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Old 01-10-2014, 08:46 PM   #1
OnTheRazorsEdge
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Question So why should I be an atheist?

What reason(s) would you give for being an atheist?


Thanks...
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:13 AM   #2
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How about introducing yourself first.

Once you are dead, you are nothing. Graffito, Pompeii
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:23 AM   #3
ILOVEJESUS
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Why would you not believe in father christmas?....You don't right...?

A theist is just an atheist with a space in it.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:51 AM   #4
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Why should I not dedicate my life to Thor and the Pixies of Paramour?

The Leprechauns do not forbid the drawing of Their images, as long as we color within the lines. ~ Ghoulslime H Christ, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Masturbator
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:54 PM   #5
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OnTheRazorsEdge wrote View Post
What reason(s) would you give for being an atheist?


Thanks...
The reason why the vast majority of atheists do not believe in the existence of a god (or gods) is that the case for existence of a god has not met its burden of proof.

Atheism is the response to theist's claim that a god exists. We are not convinced by any of the arguments made for the existence of a god for us to justify belief that one does exist.
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:25 PM   #6
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OnTheRazorsEdge wrote View Post
What reason(s) would you give for being an atheist?


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The ability to reason................

Professor Plum - In the Dinning Room - with the Lead Pipe...
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:25 PM   #7
OnTheRazorsEdge
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Why would you not believe in father christmas?....You don't right...?
No, as a child, I believed in Father Christmas (btw, I live in the U.S. of A. and most folks here call him Santa Claus, but I think we're referring to the same "person") but now as an adult, I don't believe in him. Why do I no longer believe in him? Well, the reasons are many: he lives amongst elves at the North Pole, he has a flying sleigh with flying reindeer, he slides down chimneys, etc.

But I'm curious why you would choose to equate the concept of F.C. to the concept of a deity or deities. The former is a concept that can easily be disproved but the latter is a concept that cannot so easily be proved or disproved, else forums like this probably wouldn't exist. ;-). Perhaps you are suggesting that both concepts have been invented by man and so therefore should be summarily dismissed?
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:33 PM   #8
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Why should I not dedicate my life to Thor and the Pixies of Paramour?
I don't know; maybe you prefer deities who wield magical swords instead of magical hammers and you prefer dryads to pixies? ;-)

Please forgive my cheekiness, but my question isn't dealing with why people should or shouldn't dedicate themselves to a deity or set of deities. I'm just looking for arguments to convince me that I shouldn't believe in any sort of "higher power."
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:21 PM   #9
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The reason why the vast majority of atheists do not believe in the existence of a god (or gods) is that the case for existence of a god has not met its burden of proof.

Atheism is the response to theist's claim that a god exists. We are not convinced by any of the arguments made for the existence of a god for us to justify belief that one does exist.
I can certainly accept that. Please allow me to ask you (and any others here) some follow up questions. One, have you heard any arguments for the existence of a god (or gods) that have been at least somewhat convincing to you, and if so, what were they? Two, do you ever think you will be convinced that a god exists? Three, if you had an opportunity to find out once and for all if a god existed or not, what would you want the answer to be?
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:11 PM   #10
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No.

Don't know.

No preference.

thank goodness he's on our side
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:41 PM   #11
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One, have you heard any arguments for the existence of a god (or gods) that have been at least somewhat convincing to you, and if so, what were they?
No. They are all fallacious.

The Cosmological argument, Ontological argument, TAG, Teleological argument are all fatally flawed.

If any of these are convincing to you, we can discuss why they are flawed. Or if you have another, present it.


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Two, do you ever think you will be convinced that a god exists?
I have no idea.

I base my beliefs on demonstrable evidence, reasoned argument, and valid/sound logic. If a claim does not live up to these criteria, I am not justified in believing it.

If some evidence was discovered and presented that lived up to the above criteria, I would be compelled to accept it.

My atheism is a provisional position, not a dogmatic one.

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Three, if you had an opportunity to find out once and for all if a god existed or not, what would you want the answer to be?
Depends on the god. The god(s) depicted in the Bible, Koran, Vedas, Book of Mormon are pretty monstrous fellows. It would truly be horrible if one of those existed.

