Lewisians and Lovecraftians: Another Way to Look at Religious Beliefs?

This post is in part an olive leaf to AndrewS as an attempt to satisify his concerns with loosely defining atheism. I firmly believe that arguing over definitions is pointless in a rational conversation (though probably valuable in a political one). So I see no reason to not give it to him. Thoughts on that topic lead to this post.

In my past posts, I defined an Ideal Rational Atheist like this: Continue reading

The Beliefs of Atheists

In my last two posts I first made an attempt to define Atheism then an attempt to define Theism.  Granting that those terms have many and varied possible (and overlapping) definitions, I feel that what I’ve come up with will serve my purposes of being sufficiently precise while still being pretty close to how we normally use the terms most of the time. And this is the most we can hope for of any sort of definition of (non-mathematical) words. Let me repeat the definitions here: Continue reading

Something-Like-God: Defining Theism

In a recent post, I gave thought to the trying to define what Atheism is. My conclusions were that this is more difficult to define then it first appears. Nevertheless, here was my tentative definition of ‘idealized rational atheism.’

Tentative Definition of Atheistic Rationalist (aka An Ideal Atheist): An atheistic rationalist is someone that seeks out the right kinds of explanations, namely ones that have survived the strongest criticisms and are highly (preferably computationally) specific and hard to vary, yet is always open to new ideas no matter what the source.

However, they do not accept any beliefs on mere leaps of faith and would rather not have their judgment (possibly) clouded by such faith-based beliefs. They’d rather see things as the naturalistically really are. Truth comes first for them. So they eschew all leaps of faith on the grounds that they may cloud our ability to find truth. Continue reading

What is Atheism? What is Theism?

I’d like to now give some thought to the what Atheism and Theism really are and how they relate to each other.

Many of you might wonder why we’d need to give thought to this subject. Isn’t a Theist someone that believes in God and an Atheist someone that doesn’t? Case closed, right?

A question to consider: Is a Buddhist a Theist or an Atheist? And defend your choice.

The problem is that, despite our intuitions to the contrary, Theism and Atheism aren’t always such clear cut concepts. And, I’m going to argue there is even (in some cases) overlap between the two words such that we might legitimately, say, think of Buddhists as either Theists or Atheists, depending on what nuance or connotation of the two words we have in mind at a given moment. Continue reading

The Case Against Karen Armstrong: What is Belief?

In my last post I discussed how Karen Armstrong misrepresents some of her sources. The end result is a sort of ‘cherry pick’ to support her thesis. In this post I’m going to address her treatment of the word “Belief” as used in the Bible.

What Does “Believe” Mean?

Several years ago I did a study of the New Testament using several parallel Bibles, Strong’s Concordance, and a Greek manuscript of the New Testament. One of my discoveries was that the word translated “belief” in the New Testament actually came from the Greek word pisteuo (Strong’s 4100) which has a stronger connotation than the word “believe” in English, at least as it is used today. So consider this verse as an apt example:

Romans 3:22

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: Continue reading