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Atheism in Politics: the Last Taboo

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Old
12-25-2013, 03:47 PM
  #351
MoreOrr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saskriders View Post
I don't find religion plays any role in politics here. It just isn't talked about
The question is, is being a non-believer allowed in politics? At least being a non-believer and being able to openly admit it.

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12-25-2013, 04:20 PM
  #352
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Originally Posted by Vyacheslav View Post
Neither, because atheist is a disbelief in a deity. I don't believe in any deities that I have been made aware of.
No. It's disbelief in any and ALL possible deities. It has ZERO to do with what the nature of that deity is (which is what organized religion attempts to explain in addition to saying he exists). A deist disbelieves in all of the world's organized religions too, but he is most certainly also a theist. If all it took to be an atheist was to disbelieve in a single faith's version of a deity, then we'd literally all be atheist.

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Originally Posted by Vyacheslav
I think it has everything to do with organized religion. I am an atheist because I have rejected the idea of a god as described in the religions I have some across. If there is a religion that described a deity that I can believe in, I have yet to come across it.
That alone does not make you an atheist. I don't have to believe in an organized religion's version of God or a creator to believe in a creator.

From dictionary.com's synonym section: "An atheist is one who denies the existence of a deity or of divine beings. An agnostic is one who believes it impossible to know anything about God or about the creation of the universe and refrains from commitment to any religious doctrine. Infidel means an unbeliever, especially a nonbeliever in Islam or Christianity. A skeptic doubts and is critical of all accepted doctrines and creeds."


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Old
12-25-2013, 04:24 PM
  #353
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoreOrr
A theist gnostic is someone who believes in a god/gods and thinks that the existence of gods can be known. This position can also be* referred to as just ‘theist‘, since people who believe in gods usually also think that their existence can be known.
All theists are not theist gnostics. Again - deists believe that the creator cannot be known...because he made the world and hasn't intervened since.

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12-25-2013, 04:28 PM
  #354
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Originally Posted by jflory81 View Post
All theists are not theist gnostics. Again - deists believe that the creator cannot be known...because he made the world and hasn't intervened since.
Yes, fully agree. Although, I think it is a common perspective among theists that it can be known, I also think that those who believe that are simply saying that they "know it" due to the profundity of their "belief" that it's so.

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12-25-2013, 04:39 PM
  #355
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Originally Posted by MoreOrr View Post
Yes, fully agree. Although, I think it is a common perspective among theists that it can be known, I also think that those who believe that are simply saying that they "know it" due to the profundity of their "belief" that it's so.
Sure, I agree with that. Those people are certainly theists. I just don't like the implication in that quote that "theist" really usually means "theist gnostics" when theism has nothing to do with whether he can be known or not.

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12-26-2013, 10:56 AM
  #356
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jflory81 View Post
All theists are not theist gnostics. Again - deists believe that the creator cannot be known...because he made the world and hasn't intervened since.
Enlightenment deists postulated God as the best explanation for the Universe's active principles. It would be a little strange for early scientists to say the existence of their theoretical entities could not be "known". That would be to give in to the kind of skepticism that threatened their entire project. Theoretical entities are never directly perceived (whatever that means), but that does not mean they are not knowable.

In any case, this argument is ridiculous. The people who dislike atheists mean some mix of nihilist or existentialist by the term 'atheist'. They don't care about this stuff. All they care about is how the atheist (or deist or existentialist or whatever) does not submit to divine authority. That is the only issue that matters, and smart atheist writers, like the late Hitch, know it.

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12-27-2013, 11:47 AM
  #357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan-o16 View Post
Enlightenment deists postulated God as the best explanation for the Universe's active principles. It would be a little strange for early scientists to say the existence of their theoretical entities could not be "known". That would be to give in to the kind of skepticism that threatened their entire project. Theoretical entities are never directly perceived (whatever that means), but that does not mean they are not knowable.

In any case, this argument is ridiculous. The people who dislike atheists mean some mix of nihilist or existentialist by the term 'atheist'. They don't care about this stuff. All they care about is how the atheist (or deist or existentialist or whatever) does not submit to divine authority. That is the only issue that matters, and smart atheist writers, like the late Hitch, know it.
Why?

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12-29-2013, 08:25 PM
  #358
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Originally Posted by JMiller View Post
I don't like the term supernatural because it imply a something beyond nature. By my thinking I believe there are parts of nature that we don't know or fully understand, labeling those as supernatural seems a little egocentric.
Okay, we're on completely the same page here.

This rejects the concept of a God that controls everything, though.

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Originally Posted by JMiller View Post
Same with hypothetical- it suggests that the ideas aren't real but we can play with them in a thought game. It assumes that what we can conceive are the only options. IMO there is more than what we can grasp in our minds.
No, it isn't. Hypothetical can be synonymous with hypothesis. Well, actually, not just that, they're from the same root word. It's not suggesting at all that the idea isn't real, just unproven, or maybe even just unconsidered.

