One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods” Seems pretty clear.

        The philosopher Bertrand Russell explained the differences between atheism and agnosticism thus:

        What Is an agnostic?

        An agnostic thinks it impossible to know the truth in matters such as God and the future life with which Christianity and other religions are concerned. Or, if not impossible, at least impossible at the present time.

        Are agnostics atheists?

        No. An atheist, like a Christian, holds that we can know whether or not there is a God. The Christian holds that we can know there is a God; the atheist, that we can know there is not. The Agnostic suspends judgment, saying that there are not sufficient grounds either for affirmation or for denial.”

        While Russell allows for similarities sometimes between atheists and agnostics he does make the distinction.
        So Russell would say if you’re not certain Stu, you’re agnostic. Or are you still confused?

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        Your definitions on atheism concern belief.

        I’d contend that a state of belief is different to a state of knowledge.

        As to Huxley well we’re not living in the 19th century and the meaning of words changes over time. Gay comes to mind as having a very different meaning to myself than it would have a century ago.

        Also as you’ve pointed out Huxley seems to have based his definition of agnostic on knowledge.

        Belief can exist independently of knowledge

        Like

      • Another missing post. Briefly:-
        Not so much ‘unanswered ‘ as ‘oops!’
        If the kid’s not a ‘believer’ ~ not having the capacity to have made a “choice”; and if the kid’s not a NON-believer or the same reason;
        and the kid’s not an ‘agnostic’ for the same reason:-
        What IS he??

        BillyBob, the little furry atheist reckons he knows, even if you can’t figure it out.

        Like

      • What twaddle! You’re treating dictionaries as though they were the bible:- anyone can read whatever they like into them….AND ADJUST TO SUIT.
        But that’s not how it works: ‘common usage’ is only second-or-third-best.
        How can TWO contradictory definitions carry ANY credit ~

        “Eh? The American Heritage Dictionary describes an atheist as “One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods” Seems pretty clear. ”

        BACK to the roots of the word: the etymology. ‘a = without/not/non; theo = god(s).
        If your dictionary doesn’t give you that you need a better dictionary.

        Like

      • This is what you posted: ” atheist (ˈeɪθɪˌɪst) n 1. (Philosophy) a person who does not believe in God or gods” If it is an incorrect definition, why post it? Are you saying that the Oxford has it wrong as well? As for Russell, plenty of others have had thoughts on agnosticism:

        Robert Flint (1903). Agnosticism: The Croall Lecture for 1887–88.
        “The atheist may however be, and not unfrequently is, an agnostic. There is an agnostic atheism or atheistic agnosticism, and the combination of atheism with agnosticism which may be so named is not an uncommon one.”

        Smith, George H (1979). Atheism: The Case Against God. “Properly considered, agnosticism is not a third alternative to theism and atheism because it is concerned with a different aspect of religious belief. Theism and atheism refer to the presence or absence of belief in a god; agnosticism refers to the impossibility of knowledge with regard to a god or supernatural being. The term “agnostic” does not, in itself, indicate whether or not one believes in a god. Agnosticism can be either theistic or atheistic.”

        Like

      • I don’t think it’s an incorrect definition Stu. What are you on about?
        I suppose we could go on like this forever posting different opinions about what words really mean. It seems our opinions are just going to differ. Nothing more to say really.

        Like

      • “I don’t think it’s an incorrect definition Stu.” If that’s the case, I don’t need to assert that there is no god in order to be an atheist, I just need to have no belief in god. And if that’s the case, it’s also true there’s nothing mutual exclusive about being an atheist and agnostic. That’s what I’m on about: there’s more than just a difference of opinion.

        Like

      • Yep. And I believe you’re wrong. The evidence points to it. If you’re a genuine atheist have the guts to provide evidence for your belief. That would be more interesting that playing word games don’t you think Stu? But do I assume from what you’re saying that you don’t know if God exists or not? Are you feeling a little bit agnostic? Or just confused? :}

        Like

      • “a genuine atheist have the guts to provide evidence for your belief”

        So what’s the difference between a genuine and non-genuine atheist ?

