Definition Of Atheism, Agnostic, And Christian

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Brian J. Rivera, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. I recently read an article and had a debate with an atheist. Both covered the same subject, the definition of atheism and agnosticism. Now atheists blame the confusion on theists while theists blame atheists for changing the definition. Personally I blame both.

    The disbelief or denial of the existence of a God, or supreme intelligent Being.
    Atheism is a ferocious system, that leaves nothing above us to excite awe, nor around us to awaken tenderness.
    - R. Hall.


    n.1.One who professes ignorance, or denies that we have any knowledge, save of phenomena; one who supports agnosticism, neither affirming nor denying the existence of a personal Deity, a future life, etc.

    One who believes, or professes or is assumed to believe, in Jesus Christ, and the truth as taught by Him; especially, one whose inward and outward life is conformed to the doctrines of Christ.
    The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
    - Acts xi. 26.

    So basically this is how confusion sets in. 1st some may just be ignorant of the definitions of atheism, agnostic, and christian. 2nd atheists are also ignorant of definitions of christianity. They prefer more general ones because it allows them to declare that Hitler is christian. If we use the same reasoning than I'm technically an atheist because all I have to do is
    Say "I'm an atheist" and say a few atheist things. 3rd this is probably my favorite way that confusion is set in.
    Guy- what do you believe man
    Atheist- I'm an atheist
    Guy- so you don't believe there are any gods or a god
    Atheist- No it means I don't believe in the existance of "a" god or gods. There very well could be a god or gods.
    Guy-....why didn't you just say so.

    So here's the people say I'm an atheist when describing there world view. The confusion sets in because the atheist claims atheism is his world view. Since atheism is the lack of a belief and guy didn't tell the atheist his beliefs Guy assumes(rightfully so) that the atheist believes there are no gods at all. (Strong atheism) Weak atheism is the disbelief in a particular god. So the atheist should probably state that he is a weak or a strong atheist. Or he/she should state "I'm an atheist towards christianity, buddhism, etc"
  2. Atheist means you don't believe in a God or gods. I didn't understand the conversation you proposed. Atheists think that theism is an invention of people's minds. It's like when you hear about Roman mythology and you think about how and why they created the myths that were so popular. Atheists see the same thing in theists.

    Agnostic sounds like your weak atheist definition. Whether they profess ignorance is difficult to say. More or less they profess that God's existence is beyond the proof of human capacity, but they obviously don't believe any of the religions accurately depict God or gods. I would say that an Agnostic recognizes what many religious people recognize, and that is they can never know for sure, but unlike religious people, they don't put faith in anything.

    Theists obviously believe in God.

    There is also Deism and Pantheism, the latter is a kind of quasi-atheism that is a little more "spiritual" while Deism tends to be agnostic.
  3. I noticed that atheists really clung to atheism and did not want to be called agnostic. I would also agree that week atheism is similar to agnosticism. Except I would define it as a disbelief in a particular god. So in that sense we are "weak" atheists because we disbelieve in Zeus, but we're also christian. To be honest this is a dumb debate and I prefer to avoid it. Instead I ask these questions

    1. Do you believe, in theory, that a god or godlike being could exist?
    2. In place of god what do you believe?
    3.Which god's do you disbelieve in?

    If someone answers that they do not believe a god can exist. Boom! they have the burden of proof to show that there is no way in which a god could not exist.

    Now if someone answers the second one they made another knowledge claim and therefore have the burden of proof to prove that point.

    The last one is just to see where there true disbelief lies in.
  4. #4 LysanderShapiro, Aug 20, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
    Atheism and Agnosticism much of the time these days can be the same thing. I remember reading the God Delusion and Dawkins proposed a 7 notch scale where it was from "I know 100% that God exists" to "I know 100% that God does not exist." From what I remember, he was around notch 5 meaning he's not convinced there is a God at all, but he can't exactly prove it just as he can't prove that the Easter Bunny doesn't exist. So because of that, he regards himself an agnostic.

    However, he also regards himself as an atheist because as he said it is more explosive and generates more of a reaction. Most self-proclaimed atheists I speak to who really have no problem with religion, they just don't accept it, sound more like agnostic in thought only because they're indifferent and haven't quite looked to the bottom of it.

    And then other atheists who are venomously against religion, part of the New Atheist movement, who are oddly evangelical in their atheism, may claim atheism. Ironically, they sound exactly like the strawman Christian they attack but on the opposite side of the isle.
    KingJ and DavidG say Amen and like this.
  5. Hmm... it's interesting, even Bill Mauhr, perhaps the most obnoxious athiest of our time says agnostic things at times. I know in his movie "Religioulous" he says that he's in the camp of "I don't know". Honestly, I've not met an atheist who would vehemently object to being called an agnostic, but then again, I don't meet too many people so bold to assert atheism.

    One thing I would like to note, though, is that there is often times a lot of effort placed in scholasticism. But unfortunately God is mysterious, so typical proofs or definitions are hard to come by. Thinking about God, one would have to think of Him in terms of being the most elemental form of existence. Now elements are the simplest truths but tend to be almost impossible to define. When you think about it, color is such a thing. Color is impossible to explain to a blind person. We can get into very "accurate" explanations, but these then tend to loose value of being comprehensible. We could also try to analogize the color, to say the color yellow is like warmth and red is like passion, but these are hardly accurate depictions.

    Explaining what exactly a "point" is also becomes difficult. Love, sorrow, passion... all of these are only understood by "experiencing" God. So, for an atheist are really those people who get upset that someone can't define something that is sort of so simple that it's beyond definition. And we are all a little bit agnostic because we have to admit we can't define the mystery of God, He can only be experienced. But people who love others, who have charitable hearts, or who feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, they in a sense know, but they can't really define.
  6. A means without. So atheism is without theism and agnostic is without knowledge (gnostic). It's quite simple, actually. I'm not sure why folks who give themselves that title would debate the meaning. Then again, we all know they're confused!
    Brian J. Rivera and Godspell say Amen and like this.
  7. Exactly
    TH420X likes this.

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