I strikes me from time to time that, as thinkers, we can't also be atheists.

Literal atheism is untenable because we're assuming that we can prove a negative - which is clearly impossible.

That leaves us as agnostics a word I feels is associated with some rather "fence sitting" or woolly ideals.

So are we tied in knots here? Or is there a word which adequately describes us while at the same time demonstrates that we're not subject to the fallacy of "trying to prove a negative".

Tags: agnostic, agnostitism, atheism, english

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Replies to This Discussion

I like the term, "secular humanist" because it evokes a positive statement and affirmation. My former term I used was "anti-theist"

I was saying that I knew you (Joan Denoo) were a Secular Humanist.
Yes, that term fits me well. Now, I hope to fine songs and tunes that I can hum instead of hymns, positive aspects of secular humanism, jokes about them, and stories to replace the ones that continue to clutter my email box
my sign is vital, my hands are cold...

One has to take some stance on an issue of belief. If one does not believe there is a god, one is by definition an atheist.
The "problem" though it's an issue created by apologetics is that atheism is just that: a belief.

Bertram Russell remarked that he would not die for his beliefs, because he might be wrong.

Atheism as a belief is as untenable a position as theism - as someone noted way... way... back on page 1! ;-)

I have used secular humanist to describe myself though at times I'm not entirely sure that I'm that. Secularists strictly have more respect for religion than I care to give it. I am a humanist though - through and through. Only tonight I was arguing with my family over another family member (whom, BTW, I cannot abide) that their position requires urgent professional intervention. This situation was created by delusional Xians (their parents) trying to protect this person by wrapping them in a veil of solvency. The truth, it appears is rather different.

So now my hands are tied as this individual fades perhaps into a forced bankruptcy, homelessness and who knows what else. All because those who should have cared for them refused to acknowledge that they were a vulnerable adult. Ain't delusion grand.
The "problem" though it's an issue created by apologetics is that atheism is just that: a belief.

So people lie about atheism, so that means we can't use it anymore? Nonsense. We take the word back.

I'm a secular humanist too, but you can be a religious Christian and still be a secular humanist, so I don't think it conveys enough information on its own.
Strictly (absolute) atheism is still a belief though.

I share your point with being a secular humanist - it says nothing about what we "believe" or not which, although it usually applies to atheists, doesn't really describe us for what we are.

Agnostic Secular Atheist is about as close as I can get using this logic.
Strictly (absolute) red is still a belief, though.

Does that make us agnostic-about-red people?
Or like moJoe's atheiskepitihumanist =D
What is "Strictly (absolute) atheism? Is that what you are calling "belief that there are no gods" then yes it is a belief. But most of the people here don't mean that when they just say atheist, as just atheist is about a LACK of belief. If a lack of a belief is a belief, then the word belief becomes completely meaningless.
As to "atheism is just that: a belief", of course it is a belief. All constructs consists of beliefs. Beliefs matter. Just remember the South of old with signs all over the places, "Whites Only", or "Blacks Only"; and no such signs in the North. Or stand on the border between USA and Mexico observing the different political and religious traditions of those countries and the effects on the economy; beliefs matter. Or remember standing at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin before the wall went down, prosperous on the West; drab, dull, depressed populations on the East. Beliefs matter. Or go to a small village in north, central Mexico with three different sections; one with bright colors, music, and arts of the Mexican population; Well maintained homes and business and excellent schools in the Mormon population; and rigid, controlled, somber populations of the Mennonite population. Beliefs matter.

As to the definitions of secular and humanism, they do not appear to be inclusive of a religious belief to me, even though there may be Christians who are humanists. So, I will yield on that point.

sec·u·lar [ sékyələr ]
1. not concerned with religion: not controlled by a religious body or concerned with religious or spiritual matters
"secular education"
2. not religious: not religious or spiritual in nature
"secular music"
3. not monastic: not belonging to a monastic order
"secular clergy"

1. belief in human-based morality: a system of thought that is based on the values, characteristics, and behavior that are believed to be best in human beings, rather than on any supernatural authority
2. concern for people: a concern with the needs, well-being, and interests of people
3. Renaissance cultural movement: the secular cultural and intellectual movement of the Renaissance that spread throughout Europe as a result of the rediscovery of the arts and philosophy of the ancient Greeks and Romans

Source: Encarta

So, the search goes on for a term that, at least for me, is positive, pro-active, and solid upon which I can build the foundation of my belief: there is no god; there are no gods; heaven and hell exist right here, right now.
As to "atheism is just that: a belief", of course it is a belief.

Um, no, it isn't. Atheism is the lack of a belief in any gods. Strong atheism or antitheism is the belief that there are no gods. If you are going to redefine atheism to mean something most of us wouldn't claim, then yep, we'll have to give up the term. But then we'll be stuck coming up with another term for lack of belief in gods.
I can believe there is a god.
I can believe there is no god.
I can believe there is a tooth fairy.
I can believe there is no tooth fairy.

You will have to say more, or say something differently, or agree to disagree, if I am to understand your point.


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