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Thread: Antique Atheism?

  1. #1 Antique Atheism? 
    Forum Freshman Headdresser's Avatar
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    Recently I read in the bible...and the Psalm 14:1-3 "The fool says in his heart "There is no God", which I had read many times without thinking about it, caught my attention.
    Whenever the term "godless" shows up in the bible I tended to think that it refers to people with anti-social behavior or people with other religions...but on the other hand...I'am starting to think that "godless" may (at least in some cases) actually describes people without faith in a deity. Can't atheism be described clearer than talking about people who claim "There is no god."?
    I think...if atheism was totally unknown or very rare...wouldn't there be so many and (sometimes) aggressive attempts to point out that it is a bad thing?

    So...I started to wonder wether or not there have been actual atheists in the biblical times (in the middle east)...and if there had been some kind of movement, or philosophical school or famous advocate and if there are scriptures or any other proves of their existence

    I do know about an Egyptian movement who promoted the idea that the real life is not the afterlife and that we should search for happiness until we alive and I do know about Epicure who was not an Atheist but promoted the idea that gods may not interfere with human business and that things happening on earth are caused by natural processes. But...I think none of this groups...have been atheists (as far as I know.)
    So my question...Is it possible that the term godless refer to one of this movements or maybe another movement you want to tell us about
    Thx...for answering.


    Last edited by Headdresser; April 23rd, 2013 at 03:38 AM.
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    Would an atheist in an aggressively religious society admit it?


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    I think the Bible passage indicates that the idea of atheism is not a new one, otherwise there would be no need to mention it. For whatever reason it never caught on in a big way. If it had, then there would be historical evidence of civilizations with that belief system. There could be a lot of reasons for it, including persecution by religious groups. Of course, all religious groups would have been persecuted by other religious groups, but there is some reason why the atheists were not able to defend themselves or spread their philosophy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Headdresser View Post
    Whenever the term "godless" shows up in the bible I tended to think that it refers to people with anti-social behavior or people with other religions...but on the other hand...I'am starting to think that "godless" may (at least in some cases) actually describes people without faith in a deity. Can't atheism be described clearer than talking about people who claim "There is no god."?
    The bible is a compilation of written hand copied "clone" of hand copied translation of hand copied clones. All of these copies not only done by human being (error prone), but by human payed by master with an agenda. So "godless" has never been part of the 'original' writing, because English was yet to be invented.

    Anyway, my understanding of godless is that it mean (especially in the context of the Old Testament part of the Bible) people that do not believe in the "true" God. Not only the very rare atheist, but the very common pagans, because you know, nobody read the bible back then. Nobody could read... at all (still nobody does, but you)

    Your take that it is "anti-social" is probably also correct, because any group trying to forge an identity must first ostracize the "other" to be sure to have the lead and or peace of mind.

    That's why so many Atheist are as aggressive as theist. They want that everybody believe in their irrational thinking ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    I think the Bible passage indicates that the idea of atheism is not a new one, otherwise there would be no need to mention it. For whatever reason it never caught on in a big way. If it had, then there would be historical evidence of civilizations with that belief system. There could be a lot of reasons for it, including persecution by religious groups. Of course, all religious groups would have been persecuted by other religious groups, but there is some reason why the atheists were not able to defend themselves or spread their philosophy.
    I find this post very odd.
    Especially coming from you.

    You call atheism a 'belief system' and a 'philosophy' in this post...
    Yet, you're often one of the first people to point out that atheism itself only means a lack of belief in God and has no philosophy of it's own. A person can be called an atheist, yet still believe in all kinds of mumbo jumbo.

