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Is atheism a religion?


Off-Topic Discussions

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The Exchange

Beckett wrote:
things

Look, obviously some atheists do oppose religious viewpoints in an active manner (see my previous post - I am not one of them). Even if they are, that is not a religion.

A religion is several things, one of which is a viewpoint about the existence of a supreme being. Does that mean that anything that has a viewpoint about the existence about a supreme being is a religion? Let's check out the logic:

Religion includes a viewpoint about the existence of a supreme being =====> if you have a viewpoint about the existence of a supreme being, you are religious

Therefore:

A dog has 4 legs ====> anything that has 4 legs is a dog

So, yeah….

You CAN claim that, just like religious people, some atheists have strong opinions about the existence or inexistences of a god, and that will be both true and a little meaningless. but leaping from there to saying that atheism is a religion is a little far fetched, IMO.


ThatEvilGuy wrote:

I think some people are confusing Atheism (the rejection of the existance of any deity in a nutshell) and Antitheism (the active opposition to theism in all its forms, which typically holds beliefs similar to an atheist. Atheism Xtreme, if you will.).

In my case, I don't believe in (a) deity/ies and it doesn't matter to me whether S/he/they do exist or not. It is totally irrelevant to my existence. If I'm right, I'm right, If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. It doesn't matter.

I wouldn't consider that as being religious, unless you consider it the religion of... being non-religious and... completely having no impact on my life one way or another... right.

If this is the case, then, in all honesty, I am a professed atheist, subsection Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyist, who strongly leans to the Anti-theistic heresy.

I am prepared, if proven wrong about there being an afterlife, to take a swing at St. Peter.

Also, Happy Easter!

Shadow Lodge Star Voter 2013

Beckett wrote:
things
Lord Snow wrote:
stuff

Which is fine. I just don't agree with your opinion. I honestly don't understand it. :)

I understand the desire for it from some people. It does take away a lot of the assumed credibility and the "umf" if it is catagorized as a religion, or if you prefere as another religious view. But again, atheism isn't the lack of belief in a God(s). It is the belief that there is no God(s), (nor afterlife, nor magic, nor anything supernatural, nor any moral judgement or judge(s). It is an active belief, not a lack of one. It is also not an undecided belief, which is more agnostic, nor a questioning one. It is an affirmation of some idea/ideal/principle/philosophy/rule/belief/etc. . .

My other reason for saying that I understand atheism to be a religion is practicallity. Not in the "well it's practically a religion" but rather that for all practical issues that I assume we are discussing this issue for, it does have all of the problems, faults, and errors that "religion" does. It has it's militant, mindless automatons, crusaders for the faith, close-minded, and uneducated members. I am not saying they are a majority, but I am say that both atheism and "religion" (one of those religion actually means christian or christian/muslim/jewish moments here) both (or all) have a fairly evenly distribution of these individuals, that ruin a lot of the better one's earned respect from opponents.

Shadow Lodge Star Voter 2013

[

ThatEvilGuy wrote:

I think some people are confusing Atheism (the rejection of the existance of any deity in a nutshell) and Antitheism (the active opposition to theism in all its forms, which typically holds beliefs similar to an atheist. Atheism Xtreme, if you will.).

In my case, I don't believe in (a) deity/ies and it doesn't matter to me whether S/he/they do exist or not. It is totally irrelevant to my existence. If I'm right, I'm right, If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. It doesn't matter.

I wouldn't consider that as being religious, unless you consider it the religion of... being non-religious and... completely having no impact on my life one way or another... right.

To me, and I would imagine that this is a huge portion of the problem for this issue, is I wouldn't consider you as much an atheists as an agnostic. From what I'm reading the disbelief in a deity(s) is not so much what you profess as much as how unimportant their existence is in the end. You say once you do not believe, but essentually say 4+ times that their existence doesn't matter one way or the other. To most, that isn't atheism, but something else.

But, I think that atheists will claim you among their number and some religious would not count you among the atheist's numbers.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Beckett wrote:
Beckett wrote:
things
Lord Snow wrote:
stuff

Which is fine. I just don't agree with your opinion. I honestly don't understand it. :)

I understand the desire for it from some people. It does take away a lot of the assumed credibility and the "umf" if it is catagorized as a religion, or if you prefere as another religious view. But again, atheism isn't the lack of belief in a God(s). It is the belief that there is no God(s), (nor afterlife, nor magic, nor anything supernatural, nor any moral judgement or judge(s). It is an active belief, not a lack of one. It is also not an undecided belief, which is more agnostic, nor a questioning one. It is an affirmation of some idea/ideal/principle/philosophy/rule/belief/etc. . .