        Better yet what’s the difference between a genuine atheist and a straw-man ?

        Like

      • “But do I assume from what you’re saying that you don’t know if God exists or not? ” You don’t need to assume anything. I’ve said it plainly in multiple posts. “If you’re a genuine atheist…” Congratulations on adding the the No True Scotsman to your logical fallacies in the one discussion!

        Like

      • “Congratulations on avoiding the question Stu.” It’s been a long thread, feel free to point any remaining strawmen requiring knocking down. No Dawkins needed, should be able to remember two dictionary definitions and a couple of entries in the logical fallacies handbook.

        Like

      • Hey Bry,

        Ahh so there is no difference between a genuine atheist and a straw-man. That’s pretty much what I thought. (Hey I gotta tell you though I love the irony of you congratulating Stu for ignoring the question while at the same time you’re ignoring my question – that takes some chutzpah)

        I was contemplating this straw-man fixation of yours and wondering if you are even conscious of how many of em you manage to churn out.

        If I was to hazard a guess I’d say that your world-view is shaped by your belief, in particular your belief in God / Jesus.

        I’d guess it’s a big driver in who you are and what you do. I’d even guess that it shapes your non-belief such as you have it. For example I’d bet that a big reason you don’t belief in Buddhism or Islam is that they are (essentially) incompatible with your belief in the Christian God. Your lack of belief in Islam might well be because of your positive belief in Christianity. I’d say you even have a problem objectively assessing something like abiogenists purely because of a Christian worldview.

        Here’s the thing, my atheism is not the reverse of your Christianity. It’s not a belief system, it doesn’t shape who I am or how I see the world. If anything it’s quite the reverse, for me atheism is merely a by-product of how I see the world.

        I lack a belief in God, simple as that, and I lack a belief in God because I lack a belief in God – not because there’s any other belief system in there taking his place.

        That might be a really alien concept for you, indeed it might be such an odd concept that you’ll insist I’m wrong and I’m not a “genuine” atheist or I’m really agonistic or something else entirely. You might build a whole new field of straw-men to march out at us.

        But that won’t change turn my lack of belief into a “belief system” or whatever else you so desperately want it to be.

        Like

      • Oh the irony indeed. A litany of strawmen tumble and yet you are unable clutch a single straw. Desperate cherry picking every available dictionary seeking the most narrow definition to support the weakest of arguments, and then demonstrating an irony deficiency all of your own. Rather than ignoring questions and then asking how Bubba feels, you may be better off looking at past and forthcoming ad hominems and asking yourself why they give you such comfort.

        Like

      • Oh I obviously touched a raw nerve there about intellect Stu. Allegations of strawmen, cherry picking, irony deficiency..etc.. Really getting some use out of that little handbook aren’t you? What a pity you can’t mount a decent argument :}

        Like

      • It’s only obvious to you Bryan because you can’t help but confirm your own bias. No allegations on my part, only demonstrations. See Bubba, I can predict the future! Only took twenty minutes for the next ad hominem to be posted. Any odds for the next one?

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        I was feeling great, then I read your comments complaining about the lack of a decent argument from Stu and I nearly choked on my coffee !!

        Like

      • Trust me: point out to an atheist that they committed a fallacy and they will fall to pieces.
        For atheists to attempt to claim “neutrality”, in reference to God, is a complete cop out and disingenuous intellectually. They have indeed picked a side. They choose their religion based on what they believe is evidentiary to their presuppositions. Denying what they believe, and hold as truth, may be an easier pill for them to swallow but they are only attempting to deceive themselves.

        Like

      • @ Ben: “Denying what they believe”. Demonstrate how the absence of a belief is in fact a belief and promise not to fall apart. If you are pointing at the arguments above and think you’ve detected a logical fallacy, then present your case. If not your accusation of “intellectual disingenuity” can be dismissed accordingly.