I'm sure I could come up with some description of a god that I wouldn't mind if it existed. The deist god, for example.
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:30 PM   #12
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Ahoy there! So you asked a few questions so far in this thread, and since I have about an hour to kill before I have to go to work, I figured I might take a crack at some of them. Apologies if this gets long-winded (I sometimes do that), but I do have an entire hour I need to do something with.


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What reason(s) would you give for being an atheist?
Firstly, you don't purposely decide not to believe in something. Try it. Get up on your table. You there? Good. Now, choose not to believe in gravity, and walk off the table into mid-air.

No? That's because you can't choose not to believe in something. If you're here looking for us to give you reasons to decide to become an atheist, we can't. It doesn't work like that.


Atheism is simply a term to describe someone lacking a belief in a deity, and the reason for not believing in a deity is the same for not believing in anything else - the evidence for the claim just isn't there, or isn't as strong as people try to tell you it is, or the evidence that is there points to it not being true.



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But I'm curious why you would choose to equate the concept of F.C. to the concept of a deity or deities. The former is a concept that can easily be disproved but the latter is a concept that cannot so easily be proved or disproved, else forums like this probably wouldn't exist.
Actually, Santa (or father christmas) is a great analogy for religion.

This plays into the last part of my previous answer (ie the evidence we have points somewhere else). Let's look at the reasons you gave for not believing in Santa -

"he lives amongst elves at the North Pole, he has a flying sleigh with flying reindeer, he slides down chimneys". We'll add some more to that, too.




1) "He lives amongst elves at the North Pole" - So this plays into the whole "because we have evidence that points to it not being true" thing. We've been to the North Pole, and we've seen that Santa isn't there. Therefore he must not exist, right?

Well, this idea is just like The Firmament (aka the sky), which was at one time believed to be a hard "dome" that seperated Earth from heaven. Yep - at one point the idea was that god lived just above the sky.

Of course, eventually we got up there, and we discovered that no, that actually wasn't the case. No firmament, no heaven, and no god. So, God doesn't exist, right?

Of course that's not the case. This is when we get our first example of "shifting goalposts".
Ah, they say, Heaven must not be a physical place above us, but rather a spiritual one, another dimension, if you will.


So why, then, would us getting to the North Pole and not finding Santa be anything else? Santa's Shop, obviously, is a spiritual place North of the North Pole. That much is obvious, so not finding him at the North Pole does not mean he doesn't exist.




2) "he has a flying sleigh with flying reindeer" - And what do we know about reindeer? Well, for one they don't fly. So that must mean the story is fake, right? I mean, at no time in history do we have any verified account of a reindeer flying, right? Other than in the Santa story, of course. So no flying reindeer in real life = No Santa, right?


9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

-Acts 1:9-12 (NKJV)


Jesus "ascends" (flies) up to Heaven (which, remember, is not a physical place anymore, but rather a spiritual one, which is another question that needs to be answered in itself - how does someone fly to a spiritual place?).
Of course, if there is one thing we know about people, it's that they don't fly, or ascend. They also don't come back to life after being dead for several days. They also have trouble taking physical bodies and flying to spiritual places.
So no flying people in real life means no Jesus or god, right?


Ah, they say, but Jesus is not just a man, he is the Son of God himself! And god has the magic of miracles on his side, with that he can do it if he chooses!



And those reindeer are no ordinary deer! Santa has magic on his side! He can use his magic to make reindeer fly if he chooses!



3) "he slides down chimneys"

And Jesus touched people and they were miraculously healed. It's the same deal - explainable away with magic/miracles and more goalpost shifting.



Now, I'm going to add one -

4) "He supposedly delivers presents to people, but we know that presents come from other people"


This is a big one, right? I mean that must prove beyond all doubt that Santa doesn't exist.

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

- Genesis 3:3 (KJV)



But as we know in the story, they ate the fruit, and didn't die, just as Satan told them. In fact, in that entire story, the only one who lies is god, whilst satan always seemingly tells the truth.


