User talk:Modocc

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Welcome to my talk page.

What seems to me to be a moving target, the definition of the day of atheism.[edit]

Hi Modocc,

Many years ago on Wikipedia it was considered acceptable to have a definition of atheism in the lead of the article such as:

"Atheism entails, minimally, the disbelief in the existence of a deity or deities."

Why has it now shifted to:

"The absence of belief (no longer a disbelief) in the existence of dieties.". A definition which is significantly different, in that it has now shifted to include many agnostics?

Scott P. (talk) 00:25, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

That definition was before the article became a Featured article and the policy is to give wp:due weight to different viewpoints in accordance with current scholarship (which is not necessarily congruent with what is commonly found in dictionaries which merely gives common usage), thus the present version is a result of a long discussion here as I said. At which point I had to defend the consensus that we reached, but I'm used to that. --Modocc (talk) 00:59, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
I see you are a sort of an atheist, I will say now that I am a sort of a "theist." Still I do not deny that I could be mistaken. There are just a few things which I really cannot get my head around regarding atheism, and I was wondering if you might have the time to answer just a few questions that I have about these things? Thanks, Scott P. (talk) 01:22, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
I'd be happy to address any questions you have either now or later. --Modocc (talk) 02:35, 7 December 2016 (
Thanks kindly Modocc for offering to try and answer my question(s). It seems to me that there may be several agendas involved in this article, possibly even including my own inherent bias as a theist, and I'm trying to figure out what "commonality" all of these varying agendas may share. From my own perhaps limited perspective as a theist, it seems to me that atheism would simply be the opposite of theism, simply believing that no God or gods exist.
Apparently from the perspective of the American Atheist Society website, agnosticism is a form of atheism, because agnostics have no specific beliefs in the existence, or lack thereof, of God. Apparently from their perspective, the belief in God/gods, is a sort of unnatural piece of unnecessary baggage that people apparently must acquire later in life, and should therefore be able to dispense with with equal ease, once they have properly awakened from their childish delusions.
While I can understand how many atheists might perceive me to be some sort of a deluded child, I cannot fully understand their apparent desire to tell agnostics that they are really atheists, when clearly many of them do not consider themselves as such.
Also, that website proposes that it is so certain that God or gods could not possibly exist, that it declares that atheism itself is not actually a belief at all, but merely man's most natural state of being! Obviously most people would take logical issue with this stance, as there is not yet a single scientist who has yet been able to penetrate 1 millisecond prior to the Big Bang, to tell us all exactly what caused it.
This apparent desire on the part of atheists to try to reclassify agnostics as atheists against their own will, seems to me to be rather confusing.
Therefore, my question for you is this: Do you agree with the American Atheists Society about the proper classification for agnostics, and also about their claim that such absolute certainty about the nonexistence of God or gods has now been achieved, or do these things seem to be somewhat of over-reachs to you, as they do to me?
I thank you for taking the time to consider my confusion here, and to help me better understand the apparent thinking of so many atheists.
Scott P. (talk) 04:28, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
It has been a decade since I looked at the American Atheists Society website so I'm not sure what they are advocating now. Back then they were strongly committed to denying not just God and other deities, but any and all metaphysical and spiritual beliefs. I, on the other hand, am open towards physics that goes well beyond what we actually already know though empirical research. Moreover, atheism, as it has been defined, is contrasted only with theism, thus any assertion that "there is no God" is an explicit position affirming the nonexistence of god which is called positive atheism. Of course, it's hypocritical then to claim atheism is not a belief unless one takes care to refer only to their absence of theistic belief (and thus for them to ignore any or all the reasons why that might be the case). An agnostic may or may not self-identify as an atheist (in its broadest sense) depending on their views. I do not believe in Thor the Thunder god (I deny Thor's existence) and even though I attended church when I was young I did not believe in a divinity and its absolute power to corrupt absolutely; on the contrary, this world we live in with its natural monsters and attendant pain and suffering is way too messed up to be the intention of any being unless that being is a deranged masochist. So I just look to improve our lot in life, FWIW. -Modocc (talk) 06:22, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

OK, thank God/ (or you) for sanity. It would appear that your position here is merely one of attempting to get the article to make as much sense as you can within reason, while not necessarily being entirely satisfied with the article in its entirety. I must confess, the article seems to me as if it were a near carbon copy of the American Atheist Society website, and that site seems to me to be just a bit self-contradictory and illogical.

One doesn't always get what one might hope to get with Wikipedia. I commend you for putting up with it, and still making it better, no doubt. Scott P. (talk) 07:02, 7 December 2016 (UTC)