The Atheist and Christian discussion continued… part 4 The Theistic Agnostic.

To recap this discussion so far.

  1. The first post was on the evangelistic message of both, which you can read here.
  2. The second post was about the falsehood of Atheism; because in reality they can only be Agnositic which you can read here.
  3. The third post looked at the issue of Agnosticism and how many Agnostics actually lean towards a Deistic belief and not that of a Theistic belief – which you can read here.

In my last post I declared that no Agnostic or Deist can in fact claim within a framework of all honesty that Deism is the ultimate truth and therefore they are in fact what I termed an Agnostic Theist.

A deist believes that God may have created the world, but in no ways intervenes or shows himself to exist in any way shape or form within the framework of creation. In a nutshell they are saying that no one can experience God in any tangible way…and in doing so discounts any form of supernatural experience. Where a theist believes that God can and does intervene in the day to day living experience.

In my previous post I made the claim that in the same way an Atheist cannot have the required knowledge to state with all integrity that there is no God; in the same way a deist cannot claim to have all the required knowledge to state with any form of integrity that Theism is a lie and therefore they are in fact an Agnostic Theist.

Because of this position I now intend to look at the subject of Theism to see if there is any knowledge that can be acquired that does indeed point towards Theism as being in fact a very reasonable framework of belief.


About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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35 Responses to The Atheist and Christian discussion continued… part 4 The Theistic Agnostic.

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  2. tildeb says:

    Just remember that all children are born atheist in the same sense that all children are a-political: it takes a special kind of indoctrination to teach that it is rational to believe in the incoherency of an interventionist supernatural omnipotent omniscient omnipresent benevolent god who seems to delight in the suffering – real or imagined – of his ‘creations’.

    • Craig Benno says:

      Tildeb, we will work through your “Theistic preconceptions and your thoughts” as we go along in the series.

      • tildeb says:

        Well, Craig, you’ve not addressed my criticisms to date and stuck fast your faulty premises, so I suspect there will be no more ‘working through’ later than there has been to date.

      • Craig Benno says:

        I’m not sure what criticisms you have made so far have to do directly with the context of my posts, have gone unanswered.
        I had shown that there can be no such thing as an Atheist in the true sense of one….instead that within the framework of integrity and honesty the held position had to be that of an Agnostic who says they have not enough information either way to make a clear statement as to there being a God or not…
        With your own words you have said that there is a possibility of there being a “Deistic God” within the framework of creation. Therefore by your own words you have admitted then that you are not an Atheist but lean towards ” Deism” and not “Theism.”

        Again then you have shown that your not a True Atheist…instead that you have some leanings towards Deism which indicates your not an outright Agnostic either. …I am going on what you have actually said here in regards to your leaning towards a “Deistic” theology. …

        I then showed that within the framework of Deism, that no one can have enough information to out-rightly say God does not intervene within the frame work of every day life… and therefore as a Deist you are what is termed an Agnostic Theist…. meaning that you don’t have enough information one way or the other to say “Theism is true or false”

        Apart from some long winded smoke screen filled comments, you have not actually engaged with those simple premises at all… So I’m asking you which criticisms are you saying I have not engaged with, that actually are to do with the actual premises I have made?

      • tildeb says:

        You say, I (have) shown that there can be no such thing as an Atheist in the true sense of one.

        I say Non belief requires no faith in the same way that non collecting of stamps requires no hobby. (Having) no faith isn’t a different kind of faith any more than not being a woman is a different kind of woman. The assertion is absurd. But you make a mistake to suggest that atheists depend on scientific evidence; atheists rely on evidence to inform their assertions.

        You say With your own words you have said that there is a possibility of there being a “Deistic God” within the framework of creation. Therefore by your own words you have admitted then that you are not an Atheist but lean towards deism.

