Who is an atheist?

Who is an atheist?

There are 9352 comments on the The Sydney Morning Herald story from May 30, 2010, titled Who is an atheist?. In it, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that:

In my last blog there was a moderately spectacular blue between various parties .

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9431 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
So I'll go by the dictionary,
As if a dictionary is some sort of projective authority?

If you want to know what the word "atheist" means?

ASK AN ATHEIST.

Do not ask an **theist**-- they do not know and refuse to understand.

A dictionary is simply a collection of the most **common** usages of a word.

Since there are more theists-- with their straw-man "definition" of what it means to **be** an atheist?

Their false definition gets into the dictionary along side the correct one.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9432 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
Then you would need another term for those people who say "God does not exist", wont you?
We have one already: they are called "theists", who falsely project this idea onto **all** atheists, regardless.
one cube parsec

Delhi, India

#9433 Aug 18, 2013
xianity is EVIL wrote:
<quoted text>
youre full of shyt,you must be xian
http://en .wikipedia .org/wiki/Atheism
The english word 'atheism' is not a well defined term, and the english language is not a formal language and has no rule that all words be well defined or even have just one meaning.

So it is the narrow sense described in the wiki article that most people use. The broad (more general) statement rejection of belief in god suggests a position exclusive to the statement "god exists", while the narrower sense described as saying god does not exist,(the sentence later) is a nagation of the belief in god.

I think a lot of the worlds problems have always been due to the inconsistencies of language. If only we had one single unique defination of atheism, or any other word really.

Maybe one day we will again understand the need to rationalized and formalize languages (like sanskrit was arrived at from palis and prakrits once upon a time). would help us prevent making ambiguous vague laws that leave loopholes, and also help us get rid of useless religions and specious philosophies too that can than be easily shown as false or meaningless.

A least there shud be 2 constraints- that all words be well defined, ie use only other well defined words, and every word have only one defination.

And your first assertion (accusing me to be a xian) is false, baseless, by both usages of the term.
JBH

Richmond, Canada

#9434 Aug 18, 2013
US HAS MORE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES THAN MOST COUNTRIES.
US has put non-criminals doing no crimes in prison with no evidences. There have been more beat-up and torture of inmates in US prisons than anywhere else. In workplaces, more people and women have been treated with no rights very harshly. Corruption is rampant that management even defend employees stealing money from customers while denying customers rights. Workers, security guards have done more thefts of companies than people doing shop-lifting. Police without knowing who are who and their cultural background, focus on going to the wrong people--local legal citizens who speak English to abuse, rather than illegals smuggled in, outsider foreigner tourists like Chinese or others to commit spying and intellectual property piracy. Public places like malls, restaurants and so on, embrace bad people to associate for illegal activities, to put in constraints to local good citizens' rights of all walks of lives as US has been invaded by lots of new comers by taking people wrongly as they don't even know who are who anymore. US is just like a big zoo and jungle of human animals. Over time, US HAS STARVED MORE PEOPLE by placing them homeless other than Africa by saying it is a rich country with top 3% being super-rich.

US has more infant fatalities than in North Korea, but just points finger at NK all the time.
Yet, North Korea has not starved so many people than US, by still feeding the people. Obviously, using ordinary food to feed people is still better than nothing of the poorest in US.

US is not a true democracy as it was not called by numbers of votes but by the supreme court in the Gore and Bush election. So many voters use fraud IDs to vote and some use numerous IDS to do repeated voting. That majority say of Snowden case to G-20 summit, to use no gay issue to Sochi Olympics, to have war crime trial of Bush, and other issues, are never come to light, as there are so many hypocrites that would defy the democracy.
So many demonstrators against nuclear reactors and weapons, APEC conference, G-20 conference and other matters, have been arrested and some were beaten. There is such a wide degree of disgrace that people don't know and don't care in US while many are suffering.