        Like

      • Hey Ben,

        “point out to an atheist that they committed a fallacy and they will fall to pieces.”

        If you could demonstrate how and where I’ve committed a fallacy that would be much more useful.

        Like

      • I do agree with you Ben. Today’s smug atheism-as-identity is really about absolving oneself of the tough task of explaining what one is for, what one loves, what one has faith in, in favour of the far easier and fun pastime of saying what one is against and what one hates. An identity based on a nothing will inevitably be a quite hostile identity, sometimes viciously so, particularly towards opposite identities that are based on a something – in this case on a belief in God. There is a very thin line between being a None and a nihilist; after all, if your whole identity is based on not believing in something, then why give a damn about anything?

        Like

      • “if your whole identity is based on not believing in something, then why give a damn about anything?” Yet we can and we do Carmel. We love our families and contribute to our communities and don’t steal, murder or mistreat our pets. Acting ethically and compassionately doesn’t require belief in the supernatural.

        Like

      • Whose definition of “good,” or “ethical” shall we adopt since there’s so much variation in people’s behavior who claim to be “good” or “ethical”?

        Perhaps the issue comes down to the inherent narcissism of our times that too many of us can’t imagine something or someone bigger than ourselves and the idea of confronting our moral failings has become too damaging for our inflated self image.

        Is the world of Christian absolutes of right and wrong, good and evil, inferior to a world in which truth and “goodness” or “ethical” is about how it is defined?

        Would you like to live in a world where people Love their neighbour as themselves and where they believe in something bigger than themselves that compels them to view lying, cheating, stealing, envy and murder as wrong?

        Look at it this way: Is murder wrong because it’s against the law? Or is Murder against the law because it’s wrong?

        Like

      • “Whose definition of “good,” or “ethical” shall we adopt” In a civil and democratic society we all get a say and have a stake in what we collectively decide is ethical. Ask yourself if someone could prove that your god didn’t exist, whether you’d rush out to commit murder. I doubt it because you, like me, can use reason, logic and compassion to inform our ethics. “Christian absolutes” Are these the same absolutes some contributors to this blog use to justify discrimination against gay people regarding marriage?

        Like

      • Hey Ben and Carmel,

        Got anything original are you just going to keep recycling?

        Mind you plagiarizing a piece on morality is a hoot. I guess some stealing must be ok right ?

        Like

      • Hey Carnel,

        On of the good things about atheism is that you don’t have to base your identity on it.

        You don;’t have to base anything on it at all.

        Like

      • My two cents worth. I’ve seen some of my fellow atheists get unnecessarily defensive in asserting that their position isn’t a positive claim.
        There’s nothing shameful about making positive claims about the nature of the universe and things beyond. I positively consider the idea of a creator god very improbable, and the likelihood of the Christian god as described in the Bible to be negligible. But even if I were just to say that I am without god-belief, this doesn’t get me off the hook from having to defend my position.

        It is an intellectual position even to withhold from professing a belief in a god, and inherent in that position is the assertion that your position is a tenable one. Unless you’re completely abstaining from any sort of decision, and only claiming not to have any knowledge or opinion about anything.

        Like

      • If a lack of belief (atheism as per the OED) prevents someone justifying their absolutist view that same sex marriage is wrong, is it meaningless? Probably not, if you aren’t gay and living in 2014.

        Like

      • @ JJ: “There’s nothing shameful about making positive claims about the nature of the universe” Sure there isn’t. Just back them up with things like facts, evidence, logic and reason. And if you claim any position I’ve posited on this blog is “untenable” then present your case. My claims are simple: I have no beliefs in the supernatural and I don’t know for certain whether the supernatural exists in reality.

        Like

      • I also admire your intellect and honesty JJ. It is not often that you are able to dialogue with a people of a different viewpoint who are respectful and open minded. You have the ability and courage to think for yourself and that sets you apart .