        I say You have built this argument on a faulty premise: that the atheist declares that there is no god because they know everything. According to your definition, Dawkins himself falls under the ‘agnostic’ category… as do almost all atheists gnu or otherwise. What is evident is that there are no good reasons to believe there IS a (mono)theistic god like the one christians and muslims and jews believe. Obviously, there’s a problem here in your definition (of what constitutes an atheist, meaning the central feature is non belief because there is no evidence to suggest we should). In the first point to consider, no atheist capable of thinking critically would announce the impossibility of a deistic god existing for exactly the reason you point out: we haven’t exhaustively searched the universe so maybe, somewhere, a deistic god lurks.

        In other words, Craig, admitting that there is a possibility of a deistic god – no matter how unlikely – does not equal agnosticism. It equals an open mind and enough intellectual integrity to admit that it may be possible and yet highly unlikely. But you have falsely conflated atheism with certainty that something does NOT exist – which I have repeatedly and at length explained to you why this mantra of yours is a broken line of reasoning.

        You can’t prove I’m NOT a mushroom but that doesn’t make you an agnostic on the question whether or not you think I AM a mushroom. You have evidence I am not (unless you know of other mushrooms capable of typing) and no reason AT ALL to think I may be. You do not BELIEVE I am a mushroom because you have no good reasons to believe I am, so you are an atheist in this regard. You’d be unable to function in the world if you honestly thought that the possibility is reasonable that I may be a mushroom only because someone else to your satisfaction cannot prove with certainty that I am not. This is the thinking mistake you make in defense of your unreasonable claims about your god: no one can prove that what you believe doesn’t exist.

        Well, Craig, you can’t prove I’m not a mushroom but that does not excuse anyone from believing I am with no good reasons on which to base that belief. You are no more agnostic on this absurd possibility than I (or Dawkins) am agnostic about some deistic god.

        You make this same mistake over and over and over and insist it falls to the atheist to prove with certainty that your god does NOT exist… and then when the expected happens – Oh look, you can’t DISprove I’m a mushroom – you make the next jump in reasoning and assume that when the atheist fails in the task you have set before them that it means that they are agnostic – it’s as if you say with glee See? Only agnostics are honest enough to think I may or may not be a mushroom. All you atheists who see no reason to think I am are just dishonest!

        Come on, Craig. That’s a load of bunk and you know it and a good indicator is when you take one the world’s most famous atheists and claim he is agnostic because he fits into your definition as one.

        Your definition is wrong.

      • Craig Benno says:

        Tildeb…all I can say is that you don’t know what the dictionary / encyclopaedia definitions of Atheist and Agnostic are…

        And again…you are validating the very points that I have mentioned in that in reality there can be no honest Atheists – only Agnostics.

      • tildeb says:

        And you’d be wrong in that as well. Of course there can be (and are) honest atheists: atheism speaks to a lack of belief. Agnosticism speaks to a lack of knowledge, which I have already addressed here:

        …that agnosticism speaks of knowledge; in this sense we have no knowledge for or against some god. That’s honest agnosticism. That includes most atheists. Atheism, in contrast, speaks to non belief. Atheists don’t believe a theistic god like the ones described by the usual assortment of religions exists in reality for there is no good evidence in reality to suggest as much. That is exactly why the believer in such a theistic god must turn to faith, meaning belief in something for which there is no good reason to believe and held firmly in place in spite of an absence of evidence which should be there if the hypothesis were true in reality. Atheists share no such faith, which is why a strict definition will soon find that people who call themselves atheists will agree to the term ‘agnostic atheist’ to account for both the lack of knowledge and lack of evidence for belief in the religious sense.

  3. Hi Tildeb.

    Does this information have a source, or is it your opinion? How many testimonoes of the 2.22.2 billion living Christians have you heard or read?

    • tildeb says:

      Which information is that? I think you mean to ask how can I determine that indoctrination versus other kinds of switching into christian belief is valid?