As purely based on facts, it is US which just HAD developed a few atomic bombs about 8 months to 2 years before at that time, DROPPED ATOMIC BOMBS in WWII. THE MENTALITY WAS CRAZY TO SAVE TO SAY LIVES because they could have done that to Vietnam too. Yet, from the insanity, war criminal Bush said about nukes of North Korea. NK had developed a few more Nuke bombs already since 8 years ago, just like US at WWII days, and has done no use of nukes at all, while US did it upon possessing after just 1 year. Facts are such that there are more sentiments in US, which are not served, while less crimes, very few dissidents and people are put in jail and beat up or tortured in NK. As they call US democracy, what the difference is that there are less abuses, human rights oppressing, and majority in NK voice no resentment, compared to US. Who cares what they call communism and democracy, as facts show more people's voices in NK are served as they like it that way (just does not have election), than in US.
ON the basis of facts, just what the new leader of NK has done, as he had not lied to the world about WMD-Iraq, invaded no country as US did to a lot of countries , done no war crime, slaughtered no world population, etc.?

Facts are all facts. But just the constant bickering started from big wrongdoer lair Bush to this time with even blinded slaves as followers pointing at NK,these are big silly jokes, as people don't even come to human senses to realize who actually is the evil wrongdoer--like Bush, and the sickening propaganda from US.
JUST who would do evil liar war criminal as Bush says?
When cold war is over, IT IS TIME TO OPEN UP NORTH KOREA TO THE WORLD.
one cube parsec

Delhi, India

#9435 Aug 18, 2013
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
As if a dictionary is some sort of projective authority?
If you want to know what the word "atheist" means?
ASK AN ATHEIST.
Do not ask an **theist**-- they do not know and refuse to understand.
A dictionary is simply a collection of the most **common** usages of a word.
Since there are more theists-- with their straw-man "definition" of what it means to **be** an atheist?
Their false definition gets into the dictionary along side the correct one.
I rather have a unbiased source than either a theist or an atheist (what ever that is) source.

And I think one place where the fight between the theist and atheist should be in the dictionary (really language). A dictionary is taken as the authoritative reference for definitions for a language, expecially by children, and thus can well be used as a subtle tool for indoctrination.

Again, the need for rationalising languages in use so that they are more formal and thus more efficient can not be overstated. Onerous task, but totally worth it.

=======

Also if their false definition is rejected, we would need another word to reference the more generic group of non-theists.
one cube parsec

Delhi, India

#9436 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
A least there shud be 2 constraints- that all words be well defined, ie use only other well defined words, and every word have only one defination.
.
Correction

All words should be well defined ie definitions use only other well defined words...

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9437 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
The english word 'atheism' is not a well defined term, and the english language is not a formal language and has no rule that all words be well defined or even have just one meaning.
If you want to understand what it means to be a Brain Surgeon?

Would you ask a bus driver?

No-- you'd ask an actual Brain Surgeon.

If you want to know what an atheist thinks about being an atheist, and what the word means? Ask them-- most atheists are happy to explain what it means to be an atheist in a mostly theistic world.

You certainly shouldn't ask a True Believer™ they have no clue what it means to be atheist.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9438 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
I rather have a unbiased source than either a theist or an atheist (what ever that is) source.
WTF?

There is no such thing-- if you want to learn about someone's worldview?

DO YOU ASK THEIR ENEMIES? No-- you ask **them**.

Their opposites will lie and/or be clueless about the subject.

The word "atheist" means "not theist".

To every atheist I've asked here on Topix, or read their answers to this word, all agree pretty much: it means to **not** have faith in gods.

It's **not** a positive stance, nor is it a faith-thing.

Those are different things entirely.

Atheism is a **lack** of belief in gods.

That is it.

Your attempt to twist it into a complicated mess where there is no need to?

Is puzzling.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9439 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
Also if their false definition is rejected, we would need another word to reference the more generic group of non-theists.
There are several-- among them are:

Secular humanist.

Nontheist.

Nonbeliever.

Unbeliever.

Rationalist.

Free thinker.

Realist.

The list can be quite long, and descriptive--I have witnessed the above at one time or another over the past 6 years on Topix.

Most folk simply use "atheist" and mean "no faith in gods" when they use the word.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9440 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
Correction
All words should be well defined ie definitions use only other well defined words...
In an ideal world? Sure.

But in a world with a **living** language, such as English?

Worse-- one that is a mish-mash of several vastly different languages?

That is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

I'm old enough to remember when the word "cool" was **strictly** used to describe temperature.

I remember when it caught on as having a secondary meaning, "desirable" or "acceptable" or "socially appealing" and more.

I am also old enough to remember when "gay" only referred to a state of being, and a happy-go-lucky state at that. I remember when the word's meaning changed to refer to homosexual males (and sometimes females).

