Please answer just this one question (I need hard data.)
A. the disbelief of gods
B. the belief that there are no gods
C. Other (explain.)
Please pass this on to other atheists and give them my email. I'd like to be as thorough as possible here.
Initially, I selected C and wrote a giant post complaining about current useage of the atheism/agnosticm terms. Nahh...if you're making me king I'll tell you how the world will be. To say atheism is "the disbelief of gods" would be the most satisfying definition to me. Some would claim to be an atheist you must insist there are no gods. That leaves those who refuse to go so far out of either theist/atheist camp. Those who support answer A are clearly not theists so they must be atheist.
I will chose C becaue of word gods in both A and B. Atheism is the acceptance of knowledge and rejection of beliefs.
Difference between Knowledge and belief lies in method of determining truth of a concept. Scientific method we use today requires testing and proof before accepting any thing true. Belief usually refers to thing accepted true without need of any proof, testing or use of logic.
So I may chose C by saying
Atheism is use of scientific method.
Amer, I like your kind of atheism. That's the kind I am.
I like to call myself a Scientific Realist. I just had the thought that perhaps a "Scientific Atheist" would be a good title also.
If it ain't the Oxford, it ain't it.
Atheism is disbelief in the existence of a god or gods.
Disbelief is the refusal or reluctance to believe. That does not characterize Atheism as I see it. It is also not necessarily the belief that there are no gods. My vote is for C
Atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods.
This is very different from the refusal to believe or the belief that gods do not exist. Hard Atheism, however, would be the belief that gods do not exist. So that can certainly be within what we define as Atheism. The refusal to believe could also be valid for some gods. IE, the only gods worth believing in are those for which there is a benefit for belief. That is, the gods I should believe in are those which will reward my belief. However, any god which requires belief and worship for me to receive their gifts are not worthy of my praise and therefore I will not worship them, nor will I believe in them because they are a contradiction in terms. This is a more complex statement, but generally so speaking, belief is compelled by the evidence. I WANTED desperately to believe in god... but I could not. It just didn't add up and no matter how much I tried to lie to myself, I just couldn't convince myself of the truth of god's existence.
I am forced to answer:
“None of the above”
Well, because the concept of god lies outside the realm of “belief”.
Belief resides within and relates to the empirical world.
For example: when you drop a brick, you move your toes.
Why? Well, because you “believe” that if you don’t, the result will be painful.
The concept of god, on the other hand, resides within the realm of faith.
One has faith in the existence of god(s).
One has belief in the existence of gravity, the substance of the brick, and, no doubt from past experience the existence or the potential for pain.
There is a profound difference between faith and belief.
To ignore the function of faith in these sorts of “studies” is to ignore the essence of theism and, ergo, atheism.
So, really, the one question we should “please answer”
A. the absence of faith in the existence of gods
B. other (explain)
If you want “hard data” ask the right question.
C. rejection of belief in the existence of deities.
A. "disbelief" not strong enough.
B. stated in the passive voice
C. "rejection" stated in the active voice.
Use of such words as absence, disbelief, lack of, and without all imply a shortcoming, a failure, a deficiency, anemia.
I'de say B.
I read a heaven scene some years ago in which a person going to heavens found big statues placed at different places in a big ground and people gathering arround each statue. Statues were changing their shapes regularly. On asking the person found
"Those statues were gods worshiped at different places on earth and the reason behind their ever changing shapes was that their shape in heavens altered in accordance to change in beliefs of their worshipers on earth".
I got two things from the story. First god did not create human but it was human brain which created gods. Second it was believers thinking which determined the shape of the concept. In refrence to the story it was intresting for me to know what people thought of their atheism. Its a pleasure to know that Atheism is much more than just rejection of gods. It is mode of thinking in a logical and scientific way.
Atheism is simply a subset of rationalism. I believe in things for which there is empirical evidence to support.
There is no evidence to support the existence of a god or gods, so I am called atheist. There is no evidence to support the existence of the supernatural, alien visitations, ghosts, big foot ..... so I am a..... those things as well.
I find it alarming we actually have a word to describe the non-belief in invisible god or gods. Is that particular rational stance any different than non belief in sasquach or Santa Clause?
The word atheism is just another example where religion has been given special consideration in society. A rationalist does not believe in any of those superstitious nonsenses. Calling ourselves atheists gives the religious more power than they deserve. How about rationalist? It covers god as well as Santa, Micky Mouse, and Big Foot, and makes no special pleading for a god.
Bob, I like your post. As the years go by, I'm coming to dislike calling myself an atheist. Rationalist is good, but lately, I'm thinking I prefer to be called a scientist.