      There’s this, which is important because it shows those switching out of their religious indoctrination is over four times the rate of those who switch in as adults. The only remaining reason why numbers of christians (in the US) stay relatively high is because the entry rate of believers – meaning those raised from childhood to be ‘christian’ – into adulthood is so high to begin with, which means there is a massive indoctrination of children who are under the care and protection of adults who should know better than to indoctrinate but do not constrain their religious impulses out of some misguided sense of piousness… for the assumed good of the children, of course.

      Hope that helps.

      According to tax rolls in places like Bavaria, there is an overwhelming majority of citizens who are identified as ‘christian’ for paying public tax money to the care of various christian churches, yet in national polls, those who claim religious affiliation is around 15%. Obviously, there is huge discrepancy between those who are identified as christian and those who practice christianity. Which numbers are you using?

      • tildeb says:

        According to the poll I linked to:

        The former Christians who switched out of their childhood faith cited several reasons – none of which will surprise you – for doing so:

        gaining new knowledge or education
        feeling disillusioned with church and religion
        feeling the church is hypocritical
        having negative experiences in churches
        being in disagreement with Christianity about specific issues such as homosexuality, abortion or birth control
        feeling the church is too authoritarian
        wanting to express their faith outside of church
        searching for a new faith
        wanting to experience other religions

        American adults who switched into Christianity did so for familiar reasons:

        going through difficult life events
        getting older and seeing life differently
        wanting to connect with a church and grow spiritually
        discovering Christ
        wanting to know what was in the Bible

        Because the drop out rate is four times the drop in rate (for adults), one would expect a rather significant decline in religious membership over time but we do not see this. What we see is only a very sleight and gradual decline, meaning the numbers of recruits almost equals the number who leave. The only source for these large numbers of new recruits is from youth.

        What you call my ‘broad generalization’ is a quite reasonable deduction. Because a newborn child is no more a christian than she is a marxist, something has to happen for that child to take on a new identity based on a religious template. That parents happily label their children to be religious extensions of their own theological adherence should hardly be news to you, SotC. Religious schools are filled with such labeled children. A dominican priest once told me, “Give me a child to school at seven, and I’ll give you a catholic for life.” Do I have any reason to doubt him?

        Nor is christianity alone in this early work. Most religions practice childhood indoctrination and it is done because it works..

  4. What I was asking is that how can you say that of 2.2 billlion Christians (give or take a few hundred thousand for Bevaria), have you actually read or heard their testimonies? Do you know what it was that caused them to believe in God? What their backgrounds were, religious and otherwise?

    Yes, it is true that some children who were raised in Christian families remain Christian during their lives. But it is also true that people who have not been raised in Christian homes have become Christians.

    The issue i have with your statement is that you are making a broad sweeping generalisation about a couple of billion people (not to mention those who are no longer living), saying that we are Christian because of indoctrination. Your statement gives no room for any other possibility of why someone might subscribe to the Christian faith. So whether or not statistics were bodged in Bavaria, it is really neither here nor there because you are still generalising a huge number of people in a single statement.

  5. tildeb says:

    This very short video shows why our brains, and not our eyes, see.

    Our brains are very good at tricking us. When we experience something, we try to make sense of it. What fills in the details is our brain – based on what aligns with our expectations and prior beliefs. These beliefs may or may not be based on what’s true in reality. That’s why it is so very important that we understand and appreciate that our attributions (to what we assign cause for the effect we have just experienced) may be wrong. Once we understand and accept that our attributions can be and often are wrong, we realize the importance of independent verification. This is where the method of science plays such an important role in determining reality and why we can’t arbitrarily suspend laws of nature to suit a particular brain-based belief without understanding at some level that we’re cheating. Without verification, our attributions are not an authority for our faith-based beliefs if we are willing to submit them to independent verification and respect the results. When we protect our attributions from being subject to the arbiter of reality, we are allowing closing our minds to what is true (if we think it will go against what we believe to be true) and substituting belief in its place. Whatever conclusions we draw from this dishonest method to protect our beliefs has to be untrustworthy. So when someone proposes some faith-based belief to be true but unwilling to submit those same beliefs to the arbitration of reality, they are not seeking what is true at all. They are really asking you to grant to them a special exemption on behalf of their belief. This makes you complicit in the cover-up of reality and an accomplice in not respecting what’s true. This is why religion and science can never be complimentary but contrary to their core.

