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Vjack talks about his trouble with the facebook setup in a post. Here’s an excerpt:
… I was not sure what to make of the “religious views” line on my profile. Coincidentally, a reader e-mailed me and asked my opinion about this very issue just as I was confronting it myself. She did not want to put “atheist” under religion because she recognized that atheism is not a religion and did not want to pretend it was. This led her to think of simply putting “none” in the space. However, she wasn’t sure she liked this idea much better.
You see … vjack does not think of atheism as a religion. He explains this in another post.
Thus, an atheist is one who does not believe in a god or gods. Note that “one who lacks belief in a god or gods” is not quite the same thing as “one who believes that there are no god or gods.” This distinction may be subtle, but it is important for reasons I will review below.
As I have stated elsewhere, “Atheism is not a religion, a philosophy, a worldview, or anything similar. It is not the conviction that there are no gods, ghosts, angels, etc.” Rather, atheism simply refers to the lack of theistic belief. A young child or person living in an isolated community who has never heard of any gods is an atheist. In fact, we are all born atheists because we have not encountered any theistic concepts before birth.
… it is critical to recognize that atheism does not involve the assertion of any belief claim. An atheist is simply an individual who do not hold the theistic belief claim (i.e., that god or gods exist). … When the theist says, “God exists,” we are correct to expect evidence in support of this claim. Without such evidence, the claim cannot be accepted on rational grounds.
But vjack can’t get away that easy. You don’t escape the worldview nature of atheism just by stating it’s belief negatively as the absence of theism. I could say that theism is just the absence of belief in atheism. If vjack is not ready to assert positively that there is no God, god or gods, he is not actually an atheist, but a skeptic—–someone who doesn’t affirm theism but doesn’t leave out the possibility that God, a god, or gods exists either. Is Vjack really only a skeptic or does he have strong convictions that belief in God, god or gods is irrational, and therefore that God doesn’t exist? Based on his definition, he only wants to be considered a skeptic. But if you just read a few posts on his blog, you will see that he thinks people ought to live as if there were no God. He’s not simply unsure about whether there is or is not a God, he’s working out the implications of hard-atheism.
Vjack’s way of defining things is not original. Atheists have long argued for a distinction between hard-atheism and soft-atheism. Hard-atheism as belief that there is no God, god or gods, and soft-Atheism as belief that there is no apparent rational reason to believe there is a God, god, or gods. Either way, vjack’s claim that atheism is not a worldview, then, is unfounded. Atheism actually demands presuppositions about the nature of knowledge (epistemological presuppositions) to even begin to evaluate whether there is or is not any evidence for the existence of God. Read the last part of that excerpt again.
When the theist says, “God exists,” we are correct to expect evidence in support of this claim. Without such evidence, the claim cannot be accepted on rational grounds. [italics added]
Epistemological presuppositions about how we ground true knoweledge is at the very heart of worldview theory and determines the outworking of what one accepts as true, false, right or wrong. It’s the hinge on which one’s worldview turns.
Therefore, for vjack to claim atheism is not a worldview may be a sly way of dodging theistic rhetoric, but it is also reveals a glaring logical blind spot. Atheists tend to pride themselves as rational, but as I see it, they make foundational rational mistakes all the time. This is one of them: Claiming that atheism is not a worldview when in fact, it either demands that one assert there is no God (which results in a different way of viewing the world as not created by God) or that there is no apparent rational reason to believe in God (which demands a non-theistic epistemology, such epistemologies being at the heart of worldview theory).
———————————–HT: Atheist Revolution——————————–
I’ve begun to stop by Atheist Revolution every now and then to get an Atheist’s perspective on current events. The Atheist community has a vital blog presence. I took this excerpt from Proposition 8: Religion and Homophobia on Atheist Revolution. [i’ve edited certain words]
Anyone wanting to deny the role of religion in passing Proposition 8 only needs to look at the affiliations of those who funded the measure. The religious influence is undeniable here. As for the homophobia, well what else do we call someone wanting to deny the same rights the rest of us have to a group of people solely on the basis of their sexual orientation? Religious delusion plus fear equals…well…it means that some really nasty s#%! is about to happen.
I have one question for the fearful Christian extremists and their supporters – who’s next? I can only assume that ending atheists’ right to marry is on your list somewhere.
Gay marriage is a civil rights issue, and it is not going to go away. I was skeptical that I’d see an African American president in my lifetime, but I’m fairly confident that I will see gay marriage.
In another post entitled, Free Speech Under Assault at Texas Community College he reports that an atheist at Temple College in Texas was asked to take down a sign on his door that had the quote, “Gott ist tott” [God is dead] from Nietzsche. Here is an excerpt.
Was it appropriate for Laird to place a cartoon containing the word “f*#!” on his office door? Probably not. I wouldn’t have done it. It is harder to make an argument that a word commonly considered profane falls under academic freedom, although I suspect such an argument could be made. After all, Laird’s students and colleagues are adults.
But the Nietzsche quote, in German or English, strikes me as very different. It has literary value and overwhelming cultural familiarity in that nearly everyone will have heard it. To say that a college professor may not use a quote that can be found in any book of great quotations is absurd. … I think there just might be a new addition to my office door tomorrow.
—————————–HT: Atheist Revolution—————————–