What kind of atheist are you?

by Narkissos 105 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Narkissos

    The last few posts have pointed out some of the problems in just one keyword, ie "God". Assuming that the other keywords ("believe", "exist") are univocal (which they are not).

    What kind of predefinition of God do we assume to say that he doesn't exist? Leaving aside interreligious differences, we have the choice between the God of deism and the God of theism. And, as FBF remarks, it is very doubtful that the word "God" can be stretched beyond those two definitions (at least in realistic, not metaphorical language).

    At this point I would choose:

    I don't believe that the God of deism exists.


    I believe that the God of theism does not exist.

    Ross, could you elaborate on your concept of "placeholder"?

    Gumby, what you just said reminds me of Job, who was aware that the condition for arguing with God would be to be free of pain and fear.

    Only grant two things to me,
    then I will not hide myself from your face:
    withdraw your hand far from me,
    and do not let dread of you terrify me.
    Then call, and I will answer;
    or let me speak, and you reply to me.
  • gumby

    Narkmeister....perhaps when one of our moon roving probes records little people with real big eyes and heads walkin around and stuff.....we will then be one tiny step closer to finding out what or who god really is. Untill then, we'll just have to stick to JWD till it happens and keep guessing.


  • LittleToe

    Ironically it would take a similar course to a conversation we had some months back about reclaiming definitions and symbols.

    To me the word "God" is a symbol representing something infinite. I can't depersonalise it, because of my own interactions. Nor can I truly anthropomorphise it, because I openly acknoledge it's "bigger" than that, and certainly doesn't appear to play to human rules. I see slices of peoples' opinions of interaction through sacred texts, but acknowledge this isn't the whole picture. I see science explaining things that previously would have been classed as miracles. The "god of the gaps" isn't a sufficient enough explanation, to me, but I am content to call the term "God" a placeholder.

    Sorry for derailing your thread again
    Do you have a suggestion for the agnostic believer thing? One who beleives, but leaves the door ajar to eventually be proved wrong?

  • BrendaCloutier


    thinkin'--isn't atheist Christian or atheist Jew kind of an oxymoron?

    That was my immediate reaction when I first read it. However, an athiest usually has some basis of god, to deny god's existance. Even if that athiest if born of athiests, there is still some god-basis of his/her ancestors.

    edited to add: To deny existence is to accept that a thing may have existed.



  • onacruse


    My dear friend (and I mean that), you've said some daft things in your time, but that one takes the biscuit. Do you mind running through the logic of that one, for me?

    What?? Me be daft????? Now, that AlanF is daft, and especially that hillary_step, but never have I so been.

    Along the lines of some of my recent threads, the intent of my thought is functionality: if it makes a difference in life, then it matters in life (ala William James, and many others).

    So, insofar as belief in God is concerned: If it makes a person happier in this temporal existence, then all for it. That belief may, or may not, make others happier in our social coexistence; in such case, belief in a certain "kind" of God (or any God) may need to be eradicated, in the interests of social peace--witness what may arguably be demonstrated in the case of Islam (as just one example).

    Thus, in answer to your challenge: I have absolutely no fear that I will "burn in hell" for my thoughts against God. It's simply and only a matter of playing one idea off of another: God and not-God, neither of which is demonstrable. Therefore, my 'line-in-the-sand' holds no threat to me; it's a joke.

    Your sincere friend in return,


  • Greenpalmtreestillmine


    You started out with:

    "I believe that the Christian God does not exist, because if he did, he'd be a monster."

    You later listed some events you felt proved your point. I said in return:

    The context of much of what you are saying involves nation building.

    First, let me stop right here. So.... if God does not fit your conception of what he should be then logically he does not exist? If you have judged the Christian God a monster then that is enough for you to believe he does not exist? Does God really have to fit your mold? Are you that certain of your thinking processes that you feel capable of knowing what God should do and when he should do it and how? And if God should fail to meet your standards that in itself proves he does not exist? Are you sure about that?

    :: That this God wiped out entire communities of people to allow the Israelites to take over their land. Joshua 6: Shortly after their entering the promised land, God tells the Israelites to kill all humans and animals in Jericho, but to save the silver and gold.

    Nation building.

    Joshua 8: Shortly after wiping out Jericho, God tells the Israelites to kill all the people of Ai, but to save the animals and other goods for themselves.

    Nation building.

    :: That this God was perfectly happy to hear the Psalmist write words encouraging Israelites to kill their enemies' babies. Psalm 137:8, 9 (ESV); a lament on the Babylonian captivity: "O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us! Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!"

    This is a song of lament. In the West we don't write songs like this or may not express ourselves in this way but I am certain there have been many mothers and fathers in Iraq who after having their children killed either by Saddam or the U.S. government also expressed words similar to these. What kind God do you want? The OT side of God is not good enough, the NT side is apparently not good enough either. If God kills the enemies of his people that's wrong. If God Son, tells us to turn the other cheek and put down the sword then many would complain that if all Christians had strictly followed a pacifist way then Hitler would have won the war. You see....if God fights you say he's wrong. If God does not fight others say he is wrong. Thank God that God is what he is and not as people would have him be.

    :: That this God often encouraged the Israelites to kill all the males and nonvirgin females of their enemies, and steal the young virgins. Numbers 31: God tells the Israelites to take vengeance on the Midianites who defended themselves from Israelite aggression by cunning; all except young virgins are killed.

