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Is atheism a religion?


Off-Topic Discussions

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meatrace wrote:
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.

Thank you! Exactly what I meant! This and some other posts here have been encouraging.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Lord Snow wrote:
Charlie Bell wrote:
Atheism isn't a religion, but it is a theology. Theology is the body of beliefs about God (or gods, or the divine). Belief that God does not exist is a belief about God. Therefore, atheism is a theology.

This seems a bit silly. As an atheist, I can't understand why my lack of belief in god should be considered an active part of my worldview. I don't believe in the Loch Ness monster either, nor do I believe that whenever I play Pathfinder, I create a pocket dimension version of Golarion where the actions of my characters take place.

To me, the concept of god is nothing but an overly popular and sophisticated myth. Should I be described as "Non believer in monsters?" should people say I am "Of the church that does not think Bigfoot exists?" the mere notion of connecting my ideas and lifestyle to religion is insulting. Simply put, I never had and never will have anything to do with religion. Implying that this unto itself is a sort of religion makes zero sense. Kind of like claiming that "cold" or "darkness" move from place to place. They don't – both of them are just words that easily convey the notion of "less heat" or "no light", and therefore don't exist by themselves.

Also a small anecdote about atheists not being able to prove the inexistence of god: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_teapot

In principal, Russell claims (and I agree) that the burden of proof falls on the one who claims something exists, not on the one who doesn't. True, nobody can prove the actual INexistence of god.... but as long as there is no way to prove he does exist, we should logically assume he doesn't. Just like we can't prove there is no tiny teapot orbiting the sun in outer space, and therefore will never seriously regard anyone claiming otherwise, I can't see why I should seriously consider the notion of god's existence.

Go back and read the first 4 words that you quoted from me. You spent your whole post arguing that atheism isn't a religion. I stated that up front.


Beckett wrote:
[
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.

Labels are funny things, they can mean one thing to one person and another to another.

I consider myself an Atheist as I don't believe in any sort of divine force but I can see where being labeled as Agnostic comes from since if such a thing exists, I couldn't care less, and that implies the possibility of its/their/whatever'z existence.

Andoran

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Moff Rimmer wrote:
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.

You can't prove a negative.

There, I explained why you are wrong in five words.

Shadow Lodge

Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
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?

Why coirtenly.

In some countries, octopuses are on the list of experimental animals on which surgery may not be performed without anesthesia. In the UK, cephalopods such as octopuses are regarded as honorary vertebrates under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and other cruelty to animals legislation, extending to them protections not normally afforded to invertebrates.[14] Wiki


meatrace wrote:


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.

I would call that agnosticism.

meatrace wrote:

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.

We do this sort of stuff all the time. There are many religions which the people who believe them would not consider them to be religions. For many people in bands/tribes/etc., they don't view religion as a 'religion' as much as they view it as how to live.


You can believe in higher powers and not be religious. Likewise someone can be an atheist and still be religious (follow superstitions, do rituals, etc); some people are religious about sports and hobbies.

What if you believe in reincarnation but don't believe in gods?

I'm not sure that makes "atheism" a religion, because it's a broad subject. Atheism isn't any more a religion than monotheism or polytheism, they're just descriptors.

This huge confusion probably arises from most officially recognized religions being based off of the gods its people believe in. Ironically the only difference is whether or not they are following a god.

Osirion

ciretose wrote:

You can't prove a negative.

There, I explained why you are wrong in five words.

I never said you could.

Swivl (an atheist) said that the divine does not exist and that this fact was proven. I asked for evidence of this proof. I really wasn't asking for proof -- there isn't any. It was really more of a rhetorical question on my side. I'm not suggesting that you can prove a negative and I'm not asking people to try. I'm just asking people not to throw out words like "proven" and "facts" without being ready to back it up.

And actually, Meatrace's explanation of Swivl's comment helped me figure out what exactly Swivl was trying (in my opinion quite unsuccessfully) to communicate.

Andoran

Moff Rimmer wrote:
ciretose wrote:

You can't prove a negative.

There, I explained why you are wrong in five words.

I never said you could.

Swivl (an atheist) said that the divine does not exist and that this fact was proven. I asked for evidence of this proof. I really wasn't asking for proof -- there isn't any. It was really more of a rhetorical question on my side. I'm not suggesting that you can prove a negative and I'm not asking people to try. I'm just asking people not to throw out words like "proven" and "facts" without being ready to back it up.

And actually, Meatrace's explanation of Swivl's comment helped me figure out what exactly Swivl was trying (in my opinion quite unsuccessfully) to communicate.

If you want me to prove that an omnipotent god can't exist, I can.

If you want me to prove an omniscient god can't exist if we (or even the god itself) have free will, I can.

If you think that my not believing that the universe exists on the back of an infinite number of turtles all stacked on top of each other is a religion, I think your definition of religion is so broad as to have no meaning, as by that interpretation my believing I can have a ham sandwich equates to it's divinity.

Lack of belief is not a religion unless you define everyone who does or does not believe in anything as religious, in which case the definition has no meaning or purpose as it is impossible to no be religious by your definition.

Osirion

ciretose wrote:
I think your definition of religion is so broad as to have no meaning...

What exactly is my definition of "religion" as I have posted here?

(I don't recall posting a definition. So, please tell me what my definition of "religion" is.)

Shadow Lodge

Darkwing Duck 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.

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.