    This post is very, very odd.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    I think the Bible passage indicates that the idea of atheism is not a new one, otherwise there would be no need to mention it. For whatever reason it never caught on in a big way. If it had, then there would be historical evidence of civilizations with that belief system. There could be a lot of reasons for it, including persecution by religious groups. Of course, all religious groups would have been persecuted by other religious groups, but there is some reason why the atheists were not able to defend themselves or spread their philosophy.
    There are quite a few examples of civilizations with aspects of doubt about Gods (atheism isn't a belief system...there is no system to it). Much of our funding of logic and reasoning comes from atheist such as Protagoras and Epicurus. Skepticism, a form of atheistic thinking has been part of the fiber of many prior cultures--not only the Greeks, but even in some surprising places, such as during Islam's Golden Age with people such as Omar Khayyam.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    I think the Bible passage indicates that the idea of atheism is not a new one, otherwise there would be no need to mention it. For whatever reason it never caught on in a big way. If it had, then there would be historical evidence of civilizations with that belief system. There could be a lot of reasons for it, including persecution by religious groups. Of course, all religious groups would have been persecuted by other religious groups, but there is some reason why the atheists were not able to defend themselves or spread their philosophy.
    I find this post very odd.
    Especially coming from you.

    You call atheism a 'belief system' and a 'philosophy' in this post...
    Yet, you're often one of the first people to point out that atheism itself only means a lack of belief in God and has no philosophy of it's own. A person can be called an atheist, yet still believe in all kinds of mumbo jumbo.

    This post is very, very odd.
    Don't put too fine a point on it. All I mean is a society where most people are atheist. Those societies didn't seem to take hold or last very long.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Those societies didn't seem to take hold or last very long.
    Asking why that may be and whether or not non-believing societies today would have better odds of longevity as opposed to a time when less education and higher superstition reigned would be worthy of its own thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    There are quite a few examples of civilizations with aspects of doubt about Gods (atheism isn't a belief system...there is no system to it)
    Yes, and with some aspect of being left handed, or to like a good glass of wine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Much of our funding of logic and reasoning comes from atheist such as Protagoras and Epicurus.
    I'd like to see the pie chart of knowledge versus atheism. My guess is that would put this sentence in a funny logical perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Skepticism, a form of atheistic thinking has been part of the fiber of many prior cultures--not only the Greeks, but even in some surprising places, such as during Islam's Golden Age with people such as Omar Khayyam.
    Skepticism completely elude Atheist and Theist. There is no rational proof of God (nor definition BTW), and still your skepticism reach the absolute zero in terms of God.

    You'd better re-read Harold post, because you still miss the point. Atheism is not likely to succeed, because it is not self-coherent, and totally void of anything.
    Evolution do teach you that collective intelligence (the Sapiens) need a organizing protocol to handle the communities.
    Atheism is not even a protocol. Theism is. Even if as irrational, at least it is a proven successful way to proceed to the next generation, and we are adapted to it. Some here are so adapted that they believe that god does not exist without proof whatsoever. But they may worship Ayn Rand, or invisible hand of market in the stead of the old God. What a joke.

    Funny thing is that skepticism, which is the true nature of science, is never gonna be any more successful , evolution wise, that raw fanaticism. In fact, it is the opposite, bullies and uneducated got more children, because skeptics tends to think twice, or trice.
    I doubt social science can be of any use to write the new Bible, unless you've come up with a theory of perfect governance.

    Meme wise, intelligence will always tend to comprehension, understanding and forgiveness, tolerance. Any group of people that weak will just go down history drain in an instant.

    Intelligence is not an ever growing quantity, nor anything else.
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    I'm going to lock this thread for now, as it has devolved to nothing but insults. I think I'll come back later and sort out the nonsense and move it into a different thread, because I kind of liked the OP. Too bad it could not be discussed in a rational manner.
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    As promised, I have moved the off topic and squabbling posts to a separate thread (in trash can). This thread will be about ancient atheism movements. Having determined if such movement exist, then we can discuss the reasons why they did or did not thrive. If you wish to discuss the merits of atheism vs theism, or modern atheism movements, go to the other thread.

