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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 10:08PM #111
Ken
Posts: 33,859

May 24, 2012 -- 9:53PM, costrel wrote:

When I was a Catholic, I even thought that ghosts were unbelievable, since the soul of a deceased person would either be in Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory -- or in the grave, according to the literature that the Jehovah's Witnesses used to give me when they'd used to visit my family and me -- rather than wandering around on earth.



As a Catholic you were allowed to believe in ghosts. Catholic ghosts are souls in Purgatory who are permitted to return to earth to right some wrong. Think of Hamlet's father. Protestants have neither Purgatory nor ghosts. A Protestant ghost is really a demon pretending to be a departed soul in order to cause mischief. Think again of Hamlet's father, whose interview with Hamlet led to a rich harvest of sin. Shakespeare deliberately left it ambiguous whether the late King Hamlet was a Catholic soul from Purgatory or a Protestant demon from hell.

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 10:10PM #112
JCarlin
Posts: 6,796

Please Welcome Erey


to the atheism boards.
Thanks for joining us. 


May 24, 2012 -- 6:11PM, Erey wrote:

Wow Ken, you just sort of blew my mind there.  An atheist can believe in the supernatural????  WOW.  This can include Gods?  Again WOW!  We are going to need to discuss this further. Because in my mind an atheist does not believe in God/s, rejects that and just believes such things do not exist.  But OK, what are you saying?  That one can be an atheist and believe in God if you see God as a natural force vs. a supernatural force.  Am I getting this correctly?  If I am understanding correctly can we discuss the division between natural and supernatural and how that might apply to the subject of God/s or the soul?


Differentiating God, the supernatural, paranormal, and unexplained normal is a continual issue on this board.  If I may I will attempt to do so.   There will be debate. 


God is generally understood to be a supernatural superalpha humanoid entity that interacts with individual humans.  “Jesus loves me, this I know….”  This entity can intercede in the affairs of believers, and generally is the real estate agent for the afterlife, assigning comfortable or uncomfortable accommodations according to the beliefs of the deceased.  If one does not agree with any of the above, one is an atheist.


The supernatural is a conceptual realm where the observed natural laws of the universe are not necessarily inviolate.  As long as one does not personify the supernatural one is an atheist even if a believer in woo-woo, karma, reincarnation, or whatever sells the spirituality du jour. 


The paranormal is an individual ability to modify or ignore the natural laws of the universe.  Levitation is the paranormal ability to be unaffected by gravity with no natural aids.


The unexplained normal is an individual ability to do things that are unaccounted for by natural scientific explanations.  ESP. telekinesis, precognition, and faith healing are claimed by practitioners to violate no natural laws even though the mechanisms are unexplained by current knowledge.  Non-practitioners and some practitioners will assign the ability to the paranormal rather than unexplained natural ability.   

J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 10:26PM #113
JCarlin
Posts: 6,796

May 24, 2012 -- 9:18PM, Erey wrote:

There is cache to the term atheist, something that shapes an identity.  So you get to use the label but still keep in touch with your spiritual side?


There is little cachet for the term atheist.  Depending on the poll atheists are the most hated group in the USA. 


Spiritual is another term that is generally assigned to the supernatural, by atheists and theists alike, but some of us argue that spirt and spirituality are natural attributes of all humans that have been hijacked by those little vuvuzelas in the fancy dresses in the over decorated balconies to sell their God.  But that is another discussion




J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 11:03PM #114
Ken
Posts: 33,859

May 24, 2012 -- 9:18PM, Erey wrote:


I personally believe in a God/creator and I can just as easily say there is no such thing as supernatural that it is all natural and therefore perhaps call myself a new age atheist?  Not that I am interested in such things.


I think that would be pushing it for a new age or political atheist. The word "God," you know. Usually, it works the other way - somebody believes in nothing but the natural forces described by science, decides to call them collectively "God," and then denies being an atheist even though they believe in nothing that an atheist wouldn't believe in.


Or it might be they would say the soul or the divine force is natural and just part of nature as well as the eternal state of the soul so they are atheists?


That would work. "Universal force" would be better, but "divine force" might pass muster as long as it's lowercased.


