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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

Views: 172

Replies to This Discussion

I can believe there are no gods.
I can believe there gods.
I can not believe either position until sufficient evidence is provided for either.

For me, belief requires that evidence convince me of that position. I'm not convinced of either the existence or non-existence of gods sufficiently to make the statement of belief.

Note my rejection of "I can believe there is no god" is only in the broadest sense. I can say that for nearly every god I've heard of.
but you can be a religious Christian and still be a secular humanist

Where do you get this Stephan? By definition Secular has nothing to do with religion. It means worldly. You cannot even be a Scientologist if you are Secular (but you can if you are Atheist). An Atheist by definition is only divorced from theism but not from all religion. A Secular Humanist by definition is divorced from all religion. As such, every and any Secular Humanist is an Atheist but not all Atheists are Secular Humanist because Atheism accommodates non-theist religions and, in this, makes a weaker statement than Secularism. I hope you are not saying that being a Humanist is the same as being a Christian? That would make my hair stand up.

Per Wikipedia:

Secular Humanism is a secular philosophy that espouses reason, ethics, and justice, and specifically rejects supernatural and religious dogma as the basis of morality and decision-making. Secular Humanism is a life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead good, happy and functional lives.
It is how you are defining Secular. In you definition, no, you can't be a Christian and a Secular Humanist. But you could be a humanist Christian that is secular, i.e. supporter of separation of church and state.
I am using Wikipedia's definition of Secular:

Secularity
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Secularity (adjective form secular) is the state of being separate from religion.[1]


Very obviously one cannot be a Christian and be Secular too (because one must be separate religion to be Secular). One cannot even be a Scientologist and be Secular.

You say: secular, i.e. supporter of separation of church and state

Where did you get your definition of Secular?

Also, per Wikipedia:

Secular Humanism is a secular philosophy that espouses reason, ethics, and justice, and specifically rejects supernatural and religious dogma as the basis of morality and decision-making. Secular Humanism is a life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead good, happy and functional lives.

Clearly, Secular Humanism is incongruous with not only Christianity but every religion including Scientology. As such, because Atheists can be Scientologists, saying that one is Secular makes a stronger statement than saying simply that one is Atheist.

Please tell me the source that you are using which says Secularism means no more than subscribing to separation of church and state.
I'm not arguing with your definition, but I think there is a difference between secular humanists and the organized, recognized Secular Humanist group. You can be secular and be Christian. You can be a humanist and be Christian. (although both of those things seem to be counter-bible to me)

One of the definitions of secular is simply "not connected with religion" via dictionary.com. Therefore, a Christian could have secular views on forms of government. They could also have humanistic ethics. When we call the United States a secular state/nation, we mean secular as simply "not connected with religion."
All I can do is show you the definition of Secular Humanism per Wikipedia. You are intelligent enough to see that it has nothing to do with Christianity nor any other religion.

Secular Humanism is a secular philosophy that espouses reason, ethics, and justice, and specifically rejects supernatural and religious dogma as the basis of morality and decision-making. Secular Humanism is a life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead good, happy and functional lives.
Fred you have jumped in very much out of context. Stephan said:

but you can be a religious Christian and still be a secular humanist

I said:

All I can do is show you the definition of Secular Humanism per Wikipedia. You are intelligent enough to see that it has nothing to do with Christianity nor any other religion.

Secular Humanism is a secular philosophy that espouses reason, ethics, and justice, and specifically rejects supernatural and religious dogma as the basis of morality and decision-making. Secular Humanism is a life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead good, happy and functional lives.
The organized Secular Humanism does use this definition, sure. But you are failing to recognize that the vast majority of Christians don't use supernatural and religious dogma for the vast majority of their morality and decision-making on day to day affairs. The part you are rejecting really falls under humanism.

If you check out the Humanism article on Wiki, you'll see that humanism, and the use of human writings to form character, used to be thought of as addition to religion, not opposed to it.

If you check out the article on Secularity, you'll notice that it specifically spells out "secular states" as a use of the term that denotes no special preference for or against religion.

You are using the definition of "Secular Humanism" as it stands as a philosophical movement in recent history, I'm talking about the words with their separate meanings. Christians wouldn't be "Secular Humanists" but they could be secular and humanist.
The part you are rejecting really falls under humanism.

I'm not rejecting Humanism Stephan. I believe in the Golden Rule. I'm rejecting religion. In that I am rejecting religion but not Humanism I am a Secular Humanist by definition.
Sorry, typo. "The part you are rejecting to in relation to being Christian and secular and humanist." That's what I should have typed, but for the sake of time I sort of butchered the grammar.

I wasn't trying to make any claim about your personal views.

As it happens I would also be classified as a secular humanist.
Not believing in gods != believing in the absence of gods. That's a common logical fallacy that theists like to use.
That's a tongue twister...

How can one believe in the absence of gods? That's almost a contradiction in itself. (Not that I'm arguing with you David.)

O my brain hurts.

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