One of the most militant atheists on YouTube is a lesbian who calls herself BionicDance. Here is one of her recent videos:
I questioned her position about atheism in order to get her to defend it in an empirical and non-dogmatic manner. She failed to do that.
@DaleHusband Not choosing a side means not being a theist…and if you’re not a theist, there is only ONE possibility: atheist.
That’s how this works; you cannot BE neutral, you can only be passive. The only way to NOT be an atheist is to believe in god. Period. Atheism is NOT the product of choice, only theism is; atheism is the position of NOT BEING A THEIST…and that’s it; no choice required.
@BionicDance Who told you that? That was certainly not the case only a few decades ago, when I understood “lacking belief in God” to be NON-THEISM, not atheism. Atheism was defined as “DENIAL of belief in God”. Not the same thing, though they are related. For definitions to work, they must be logically consistent. When someone is defining a newborn baby as atheist, he is not being logical, but expressing a dogma.
@DaleHusband atheist (ˈeɪθɪˌɪst)
1. a person who does not believe in God or gods
Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
Wikipedia: Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply THE ABSENCE OF BELIEF THAT ANY DEITIES EXIST.
You’ll find most atheists these days use these definitions. Theists HATE ’em.
@BionicDance So if a child has never heard the term atheist, yet is called an atheist by actual atheists, that is logical? No. Many Muslims claim that all children are born Muslim, which is also absurd. Babies seem to be blank slates; they CANNOT be empirically confirmed as having any belief, or lack of belief. Children must DECIDE first what they believe. Even if they reject Christianity and declare themselves non-theist, that is still a choice, but they MUST make it first.
@DaleHusband A blank slate IS an atheist; the only way to NOT be an atheist is to be a theist. Period.
You act like calling a child an atheist is to give them an alignment, an affiliation, to force them into a movement or a group…and you’re completely wrong. It’s JUST a description.
Being an atheist CAN be a deliberate choice, but it is not required. The only thing that is required is NOT BEING A THEIST. That’s it, 100%. Please get on board here, kiddo, cuz I’m sick of this argument.
“the only way to NOT be an atheist is to be a theist. Period…The only thing that is required is NOT BEING A THEIST. That’s it, 100%.” Thomas Huxley didn’t think so, which is why he invented the term “agnostic” and did not call himself an atheist. And you don’t prove anything by mere assertion, as atheists themselves love to tell religious people. And if you are sick of the argument, you never should have made it, because you will always face opposition from people who disagree.
@DaleHusband Thomas Huxley? So NOW you’re making an argument from authority? *raised eyebrow* Surely you can do better than THAT.
And I don’t CARE if Tommy-boy wants some sort of neutral ground; he can’t have it because that’s NOT what these words mean, not if you break ’em down into their linguistic components
But why am I bothering to explain this to you? You’ve OBVIOUSLY decided to be unconvince-able. And I’m NOT saying I’m sick of the argument, just that I’m sick of having it with YOU.
@DaleHusband Good for you… Your decades-old definitions are WRONG. And they were wrong back then, too. But you’re going to stick with them. That makes you WRONG!
@BionicDance, I just gave you a historical example of someone who didn’t define atheism as you do. I could give you many others, up until the 1990s. From my point of view, you are the one who is not convincable. Nothing wrong with that, unless you assert that you are not dogmatic about anything. @indignant99, it’s not an empirical matter, is it? So you are merely asserting, which is pointless.
@BionicDance nah that would make you agnostic.
Agnostic: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as god, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.
@irishbull777 Agnostic is a separate issue; gnosticism is about knowledge, while theism is about belief.
Whether you are agnostic or not has NOTHING TO DO with whether you’re atheist or theist.
So, again, without active, positive belief in religion, you’re an atheist, whether you’re an agnostic or not.
Later, BionicDance made another video in response to her critics.
Considering that she, along with many other atheists, make so many videos, blog entries, and even entire books slamming religion and even the basic concept of theism itself, WHAT ELSE ARE PEOPLE SUPPOSED TO THINK BUT THAT TO BE AN ATHEIST IS TO BE MILITANTLY ANTI-RELIGIOUS?! They caused the preception that BionicDance is now arguing against!
You cannot have it both ways. If BionicDance wants to be consistent, she should clarify her position by calling herself an anti-theist, not just an atheist. But that would only make it MORE difficult for her to be listened to, because the term anti-theist (opposition to all theist concepts and people) is even less accepted by the general public than atheist.
Look at this bit from P Z Myers’ Pharyngula blog:
How often do we have to repeat ourselves? There is no goal of turning the NCSE or the BCSE into an atheist organization; we think having an organization that is honestly neutral on the religious issue is extremely useful in advancing the cause of good science education for all. We want the NCSE/BCSE to support neither atheism nor religion.
You know what? The atheists in this argument have a crystal-clear understanding of the difference between atheism and secularism, and are saying that the science education organizations should be secular. It’s these sloppy accommodationists who have allowed liberal christianity to become their default position who have violated the distinction.
So P Z is arguing that it is indeed possible for an organization to take a neutral position on religion. But if that is true of organizations, why not individuals? Looks like he and BionicDance need to compare notes! I’d love to see them argue!
As for me, I am quite happy to reject and stay far away from ANY dogmatic black-white dichotomous thinking, even among atheists. Shades of gray that I can see in the empirical reality I live in are what I know to be true, with no double standards whatsoever!
- Are Atheists Smarter Than Theists? (traditionalchristianity.wordpress.com)
- Atheism, agnosticism and theism 6: Conclusion (evolvingthoughts.net)
- Atheism, agnosticism and theism 5: Scope and indexing (evolvingthoughts.net)
- Every Atheist vs Theist Debate in a Nutshell (patheos.com)
I never thought of it that way, well put!
Anther YouTube user called “Abusive AntiTheist (don’t let the name fool you) has a response to this kind of view also:
More to the point, you wouldn’t give the term “a—–” to any other issue regarding lack of belief. I lack belief in dragons, does that make me an “Adragonist”? I lack belief in Communism, so does that make me an “Acommunist”? Perhaps we really need to discard the term “atheist” completely and just have those who lack belief in God called “non-theists”, but that still leaves the fact that lacking a belief, and denying outright the belief, are still NOT the same. Agnostic and non-theist Carl Sagan in all his writings critical of religion NEVER declared “There is no God”, but dogmatic atheist P Z Myers sure did! And you can even deny outright a belief and not despise all those who hold the belief. I deny Islam but I am friendly with some Muslims, so I am an “Amuslim” but not an anti-Muslim. I AM an Anti-Mormon, however!
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