I think I sorta (kinda) understand the concept - maybe.  I am just unsure why such people would feel compelled to call themselves atheists?  In my thinking they are adopting this term because it is a rather severe or political label.  There is cache to the term atheist, something that shapes an identity.  So you get to use the label but still keep in touch with your spiritual side?


As JCarlin pointed out, "atheist" is generally a rather negative term, but in some circles (among university undergraduates, for example) it can be regarded as sexy, sophisticated and daring. Needless to say, it's only the first two.

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 11:38PM #115
Erey
Posts: 18,940

May 24, 2012 -- 9:40PM, Ken wrote:


May 24, 2012 -- 9:22PM, Erey wrote:

I am not really thinking of what I would call a "theist".  To me a theist has a religion, that they follow and a set of beliefs around that.  There are alot of people that are not really theists but they believe in God or the soul, that sort of thing.  I guess they might call themselves spiritual? But some of them are calling themselves atheists?



You don't have to belong to a religion to qualify as a theist. A theist is anyone who believes in at least one god. There are plenty of unaffiliated theists nowadays, and they would tend to call themselves "Spiritual but not religious."


A soul isn't a god, so believing in souls doesn't make one a theist. They're optional. We're accustomed to souls and gods going together, and usually they do, but they don't have to. A person who believes in souls and not gods would be an atheist.


A person who believes in at least one god and calls himself an atheist is either badly misinformed or deeply confused.




I suppose you are right about the term theist but it sounds so much like theology to me.


It just seems to me every concept of the soul is a eternal concept, a supernatural concept.  I have a hard time seeing an atheist believing in souls.  It just does not jive with the idea of being an atheist.  atheists believe obviously in personalities sort of the mystery of the human journey sort of thing.  But souls? 


And if OK a person sort of rejected the idea of the old man in the sky God and didn't swallow any relgion to say you believe in souls but that there is no God seems silly. 


I sort of feel like we are on a continuim between the very fervent atheists and the fundamentalist religionists.  Naturally most people are in the middle.  I feel that some level of agnosticism is really the most honest and truthfull condition.  Even a month or so ago Richard Dawkins came out as an agnostic.  Mother Teresa had doubts so there is a very big span covering the term agnostic. 


I guess I wonder why a person like what you mention would feel motivated to declare themselves atheist?  Why?   What is wrong with the term Agnostic?  Is that too wimpy?  Why so much creative liscense with the term atheist? Frankly, I think they like the label atheist.  That might be hard for you to believe but people do all kinds of contradictory things for self identification.

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 11:47PM #116
Erey
Posts: 18,940

May 24, 2012 -- 10:10PM, JCarlin wrote:


Please Welcome Erey


to the atheism boards.
Thanks for joining us. 


May 24, 2012 -- 6:11PM, Erey wrote:

Wow Ken, you just sort of blew my mind there.  An atheist can believe in the supernatural????  WOW.  This can include Gods?  Again WOW!  We are going to need to discuss this further. Because in my mind an atheist does not believe in God/s, rejects that and just believes such things do not exist.  But OK, what are you saying?  That one can be an atheist and believe in God if you see God as a natural force vs. a supernatural force.  Am I getting this correctly?  If I am understanding correctly can we discuss the division between natural and supernatural and how that might apply to the subject of God/s or the soul?


Differentiating God, the supernatural, paranormal, and unexplained normal is a continual issue on this board.  If I may I will attempt to do so.   There will be debate. 


God is generally understood to be a supernatural superalpha humanoid entity that interacts with individual humans.  “Jesus loves me, this I know….”  This entity can intercede in the affairs of believers, and generally is the real estate agent for the afterlife, assigning comfortable or uncomfortable accommodations according to the beliefs of the deceased.  If one does not agree with any of the above, one is an atheist.


The supernatural is a conceptual realm where the observed natural laws of the universe are not necessarily inviolate.  As long as one does not personify the supernatural one is an atheist even if a believer in woo-woo, karma, reincarnation, or whatever sells the spirituality du jour. 


The paranormal is an individual ability to modify or ignore the natural laws of the universe.  Levitation is the paranormal ability to be unaffected by gravity with no natural aids.


