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suze
310168.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:54 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
There's a third constituency in that Venn Diagram, though: people who are Christian by background, and identify with that culture as well as going along with a kind of Pascal's wager (there's no sense taking chances with eternity, and there are no atheists in a foxhole). I want to claim them for my atheist gang.


Well you can't have them!

I suppose I'm in that group - I was raised a Roman Catholic and say that I am one for form filling purposes, but rarely attend Mass and indeed wouldn't be allowed to take Communion at an RC Mass. (People who have been divorced and remarried aren't, unless they are Frank Sinatra and donate lots of money / make meaningful reference to horses' heads / or however he wangled it.)

Only thing is, I believe in God - so I'm clearly not an atheist. In fact, "theist" is about the one word I can uncontroversially use in describing my status.


More broadly, did I kill the question by establishing the correct answer? Is "well you might have thought the answer was the C of E, but what with all these Irish and Polish people around, there are actually more Catholics these days" as interesting as it would have been had the answer indeed been Muslims?

(Sorry Bunter, shall try not to do it again.)

 
Jenny
310187.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:38 pm Reply with quote

Secular humanist?

 
MatC
310306.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:41 am Reply with quote

No, I don't think you should withdraw atheist at all, Flash; look at the roots of the word. Clearly, anyway who does not have a god - for whatever reason - is an a-theist.

I still don’t think we’re the biggest group though: sadly, I think a larger group would continue to answer “more or less yes” rather than “no” to the question “Do you more or less believe that there is more or less something up there or out there which, in shorthand, we could call a ‘god’ or ‘gods’, sort of?” I’m not sure what category they belong in, but clearly it can’t be the a-theist category.

As for this nonsense - which is becoming dangerously widespread -
Quote:
only the Dawkins crowd could be considered as an answer, as the other two aren't faiths (and arguably that isn't either, but one could make a case for its being so),


No you bloody well could not! Not if you think words have meanings at all, you couldn’t. The scientific atheists might be right, wrong, or neither - but their arguments do not rely on faith in any way at all. Using the word “faith” to mean a supernatural-based ethical framework - they don’t fit that either. The pseudo-argument that atheism is “just another faith” is a very dangerous and devious one; it’s related to the Creationists saying that evolution is “just another belief,” meaning that it should have public parity with creationism.

 
dr.bob
310320.  Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:05 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
The scientific atheists might be right, wrong, or neither - but their arguments do not rely on faith in any way at all. Using the word “faith” to mean a supernatural-based ethical framework - they don’t fit that either. The pseudo-argument that atheism is “just another faith” is a very dangerous and devious one; it’s related to the Creationists saying that evolution is “just another belief,” meaning that it should have public parity with creationism.


I think that the "Dawkins crowd" (of which I would probably count myself as one) do rely on faith. Then again, I think that anyone who accepts that Australia exists without having actually visited it also relies on faith.

As for the idea that atheism, being a faith, has parity with other faiths, or your other point that people argue that evolution should have parity with creationism, all I can say is that not all faiths are equally ludicrous. Just because two statements require faith, doesn't automatically make them equally valid.

Flash's attempt to co-opt everyone who was raised in a certain faith but no longer practices it is a bit heavy handed. As suze and Mat have pointed out, whilst some of those people probably do qualify as atheists, others are most definitely theists.

 

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