  6. Hi Tildeb.
    Yes, I am aware of the various factors that make up our experiences. Going by your comments, I gather you have not heard/read many experiences relating to God, and that you consider a personal experience to carry no value. Am I hearing you correctly? If this is your position, what value (if any) do you give a person’s experience? Do you have principles or mindsets in the way you conduct your life that are shaped by your experiences?

    Sarah of the Collage

    • tildeb says:

      I am cautious to grant any value to what people claim is the cause of their experience. I call this tendency an attribution that may or may not be true. Once again, I use my two questions: Is it true, and how do you know?

      If the attributions match up with good corroborating evidence, then it’s probably quite reasonable and probably accurate. But when the attributions not only go directly against the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology as we know them to be (and which we utilize reliably on a daily basis), when the attributions involve supernatural activities where all physical evidence mysteriously vanishes before the glare of honest inquiry, when bizarre yet supposedly directed agencies flicker in and out of our universe immune to the laws you and I are subject to, then I have no reason to grant extraordinary attributions devoid of extraordinary evidence any value whatsoever because they are identical in all ways to delusions.

  7. Ok Tildeb. You are very good at deflecting. You still have not said whether you have actually read or heard people’s encounters with God. So, I ask you to take the experience of say Bill W who co-founded the Oxford Group which later became AA. I will let you look him up for yourself to read about the experience he had that from that point he did not drink again. There are comments made by respected Doctors, before and after the fact. Please tell me what you think happened for him at that moment and how this became the point of his authentic recovery.

    • tildeb says:

      No, I’m not deflecting: I’m explaining why the attributions of people are not evidence for causation. For example, here in Canada the AA step about giving up one’s power to god is termed “calling on one’s higher power” which could be anything including one’s cat. But the point is that the coping ability with an addiction requires an acceptance that it is a problem, and giving up one’s power over the addiction is an efficacious step in treatment. That doesn’t mean the object – real or imagined – to which one gives up control (the higher power) is therefore a causal agent of treatment, although we here this attribution made all the time.

      If you really must know, I’ve read and heard of thousands of testimonials. So what? Their testimonies are not evidence of what’s true in fact, in reality, but attributions that fail to link cause with effect other than what they believe has happened. No christian convert that I know of has attributed krishna as the causal agent, nor any recent sikh convert jesus. Remember, geography – not truth of core religious beliefs – is the best predictor of the kind of religious faith people have. A hundred thousand testimonials by sikhs has not changed your mind one iota, has it? Don’t you think it’s a rather silly argument for me to make that you need to do so in order before you can reject the central claims that sikhism is the one true path to god or unfair of me to suggest that you are deflecting the discussion about what is true in reality if I insist you really must account for a half million testimonials about the tao?

  8. Brian Sleeman says:

    So in Canada, are you free to practice Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Wicca etc.? (like pretty much every western nation). If so, then your ‘geographical’ argument is still as flimsy as when Mr. Dawkins pushed it. Yes there are places where that does occur – but it is hardly definitive for the case.

    Do you have children? If so (or when perhaps you do), will you ‘indoctrinate’ them on Western medicine when they are ill?

    Any true Christian knows that we can’t ‘make’ Christians, it is a choice they make for themselves. And sadly, some do choose not to – and no doubt there are many reasons for that. There are also a lot of people who ‘identify’ themselves as Christians because they are ‘good people’ – but have no real faith. And it is usually these that ‘leave’. Statistics can be interesting things – we have just had our census done here in Australia, under religion there were religions (Islam, Buddhist etc.) and then a list of Christian denominations – bizare, anyway at this time my entire family comes under the banner of Christian, not because I believe (or claim) that my children are Christians, but because we believe they are covered under our faith – until such time as they profess their beliefs either way, and we practice the Christian faith. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t put much stock in ‘numbers’ – a bit like how many scientists agree / disagree with anthropogenic global warming.