The unexplained normal is an individual ability to do things that are unaccounted for by natural scientific explanations.  ESP. telekinesis, precognition, and faith healing are claimed by practitioners to violate no natural laws even though the mechanisms are unexplained by current knowledge.  Non-practitioners and some practitioners will assign the ability to the paranormal rather than unexplained natural ability.   




Thanks Carlin, I appreciate it. 


The way you describe it you have to come from a judeo-christian-Islamic mindset to be an atheist.  Because you can if I am understanding you correctly believe in anything else as long as it is NOT the abrahemitic God in order to be atheist.  you can believe in the pagan gods, the hindu gods, the gospel according to Oprah or the turtle that carries the world on it's back  and be an atheist. 


You might be correct but that is just contrary to my understanding of atheism.  My understanding of atheism is NONE of that exists - none.  Any past life regressions, any near death experiences, ghosts, moments of mystical ephiphany are imagination or perhaps the result of dehydration.  When we die, we die and that is all. 


again like I mentioned to Ken I see absoultely nothing wrong with believing in a soul or spirity guides or any of those kinds of things.  however, I dont know why a person like that would feel compelled to identify as atheist. 

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 11:53PM #117
Erey
Posts: 18,940

May 24, 2012 -- 9:53PM, costrel wrote:


May 24, 2012 -- 9:18PM, Erey wrote:

OK, you really seem to have a good grasp of the situation I have experienced with these quai-athesists.  I don't know that you are prepared to go into alot of explanations on this.  I certainly get the impression you, yourself don't ascribe to this.   Where I am with this is thinking the definition in all this lies with the terms natural and supernatural and what they mean and how they are defined. 


I personally believe in a God/creator and I can just as easily say there is no such thing as supernatural that it is all natural and therefore perhaps call myself a new age atheist?  Not that I am interested in such things.  Or it might be they would say the soul or the divine force is natural and just part of nature as well as the eternal state of the soul so they are atheists? 


I think I sorta (kinda) understand the concept - maybe.  I am just unsure why such people would feel compelled to call themselves atheists?  In my thinking they are adopting this term because it is a rather severe or political label.  There is cache to the term atheist, something that shapes an identity.  So you get to use the label but still keep in touch with your spiritual side? 


Hi Erey,


One of the atheists who used to post years ago on the Animal Rights Debate Board believed in astral projection. As Ken pointed out, the idea of these kinds of atheists seems to be that they do not believe in gods and goddesses, but they believe in other things that one might consider supernatural and/or otherworldly (reincarnation, rebirth, karma, the soul, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, heavenly realms and Hell dimensions, even angels, demons, superstitious things such as the number 13, etc.) are real. I think it would easier to wrap our minds around this if we recall that many deities in world religions are not creator deities, and if they are creator deities, they did not create the universe/world and instead created something like a mountain, a lake, and even animals and human beings. One thinks of the deities in Buddhism and Greek mythology, for instance. One can disbelieve in these kinds of deities while still accepting other things such as karma, rebirth, hungry ghosts, Hell dimensions, the Underworld, etc. 


If a person's view of a deity is an all-powerful, omniscient, and eternal creator like the monotheistic Abrahamic god, then I think it might be more difficult to continue to believe in such things as Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, the soul, and angels when one stops believing in this god. But then again, perhaps not, since atheists obviously do not disbelieve in this world and this universe even when they stop believing in the Abrahamic god who supposedly created everything. And for those atheists who were raised Christian like I was, and who never believed in generally non-Christian concepts such as astral projection, reincarnation, etc., they would have no reason to believe in them once they became atheists. (When I was a Catholic, I even thought that ghosts were unbelievable, since the soul of a deceased person would either be in Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory -- or in the grave, according to the literature that the Jehovah's Witnesses used to give me when they'd used to visit my family and me -- rather than wandering around on earth.) 


In my own case, I stopped believing in the Abrahamic god first and only afterwards did I stop believing in Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, angels, demons, Satan, the Virgin Mary, the eternal soul, the Communion of Saints, etc. In fact, my belief in the Virgin Mary and the Communion of Saints were the very last things I let go of. For some reason, I wanted to hold onto them even after my belief in God was gone. 




