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Is atheism a religion?


Off-Topic Discussions

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Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
cranewings wrote:

Saint Caleth, I believe that the Crusades were a land grab in Europe for their majority. Hitler was no Catholic. He was involved in a number of magical and esoteric practices, most of which point to insanity than being really religious.

My point about human nature vs. religion is that the religions aren't MAKING people homophobic. They are catering to it. People are homophobic without them.

Flat-out wrong. There's an overwhelming body of multi-discipline scientific evidence indicating that humans are not naturally homophobic. There's a pretty significant body of evidence also showing that various religions and belief systems are very, very good at training adherents to be homophobic.

I will be happy to provide references from reputable scientific journals later tonight when I get home.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Andrew Turner wrote:
cranewing wrote:
The only thing you have to complain about is that Christians are disgusted by homosexuality, but I've got news for you, PEOPLE in general often are. The most homophobic people I've ever known weren't religious. Men are afraid of seeing other mens' reproductive parts and they are afraid that gay people want to show them, plain and simply. That's not a Christian problem. That's a human nature problem.
Saint Caleth wrote:


So your argument is that it is ok that religion can make you small minded and bigoted since people are small minded and bigoted for other reasons as well. Seriously? Does that sound like a legit argument to you? Spoiler alert. It isn't. In fact, this paragraph disturbs me deeply and I can't quite put my finger on why. I'll get back to you on that...
It's from Camus' treatise "On the State of European Existentialism: The Nihilist Movement of France", which draws heavily from his university work on Plotinus.

I know virtually nothing about modern philosophy, do you have any easily digestible information on this particular line of thinking?


Andrew Turner wrote:
cranewings wrote:

Saint Caleth, I believe that the Crusades were a land grab in Europe for their majority. Hitler was no Catholic. He was involved in a number of magical and esoteric practices, most of which point to insanity than being really religious.

My point about human nature vs. religion is that the religions aren't MAKING people homophobic. They are catering to it. People are homophobic without them.

Flat-out wrong. There's an overwhelming body of multi-discipline scientific evidence indicating that humans are not naturally homophobic. There's a pretty significant body of evidence also showing that various religions and belief systems are very, very good at training adherents to be homophobic.

I will be happy to provide references from reputable scientific journals later tonight when I get home.

I believe you, but I'd still like these links.

Liberty's Edge

cranewing wrote:
The only thing you have to complain about is that Christians are disgusted by homosexuality, but I've got news for you, PEOPLE in general often are. The most homophobic people I've ever known weren't religious. Men are afraid of seeing other mens' reproductive parts and they are afraid that gay people want to show them, plain and simply. That's not a Christian problem. That's a human nature problem.
Saint Caleth wrote:
So your argument is that it is ok that religion can make you small minded and bigoted since people are small minded and bigoted for other reasons as well. Seriously? Does that sound like a legit argument to you? Spoiler alert. It isn't. In fact, this paragraph disturbs me deeply and I can't quite put my finger on why. I'll get back to you on that...
Andrew Turner wrote:
It's from Camus' treatise "On the State of European Existentialism: The Nihilist Movement of France", which draws heavily from his university work on Plotinus.
Saint Caleth wrote:
I know virtually nothing about modern philosophy, do you have any easily digestible information on this particular line of thinking?

I'll favorite the comment and come back to it at lunch. It's condensable to a paragraph or two, but it'll take a few minutes to write. I have a couple long boring no-talk-by-me meetings to attend; I'll try to answer via iPad while I sit in the back corner and pretend to be interested in the 2013 Fielding Schedule :-p


1 person marked this as a favorite.
ciretose wrote:


You can't look at history honestly and not realize how many wars were fought over religion. Protestants vs Catholics, Christians vs Muslims, genocides and ethnic cleansing...

Religion as justification certainly made it easier to mobilise soldiers (and still does), but that doesn't mean religion is the real or main reason.

