I believe there's no rhinoceros in my coat closet

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  • #4975

    .
    Spectator

    @strega not til Dang shuts the  fuck up.

    #4976

    .
    Spectator

    @Dang for the last time leave me alone!

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Strega. Reason: removed name calling
    #4978

    Davis
    Participant

    Apparently, this isn’t atheism, because nowadays most atheists insist that atheism isn’t a belief in the nonexistence of God, it’s simply having no belief as regards God. In other words, they haven’t given it any thought. I think that’s nuts.

    Believing there is no God is one thing. It’s not entirely unreasonable one since we’ve never seen the laws of physics break down. But being CERTAIN there is no God…that is holding an absolute negative belief…and that is…under just about every ontological and epistomological system… is impossible not matter how strongly you believe the laws of physics will never behave the way we’ve come to know them. Of course you can try positivism…but good luck with that. Extremely likely? Yes. 100% so? That’s making claims about things you do not fully know or understand.

    You seem pretty resistant to the overwealming number atheists who claim their atheism is a lack of belief. You don’t have to take a position on God. Millions of non-believers have never made a claim about God in their lives. Especially the ones across the ocean who eat with chopsticks.

    But lack of belief is just one more way of approaching rediculous stupid beliefs in the atheist family. I take the ignostic approach. To even say yes or no to a question like the existence of God as presented…is what is actually nuts. I am not 0% sure, 1% sure, 99% sure, 100% sure because the claim being made is a pile of untestable incomprehensible evasive garbage. There’s one more approach. To even bother with certainty or degrees of belief or relate it to the laws of physics…is entirely missing the point. The God question is a non-question.

    Your radical take on certainty of non-existence is one way to do to approach God…it is not a particularly common one and you’ll find many rational minds see nothing “nuts” about avoiding absolute negative claims. This is especially the case amongst modern analytical philosophers (the ones who have helped develop modern critical approaches and argue for reason and evidence based knowledge) and even cosmological scientists.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Davis.
    #4982

    Dang Martin
    Participant

    Apparently, this isn’t atheism, because nowadays most atheists insist that atheism isn’t a belief in the nonexistence of God, it’s simply having no belief as regards God. In other words, they haven’t given it any thought. I think that’s nuts.

    Not having belief does not mean not giving it any thought. I don’t even know how a person would go about giving something no thought and then answering about it.

    I can only speak for myself.

    I grew up with no childhood indoctrination. No belief. I wasn’t told there is a god, or a bible, or heaven, or hell. Christianity was not mentioned. Absolutely no mention of the mythology at all. My parents did not say that religious belief is either good or bad. It was just never mentioned.

    I’m living my life, doing my own thing, when I’m suddenly confronted with the idea that there is this Christian god, and a bible, and church, and prayer, etc.. It is all foreign to me. I am told that this is the truth, that it is real, and that I have to believe this.

    So I look into it. I observe the behavior of Christians in my community. I open a bible and read it.

    Then I conclude that I see absolutely NO reason why I should believe any of it.

    Questions: Is this a belief? How is it a belief? How would this belief be affirmed?

    My suggestion is that a person can take an idea, such as Christianity, review it, give it consideration, and then see no reason why they should believe it.

    Has anyone decided to believe in such a thing based on intellectual considerations alone? Childhood indoctrination plays a significant role in religious belief.

    “Atheist” is a label that holds virtually no importance to me. Maybe it’s not as easy an identifier as I once thought.

    But if “Atheist” sincerely and truly means “the belief that there are no gods,” then I am not an Atheist. Instead, I’m that guy who isn’t buying it.

    You won’t hear a Christian discarding their label, because that would amount to blasphemy, or denial of the faith. Therein lies a rather large difference that cannot be ignored.

    For me, it’s really not all that important, insulting, or concerning. I could drop the label immediately, and simply state, “I see no reason why I should believe that, even after a thorough investigation.”

    It’s a bit more wordy, but I don’t mind extra words, especially if it will result in the avoidance of confusion.

    Outside of my curiosity regarding how this is a belief, there’s not much else to it. So, for ease of understanding and conversation, I am no longer an Atheist. I am also not a Theist. I’m now the guy who sees no reason why he should believe that, even after a thorough investigation.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Dang Martin.
    #4984

    physeter
    Participant

    You won’t hear a Christian discarding their label, because that would amount to blasphemy, or denial of the faith. Therein lies a rather large difference that cannot be ignored.

    Heh. Some Christians do try to get …. shall we say flexible with that label, you know. Haven’t you ever heard one say I’m not religious! It’s a relationship, not a religion! And then there are people both liberal and conservative who try to claim that they are “Jesus followers” and not “Christians” because they are trying to escape some connotation they don’t like.

