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Are we all born an Atheist?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 17th, 2018, 3:37 am

stormy phillips wrote:
November 10th, 2011, 5:46 pm
We are born agnostic, and regardless of what anyone believes, we remain agnostic. All I know amounts to not knowing all I know, but nothing.
You can't be agnostic until you know what you are suppose to not know for sure.
We are born atheist, when we hear about god the gullible ones become theists, the skeptics stay atheistic, and the one who do not want to upset anyone and prefer to sit on the fence remain atheistic and agnostic; they not being mutually exclusive.

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Mark1955
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Mark1955 » September 17th, 2018, 3:38 am

Greta wrote:
September 16th, 2018, 5:49 pm
Yes, Scott's post #2 was perfect.
Got to disagree. Scot's post was based on a very poor definition of atheist. Atheist and agnostic are not the same thing. I prefer to stick with Stormy Philip's argument in post 8.
stormy phillips wrote:
November 10th, 2011, 5:46 pm
We are born agnostic, and regardless of what anyone believes, we remain agnostic.
I'd agree there is little more to be said on the subject mind, other than going round in circular arguments.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

Steve3007
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Steve3007 » September 17th, 2018, 3:56 am

Mark1955 wrote:I prefer to stick with Stormy Philip's argument in post 8.
stormy phillips wrote:We are born agnostic, and regardless of what anyone believes, we remain agnostic.
Fair enough, but I prefer words to distinguish one thing (or person) from another. If everyone's agnostic doesn't it kind of make that word a bit useless?

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Burning ghost
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Burning ghost » September 17th, 2018, 4:05 am

So I suggest you present some ideas for a new thread to refresh this one. What direction has it taken? What are the best arguments put forward up to now? Can they be discussed further?

Either way I’m going to LOCK this thread. 15 pages over several years!

Mark -

I suggest you give a better defintion then. That could well be a meaning thread to start - yet there already is one if I remember correctly.
AKA badgerjelly

Steve3007
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Steve3007 » September 17th, 2018, 4:15 am

So I suggest you present some ideas for a new thread to refresh this one.
I can't think of any off the top of my head. I suggest you lock the thread and let the punters decide if they want to start a new one.

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Thinking critical
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Thinking critical » September 17th, 2018, 5:41 am

I attempted correct my original post a few months ago, the question itself is misleading as per the quote below.
Thinking critical wrote:
June 18th, 2018, 7:54 am
The problem that I now see with my OP is that all definitions require knowledge of the idea of god(s) in order for a position to ascertained. I have yet to find a word to define "absence of knowledge in gods" which is most likely the most accurate description.
We are born without knowledge of gods, belief in something in the absence of any form of knowledge relating to the description of the said belief, is a fundamentally flawed philosophical proposition.
This cocky little cognitive contortionist will straighten you right out

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Mark1955
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Mark1955 » September 17th, 2018, 7:37 am

Steve3007 wrote:
September 17th, 2018, 3:56 am
Mark1955 wrote:I prefer to stick with Stormy Philip's argument in post 8.
stormy phillips wrote:We are born agnostic, and regardless of what anyone believes, we remain agnostic.
Fair enough, but I prefer words to distinguish one thing (or person) from another. If everyone's agnostic doesn't it kind of make that word a bit useless?
An avowed agnostic admits he doesn't know if there is a deity, or many deities or not. I choose to believe that in addition, no one knows if there is a deity, or many deities or not. Some people choose to believe that they 'know' one way or another, but in one of my few moments of philosophical certainty I believe strongly that they're wrong, i.e. they are involuntary agnostics.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

Eduk
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Eduk » September 17th, 2018, 7:54 am

In my experience atheist is too wide a bucket to really narrow down what someone might mean by using the term without asking them for clarity. Perhaps you don't like that words have multiple meanings Mark? But do you at least recognise that this happens? For example you declare Scot's definition to be poor but fail to elaborate. Perhaps you could explain what you mean?
Unknown means unknown.

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Burning ghost
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Burning ghost » September 17th, 2018, 11:15 am

One thing worth considering is how people of group roughly define the others and themselves. All too often quite a few people talk cross purposes with the theist insisting the atheist is a theist (having a “religion”) and the agnostic not even able to define what it is they are unsure about.

Mostly the issue surrounds the often philosophically underdeveloped term “belief”. Then you get scientists talking about facts and refusing to get into beliefs, atheists who have no understanding of either science nor theology (probably the most hard cast “atheist” by my personal definition), and agnostics who really just mean “I don’t really give much of a rats ass so I’ll sit on the fence and just listen” claiming some particular open-mindedness lacking in the other sections of theistic opinion.

Note: I’m one or several arrogant steps beyond the agnostic I paint above being happy to take up all views at once or one at a time if I bend the rules of play enough! Haha!

By this I mean I am undecided abuot “religion” as an institute, atheistic about most elements of “religious institutes”, whilst for the concept of “religion” and “god” if far removed from the doctrine - yet of course one defintion of “religion” is that doctrine and scripture are an essential part of it.