Xenophobia and greed typically are the ultimate causes, but differeces in religion, ethnicity, language and culture increase the xenophobia and also give easily defined boundaries for "us" vs "them".

It makes me frustrated when people do not distinguish between faith and church, ideas and institutions. The crusades have as much to do with the christian faith as Stalin's cleansings have to do with Das Kapital. The problem is not the -isms themselves, but rather that power corrupts, or at least makes it easier to be evil, and that (quote ciretose)" -ism make people shut their mind off and follow".

[nitpicking]
- Protestants vs Catholics:
The 30 years war can as easily be seen as being about political control of germany, or even about weakening the Habsburgs power over Europe.
The reformation certainly was religiously motivated but much of the fighting was over economic control of church lands and taxes.
Expelling hugenots from France I see as being about protecting the political and economic power of the catholic church. Regarding modern Northern Ireland, I view that as a political conflict of sovereignty.

-i started doing the same for the rest of you list, but wall of text was intimidating even to myself...
[/nitpicking]

Star Voter 2013

CBDunkerson wrote wrote:


religion - 'belief in something on faith'

This is the worst definition of religion I have ever read.

I believe out of faith in my wife that she will never cheat on me. That's not a religion.

Atheism is not a religion. But the question certainly started an entertaining thread. Great read everybody that contributed.

Shadow Lodge

cranewings wrote:


If we made a body count of people killed by Christian Governments vs. people killed by Atheist governments, I bet I'd get a higher total if I get to include Stalin and Mao.

Umm...no.

Hitler was Catholic. Growing up he was heavily involved with his church. Many would argue that his antisemitism grew out of his Christian fundamentalism.

Stalin became an atheist as an adult. His upbringing was Christian. In fact, he was in Seminary school studying to become a priest for a bit. Mao was a devout Buddhist prior to his conversion to atheism. You can't ignore the first 20 years of their cultural and religious lives and blame atheism for their atrocities.

Find me mass murderers that were raised as atheists, rose to power, killed millions in the name of atheism and I will eat my hat.

Also, don't forget the systematic slaughter of the Native Americans done by Christians often in the name of God.


I believe that when Stalin was supposed to be studying to become a priest, he was actually organizing Marxist circles in the seminary for which he was expelled.

I know less about Mao, but I don't think I've ever seen anybody make hay out of his Buddhist roots before.

I know even less about Hitler. By the time Hitler was running around, there were many theories making the circuit about why Jews were bad. At root, perhaps, all of these could be traced to Christian anti-Semitism, but by the time of Hitler you can add: Jews are bankers, Jews are commies, Jews are scientifically-proven racial untermenschen, etc, ad nauseam.

I'm not trying to suggest that atheism is responsible for the crimes of Hitler, Stalin or Mao, but I also don't think you can add them to the crimes of religion.

Shadow Lodge

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

I believe that when Stalin was supposed to be studying to become a priest, he was actually organizing Marxist circles in the seminary for which he was expelled.

I know less about Mao, but I don't think I've ever seen anybody make hay out of his Buddhist roots before.

I know even less about Hitler. By the time Hitler was running around, there were many theories making the circuit about why Jews were bad. At root, perhaps, all of these could be traced to Christian anti-Semitism, but by the time of Hitler you can add: Jews are bankers, Jews are commies, Jews are scientifically-proven racial untermenschen, etc, ad nauseam.

I'm not trying to suggest that atheism is responsible for the crimes of Hitler, Stalin or Mao, but I also don't think you can add them to the crimes of religion.

I wasn't trying - to me you can't really play this game because when you do you ignore the context of what was happening in the world at the time. I was just pointing out that the roots for what they did were more muddled than what they believed at the time of their atrocities. They were raised religious and like many atheists I know that were raised religious they adopted many of their behavior and morals from what they internalized as Children.