    But you’re right, they’re not able to completely leave the label at will like we are.

    #4985

    Dang Martin
    Participant

    I’ve not believed for my entire life, since 1964, and only picked up the label in the middle of 2009, when I was making videos on YouTube. At the time, searching for “Atheist” was by far easier than searching for “the guy who sees no reason why he should believe that, even after a thorough investigation.”

    It’s a small club of one, but I don’t mind. Over the decades, I got used to not being in a club.

    Although I’ve never had a religious belief, my assumption is that a religious belief requires a great deal of conviction, dedication, and maintenance. Maybe reading a bible, maybe going to church. I don’t have things like that, so maybe that’s why the idea of it being a belief is confusing.

    Outside of the few posts I have on here, I’m not really active with any other groups, belong to no organizations, hold no books as being “dear to Atheism.” I do nothing in the way of maintenance of a belief.

    When I’m not here, it’s not on my mind. When a JW knocks on the door, I will talk about it, but will otherwise not have a reason to bring it up.

    Come to think of it, the JWs have stopped knocking recently, and I know that I’m the only one around here opening the door for them. Maybe it’s a miracle.

    #4986

    Unseen
    Participant

    Believing there is no God is one thing. It’s not entirely unreasonable one since we’ve never seen the laws of physics break down. But being CERTAIN there is no God…that is holding an absolute negative belief…and that is…under just about every ontological and epistomological system… is impossible not matter how strongly you believe the laws of physics will never behave the way we’ve come to know them.

    Davis, one can’t really BE certain. One can FEEL certain. One can say one is certain, but in doing so, one is really expressing a feeling of certainty, but the only knowledge it expresses relates reflexively to the state of mind of the person expressing it.

    When I say I BELIEVE and KNOW there’s no rhinoceros in my coat closet, I am merely expressing a feeling lf certainty. But I actually KNOW there’s no rhinoceros in my coat closet based on physical science and logic. My certainty is unshakable because I can’t be wrong about it. I mean, I might be wrong but…well, read the next paragraph.

    I can’t be wrong about believing there’s no rhinoceros in my close for the same reason I can’t be wrong in thinking that I am not presently sitting in a chair on the dark side of the Moon. If I happen to be wrong about that, it’s not a mistake and I have a far bigger problem than merely being incorrect about a fact in the world or any epistemic or ontological issue. So, if I believe there’s no rhinoceros in my closet, I’m either justified in saying so or we’re not really having this discussion, and perhaps you don’t actually exist.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Unseen.
    #4990

    Nerdy Keith
    Participant

    I think people need to acknowledge the difference between lacking faith and activity claim they know no gods exist. This is why I’m on the agnostic spectrum of atheism.

    #4992

    Dang Martin
    Participant

    I think people need to acknowledge the difference between lacking faith and activity claim they know no gods exist. This is why I’m on the agnostic spectrum of atheism.

    I’m the same, and do consider myself an Agnostic Atheist, for ease of discussion, even though a more accurate description is that I’m “The Guy Who Sees No Reason Why He Should Believe That, Even After a Thorough Investigation.” It helps to be more clear and avoid confusion.

    Unlike a Christian, I am completely open to being wrong. But as the years progress, that Agnostic opening gets more and more narrow. At this point, it is more widely open to the idea that there could be a general god at work, who is not connected to any religions that are commercially-available for purchase. As for the idea of a Christian god, or other gods connected to human religions, that Agnostic window gets smaller as the years go by.

    They’ve had over 50 years to bring a solid argument in favor of their beliefs. Unfortunately, I missed the Childhood Indoctrination Boot Camp, so I get a sense that maybe it is impossible for me to believe in commercialized gods.

    To claim that no gods exist is a Gnostic Atheist claim. At best, it’s dishonest. At worst, it’s bat-shit crazy when a Theist declares that they know their god exists. I suppose either side of the Gnostic spectrum can contain a bit of insanity.

    To claim that someone might believe that a god or gods do not exist also seems dishonest, in that it comes off as an effort to comfort those who believe that their god exists. It is to say, “Look! The Atheists also have a belief, so it’s just a difference in beliefs.” I can only speak for myself, in that I do not hold a belief. Putting it this way appears to be more unsettling to the Theist, so re-framing it so that it appears that I have a belief brings more comfort. Dismissing a different belief is by far easier than addressing non-belief.

    I’ve probably added all that I can to this. It feels weird, like there’s a job to be done, and more time is being spent talking about doing the job than actually doing it, if that makes sense.

    We’re going to do great things; really great things, the likes of which the world has never seen. Really tremendous things.

