Introduction Post (reNewedAtheist) – On atheists’ beliefs and the redefinition of “atheism”

Hi! Just thought I’d briefly introduce my “apologetic”.

I don’t typically argue for God’s existence when I talk to atheists. I mainly critique their beliefs.

I do this because I often find that atheists don’t adhere to the own goalposts they set.

Blind faith is anathema to the average atheist, and yet I find that most internet atheists are guilty of just that. I’ve put my thoughts on the matter into a simple argument:


soft agnostic – One who makes no claims as to God’s existence. Most atheists on the internet adhere to this position and call it atheism.

atheism – The theory or belief that God doesn’t exist, i.e. the accepted philosophical position of atheism that is a knowledge claim.

1) If soft agnostics feel that atheism is probably true while lacking evidence for this position, then they have blind faith in atheism.

Support: Soft agnostics don’t claim to know that atheism is probably true, and so can’t justifiably conclude that it is.

2) Many soft agnostics feel that atheism is at least probably true and yet concede they have no evidence for this position.

Support: Most any internet non-theist feels that atheism is more likely than not, at least, they’re very rarely 50/50 on God’s existence.

3) Therefore, many soft agnostics have blind faith in atheism being (at least probably) true.

Usually when I present this argument to atheists online, they try to dismiss the argument because I don’t use their accepted terms. You’re probably not going to want to do that  – it’s a terrible objection. I’m mainly using these terms because they denote separate positions.

The point of this post is to illustrate how the new definition of atheism is merely wordplay. One doesn’t see these kinds of games in academic philosophy – atheist philosophers argue *against* theism being true. A simple glance at the IEP page on atheism would convince any open-minded person of this fact.

And really, if a theist wanted to play the same games that atheists did, they could – they could just call themselves a-materialists, those who lack a belief in naturalism being true. At that point, the theist could just sit back and wait for atheists to provide evidence.

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60 thoughts on “Introduction Post (reNewedAtheist) – On atheists’ beliefs and the redefinition of “atheism”

  1. kyle

    So in your entire post you seem to be equating that thinking something is more likely than not is the same thing as “blind faith”. I think this definition is insulting to people of faith. I do not presume that people of faith are just 51% sure of a proposition. I do not find in discussions with them that they are a little more likely to think their position is correct.

    Reply
    1. reNewedAtheist Post author

      > So in your entire post you seem to be equating that thinking something is more likely than not is the same thing as “blind faith”.

      In the absence of evidence, yes.

      > I think this definition is insulting to people of faith.

      How so?

      > I do not presume that people of faith are just 51% sure of a proposition.

      They generally aren’t, in my experience. I don’t understand your point. How is this insulting to believers?

      > I do not find in discussions with them that they are a little more likely to think their position is correct.

      Yes, they usually are convinced that know (100%) that they’re right. That might get off into another topic though about knowledge/epistemology.

      What I do find very interesting is that most atheists I’ve come across are just as if not more dogmatic than Christians about their faith. Atheists generally profess that they are not 100% sure if God exists, but in my experience, are generally worse than Christians at critiquing their own beliefs.

      What is needed is some genuine introspection, to see where they truly stand on issues.

      Reply
    1. reNewedAtheist Post author

      I have only come across one ignostic so far, and it wasn’t a substantive experience. It seemed she needed to know *every* single detail about God before she would even take him seriously. But even at that point, if the conception of God didn’t pass the ludicrous test of falsifiability, she’d just dismiss the notion outright.

      Far from being open-minded, I’d say.

      But yeah, that was only one instance, I’ve no idea if all ignostics are this way.

      Reply
      1. Sultan

        but if every detail of god is based in theological presuppositions how would you move someone past ignosticism?

      2. reNewedAtheist Post author

        Perhaps you can fill me on what specifically is meant by ignosticism? From my understanding, I don’t see that it’s a rational position in the first place.

        Why is it an issue if our conception of God is formed theologically?

        In what sense would God be God if we could understand every facet of his being?

      3. Sultan

        I like the way Wikipedia defines it
        It can be defined as encompassing two related views about the existence of God:
        -The view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed. Furthermore, if that definition is unfalsifiable, the ignostic takes the theological noncognitivist position that the question of the existence of God (per that definition) is meaningless. In this case, the concept of God is not considered meaningless; the term ”God” is considered meaningless.

        -The second view is synonymous with theological noncognitivism, and skips the step of first asking “What is meant by ‘God’?” before proclaiming the original question “Does God exist?” as meaningless.

        how is that irrational?

        If our concept of god is based on theological presuppositions then we are left with an unjustified basis for comparison to reality. No?

        I’m just asking in what way we can understand any facet of his being ?