Asphere wrote:

I wasn't trying - to me you can't really play this game because when you do you ignore the context of what was happening in the world at the time. I was just pointing out that the roots for what they did were more muddled than what they believed at the time of their atrocities. They were raised religious and like many atheists I know that were raised religious they adopted many of their behavior and morals from what they internalized as Children.

But there are posters who are. It's rather ridiculous how many hate crimes are blamed as being the fault of religion because they were committed by people with religion or religion is used to excuse it. Reading between the lines, some are promoting that the world would be a much better place without religion, as if religion is to blame for most of the atrocities in the world.

It's cultural upbringing not religion. If you grow up around people who talk about how much they were wronged by the North and how their establishments are being invaded by outsiders moving and taking over the place, that's culture. If your family scares you into believing all gay guys will lust after your body and that you'd better be careful, that's culture. If you live in an area where it's okay to kill as long as you pay fees to victim's family, again that's culture.

Religion is really just a combination of theories about the unknown and the set of actions you perform based on those theories.

The same terrible things could and would still happen even without religion.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:


It's cultural upbringing not religion. If you grow up around people who talk about how much they were wronged by the North and how their establishments are being invaded by outsiders moving and taking over the place, that's culture. If your family scares you into believing all gay guys will lust after your body and that you'd better be careful, that's culture. If you live in an area where it's okay to kill as long as you pay fees to victim's family, again that's culture.

Religion is really just a combination of theories about the unknown and the set of actions you perform based on those theories.

The same terrible things could and would still happen even without religion.

Because cultural upbringing is completely unrelated to religion?


thejeff wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:


It's cultural upbringing not religion. If you grow up around people who talk about how much they were wronged by the North and how their establishments are being invaded by outsiders moving and taking over the place, that's culture. If your family scares you into believing all gay guys will lust after your body and that you'd better be careful, that's culture. If you live in an area where it's okay to kill as long as you pay fees to victim's family, again that's culture.

Religion is really just a combination of theories about the unknown and the set of actions you perform based on those theories.

The same terrible things could and would still happen even without religion.

Because cultural upbringing is completely unrelated to religion?

You don't need religion to have a culture.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:


It's cultural upbringing not religion. If you grow up around people who talk about how much they were wronged by the North and how their establishments are being invaded by outsiders moving and taking over the place, that's culture. If your family scares you into believing all gay guys will lust after your body and that you'd better be careful, that's culture. If you live in an area where it's okay to kill as long as you pay fees to victim's family, again that's culture.

Religion is really just a combination of theories about the unknown and the set of actions you perform based on those theories.

The same terrible things could and would still happen even without religion.

Because cultural upbringing is completely unrelated to religion?
You don't need religion to have a culture.

No, but they're hardly unrelated; only my opinion, but the cultural aspects of religion have a far greater effect on the world at large than the explanations of the unknown.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:


It's cultural upbringing not religion. If you grow up around people who talk about how much they were wronged by the North and how their establishments are being invaded by outsiders moving and taking over the place, that's culture. If your family scares you into believing all gay guys will lust after your body and that you'd better be careful, that's culture. If you live in an area where it's okay to kill as long as you pay fees to victim's family, again that's culture.

Religion is really just a combination of theories about the unknown and the set of actions you perform based on those theories.

The same terrible things could and would still happen even without religion.

Because cultural upbringing is completely unrelated to religion?
You don't need religion to have a culture.

Which is not at all what I said. The two are intertwined. Where religion exists it has great influence on the culture

To tweak your example: If your preacher teaches you that God hates gays and will hate you if you're gay, is that culture? Or religion?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
cranewings wrote:
If we based who is better on who does more good works, and measure it in dollars donated - you can tally up all of your Atheist organizations and I'll count up the Christian ones, and I bet I crush you 20 to 1.

You'd lose that bet. Google the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, just to get started. Or perhaps you've already heard of it?


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
There were plenty of atheists that threatened anyone that looked like they could be a Muslim.