    I know so many scientists (geneticists, physicists, geologists etc.) who believe whole heartedly in the God of the Judeao-Christian Bible (and I don’t mean paying lip service), and many also who don’t. What does that tell us? It’s how you read the answers and understand the question(s)?

    Funny you should pick mushrooms as your example – they grow in the dark, and from a Christian perspective unbelievers are ‘in the dark’ – so maybe there is some truth to your mushroom comparison? 🙂

    At the end of the day, we each believe what we believe – some may change that over time (maybe many times through out their lives) and we all ‘know’ why we believe them (whether we admit it or not is another thing).

    How does any of this fit with Craig’s post? Well, I guess if an Atheist claims there is no God and truly believes that (regardless of any definitive ‘evidence’, or lack of) then they are not Agnostic. If they are ‘open minded’ and because they cannot disprove a God exists they would then be Agnostic, then if they were truly ‘open minded’ because they couldn’t prove that a theistic God didn’t exist they would be technically Agnostic Theists. What I’m not sure about is whether Craig is right because they can’t categorically claim that a God of any kind doesn’t exist, or Tildeb because he claims there must be some ‘faith’ component attached to that lack of proof to make the assertion of the post correct.

    • tildeb says:

      There is no good evidence that Craig’s god exists. That’s not a belief statement, Brian so respecting the truth of it is not a matter of religious faith. Let me point out (yet again) why Craig’s reasoning about atheists are theists is broken: a non woman is not another kind of woman any more than non belief is some kind of belief. Why do you have difficulty understanding this point?

      You are funny. On the one hand you assert that religious believers are such in the west because they have freedom to choose. On the other hand, you identify your own children under your faith and see no discrepancy in the simultaneously held opinions. Then you make the astounding assertion that there is some kind of fundamental disagreement between scientists about global warming. Why do I keep finding this close link between religious believers of christianity and a refusal to respect the overwhelming evidence and scientific consensus for anthropomorphic global warming? Might it because christians in particular are easily confused between respecting what they believe is true and what is true? I suspect so.

      For what reason do you think drives 95% of biologists to accept evolution as a fact and over 75% to reject religious belief altogether? Demons?

      Again, let me clarify why Craig’s argument breaks down: theism is about belief in god. Gnosticism is about knowledge. He confuses the two. That’s why you really can have atheists who are agnostic and theists who are agnostic. To assert other wise is simply wrong. You also seem to be willing to adhere to the canard about believing something because no one has yet to disprove it. That’s why I offered up the intergalactic mushrooms, Brian: you can’t DISPROVE the claim but I wanted you to appreciate why the kind of thinking that empowers it is an intellectual dead end. It not your job to disprove my absurd claim and your unwillingness to spend the time and effort to disprove it does not make my claim any more ‘true’ than if you didn’t. Again, I don’t know why you fail to grasp this simple point. Outside of your religious beliefs for which you seem willing to do mental gymnastics, I will guarantee you exercise much clearer thinking based on respecting the constraints of reality.

      Medicine, by the way, works not because of belief but because of causal effect by undirected, agent-less, purpose-less chemical, biological, and physical interactions. Presenting medical care to children as if it, too, were a similar kind of religious indoctrination is just bizarre thinking. It reveals a very deep misunderstanding of what medicine is and how it works and it all goes back to failing to address how we know what is true in reality and why.

      • Craig Benno says:

        You make an interesting statement there Tildeb about 95% of biologists who believe a theory is in fact a fact! What facts exist that cause those biologists to believe evolution is more than a theory? Alister McGrath who is a microbiologist says that once a scientist does all their research from a position of presuppositions they have lost all credible research integrity and cannot claim to have an open mind.

