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Posted using TxtLJ - Lograh

Wednesday, 06.Feb.2008

20:31 - Posted using TxtLJ

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What is an atheist? This is an interesting question.

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From:urbeatle
Date:5:47 07.Feb.2008 (UTC)
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Literally, it's someone who isn't a theist. In other words, someone who does not believe in a personal, transcendent god who can interfere in human affairs. Deists, pantheists, and spiritualists are all atheists. So are animists and ancestor worshipers, although generally speaking polytheists aren't included. This is the definition given when I took intro to philosophy, and it's also the working definition many Christians seem to use.
I have no idea if other theists (Jews or Moslems) use the same definition; I suspect Moslems do, but haven't seen anything official.
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From:spasmsproject
Date:11:43 07.Feb.2008 (UTC)
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Ditto.

Although when I mentioned that at dinner with some friends of the Christian persuasion, I got yelled at.

...Until I brought out a dictionary.
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From:lograh
Date:16:12 07.Feb.2008 (UTC)
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interesting that polytheists would not be included. I thought a theist was simply someone who held belief and worshiped a god or gods. I would have lumped poly/mono both in the theists category.
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From:urbeatle
Date:18:04 07.Feb.2008 (UTC)
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I mean polytheists aren't included in the definition of "atheist". At least, most of the time. Although frankly, I think most Christians refuse to even think about polytheism. They don't acknowledge that it is possible, or think it's all in the past. They don't think people worship Vishnu, they think they worship statues of Vishnu.
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From:lograh
Date:18:43 07.Feb.2008 (UTC)
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ah, yes, I see how I mis-read your comment. sorry.
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From:macklinr
Date:8:17 07.Feb.2008 (UTC)
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Really? Why?
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From:la_vation
Date:12:40 07.Feb.2008 (UTC)
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I agree with the working definition but would add that to not believe involves more faith than I have.
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From:dotarvi
Date:14:43 07.Feb.2008 (UTC)
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My dictionary defines it as "the theory or belief that God does not exist." I think this is interesting, because by capitalizing God it is referring only to theist gods, the belief in one big God. But how many people know that?

I refused the title 'atheist' for a long time because I didn't like the negative connotations attached to it, but it is what I am. I am also agnostic, by one definition - I don't believe it is possible to know if there is a God or not. But I guess the main difference is that people whom identify as agnostic don't know but think probably yes, and atheists don't know but think probably no.

I think the question is interesting because most religious people think that atheists have no moral direction and are therefore selfish, horrible people. But in my experience most atheists are very conscientious, ethical people. *shrug*

Maybe I just know a lot of nice people. :)
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From:lograh
Date:16:16 07.Feb.2008 (UTC)
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well, like tends to attract like and you are a very nice person, so it stands to reason that you would be naturally surrounded with at least reasonably nice people. :)

I would argue that your statement "atheists don't know but think probably no" is biased by your personal belief that it is impossible to know. I suspect there are many who have no doubt there is no god and to imply they actually "don't know but think probably no" would be taken as a personal insult by them (I'm not one, but to hear some talk it's not hard to presume they are out there).
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