Why do you reject the existence of the invisible pink unicorn?

Exactly.

Lack of belief is not in and of itself a belief. Not believing in something without being provided actual evidence of it existing isn't a religion. It is rational thought.

Also, love this page.


Is Atheism a Religion? A Musical Interlude

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

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Beckett wrote:
I think that atheism is a religion because it is, despite what many claim, it is an active belief, not a passive one or a "lack" of one.

I don't see how this makes it a religion. I believe a lot of things: that i am sitting in a chair, heliocentrism, that being hit in the head with a rock hurts, that the sun will rise in the east, that Pennsylvania grows a lot of corn, and that penguins live in Antarctica.

Quote:
A also think that alot of atheists want to define themselves more like agnostics, as that is more open-minded.

Heretical fence sitters! May they get splinters in the obvious locations!

Quote:
As long as the burden of proof is one the other side, atheism can seem valid, or more valid than any other options.

This is because its a negative belief. The only way to prove one of these is to try to test it and fail. If for example, one person claims that pathfinder elephants have the grab and constrict special abilities how can this be shown as false EXCEPT by asking the person with the positive position present their evidence?

Quote:
In US, as last I heard, atheism is legal concidered a religion, and I think this is rightly so.

This is because the government cannot favor one religion over another nor religion in general over non religion.

Quote:
So, I would venture that, (and I did not read most other posts here), that saying atheism is not a religion just like bleach or whatever is as valaid as saying purple is not a color because it isn't black/white/yellow/etc. . . It just...

Purple is defined as a light beam of a certain wavelength. It would exist and have certain properties.

Black would be the absence of color, and a more apt analogy here.

Quote:
That being said, I would venture that it is the atheists confusing the issue, not the "christians", which typically is what is meant instead of religion.

Nah, Muslims have pretty much the same arguments, so it might be "monotheists".

Shadow Lodge Star Voter 2013

Beckett wrote:
things
Lord Snow wrote:
stuff

Which is fine. I just don't agree with your opinion. I honestly don't understand it. :)

Beckett wrote:
more stuff
ciretose wrote:
Why do you reject the existence of the invisible pink unicorn?

Far as I know they might exist. Was this suppossed to be saying something? It failed. I havent read what you might have said earlier, and perhaps it was dependant on that?

ciretose wrote:
Exactly.

Exactly what?

ciretose wrote:
Lack of belief is not in and of itself a belief.

We agree, i said this too.

ciretose wrote:
Not believing in something without being provided actual evidence of it existing isn't a religion. It is rational thought.

Again, only works if atheism is a lack of belief rather than an active belief in the nonexistence of something. Otherwise, and at best, it places the existence of God(s) (and other) on the "we do not have the technology or intellegence to conduct proper testing, so unvarifiable" shelf. It does not, in anyway prove or lend more credence to "God(s) do not exist until proven" though.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Beckett wrote:
Beckett wrote:
things
Lord Snow wrote:
stuff

Which is fine. I just don't agree with your opinion. I honestly don't understand it. :)

Beckett wrote:
more stuff
ciretose wrote:
Why do you reject the existence of the invisible pink unicorn?

Far as I know they might exist. Was this suppossed to be saying something? It failed. I havent read what you might have said earlier, and perhaps it was dependant on that?

ciretose wrote:
Exactly.

Exactly what?

ciretose wrote:
Lack of belief is not in and of itself a belief.

We agree, i said this too.

ciretose wrote:
Not believing in something without being provided actual evidence of it existing isn't a religion. It is rational thought.
Again, only works if atheism is a lack of belief rather than an active belief in the nonexistence of something. Otherwise, and at best, it places the existence of God(s) (and other) on the "we do not have the technology or intellegence to conduct proper testing, so unvarifiable" shelf. It does not, in anyway prove or lend more credence to "God(s) do not exist until proven" though.

So not believing in an invisible pink unicorn is a religion?

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Jean-Paul Sartre, Intrnet Troll wrote:
Is Atheism a Religion? A Musical Interlude

Well if we are doing musical interludes.