      • tildeb says:

        Because you’ve mentioned McGrath a couple of times now, please be assured he has zero credibility in the atheist community not for for his supposed ‘switch’ to theism but because the man cannot be coherent. Eric MacDonald has done a very good job dismantling piece by piece McGrath’s terrible book The Dawkins Delusion that starts here. One will have to continue through the site to read each part (which explains why McGrath is considered a Dawkins flea). Eric, by the way, is a former anglican priest and a truly wonderful writer.

        As for your ongoing confusion about evolution, Craig, here is a site that can help you overcome your difficulties with what I think is pretty good explanation of how and why evolution is both a fact and a theory. Don’t worry; you’ll get it eventually.

      • Craig Benno says:

        Yes…there is contention about Mcgrath betraying his own! But a friend of mine who is a member of mesa thought McGrath’s book against Dawkins won hands down and considers himself no longer a Atheist 🙂 No matter you think of McGrath…he was and still is highly regarded for his contribution towards microbiology. R.J Berry is the Emeritus professor of genetics at the University College of London and he is no fool. Joan Centrella who is the Chief of the Gravitational Astrophysics Laboratory, NASA certainly has earned her credentials as a credible scientist, Wilson Poon who is a physicist at the University of Edinburgh is somewhat of a bright spark and the bio on his page reads:

        Professor of Condensed Matter Physics
        Soft Condensed Matter research group

        Research interests

        Equilibrium phase behaviour, phase transition kinetics, non-equilibrium phenomena (aggregation, gelation, slow ageing) in various complex fluids, especially colloid-polymer mixtures and mixtures involving surfactants; main technique is direct observation using time-lapse video using various imaging techniques (e.g. dark field, phase contrast), supplemented by light scattering (static, small-angle, dynamic) and rheology. Theoretical description of non-equilibrium phenomena

        5410 J.C.M.B. The University of Edinburgh

        Oh and regarding the evolution thingy… Simon Conway Morris is a Palaeontologist ..and is also an highly credentialed and well received scientist who argues that the theory of evolution actually points towards a creator and in no way diminishes the concept of God…. He also argues; which I have said numerous times to you that there are many Christians who do hold to a form of evolutionary theory…

      • tildeb says:

        There are many fine scientists who are also theists. Francis Collins is one, head of the NIH, for example. But let’s be clear: their theology in no way contributes to their science nor does their science contribute to their theology. Some people are better able to compartmentalize their thinking into two very different, contrary, and non-overlapping epistemologies. I think they are foolish to do so but hey, they think it’s worthwhile.

        Also, you’ll notice the predominance of catholics and anglicans whose theologies pretend to allow for evolution. But, of course, when push comes to shove, the theologies insist on a creator to intervene at some magical poof moment without any evidence to back that up.

        McGrath in particular is a very annoying fellow because he never follows his thinking or the thinking of others to their logical conclusion. He has made a recent living trying to argue against Dawkins and he does so poorly while trying to rely on his academic credentials to gain a reading (and debating) audience. His conversion was never from an atheist to a theist – although he likes to claim this all the time; he simply decided when arriving at university to become a practicing christian. Everything else is just so much false advertising, so don’t take him on as some kind of marriage symbol between science and faith: he will disappoint you with his duplicity. Without Dawkins to rail against, the man’s writing offers us nothing.

        And yes, without question the number of scientists who are atheists are factorially greater than the general public from which they come. Yet Engineering, for some strange reason, is the home of a great many fundamentalists and suicide bombers, whereas dentistry seems to be the central scientific hub of creationists. Go figure. But in biology where faith beliefs about special creationism come into direct conflict with very strong and multiple lines of evidence, most scientists find they cannot square their theology with the science and most end up choosing the science and discarding the theology not our of spite or anger or contrariness but because the facts in reality speak so loudly of what’s true.

  9. Brian Sleeman says:

    Tideb, did I not say that my children have the right to choose – and at some point they will. Had my faith been Islamic or Buddhist, then in this western society they would have started out having an exposure to that faith – nothing funny or twisted at all, just your desire to make your point ‘valid’.

