Why use reason to defend?

I am curious as to why atheists and believers all communicate their beliefs using reason? It ultimately seems divisive of the whole by succumbing to the belief in good and evil; two opposing views of reality.

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I am identified as atheist. So, to which beliefs of mine would you be referring?

The general belief/identity of yourself as an atheist.

The common belief behind atheism is a lack of belief in God or gods.

As for why we use reasoning?

If we abandon reason because we wish to believe in God, then why not abandon reason elsewhere as well? We would abandon almost all of science if we abandon reason . . . and then we can give up handwashing, antibiotics, vaccines, and surgical anesthesia.

Is that what you want?

Ok Kevin,

You admit that it is “…a lack of belief…”. If you believe you are lacking, is it better to be fulfilled or not lacking?

As far as abandoning reason, I am not sure if humanity always had it. We might consult some history of reason books to get a different perspective. Even then, we cannot eliminate a past that looks like a Star Wars prologue.

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Note: I speak only for myself, not others.

I have zero belief in atheism. I define atheism as a lack of belief…in gods. No credible evidence for gods has been shown. Unless that happens, reason dictates I withhold acceptance that any gods exist.

To accept as true something that, despite centuries of attempts, cannot be demonstrated is to, imo, behave irrationally.

Now, in case you wander into the tired old assertion that to be atheist is to believe in science, you will be incorrect. They are not opposites.


What else would you suggest we use? I mean you used your own reason to compose and ask that question. It’s also odd the way you used the phrase “atheists and believers” everyone holds beliefs, we couldn’t function without them, atheists simply lack theistic belief.

Lost me there, reason is a method, and not in and of itself divisive. good and evil are purely subjective ideas.

No, objective reality has nothing to do with our subjective beliefs about what is good or evil or inbetween, though such subjective ideas can help us make objective reality more bearable.

Beyond a lack of theistic belief no atheists need share any beliefs, though they likely do fo course.

not really what he said or meant, he meant atheists lack theistic belief. Not that atheists are necessarily unfulfilled. Personally I base belief on sufficient objective evidence, and not on how the belief might make me feel, as I care more about whether a belief is true or not.

Reason is methodology, it’s not something you possess, it is something you can utilise, either well or poorly of course. For instance if your reason does not adhere to logic, then it is poorly reasoned.

I’m not seeing your point sorry, there is strong reasoning and weak or poor reasoning, if one cares about the truth then one ought try for the latter.


I’m currently lacking cancer cells (I hope); sometimes it is better to be lacking.


Why do you assume that atheists lack fulfillment?

While I still practice many aspects of my religion, I tend to treat the world as if there is no God (or gods) because there is no physical evidence.

I feel fulfilled (with atheism) because I have made sincere progress toward abandoning the bigotry, genocide, homophobia, sexism, violence, etc. that’s associated with organized religion.

The fact that I have improved myself in such a manner is very fulfilling . . . as is the idea that I have a greater degree of personal responsibility toward creating my own happiness.

Why do theists assume that atheism automatically means that one lacks fulfillment and/or inner peace?



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All; beliefs are communicated by using reason. Reason is a technique by which beliefs are judged to be sound and to what degree they should be believed. It is a method of evaluating claims and establishing the truth value of the claims. Everyone uses some kind of reason when asserting a belief. Atheists tend to rely on research, independent verification, the scientific method, and systems of reason that have pulled us from the dark ages and put us on the moon. Theists on the other hand, rely on faith and belief. A technique that flys people into buildings, burns books, and kills anyone with an opposing view.


Reason, and its number one tool, logic, is the single best method we have for telling fact from fiction.

Every advancement in science, medicine, technology, etc., has at its base, reason.


When we say we lack belief in gods, that does not mean we have something important missing from ourselves.

I am sure there are many things you don’t believe exist: big foot, loch ness monster, chupacabra, Jinn, skinwalkers, etc. Does your not believing in some or all these entities cause an lacking in your life?


There is a long history associated with this, which begins in earnest with the formulation of the first axiomatic formal system by Euclid (namely, his system of gemonetry as described in The Elements). His system pretty much defined much of pure mathematics for 2,000 years, because it worked. Other attempts at systematic reasoning also enjoyed their own measure of success, a notable example being Aristotle’s early formulation of logic using syllogisms.

The whole motivation behind these enterprises, was to find reliable methods of distinguishing between true and false propositions. That we learned later of some of the flaws in early atempts to construct such systems, does not in any way, shape or form, detract from the utility value thereof. The trick, of course, is to make such systems genuinely reliable, a task that we’ve learned in relatively recent times is that much harder, courtesy of the work of such individuals as Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing, but this again does not detract from the utility value of such systems.

