I don't see why it is that so many people turn away from Christianity or Judaism because they believe there's no logical reason to believe in God, and then immediately turn to the equally illogical belief that there is no god. Saying that you're sure that there isn't a god doesn't make any more sense than saying you're sure that there is a god. It really annoys me when I hear people telling other people that they're atheists in a voice that sounds like they think they're much more intelligent than people of other religions because they don't believe in God.

I will admit that there is probably much more chance of there being no god than all of the specific beliefs and stories of Christianity and Judiasm being true, but Atheism is no more logical than the belief that a god exists.

Amelinda - I agree with your point. I'm not sure whether "for a refutation" refers to my writeup or siren's. If your refutation was for my writeup, I actually said basically the same thing as you did at the end of my writeup.
I suppose that one could say from an a priori point no given statement is more logical than another.

It seems rational to inform our logic through experience. There is no experience for the existence of a God. We must choose between some arbitrary world whose rules we do not full understand and some arbitrary world whoose rules we do not fully understand which contains a God (an object that can behave contrary to all of the accumulated evidence that we have about how things can behave), furthermore a God that has, as yet, no observational effects.

Seeking the lest ad hoc explanation indicates that we should choose the Godless world. This seems logical to me.

Why would one search for a deity through logic when logic has been constructed to help us think clearly about human propositions?

Meaning is what you make of it.

For a refutation, see Occam's Razor.

The idea is, "Given the set of solutions to a given question, the best one is the simplest one." The solution of "there is no god, and all things are the the result of the principles of physics" is much simpler than any theology I've ever heard of.

I suppose I should note that I consider myself agnostic, not atheist.

I read a book once that claimed that it was illogical to call oneself an atheist. The book claimed that to be a believer made sense: one could have had, say a personal revelation which convinced them beyond any doubt that God did exist. On the other hand, to believe with absolute certainty that something does not exist requires personal knowledge of everything there is, to be sure that whatever you're looking for isn't among them. The best you can say is that you doubt the existence of God, not that you know he doesn't exist. And therefore, according to this book, people who call themselves "atheists" are more properly agnostics (and the author says that atheists he's spoken to and explained this reasoning to are all quite happy to adjust their designations accordingly...)

I don't really buy it. It's an interesting point, that proving something's existence really is fundamentally different from proving its non-existence, but there's a lot of word-games going on here, and even beyond that it doesn't really hold water. After all, the author is willing to accept as a believer someone who is convinced to his own satisfaction that there is a God, even if said God hasn't paid him a personal visit. What's wrong with extending the same courtesy to atheists, and accepting that someone who is convinced to his own satisfaction that there is no God (not that he is not convinced that there is, that he is convinced there isn't) as an atheist?

Still, it's food for thought.

Added October 2, 2000: Upon reflection, I think the book's reasoning behind not calling someone an atheist who is convinced of atheism to his own satisfaction is that a believer may not have experienced a revelation himself, but could reasonably decide to trust someone else's word that he (the other person) experienced revelation, but an atheist would either have to know everything (and thus know everything isn't God), or be asked to believe that someone else knows everything (and that everything isn't God). It doesn't make it any more valid a point, to me.

Siren and amelinda make some points that I would like to iterate on: religion is a matter of faith. There is no empirical evidence that supernatural powers exist, nor is there any empirical evidence that supernatural powers do not exist; therefore, logically, nothing can be said about the existence of supernatural powers. So belief of any sort, including unbelief, is inherently non-logical.

The book that Seqram refers to is, in light of the above, making a logical error. One's beliefs about that which cannot be proved or disproved are neither logical nor illogical.
I'm not quite sure why the author doesn't extend the courtesy of being convinced to one's own satisfaction to atheists.
S'funny, I have twice in the past couple of years been suddenly overcome by the incredibly strong feeling that there is no such thing as the supernatural, that there was no god or gods. It was kind of a sucky feeling, because the concept of oblivion after death is really boring to me. Though I have not had any such strong feelings to the contrary; i.e., that there was a higher power, I continue merrily in my paganism with the tiny scraps of inspiration that I sometimes attribute to the supernatural.

There is one other thing to keep in mind: arguments for the existence of "the one truegod", whether they pretend to be based in logic or fully acknowledge that they are philosophical, are forgetting one important detail:
How do you know there's only one god? How do you know that this supernatural being is, in fact, conscious and looking out for us? In short, how can anyone claim to know the nature of god or the supernatural?

A bit of a comment on amelinda's point. Occam's Razor does not necessarily indicate that there is no God. If anything, it is much simpler to believe that the universe was created than the theories now suggested by scientists that, out of nothing, for a reason that we don't quite understanding, the universe began to exist where there was not before through a Big Bang. Also, Paul Davies who won a Templeton prize for his book The Mind Of God (with whom I disagree on many things) points out that saying that the universe came into existence as a result of physical laws is just giving a name to something we don't understand; we do not understand why we have the physical laws that we have today. Why were these particular physical laws "chosen" rather than another set? So the explanation "the world came into existence as a result of the principle of physics" doesn't really explain much, it's like saying that "the person is sick because he has an illness".

(First off, I'd better state that I'm using the term atheist to mean an explicit atheist, because to use it to mean implicit atheist is just plain stupid.)

There are reasonable arguements for God (most people don't know many of these) and half-decent arguements against (most people only know ones applying to the JCI God). I one thinks it through, one can reasonable go either way as to the existance of God. Theism is not necessarily an illogical position. Atheism itself is not necessarily an illogical position. Most atheists, however, arrive at their conclusion through very faulty logic and unthought-out premises.

Firstly, it's popular to assume that the JCI God is the only concept of God, or the only one worth even thinking about. The way most people sort it out, the ancient greeks were atheists because they didn't beleive in the One God.

Additionally, most people take an arguement such as the problem of evil and conclude that there is no [JCI] God, never stopping to look at the hundreds of decent responces to the problem.

Whether atheism itself is a logical position is debatable, but it's very clear that most atheists are not. They did not think through their position, yet consider themselves more intelligent and more rational than a theist who has.

Theism is not necessarily an illogical position. Atheism itself is not necessarily an illogical position. Making a claim of one's logicalness based on lack of thought is illogical.

The silliness of the assertion that is the title of this node can be seen in the following statements:

  • Not believing in the toothfairy is no more logical than believing in the toothfairy.
  • Not believing in UFOs is no more logical than believing in UFOs.
  • Not believing in Norse Mythology is no more logical than believing Norse Mythology.
  • Not believing in Nichiren-sect Buddhism is no more logical than believing Nichiren-sect Buddhism.

Faith in any religion you may have is fine with me, but do not try to argue that it is logical to believe in extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence. You either believe what you are told/your heart tells you or you believe what your senses and logical deduction tells you. I choose the latter, and I am an atheist.

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