Name some. At least name one. Otherwise this is akin to saying "There are plenty of christians who rape their dogs." I personally doubt the latter, but it's easy to throw out words like "plenty" when we're simply slurring groups and not actually citing references.


cranewings wrote:
At some point, Dawkin's Atheism may become the killing force. I wouldn't be surprised. There isn't much redeeming about it outside of its views on civil liberties.

Sure, because demonizing groups of people you don't like, exactly as you're doing here, never leads to a killing force, right? Practice what you preach, brother.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Saint Caleth wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
You use religion as a scapegoat, leaders use religion as a tool, but soldiers use religion as a comfort.

But this is a bad thing in its own right. Maybe it would be harder for tyrants and dictators to manipulate populations if we didn't have a societal blind spot of non-critical thinking that they could exploit.

It's not a societal blind spot as it is a genetic one. There's mounting evidence that Humans, even those who consider themselves Atheistic, are pre-disposed to religous-type beliefs. When you take a look at the equally venom-filled flame wars on browser, operating system choice, or even game system choice, you see the same kinf of fervor that you see in religous rallies.


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When I was in middle school, I lived in SC, because I have darker skin and black hair, someone thought I looked Muslim, so I got threatened with, "You a towel head? You gonna blow up some planes?" while the kids cracked their knuckles...

I find that hard to believe is religiously motivated, unless by "religiously motivated" you mean a movement against a religion (and really ethnicity is the proper term at this point).

Religion doesn't tell people to kill and hate people, specific preachers do. If a preacher tells someone to kill or hate someone, religion gets blamed. If an insane doctor tells someone to cut up a living person for "science", the doctor is blamed.

I'm not Christian, and I'm not Islamic, hell I'm not even religious, but I'm not going to blame religion for people being dumbasses.

Sure religion is intertwined with culture, so is science, technology, history, environment, government, and economy. Even without religion, dumbasses will still find a reason to hate someone. Such as "Lesbians are removing the amount of available women", "Immigrants are taking all of our jobs", "Japanese are corrupting our youth with violent and lustful cartoons and video games". Blame religion if lets you sleep at night, but it's just stupid humans being stupid.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:

When I was in middle school, I lived in SC, because I have darker skin and black hair, someone thought I looked Muslim, so I got threatened with, "You a towel head? You gonna blow up some planes?" while the kids cracked their knuckles...

I find that hard to believe is religiously motivated, unless by "religiously motivated" you mean a movement against a religion.

Religion doesn't tell people to kill and hate people, specific preachers do. If a preacher tells someone to kill or hate someone, religion gets blamed. If an insane doctor tells someone to cut up a living person for "science", the doctor is blamed.

I'm not Christian, and I'm not Islamic, hell I'm not even religious, but I'm not going to blame religion for people being dumbasses.

Sure religion is intertwined with culture, so is science, technology, history, environment, government, and economy. Even without religion, dumbasses will still find a reason to hate someone. Such as "Lesbians are removing the amount of available women", "Immigrants are taking all of our jobs", "Japanese are corrupting our youth with violent and lustful cartoons and video games". Blame religion if lets you sleep at night, but it's just stupid humans being stupid.

Not to dredge up a bit of the thread that had died on its own if not been settled, but I'd like to point out that science is trans-cultural; to quote Contact, "Hydrogen times Pi; I told you."

I never said I blame religion for all the world's evils; I just don't want Adam and Eve riding dinosaurs around the garden of eden taught as a valid scientific theory. I don't really have the wherewithal to read the entire thread at this point, but I don't think anyone has has blamed religion so much as offered historical examples.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:


Religion doesn't tell people to kill and hate people, specific preachers do. If a preacher tells someone to kill or hate someone, religion gets blamed. If an insane doctor tells someone to cut up a living person for "science", the doctor is blamed.

Religion does not. Religions, OTOH, do. If a single preacher deviates from his religion and preaches hate, then you can blame him. If it's a matter of doctrine for the whole religion, then you can blame the religion.