Hypotheticals can just as easily become viewed as true as they can false. Considering them at all is the epitome of having an open mind, after all.

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Originally Posted by JMiller View Post
Religions are excellent vehicles for cultivating this kind of transcendent thinking. I think they are often misread by atheists as being limited to the letter of their scriptures when the scriptures are really designed to point beyond such interpretations.
In fairness, the issue isn't always necessarily religion and/or the concept of God or gods (although in some cases it clearly is), but more about those who use it either to defend their actions or even to shape them.

There's nothing wrong with considering the possibility that the universe was created by a dying/suicidal God, but considering it true even without certainty does cross some line or reasonability. Same with the Bible being a man-made work of interesting philosophy vs it being the inspired word of God.

In the end, though, the idea you seemed to be trying to convey with this post seems to follow this reply:

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMiller View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mort Divine View Post
So we should assume that things that we don't/can't perceive exist?

That is ridiculous.

We cannot say for certain that things do not exist, but to make the assumption that we should assume things exist outside the realm of what is observable and understandable by us is nonsensical.
Yes.

I think it is more nonsensical and deeply egotistical to say the only things that exist are those we can conceive with our limited senses, perspective and language.
The problem is there's a point between saying "the only things that exist are those that we can conceive" is nonsensical and saying "things we can't conceive are true". It's equally nonsensical to say that we know things are true that we can't conceive.

In the end, though, we can conceive the idea of God, clearly, so that's not really relevant anyway.

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12-30-2013, 12:42 AM
  #359
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On the subject of hypothetical speculation, we must first ensure that our hypotheses do not contradict our empirical knowledge. If we fail to do that then any hypothesis we present is already incorrect.

We know a LOT more about our universe than most people realize or accept. Therein lies the main issue with these hypotheses - a disregard for the empirical knowledge we already possess.

We know the universe in the state in which we see it today originated at a point in time which cosmologists refer to as the Big Bang. We know that immediately following that moment, that the universe was too hot for atoms to form. We know that as the universe began to cool, that the sub-atomic particles which still exist today succumbed to the attractive force of gravity, causing those particles to combine into neutrons and protons. We know that as these neutron and protons continued to form in the very early universe that they too combined into more massive particles - a proton sticks to a neutron and forms the first atomic nuclei, and Hydrogen is born.

Physicist Brian Cox explains this entire creation story in a very straight forward and easy to understand episode of his BBC series "Wonder Of The Universe" which I've linked below:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xyr...ars_shortfilms

This is a MUST WATCH for anyone interested in entertaining the idea of hypothesizing about our origins in the universe.

It becomes readily apparent once one has a grasp of this knowledge, that GRAVITY is the sole creator of everything in our universe, and that without it we would simply not exist at all. Gravity created all of the elements present in the universe, and it was also gravity which mixed them all together into the great chemistry experiment which created US.

This does not explain consciousness, or the emergence of life from the primordial soup - but it does allow us to rule out the idea that our universe and all the matter in it was created by a sentient "Creator".

Keeping this in mind, we also have geological evidence in the form of uranium-lead decay which allows us to directly measure the ages of the rocks we see on the surface of the earth. Using this basic chemical understanding, we know that for a long time, the Earth was a lifeless ball of rock. We also know that for a very long time after that (approximately 99% of the time life has existed on the Earth), the only forms of life on Earth were single celled organisms.

Further to the above point, we have DNA and fossil evidence which allow us to state with absolute certainty that life starts out as most primitive, and over time the influence of genetic mutation gradually produces life forms of ever greater complexity. We call this process the Theory Of Evolution, and every day scientists make discoveries which fill in the gaps of our understanding and strengthen the argument in favor of the Theory Of Evolution. It is unquestionably the best supported theory in all of science by the sheer volume of evidence alone.

Anyways, this is getting long-winded so I'll wrap it up here.

The reality is that we know SO MUCH about our universe and the processes that have shaped it, that there really is little room for the speculation of the existence of an entity which created it, or us. It is only through gaps in our own personal understanding of this massive body of empirical knowledge that we find room to fill those gaps with the idea that something else may be responsible for our existence. Once those gaps in our own personal understanding are filled, such alternative explanations cease to be logical.

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12-30-2013, 11:56 AM
  #360
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian Guy View Post
Why?
Because the next sentence:

Quote:
that would be to give in to the kind of skepticism that threatened their entire project. Theoretical entities are never directly perceived (whatever that means), but that does not mean they are not knowable.
Again, I'm not trying to justify the view of early-modern deists who postulated God as the law-giver. I'm just trying to explain what they thought.

I personally much prefer Spinoza's nominalist solution that the world has no God, rather the world gods (verb). If one posits the regular activity of nature as a divine activity, there is no further need to posit the existence of an external deity.

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