      4. reNewedAtheist Post author

        Well, presumably, *if* God didn’t care to have us understand him at all, then I can see how one would be justified in their ignosticism. But I don’t know why we should assume that God *wouldn’t* want us to understand his being/nature to any degree.

        So it seems that ignosticism already assumes too much straight off of the bat. I’m not claiming, that in an absence of evidence, we *should* assume God must be comprehensible by us, but it seems dumb/unjustified to assume that we wouldn’t be able to understand him at all.

        So basically, I don’t see why we should assume that God wouldn’t want us to understand him, especially in an absence of evidence for this position. It’s for this reason (or lack of reason) that I don’t see ignosticism as a rational position.

    1. reNewedAtheist Post author

      This seems like a concession that you’re taking the position that God is incomprehensible by us. Do you have any reasoning that leads to that conclusion?

      Reply
      1. Sultan

        a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed… if that definition is unfalsifiable… the question of the existence of God (per that definition) is meaningless.

      2. reNewedAtheist Post author

        “if that definition is unfalsifiable… the question of the existence of God (per that definition) is meaningless.”

        This is a claim that has a burden of proof. It’s on you to back up this claim.

      1. Sultan

        I’m sorry I meant to say
        unfalsifiable claims about something’s existence is meaningless

      2. Sultan

        I could say

        Everything that we know exists can be demonstrated empirically to exist
        your god is immaterial
        your god claim is meaningless

        or I could return your question with a question like

        Is there an existence of some being for which you accept that cannot be demonstrated empirically or that you can claim as meaningful?

      3. reNewedAtheist Post author

        > Everything that we know exists can be demonstrated empirically to exist

        That is false. We can’t know the external world around us exists through empirical means.

        Please don’t try to turn the question back around on me – as of now, you’re the one defending your claim.

      4. Sultan

        I should have said

        every being that we know exists can be demonstrated empirically to exist
        your being is immaterial
        your claims about said being are meaningless

        I’m not making a claim about god, you’re the one making a claim, about your god, and it is unjustified conjecture and hence not worthy of pause. Ignosticism is the only rational and intellectually honest position

      5. reNewedAtheist Post author

        > every being that we know exists can be demonstrated empirically to exist
        > your being is immaterial
        > your claims about said being are meaningless

        This argument is logically invalid. The conclusion doesn’t follow from your first premise.

        And in reality (if you look back at this conversation) I have not made any claims about God. Notice the article I posted that you’re commenting on: I specifically said that I do not argue for the truth of God’s existence.

        You, on the other hand, have made many claims about God which you have not backed up whatsoever.

        But this is typically the way these conversations go – non-theists usually make various claims and refuse to back them up. As you haven’t provided any reason to think your claims are true, then it stands that no rational person would be convinced by them.

  2. Sultan

    every being that we know exists can be demonstrated empirically to exist
    your being is immaterial and cannot be demonstrated to exist
    claim about beings that don’t exist are meaningless

    my point is that even asking the question “do you believe in god?” assumes more than can be justified, as there is no coherent claims about god’s existence the question is useless as it asks about nothing.

    Reply
    1. reNewedAtheist Post author

      I don’t have an issue with simplifying arguments (I’m all for that, actually). But the argument you just posted is also logically invalid.

      >every being that we know exists can be demonstrated empirically to exist
      >your being is immaterial and cannot be demonstrated to exist
      >claim about beings that don’t exist are meaningless

      The conclusion doesn’t follow from the second premise. Even if it were the case that God could not be demonstrated to exist, it doesn’t follow that he does *not* exist. This is an appeal to ignorance: http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#AppealtoIgnorance

      The issue I’m repeatedly having with you is that you don’t feel that you need to back your claims up…

      For instance:

      > my point is that even asking the question “do you believe in god?” assumes more than can be justified, as there is no coherent claims about god’s existence the question is useless as it asks about nothing.

      Why should anyone believe this?

      Reply
      1. Sultan

        I’m not asking anyone to believe anything. I’m simply trying to show that there is no basis in reality for the idea of god as god is not a part of reality. That is to say god is unnecessary for the natural order. So the Tabula Rasa perspective on theological questions and assumptions must be ignosticism as it appeals to nothing outside of the material world.

      2. Sultan

        To think what? That god doesn’t exist in reality? You’ve admitted as much, what are you saying?

      3. reNewedAtheist Post author

        No, I have not said that.

        Am I to take it that you’re a troll?

        If you persist in behaving this way, you will be banned from commenting.

  3. Sultan

    as all concepts of the christian god are appeals to unsupported presuppositional claims, they can be disregarded as quickly as they are acquired.