Thanks Costrel, you are helping with the clarity.  I guess back to what I was saying to JCarlin, I have a hard time seeing that as atheist.  And it does sound like you can believe in almost anything but the God of Abraham and consider yourself atheist - which can't be right.


  I am not curious why someone would disbelieve in a omnicient God - that I understand.  Nor am I confused as to how they might believe in the goddess Kali or the idea of an after-life.  I am perplexed why such people would see the label of atheist as a honest label. 

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 11:57PM #118
Erey
Posts: 18,940

May 24, 2012 -- 11:03PM, Ken wrote:


May 24, 2012 -- 9:18PM, Erey wrote:


I personally believe in a God/creator and I can just as easily say there is no such thing as supernatural that it is all natural and therefore perhaps call myself a new age atheist?  Not that I am interested in such things.


I think that would be pushing it for a new age or political atheist. The word "God," you know. Usually, it works the other way - somebody believes in nothing but the natural forces described by science, decides to call them collectively "God," and then denies being an atheist even though they believe in nothing that an atheist wouldn't believe in.


Or it might be they would say the soul or the divine force is natural and just part of nature as well as the eternal state of the soul so they are atheists?


That would work. "Universal force" would be better, but "divine force" might pass muster as long as it's lowercased.


I think I sorta (kinda) understand the concept - maybe.  I am just unsure why such people would feel compelled to call themselves atheists?  In my thinking they are adopting this term because it is a rather severe or political label.  There is cache to the term atheist, something that shapes an identity.  So you get to use the label but still keep in touch with your spiritual side?


As JCarlin pointed out, "atheist" is generally a rather negative term, but in some circles (among university undergraduates, for example) it can be regarded as sexy, sophisticated and daring. Needless to say, it's only the first two.




I appreciate your openess on this subject, you don't seem interested in denying or pretending contradictory stuff doesn't go down in the atheist world.  Also, I appreciate your use of the term "political atheism". Which I think is a good term except it probably won't work at all because of the term "political Islam" which is really loaded with problems. 

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2 years ago  ::  May 25, 2012 - 12:02AM #119
Erey
Posts: 18,940

May 24, 2012 -- 10:26PM, JCarlin wrote:


May 24, 2012 -- 9:18PM, Erey wrote:

There is cache to the term atheist, something that shapes an identity.  So you get to use the label but still keep in touch with your spiritual side?


There is little cachet for the term atheist.  Depending on the poll atheists are the most hated group in the USA. 


Spiritual is another term that is generally assigned to the supernatural, by atheists and theists alike, but some of us argue that spirt and spirituality are natural attributes of all humans that have been hijacked by those little vuvuzelas in the fancy dresses in the over decorated balconies to sell their God.  But that is another discussion







You would be surprised JCarlin what contradictory things people do to create an identity.  People don't even mind aligning with a unpopular group to do it. 


I guess I just sort of miss the old days when words and labels were straight forward.  An atheist does not believe in God or anything associated with that.  I just wonder why a person would choose the label atheist when in all honesty and truthfullness they are agnostic.

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2 years ago  ::  May 25, 2012 - 7:12AM #120
JCarlin
Posts: 6,796

May 24, 2012 -- 11:47PM, Erey wrote:

The way you describe it you have to come from a judeo-christian-Islamic mindset to be an atheist.  Because you can if I am understanding you correctly believe in anything else as long as it is NOT the abrahemitic God in order to be atheist.  you can believe in the pagan gods, the hindu gods, the gospel according to Oprah or the turtle that carries the world on it's back  and be an atheist.


Not quite.  Although the Abrahamic God is the most annoying in the USA, hence my description of the "typical" god concept, but an atheist does not believe in, accept as useful or worship any supernatural entity.  No specific god or goddess is necessary to be atheistic about.  Hence Hindu gods, Shinto gods, ancient Roman emperors, and totems are not acceptable.  I don't know about Oprah but the turtle as long as it does not interfere in the activities of humans is OK but unusual. 


Deism is different from the turtle as Deists posit an intelligent humanoid Creator, at least politically.  It was argued for example that Jefferson was an atheist in spite of his "Endowed by Their Creator..." But then the New England Priests read it "Endowed by God..." 


Atheists can never win.

J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
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