Ah, they say, but it is not literal death, it is a metaphor. It is a spiritual death, and therefore god was still telling the truth.

Maybe you've heard that being said about other parts of the bible - "Oh, you can't take that literally, it's a metaphor". We hear all the time in discussions. Anytime a literal interpretation doesn't fit within a person's worldview, it's obviously a metaphor, and they can continue to believe whatever they want to believe safely.



Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.


- Excerpt from the infamous "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" Editorial.


Santa is a metaphor, who brings light and joy into our hearts, and it is that joy and light that causes us to buy gifts for our loved ones, and in that way it can be said that Santa is giving presents to everyone around the world.






So then.
I've shown you how the "reasons" for not believing in Santa can be explained away, and how the goalposts can be shifted to never nail down any "evidence".

So do you believe in Santa now? No?


So then why do you allow the same tricks to continue to convince you of god?





Quote:
One, have you heard any arguments for the existence of a god (or gods) that have been at least somewhat convincing to you, and if so, what were they? Two, do you ever think you will be convinced that a god exists? Three, if you had an opportunity to find out once and for all if a god existed or not, what would you want the answer to be?
1) One, have you heard any arguments for the existence of a god (or gods) that have been at least somewhat convincing to you, and if so, what were they?


I've only been an atheist for a few years, and the biggest stumbling block for me was the old "We had to get here somehow" routine. Since I didn't know the answer to that, I assumed that the answer had to be some sort of god.

I now know two things - Firstly, not knowing the answer to something does not mean a god needs to fill it, and secondly, saying "We don't know right now" isn't the worst thing in the world.

Also there are plausible explanations for those things. Not proven beyond a doubt, but plausible enough.


2) Two, do you ever think you will be convinced that a god exists?

No, if I'm being honest. However I am open to the idea, and welcome people trying. I just don't think it will happen, given the level of evidence for a god that has been presented to me so far.



3) Three, if you had an opportunity to find out once and for all if a god existed or not, what would you want the answer to be?

Yes and no. I would love for there to be some sort of after-life, like another level in a video-game. I'd love to think that the adventure continues after we finish here. However, there is no reason to think that so I don't.

I would also hate to live forever. Think about how long eternity is. Now multiply that by 15,000,000,000,000 and you've only just begun eternity. It would literally drive you to insanity, and eventually all traces of "you" would be experienced out of existence.

No, I hope my existence is finite. I would like it to go on a little longer than it's probably going to, though.


Also - if a god were to exist, it sure as hell better not be any of the currently claimed "gods" - those guys are all massive dicks.

Michael...you are correct
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:10 PM   #13
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No. They are all fallacious.

The Cosmological argument, Ontological argument, TAG, Teleological argument are all fatally flawed.

If any of these are convincing to you, we can discuss why they are flawed. Or if you have another, present it.


I have no idea.

I base my beliefs on demonstrable evidence, reasoned argument, and valid/sound logic. If a claim does not live up to these criteria, I am not justified in believing it.

If some evidence was discovered and presented that lived up to the above criteria, I would be compelled to accept it.

My atheism is a provisional position, not a dogmatic one.

Depends on the god. The god(s) depicted in the Bible, Koran, Vedas, Book of Mormon are pretty monstrous fellows. It would truly be horrible if one of those existed.

I'm sure I could come up with some description of a god that I wouldn't mind if it existed. The deist god, for example.

First off, let me start by saying thank you to you and the others here for taking time to read my posts and to respond to my questions. Before starting this thread, I read through some other posts and I noted the discussions in those threads generally became, ah, heated. So I must admit, I half expected to get flamed immediately here for asking questions.

I can find merits in all of the arguments that you listed but I think the cosmological argument is the one that seals the deal for me. What is it about that argument that irks you?

Your answers to question 2, and particularly question 3, are very interesting to me. I admit that I had a preconceived notion that many atheists simply deny the existence of a god because they want their lives to be their own and they don't want to beholden to a "supreme being." So I admit I expected a lot of negative answers to question 3.
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:12 AM   #14
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Ahoy there! So you asked a few questions so far in this thread, and since I have about an hour to kill before I have to go to work, I figured I might take a crack at some of them. Apologies if this gets long-winded (I sometimes do that), but I do have an entire hour I need to do something with.
Michael...lol...long-winded might be a bit understated! ;-) But no worries, I really enjoyed reading your post and I am honored that you chose to spend your free hour responding to me. And I hope you had a good shift at work.


