Historian Knocks Claims that Atheism is a Modern Belief

atheism

ATHEISM  has its roots in the ancient world and is not a recent modern phenomenon, according to the author of a new book, Battling the Gods.

Tim Whitmarsh, professor of Greek culture at Cambridge University, lays out his case that atheism existed in polytheistic ancient Greece.

Whitmarsh says the book is “an attempt to excavate ancient atheism from underneath the rubble heaped on it by millennia of Christian opprobrium.”

“Atheism is not a modern invention from the western Enlightenment, but actually dates back to the ancient world,” he told The Guardian newspaper.

However, the author’s objective was dismissed by Rodney Stark, co-director of The Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University and distinguished professor of the Social Sciences.

“I don’t know of a serious scholar who thinks atheism is modern–they have been observed in preliterate societies and may well have existed among the Neanderthal,” Stark, who has authored 38 books, told CBN News.

“I fail to see how that has significance for the hardwired thesis, which would surely assume that a few in any generation would be not be wired properly–and in all eras atheists are scarce,” he said.

Whitmarsh told The Guardian that “the growing trend towards seeing religion as ‘hardwired’ into humans is deeply worrying.”

“I am trying to destabilise this notion, which seems to be gaining hold all the time, that there is something fundamental to humanity about religious belief,” he said.

Stark disagreed that the “hardwired” theory is even relevant.

“Personally, I am not inclined to accept the ‘hardwired’ thesis, since there are fully adequate reasons for humans to believe in God,” he said.

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74 thoughts on “Historian Knocks Claims that Atheism is a Modern Belief

  1. There is a recorded debate in the 8th century between Abu Hanifah and an atheist.

    I’ll pick it up from them waiting for Abu Hanifah to turn up to the debate it was approaching midnight and he still did not turn up.

    The Muslims increased in apprehension and eventually it had passed midnight, and the atheist had a smile on his face. The clock ticked on, and finally Abu Hanifah Rahimullah had arrived. The Muslims inquired about his lateness and remarked, ‘Oh Abu Hanifah, a messenger sent for you hours ago, and you arrive now, explain your lateness to us.’

    Abu Hanifah Rahimullah apologises for his lateness and begins to explain, while the atheist listens to his story.

    ‘Once the messenger delivered the message to me, I began to make my way to the River Tigris, and on reaching the river bank I realised there was no boat, in order to cross the river. It was getting dark, and I looked around, there was no boat anywhere nor was there a navigator or a sailor in order for me to cross the river to get to the Royal Palaces. I continued to look around for a boat, as I did not want the atheist to think I was running away and did not want to debate with him.

    I was standing on the river bank looking for a navigator or a boat when something caught my attention in the middle of the river. I looked forward, and to my amazement I saw planks of wood rising to the surface from the sea bed. I was shocked, amazed, I couldn’t believe what I saw seeing. Ready made planks of wood were rising up to the surface and joining together. They were all the same width and length, I was astounded at what I saw.

    I continued to look into the middle of the river, and then I saw nails coming up from the sea floor. They positioned themselves onto the boat and held the planks together, without them being banged. I stood in amazement and thought to myself, ‘Oh Allah, how can this happen, planks of wood rising to the surface by itself, and then nails positioning themselves onto the boat without being banged?’ I could not understand what was happening before my eyes.’

    The atheist meanwhile was listening with a smile on his face. Abu Hanifah Rahimullah continued, ‘I was still standing on the river bank watching these planks of wood join together with nails. I could see water seeping through the gaps in the wood, and suddenly I saw a sealant appear from the river and it began sealing the gaps without someone having poured it, again I thought, ‘Ya Allah, how is this possible, how can sealant appear and seal the gaps without someone having poured it, and nails appear without someone having banged them.’ I looked closer and I could see a boat forming before my eyes, I stood in amazement and was filled with shock. All of a sudden a sail appeared and I thought to myself, ‘How is this happening, a boat has appeared before my eyes by itself, planks of wood, nails, sealant and now a sail, but how can I use this boat in order to cross the river to the Royal Palaces?’ I stood staring in wonderment and suddenly the boat began to move. It came towards me against the current. It stood floating beside me while I was on the river bank, as if telling me to embark onto it. I went on the boat and yet again it began to move. There was no navigator or sailor on the boat, and the boat began to travel towards the direction of the royal palaces, without anyone having programmed it as to where to go. I could not understand what was happening, and how this boat had formed and was taking me to my destination against the flow of water. The boat eventually reached the other side of the River Tigris and I disembarked. I turned around and the boat had disappeared, and that is why I am late.’