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        Yep in of itself atheism can be pretty meaningless, how can a lack of a belief be meaningful?

        The other good thing about being atheist is we don’t have to agree with each other. There’s no creed, congregation or club involved

        Like

      • hehehehe…:- “A kid is a kid. And your dog is just a dog! Still, if that’s where you go for your opinions…..”
        And why not? Not only is he smarter than many of the people I know, he also sticks to the subject and answers questions when they’re put to him ~ also unlike many of the people I know..

        As for the other mantra: how about “…a dog is a dog, and a kid is just a kid. (and so worthless as to be dispensible in the opinion of the isaeli airforce and tank-brigades.)

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        And? Where does it say membership is compulsory ? If I never set foot into an atheist church as long as I live what then?

        Will they re-communicate me, take away my membership card or just tell me I can’t continue to be an atheist.

        Like

      • Not all- and probably not many – atheists would go to an atheist “church”. The idea seems a bit ridiculous. However, some atheists seem eager to form ‘”clubs”. Just have a brief surf on the Net. Not all atheists – or Christians for that matter – are members of the “club”. And Christians, like atheists, can disagree with each other. Obviously

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        A quick look at the net tells me that there are all kinds of people in all kinds of clubs. There are Christian Motorcycle clubs.

        But I’ll bet owning a hog ain’t a necessary part of being Christian.

        Like

      • More to the point I’d describe myself as an atheist BEFORE I joined such a club.

        I’d even desribe myself as an atheist when I’m attending church.

        Like

      • I’m happy to describe myself as an atheist. By most definitions I’m both agnostic (dunno) and atheist (don’t believe). And you started it again Bryan 🙂

        Like

      • If a man has failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a God, it is perfectly natural and rational that he should not believe that there is a God; and if so, he is an atheist… if he goes farther, and, after an investigation into the nature and reach of human knowledge, ending in the conclusion that the existence of God is incapable of proof, cease to believe in it on the ground that he cannot know it to be true, he is an agnostic and also an atheist – an agnostic-atheist – an atheist because an agnostic… while, then, it is erroneous to identify agnosticism and atheism, it is equally erroneous so to separate them as if the one were exclusive of the other.

        Robert Flint

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        Yep that’s what you believe alright. As pointed out before it leaves you in a very small club.

        You can believe the sky is green too and that won’t make it so.

        But tell ya what it’s your blog so if it makes you feel better you can call me an agnostic if you like.

        Like

      • Well no Bubba it doesn’t leave me in a small club at all. Might is not necessarily right but I’d say MOST people would agree with my view not yours. And yeah, by definition you are agnostic but I’ll just call you “Bubba”.

        Like

      • You can believe what you like. The point is that in this thread, both Bubba and I have been able to demonstrate that athiesm (see your own posted definition) and agnosticism are not mutually exclusive (see the examples from Flint et al). Ignore these if you want to. And if you stop asserting athiesm equals the assertion that god doesn’t exist, I’ll stop objecting to you misrepresenting my position.

        Like

      • I’m not misrepresenting your opinion Stu. Just disagreeing with it and challenging it. It’s not a big thing but you seem to think it is. Obviously there are different streams of opinion about this. You are not necessarily right just because you want to be!

        Like

      • “Just disagreeing with it and challenging it.” Nothing wrong with that, in fact I think that’s great. The difference is that I’ve provided evidence in relation of a definition which you specifically confirmed as “not incorrect”, evidence of a body of intellectual thought about athiesm/agnosticism and demonstrate clear reasons why I hold a certain position. If you feel that simply asserting otherwise is mounting a good challenge then fine. If you feel like throwing in the odd ad hominem strengthens your case then cool. You might or might not choose to examine your motives for doing so.

        Like

      • Where’s the alleged ad hominem Stu? I provided evidence of my view– which seems to be the majority view. I’ve showed you the derivation of the word agnostic and your only defence to that is “the word’s changed its meaning”. That’s basically a croc Stu and I think you really know it. But believe what you want. I honestly don’t care.