    I had assumed that there were no significant atheistic societies, but it may be more complicated than that. This article discusses some ancient philosophies which may contain elements of atheism, but I'm not sure they are the same as what we think of as atheism. I'll have to study in greater detail. History of atheism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Forum Freshman Headdresser's Avatar
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    I've been busy, so I may have missed a few things. First of all...my question wasn't implying that atheism was a bad thing or something. It was just bad diction. Second...thx for all topic related answers.
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    Not sure why my comment was removed.

    People of the time would have been more aggressive in stamping it out due to their faith system. In an age when people could be put to death for heresy, it's no small wonder that not only were they hesitant to come out, but they may have been squelched by the church to avoid more atheistic propagation.

    My point being that atheism would have been more of an underground activity in certain places. Here in the states, we can take out billboards promoting it if we wanted to. We have laws to protect that right. The same would not have been true in "ancient" times. Speaking out against the establishment was far more dangerous.

    I suppose it's the same story with things like homosexuality. You probably wouldn't get proper reporting in a place like Uganda, where people are too afraid to admit their practices.
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    when we try to look back to ancient
    do common words like "worship" have the same meaning
    I've seen many an archaeologist(what I considered to be) haphazardly using that term for ancient monumental archetecture with what I considered to be a lot of speculation on very little evidence.

    I never found dieties in TAOism
    does that imply atheism?

    how about "sacred"
    If all life is seen as "sacred" does that imply a deity?
    or can it just stand on it's own
    Respect all life.?

    If we cannot be sure what should be associated with theism
    how then, do we arrive at it's opposite?
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    Post below is the "edited" version. Seems like I unintentionally posted both.
    Last edited by Headdresser; April 30th, 2013 at 11:08 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    I never found dieties in TAOism
    does that imply atheism?
    Yes, it seems so.
    "Traditional conceptions of Tao are not to be confused with the Western concepts of theism." - Wiki

    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    If we cannot be sure what should be associated with theism
    how then, do we arrive at it's opposite?
    Theism is a belief in god/s.
    The opposite would be a disbelief in god/s.
    The neutral position would be a lack of belief in god/s - or 'atheism'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Not sure why my comment was removed.

    People of the time would have been more aggressive in stamping it out due to their faith system. In an age when people could be put to death for heresy, it's no small wonder that not only were they hesitant to come out, but they may have been squelched by the church to avoid more atheistic propagation.

    My point being that atheism would have been more of an underground activity in certain places.
    Would it have been more of an undergroud ativity than another religion? Heretical sects did survive persecution in some cases, even becoming dominant over the original sect. Is there a reason this would not happen with atheism?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Would it have been more of an undergroud ativity than another religion? Heretical sects did survive persecution in some cases, even becoming dominant over the original sect. Is there a reason this would not happen with atheism?
    Since atheism is a lack of belief then it doesn't have the binding ties that a counter-religion would.
    The only common ground would be the absence of belief, therefore no secret meetings, no shared rituals, no articles of faith.
    Effectively each atheist would be on his/ her own rather than part of an "underground movement": when you're vastly outnumbered AND on your own you keep your head well down.
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    I think the fact that a protocol may it be based on idoeology, religion or tradition, is beneficial for a society, was one of the most important reasons that this protocol giving stuff is defended or promoted. But I also think that an overdose of this stuff can be harmfull for a society. I think it depends which kind of society type we are speaking about. Religion is not that important for open societies and I assume the more open a society becomes the less important religion becomes, not in the private, but in the public sector. Which brings me back to the ancient middle east. I usually pictured it as a period of strict laws based on tradition and religion and great godliness. Maybe it is not sight historians have today...I dunno.I start to think...that it may have been a much more liberal period than I pictured it. Because, if we assume that most bible writers have been...more or less conservative people...the fact that they seem to be constantly unhappy with the society, peoples morals, behavior, even the actions of many kings, including Salomon in his last years...it appears to me that this was a quiet liberal period. Unlike other societies, whose high priests or god-kings, are the one who told us something about there sociéty, the bible record sometimes seem to be written by...lets call them the opposition...or people whose standarts moral and godliness where far beyond those of average people. But ass you said...these are the scriptures that survived. So, how I see it, there are 2 ways of interpreting the constant complains of the biblewriters about sin.A. The moral standards in that society are very high...and not sinning is very important.Or...and I tend to follow that idea...B. The moral standarts in that sociéty are kind of low...and some people despérately wished th em to be higher. An example...the fact that cross dressing was prohibited can A. Tell us that this society was very strict about those matters...stricter than others.B. Tellus that in this society there have been so many cross dressers that an anti-cross dressing movment arose.I know that B is not the obvious one but it is also plausible, i think. Plus the fact that a unordinary high number of religious groups, sects and cults arose in ancient judea, of which most of them pictured the mainstream society as way to worldly...maybe because it was more tolerant, for example about atheism thanwe may think. I could imagine the "liberal" period started as the babylonian jewish societies returned...i guess they have been the strict and conservative ones....and ended with the invasion of the romans.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Not sure why my comment was removed.