----------

With a **living** language, such as English, the meanings of words is so **going** to change over time.

A dictionary,**at****best** is going to be several removes from the current usages.

And all too often, a generation or two **behind** current use.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9441 Aug 18, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
Again, the need for rationalising languages in use so that they are more formal and thus more efficient can not be overstated. Onerous task, but totally worth it.
Never going to happen-- ever. Not as long as **people** are **using** the language in question.

Only a strictly **dead** language could be thus.

Or one that was entirely abstract and formal, such as mathematics.(yes, I'm claiming that math is a language, and in a way, it is)

----------

It's only going to get worse-- over time?

English in the USA will gradually incorporate common Spanish words and phrases, as the Hispanic population increases.

Eventually, USA-English will diverge from other countries' use of English to the point of becoming a separate language.

There are already **many** differences in spelling, common usage and so on.
US are Warring Savages

United States

#9442 Aug 18, 2013
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
Never going to happen-- ever. Not as long as **people** are **using** the language in question.
Only a strictly **dead** language could be thus.
Or one that was entirely abstract and formal, such as mathematics.(yes, I'm claiming that math is a language, and in a way, it is)
----------
It's only going to get worse-- over time?
English in the USA will gradually incorporate common Spanish words and phrases, as the Hispanic population increases.
Eventually, USA-English will diverge from other countries' use of English to the point of becoming a separate language.
There are already **many** differences in spelling, common usage and so on.
Hey BOQ is there a third one, i'm curious?

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#9443 Aug 18, 2013
US are Warring Savages wrote:
<quoted text>Hey BOQ is there a third one, i'm curious?
??

Third one..what?
US are Warring Savages

United States

#9444 Aug 19, 2013
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
??
Third one..what?
LAnguage?
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#9445 Aug 19, 2013
This is why I'm happy to leave it for religionists to define me as atheist or agnostic. People cannot agree on the meaning. I am happy with the dictionary definitions...
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/theism

Actually, Bob is correct in that one CAN be viewed as both atheist and agnostic...
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/atheist
One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/agnostic
One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.

I don't know why any non-believer would care how they're categorised. I don't and I don't think Prof Richard Dawkins cares much either. Our positions are clear enough to anyone interested (which I note excludes Topix contributor LCN/Lincoln, who seems interested yet unable to understand)

Religion/atheism/agnosticism is really a load of theology, in my view. I think the debate is silly - like religion in general.

Jonny Eve sings it like it is....
http://www.atheismuk.com/2012/03/31/atheism/y...
..but uses bad language. Others may prefer John Lennon's "Imagine".
one cube parsec

Delhi, India

#9449 Aug 19, 2013
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
WTF?
There is no such thing-- if you want to learn about someone's worldview?
DO YOU ASK THEIR ENEMIES? No-- you ask **them**.
Their opposites will lie and/or be clueless about the subject.
The word "atheist" means "not theist".
To every atheist I've asked here on Topix, or read their answers to this word, all agree pretty much: it means to **not** have faith in gods.
It's **not** a positive stance, nor is it a faith-thing.
Those are different things entirely.
Atheism is a **lack** of belief in gods.
That is it.
Your attempt to twist it into a complicated mess where there is no need to?
Is puzzling.
So according to you, the definition of the word homeopath should be coined only by a homeopath, and it is the sole prerogative of a pedophile to establish the definition of the word pedophile (most likely he would declare himself to be an innocent harmless 'lover' of children)?!
.
I for one would not trust a lexicographer with surgery, nor a surgeon with the science of compiling dictionaries.
.
I think a neutral lexicographer is very much still a requirement, as indeed is a general claim by most dictionary brands of repute, who do the impartial research into the current usage, as well as the etymology.

======

And again, all this debate with the religious would mostly be unnecessary or resolved quickly if the lacunae in language were worked out.(this thread is itself an example). Rationalization of languages is going to help humanity in so many way. So I think the thought leaders of society need to be made aware of this. The benifits are immense, I asure you. The incorruptiblity of laws will alone make it worth it. And then most philosophical discussions would also be more efficient and avoid most logic traps and circular logics even paradoxes. Some things are just seemingly contradictory due to the problem of informal approach in defining words, while many things that seem in agreement, actually differ in meaning. Many statements that today seem valid will be invalid in a formal language. Most attempts by clever politicians at misrepresentation of facts, or working in loopholes in laws can be avoided. Also miscommunications and misunderstanding will be impossible in a formal language.
.
Yes, a formal language can change human society tremendously, help us evolve into a much more advanced civilization. And it not really that difficult either, cause we know it has all been done before.