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Firstly, you don't purposely decide not to believe in something. Try it. Get up on your table. You there? Good. Now, choose not to believe in gravity, and walk off the table into mid-air.

No? That's because you can't choose not to believe in something. If you're here looking for us to give you reasons to decide to become an atheist, we can't. It doesn't work like that.

I don't think I agree with some of your statements here. So you're saying I don't have a choice in whether or not I believe in unicorns? And I don't have a choice in whether or not to believe in gravity? I mean, a person would be foolish to believe in unicorns and not in gravity, but he/she could have those beliefs, right?

In your example above, it seems that you are saying that my belief in gravity one way or the other will alter the result. So if I don't believe in gravity and I walk off the table, I should hang in mid-air and if I do believe in gravity then I should fall. But my belief won't change that outcome at all. Let's consider the two of us for a minute. I believe in a god and you do not. One of our beliefs is accurate. But our beliefs themselves don't have any impact on what actually is. If you don't believe in a god and it turns out that is the correct view, your lack of belief didn't make it so.

Apologies if I misconstrued the meaning of your example above. I'm not looking for reasons to decide to become an atheist. Rather, I just wanted to hear from you and others why atheism "works" for you. Like Simoon said in his earlier reply, he's heard a lot of arguments and none of them present a strong enough case.


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Actually, Santa (or father christmas) is a great analogy for religion.

This plays into the last part of my previous answer (ie the evidence we have points somewhere else). Let's look at the reasons you gave for not believing in Santa -

"he lives amongst elves at the North Pole, he has a flying sleigh with flying reindeer, he slides down chimneys". We'll add some more to that, too.




1) "He lives amongst elves at the North Pole" - So this plays into the whole "because we have evidence that points to it not being true" thing. We've been to the North Pole, and we've seen that Santa isn't there. Therefore he must not exist, right?

Well, this idea is just like The Firmament (aka the sky), which was at one time believed to be a hard "dome" that seperated Earth from heaven. Yep - at one point the idea was that god lived just above the sky.

Of course, eventually we got up there, and we discovered that no, that actually wasn't the case. No firmament, no heaven, and no god. So, God doesn't exist, right?

Of course that's not the case. This is when we get our first example of "shifting goalposts".
Ah, they say, Heaven must not be a physical place above us, but rather a spiritual one, another dimension, if you will.


So why, then, would us getting to the North Pole and not finding Santa be anything else? Santa's Shop, obviously, is a spiritual place North of the North Pole. That much is obvious, so not finding him at the North Pole does not mean he doesn't exist.
I guess I've never thought of Santa as a "spiritual" being (magical, maybe). But I see the point you are making with your analogy of the firmament. But I submit the idea of the "shifting goalposts" could be used against the atheist. Someone in this thread, quite possibly Simoon again, said that the case for a god hasn't met the burden of proof. But couldn't we say the same of the atheist argument? I mean, if an atheist is going to deny the existence of a god, then he/she would have to have knowledge of every place in the universe to affirm that no god exists in any of those places. But since that's impossible, it seems the atheists are stuck like the theists. Which I guess is why we're both in this forum!


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Now, I'm going to add one -

4) "He supposedly delivers presents to people, but we know that presents come from other people"


This is a big one, right? I mean that must prove beyond all doubt that Santa doesn't exist.

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

- Genesis 3:3 (KJV)



But as we know in the story, they ate the fruit, and didn't die, just as Satan told them. In fact, in that entire story, the only one who lies is god, whilst satan always seemingly tells the truth.


Ah, they say, but it is not literal death, it is a metaphor. It is a spiritual death, and therefore god was still telling the truth.

Maybe you've heard that being said about other parts of the bible - "Oh, you can't take that literally, it's a metaphor". We hear all the time in discussions. Anytime a literal interpretation doesn't fit within a person's worldview, it's obviously a metaphor, and they can continue to believe whatever they want to believe safely.