    People of the time would have been more aggressive in stamping it out due to their faith system. In an age when people could be put to death for heresy, it's no small wonder that not only were they hesitant to come out, but they may have been squelched by the church to avoid more atheistic propagation.

    My point being that atheism would have been more of an underground activity in certain places.
    Would it have been more of an undergroud ativity than another religion? Heretical sects did survive persecution in some cases, even becoming dominant over the original sect. Is there a reason this would not happen with atheism?

    I don't know. I do sort of wonder about the way different religions view one another as opposed to the way religions view atheism. In the eyes of X religion, is it worse to be Y religion or atheist?

    Is there really any realistic way of measuring something like that anyways?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post

    I don't know. I do sort of wonder about the way different religions view one another as opposed to the way religions view atheism. In the eyes of X religion, is it worse to be Y religion or atheist?

    Is there really any realistic way of measuring something like that anyways?
    A survey maybe?
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    I don't know. I do sort of wonder about the way different religions view one another as opposed to the way religions view atheism. In the eyes of X religion, is it worse to be Y religion or atheist?


    That really depends a lot on the associations between the religion. For example, most Muslims consider Christians better than Atheist because at least they (and Jews) are worshiping the same God. If, however, you asked a Muslim to compare a Yazidi, who they belief worships the devil, to an Atheist, they'd put the Atheist well above the Yazidi.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I don't know. I do sort of wonder about the way different religions view one another as opposed to the way religions view atheism. In the eyes of X religion, is it worse to be Y religion or atheist?


    That really depends a lot on the associations between the religion. For example, most Muslims consider Christians better than Atheist because at least they (and Jews) are worshiping the same God. If, however, you asked a Muslim to compare a Yazidi, who they belief worships the devil, to an Atheist, they'd put the Atheist well above the Yazidi.
    That's very interesting. I know there are different "levels" of things like sin (hence, why the derogatory term for gay people is the same as the term for a bundle of kindling in the UK), but my knowledge of religion doesn't even scratch the surface. I know most of the world believes it in some way, but I would rather listen to my cousin talk about his Pokemon collection than listen to religious dogma. Overwhelming apathy consumes me.

    That having been said, I do find myself very interested in how the acceptance of a religion affects a population. I guess I have to be kind of interested in that being an American. It seems religions in which I do not believe dictate a great deal of my life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Would an atheist in an aggressively religious society admit it?
    Only if they like to be the main course at the BBQ cookout...
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    [QUOTE=Lynx_Fox;416126]
    There are quite a few examples of civilizations with aspects of doubt about Gods (atheism isn't a belief system...there is no system to it).


    I think Headdresser did a good job of describing the belief system of an atheist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Headdresser View Post
    I do know about an Egyptian movement who promoted the idea that the real life is not the afterlife and that we should search for happiness until we alive and I do know about Epicure who was not an Atheist but promoted the idea that gods may not interfere with human business and that things happening on earth are caused by natural processes. But...I think none of this groups...have been atheists (as far as I know.)
    So my question...Is it possible that the term godless refer to one of this movements or maybe another movement you want to tell us about
    Thx...for answering.