Shadow Lodge Star Voter 2013

Beckett wrote:

I think that atheism is a religion because . . . stuff quote]

BigNorseWolf wrote:
I don't see how this makes it a religion.

it doesn't in itself, but rather a "leading up to" sort of thing.

Beckett wrote:
A also think that alot of atheists want to define themselves more like agnostics, as that is more open-minded.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Heretical fence sitters! May they get splinters in the obvious locations!

Not going to lie, sayin how much that made me smile is the only reason I responded to this thread. :) Thanks for that laugh.


ciretose wrote:
Jean-Paul Sartre, Intrnet Troll wrote:
Is Atheism a Religion? A Musical Interlude

Well if we are doing musical interludes.

Like I always say, if there's no golden showers in Heaven, then I don't wanna go!

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Beckett wrote:
Beckett wrote:
things
Lord Snow wrote:
stuff

yet more things

Well, yes, some atheists (though I have to stress, not all of them) "believe god does not exists" as opposed to "not believe god exists". But saying this makes atheisms a religion is faulty logic, which I already demonstrated among the "stuff" I said at my previous post.

In particular though, I would like to respond to this:

"...It has its militant, mindless automatons, crusaders for the faith, close-minded, and uneducated members."

This is the same faulty logic as before. While religion and atheism alike have their fair share of idiots, so does just about every group of humans that is large enough to own a unique name. You know - pacifists, conservatives, European...
do you suggest that, because the existence of patriots – who will be militant, mindless automatons, crusaders in the name of their country, close minded and uneducated - in just about every nation on earth, your nationality is a religion? Is "British" a religion?

The point I am attempting to stress here is that you have to separate cause and affect (both religion and atheists have stupid people because they are both groups of people - and not because they are the same thing). Religion is more complex than thinking "god exists", and it has all sorts of other characteristic - such as myths and lore, or customs and rules the believers have to follow. Among those, atheism only shares the "viewpoint about existence of god". there *is* an overlap, but it is mostly meaningless and in no way is it a complete overlap.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
ciretose wrote:
Jean-Paul Sartre, Intrnet Troll wrote:
Is Atheism a Religion? A Musical Interlude

Well if we are doing musical interludes.

actualy, I always find this one to be more relevant:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bPc9xW_eDU

Scarab Sages

ciretose wrote:
If you get the joke, you understand how ridiculous I view your position that the burden is on me to prove God doesn't exist.

This is not what I said nor is it my position. I really wish that people would stop assuming things I don't write or reading into things that are not there.

The only "position" I've posted here so far is that one person posted something that was blantantly false and two people have claimed I said something I didn't.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Moff Rimmer wrote:
ciretose wrote:
If you get the joke, you understand how ridiculous I view your position that the burden is on me to prove God doesn't exist.

This is not what I said nor is it my position. I really wish that people would stop assuming things I don't write or reading into things that are not there.

The only "position" I've posted here so far is that one person posted something that was blantantly false and two people have claimed I said something I didn't.

Generally writing walls of text indicates a position. But if you are saying you were not saying anything, I will take you at your word and just wonder why it took you so much text to say nothing.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

He must have a philosophy paper to prepare for. ;)


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Science as the ultimate authority for the things that science deals with isn't a religion its a tried and true conclusion based on science's amazing track record of figuring how the world works and how we can make it work to our advantage.

Concepts like parsimony and repeatability aren't faith either. Parsimony is common sense: if your car works fine without the idea of gremlins you do not take your car to be degremlined you just take it to a mechanic.

Repeatability relies on the idea that the universe has worked the same in the past and will continue to work the same in the future. We know that the universe has worked more or less the same in the past because we have light that is billions of years old reaching us that has been shown to operate under the same rules accross its entire journey.

From this we can conclude that there is some sort of a momentum for the natural laws of the universe: That is there is something keeping them the same over time. That makes repeatability a reasonable conclusion.

Parsimony is common sense? That still makes it an issue of faith. And how do we 'know' that the universe has worked more or less the same in the past? The belief that the light we see is billions of years old is taken on faith in repeatability.


Darkwing Duck wrote:

Parsimony is common sense? That still makes it an issue of faith. And how do we 'know' that the universe has worked more or less the same in the past? The belief that the light we see is billions of years old is taken on faith in repeatability.

no. thats math. speed and distance to extrapolate time.

Edit: Further that's like saying that 2+2 equaling 4 is based on faith.