    At this moment, the atheist burst out laughing and remarked, ‘Oh Abu Hanifah, I heard that you were the best debator from amongst the Muslims, I heard that you were the wisest, the most knowledgeable from amongst your people. From seeing you today, I can say that you show none of these qualities. You speak of a boat appearing from nowhere, without someone having built it. Nails positioning themselves without someone having banged them, sealant being poured without someone having poured it, and the boat taking you to your destination without a navigator against the tide, your taking childish, your talking ridiculous, I swear I do not believe a word of it!’

    Abu Hanifah Rahimullah turned to the athiest and replied, ‘You don’t believe a word of it? You dont believe that nails can appear by themselves? You dont believe sealant can be poured by itself? You dont believe that a boat can move without a navigator, hence you don’t believe that a boat can appear without a boat maker?’

    The atheist remarked defiantly, ‘Yes I dont believe a word of it!’

    Abu Hanifah Rahimullah replied, ‘If you cannot believe that a boat came into being without a boat maker, than this is only a boat, how can you believe that the whole world, the universe, the stars, the oceans, and the planets came into being without a creator?

    The atheist astonished at his reply got up and fled.

    http://haqislam.org/imam-abu-hanifah-and-the-atheist/

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    • “…how can you believe that the whole world, the universe, the stars, the oceans, and the planets came into being without a creator?”

      Was a completely reasonable question to ask. In the eighth century.

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      • “Many believe it to be still a reasonable question…”

        That’s a demonstration of the “ad populum” fallacy, used to support an ancient example of an argument from complexity/design.

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      • “… popularity …. It is just not relevant.”

        Precisely my point Alexie. Why then bring popularity or belief into a discussion where you are trying to determine reason or fact?

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      • That’s a demonstration of the “ad populum” fallacy, used to support an ancient example of an argument from complexity/design.

        My main point was it is down to belief. To say some believe and some don’t is not really correct so I replace the some with many.

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      • Hi Dom – my only points are that the complexity of the universe and life on Earth can be explained without the need to introduce a creator and that the evidence for this makes “belief” (whether it be many, some, few or none) irrelevant, at least in terms of veracity. 🙂

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  2. This guy is living in fear. Fear that if religion is “hard wired” then atheism must be taught, indoctrinated onto humans. In the 21st century it seems this is true that it is in fact forced onto people.

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    • “Fear that if religion is “hard wired” then atheism must be taught, indoctrinated onto humans.”

      If you substitute “flying in to flames” as religion and “not flying into flames” as atheism then the indoctrination of hard wired moths appears to be in the best interest of said moths.

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      • Hey Stu,

        What if you substitute “racism” or “homophobia” for religion ?

        Are these hardwired ? And if so how is that a good thing ?

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      • Hi Bubba – I think there may be some evidence that fear of “the other” is hardwired into us. If that’s true then, no I think those things are bad, and we can, and should, use reason as a circuit breaker to overcome these limitations.

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      • Hey Stu,

        Nature v Nurture is a difficult debate, determining what’s hardwired and what’s learned.

        But you’re right we should be able to use reason to be better than our base instincts.

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  3. Secular indoctrination of young people begins from primary school through to tertiary education. Only the secular view is presented.

    Academia are less likely to hire Christianss due to discriminatory attitudes.

    The atheists focus much effort on schools in order to indoctrinate young people into atheism.
    They try to stop school teams praying, try to stop Christians praying and force themselves into lives of children.

    Indoctrination in the past through revolution and government has proved to not work in the long term. People are hard wired towards faith and this naturally repeats itself with every generation.

    In fact in Asian countries where atheism and humanism are weak the more you are educated the more likely you are to have faith.

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    • “Only the secular view is presented.”

      The only alternative to presentation of the secular view to to privilege the view if a particular sect. What sect are you proposing?

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    • “Only the secular view is presented.”

