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   Author  Topic: Thoughts on the American-Heritage definition of 'atheism'?  (Read 1053 times)
metahuman
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Thoughts on the American-Heritage definition of 'atheism'?
« on: 2003-09-17 19:36:28 »
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"Atheism"
    1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
    2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
    3. Godlessness; immorality.
Source: The American Heritage Dictionary (or dictionary.com)

Thoughts...
    1a. Disbelief and denial require former belief. We are born as atheists. That is we are born without any beliefs in deities. Such belief is a learned behavior. While some atheists have done this--like many former clergymen, evangelists, pastors, and casual Christians--most atheists are strong atheists who have never joined a religion. Weak atheism (agnostic atheism) is more prevalent in intellectuals for the very reason that one cannot simply know if there are gods.

    Implicit (weak, agnostic) and explicit (strong, "hardcore") atheism are terms used simply to describe how an atheist thinks.

    2a. The doctrine that there is no gods is a strong atheist doctrine and is as irrational as the doctrine that there are gods. Both claims require evidence to be true and as of yet there is no evidence to support either standpoint. However, Christianity and other religions require followers to reject rationality, all evidence against, and have faith (also called ignorance), which ultimately undermines individual intelligence and knowledge.

    3a. While "godlessness" is true for all atheists, the second part of the definition that all atheists are "immoral" is a product of Christianized wishful thinking and irrational belief-stereotype. I know that Christians (and other people incl. some atheists) are taught that atheism is evil, immoral, and disgusting. Defining atheism as immorality requires the irrational belief that "God" is the source of morals which "He", naturally, is not.
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Re:Thoughts on the American-Heritage definition of 'atheism'?
« Reply #1 on: 2003-09-19 21:55:43 »
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Re:Thoughts on the American-Heritage definition of 'atheism'?
« Reply #2 on: 2003-09-19 22:30:29 »
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[metahuman] 3a. While "godlessness" is true for all atheists, the second part of the definition that all atheists are "immoral" is a product of Christianized wishful thinking and irrational belief-stereotype. I know that Christians (and other people incl. some atheists) are taught that atheism is evil, immoral, and disgusting. Defining atheism as immorality requires the irrational belief that "God" is the source of morals which "He", naturally, is not.

It is funny you should mention immorality being a creation of the Christian meme.
David posted this link on IRC that you might find interesting.

http://www.christianitymeme.org/
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Re:Thoughts on the American-Heritage definition of 'atheism'?
« Reply #3 on: 2003-09-20 00:25:26 »
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That's a really interesting site. Bookmarked.

I do have issue with Baker's Second Law though. Baker's Second Law states that "an organization that takes your money and lies to you does not have your best interests at heart." This would be true without the "and lies to you" part.
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Re:Thoughts on the American-Heritage definition of 'atheism'?
« Reply #4 on: 2003-09-20 10:01:29 »
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Agreed metahuman, as one of the votes in the CoV also points to this, it is not possible to be completely selfless.
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David Lucifer
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Re:Thoughts on the American-Heritage definition of 'atheism'?
« Reply #5 on: 2003-09-20 15:05:01 »
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Quote from: metahuman on 2003-09-20 00:25:26   

I do have issue with Baker's Second Law though. Baker's Second Law states that "an organization that takes your money and lies to you does not have your best interests at heart." This would be true without the "and lies to you" part.

Doesn't it depend on what the organization is trading for your money?
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Re:Thoughts on the American-Heritage definition of 'atheism'?
« Reply #6 on: 2003-09-22 21:52:04 »
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Sorry to all for going slightly off-topic (and I'll shift this to its own thread if you ask). I just posted this to www.christianitymeme.org and thought you might find it of interest:

[
I noticed in one of your articles that you wanted to research the evolution of the Christian meme over its relatively short history.

Firstly, I would recommend you research into Christanity during medieval European and Arab society, prior to the Protestant Reformation. You will see that most, if not all of the features of the current Christian memeplex actually were forged in this period. I would term many of the features of Christanity as that of a "Battle Religion".

Christanity essentially started as an eastern religion (some theological scholars credit Buddhism and Zoroastrarianism, with their principles of peace and tolerance as having integral influence on the early church's doctrine). It was only following its sucessful mutation and infection of the decaying and vulnerable Roman Empire that it began to resemble its current form.

Later, during the Dark Ages, it was Christian Europe's essential antipathy towards the richer, more technologically advanced (at the time) Islamic world that forged many aspects of its memetic structure.

Medieval Europe during this period was essentially in a state of continous warfare with the Arabian pennisular. Remember , that prior to the age of Colonialism, the Islamic world was essentially pushing back Christian Europe at every point.

The church essentially deemed itself as the basis of all civil society: citizenship was given at baptism and could be taken away (excommunication). Here we can see the birth of the 'powerlessness meme' you mentioned. Furthermore the meme mutated further at this point to incorporate violence as necessary to the furtherance of the faith. This was important if the Crusades were to be morally justified.

Christanity, at this point in history, mutated into a "Battle Religion" in order to survive.

Later additions, such as Catholisism's Papal Infallibility, were mutations to the receding central control of the Vatican, following the rise of colonialism. Christanity, in its Battle Religion form, proved a useful meme for justifying the (violent) subjugation of indigneous peoples, and so persisted in the Protestant strains as the West's influence increased.
]

Going back on topic, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Christian-conditioned institutions, responsible for the propagation of useful memes, would reflect a subtle (or in many cases not so subtle) bias against Atheism or Agnosticism. The English language as a whole is full of subtle biases, due to the evolved nature of language itself.


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Re:Thoughts on the American-Heritage definition of 'atheism'?
« Reply #7 on: 2004-03-27 23:45:47 »
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I think its is hinting at the idea of morals being specifically a word used for religious good, rather than societal good.
philosophers have stated that in the absence of god, we would have absolute freedom, for without a god, there is no basis for an absolute definition of good and evil, as any that we discover only relate to the current society we have constructed, as they would be our our own choosing, and would be inherently relative.
The unmoving good and evil a God would have for the Universe is what is defined as moral, regardless of the god or morals in question

in accordance with the above and the stated definition of athiesm, that dictionary claims morality isnt relative... unless im wrong.

btw:
what does the American-Heritage dictionary state as the definition of 'morality' ?
« Last Edit: 2004-03-27 23:53:29 by Stev » Report to moderator   Logged

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