I don't label myself an atheist, but rather a theological noncognitivist. Theists say "God is infinite" but everything anybody can think of is necessarily finite. Therefore I don't believe the row of 3 alphabet letters "God" or the row of 6 alphabet letters "Yahweh" refers to anything that can be mentally thought of either by theists, atheists, or agnostics. That's why I don't speak or write "God" or "Yahweh" except within quotation marks, and only then to speak of the row of alphabet letters. This makes the row of letters "God" or "Yahweh" quite different from the row of letters "unicorn" because "unicorn" refers to something that can be thought of. Anyone can think of a unicorn. In other words, I consider "God does not exist" just as meaningless as "God exists" or "God may or may not exist". Now "god" with a little "g" is different from "God" with a capital letter, because Zeus was a god. The ancient Greeks actually had a certain thing in mind which they believed "Zeus" referred to. They drew pictures of Zeus and put Zeus's picture on their coins. So Zeus was an imaginary god. Zeus didn't exist, but he, like unicorns, could be thought of. By contrast, however, the row of letters "God" or "Yahweh" does not refer to any imaginary god at all. I consider atheists who believe the row of letters "God" or "Yahweh" refers to something imaginary that they can actually think of (just as "unicorn" refers to something imaginary that can be thought of) as having a kind of faith themselves. I am without that faith, and I abhor that faith. If you are an atheist with that faith, and this offends you, then I'm sorry, but I am opposed primarily to faith, and only secondarily to religion.

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Comment by Ben on April 6, 2010 at 2:49pm
Technically we can't even imagine other persons accurately whether finite or infinite and yet we still stick a label on them. Your semantic distinctions are practically meaningless and you are not being consistent across the board since you don't put absolutely all words that refer to anything you are not fully realizing in your imagination in quotes. We are all noun noncognitivists or rather noun semicognitivists. But that'd be really silly to go around telling people wouldn't it?

Ben
Comment by Howard S. Dunn on April 2, 2010 at 12:07pm
Religion is, by far, more dangerous than the faith any individual has. But I see your point. In actuality, without the foundation of faith, Religion would be ineffective as the mass mind control tool it is.

Yes - I have concluded, as you have, that gods are imaginary and God is less than imaginary. Here's one reason why. Ask a theist if their god is male. An amazing number will actually say 'yes.' Then ask them how large his penis is and what it is for. I promise you, the very thought of god's penis - forget the ludicrous idea that he would have a use for one - will cause most of them to be disgusted with you for suggesting he has one. However, by conceding that their god is male, THEY were the ones suggesting he has a penis.

Ultimately, the cognitive dissonance involved in a faith in a disembodied, invisible, undetectable yet, somehow, omnipotent consciousness is astonishing, if you actually examine the concept with any level of scrutiny.

I am capable of imagining, in a nuts and bolts manner, that the universe - taken as a whole - could be a highly sophisticated uberconsciousness indescribable to us due to the vast contrast in scale. Sometimes, concepts that can be grasped - such as infinity - cannot be pictured. For example, while I cannot picture what x/0 would equal - I can grasp it as a mathematical paradox.

Nevertheless, conceding even the possibility of the existence of any Supreme Being I have heard described (feebly as you point out) is, at best, diplomacy or a concession that absolutely anything might be true.

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