      Which is appropriate for a secular education system in a secular state. Otherwise enroll your child into one of the many religious schools.

      “Academia are less likely to hire Christianss…..”

      Unless it’s a specific job requirement asking an applicant what their religious belief is would be illegal. As would discriminating against said applicant.

      “They try to stop school teams praying, try to stop Christians praying …..”

      If it’state school then why is Christian prayer appropriate ? Why should my non-religious children (although the 10 year old is a big fan of Thor) have to join in with prayer at school ?

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  4. Children (adults too) should be allowed to talk about their beliefs. They should feel free to talk about their beliefs. If parents provide no choice but to challenge religious claims in public, it would make life difficult if one wanted to. Why would anyone want to do that to their kid?

    The spaghetti monster argument is so boring and over done. It does not encourage discussion and is quite silly. Another way to stop discussion and so create a wall to true “free” thinking. Indoctrination by a “lack of belief” is a cop out to discussion too.

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    • “If parents provide no choice but to challenge religious claims in public, it would make life difficult if one wanted to.”

      I would love to know what you mean by this. Are you saying that religious views shouldn’t be challenged? How do differentiate between the right to hold a belief, the right to challenge the veracity of belief and the right to not have the beliefs of others imposed on you in a practical sense?

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      • Three strikes, you are outa here!!!
        Good job.
        The key word is challenge. Another key word is discussion.
        Another is free. Atheism does not allow free or discussion. As atheist often claim, it is just a non belief.

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      • “Three strikes, you are outa here!!!”

        I thought Bryan was the referee here. I prefer Bryan.

        “The key word is challenge.”

        Hence me bringing it up.

        “Another key word is discussion.Another is free.”

        Sure. Who are you suggesting isn’t free to discuss something?

        “Atheism does not allow free or discussion.”

        Allow free what? What discussion is “disallowed” by being an atheist?

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      • “atheist often claim, it is just a non belief.”

        And how does that prevent or hinder discussion? I lack a belief in gods, but we can discuss that until the cows come home if you like.

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  5. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/harvard-world-religions-online-class_us_56c76b55e4b041136f16dd0a?section=australia

    This is about understanding religion. Perhaps also understanding atheism?

    I feel that what is hard-wired into humans is the need to ask “why?” Why is there so much suffering in the world, etc.

    We are built to question, and still don’t have all the answers. Where does consciousness lie? Not found where it was thought to be, in the brain.

    For some there is the ability to occasionally experience something physically inexplicable. Why?

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    • “Where does consciousness lie? Not found where it was thought to be, in the brain.”

      I can suggest a number of experiments, repeatable, with results that conclusively demonstrate that conscousness is brain related. Governments globally have legislated accordingly.

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      • And that’s the same technology that can detect brain activity in a dead salmon, as Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford demonstrated in their prize winning work 😉

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      • Hey Strewth,

        Yeah it’s funny – but the technology still allowed the researchers to find activity in the brain of a dead salmon.

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      • Hey Strewth,

        The linked article would seem to me to suggest that consciousness is a brain function.

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      • Bubba, only as in the hypothesis allows for consciousness to pervade the whole universe, that consciousness if for instance in protons within the atom, and does not need a live ‘host’. Hence your dead salmon. I don’t think most scientists would go so far as calling it a theory rather than a hypothesis, even if it did get an award.

        The article also states –
        “But no serious and informed scientist will tell you that at present we fully understand the thing each of us knows best. That is, our own consciousness.”

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      • Hey Strewth,

        I don’t think that you even have a hypothesis. I think it’s a suggestion. If it is a hypothesis I’d love to know how to test it.

        While I’m suggesting short stories to you try Arthur C Clarke’s “Dial F for Frankenstein”

        As to the dead salmon I don’t think anybody is proposing that there was actually conciousness occurring, merely pointing out how easy it to produce a false positive.

        In an earlier discussion you proposed that conciousness could survive the body. Can I ask do you view that as a good thing and if so why ?

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      • Bubba, if I were still in the state of not knowing, I would be happy either way. Regardless of whether I consider it a good thing or not, it is just a fact. I could tell you why, but there’s no point. You wouldn’t believe it, nor could I expect what happened to me to be any proof for you.