        Like

      • From the quote from Smith: “The term “agnostic” does not, in itself, indicate whether or not one believes in a god.” This is the crux Bryan: if I just say “I’m agnostic” all that says is “I don’t know” (you could believe in god and still not assert 100% that you know: how do you Bryan differentiate between the agnostic who believes in god and the the agnostic who doesn’t ?). The claim that “I don’t know” plus the claim “I don’t believe” is a stronger claim than just “I don’t know”. That’s where I differ from the agnostic from you quote from Huxley. It’s important because if you want to critique my point of view, then you need to know what it actually is.

        Like

      • “Atheism is a belief. Only the lazy or deluded would deny it.” This is the specific ad hominem I’m referring to. I’ve given you the alternative, but you insist on an assertion where the alternative you provide is “you are lazy or deluded if you disagree with me”. “You say “the word’s changed its meaning”. That’s basically a croc Stu”. Do you believe that Bryan? Does the word “gay” have a different context (and meaning) in 2014 than it did in 1914?

        Like

      • “Atheism is a belief. Only the lazy or deluded would deny it.”

        It wasn’t directed at you Stu. Still, to have a stubborn disregard for the evidence is delusional.

        Your example of the word gay doesn’t serve as a useful analogy.
        Gay obviously still means, in one sense, light-hearted and carefree. That dictionary definition hasn’t changed despite the use of the word to also describe a group of people’s sexuality. . The abstract noun ‘gaiety’ still keeps its original definition. Same with agnostic.

        Like

      • The majority view ? Oh well in that case sign me up.

        Sure it seems to be just some weird little distinction you’ve come up with to make some obscure point of the other.

        But hey if it’s the majority view who cares if it doesn’t make sense or can’t be logical supported we should all just go along with it – Is that it ?

        Like

      • So why raise the majority in the first place ?

        As to the “evidence” why should we prefer Russell over Flint ? What logical reason is there to do that.

        You’ve found some opinion that agrees with you, ignored the equally valid opinion that doesn’t and called it evidence.

        That’s hardly compelling.

        Like

      • You’ve found some opinion that agrees with you, ignored the equally valid opinion that doesn’t and called it evidence.

        Right back at ya Bubba!

        As to the “evidence” why should we prefer Flint over Russell? What logical reason is there to do that.

        Like

      • It’s irreverent that the ad hominem wasn’t directed me specifically, you directed it at anyone who doesn’t accept the broader OED definition of atheism. And calling me stubborn as well as deluded is just another ad hominem, as I haven’t disregarded any evidence at all.

        “That dictionary definition hasn’t changed”. That’s simply wrong Bryan. Have a look at the OED and you’ll find that “lighthearted” is now the secondary definition and that secondary definition is marked as “dated”. The whole meaning of the word has completely changed to the point that that it’s original meaning is almost completely obsolete.

        “why should we prefer Flint over Russell? What logical reason is there to do that.” For two reasons: one that the meanings of common definitions, terms and concepts change over time, which was the point of my analogy using “gay” as an example. Second, the concept of agnosticism as simply “I don’t know” is too narrow to describe what a person believes or doesn’t believe. I can say I’m an agnostic and without more information, for all you know I’m deeply convinced that god exists or I have no belief in god at all. The broader definition makes it harder to misrepresent someone’s position.

        Like

      • “Your arguments are not just not worth debating.” Sure. Demonstrate, then, why they aren’t worth debating and I’ll stop. Or or are simply making assertions enough to dismiss an argument in your view?

        Like

      • Hey Bry,

        OK then lets go with the evidence. If we ignore Russel (as agreed) then there’s nothing you’ve presented that says you can’t be both atheist and agnostic.

        You’ve also cited a few dictionaries to give us some definitions – again nothing in those definitions to show that the terms atheist and agnostic are exclusive.

