Re: virus: Faith (consolidation)

David McFadzean (
Wed, 28 May 1997 21:07:30 -0600

> From: John "Dry-Roasted Army Worm" Williams <>
> Date: Wednesday, May 28, 1997 8:06 PM
> At 06:26 PM 5/28/97 -0600, you wrote:
> >Your type of atheist doesn't exist. Real atheists do not believe in
> >certain variations of "God". Like I said before, if you define God to
> >be the universe (many people do) then you won't find many atheists with
> >respect to that definition.
> You're throwin' 'em, but I'm jus' not catchin' 'em. Run that by me again
> *real slow like.*

OK. If your definition of God is Trent Reznor then I believe God exists,
and am therefore not an atheist. See how my belief in any X you care
to talk about depends entirely on the definition of X?

> >If God exists then situation X would be true.
> >Situation X is not true.
> >Therefore God does not exist.
> Okay, then we need to find a situation "x" then...
> >(You will have to supply your own divine implication. If you can't then
> >God is undetectable and doesn't affect this reality.)
> By this argument, atoms did not affect this reality until such time as they
> were detectable; DNA had no bearing on reproduction until such time as it
> was detectable, etc... is this what you are saying? We have to be able to
> see something before it has power? Although this is a familiar
> religious/philosophical position, I don't see it meshing with science.

That is not what I am saying. Let me try again. If your definition of
God includes the fact that he is undetectable, then there is no way to prove
(or disprove) his existence. I am agnostic with respect to that definition.
But you have to realize that puts your God in the same category as
invisible pink unicorns (the famous IPU) which is probably not what
you want.

So, I'm just trying to encourage you to volunteer some implication
of the existence of your God.

> >If there is no way to tell the difference between your God and a
> >non-corporeal, invisible Living Blue Whale then I rest my case.
> ;-) Got tired, did you? I mean, resting before you're done.

Does that mean you agree?

> Why does the part about it being in your office make it's existence
> impossible by definition? Hey! For all I know, your office is in a bloody
> great aqarium!

Well it is not. I was hoping you would be reasonable with your assumptions.

> >Does your God ever communicate with humans? What powers does He have?
> >Can you say anything about Him at all? Unless you give me some hints then
> >there is no use talking about His alleged existence.
> So you are not an Athiest. You are mainly an Agnostic, you just fail to
> believe in the traditional Judeo-Christian diety. Alright, I can dig that.
> I mean, I *did* say that Agnosticism is the only logical position.

Someone who does not believe in the traditional Judeo-Christian deity
is usually called an atheist. I am not making this up. You can call them
whatever you like of course.

> >Real atheists claim no such thing. Sorry, but I think you're merely
> >attacking a strawman here. If you don't believe me, I urge you to check out
> >
> Ah! I get it. "Real" athiests don't believe this, "real" christians don't
> believe that, "real" men don't eat quiche. Sorry I wasted your time. I
> didn't realize we were talking about anything real...

Give me some credit or find someone else to talk to.

When I said "real" atheist, I mean people who call themselves atheists
as opposed to atheists that fit your definition.

> This has devolved into issoisnotism. But since perhaps you think I'm
> pulling this out of my butt, John W. Hick, who I've quoted here earlier, says:
> "Beginning at the negative end [of attitudes towards God], _atheism_
> (not-God-ism) is the belief that there is no God of any kind; agnosticism,
> which means literally "not-know-ism," is in this context the belief that we
> do not have sufficent reason either to affirm or deny God's existence.
> Skepticism simply means doubting...." (_Philosophy of Religion_, pg 5)

So what does it take to be a God of any kind? If the entity must have
supernatural powers, them I am inclined to agree with that definition.

> Now, considering that you have said that whether or not you consider God's
> existence to be real depends on the formulation of God that one puts forth,
> I'd have to say that you claim that there is not enough evidence to affirm
> or deny the existence of Gods in general.

You still haven't said what it takes to be a God so I can't comment.

> Obviously, the source above and the source you refer to are in disagreement
> about what athiesm is. I'd also have to say that every athiest I've ever

I don't think so.

> met, *besides* you, has not differentiated between "disbelief" and "claim
> of nonexistence," and an argument over the nature of this term comes as a
> complete and total surprise to me. Eh?

Perhaps you haven't met many atheists.

> Tell you what: you don't tell me I'm not a real Christian, and I won't tell
> you you're not a real Athiest. Deal?


David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus