In Defense Of: Atheism And Theism

The atheist doesn’t refuse to believe gods exist anymore than they’d believe the Queen of England doesn’t exist.

It is possible there is a God or gods. It is possible there are none.

There is no evidence for gods. You cannot point to a rock and demonstrate gods. The suggestion that the universe is proof of the gods is just that; a metaphysical suggestion.

There are several arguments for God and ultimately, there isn’t anything in themselves that is compelling. The same is true of arguments against God. All rational arguments are accepted as true because of our dispositions prior to having heard arguments at all.

The question of God is valid because of a question about the world: why anything at all?

Each of us hearing about the gods respond based on the totality of experience, from our impressions about the world.

In this way, we all have beliefs about the gods, or we don’t know what to think about them at all.

To say “I know there are no gods” is entirely a statement of knowledge in the very same way we know “I exist”; for belief and doubt must be justified and “it may be true that x” doesn’t justify either belief or doubt in the case of the gods. It cannot be said, however, “I know there are gods”, counts as knowledge; for an impression there are gods, lacking any demonstrable empirical experience, remains metaphysics. This is aside from knowing the god of which we speak, defined as ineffable. The very thing we assert is unknowable.

Damningly, we can doubt any statement about how reality relates to the gods and vice versa. We take things like psychology, morality, reason and the like as brute facts. And while we may dig beneath these and actually find they are fact, but not brute, what explanation we’ll have unearthed is another fact, and eventually we’ll end with brute facts. None of them being God. It is true there may be a God, or a host of them, but it is no fact and the best we believers can do is explain our impressions of the world and show what matters about them.

That will never be done with words, and Christian apologetics is the most illogical, fruitless activity a believer could indulge. The biggest obstacle certain believers have is in presuming what goes on in the minds of folks who do not think like they do.

The two largest here is that the doubter doesn’t doubt but rejects, and, that the believer has no grounds for belief. One has the impression there are gods. The other does not. Both, if they decide to argue, only do so by asserting, “my impression is true”, which is to say, “my impression is better than yours” no matter how politely the validity of any case is made. It communicates nothing more than this.

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10 thoughts on “In Defense Of: Atheism And Theism

  1. equippedcat says:

    I don’t see how you can say “I know there is no God” is any different than “I know there is a God”. Both statements are essentially meaningless, since it is not possible to “know” either of those things. In both cases, what the person is doing is trying to imbue their belief with more certainty then it merits, with a conscious or even unconscious desire to sway the listener to their own viewpoint. Why? Because anyone with a belief, at some level, realizes that the belief is not adequately supported by facts or it would not be a belief, it would be a fact. So absent proof, having people agree with you is the next best thing..

    • Steven Hoyt says:

      knowledge is essentially made of justified beliefs and so, doesn’t account for literally anything we do not “know”.

      insofar as our knowledge exists justified however it is, there comes a new proposition; “god exists”. if for any rational person (a person who only believes things which she feels justified to believe because she only wants to believe things which are true, “are the case”) takes the proposition and finds it unjustified, then there is no increase in “things we know”. such a person, in saying “i know there are not gods”, is properly the only claim of knowledge one can say. it is not to assert a case “there are no gods”; it’s to assert what knowledge is and what justifiably exists in ours. this person also entitled to at the same time say, “i know nothing about gods” and “there may be gods” and “i don’t know that there are no gods”.

      but for a person asserting “there are gods”, this is outside of anything we can know or do know. what that assertion entails then are many things and critical theology and atheism both agree on and that in all senses, is not accorded to knowing.

      with me?

      • equippedcat says:

        Sorry, I don’t really follow that. I’m just saying that as far as I can tell, nobody can “know” there is a God, or “know” there is not. Believes it, thinks it, hopes it, sure. To validly “know” requires proof.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        to know is to say there are a collection of justified beliefs i/we have, so if god’s existence is dubious, beliefs about god do not fall into “a collection of justified beliefs”.

        “in the collection of justified beliefs, ‘god’ is not among them” is equivalent to “i know there are no gods”. it is a knowledge claim; about the things we know.

        a common mistake is to mistake knowledge as being responsible for what we cannot determine; such as saying “you can’t say there are no gods, because after all, there may be!”

        well, not so. “can be”, ” may be”, this are bald invitations to doubt what we already have reason to believe; which is why i compare to “i exist” and the silliness of cartesian skepticism. that maxim must be justified and isn’t and there must be a genuine reason to doubt what we already justifiably believe, know.

        right now, “i know there are no gods” but that may change and for sure when “god exists” is justified, the belief will be considered knowledge. right now, i am only justified to say “i know there are know no gods”, even in the mistaken ploy of implying that because i could be wrong after all, that we should admit we don’t know what we do; literally, for no reason at all. so, while i may be a brain in a vat, there’s no reason to think so and then, no reason for me to say “i exist” is not something i don’t fundamentally know.

        better?

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        sorry for the typos!

      • equippedcat says:

        What you are saying is because you don’t believe it, and your mother doesn’t believe it and your friend doesn’t believe it and your favorite movie star doesn’t believe it, it cannot be so. Sorry, that does not make it not so. There are a lot of people who do believe it, and that does not make it so, either.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        i’m not saying that at all! i’m a christian, so of course i believe. i think you’re missing the pont. i’ll just say it’s my fault, but i can’t at all take any heat for your vast mischaracterization of what i have said.

        because god is ultimately a metaphysical proposition and incomprehensible, we cannot make knowledge claims about god. but in saying we know there are no gods, we are saying that we do know things and the existence of god is not among them. this has nothing to do with what we can believe or the possibility of being wrong. it has everything to do with what knowledge itself entails to.

  2. I’ve made the same arguments. Nice post. In my view, I have come to believe in God. Having said that, I spent many years as an atheist. Now, I worry more about my own beliefs and let other’s have theirs…with the caveat you read in my blog post. I’m not a big fan of Hateful Christians.

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