    What great things?

    Trust me. Believe me.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Dang Martin.
    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Dang Martin. Reason: spelng ers
    #4995

    Diane
    Participant

    So no matter how you slice it – if you “believe” in God or you don’t, we are all deciding that based on our subjective opinions. Atheists just want to look like they have some sort of elite knowledge of the subject but really – NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE. So therefore all we ALL have is our subjective evidence based on OUR personal life knowledge and experiences.

    I do not want to look like I have some elite knowledge of the subject, and I resent that statement. I simply do not believe in any god. That is a statement about me and nobody else. It does not state either explicitly or implicitly whether I think I know more than anybody else about the subject.

    I agree that this lack of beliefs comes from my subjective experiences. No events so far in my life have incontrovertibly convinced me there is a god. Every time I come on here I read something you’ve said about how nobody can say what evidence would suffice to make us believe. How would I know what would be, having apparently never experienced it? I believe your point might be that for some of us there is nothing that would cause us to believe because we don’t want to believe. Am I right? Am I even close?

    Whatever your response is – here I am, still without belief in a deity. I know I could allow myself to indoctrinate myself so I would believe, but that still doesn’t mean any deity exists. It only means I would have changed my mind about whether or not one exists. You can say the focus on semantics is childish but I think clarification of exactly what we are talking about is vital. I have had people (Christians) make many assumptions about me based on the single fact that I don’t believe in their god. I know I’ve been guilty of making similar assumptions – I try to not do it.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Diane.
    #4997

    Dang Martin
    Participant

    I remember the first time I was presented with all of this, and how I later investigated, and then determined that I had no good reason to believe any of it.

    This did not mean that I was smarter than anyone. It only meant that I saw no reason why I should believe it.

    This did not mean that I was elite. It only meant that I saw no reason why I should believe it.

    This did not mean that I ended up with some kind of superior knowledge. It only meant that I saw no reason why I should believe it.

    But this determination did not mean that it was an open-and-shut case. I saw lots of people who said that they sincerely believed it. I would take their word for it most of the time, even though it was painfully obvious that some were just saying they believed it.

    It is a big world out there. About half-way through grade school, my dad got an encyclopedia set called “Man, Myth & Magic.” These books served as a high-level explanation of various religious that have been practiced by different people at different times, all around the world. I still have this book set today.

    It was, and still is, very interesting to read. One that stands out was called “The Cult of the Dead,” and it involved a practice by a small tribe of humans who would bury their dead in a mass grave. This grave had tubes sticking out of it. They would have a ritual, where they would breathe down into the tubes, thus “breathing life” into their ancestors.

    Other rituals in other lands also involved these tubes. Some would pour blood sacrifices down these tubes.

    This made a lot of Christian practices clear. When there is a fear of the unknown, such as the event of physical death, there are rituals in place that help them to deal with the unknown.

    The one confusing thing, that one thing that still remains unclear, is why I feel no need for a ritual related to death. I’ve only attended a few funerals. There was no routine, and nothing about it that gave me the comfort that Christians experience.

    While I understand the purpose of ritual, the sense of community, and other aspects of the religion itself, I could never bring myself to even pretend that I believed it, in order to gain those benefits. I think that doing this would be dishonest to others, as well as myself, and it would end up being a waste of time that served to generate bad blood.

    It is these things that I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraph that put me within the Agnostic spectrum of Atheism. There is a part of me that has always wondered what it might feel like to belong to a community. When I was younger, it was a different story, and I’d sometimes cry because I felt like I was a freak who did not belong.

    However, as I get older, I get more accepting of the idea that I’ve never belonged to a community. I’ve gotten used to being a loner who does for himself. This forum is my only form of online social interaction. I rarely go out. I mostly write offline, play musical instruments, write music, or just sit and think. And wonder.

    My position is not one of a positive claim. It is falsifiable, and all that it would take would be the presence of a god who has the power to bypass my lack of childhood indoctrination, and the ability to make itself believable. If there is a god out there, and this god is an all-powerful creator of the universe, then it seems most reasonable for me to expect that a god like this would have that ability. Certainly, it would possess the ability to understand my situation, and to make it right, if becoming a believer is really the right path.

    My neighbor, a mere mortal, can knock on my door and say, “My name is Rick.”

    I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Dang Martin.
    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Dang Martin. Reason: spelng ers
    #5007

    .
    Spectator

    @diane:

    RE: I do not want to look like I have some elite knowledge of the subject, and I resent that statement.