        All any of us can do is to live life caringly, to the best of our moral and ethical judgement, forgiving ourselves and others for not being perfect. If spiritual beliefs come to us, accepting them.
        If one’s heart’s in the right place, the leading won’t be wrong.

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      • “As to the dead salmon I don’t think anybody is proposing that there was actually conciousness occurring, merely pointing out how easy it to produce a false positive.”

        False positives do not win Nobel awards. But definitions of ‘consciousness’ might differ.

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      • Hey Strewth,

        igNobel is not Nobel.

        And yeah false positives were the point of the paper.

        To quote one of the study’s authors:

        “In fMRI, you have 160,000 darts, and so just by random chance, by the noise that’s inherent in the fMRI data, you’re going to have some of those darts hit a bull’s-eye by accident,” he said.

        http://www.wired.com/2009/09/fmrisalmon/

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      • True Bubba, I should not have said Nobel. But the research done was not aimed at false positives. It was to work out new methods, and only after their surprising result did they name it a ‘false positive’.

        “Neuroscientist Craig Bennett purchased a whole Atlantic salmon, took it to a lab at Dartmouth, and put it into an fMRI machine used to study the brain. The beautiful fish was to be the lab’s test object as they worked out some new methods.”

        Thanks for the science fiction links. Or are they more science fantasy? Some are fans of one and can’t abide the other!

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      • Hey Strewth.

        No the research wasn’t done in order to prove false positives.

        Technically speaking though the salmon wasn’t part of the original research. It was used to test the equipment.

        Before the salmon they had tried a pumpkin and a Cornish game hen. But they needed “needed something with good contrast, but also with several clearly defined and distinguishable types of tissue: fat, bone, muscle, etc”
        http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/scicurious-brain/ignobel-prize-in-neuroscience-the-dead-salmon-study/

        And later they found false positive results with the salmon tests and then published a paper on it.

        So the original research wasn’t on false positives but the paper that won the igNobel was on false positives.

        Nobody is suggesting that the salmon was actually responding to the pictures it was being shown at the time,(seeing as it was dead)

        The whole point of the igNobel winning paper was that the technology they used can produce results even when it shouldn’t – false positives. That’s the reason I brought up the study in the first place.

        If it’s Arthur C Clarke or Asimov it’s definitely not fantasy. It’s science fiction.

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  6. I believe we are hardwired towards faith God. I think at least intuitively people know atheism does not make sense. Let me explain. I do not have enough faith to be an atheist. You see to believe there is no God means you must have the mind of God to know for sure there is no God. One would need to know the whole universe and its secrets to know for sure there is no God.

    To have faith in God one does not need the mind of God as in the limited knowledge of the universe we have God enters it. We know enough to have faith. The atheist indeed must have greater faith as they too have limited knowledge and so have faith that God does not exist somewhere in the universe where they have no knowledge about.

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    • “To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge.””
      – Ravi Zacharias

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  7. Ravi Zacharius asks 6 questions of both atheists and those of faith. These questions, then, are meant to be a part of a conversation. They are not, in and of themselves, arguments or “proofs” for God. They are commonly asked existential or experiential questions that both atheists and theists alike can ponder.