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Sure religion is intertwined with culture, so is science, technology, history, environment, government, and economy. Even without religion, dumbasses will still find a reason to hate someone.

But would it happen as often?

Obviously religion doesn't automatically lead to to hate, but what we're saying is that it helps. Its a contributing factor in part because its yet another arbitrary group between people and in part because religion inherently evades any kind of rational discourse.

Religion often ties belief into morality (even buddism does this)Unbelievers are inherently immoral.


thejeff wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:


Religion doesn't tell people to kill and hate people, specific preachers do. If a preacher tells someone to kill or hate someone, religion gets blamed. If an insane doctor tells someone to cut up a living person for "science", the doctor is blamed.

Religion does not. Religions, OTOH, do. If a single preacher deviates from his religion and preaches hate, then you can blame him. If it's a matter of doctrine for the whole religion, then you can blame the religion.

How often do you know the doctrine of the whole religion? What constitutes as the 'whole religion'? Is it about majority? What about an outspoken minority? Is it just something that is shared between everyone following that religion? How many people actually make that distinction?

With all the denominations that a single religion can have, there are many different doctrines for one religion. If we're going to go with "shared belief of everyone of said religion" I'm going to say there are very few, if any, that advocate hate.

"blah, blah, Christians hate gays," if this were an absolute true statement, there would be no thing as a gay Christian (unless of course it was a self loathing one). However, there are gay Christians that have accepted their orientation.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

2 people marked this as a favorite.

If I were a person who stated I followed the tenets written in a book, and further I said that book was holy and sacred, I would think that citations of texts from that book would seem fair game in discussions of my faith.

If the Bible is allegory, great. That isn't what most people who self proclaim Christianity state, in my experience.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:


Religion doesn't tell people to kill and hate people, specific preachers do. If a preacher tells someone to kill or hate someone, religion gets blamed. If an insane doctor tells someone to cut up a living person for "science", the doctor is blamed.

Religion does not. Religions, OTOH, do. If a single preacher deviates from his religion and preaches hate, then you can blame him. If it's a matter of doctrine for the whole religion, then you can blame the religion.

How often do you know the doctrine of the whole religion? What constitutes as the 'whole religion'? Is it about majority? What about an outspoken minority? Is it just something that is shared between everyone following that religion? How many people actually make that distinction?

With all the denominations that a single religion can have, there are many different doctrines for one religion. If we're going to go with "shared belief of everyone of said religion" I'm going to say there are very few, if any, that advocate hate.

"blah, blah, Christians hate gays," if this were an absolute true statement, there would be no thing as a gay Christian (unless of course it was a self loathing one). However, there are gay Christians that have accepted their orientation.

I have said, again and again, in this thread and others, that I do not believe or claim that all Christians hate gays or that all Christian churches or denominations or sects or whatever you want to call them preach hatred of gays.

I have said and do maintain, that the prejudice against gays in the US is overwhelmingly Christian in origin. (Some Muslim and Jewish sects also contribute, but they have much less influence. Other religions may as well, but they have even less.)
Those are very different statements.

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

12 million. 6 million jews, 6 million other (largely poles and russians, with some of Rom (gypsy) homosexuals, and political dissidents tossed into the mix)

It wasn't just gas chambers. I think the biggest method of execution was either working people to death or just machine gunning them into mass graves.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

12 million. 6 million jews, 6 million other (largely poles and russians, with some of Rom (gypsy) homosexuals, and political dissidents tossed into the mix)

It wasn't just gas chambers. I think the biggest method of execution was either working people to death or just machine gunning them into mass graves.

They happened to be fighting a war at the time. If the only thing they had to do was kill Jews, then certainly i would concede that it was possible. But fighting off the other mass murderer Stalin, as well as the rest of the Allied powers, maybe not so much. The Red Army did rape pillage and burn its way all the way to Berlin. I rarely if ever see anybody mention that, or seem to care.