        If you’d gone beyond a dictionary to pick a thesaurus or two you might even find that atheist and agnostic are considered to be synonyms. You know words that have the same or similar meanings.

        The earlier claim of yours that this is all about accuracy is obviously a complete furphy.

        So what is it with you and and atheism ? What’s your hang up?

        Like

      • I did post a thesaurus and many dictionary definitions and they agreed with my view. My hangup, as you term it, is not with atheism. It’s with pretend atheists who cover their ears and go “blah blah, blah”. Why does it bother you so much to stand up for your belief? Why not stand up for what you believe rather than doing this wishy washy “I’m really an agnostic/atheist so I don’t have to commit”? Cmon man, stand up!!!!!

        Like

      • I did post a thesaurus and many dictionary definitions and they agreed with my view. My hangup, as you term it, is not with atheism. It’s with pretend atheists who cover their ears and go “blah blah, blah”. Why does it bother you so much to stand up for your belief? Why not stand up for what you believe rather than doing this wishy washy “I’m really an agnostic/atheist so I don’t have to commit”? Cmon man, stand up!!!!!

        Like

      • I did post a thesaurus and many dictionary definitions and they agreed with my view. My hangup, as you term it, is not with atheism. It’s with pretend atheists who cover their ears and go “blah blah, blah”. Why does it bother you so much to stand up for your belief? Why not stand up for what you believe rather than doing this wishy washy “I’m really an agnostic/atheist so I don’t have to commit”? Cmon man, stand up!!!!!

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        According to the thesaurus agnostic and atheism are synonymous.

        Ie words with similar meanings.

        You were bleating about accuracy before IF you want to describe me accurately then a combination of atheism / agnosticism / cynicism would be the most accurate description. But is seems accuracy is only important when it suits you.

        As to beliefs I’m happy to stand up for any belief that I have. You want me to stand up for the beliefs I don’t have. That’s inanity bordering on the ludicrous.

        I’m an atheist – not an antitheist. You can say I’m not a “real” atheist or “genuine” or “pretend” or whatever other juvenile adjective you want to throw at me.

        It still won’t change the reality of the situation one iota. Maybe if there was actually any credibility whatsoever to your position then you wouldn’t have to worry so much about mine.

        On a lighter note do you believe that the Waratahs will win the Super 15 final this weekend ?

        Like

      • On a lighter note do you believe that the Waratahs will win the Super 15 final this weekend ?

        I have no idea. I don’t know much about that code..May the best team win.

        According to the thesaurus I found the terms agnostic and atheist are not synonymous. Accuracy is important when you recognise it. If you’re an atheist defend the position. Or maybe you just don’t want to. Not surprised by that.

        Any way cheers to your team whichever one it is.

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        Well according the Oxford, Macquarie and Theasarus.com atheist and agnostic are synonymous. There’s certainly been nothing presented you support your position that they are antonyms.

        As to my position I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in God. Happy to defend that until the cows come home if that’s what floats your boat.

        Like

      • As to my position I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in God. Happy to defend that until the cows come home if that’s what floats your boat.

        OK glad to see at least one of you accept the challenge….Defend your atheism with evidence and proof then…I can’t wait!!!

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        No worries.

        I am an atheist.

        I can provide evidence for that by testimony. For example I could put in an affidavit form that I’m an atheist or if you like I can just solemnly affirm and declare that I’m an atheist.

        Or I could have a friend testify that I’ve told them I’m an atheist – as it would be evidence as to my state of mind that would be a valid exception to the hearsay rule which would normally cover such testimony.

        Like

      • Hi Bryan,

        I said I’m an atheist you asked for evidence I provided it. Defend your atheism with evidence and proof you said.

        Evidence and proof of my atheism was offered.

        I didn’t say I was a philosopher so why I’d be justifying philosophy is beyond me.

        Like

      • Major cop-out Bubba!!!! Nice little sidestep….but FAIL!!
        You said: I don’t believe in God. Happy to defend that until the cows come home if that’s what floats your boat.
        Still waiting!!!!

