REPLY #50 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
(R) I'm trying to figure out a way to explain to someone that the
statements; "I believe there is no god" and "I do not believe in god" do not
mean the same thing. The former has one holding a position that would require
some sort of proof, evidence or reasoning to support it.... The latter simply is
the absence of a belief or philosophical position and requires no proof or
evidence. For instance we could say that a baby does not believe in god, but we
could not say that the baby believes there is no god. Simply because the baby is
not capable of conceptualizing "god", "exist", "believe"... etc. Is there a web
site that you know of that may be of some help? Thanks for any help...
(MB) Your dilemma is essentially one of semantics, but
that provides the key to its solution. "I believe there is no god" does not
refer to any specific version of Supreme Being. On the other hand, "I do not
believe in god" expresses disbelief in one identifiable deity. Which deity that
might be would have to be inferred from the context of the conversation in which
that statement of disbelief was expressed.
The person who states
"I believe there is no god" is expressing a reasoned opinion of disbelief as a
conclusion based upon facts and logic. The baby in your example couldn't even
make such a statement since it doesn't even know what the concept of "god" is.
This would also apply to a mature person who, for whatever reason, had never
been introduced to the concept of "god". You can't say you don't believe in
something if the concept of that something has never even crossed your mind.
My favorite web site
for this sort of philosophical discussion is Internet Infidels
(http://www.infidels.org). This site has
an extensive library of modern and historical documents on theistic and
atheistic philosophy that are well worth perusing.