Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Our Skeptic Forums
 General Skepticism
 Labeling our beliefs
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

Baxter
Skeptic Friend

USA
131 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2010 :  09:19:23  Show Profile Send Baxter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Why do we label ourselves the way that we do?

I am questioning why we choose "Atheist" or "Agnostic" as a label for our (non)religious views. If someone is a Christian, they don't simply say that they're a theist, they give their religion which more accurately reflects their beliefs.

I personally don't give a crap if someone believes in the existence of God(s) or not. I don't think that's important. The more important issue is what belief system a person follows.

Saying that you're an atheist doesn't necessarily tell me about your philosophical take on life. But if you say you are a skeptic or a freethinker then I will have a clearer picture.

There was an ex-atheist who came to my parents church and spoke about his atheism. It was obvious that his atheism was not based on principles of freethought. It was just a silly juvenile rebellious stage. Some atheists might say that this man was not a true atheist. But what they really mean is that the ex-atheist was not a true skeptic (or freethinker, etc).

This leads me to think that skeptic is a more descriptive term than atheist/agnostic, thus a better one to use.

"We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me." ~from Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

"We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know." ~Robert G. Ingersoll

Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2010 :  10:05:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Baxter

Why do we label ourselves the way that we do?

I am questioning why we choose "Atheist" or "Agnostic" as a label for our (non)religious views. If someone is a Christian, they don't simply say that they're a theist, they give their religion which more accurately reflects their beliefs.

I personally don't give a crap if someone believes in the existence of God(s) or not. I don't think that's important. The more important issue is what belief system a person follows.

Saying that you're an atheist doesn't necessarily tell me about your philosophical take on life. But if you say you are a skeptic or a freethinker then I will have a clearer picture.

There was an ex-atheist who came to my parents church and spoke about his atheism. It was obvious that his atheism was not based on principles of freethought. It was just a silly juvenile rebellious stage. Some atheists might say that this man was not a true atheist. But what they really mean is that the ex-atheist was not a true skeptic (or freethinker, etc).

This leads me to think that skeptic is a more descriptive term than atheist/agnostic, thus a better one to use.


I like to refer to myself as an atheist because I enjoy watching the fear it brings out in some people. Skeptic might be a better term because I came to my atheism through skepticism. "Skeptic" is not as scary as "atheist" to the believers.

If you looking for one simple term that a person can use that fully describes their entire life's philosophy...it just ain't gonna happen.

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2010 :  10:57:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Baxter:
This leads me to think that skeptic is a more descriptive term than atheist/agnostic, thus a better one to use.

That's exactly why I identify as a skeptic first. But then, if we get in to religion, I'm an agnostic/atheist. But I think you are right. Being an atheist doesn't really say much about a person. It's not a worldview or a philosophy. It might be a conclusion reached by the methods that we promote, but then again, it might not be.

I recently saw a clip of Sam Harris suggesting that atheists do themselves a disservice by even having a special word for not believing in god or gods because in the eyes of those who are believers, it sounds like a religion. He said we should challenge their beliefs just because they're wrong, and not because we are atheists... or something like that.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2010 :  13:30:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil
I recently saw a clip of Sam Harris suggesting that atheists do themselves a disservice by even having a special word for not believing in god or gods because in the eyes of those who are believers, it sounds like a religion. He said we should challenge their beliefs just because they're wrong, and not because we are atheists... or something like that.
Wise words!



Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Go to Top of Page

Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2010 :  13:43:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

Originally posted by Kil
I recently saw a clip of Sam Harris suggesting that atheists do themselves a disservice by even having a special word for not believing in god or gods because in the eyes of those who are believers, it sounds like a religion. He said we should challenge their beliefs just because they're wrong, and not because we are atheists... or something like that.
Wise words!




Yeah, but what about scaring the theists? That's half the fun!

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
Go to Top of Page

Robb
SFN Regular

USA
1223 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2010 :  15:04:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Robb a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ebone4rock

Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

Originally posted by Kil
I recently saw a clip of Sam Harris suggesting that atheists do themselves a disservice by even having a special word for not believing in god or gods because in the eyes of those who are believers, it sounds like a religion. He said we should challenge their beliefs just because they're wrong, and not because we are atheists... or something like that.
Wise words!




Yeah, but what about scaring the theists? That's half the fun!
Yeah but don't you atheists eat babies?


Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2010 :  18:21:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Never with cheese, Robb. Never with cheese.

[Shudder]

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Baxter
Skeptic Friend

USA
131 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2011 :  08:15:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Baxter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ebone4rock
I like to refer to myself as an atheist because I enjoy watching the fear it brings out in some people. Skeptic might be a better term because I came to my atheism through skepticism. "Skeptic" is not as scary as "atheist" to the believers.
Yeah, the word "atheist" has plenty of connotations that prompt shock and indignation. Unfortunately, the word has come to refer to both a worldview and a position on deities.
If you looking for one simple term that a person can use that fully describes their entire life's philosophy...it just ain't gonna happen.
I meant to refer specifically to the question of religious views, such as you would answer on a questionnaire or on your Facebook profile or something of that nature. I think it makes more sense to say "Secular Humanism" than agnosticism/atheism.

"We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me." ~from Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

"We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know." ~Robert G. Ingersoll
Go to Top of Page

Baxter
Skeptic Friend

USA
131 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2011 :  08:43:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Baxter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

That's exactly why I identify as a skeptic first. But then, if we get in to religion, I'm an agnostic/atheist. But I think you are right. Being an atheist doesn't really say much about a person. It's not a worldview or a philosophy. It might be a conclusion reached by the methods that we promote, but then again, it might not be.
Some people use the word as a philosophy though. I guess that's what I'd like to change. I mean, honestly, when I hear someone say they're an atheist, in my mind I immediately stereotype them as Dawkins-PZ lovers.
I recently saw a clip of Sam Harris suggesting that atheists do themselves a disservice by even having a special word for not believing in god or gods because in the eyes of those who are believers, it sounds like a religion. He said we should challenge their beliefs just because they're wrong, and not because we are atheists... or something like that.
I don't share that aversion to my views being seen as a "religion" of sorts. It's certainly not an organized religion, but there's definitely a group of people, a movement even, who hold to a skeptical philosophy and use it to guide their lives, much like religion guides the religious.