I've skimmed through this thread, so forgive me if I restate or have missed something pertinent!

My objection to defining atheism as a religion is that it essentially states that because atheists have in common a disbelief in a God or gods, that they necessarily have all sorts of other beliefs in common. Just because people share a single belief (or disbelief), that certainly does not mean they share others.

A large part of any given religion is not just the theology, but then what everyone does about it. They are united not just in a belief in a deity/pantheon/what-have-you, but they have an agreed-upon canon stating how they will worship/respect as well as some basic tenets to define the group as a community. Not just "X exists," but "X exists and here's what we do about it or because of it."

Some atheists choose to use this commonality to form a community with others, but many do not. Personally I prefer that people do not try to predict or generalize my behaviors and preferences based on one point of belief/disbelief.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:

Parsimony is common sense? That still makes it an issue of faith. And how do we 'know' that the universe has worked more or less the same in the past? The belief that the light we see is billions of years old is taken on faith in repeatability.

no. thats math. speed and distance to extrapolate time.

Whatever, tide comes in, tide goes out

.


GothBard wrote:

I've skimmed through this thread, so forgive me if I restate or have missed something pertinent!

My objection to defining atheism as a religion is that it essentially states that because atheists have in common a disbelief in a God or gods, that they necessarily have all sorts of other beliefs in common. Just because people share a single belief (or disbelief), that certainly does not mean they share others.

A large part of any given religion is not just the theology, but then what everyone does about it. They are united not just in a belief in a deity/pantheon/what-have-you, but they have an agreed-upon canon stating how they will worship/respect as well as some basic tenets to define the group as a community. Not just "X exists," but "X exists and here's what we do about it or because of it."

If singularity of belief and action is necessary for a religion than there are no religions. Please see the many versions of Protestantism (among others) for further evidence.

GothBard wrote:
Some atheists choose to use this commonality to form a community with others, but many do not.

Just as some people go to church/temple/whatever and some do not even though they associate themselves with their particular religious sect? This statement is nonsense. Just because you're part of a group does not mean that suddenly you share a hive mind and all start acting the same. Frankly, i'm thankful for that. If all christians acted like the Westboro Baptist church then the murder rate in the US would skyrocket.

GothBard wrote:
Personally I prefer that people do not try to predict or generalize my behaviors and preferences based on one point of belief/disbelief.

I don't believe anyone was.


ciretose wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:

Parsimony is common sense? That still makes it an issue of faith. And how do we 'know' that the universe has worked more or less the same in the past? The belief that the light we see is billions of years old is taken on faith in repeatability.

no. thats math. speed and distance to extrapolate time.

Whatever, tide comes in, tide goes out

.

Link doesn't work.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:

Parsimony is common sense? That still makes it an issue of faith. And how do we 'know' that the universe has worked more or less the same in the past? The belief that the light we see is billions of years old is taken on faith in repeatability.

no. thats math. speed and distance to extrapolate time.

Whatever, tide comes in, tide goes out

.
Link doesn't work.

Fixed it. Can't explain that!

Scarab Sages

ciretose wrote:
Moff Rimmer wrote:
ciretose wrote:
If you get the joke, you understand how ridiculous I view your position that the burden is on me to prove God doesn't exist.

This is not what I said nor is it my position. I really wish that people would stop assuming things I don't write or reading into things that are not there.

The only "position" I've posted here so far is that one person posted something that was blantantly false and two people have claimed I said something I didn't.

Generally writing walls of text indicates a position. But if you are saying you were not saying anything, I will take you at your word and just wonder why it took you so much text to say nothing.

Did you read my "wall of text"? What I wrote has nothing to do with philosophy or religion or any of that.

Actually I wonder myself why it takes a "wall of text" to point out that an Atheist stating that there is proof that God doesn't exist is wrong.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:


I haven't seen a wrong MEANING of atheism, just people attaching a lot of things to it that aren't there (like communism or faith)

The thing is unlike other types of belief which are united by a common value or focus, Buddhists, Christians, Islamists, Ba'hai, what have you, Atheists don't have anything in common save a rejection of something else.

They're not all motiviated by logic, or science, or even an axe to grind against religion. All you can really say for sure about any one atheist is the lack of a certain belief.

That's hardly much of a basis for defining an "ism".

I'm an Atheist, but I'm not a subscriber to a body of philosophy or other thought that can be lumped together under the term "Atheism"... because it doesn't exist.