    Numbers 31:14, "But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, who had come from the battle. And Moses said to them: "Have you kept all the women alive? Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately. But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately."

    I believe you need to find a better example to support your statement, I'm sure you will. But in Numbers 31, it is Moses who calls for the saving of the virgins not God. Now, here is Moses, he is leading a people from place to place securing the area. What would you have them do? Save the whole population and then tell them, "Okay, we won and we expect you to abide by the rules. He who wins keeps the city and he who loses walks off in a dignified manner and just goes away." Would that have worked? Would you have believed that story? Or, should they have made portable prisons so that these people would then be transported along with the Israelite nation? For the most part land was apportioned according to the male line. The young captured girls could marry into a male line, the young boys and men would have no place in Israel and likely would not want one. The tensions and rivalries between the males, Jews and conquered non-Jew would have made a very difficult and dangerous life even more so for the Jews. They lived in their time not in ours. We cannot judge them by our time. This was war, not the Sermon on the Mount. God made predators did he not? He also made the more timid animals. They both have their place. So do war and peace.

    If the Bible record speaks of something unseen today such as miracles etc., it's called fantasy, a made up story. But when the Bible record records a battle wherein, true to the history of its time, men, women and children are killed, it is then faulted for being cruel. What kind of Bible record or God would suit you? Do you want him to fix everything by a snap of his finger? No, of course not. You don't believe in that. Do you want him to get rid of all the evil people in the world by killing them outright? No, of course not, that would be cruel. Should he give his spirit in greater measure so that you and others come to know him? No, you don't believe in that either probably.

    :: That this God is petty, jealous and often acts in a way that, if a human did the same things, he'd be viewed as a horrible criminal. Exodus 34:14: "You shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." Genesis 34: God tells Abraham to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice, to test Abraham's faith. A present day leader who told a parent to do anything remotely like that would be denounced as a monstrous criminal in the court of world opinion.

    Exodus 34:14 could take whole threads to discuss but the short of it: if God says he is a jealous God then we are certainly made in his image because good and bad jealously is a very human trait. As for the Abraham and Isaac event, Isaac was spared and the Biblical story serves a greater purpose then just a story.

    I see. Nation building absolves God of blame for atrocities, but not men such as Ghengis Kahn, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Japanese leaders in WWII, and so forth.

    If the American Revolution were fought today, rather than the 18th century, there would be many children horribly killed and many innocent men and women would lose their lives to mines and bombs etc. Many more cities burned on both sides of the Atlantic. That in itself would not equate it with a Hitler or Stalin. But you choose your examples to fit your claim as do I.

    God does not need absolution or excuses for his actions, he is God. I wonder, AlanF. If God were to make himself known to you, if you came to definitely believe in God and that the Bible has a good purpose, what would you do about that? Would you come here and tell everyone about your new faith in God? Yes, I think you would. I believe you to be a man of integrity. A good man.

    I hope God does that very thing, AlanF.


  • hillary_step


    An interesting discussion.

    I understand your argument but surely the whole question about God and whether he exists is essentially one that neccessarily becomes defined in human moral terms, as every religion including Christianity claims a human moral station *to* their beliefs. To suggest otherwise is to define God in terms of an amorality. For example, you represent God as a powerful personal force who has every right to establish natural and social laws that bring good or suffering to individuals, animals or any other part of his 'creation' and that we must merely accept this and learn to live with the consequences - but the Bible says that 'God is Love' ( agape - meaning God is selfless and cannot do anything for himself - only for the principled good of others )

    Either way, your view of God as represented in the Bible and that you feel reflects his personna is imbued with a serious dichotony. If the God of the Bible has represented himself as caring far more for humans than for the life of 'little sparrows', then how can you then establish his existence based on the - 'What do you know about God, you puny human, accept what he gives you and be grateful' argument when serious flaws show in how God has supposedly structured his creation?

    You balk at the idea of AlanF defining God in human terms and using such terms as 'monster' to describe a person who in your view is above such definitions, and yet the Bible itself defines God is such terms, how else could it define its God? Either God is defined in human moral terms and learns to live with the consequences of that, or God then becomes an amoral pantheist ( imho if God exists then it is in an a patheistic amoral guise ) but you cannot have it both ways.

    Best regards - HS

    PS Sabrina,

    God does not need absolution or excuses for his actions, he is God. I wonder, AlanF. If God were to make himself known to you, if you came to definitely believe in God and that the Bible has a good purpose, what would you do about that? Would you come here and tell everyone about your new faith in God? Yes, I think you would. I believe you to be a man of integrity. A good man.

    You are correct about Alan, he has *no* agendas and is a good man. I can also assure you that I do not involve myself in these discussions for anything more than knowledge.


  • frankiespeakin


    You make some good points. You are a out of the box thinker for sure.

  • frankiespeakin

    And I want to say to everybody on this thread you all add so much to it,,thank you no matter what your opinions are.

    FBF,,You make some very good points.

    Sixy,,Your femine side is showing and that has to be good I don't mean just in this thread but other ones as well you must have found some peace some where.

  • seattleniceguy


    To deny existence is to accept that a thing may have existed.

    I don't think that's true. There may be some cases where it is, but it is certainly not a general principle. For example, say someone posits the existence of gremlins who hide my car keys every night. You'd probably feel justified in balking at that proposition without giving it much thought. You deny my gremlins exist. Such denial does not indicate anything more than your disbelief that they exist.


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