Originally posted by Dasa
There are two types of atheists.........
The offensive and the passive.
The passive atheist is just a fellow who is lazy and when pressed on the subject of God and then pushed in the corner for discussion - he will actually reveal he is more agnostic that an atheist.
The offensive atheist declares his atheism with loud verbal rants and raves - spitting ...[text shortened]... olish fabrications/speculations that life is a random chance accident is thoroughly dishonest.
Just post a single line of your idiotic drivel and discuss it rationally. Otherwise;
It is a common contention between theists and atheists as to who has the "burden of proof."
Who has this burden - theists? atheists? both? neither?
This issue comes up often enough in debates and discussions that it really needs to be addressed here in some detail.
Theism and EvidenceThat the theists have some burden of proof simply cannot be denied. They are obviously making at least one claim - that at least one god exists.
Theists must, then, be prepared to offer justification for their claims - they must face up to their burden of demonstrating that their assertions are reasonable.
Of course, it would be unusual for theists to limit themselves to just the claim that a god exists - normally, there will be concurrent and related claims about what this god wants and how we are to live, and those too will require some degree of support from the theist.
The more necessary and fundamental they are to the theist's religious belief system, the greater will be the need for support.
How is a theist to support their claims about their god(s)?
Well, that will depend entirely upon the nature of the god for which they are making those claims.
As with any other claim about any other sort of thing - the nature of the support is dependent upon the nature of the object in question.
There isn't any one set of catch-all "proofs" which will suffice for every possible god. Clearly, then, one of the first steps any theist will have to take is to explain the nature of this god they are claiming. What is it, exactly?
Unless we have a good idea of what we are looking for, we'll never know if we've found it or not! Unless a person's theism is literally nonsense, they must be capable explaining the content of their belief.
Parallel to this, and well recognized by many theists, is the fact that the more ambiguous and vague the description of their god is, the easier it will be to find "evidence" for it. If they don't start out clear about what they are describing, then they can later add on anything they wish as "support." No critically and logically thinking atheist should accept this. If we do not have a clear idea of what "god" mean, then the statement "god exists" is literally communicating nothing to us - and there will be no reason to accept it as rational, much less true.
Atheism and EvidenceBut what about atheists?
What burden of proof do they hold?
Well, we should first notice that atheists aren't necessarily making any particular claims about the world.
When a person says to you "I am an atheist," all you can really assume is that they are saying "I do not believe in any gods."
That isn't much, and unless someone wishes to argue that the atheist is mistaken or lying about their beliefs, then they should be taken at their word.
They do not believe, and that's pretty much that.
Of course, that isn't going to be the limit of the average atheist's beliefs and nonbeliefs.
For example, an atheist might deny the existence of some gods - and that denial is itself a claim which warrants justification and support, if it is questioned.
Other atheists might not deny outright a particular god, but will deny certain associated claims made in relation to belief in that god. For example, an atheist might assert that an alleged god might exist - but that if it does, it cannot be omnibenevolent.
Or an atheist might accept that, if a god exists, it certainly didn't create the world in seven days.
Again, such assertions should be supported if questioned.
Common to all is a fundamental connection to atheism.
They aren't necessary to atheism - no one need deny any particular theistic beliefs in order to be an atheist, they only need to not believe in any gods, whatever their reasons or attitudes.
But the aforementioned claims are clearly related to atheism, since they involve gods.
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