There are some people who treat Atheism like a religion and being so openly hateful to even the nice people who follow a religion it does start to look like that.

Personally I believe it's not a religion and I am Agnostic. I believe there may or may not be some sort of deity (if there is I lean toward a group of gods rarther than one.) but there are certainly some genuinely unexplained things out there.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Moff Rimmer wrote:


Actually I wonder myself why it takes a "wall of text" to point out that an Atheist stating that there is proof that God doesn't exist is wrong.

You continue to misread the sentence. That's why you think he stated there's proof of the inexistence of god.

Swivl wrote:
To be clear: atheism is not a religion. It is not a "belief" that the divine does not exist. It is a statement, proven by observations and backed by facts, that any given supernatural explanation for existence, life and the universe does not suffice in light of a natural existence.

The sentence reads to me as "It is a statement (proven by observations) that any given supernatural explanation for existence life and the universe does not suffice in light of natural existence." What he is saying, and ALL the sentence says, is that supernatural explanations for existence fail in a natural world. You can't continue to think that the sun god drags the sun across the sky every morning with the knowledge of heliocentricity and astrophysics. The fact that the natural world makes more sense with natural reasons is what was proven by observations, not the inexistence of god.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:

Parsimony is common sense? That still makes it an issue of faith. And how do we 'know' that the universe has worked more or less the same in the past? The belief that the light we see is billions of years old is taken on faith in repeatability.

no. thats math. speed and distance to extrapolate time.

Edit: Further that's like saying that 2+2 equaling 4 is based on faith.

How is it math?

Please explain to me, if we aren't certain that light always travels at the same speed in a vacuum, how we can know that the light we see is billions of years old.
I'd like to see your math for this.


DM Aron Marczylo wrote:

There are some people who treat Atheism like a religion and being so openly hateful to even the nice people who follow a religion it does start to look like that.

For some atheists, it is part of 'pastoral care' to liberate people from the 'toxic' belief in a God. This is no different from the religious reich who want to free people from being gay.


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Could you provide an example DD?

If you're talking about atheists interrupting church services to shout "Lies! All lies!", you've got a point; if you're talking about atheists demanding that Intelligent Design isn't given equal weight as the theory of evolution or taught in science class, not so much.

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

DM Aron Marczylo wrote:
There are some people who treat Atheism like a religion and being so openly hateful to even the nice people who follow a religion it does start to look like that.

Some women hate men rather openly, even the nice ones (and vice versa). That doesn't make misandry or misogyny a religion even if it can be compared to one.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
GothBard wrote:
Personally I prefer that people do not try to predict or generalize my behaviors and preferences based on one point of belief/disbelief.

I don't believe anyone was.

*Apologies* I certainly wasn't meaning to imply that anyone on this board had been doing so, I was thinking more along the lines of social generalities. I did NOT get that impression from anyone here, I was merely trying to contribute my opinion in a general sense.

I also did not mean to imply that community=hive mind. I simply trying, apparently poorly, to state why I felt that defining atheism as religion was not accurate, not trying claim that shared religion is a form of mind control. I stand by my statement, it may be stating the obvious, but I do not think it is "nonsense."

I'll just duck right out of this thread now....

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:


Some women hate men rather openly, even the nice ones (and vice versa). That doesn't make misandry or misogyny a religion even if it can be compared to one.

Misogny is hatred of women by the way. All three of the Abrahamic religions seem to have an element of that in it's core.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
DM Aron Marczylo wrote:
There are some people who treat Atheism like a religion and being so openly hateful to even the nice people who follow a religion it does start to look like that.

Some women hate men rather openly, even the nice ones (and vice versa). That doesn't make misandry or misogyny a religion even if it can be compared to one.

Of course not. But, if a group of misandrist women jump into every discussion about men to talk about how toxic men are while slapping each other on the back in a sort of collective ritualistic ego orgy, then it starts to resemble a dysfunctional religion.


LazarX wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:


Some women hate men rather openly, even the nice ones (and vice versa). That doesn't make misandry or misogyny a religion even if it can be compared to one.

Misogny is hatred of women by the way. All three of the Abrahamic religions seem to have an element of that in it's core.

And this is an example of what I'm talking about.

Of course there are verses like Galatians 3:28.

Of course the church played a key role in the development of the modern concept of womens' rights.

But, ignore all of that and cherry pick.