    Western Medicine does not cure everything, some Eastern and ‘New Age’ medicines may in fact be better options – but at the moment it would seem that your belief is also that Western Medicine is the best thing to expose your children too – does that not seem to eek some similarity to setting a path upon which you want your children to start?

    I have no (significant) reason to believe you are a mushroom or that there is a tea cup orbiting Jupiter etc. I do have significant reason to believe that there may be a God (or Gods) – human history is full of such claims – you by your methodology come to the conclusion that there is no (or very little likely hood) of such, I come to a different conclusion – not because I’ve been told that it so, but because looking at all that I can see and using the education that I have been given I see what I believe verifies the claim that not only there is a God but that He is active in what happens.

    I know many non religious people who also doubt the truth of the cause of global warming and conversely those who don’t doubt it – again, just as circumstantial an assertion as many others. Weight of numbers is no evidence of anything other than weight of numbers. How did a 2 bit nation, invaded, taken in to captivity repeatedly, under repeated oppression by virtually every major power (and their ‘gods’) spawn a religion that has grown to the extent is has? To what ‘value’ was this religion to all those who already had deities to ‘look after’ them? If their current gods were ineffective or ‘unreal’ – why would they see this religion of the despised Jews as being any better? None of that of course is scientific evidence – but there is much to corroborate between what is described in the Bible and what we see going on around us. You commented on an earlier blog that 60+ passages in the Bible about our ‘earth centric’ view of the universe – there are approximately 31000 verses in the Bible, so like I said, a handful of verses hardly show a deep focus on the ‘scientific’ aspects of the world / solar system / universe.

    I do, however, suspect that you are correct in that a Theist and Deist must have a ‘faith’ belief as such, and that an Atheist denies the existence of any God and the Agnostic believes (not in a ‘faith’ sense) in the possibility of a God because they cannot know that one doesn’t exist.

    I’m not telling you you need to believe anything, just pointing out that there is more to all this than science – and I’ve studied psychology and can tell you there is no unequivocal scientific base to psychology but it used and accepted all the time in making determinations and decisions about things.

    • tildeb says:

      You keep wring that atheists deny the existence of any god and this is in error. No doubt some atheists do, but they are justified to do so. The vast majority simple have no good reasons to believe. It’s just that simple.

      When you say there is more to this than ‘just’ science, what I hear is a denial of methodological naturalism (MN) (as the only game in town, so to speak) upon which science is founded (please take a moment and read what’s on that link). As far as I can tell, you have nothing to base your notion on, meaning your assertion rings hollow. MN IS the only game in town. You prove my point when you use language like ‘unequivocal scientific base;’ there is no such beastie except in your mind.

      • Craig Benno says:

        Tildeb… the word “Atheist” means “No God” It comes from two Greek words.

        A = which means No
        Theist = which means “Believer in God”…

        Put the two together and it means “No Belief in God”

        You can try and deflect all you like with long posts, philosophical rants and smokescreens…but in doing so you lack integrity. The scientific community prides itself on the precise nature and meaning of words – which is why ancient Greek and Latin is still used.

        Simply put – you can’t be an atheist if you believe in any kind of God….

      • tildeb says:

        Craig, don’t be silly: of course the word means no god because the root is theos. But in common usage, those who have no belief (because they have no good reasons to believe) in a monotheistic god like yours call themselves atheists.

        And of course you can’t be an atheist if you believe in any kind of God. That’s what I’ve been saying to you! You’ve been trying to argue that atheists are really theists in some kind of disguise because you focus on and hold to your notion of no belief to be a different kind of belief. That’s why it’s in error.

      • Craig Benno says:

        I don’t think you have been following my train of thought very well Tildeb.