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        Ah so you’d like me to solemnly affirm and declare that I don’t believe in God.
        Consider it done. Again I could evidence that with affidavit or testimony of others as to my state of mind if you really needed it.

        I thought the whole “I am an atheist.” thing would have covered it but if you need me to be more specific I’m happy to do it. What this has to to with philosophy is beyond me.

        Like

      • Did you miss what I posted? Or are you just being obtuse again?
        You said: I don’t believe in God. Happy to defend that until the cows come home if that’s what floats your boat.
        So…defend it with evidence or fact. Prove God doesn’t exist.
        Still waiting!!!!

        But if it’s all too hard just tell me.

        Like

      • Hi Bryan,

        At last the penny drops, all this palaver of yours just to try and reverse the evidentiary burden,

        But did you miss what I wrote ” I don’t believe in God. Happy to defend that until the cows come home if that’s what floats your boat.”

        If you ever want to ask me anything that actually addresses that then I’m all ears.

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        Well it sure looks like one of us is coping out.

        If you change your mind I’m still happy to defend my position until those cows come on home. .

        Like

      • Don’t despair Bubba, sometimes all you can lucidly and patiently demonstrate a case, which we’ve done (how can you convince someone who ignores a number of dictionary definitions?). Once someone insists that that the absence of a faith claim is in fact a faith claim, well, maybe then they’ll believe that not playing football is a sport. C’mon Bubba! Tell us the rules of not playing Union! 😉

        Like

      • Not sure what border protection has got to do with anything in this thread. “Just repeat a fallacy and hope it sticks!” You’d have to demonstrate the fallacy before you could accuse me of repeating it. “Is that what you do for a living or is this just a hobby?” If you think not collecting stamps is a hobby, then neither.

        Like

      • Not sure what border protection has got to do with anything in this thread.

        Honestly? I think you do know.

        And bald is not a hair color. Right?

        Yep I’ve read to Dawkins handbook too.

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        I have no idea what you are on about. I stated my position, you asked for proofs, proofs were offered.

        What more do you want ?

        Perhaps you could take some time to clearly think about what exactly is you want me to do.

        I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in God. Happy to defend that until the cows come

        That still stands.

        Like

      • Paddy,Austin,Bubba
        You are definitely being obtuse. And repetitive. I wonder what you get out of this? Can you tell me? It seems like a huge waste of time for you to be so obviously evasive. Is the weather in Qld so boring that you have to indulge in this exercise?
        Show some guts mate!

        Like

      • Hey Stu,

        Yep I know exactly what you mean. I don’t collect stamps either – perhaps Bryan considers that to be a hobby ?

        Like

      • “Not sure what border protection has got to do with anything in this thread. Honestly? I think you do know.” Yep honestly. You have my private email address to discuss directly with me why you chose to imply private information I implicitly trusted you with. You also have my permission to provide that email address to Bubba Ray if he would like to contract me.

        Like

      • “Eh? What are you on about Stu?” The words “border protection” are my concern. I’m genuinely concerned about the context and reason in which you brought those words up. I’m happy to discuss this privately by phone or email, to clarify why this is an issue.

        Like

      • Why is it an issue? You and Bubba always seem to be in tandem. What’s the problem with that observation? And why would Bubba want to “contract” you? Are you working together now?

        Like

      • Bryan,William,Joey

        I have no idea what you are on about. I stated my position, you asked for proofs, proofs were offered.

        What more do you want ?

        If you can’t think of anything else to ask me that’s ok just say so. This weird little prevarication of your s is unnecessary.

        I did read what your reply to Stu – it didn’t deal with the points raised at all. And yeah Stu and I agree with each other big surprise. It might be because we’re both making sense 😉
        Still stands.

        Like

      • HI Bryan,

        Well then thanks for the time and the chat. But I did notice recently that a very wise commentator on this blog gave the advice to “Show some guts mate!”