    I want to re-clarify as I stated in a post a little later in the thread that when I wrote those words I was thinking about specific atheists. Prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens…and millions of wannabes that want to be just like them. These men sell books and use inflammatory language to belittle believers and put people in a box. Our world has enough of that and that’s how hate rally’s happen. That’s how Nazi Germany happened. Hell thats how Trump happened! The Stanford Prison experiment is an excellent example of what happens to people when you are given power over other people. This power doesn’t have to be physical. In the case of atheists like the ones I am describing (NOT you Diane)…The power is a sort of intellectual snobbery. Whether is causes violence or not is irrelevant. It causes division which always feeds into more violence and injustice. It is one thing to stand up for and combat violence through education and social equity, and real lasting change. Perhaps the BEST example I have seen of this is the two men who made the movies “Living On One” and “Salam Neighbor.” THESE men are doing it right.

    BTW thank you for admitting that your beliefs are also your subjective opinion. That is one of the points I’ve been banging my head against the wall trying to make. Maybe now that you said it people will snap and get what I am really saying without getting all defensive.
    RE: Every time I come on here I read something you’ve said about how nobody can say what evidence would suffice to make us believe. How would I know what would be, having apparently never experienced it? I believe your point might be that for some of us there is nothing that would cause us to believe because we don’t want to believe. Am I right? Am I even close?

    You’re close. My point is really that there is no such thing as “objective evidence” for everything. And it is THE high horse I have seen over and over on this site as a method for derailing arguments with theists on this site. It is a conversation stopper because it simply cannot exist. So while everyone is up on their high horse about “objective evidence” I’m over here trying to call bullshit. There is not objective evidence for everything. Case in point – I cannot offer you objective evidence for how much I love my son. So continuing to insist on someone providing “objective evidence” of a claim about God is like saying “I’m not going to believe that you love your son until you provide objective evidence.” It’s to me infuriating. Because again – it causes further division, instead of collaboration.

    #5010

    Davis
    Participant

    A negative positive claim does not automatically mean a positive negative claim. They are not interchangeable and they have real life applications. For example:

    Someone told me there is a 12 year old who isolated a cure for all cancers in his improvised laboratory or there is some girl who can somehow breather under water. I don’t believe this story. I don’t “buy it” as Dang has said. However, I’m not going to say with certainty that there is “no way this kind of wonder-child exists”. It is insanely unlikely this boy or girl exists, but I would be intellectually arrogant to conclusively declare “it is completely impossible that the boy doesn’t exist”. I can “lack belief that the boy exists” while at the same time “not conclude with absolute confidence that he doesn’t exist somewhere somehow”. We’ve been fooled by our own certainty many times. This has practicality issues in the real world like:

    “I simply don’t believe there is a way to deradicalise terrorists in a couple days” but I’m not going to say it’s utterly impossible.” “I don’t believe there are anymore truly cut off tribes of humans who lack any contact with the modern world…though I’m not going to say with confidence that it’s impossible”. “I don’t believe that some method of passing the speed of light without warping space…exists. But I am not absolutely ruling it out. I am open to the very unlikely possibility that a method exists”. “I don’t believe there is a chance in hell this guy will walk again…but I’m not saying it will never ever happen”. “I don’t believe animals have agency or can internalize pain and re-experience traumatic events. But I cannot be certain they don’t”.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Davis.
    #5011

    Davis
    Participant

    One of the problems with this thought experiment is you are comparing a discrete problem with a metaphysical one. These are not comparable. We can easily measure an animal and the space of their closet Finding the existence of some strange phenomena somewhere somewhere in the universe….is currently well past our ability to test and possibly understand. I don’t believe the laws of physics an change but I cannot make that conclusion with the same kind of certainty that there is no big Rhino in a tiny closet. Comparing a Rhino in a closet with the existence of some unlikely God is about the same as comparing a mechanical problem with a quantum based problem or comparing planetary trajectories with if certain cosmological constants like the speed of light or the limit of particle density will never ever vary. Two different levels, two different sets of rules and two different sets of test ability and ignorance on our part. We understand the first one well (mechanical), we are in our infancy in understanding the other and are currently stuck on our tiny planet. That doesn’t mean all supernatural claims and metaphysical claims are somehow valid because of some extremely remote chance the are real. It just means we are incapable of verifying it and far too ignorant to make a certain conclusion of non-existence.

    #5961

    michael17
    Participant

    There are enough universal conundrums to justify not touching the unfalsifiable.

    for instance a physicist recently concluded that the universe should not exist because antimatter should have annihilated it. Not to mention the anthropic principle. These observed states of the universe do nothing to dispell the notion of having an open mind

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  PopeBeanie. Reason: me thinks writer wanted strikethru in text, so I made it so
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