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Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Plain Old Bill, Nov 24, 2004.
What makes an atheist?Is there really such a thing?
No, not really.
"Atheist" means "no god". The problem is that man will worship someone or something because it is his nature.
Most atheists serve several gods, such as money, power, comfort, lust, and (the biggest of all) self.
To answer the OP question, to be an atheist seems very reasonable to those who are one. They see no proof of God (in their view) and reject the supernatural.
I think there are many things that make an atheist -- bad experiences in the church, not wanting accountability to a righteous God, not wanting to admit the inherent sin of mankind, etc.
My grandfather was an atheist (and my father was an agnostic). My grandfather grew up in a poor village in the mountains of Chile and saw the bishops and whatever come into the town with their gold rings, that the people would rush up to kiss. He thought the church hierarchy should sell their stuff and feed the poor. He hated what he considered to be Christianity.
While he had a point, he may also have had other reasons than this. I did not know him well, so I cannot say. I know he was very intellectual and smart (like my father who, btw, became a believer at almost the age of 80 2 mos. before he died!) and was humanistic in his outlook.
Atheism is the rejection of God. Most unbelievers would not really be atheists. The majority of these would properly be agnostic, not really willing to say for sure one way or another, but basically believing that an all powerful God is the stuff of fairy tale and myth.
Those who claim to be atheistic tend to have a chip on their shoulders against theistic religion (Abrahamic religions in particular). Their problems range from perceived social injustice to simple angst.
And yet, if you were sitting next to an atheist on a plane and the plane started to crash, they would at least as likely as not scream, "Oh, God! Oh, God!" as the plane plunges to earth.
When I was an atheist I thought that if there was a God he would come to me for advice, after all I was pretty smart.When I was an atheist, it turns out I was'nt an atheist,I was just mad at God.I still can't remember why?
Atheism is just one of many secular religions: agnosticism, skepticism, humanism, existentialism, marxism. These are all secular religions. A religion has a belief system, which atheism indeed has.
One man once said that every man has a God-sized vacuum within every man which no man can fill but God Himself. I beleive that to be true. In that sense there is no such thing as a true atheist, only those that think they are.
"A" means no or not. Theism means God.
Atheism means no-God. So the atheist does have a belief. His belief is in the non-existence of God, which he tries to prove, mostly through illogical syllogisms which are easily disproveable.
For instance, "Can God lift a rock heavier than he can create?" That is supposed to be his proof that denies the omnipotence of God.
Here is a summary of what Josh McDowell would reply to such an accusation:
But this sort of logical argument is logically inconsistent. It is known as the fallacy of contradictory premises. When contradictory premises are present in an argument, one premise cancels out the other. "Can God make a rock so heavy that he cannot lift?"
Rather than saying that God cannot do such things, it would be more in harmony with truth simply to say that such things cannot be done at all. God is infinite in power, but power meaningfully relates only to that which can be done. It is absurd to speak of any power or to do that which simply cannot be done. God can do whatever is possible to be done, but he will do only what is in harmony with his nature. Rather than saying that God cannot make a four-sided triangle, one would more accuratley say that "triangle" means a three-sided figure and cannot refer to any four-sided figure. Therefore the making of four-sided triangles simply cannot be done.
The Christian God has a unified nature of complementary attributes. None cancl out any others.
(from Josh McDowell's Handbook of Today's Religions)
They believe; but they believe in the non-existence of God. It is a belief system nevertheless.
"When I was an atheist, it turns out I was'nt an atheist,I was just mad at God.I still can't remember why."
Good point Bill. I've found that most who CLAIM to be atheists REALLY have a problem with God. The harder nut to crack is the intellectual agnostic who has no angst or anger with God; who just sees His existence as improbable.
I believe the intellectual agnostic is generally so egotistical he/she cannot imagine anybody more intelligent then thier own self.
The fool has said in his heart there is no God.
Partially true Bill. But the problem is now that so many kids are being raised to not even know ANYTHING about God. NOTHING! They have no warm memories of church dinners, Sunday school, or anything of the like. Truly sad.
Sad but true. We need to sharpen our apologetics sword when we deal with these people.