    All the theists are busy trying to position themselves in the afterlife. Regardless of what theist faith they are, they all agree that that is the goal to be seeking after, and want to cooperate toward that goal.


    Atheists throw a monkey wrench in the machine by not caring about the afterlife, because many atheist belief systems don't allow that any such place exists anyway. It's natural that all the afterlife seekers would want those people to just be quiet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    All the theists are busy trying to position themselves in the afterlife. Regardless of what theist faith they are, they all agree that that is the goal to be seeking after, and want to cooperate toward that goal.
    Atheists throw a monkey wrench in the machine by not caring about the afterlife, because many atheist belief systems don't allow that any such place exists anyway.
    Once again: that's a lack of belief, not a belief system.
    There are, maybe surprisingly, atheists who actually do believe in sort of "afterlife", maybe reincarnation 1.
    But atheism, qua atheism, is not a belief system.


    1 Which possibly helps reinforce the idea that atheism is not a single "system".
    All that all atheists have "in common" is a lack of belief in "god" - to varying degrees.
    It's no more a belief system than "not collecting stamps" is a hobby.
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; April 29th, 2013 at 06:45 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    All the theists are busy trying to position themselves in the afterlife. ... .
    I am the living proof that your above quoted is wrong.

    Unless, by "afterlife" you mean that my atoms and molecules will be recycled within our shared co-evolutionary biom.

    Blanket "all" statments are usually wrong and detrimental to clarity of thought.
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    Okay. What is the topic of this thread? Geez.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Okay. What is the topic of this thread? Geez.
    At least it wasn't me this time...

    did you notice that your post went through twice? when it asks you to if you want to leave the page, and you click "leave page" it posts your message twice. So it's best to just close that dialogue box or click "stay on page". it has done this to me 3 times now.


    I don't necessarily assume this to be true but just a suggestion from another perspective, it may be that atheism was the actual norm and so discussion of it wasn't considered worth mentioning. The people of ancient times were trying to establish their faith and so rather than mention the non believers so much, they instead were trying to explain why they believed or were trying to create something to believe in. And they likely were not getting the amount of resistance that they get today, because life being as it was back then, faith actually was brought improvement (hope, unity and emotional fortitude) to the lifestyles of those who were oppressed, so accepting the notions of a god wasn't seen as anything that would cause them harm. But things are different now and the nature of belief has changed, it is no longer used as a tool of liberation but has been taken by those in control and turned into tool of oppression so now there is plenty of resistance to it.

    These days, the majority of people are people of faith, so IF there was a philosophy or system to being atheist and a book of rules to follow, there wouldn't need to be a lot of pages pointing out that there are people of faith. It's common knowledge. Sure they would get mention here and there, but if the ones writing the rules were prudent, they would be more diligent at promoting the lack of faith rather than attacking faith as a primary means of teaching.

    Mudslinging against the competition is never as effective as positive presentation of the idea you are promoting. You can't insult your audience into your favor. It just doesn't work that way.

    Like I said, I don't necessarily believe this to be the case, but since we have little to go on besides speculation and a book that has questionable credibility to start with, offering up an alternative possibility seemed within reason. Take it or leave it. Makes no difference to me.
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    Yeah, I noticed the duplicate post. I deleted it too, but somehow the deletion didn't take. There, that did it.
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    From my point of view this passage indicates that the knowledge of atheism is not a new one, else there would be no need to discussion it. For whatever goal it never caught on in a large way. If it had, then there would be antique evidence of people with that belief system. You must try crusader flags. It is also similar to Atheism.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrl002 View Post
    If it had, then there would be antique evidence of people with that belief system.
    If by "belief system" then:
    1) we DO have antique evidence of atheism.
    2) atheism is NOT a belief system.

    You must try crusader flags. It is also similar to Atheism.
    How so?
    On the face of it (and given the stated motivations of the crusaders) this is a very strange claim.
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