        Isn’t that great advice ! If you’re ever willing to actually follow that advice and ask me something relevant to my position as an atheist well then I’d be all ears.

        Until then take care.

        Like

    • The word “BELIEF”and “BELIEVE” come out the mouth of politicians more than any other group.
      A man throw his daughter off the west gate bridge with the “BELIEF ” that was justified .
      Yet Bryan you still hold that the word has higher value !
      You should reevaluate the usage and consequences of peoples actions then excusing horrid action by uttering the word belief or believe.
      Time for you to put a wedge between the words “FAITH ” and belief.

      Like

      • A man throw his daughter off the west gate bridge with the “BELIEF ” that was justified .
        Yet Bryan you still hold that the word has higher value !

        No.

        Time for you to put a wedge between the words “FAITH ” and belief.

        OK. In that sense you are agnostic. You don’t know. Correct?

        Like

      • I go in another tangent Bryan beyond your simplistic desire of self importance.
        To the bed rock of what divides people and what makes horrid things doable !
        It is unfortunate that what makes religions is quarried off that rock .
        If people just had their own mind and the knowledge of today and not informed them of anyone else’s thoughts of what is the universe would the world be a better place ?.
        Such thinking to you is what ? :- simply meaningless .
        To me the words “BELIEF” and “BELIEVE” are like a infection on morality.
        You may hold them as something great but your holding a splinter off the rock.

        Like

      • True, words change meanings over time. Perhaps it’s time for
        Atheist = no belief in God.
        Nontheist = belief in no God.
        Agnostic = no knowledge of God.
        Nongnostic = no knowledge of the spiritual

        Then would there be a word for ‘no belief in the spiritual’?

        I see a non-theist must also be an atheist, but the reverse is not necessarily so.

        Like

      • Not at all!:- “OK. In that sense you are agnostic. You don’t know. Correct?”
        An ‘agnostic’ is one who ‘decides’ /’doesn’t believe’ that he doesn’t (and/or ‘can’t’ ) know.
        THAT’S where your ‘belief’ dogma is applicable.
        If you simply ‘don’t know’ like any wombat doesn’t ‘know’, doesn’t ‘believe’ BECAUSE he doesn’t know then ~ by definition ~ you are atheist.
        I’m amazed you graduated journo-school
        ……you….um….. DID graduate, didn’t you?

        Like

      • Bryan, Strewth, Dabbles and all,

        I’ve been watching this discussion again with interest. It must be about the 6th time I’ve seen it come up since I joined the blog almost two years back.

        Here is my little contribution to it.

        The genuine atheist can surely say quite correctly and sincerely that —

        ‘THERE IS NO GOD …who has identified himself or spoken in person to me or answered my queries;
        who has unmistakeably demonstrated his existence to me; and
        whose existence and activity has been verified and validated in scientific fashion BY ANY AND ALL researchers.

        I cant really see any belief issue there.

        The atheist’s conclusion that he is an atheist at any given moment is not a choice. It is far more like a discovery rather than a choice. HOWEVER, of course, that atheist absolutely DOES make a choice if and when he decides against keeping an open mind in the future about the existence of a god.

        N’est ce pas?
        Rian.

        Like

      • You’ve BillyBob’s vote Rian.
        And while he and I are the first in line to agree that an open mind is always prudent (except for godbotherers, of course!They’d perish.) I’m not convinced you’d need one to be an atheist :- ie, ‘not believing’ OR ‘not knowing’ . eg. How often do you check out the bottom of your garden for fairies?

        Like

  5. True, words change meanings over time. Perhaps it’s time for
    Atheist = no belief in God.
    Nontheist = belief in no God.
    Agnostic = no knowledge of God.
    Nongnostic = no knowledge of the spiritual

    Then would there be a word for ‘no belief in the spiritual’?

    I see a non-theist must also be an atheist, but the reverse is not necessarily so.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s