I find it interesting that you quoted the Bible and I think later in your post, you say that you've only been an atheist for a few years. Are you a Christian who has lost his way? If that's too personal, I apologize - curiosity got the best of me there.

But since you brought it up, let's explore this Biblical angle a bit. I think traditional Christianity holds that when God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden, he intended for man to be immortal. When A&E listened to the Serpent and defied God, this was the original sin and thus the Fall of Man. This is the point when death and disease was introduced to the world. And so reading on, we come to this:

And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

- Genesis 5:5 (KJV)


So yes, Adam (and Eve, though her death isn't specifically mentioned) most certainly did die. I assume that you assumed that they should have died at the first bite of the fruit but that clearly wasn't the case. So operating under that assumption, I guess you could then say God lied, but in my mind, that assumption should not be made.




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1) One, have you heard any arguments for the existence of a god (or gods) that have been at least somewhat convincing to you, and if so, what were they?


I've only been an atheist for a few years, and the biggest stumbling block for me was the old "We had to get here somehow" routine. Since I didn't know the answer to that, I assumed that the answer had to be some sort of god.

I now know two things - Firstly, not knowing the answer to something does not mean a god needs to fill it, and secondly, saying "We don't know right now" isn't the worst thing in the world.

Also there are plausible explanations for those things. Not proven beyond a doubt, but plausible enough.

I can definitely relate to this way of thinking. In fact, I'm pretty much the opposite of you. I was an atheist for most of my life and only recently came around to the idea of a god. And I agree; just because we don't know the answers doesn't mean that a god IS the answer. But for me, personally, I felt that it was a good fit. At any rate, it's pretty funny to discover that we've both flipped sides and kept the ledger in balance. ;-)


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2) Two, do you ever think you will be convinced that a god exists?

No, if I'm being honest. However I am open to the idea, and welcome people trying. I just don't think it will happen, given the level of evidence for a god that has been presented to me so far.



3) Three, if you had an opportunity to find out once and for all if a god existed or not, what would you want the answer to be?

Yes and no. I would love for there to be some sort of after-life, like another level in a video-game. I'd love to think that the adventure continues after we finish here. However, there is no reason to think that so I don't.

I would also hate to live forever. Think about how long eternity is. Now multiply that by 15,000,000,000,000 and you've only just begun eternity. It would literally drive you to insanity, and eventually all traces of "you" would be experienced out of existence.

No, I hope my existence is finite. I would like it to go on a little longer than it's probably going to, though.


Also - if a god were to exist, it sure as hell better not be any of the currently claimed "gods" - those guys are all massive dicks.

Well again, though I didn't agree with all aspects of it, I really enjoyed your post and I do welcome the discussion that is has bred. Thanks again for taking the time!
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:44 AM   #15
ILOVEJESUS
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No, as a child, I believed in Father Christmas (btw, I live in the U.S. of A. and most folks here call him Santa Claus, but I think we're referring to the same "person") but now as an adult, I don't believe in him. Why do I no longer believe in him? Well, the reasons are many: he lives amongst elves at the North Pole, he has a flying sleigh with flying reindeer, he slides down chimneys, etc.

But I'm curious why you would choose to equate the concept of F.C. to the concept of a deity or deities. The former is a concept that can easily be disproved but the latter is a concept that cannot so easily be proved or disproved, else forums like this probably wouldn't exist. ;-). Perhaps you are suggesting that both concepts have been invented by man and so therefore should be summarily dismissed?
I won't go through what Michael has already done so very well. If you are unable to grasp from that the similarities of both situations then that is your issue not mine. If you decided that you believed in a God, present the evidence that made you do that, I mean you didn't just decide to right? Something very Jerry about the way you are asking us questions and dismissing the answers you don't like to again try to set up another question you want a particular answer to. All atheism is is a disbelief in a god or gods. Nothing more. If you wish to change that round here you are going to need more than some "pothead philosophy" and ignorance to science. Just warning you.

A theist is just an atheist with a space in it.
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