Indeed, before Gödel and Turing threw their respective spanners in the works, it was the dream of mathematicians (David Hilbert being perhaps the most high profile advocate thereof) to develop a purely mechanical system of deduction, that would reliably distinguish between true and false propositions, one that might even be automated to the point of eliminating human subjectivity and bias from the matter completely. Such a system, had it ever materialised, would have been truly a wonder to celebrate - it would have provided us with the first completely bomb-proof means of distingushing truth from falsehood, at least in the realm of pure mathematics, and would have provided useful pointers toward extending the same mechanisation of reason to other domains of thought.

Let’s face it, who would’t want a foolproof, 100% reliable means of distinguishing between truth and falsehood? Such a system would solve a vast array of problems, and not just the problems it was pointed at either.

That this fond wish of Hilbert turned out to be unreachable, once again, doesn’t affect the utility value of reliable systems of reasoning, ones that reliably distinguish between true and false propositions. It means merely that we have to be content with consistent but incomplete systems of this sort. Indeed, there exists a voluminous literature devoted to intricate questions arising from the development and use of formal axiomatic systems of reasoning, which is now so voluminous that no human will now live long enough to read and understand it all.

But, the problems above notwithstanding, it’s a measure of how far humans have progressed in this matter, that we now have working proof assistants for various branches of pure mathematics, of which Isabelle is simply one example.

Of course, one issue that arises perennially with formal systems of reasoning, is that they require training to deploy properly. Indeed, the Internet is littered with instances of individuals who claim to be using “logic” and “reasoning” to arrive at various conclusions, only for their output to be roundly shredded by persons possessing genuine expertise in the requisite fields. But abuse of such systems is, of course, a separate question, one requiring its own body of discourse to address properly.

You’ll find that the desire to have a rock solid means of verifying our propositions goes back a long way in our species, and for good reason. It’s one thing to assert that you’re right, and another entirely to know that you’re right.

The diligent will find this video clip covering the matters I expound upon above in some detail to be highly illuminating.

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Thanks for your detailed reply. I agree with you about assertion and knowledge. From my perspective, judgement coming from each side deals with the assertion vs knowledge issue, and it is the judgement that continues to maintain the rift. It seems each side can claim the other is just making an assertion and that ultimately they don’t really “know”. I might speculate on a future (100,000 years?) where human reasoning as we now experience it, has evolved into something quite different from what it is now. Perhaps it might even have a different history and terms that describe it. Anyway, I find this discussion entertaining as I find stories about big foot, Loch Ness and ancient aliens to be. For me, their value is not in the reasoning behind the facts of the matter, but the fun of the matter.

Yes, it is “reasonable” and “logical” people who assert that reason and logic is the “best” tool for determining the truth. And it is “faithful” and “religious “ people who assert that faith and belief are the best tools. My question is, can they be reconciled?

You are going to need to define knowledge before you use it. It seems you are putting it in a context of absolute knowledge and I would argue “No such animal exists.’ There is nothing that could possibly exist that we could not, at some point, know one more thing about, refine one small fact about, or eliminate some small attribute about. Philosophically the standard is “Justified True Belief.” I have no idea how you would identify something as 'True.” ‘Justification’ is often circumstantial. And, belief is something akin to “I really, really, really, think it is true.” Knowledge as it turns out, is a subcategory of belief. And, it says very little about 'truth."

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I can say (when we speak of reason) that this is why I love this forum.

I get to discuss diverse ideas with rational people from many different parts of the world . . . and what could be more intellectually stimulating?

Besides drugs, I mean.


I generally withhold belief from claims when I can’t know whether they are true, it seems absurd to do otherwise, and irrational, as one would have to either believe contrary claims, or use bias to believe some and not others, the only rational position is to disbelieve all unfalsifiable claim. of course with god claims, they are not all unfalsifiable, so whilst I disbelieve them all, as they are unsupported by any objective evidence, I must also remain agnostic when the claims are unfalsifiable.

A hundred thousand years is optimistic perhaps , but either way we cannot really know (ironically) that we will create better methods than logic and science, and those methods certainly are the best we have by some margin for understanding objective reality.

Well I always say one can believe what one wants, but personally my primary concern is whether claims are true or not, and I cannot base belief on how entertaining the claims are.

Logic is a method of reasoning that adheres to strict principles of validation. It was designed specifically to created strong well reasoned arguments, and expose and discard weak ones, it’s no use pretending it doesn’t achieve this, as we know differently.

They’re demonstrably wrong, since faith is “strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof”, and thus you could use it to believe in any of the countless thousands of deities humans have imagined to be real. There literally is nothing you could not believe using such a method, so it is useless in determining the truth of a claim, it’s primary function is to cling to a belief in the face of no objective evidence, or even contrary evidence. For example creationists no doubt have faith in the iteral word of the creation myth in the bible, but we have objective facts from science that contradict it.

Not to determine truth, for the reasons just stated.

I’d say no they can’t be reconciled, since reason and logic wants proof and faith requires you to accept things without proof. If you mean by reconciled that the two sides can live in harmony that doesn’t seem possible as long as people force their faith based ideas on others.

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