    1. If there is no God, “the big questions” remain unanswered, so how do we answer the following questions: Why is there something rather than nothing? This question was asked by Aristotle and Leibniz alike – albeit with differing answers. But it is an historic concern. Why is there conscious, intelligent life on this planet, and is there any meaning to this life? If there is meaning, what kind of meaning and how is it found? Does human history lead anywhere, or is it all in vain since death is merely the end? How do you come to understand good and evil, right and wrong without a transcendent signifier? If these concepts are merely social constructions, or human opinions, whose opinion does one trust in determining what is good or bad, right or wrong? If you are content within atheism, what circumstances would serve to make you open to other answers?
    2. If we reject the existence of God, we are left with a crisis of meaning, so why don’t we see more atheists like Jean Paul Sartre, or Friedrich Nietzsche, or Michel Foucault? These three philosophers, who also embraced atheism, recognized that in the absence of God, there was no transcendent meaning beyond one’s own self-interests, pleasures, or tastes. The crisis of atheistic meaninglessness is depicted in Sartre’s book Nausea. Without God, there is a crisis of meaning, and these three thinkers, among others, show us a world of just stuff, thrown out into space and time, going nowhere, meaning nothing.
    3. When people have embraced atheism, the historical results can be horrific, as in the regimes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot who saw religion as the problem and worked to eradicate it? In other words, what set of actions are consistent with particular belief commitments? It could be argued, that these behaviors – of the regimes in question – are more consistent with the implications of atheism. Though, I’m thankful that many of the atheists I know do not live the implications of these beliefs out for themselves like others did! It could be argued that the socio-political ideologies could very well be the outworking of a particular set of beliefs – beliefs that posited the ideal state as an atheistic one.
    4. If there is no God, the problems of evil and suffering are in no way solved, so where is the hope of redemption, or meaning for those who suffer? Suffering is just as tragic, if not more so, without God because there is no hope of ultimate justice, or of the suffering being rendered meaningful or transcendent, redemptive or redeemable. It might be true that there is no God to blame now, but neither is there a God to reach out to for strength, transcendent meaning, or comfort. Why would we seek the alleviation of suffering without objective morality grounded in a God of justice?
    5. If there is no God, we lose the very standard by which we critique religions and religious people, so whose opinion matters most? Whose voice will be heard? Whose tastes or preferences will be honored? In the long run, human tastes and opinions have no more weight than we give them, and who are we to give them meaning anyway? Who is to say that lying, or cheating or adultery or child molestation are wrong –really wrong? Where do those standards come from? Sure, our societies might make these things “illegal” and impose penalties or consequences for things that are not socially acceptable, but human cultures have at various times legally or socially disapproved of everything from believing in God to believing the world revolves around the sun; from slavery, to interracial marriage, from polygamy to monogamy. Human taste, opinion law and culture are hardly dependable arbiters of Truth.
    6. If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent? How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty? Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world?

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    • “If these concepts are merely social constructions, or human opinions, whose opinion does one trust in determining what is good or bad, right or wrong?”

      I come to my own conclusions about such concepts, and I choose to use reason and compassion to come to them.

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  8. Ravi Zacharias

    A popular tendency among some atheists these days is to define atheism, not as the positive thesis that God does not exist, but as the neutral claim that an atheist is one who simply lacks belief in God. If we could scan the mind of the atheist and catalogue all the beliefs the atheist holds, we would not find a belief of the form, “God exists.” Those who insist on defining atheism in this manner want to avoid the implications of having to defend the claim that God does not exist. They demand justification for faith in God while insisting that they bear no rational burdens in the debate since they are not making any positive claims on the question of God’s existence.

    This strategy is mistaken on several levels. To begin with, there is no logical connection between a lack of belief about God in someone’s mind and the conclusion that God does not exist. At best, this definition leads us to agnosticism, roughly the view that we do not know whether or not God exists. For example, there are millions of people on this planet who hold no belief about the Los Angeles Lakers. But it would be quite a stretch to conclude from that empirical fact that the Lakers therefore do not exist.

    Additionally, atheism thus defined is a psychological condition, not a cognitive thesis. Conduct a quick search on the Internet, and you will even find atheists who claim that babies are atheists because they lack belief in God. But, as some philosophers have pointed out, that is not a flattering state of affairs for the atheist, for, strictly speaking, a cow, by that definition, is also an atheist. For someone who is intent on merely giving a report about the state of his or her mind, pity, or an equivalent emotion, is the appropriate response, not a reasoned exchange. But nobody who has reflected long and hard about the issues and is prepared to argue vehemently about them should be let off the hook that easily.

    In any case, such a definition of atheism goes against the intuitions held by almost everyone who has not been initiated into this way of thinking. In spite of the myriads of nuances one can give to one’s preferred version of denying God’s existence, the traditional view has been that there are ultimately only three attitudes one can take with regard to a particular proposition. Take the proposition, “God exists”. One could (1) affirm the proposition, which is theism, (2) Deny the proposition, which is atheism, or (3) withhold judgment with regard to the proposition, which is agnosticism. Those who affirm the proposition have to give reasons why they think it is true. Those who deny it have to give reasons why they think it is false. Only those who withhold judgment have the right to sit on the fence on the issue. Thus J. J. C. Smart states matter-of-factly, “‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God.”(1)

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    • Alexie:

      “One could (1) affirm the proposition, which is theism, (2) Deny the proposition, which is atheism, or (3) withhold judgment with regard to the proposition, which is agnosticism.”