        An Atheist will claim that they have the higher ground because they operate in the realm of logic and knowledge. However its illogical for an Atheist to say they have all the required knowledge to categorically state that there is “No God” Therefore within the framework of integrity and honesty in that statement – there is an acknowledgement that there is a possibility of a God… Notice that Atheism is about God…..within the ancient framework of language “Deism” is a modern word that has no real meaningful root, like Atheism does…. No God means just that…No God. Within its historical setting and meaning it encompasses all thoughts about God and religions….

        Therefore if an Atheist acknowledges that there is a possibility of a God/ god of any kind – they have now moved into the position of being an Agnostic…which means Not enough information or not enough knowledge .

        I then pointed out that many Agnostics lean towards “Deism” and from that point I said that again they don’t have enough knowledge to state with any level of certainty that Deism is in fact the truth – and that there could be the possibility of a Theistic God… and therefore they are what I term an “Agnostic Theist” which means they are a person who doesn’t have enough knowledge about theism.

  10. Brian Sleeman says:

    Tildeb, you make this statement to Craig “But in common usage, those who have no belief (because they have no good reasons to believe) in a monotheistic god like yours call themselves atheists. ” and yet tell me I’m wrong for saying that they deny a God – or do they just deny a monotheistic God? If that be the case, then you had better read up you history because the early Christians were called Atheists because they didn’t believe in ‘the gods’ .

    You keep harping on about scientific methodology – is that not the scientific base upon which all scientific analysis is done? So when I say psychology has no unequivocal scientific base – it means that the concepts on which the practice of psychology is based are not scientific, they may use scientific methodology to try and prove their results but in and of its self it is not science. For example you have a phobia of X.

    Psychologist 1 believes that it is because you are born with this Phobia (essentially it’s genetic)
    Psychologist 2 believes that you were raised to be Phobic of X – perhaps because you parents always told you were scared of it.
    Psychologist 3 believes it was due to traumatic event that you have the phobia
    and there are 2 other avenues which I can’t recall off the top of my head.

    So depending on which psychologist you see, will depend on the ‘treatment’ they will provide you. Yet we use and accept and rely on psychological analysis everyday, advertising, raising children, dealing with criminals etc. etc. We accept (as a society) the validity of what these psychologists do – yet they do not have any ‘common’ scientific base upon which to base such things.

    So to me, you link on MN was not related to what I was saying. So yet again, I say, there is more to this than science – and I can leave God out of that statement if you like and still rings true.

  11. tildeb says:

    Regarding your first paragraph:

    Think of it this way, Brian. What is it that atheists are denying? You and Graig think it’s a real thing, namely, god, so you think atheists deny god, which in your mind is real. This is absolutely typical and not at all unusual an attitude from the theistic camp. But it’s based on an assumption.

    But from the atheist’s perspective there’s no such thing as god… only belief there is such a thing. From where I sit, what the atheist denies is the notion that belief alone makes a thing true in reality.

    This is why I have spent some considerable time trying to explain this central point about atheism to Craig and his readers.

  12. Brian Sleeman says:

    Tildeb, so an atheist currently denies there is a god because there is no evidence (at least they accept – but that is a different matter) to support such a thing? Because if there is only a belief that one exists that does not make it so? Yet, they would hold that they cannot honestly claim there is no god(s) just because not all possible evidence (or avenues of investigation) have yet been covered?

    Do I have that right?

    If so, then does scientific research by Atheists (or Atheists that review their research) continue to do so with the open mind that it may reveal God or do they now hold that because they are ‘confident’ that there is no god(s) that no credence be placed in ‘wasting’ time on such investigation? Perhaps a bit like if the police are convinced that some on committed a crime and ignore other avenues of investigation because they are so sure that everything they’ve ‘seen’ so far must make that person the perp?

    • tildeb says:

      Maybe this will help explain why what you see as a rejection of god I see as being honestly sceptical of an extraordinary claim based on a respect not of what I believe is true but what is true.

  13. Pingback: The Atheist & Christian discussion continued–part 5 Reasons for the faith. | Trinitarian Dance

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