By the way I am not in favour of simply locking this thread without starting up a new one that leads on from it some way. If we, or even the author of the OP, could propose something then I’ll lock it and provide link to the new thread with reference back to this one.

Critical Thinking (and all) -

It’s your Frankenstein! Any suggestions what pieces of this monster you want to cut away and breath new life into? Or anyone else?
AKA badgerjelly

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Greta
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Greta » September 17th, 2018, 6:46 pm

While I joked about this earlier, the OP is wondering whether humans will always naturally gravitate towards belief in God.

Historically this is evidently not the case, given the wide range of belief systems that have appeared around the world. Aside from the monotheistic deity, there were indigenous spirits of ancestors, of the Earth, of the land, totem animals, plants, rocks and places. There existed multiple gods representing different dynamics of nature as with the Greeks, Romans, Norse and Hindus. In China emerged the Tao concept, which is even more determinedly ineffable and mysterious than Yahweh. The Buddhists sat somewhere inbetween, more inclusive.

So a strong argument could be made for an inherent tendency towards some kind of mysticism or spirituality, but most of us will be atheists to someone else's spiritual conceptions. Also note that, throughout all of this, history was written by "the winners" and theists tended to cooperate more closely than others and tended to hold power. So, behind these tales of believers lies the relatively untold story of scepticism.

Even today I hear our Christian leaders declaring Australia to be "a Christian nation" and I expect that future historians may well assume that to be the case, even if well over half of us do not believe in God or gods as such and some minusclule percentage of us attend churches outside of ceremonies.

So we should not take the sidelining of the growth of scepticism by the dominant Christian factions of society to be fact - it's only one perspective. While atheism is obviously not a religion as is often erroneously claimed, it is an idea that spread over the millennia in much the same way as religions did, and it appears to be associated with large societies. It's hard to imagine a member of a tribe of twenty being atheist to their gods: 'Hmm, maybe the lack of rain is not punishment from the Mountain God but due to a persistent high pressure system?' :)

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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Eduk » September 18th, 2018, 3:25 am

Greta. I'm slightly confused. Your first point seems to contradict itself? Naturally gravitating towards a belief in God is what was happened historically?
From an atheist perspective people must gravitate towards a belief in God independently because obviously god didn't give anyone the idea.
Also you contradict yourself later. You claim theists cooperated more closely but then go on to point out politicians who use religion as a tool to gain power. I don't think today's politicians are likely any different than yesterday's politicians. It seems to attract a certain kind of person who irritatingly is ill equipped to actually do the job.
Atheism is only an idea or movement under one particular definition of atheism. You yourself say we are all,mostly, atheist towards other people spiritual conceptions. Yet this is clearly a different use of atheist?
Unknown means unknown.

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Burning ghost
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Burning ghost » September 18th, 2018, 3:36 am

If my, or in some cases another’s, sense of freedom is overly impinged upon (by my own subjective judgemental measures) then I’ll hope I’ll actively fight back against such impingement - be you theist, atheist, agnostic or any personally subjectively claimed degree of either, both or all, I don’t much care.

Combative respect seems in everyone’s self interest as far as I can tell. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve not see a strong argument against such a view yet.
AKA badgerjelly

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Greta
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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Greta » September 18th, 2018, 4:08 am

Eduk wrote:
September 18th, 2018, 3:25 am
Greta. I'm slightly confused. Your first point seems to contradict itself? Naturally gravitating towards a belief in God is what was happened historically?
I'm just stating the obvious - that people have believed in God, gods et al throughout history. So yes, it seems that religion is something that developing humans tend to to do. However, not all people do, as mentioned, and sceptic populations throughout many times in history were very likely underestimated.
Eduk wrote:Also you contradict yourself later. You claim theists cooperated more closely but then go on to point out politicians who use religion as a tool to gain power. I don't think today's politicians are likely any different than yesterday's politicians. It seems to attract a certain kind of person who irritatingly is ill equipped to actually do the job.
Atheism is only an idea or movement under one particular definition of atheism. You yourself say we are all,mostly, atheist towards other people spiritual conceptions. Yet this is clearly a different use of atheist?
Sure, today's theist politicians are still teaming up, forming powerful factions. Politics is historically a religious boys' club - noting that not so long ago an atheist politician even in civilised countries like England and Australia was an outrageous thing. The control of some nations are passed on from generation to generation via the old school tie and church affiliations.

As for us everyone being atheist towards something, that's just riffing off Dawkins's observation. For example, the Christians were atheists towards the Roman gods and religions.

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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by Eduk » September 18th, 2018, 4:31 am

Politics is historically a religious boys' club
There is a difference between being religious and saying you are religious.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Are we all born an Atheist?

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 18th, 2018, 5:13 am

Eduk wrote:
September 18th, 2018, 4:31 am
Politics is historically a religious boys' club
There is a difference between being religious and saying you are religious.
Not for anything that counts.

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