"We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me." ~from Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

"We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know." ~Robert G. Ingersoll
Go to Top of Page

The Rat
SFN Regular

Canada
1342 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2011 :  13:54:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit The Rat's Homepage Send The Rat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As I've stated here before, I am nominally an atheist, and if I'm in a hurry that's the way I'll describe myself, but it is rather unsatisfying. It's a negative term, describing me in terms of what I don't believe in rather than what my actual philosophy is. Christians don't go around describing themselves as 'non-Muslim', 'non-Buddhist', or 'non-Hindu'. I much prefer to call myself a 'naturalist', which describes me better. I only look for natural explanations for the universe and my place in it, nothing more.

Bailey's second law; There is no relationship between the three virtues of intelligence, education, and wisdom.

You fiend! Never have I encountered such corrupt and foul-minded perversity! Have you ever considered a career in the Church? - The Bishop of Bath and Wells, Blackadder II

Baculum's page: http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=3947338590
Go to Top of Page

Baxter
Skeptic Friend

USA
131 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2011 :  10:23:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Baxter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Furthermore, I think rational thought/critical thinking is the unifying element, not atheism. Hence I don't take issue with theism or deism.

"We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me." ~from Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

"We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know." ~Robert G. Ingersoll
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2011 :  11:06:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Baxter

Furthermore, I think rational thought/critical thinking is the unifying element, not atheism. Hence I don't take issue with theism or deism.
Rational thought and critical thinking should be the unifying elements for skeptics. There are certainly atheists who did not become atheists because of the methods that we promote. That said, I just don't see how one can apply rational thought and critical thinking to any belief that lacks supporting evidence and conclude that those beliefs are any more valid than any other psi belief. Just because some people think John Edward talks to dead people doesn't make it so. I don't see why theism or deism should get any more of a pass from us than he gets.




Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Baxter
Skeptic Friend

USA
131 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2011 :  14:01:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Baxter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by KilRational thought and critical thinking should be the unifying elements for skeptics. There are certainly atheists who did not become atheists because of the methods that we promote. That said, I just don't see how one can apply rational thought and critical thinking to any belief that lacks supporting evidence and conclude that those beliefs are any more valid than any other psi belief. Just because some people think John Edward talks to dead people doesn't make it so. I don't see why theism or deism should get any more of a pass from us than he gets.
It's more of a practical stance than a theoretical one. Deists, for example, can be skeptics for all practical purposes, and can consistently hold to a philosophy such as freethought or secular humanism. To me that's what's important. I'm not saying that Deism gets a pass, but I don't think it should keep someone outside of the circle either.

"We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me." ~from Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

"We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know." ~Robert G. Ingersoll
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2011 :  19:38:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Baxter

Originally posted by KilRational thought and critical thinking should be the unifying elements for skeptics. There are certainly atheists who did not become atheists because of the methods that we promote. That said, I just don't see how one can apply rational thought and critical thinking to any belief that lacks supporting evidence and conclude that those beliefs are any more valid than any other psi belief. Just because some people think John Edward talks to dead people doesn't make it so. I don't see why theism or deism should get any more of a pass from us than he gets.
It's more of a practical stance than a theoretical one. Deists, for example, can be skeptics for all practical purposes, and can consistently hold to a philosophy such as freethought or secular humanism. To me that's what's important. I'm not saying that Deism gets a pass, but I don't think it should keep someone outside of the circle either.
I Agree.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Philo
Skeptic Friend

66 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2011 :  15:31:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Philo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Originally posted by Baxter

Furthermore, I think rational thought/critical thinking is the unifying element, not atheism. Hence I don't take issue with theism or deism.
Rational thought and critical thinking should be the unifying elements for skeptics. There are certainly atheists who did not become atheists because of the methods that we promote. That said, I just don't see how one can apply rational thought and critical thinking to any belief that lacks supporting evidence and conclude that those beliefs are any more valid than any other psi belief. Just because some people think John Edward talks to dead people doesn't make it so. I don't see why theism or deism should get any more of a pass from us than he gets.


I agree completely, and I have always found it somewhat bizarre to unite around atheism.

Here is something you might agree with.
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2011 :  01:00:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Baxter

I'm not saying that Deism gets a pass, but I don't think it should keep someone outside of the circle either.
Since there is no governing body for skeptics, free-thinkers or what-have-you, the people who are "inside the circle" are self-selected. If someone who opts to be "in" can't stand the heat of having their non-skeptical beliefs challenged, it's up to them whether they'll leave or stay.

This holds true for deism or any other form or level of "woo." Someone who believes in cryptozoological nonsense and cold fusion and astrology and homeopathy but who's a top-notch skeptic when it comes to creationism is going to have a extremely rough time "inside the circle," but it's their choice to make the effort to remain. Nobody has the power to just throw them out.

Even thousands of opposed skeptics do not have that power. No skeptical organization of which I'm aware is going to refuse to accept such a person's membership dues. No free-thinker's convention organizer will toss them out of the venue just for being credulous about a lot of stuff. No scientific journal will refuse their articles about evolution solely because they think ETs are abducting farm boys for inter-galactic sex.

Leaving "the circle" is a choice, not a mandate that anyone can enforce.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.16 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000