      The problem with limiting your definition of atheism in this way is that it doesn’t really get to what an individuals position on the subject actually is. If you insist on calling me an agnostic because I can’t prove gods don’t exist, do I get to call you agnostic because you can’t prove that they do?

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      • “But first define God.”

        I’m not sure why it’s up to me to define anything here, Strewth.
        In any case, in the context of this thread Alexie (via Ravi Zacharias) is clearly referring to the god of the bible.

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    • “Those who insist on defining atheism in this manner want to avoid the implications of having to defend the claim that God does not exist.”

      This is untrue. If you want to know why I don’t accept the claim that a particular God exists, just ask me. I’m not avoiding anything.

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    • God may exist God may not exist.

      Either way is possible yet right not I don’t believe that God exists.

      On the other hand I do believe that straw-men exist even though I wish they didn’t as they add nothing to the debate.

      You got some actual real live atheists participating on this blog Alexie if you want to know what they believe and why you could just ask them.

      But nope that’s not the way of a Christian, you see the problem with Christians is that they believe that they are chosen by God and have a connection to God. This invariably leads to an arrogance which prevents them from seeing somebody else’s point of view and leads them to believe that they already have all the answers.
      !!! Can you see what I’m doing with the above paragraph ?? !!!

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  9. “if you want to know what they believe and why you could just ask them.”

    “The problem with limiting your definition of atheism in this way is that it doesn’t really get to what an individuals position on the subject actually is.”

    True arrogance is when you become god. When your point of view is the only one. When you define the definition. When only you can explain atheism and you cant accept the definition provided and cast it away.

    “They demand justification for faith in God while insisting that they bear no rational burdens in the debate since they are not making any positive claims on the question of God’s existence.”

    This is true arrogance. You have become your own god.

    “for, strictly speaking, a cow, by that definition, is also an atheist.”

    Hindus believe cows are gods too.

    “For someone who is intent on merely giving a report about the state of his or her mind, pity, or an equivalent emotion, is the appropriate response, not a reasoned exchange”

    This is another way to express, ye have become gods, knowing good and evil.

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    • Hey Alexie,

      So arrogance is when you believe your position is the only one.

      That’s one way to look at it. Another example of arrogance might be a Christian dictating to atheists what atheism is and what the atheist believes.

      You have the option to enter into a discussion with the atheists here and find out what they believe, but instead you’re choosing to dictate to the atheists here what they believe, It’s gotta be the most arrogant thing I’ve come across in a long while.

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      • At anytime you can tell us all what you believe.
        Anytime. Go ahead. I am not stopping you nor have I asked you too. You are free to type as you wish about atheism.

        As a non atheist it does not by default stop me from writing what atheism is. Yours is not the only position around here but it seems you think it is the most important one.

        We both cannot both be correct. We both exclude others. But only one of us believes they know more than God.

        It also seems you know more than scholars and that their definition must not count, only your own. Arrogance?

        Indeed the new theism is a modern phenomenon. The ancients knew better and were not burdened by humanism, modernism and contradiction.

        “For someone who is intent on merely giving a report about the state of his or her mind, pity, or an equivalent emotion, is the appropriate response, not a reasoned exchange”

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      • “To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge.””
        – Ravi Zacharias

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      • “Go ahead. I am not stopping you nor have I asked you too. You are free to type as you wish about atheism.”

        That’s not the issue here. You are making assertions about what “atheists believe”. At least two atheists here have asked you to put questions about the positions we hold directly to us. If you have no interest in having a discussion on the topic, that says more about you than us.

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      • “As a non atheist it does not by default stop me from writing what atheism is. ”

        Nor does it stop anyone from demonstrating how what to writing is false.

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      • “But only one of us believes they know more than God.”

        Presumably, you are are being specific about which God you are referring to. If so, why do you believe you know more than Shiva?

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      • According to Wikipedia Ravi Zacharias Indian-born Canadian-American Christian apologist.

        According to Alexie he’s the expert on what an atheist believes such that his opinion should be preferred over actual atheists.

        So I guess if we want to know what a Christian believes we should get information from Richard Dawkins.

