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For those who describe themselves as Atheist, does this mean that you don't believe in the existence of a god, or that you currently are not a member of an organized religion but still believe in the possibility of one?

Just curious.

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I believe the term atheist means that you do not believe in a god. Agnostic means you really aren't too sure either way.
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What rob said. If you're an athiest, you believe there is no god.
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I know what it means, I just want to see if that is how it is being used in the religion thread.
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my husband was, what i would consider, an atheist for many years. his religious philosophy was simply put: you're born, you die, you rot. get over it. editing to add there is no possibility of God, not now, not then, not ever.
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I use the term to atheist to describe myself, though agnostic may be a little more appropriate. I KNOW I don t believe in the God I was taught about in school; a God made in the image of man who judges us and has rules about how we should pray, who we should marry, what we should call Him. I believe with every fiber of my being that that is false. I do leave room for the possibility of some type of guiding life force that is available to us that we can try to channel in some way through meditation or prayer. I like to think that is true, though I can t really say I believe it. Mostly I think the power people feel as God comes from within.
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I'm pretty much with CB on this; I believe in some sort of power but I refuse to accept that there is only one true religion and everyone else who believes differently is going to hell. Who'd WANT to believe in something like that? I think that you do the best you can to go through life without hurting others or yourself, treat others as you would like to be treated, and try to leave a positive impact. I think there is a higher power that guides us, but I also believe that every person's perception of that power is different.
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If you believe some higher power exists, regardless of form, you are agnostic.

If you believe one does not, you are atheist.
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Not all religions hold 'hell' as a belief. :)
Really though, there are 2,600 different recognized 'faiths' just in America. Just a number to think about when generalizing about "organized religion" or "what I was taught" or "stuggles with the church".
At one time in my life when I was 'searching', I lived in a bigger city and simply began visiting church after church after church. And now that I've found 'my home', I really do think there's a place for everyone if they look long enough.
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Not really.
agnostic:
1) a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable
2) one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
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If you mean that a place for everyone means an organized religion home for everyone, I disagree. If one is an atheist, it would be fruitless visiting. If you're only referring to agnostics, I suppose visiting and visiting in hope to find a spiritual home could be within the realm of possibility. Some agnostics such as myself don't have that desire.
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Yes, really. The "probably" leaves the door open. If you do not commit to existence or nonexistence, it means you're not sure if a higher power exists or not. If you're unsure, it means you still contend that there may be a possibility of a higher power. There may be, or there may not be. Atheism removes that option by saying no way, no how, no chance.
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Yes, really. The "probably" leaves the door open. If you do not commit to existence or nonexistence, it means you're not sure if a higher power exists or not. If you're unsure, it means you still contend that there may be a possibility of a higher power. There may be, or there may not be. Atheism removes that option by saying no way, no how, no chance.

I'm not seeing how this goes back to the post I quoted.

If you believe some higher power exists, regardless of form, you are agnostic.

This is simply a false statement. While I can guess what you meant to say, I was posting a more solid definition of an agnostic. Going on what you wrote, a Christian would be agnostic, which is not so. For clarification purposes only, the converse (If you are agnostic, you believe some higher power exists, regardless of form.) is not necessarily true either.
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1) It's directly tied to it. Sorry you can't see that.
2) No it's not. Don't be a literalist. I was describing the difference between an atheist and an agnostic, not anything else. An atheist says no higher power at all, an agnostic is not sure.
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This is an interesting thread, I was thinking something along these lines, I think, when I read the religion survey and saw how many people used to belong to some type of organized religion and, for whatever reason, now call themselves atheist. I also have a number of friends who say the same thing, and it is usually prefaced with "I used to be (insert denomination here, a lot of times Catholic) but I had (insert negative experience story here) and now I think organized religion is for the birds, I'm an atheist."

I'm kind of confused, not judging anyone here at all, but merely asking how people's minds work. I walked away from organized religion myself a long time ago because of some negative experiences and am just starting to make the long crawl back, but I never walked away from believing in some form of Higher Power. I guess under the definitions here, I was an agnostic--feeling like CB said, that there could be something out there, but not, as I was born into a Catholic family also, believing in all the rules and biases that went along with a particular denomination. My distinction between the two is that manmade doctrines and man's interpretation of the Bible were what the problem was here, not the Higher Power itself, so I guess my question is, if a person once believed in God but got disgrunted with a particular religious group(s), why would the teachings of men make them therefore not want to believe in God, Spirit, a Higher Power, or whatever you want to call "what's out there" if they once did believe in such an entity?

Again, I'm not being judgmental, I'm just thinking of my own journey and honestly wondering how a person would come to that determination, if anyone who fits that definition would care to share their thoughts. If not, that's fine too.
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