    Reply
  4. Sultan

    You are correct, I didn’t provide you a reason for disregarding nonsensical claims, I will only point them out. To each their own.

    Reply
    1. reNewedAtheist Post author

      You are conflating “unfalsifiable” with “nonsensical”, which, in the absence of evidence you have continually failed to provide, seems evidently nonsensical.

      Reply
      1. Sultan

        Oh I see where the digression began, it was a misread on part on an earlier response. However, if you threaten me again I’ll just stop talking to you. Ok?

      2. reNewedAtheist Post author

        That would be your choice, and I can’t say that your behavior recently wouldn’t warrant it.

        But if you want to continue this conversation, you’ll need to be more charitable.

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  6. keebostick

    Found all this nit picking a bit irrelevant since most religions can be rationally explained without any reference to God or any need to accept the existence of any God. My own take on the subject of Christianity can be found in my “Atheist’s guide to Christianity” blog subtitled “Is Christianity a by-product of a simple hallucination?” Don’t expect believers to abandon their delusions for rational explanations because logic can never replace what they would have to relinquish.

    Reply
    1. reNewedAtheist Post author

      It seems you’re equating “rationally” with “naturalistically”, which is exactly what my post focuses on: how are you justified in doing so?

      If you link your blog post I’ll give it a read… I tried searching for the title and didn’t come up with much.

      Reply
      1. keebostick

        I’m not sure you can equate the two terms. One pertains to “ration”, a noun pertaining to “share or portion”. The other pertains to “naturalistic”, an adjective pertaining to naturalism. In my original comment I should have said “can be explained in a rational manner”. Sorry, sloppy use of language on my part. However, the concept of naturalism is relevant since I take it for granted in my argument, but the question of God’s existence is irrelevant. I make my argument without any personal need to accept or to deny said existence. I just offer a rational alternative explanation of how the contents of the New Testament got there. Granted my claim that Peter lied to Paul is pure conjecture, but my other assumptions are validated as far as it is possible to validate such things 2000 years after the event. I offer the reader a simple choice between rationality based on reader-defined probabilities and emotion based on reader-defined needs. It’s up to each reader to choose which version of events best meets their own personal needs. I don’t begin to understand the self-delusion exhibited by “believers”, but I accept and respect their right to so choose..

    2. reNewedAtheist Post author

      The “fun” bit about the delusion charge that commonly comes up on the internet is that it works both ways. If theism is true, atheists are deluded. If atheism is true, theists are deluded. In the lack of evidence for theism or atheism, one isn’t justified in considering atheists or theists deluded.

      That being said, I want some clarification: do you hold that there is evidence against Christianity?

      I just realized that clicking your name on here links straight to your blog, so I found your blog post. It seems you are considering the information in your post to be evidence against Christianity’s being true, but I just want to make sure you agree before I proceed.

      Reply
      1. keebostick

        Point taken about delusion. I accept that in an absolute sense there is no evidence one way or the other so there is little point arguing about it. I happen to think that religious people are deluded but it’s nothing more than a personal opinion. Disagree if you like, it makes no difference to me one way or the other.

        As regards “evidence against Christianity”, as I’ve already implied in my earlier reply, I’m making no such evidential claims. I’m just offering a plausible alternative explanation of how the New Testament came into being. People can take or leave my explanation as they see fit. Again it makes no difference to me one way or the other.

      2. reNewedAtheist Post author

        I also see that Christianity offers a plausible alternative explanation to reality (as you believe with naturalism), so I’m not inclined to your views. So I suppose we’re at an impasse until one of us presents evidence for atheism or theism.

        I don’t intend to do as much here, and I don’t think you want to either.

        But the subject of my blog post is that just how *you* are justified in leaning towards naturalism being true in the absence of evidence for that position. To me this seems like blind faith in naturalism being true.

        As I mentioned above, for the sake of this argument, I’ll concede that religious people indeed have blind faith that theism is true (I don’t think this is true, but it’s not the focus of my post). But I don’t think I’ve come across a non-theist who accepts that they have blind faith in their beliefs, and yet they still seem to (as they don’t propose any evidence for the naturalistic beliefs).

      3. keebostick

        Your point that Christianity offers a plausible alternative explanation to reality depends on what one considers plausible. If you accept that Jesus was the son of God, that he was resurrected by God not once but twice and if you are happy with the concept of a heavenly eternal afterlife then yes, Christianity offers a plausible alternative explanation. But I don’t find these assumptions/assertions/claims plausible enough to warrant serious consideration.

        And yes I think you are correct, we are at an impasse because there is not a shred of evidence for either case. All there is, and all there ever will be is opinions, and the beauty of modern-day blogging is it enables opinions to be readily shared and disseminated throughout the world. Occasionally one comes across someone with an opinion that makes you sit up, take notice and re-evaluate your own position. Unfortunately they are few and far between.