If atheists are really as smart as they believe they are, then why can't they explain where all the quarks, rays, & beams came from? Where'd all the energy for the "big bang" come from? What is gravity made of, and what does it use for fuel?
While an ATHEIST believes there's no God, an AGNOSTIC isn't committed to believing either God exists or doesn't exist. The agnostic believes such things are unknowable. This is truly a weird state of mind.
Early in my Christian life, some friends and I sent a letter to Dr. Carl Sagan debunking evolution. As a Jew, he was most likely clued in to the prophecies about the Jews that were coming to pass before his eyes, but I know that he'd rejected ALL religion while a young man. Sadly, we received no reply, and, far as I know, Sagan died an atheist. Surely, of all people, I would've expected him to have sought the answers to the questions I posed above.
The famous atheist of 100 years ago, Robert Ingersoll, rejected the Bible(and God) based upon the fact that there's so much prophecy about the Jews, and in his day the Jews were still a downtrodden minority and the possibility of their having their own sovereign nation again, with Jerusalem as its capital, seemed more remote to him than men walking on the moon.
Most of today's lost aren't guilty of not BELIEVING in God...I believed in Him while I was lost. I was guilty of NOT THINKING ABOUT HIM, not coming to JESUS in repentance and belief, not placing HIM FIRST in my thoughts...in short, IGNORING GOD. That's what I believe is the sin of the vast majority of the lost.
I work in the medical profession and at least 90% of the other doctors I know are lost. The consensus seems to be that if you're an evangelical Christian you're a dupe. Man's intellectual pursuits have pretty well shown that religion is just a pleasant myth but nothing more.
That's really more of a difficult person (I think) to whom to witness than is an "atheist". The self-proclaimed atheist has a beef with God. He's actively angry at what he perceives are the problems that belief in God has brought.
But it's obvious that God cannot be disproven emprically. The reasoned "atheist" is really an agnostic of sorts, often having believed in childhood only to eventually "grow up" and realize that that is "small-minded".
If I were a medical doctor two questions would bother me.
Where does life come from?And where does it go?
Realizing that a medical doctor is more highly trained then an auto mechanic,he/she is a body mechanic.
My doctor could no more go into a central office and find anything let alone fix anything than the man in th moon.So I know his/her knowledge is specialized, not necessarily superior.
Thinking your intellect is superior is not the equivelant to being superior.
charles if a had a choice between you and 10 atheistic doctors to treat me medically I would choose you.You have a little something extra going for you,all they have is themselves.
From whose point of view is the question? The ahteist's or our's?
If from the atheists, then yes, there are atheists. They believe there is no God. To dismiss this by saying they still have a belief system is unreasonable because every person on planet earth has a belief system. The issue however is not whether they have a belief system or not. The issue is whether they believe there IS or IS NOT a God. Clearly they do not believe there is a God at all.
The agnostic is another goose altogether. He is the undecided. Could be, then again maybe not.
Is the atheist unreasonable? In our view, of course he is. The power of God is self evident in all of creation. That said however, the atheist dismisses evidence for the supernatural in favor of purely material and physical explainations.
Do many atheists have a beef with God? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We know they have a problem with God's authority over them but I do not think they even consider God at all in their thoughts. (This is clearly revealed for us in Rom 1-3.)
From our point of view, we must conclude that they are foolish, "The fool hath said in his heart, "There is no God". But we must be careful when we state there really are no atheists. I believe that statement to be in error. There clearly are people who would describe themselves as atheists. Only we know God calls them fools.
In His service;
When I was an atheist I would have agreed with what you say 100%.Now that I can reflect back I think differently.
I was lost for many years. I don't think I'd have ever claimed to be an atheist - but I basically believed (based on my scientific studies) that the existence of a biblical God was just not plausible. It was a nice thought, and one that for me at that time still stirred up some emotion - but it just seemed like a fairy tale.
I would have called myself an agnostic since I would not have discounted the existence of a God - I just had decided that claims of Christianity were way too unrealistic. I would never have claimed atheism - I had no strong belief either way - I just lived for the here and now.
I'd say now that in the US there are alot of agnostics who fir this mold.