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The Definition of "Atheism" - The Desian Universe
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deskitty
deskitty
Des
Thu, Apr. 5th, 2007 07:17 pm
The Definition of "Atheism"

5CommentReply

deskitty
deskitty
Des
Sat, Apr. 14th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Active = Strong

Heya. Thanks for stopping by.

Surveying them begs the question of authority and meaning, which seems to have been virtual_anima's point (he now tells me).

It does indeed. The problem with that question is that it's a personal-values judgement, so there are no right or wrong answers. There will probably be arguments back and forth about it till the end of time. ;)

I've laid out what I think is a reasonable answer to that just in terms of being able to communicate, but I can't beat people over the head with a philosophical stick and say, "you should follow my reasoning!". That would be like telling someone, "you WILL like pork, because I like pork!". ;)

It sounds like what you call "passive" atheism is what is generally labeled "weak atheism", and "active" atheism is labeled "strong atheism". This was one of virtual_anima's points in his original post.

Ah, but how do you define (and support) "generally"? Do we define it as "all my friends use it", or as something more rigorous?

(As a side note, I actually use the word "agnosticism" for the passive definition, but that could probably be the subject of its own post. ;P)

A clearer dissection of the difference was given by i_am_lane awhile back on philosophy, called "Agnostics Mislabel Themselves".

Thanks for the link. S/he makes a very interesting argument for what s/he defines as "weak atheism", however, hir entire statement is predicated on definitions for which sie provides no support. (I didn't see any, at any rate.) So I think sie's actually addressing a different question.

Regardless, we agree that most people do indeed think of active or strong atheism when talking to friends or writing on LJ.

That we can agree on. ;)

I do think, however, we should try to keep one set of definitions for both philosophical and casual discussions, just from the standpoint of keeping confusion to a minimum.

In any case, thanks for your response. I appreciate the feedback. :)


ReplyThread Parent
vap0rtranz
vap0rtranz
Justin
Sat, Apr. 14th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Active = Strong

Ah, but how do you define (and support) "generally"? Do we define it as "all my friends use it", or as something more rigorous?

"Generally" implies a context where the speaker or writer and audience or readers understand the meaning conveyed. You could say that's just how I setup my interactions with people, but I think one begs a myriad of nonsensical questions by undermining communication. For example, if "generally" meant whatever you and your friends understood, then that's fine but it also wouldn't help convey anything meaningful to a coworker or classmate. Language is the best defense for what I implied generally. If Americans did not agree to use some standardized English words and grammar, then we'd bump into some serious communication issues during the evening news. But that standard set of words and rules doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't American dialects or idioms understood only by subsets of Americans. So when I say "strong atheism" is the phrase generally used, I was appealing to previous religious and philosophic texts that I've read. Nonetheless, I find your label "active atheism" conveys less divisiveness than its counterpart "weak atheism" -- as if the later are inferior to the more powerful former. However, if you were to start a post without defining terms, then I would expect more readers would immediately understand "strong atheism" over "active atheism". It doesn't mean its better; "generally" just means its well-understood.


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