      4. reNewedAtheist Post author

        > But I don’t find these assumptions/assertions/claims plausible enough to warrant serious consideration.

        Again, the same could be said of your naturalistic beliefs.

        So let me ask you then: as you concede that there is no evidence for theism or for naturalism, are you 50/50 on both theism and naturalism being true?

        Also, wondering by what you meant here:

        > And yes I think you are correct, we are at an impasse because there is not a shred of evidence for either case.

        Are you then a hard agnostic, one who believes that there cannot potentially be evidence for either theism or naturalism?

        Is that to say that you don’t think atheistic or theistic arguments can be sound? That seems like quite a burden of proof you hold yourself to.

      5. keebostick

        >as you concede that there is no evidence for theism or for naturalism, are you 50/50 on both theism and naturalism being true?

        As I’ve already stated, I concede there is no evidence either way, so it follows there is no point discussing it. Theism or naturalism, it’s all a matter of opinion. You can either be a theist or you can be a naturalist. Sitting on the fence is for people who find it impossible to make up their minds or for people who don’t care one way or the other. I happen to favour naturalism and my alternative proposition offers, for me at least, a more satisfying explanation of the origins of the New Testament content.

      6. reNewedAtheist Post author

        Again, some clarity: are you claiming there *is* no evidence for atheism or theism or are you merely conceding that you don’t perceive that there is?

      7. reNewedAtheist Post author

        That is a lengthy topic 🙂 and we can talk about it if you wish.

        But I think we first need to talk about goalposts.

        Do we agree on these points?

        1) Even if I did not present compelling evidence for the existence of God, that would have no bearing on whether or not he existed;

        and

        2) That sound evidence is not necessarily something that must be compelling for everyone – that one can claim to know God exists through intuition, similar to how they claim to know morality is objective, or that the external world is real.

      8. keebostick

        Point 1: You can’t debate whether or not God exists, you can only debate whether you think he exists. If you think he does then you either present the evidence to support your claim or you admit that you are just expressing a personal opinion.
        Point 2: You can claim anything you like but without evidence to support the claim it is nothing more than personal opinion.

      9. reNewedAtheist Post author

        > You can’t debate whether or not God exists, you can only debate whether you think he exists.

        What? Why? Would it not follow that if one presented evidence for or against God’s existence, that it becomes more likely that he does or does not exist (independent of anyone’s opinion of the matter)?

        > You can claim anything you like but without evidence to support the claim it is nothing more than personal opinion.

        Yes, that was the focus of my second point: it’s about what constitutes evidence. If theism is true, do you think that it’s plausible that we can know that God exists through our intuition?

      10. keebostick

        You use “if” a lot in your replies but I’m having difficulty understanding where you’re actually coming from. It seems to me that you are trying to hide behind smoke and mirrors. Are you are a theist or are you a non-theist or are you just playing with words for the sake of it? I think I’ve made my views (sorry opinions) perfectly clear. If you make your position clear then we can either agree or disagree and end this futile exchange.

      11. reNewedAtheist Post author

        Sigh. What exactly is the issue with using “if”? We’re talking about different worldviews, are we not? When I make “if” statements, I’m talking about the differences each worldview entails.

        Smoke and mirrors indeed. If you already have the opinion that the conversation is futile (you said something similar when you first responded here) then why did you bother commenting? It seems your mind is already made up.

        At any rate, I’m a Christian and a former atheist.

      12. keebostick

        Was wondering whether you’d come back. Had a look at your “about” page and see you state “we believe Christianity is true. Not “true for me and not true for you,” but true for everyone. Objectively true.” Well, I believe we are all entitled to our own opinions although I think it’s a tad arrogant to claim Christianity is true for everyone. About two thirds of the world’s population would disagree with you, me included. Of course we could all be wrong, and you obviously think we are. So in my book it’s up to you to show us the error of our ways. So either put up or shut up.

      13. reNewedAtheist Post author

        Atheism, according to Wikipedia, is 2% of the world’s population. You feel God doesn’t exist. You are therefore believe that 98% of the people that exist are wrong. How is this any less (if not moreso) arrogant?

      14. keebostick

        I thought we were talking about your claims that Christianity is true for everyone. About 35% are Christian so about 65% are not Christian. You claim Christianity is true for everyone. Work it out for yourself.

        On a completely different note. I’ve noticed you haven’t referred to my blog at any stage in these exchanges. Is this because you didn’t bother to read it or is it because you have nothing to say about it? I would have thought your preoccupation with objectivity would spark some sort of response. Or have I sailed to close to Christianity’s Achilles heel?

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