        Right ?

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      • wrong again.
        As Christianity is a system of belief and atheism is not, one can know what atheism is quite easily whereas Christianity has great depth.

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      • “As Christianity is a system of belief and atheism is not, one can know what atheism is quite easily whereas Christianity has great depth.”

        The first part of this statement contradicts your earlier quotes from Ravi that atheism is a statement of belief. The second part is demonstrative of the Courtiers Reply.

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  10. “I am absolutely convinced that meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain; meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure. And that is why we find ourselves emptied of meaning with our pantries still full.”
    ― Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God

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  11. “Truth by definition excludes.”
    ― Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message

    So when the lefty progressives complain Christianity excludes one asks them if they can include Christ in their world view. No, is the answer. Thus they exclude too.

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    • “So when the lefty progressives complain Christianity excludes.. ”

      Who are these “lefty progressives” of whom you speak? Quote one “complaining that Christianity excludes” and why (in context) you think that is a bad thing.

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      • “Are you saying then that Christianity does not exclude?”

        No. I asked three specific things: who, what and why. Unsurprisingly, no response.

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  12. The Blind Men and the Elephant
    John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)

    It was six men of Indostan
    To learning much inclined,
    Who went to see the Elephant
    (Though all of them were blind),
    That each by observation
    Might satisfy his mind.

    The First approached the Elephant,
    And happening to fall
    Against his broad and sturdy side,
    At once began to bawl:
    “God bless me! but the Elephant
    Is very like a WALL!”

    The Second, feeling of the tusk,
    Cried, “Ho, what have we here,
    So very round and smooth and sharp?
    To me ’tis mighty clear
    This wonder of an Elephant
    Is very like a SPEAR!”

    The Third approached the animal,
    And happening to take
    The squirming trunk within his hands,
    Thus boldly up and spake:
    “I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
    Is very like a SNAKE!”

    The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
    And felt about the knee
    “What most this wondrous beast is like
    Is mighty plain,” quoth he:
    “‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
    Is very like a TREE!”

    The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
    Said: “E’en the blindest man
    Can tell what this resembles most;
    Deny the fact who can,
    This marvel of an Elephant
    Is very like a FAN!”

    The Sixth no sooner had begun
    About the beast to grope,
    Than seizing on the swinging tail
    That fell within his scope,
    “I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
    Is very like a ROPE!”

    And so these men of Indostan
    Disputed loud and long,
    Each in his own opinion
    Exceeding stiff and strong,
    Though each was partly in the right,
    And all were in the wrong!

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  13. We are all blind to concepts of God we don’t understand; only our own concept holds ‘Truth’.
    In the same way we think we understand what someone else believes, and know that is outside our acceptance.

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  14. lt interview
    Please give me, Church fair go: Pell
    Please give me, Church fair go: Pell
    A DEFIANT George Pell says he will not resign over the child abuse scandal and said the Church was being held to a “”higher”” standard than others..
    “””MMMMMMMM”””
    Well G PELL I have never done that.
    I rank religions the same as any corporation.
    Go figure that out !!
    A organization claiming to speak for a all powerful all knowing entity and having the highest morals is complaining it should be EXEMPT from critical scrutiny !!
    Please people place your own words within mine .
    But I will not give a answer to the changes you place .
    LOL LOL LOL

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    • Ha Ha Ha
      The Achilles tendon of believers.
      Pointing out their inability to read something and not place their own words within or removing anything that shows them lacking.
      Given a sentence the reaction is totally dependant on who they believe it is penned by.
      LOL LOL LOL

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      • I told you that there would be no more comments on the issue. And I meant it. You had plenty of chances to put your point and you didn’t You were the one lacking CB.
        Ha Ha Ha! LOL LOL LOL

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    • As for G PELL
      Really how lacking in empathy can one get ?
      It came out of his orifice “It was not much interest to me “”
      What mystical invisible words can be inserted to twist it to mean the total opposite.
      Does the pope back G PELL 100% without condition ??

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      • I agree with what you say. Did the statement “It was not much interest to me” come out of his orifice? Yes it did. His mouth.
        Does the pope back G PELL 100% without condition ?? Dunno. I hope not. The seeming lack of empathy was obvious and disturbing.

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