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

Darkwing Duck wrote:


Of course not. But, if a group of misandrist women jump into every discussion about religion to talk about how toxic it is while slapping each other on the back in a sort of collective ritualistic ego orgy, then it starts to resemble a dysfunctional religion.

I think its telling that even you are associating religion with a ritualistic ego orgy. While a certain amount of ... group positive reinforcement... is inherent in any group, religion seems to encourage more than its fair share of it.

I do not however think that one aspect is enough to define something as a religion, because that's not all that a religion is any more than a uniform is enough to make a sports team.

A religion, among other things, logically follows from its tenets to an action.

Tree Spirits do not like being cut down in the rainy season--->DO not cut down trees in the rainy season

God said don't eat pork, you do what god says, therefore you don't eat pork.

There is no god... just doesn't go anywhere without some kind of external drive or ideology. Anti theism just isn't enough. I'm anti anti vaccination people. Its not a religion to argue with people you think are objectively wrong and harmful.


So... basically... can I summarize a major argument running through the thread as "Some Atheists jerks act like Theists jerks", respectfully agree to disagree on the existence of God and leave it at that?

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

Dies Irae wrote:
So... basically... can I summarize a major argument running through the thread as "Some Atheists jerks act like Theists jerks", respectfully agree to disagree on the existence of God and leave it at that?

Jerkiness may well be associated with religion but is not sufficient in and of itself to constitute a religion.


BigNorseWolf wrote:


I think its telling that even you are associating religion with a ritualistic ego orgy.

I associate ritualistic ego orgies with dysfunctional religions, not all religions.


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Dies Irae wrote:
So... basically... can I summarize a major argument running through the thread as "Some Atheists jerks act like Theists jerks", respectfully agree to disagree on the existence of God and leave it at that?

It'd be nice if we could, but some atheists on this message board consider it their religious duty to assert the 'toxicity' of theism.


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According to the government Athiesm is a religion complete with a church. I'm not sure how much more official you would like to get.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
According to the government Athiesm is a religion complete with a church. I'm not sure how much more official you would like to get.

Several atheist groups are trying to get atheist military chaplains.

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
According to the government Athiesm is a religion complete with a church. I'm not sure how much more official you would like to get.

Meh. According to England squids are vertebrates...


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Jerkiness may well be associated with religion but is not sufficient in and of itself to constitute a religion.

I don't know...

I'm of the perspective that loading all the Jerks in the world regardless of race, creed, nationality or religion into a box and shipping them off to say... Mars would make the world a lot more pleasant for those who are left.

Unfortunately, I'm sure I'm on the jerk list, so it may not necessarily be in my best interest to propose it's implementation as policy.

Darkwing Duck wrote:
It'd be nice if we could, but some atheists on this message board consider it their religious duty to assert the 'toxicity' of theism.

Well... maybe they had a bad run in with a Theistic jerk or two or ten? I mean, angry people, usually have a reason for anger independent of their own personal belief system right? Might have been a bad run in with a well meaning albeit poorly conceived attempt at help or even getting trolled by a religious bigot. I mean, it's like a Paladin thread... There's usually enough people on both sides throwing rocks that pointing fingers isn't going to solve matters.

EDIT: If this comes across as patronizing, I preemptively apologize.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

I'm going to take GothBard's post and roll with it (and redefine religion in the process), because I think this entire discussion hinges on "What, exactly, is a religion?"

(1) If we define religion as, "Belief in God", then I am perfectly happy if someone argues that "Belief in no God" is equivalent. But I will point out that this makes Protestantism and Catholicism identical, so residents of Ireland have some 'splainin' to do.

(2) I will argue that the simplest possible definition of religion must include both belief and canon: The Protestant church was born when Martin Luther rejected the Catholic church's canon and substituted his own. The Mormons were created with Joseph Smith revealed that he had new marching orders from God. What is canon? A set of prescriptions and proscriptions for behavior, frequently including instructions on how to worship.

This does not mean "hive mind". I have many friends who identify themselves as Catholic, and yet use birth control and have premarital sex. Canon is what you're supposed to do; not what you actually do.

Why are there so many flavors of Protestantism? Because Protestantism is quite permissive in allowing member churches to modify their canon to suit their laity. Many agnostics and non-churchgoers identify themselves as "Protestant" for lack of a better term, but if you ask them, "So where are you supposed to find your rules of behavior?", they'll know that the answer is the Bible, so they can at least identify their canon, even if they don't follow it.

