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Furthermore, what if there are 'atheists' that say to YOU, "No, atheists just plain do not believe in God period, if you think that it is even possible then you are not an atheist"? How do you handle them? Whose definition wins? The two of you are essentially holding mutually exclusive points of view, yet which of you gets the right to define themselves?
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I completley disagree with you on this one. I reject this notion that, being something allows me to define what that something is. A snail cannot define itself as a lion. If it has lionish qualities, then it isn't a snail, and a new name is required. Essentially you are asking that language be subject to perversion by anyone who doesn't happen to like it. By the way, I don't see you as an atheist, I see you as an agnostic atheist, which is not the same thing. Now, let's take a look at what I just wrote - I described two words - atheist, and agnostic atheist. These are terms that have accepted definitions. Now, if you say, "but this doesn't mean this, this means that" where will it end? Maybe the words I am using in this comment are all up for grabs too? I strongly prefer to keep words the way they are, and if something doesn't quite fit then let's get a new word for that.
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Well, really, I think the specific example you used - religion vs atheism - is just one example of what I see as an larger (and increasing) tendency for people to be 'sure' that what they believe is true, and therefore further debate is unnecessary. They seem unable to live with the idea of uncertainty in their heads, and so are forced to latch on to one idea stick with it come what may. they seem to need to be 'anchored' to something. And these people occupy ALL sides of every debate. Atheists included. For instance, I am appalled how the Global Warming debate has taken on a similar quasi-religious, non-scientific nature, at least on the part of some proponents, whereby dissenters' opinions are not calmly and scientifically examined, but instead met with hostility and dismissed out of hand. To me, just calmly examine the facts and the evidence, come to a conclusion if you wish, but stay open to new evidence. Personally, I think that atheists who are 'sure' in their beliefs must know something I don't, becasue I really don't KNOW for sure whether God exists. I can see both sides as having some good arguments. I couldn't be bothered to get too worked up about it since I see no good way of proving it one way or the other, at least until i enter the afterlife, if it exists. I see nothing particularly magical about the religion debate in this area - it is really the same in many other areas where people have strong opinions.
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Apr 17, 2012