There Is No X.
Brian Black

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So, then, since (according to you) I cannot disprove the claim that Santa Claus exists, should I go ahead and believe there is a Santa Claus? Of course not! Some physics students recently showed, through physics, that the Santa claim cannot be true. The speeds that Santa would need to attain would melt the sleigh and flatten Santa into a blob of organic goo.

Nevertheless, your argument presupposes that an atheist is making a claim ("There is/are no god/s").

An atheist is simply any person who lacks a god belief for whatever reason; this is the historical meaning that atheistic philosophers and writers have used. Some say that we are atheists when it comes to god-claims that we can conceptualize, and noncognitivists when it comes to god claims that we cannot conceptualize. In other words, I can show you that the Jehovah of the Bible does not and cannot exist: I am an atheist when it comes to Jehovah. However, nobody can conceptualize the ineffable "From which, along with the mind, words turn back" of the Upanishads: I am a noncognitivist because we cannot discuss the incomprehensible or the absurd. (One would expect to see very little written about The Ineffable, but this happens not to be the case! A similar situation occurs when a solipsist tries to defend the philosophy of solipsism.) However, even a noncognitivist is an atheist in that he or she lacks a god belief (being unable to understand the claim).

To say that an atheist is making a positive claim is to bump up against a quirk of semantics. I'm sure you've heard someone say, "I am trying to quit smoking." Nobody can try not to do something; not doing something requires no effort. Though grammatically correct, this is improper usage of the word try. The word quit is a negative being expressed, grammatically, as a positive.

To see this, we need only translate the sentence to read, "I am trying to not pick up a cigarette." No. You don't try not to do something, you simply don't do it. Saying "I am trying to lift this sofa" is proper if we are unsure whether we have the strength to lift it. We would never say "I am trying not to lift the sofa." In the same way, by saying that an atheist is expressing a positive belief, one encounters the same quirks of semantics that accompany the use of a negative term in a positive context. The fact that grammar sometimes allows us to do this does not mean that the statement is valid.

Meanwhile, it is the theist who claims that a god exists. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the theist to bring forth arguments to support that claim. An atheist need prove nothing, because he or she is not making any claim.

In fact, the theist must bring forth extraordinary evidence because of the extraordinary nature of the claim. It is different from someone claiming that the sun exists. The sun's existence is evident to everyone. The fact that so many humans lack a god belief (about 20 percent are atheists or nonreligious according to Encarta) shows that the existence of a god is not plainly evident. Theists differ so radically on what or whom God is. Many differ about how many gods exist. People kill each other, disputing over what is the will of God. These disputes point strongly to the fact that the existence of a god is not plainly evident. The theist, therefore, must make an especially strong case for the existence of a god or gods.

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You try to paint atheism as a religion. Why? Atheism is the lack of religion. This is abuse of the word religion, which has no shades of meaning to allow it to mean "the lack of religion." Of course, one can say, "She practices her atheistic phikosophy religiously," which may sound humorous, I suppose. However, this last use of the word religious (Mirriam-Webster's Tenth Collegiate, definition 3-a) is a completely different meaning from the first two definitions. The first two plainly exclude atheism from their meanings. You misuse of the word religion when you say that the lack of religion is a religion.

I do not understand why many theists are so eager to portray atheists as theists. Do such theists so lack confidence in their position that they feel the need to resort to trickery to sway someone to their viewpoint? I, for one, find such falsehoods repulsive. If you have any clues as to possible motives behind this ploy, please explain them to me. This ruse is very popular on our forum.

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"Positive Atheism," as we use the term, is based on the philosophy developed in India by an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi, G. Ramachandra Rao, who called himself Gora. Gandhi's method of Satyagraha greatly impressed Gora. This method includes the idea that we insist on the right to insist on truthfulness in our discussions and transactions. While Gandhi held that God is the source of this method, Gora saw that the method itself is entirely nontheistic.

This magazine advocates the following ethical philosophy: To practice Positive Atheism is to call theism false. This shows that the one practicing Positive Atheism respects truth. Therefore, one practicing Positive Atheism, to be self-consistent, must insist on truthfulness in all discussions.

Cliff Walker

Graphic Rule

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Theism means:
"belief in God: belief that one God created and rules humans and the world, not necessarily accompanied by belief in divine revelation such as through the Bible
2.belief in god or gods: belief in the existence of a god or gods
-- Encarta® World English Dictionary

Thus, atheism means: "No" plus "Belief in God or gods."

Cliff Walker

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