This makes most religions easily-identifiable: Universalists have a canon of "be excellent to each other". (I'm still waiting for them to add, "And PARTY ON, dudes!") Wiccans have well-defined prescribed and proscribed behaviors, so they're a religion. And so forth.

Therefore, my conclusion is that any group of atheists with a well-defined agenda (e.g., "Oppose all public displays of religion") are in and of themselves a religion:
(1) They are organized.
(2) They share a belief.
(3) They have a well-defined (albeit short) canon.

Canons don't have to be complete; even the Catholic church doesn't define how often you should brush. So organized atheists are just religious groups with extremely small canons.

But then we come to the majority of atheists: The individuals. It's been posted that most atheists in this group follow some variation of the Golden Rule, but nowhere is it posted, printed, or stated, "If you are an atheist, you should follow the Golden Rule." They will happily argue at extreme lengths about right and wrong, and what is acceptable behavior and what isn't. Each individual defines his or her own canon.

Lacking a common canon, I cannot see individual atheists as religions in and of themselves, so I would not call them religious.

In short, the difficulty here is defining a religion in a way that makes sense for the non-religious. The only definition that makes sense to me is to define religion by canon, giving "religious" the broadest possible scope. At that point you get religious atheists who have an agenda, and non-religious ones who don't.


This has been a pretty interesting conversation to follow. In the end I find both religious folk and atheists often have some pretty interesting points to bring up. Some of the more enlightening lessons I’ve heard in the my life:

“Teacher, if my enemy should strike at me, how should I respond?” –Simon Peter

“Turn the other cheek my son. Violence is never the way. Those who live by the sword die by the sword. The exception of course being if some greedy merchants set up shop in God’s house in which case make a whip out of some knotted cords and beat the living #@$% out of those disrespectful *$%^!!!!” –Jesus Christ

And on the other side:

“I guess the thing I didn’t realize when I started championing Atheism is just how much co-ed poon it would get me. Nothing drops panties like loudly telling God to go stick it in his ear apparently…” –Richard Dawkins


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
According to the government Athiesm is a religion complete with a church. I'm not sure how much more official you would like to get.
Meh. According to England squids are vertebrates...

Citation?


I've been an ordained atheist minister for some time. Having those credentials, I'm qualified to give definitive, official answers on the subject on behalf of the church.

Atheism is not a religion. It's the opposite.

People whining about rabid atheists trying to destroy religion are using strawman arguments.

Atheists are, in some respects, like any other minority. Where, in defending their rights, they may be called strident, it is usually the fact that they are right (church and state issues like tax money to religious organizations, religious displays, etc., and being discriminated against for one's beliefs, or lack thereof, among others) that irks their accusers, rather than any action or statements by them.


I will concede that some, even many, atheists hold strong beliefs and have practices that may seem "religious" in the vernacular sense, they are not themselves a religion.

Something unique to religion and one thing that sets it apart from other cultural memes and paradigms is the ritual. Every established religion has rituals. Birth rituals, marriage rituals, rites of passage, death rituals, rituals for rainy days, etc. A set of rituals, more than anything else, is what defines a religion.

I think there has been an attempt to equate some atheists' fervor in denying superstition in place of reason and science to the fervor of proselytization, which could nominally be considered a ritual. Certainly Mormonism holds evangelism/missionary work as a rite of passage for its young men (though, to be pedantic, not technically since they can opt-out it's just highly encouraged).

For one, and I know it's anecdotal, but I've known of no one that has "preached the gospel" of irreligion in the same way. I've never had someone knock on my door and say "we want to share the good news, there probably isn't a god so just keep doing what you're doing and you'll probably be fine".

Although I would consider myself a militant atheist I don't hold a strong-faith belief that there is no god or gods, merely that, with a lack of both direct or indirect evidence of supernatural phenomena, I don't allow it to affect my world view. A healthy sense of both doubt and curiosity for all things has been what guides me.

But I digress. Atheism, having no binding sets of rituals, can't reasonably considered a religion. It can, to some, be considered a belief, even an irrational one, but irrational belief does not a religion make.

Furthermore I think it's incredibly arrogant and patronizing for anyone to attempt to dictate what my religion is. My religion is: none. It makes no more sense for you to tell me I'm of religion X than it does for me to tell you that you're all really shamans but you don't know it.

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