The-ism (pronounced "THUH-izm" with a "ð" sound on the "th" like in "thy" or "father"), is a belief in the. Theists may believe in a variety of forms of the, but all theists believe in some form of the, which is what differentiates them from atheists. Atheists do not believe in the.
You're missing the point. I'm not beginning with a standard definition of theism. Rather, I'm beginning with the way many atheists like to define atheism, then defining the antonym by that frame of reference. It's a reductio ad absurdum.
Steve,How would you define "immaterialism"?
It's a synonym for idealism. Only mental entities exist, minds and ideas or concepts.
I suppose I should have asked for a definition of the adjectival.I have recently been thinking about the relation between language and thought. If I kept asking you to define what terms you use to define other terms, it seems evident that meaning must be intuited. What do you think?
We know things before we know the words for things. Once we associate some words with some of the things we already know, we can use those words to define synonyms. So it's not purely circular.
I agree wholeheartedly, Steve. My younger brother once retorted that if atheism is simply a "lack of belief in God", then theism is a lack of belief in no Gods. It is a different kind of nothing, but it fails as an escape from the responsibility of defending the atheists' position.As a side-note, this reminds me of the rationalization that Dan Barker used in his first debate with Douglas Wilson. He went through a list of Gods like Osiris and Diana and asked if anyone in the audience believed it, and finished by concluding that everyone- including Christians, are atheists, and that the only difference between atheists and the other theists was that they believe in one less God than they did. But that makes about as much sense as appealing to the atheist by saying that the only difference between us is that we simply believe in one more God than they do.Atheistic rationalizations are truly an interesting study.