.
.
.
A translation /redaction of religious scriptures into any scientifically structured formal language will aslo yield very interesting (fun) results!

[A lot of the mess you speak of, already exists and it is in the languages we use.]
one cube parsec

Delhi, India

#9450 Aug 19, 2013
So the need for change and rationalising language.
Normand Winnipeg

Winnipeg, Canada

#9451 Aug 19, 2013
--- "AN atheist is a being that rejects GOD'S WAYS AND therefor rejects GOD"--- because there is one and only True GOD as it is written and implied from Genesis to Revelation thousands and thousands of places...Thankyou...
one cube parsec

Delhi, India

#9452 Aug 19, 2013
EdSed wrote:
This is why I'm happy to leave it for religionists to define me as atheist or agnostic. People cannot agree on the meaning. I am happy with the dictionary definitions...
http://www. thefreedictionary .com/theism
Actually, Bob is correct in that one CAN be viewed as both atheist and agnostic...
http://www. thefreedictionary .com/atheist
One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.
http://www .thefreedictionary. com/agnostic
One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
I don't know why any non-believer would care how they're categorised. I don't and I don't think Prof Richard Dawkins cares much either. Our positions are clear enough to anyone interested (which I note excludes Topix contributor LCN/Lincoln, who seems interested yet unable to understand)
Religion/atheism/agnosticism is really a load of theology, in my view. I think the debate is silly - like religion in general.
Jonny Eve sings it like it is....
http://www. atheismuk. com/2012/03/31/atheism/yes-i-a m-an-atheist/
..but uses bad language. Others may prefer John Lennon's "Imagine".
A lot of those definitions are frought with the same problems of a very half baked language.

Example Atheism defination- One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.: depends on the definations of god, existence, and also the word disbelieve.
Does disbelief mean to believe in the opposite statement, or to not belief. I define belief as an assertion of an argument as valid without logical or empirical support. If so then both a positions of 'no god' and 'don't know' are assigned to the single word atheist. Which is ambiguous, and no better than religious scripture.

Likewise, what is god? Is it a creator of the universe, that no longer may exist, or does it still, and creating other universes as we speak? Or is god an omnipotent and or omniscient entity?

I can disprove the physical existence of any omniscient entity right here in one post using known proven laws of physics. Actually I have many such proofs. But the religious will just move the definitions around to save precious god!

So again, language needs rationalization and formalisation. We need to realize the need for it first tho. Only then can we be successfully move on into an irriligious age and be progressive and avoid the many pitfalls born out of the many flaws in our human nature.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#9453 Aug 19, 2013
one cube parsec wrote:
<quoted text>
A lot of those definitions are frought with the same problems of a very half baked language.
Example Atheism defination- One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.: depends on the definations of god, existence, and also the word disbelieve.
Does disbelief mean to believe in the opposite statement, or to not belief. I define belief as an assertion of an argument as valid without logical or empirical support. If so then both a positions of 'no god' and 'don't know' are assigned to the single word atheist. Which is ambiguous, and no better than religious scripture.
Likewise, what is god? Is it a creator of the universe, that no longer may exist, or does it still, and creating other universes as we speak? Or is god an omnipotent and or omniscient entity?
I can disprove the physical existence of any omniscient entity right here in one post using known proven laws of physics. Actually I have many such proofs. But the religious will just move the definitions around to save precious god!
So again, language needs rationalization and formalisation. We need to realize the need for it first tho. Only then can we be successfully move on into an irriligious age and be progressive and avoid the many pitfalls born out of the many flaws in our human nature.
It is not that I think your post is wrong, but I think perhaps you overstate the case, e.g. "If so then both a positions of 'no god' and 'don't know' are assigned to the single word atheist. Which is ambiguous, and no better than religious scripture."

I have studied French and German and read about languages, but am not bilingual. I don't know how that might affect my view, but as you say, "the religious will just move the definitions around to save precious god!" The problem seems to me to be more one of comprehension and lack of empathetic listening than language per se.

I'm getting the possibly erroneous impression that you find the English/American language a particular problem?(Or disgrace?:-)

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