Shadow Lodge

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XxAnthraxusxX wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

12 million. 6 million jews, 6 million other (largely poles and russians, with some of Rom (gypsy) homosexuals, and political dissidents tossed into the mix)

It wasn't just gas chambers. I think the biggest method of execution was either working people to death or just machine gunning them into mass graves.

They happened to be fighting a war at the time. If the only thing they had to do was kill Jews, then certainly i would concede that it was possible. But fighting off the other mass murderer Stalin, as well as the rest of the Allied powers, maybe not so much. The Red Army did rape pillage and burn its way all the way to Berlin. I rarely if ever see anybody mention that, or seem to care.

Again if a loosely organized group of Hutu people can murder 1 million people in 3 months armed mostly with machetes, why couldn't a state sponsored military force murder 11-17 million in 12 years. So the Hutu people were killing at a rate of 4 million per year, while the Nazis were killing at a rate of 900,000 - 1.4 million per year.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
XxAnthraxusxX wrote:


They happened to be fighting a war at the time. If the only thing they had to do was kill Jews, then certainly i would concede that it was possible. But fighting off the other mass murderer Stalin, as well as the rest of the Allied powers, maybe not so much. The Red Army did rape pillage and burn its way all the way to Berlin. I rarely if ever see anybody mention that, or seem to care.

Have you asked them? Just because you don't hear about it, no one cares?

As for the war impeding their efforts, someone had to man the camps. How many people died in the war, and how long did that take? That was with the killed fighting back. How many more could be killed when the victims did not resist? How much longer were the camps active than the war was?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Welcome to the winning team for once, ciretose! ;)

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Welcome to the winning team for once, ciretose! ;)

The outcome remains the same :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

You're too predictable. I knew what that was without touching the link.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

TriOmegaZero wrote:
You're too predictable. I knew what that was without touching the link.

Consider it a "Best of" tape :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Man, I used to laugh at that back in the 90's! :D

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Man, I used to laugh at that back in the 90's! :D

Oh Gallagher....

Star Voter 2013

XxAnthraxusxX wrote:


Claiming that Christians were responsible for the Holocaust is akin to blaming gays for the AIDS epidemic. Alot of people might try to do it, but i don't think any of them are all that accurate.

Godwin's Law wins again. . . Well now that we started . . .

Just to be clear here: Christianity was not responsible for the Holocaust. A group of people who were Christian were responsible. Hitler self-identified as a Christian and supported his actions by using his religious faith. In this day, we would call the Nazis religious fundamentalist terrorists.

Other groups of Christians worked very hard to stop the Nazis and rescue people from the camps.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

darth_borehd wrote:
XxAnthraxusxX wrote:


Claiming that Christians were responsible for the Holocaust is akin to blaming gays for the AIDS epidemic. Alot of people might try to do it, but i don't think any of them are all that accurate.

Godwin's Law wins again. . . Well now that we started . . .

Just to be clear here: Christianity was not responsible for the Holocaust. A group of people who were Christian were responsible. Hitler self-identified as a Christian and supported his actions by using his religious faith. In this day, we would call the Nazis religious fundamentalist terrorists.

Other groups of Christians worked very hard to stop the Nazis and rescue people from the camps.

Yup.

The issue isn't "Good" vs "Evil". It is a matter of "Indoctrination" vs "Investigation".

There are great Christians, I married one. There are also people who cherry pick passages to fit narratives, and people to lazy to think for themselves who follow them.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

12 million. 6 million jews, 6 million other (largely poles and russians, with some of Rom (gypsy) homosexuals, and political dissidents tossed into the mix)

It wasn't just gas chambers. I think the biggest method of execution was either working people to death or just machine gunning them into mass graves.

Actually, the numbers aren't that easy. The "6 million jews" number includes many gays. The official count for gays in the camps is an under estimate as a result.

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