There isn't any evidence that it has changed by the amounts creationist would need it to. If the speed of light changed enough to make the universe appear to be 12 billion years old when in reality it was a few thousand years old would produce a Doppler effect so absurd that he sky would be visibly red not to mention that if in the past light was so fast that the universe appeared to be 12 byo but was really a few thousand years old the sun would emit so much energy that it would kill all life on Earth. So unless you can provide a scientifically consistent explanation with motivations based on observation, you are just attempting to shape the universe to fit your worldview - and that is a terrible way to do science.

Shadow Lodge

Darkwing Duck wrote:
meatrace wrote:


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.

I would call that agnosticism.

I would call it agnostic atheist. The former being a statement about knowledge, the latter about belief.


Asphere wrote:


I'd like to see your math for this.
There isn't any evidence that it has changed by the amounts creationist would need it to.

I didn't say anything about creationists and young earth theory. Personally, I think they are both bunk.

I asked you about determining the size and age of the Universe if we don't assume that light is a constant.

Shadow Lodge

ciretose wrote:

If you want me to prove that an omnipotent god can't exist, I can.

If you want me to prove an omniscient god can't exist if we (or even the god itself) have free will, I can.

I'm interested in hearing this.


Moff Rimmer wrote:
ciretose wrote:

You can't prove a negative.

There, I explained why you are wrong in five words.

I never said you could.

Swivl (an atheist) said that the divine does not exist and that this fact was proven. I asked for evidence of this proof. I really wasn't asking for proof -- there isn't any. It was really more of a rhetorical question on my side. I'm not suggesting that you can prove a negative and I'm not asking people to try. I'm just asking people not to throw out words like "proven" and "facts" without being ready to back it up.

And actually, Meatrace's explanation of Swivl's comment helped me figure out what exactly Swivl was trying (in my opinion quite unsuccessfully) to communicate.

Rereading the thread, you've stated a lot on it regarding my posts without talking to me directly.

I'll try to be as clear as I can: I do not take it on faith that any sort of god does or does not exist. It never enters my worldview. Everything I've come to know about existence is explained through facts, observations, theories, and generally the body of knowledge of humanity. What that brings me to is that laws govern our universe, and have since its beginning.

I've already admitted that there is room for a creator god in our current, collective understanding of everything. What I said right after that, though, is that I don't have reason to suspect that that is exactly what happened.

And I won't begin to speculate what the beginning really consisted of, as even the smartest people ever to live on this planet don't know that answer just yet.


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Darkwing Duck wrote:
meatrace wrote:


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.

I would call that agnosticism.

meatrace wrote:

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.

We do this sort of stuff all the time. There are many religions which the people who believe them would not consider them to be religions. For many people in bands/tribes/etc., they don't view religion as a 'religion' as much as they view it as how to live.

1)no, I'm an atheist. Again, you keep telling me what I am. Stop that. Atheism merely means holding to no gods. I have no gods. I know, that's baffling to you because you've lumped all atheists into this category where they profess a certitude for the absence of the supernatural. But you'll find, if you ACTUALLY talk to atheists, that isn't the case. It's just a level of doubt about its existence, which for me is high. However, being a rational being I understand it is irrational to claim to know anything for certain, and I even doubt my own doubt! I've always wanted to feel the "presence of god" that everyone is always yammering about, but I just feel...nothing. The closest I've found is LSD and a really strong orgasm.

2)You're talking about speaking to people for whom the concept of religion has no meaning. Unless that's a sidewise insult at me, it doesn't remote fit the situation, as someone who has studied religion both personally and academically for quite some time. Telling me I belong to a religion you would have to define what are the tenets and rituals that bind my religion together.

Osirion

I've always found that there were certain traits that seem to be required in order for something to be considered a religion. There is always some form of mysticism, a dealing of the unknown. They are pedagogical, they teach creation or ethics. I had other traits to add but I can't remember them.

Given what I said I find that atheism is not a religion. Atheism does not explain the origin of life, the universe and everything. Nor does Atheism have an ethical stance.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

As another Atheist, I'm offering a different perspective.

I'm Atheism or Theism...These are two sides of what is a multi-faceted question... itself part of a question that has haunted mankind before perhaps we were even Homo Sapiens.

I suspect it will haunt us well after we are on the road to becoming whatever succeeds Homo Sapiens.

Atheism to me is more than just a rejection of the answer given to me by the Catholic Church, or the Book of Mormon, or not finding it in the Talmud or the Koran. I can without rejecting them totally state that I can not accept the answer, but because they by themselves haven't yet formulated the right Question. We've asked questions about the existence of God, but all I've seen are answers that lead to more questions. We ask that Question through Religion, through Science, through Philsophy, Ethics, and Morality.

Perhaps that is the meaning of our inquiry no matter how we choose to approach it... the search for the proper Question.

I'm not an Atheist because I've rejected religion's answer.. I'm an Atheist because I'm still looking for that right question. It may be that I might find that Question in a form that only offers meaning to me.

In Siddhartha, Herman Hesse's protagonist speaks of meeting the Buddha and while he recognises that the Buddha is indeed Enlightened, he decides that the Buddha can not lead anyone else there, that at best he may show that it is possible. When Siddhartha finds his own Enlightenment, he in turn comes to realise that no one can follow his path either.

Perhaps that is the real lesson if any is to come from this exchange, that there are many roads to the Question, and each of us must travel our own as far as we can take them. For that reason I won't mock the path another person chooses to take, as long as he or she will return that same courtesy. I think ultimately that his the first step before any of us can procede on our paths is to go beyond the illusions thrown up by needless conflict. We must free ourselves from the concerns of the paths others take, as long as they do not hinder our own.


It's the hindering another's part where it all gets sticky.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
meatrace wrote:
It's the hindering another's part where it all gets sticky.

Stickiness is the unavoidable consequence of being alive.

Andoran

Beckett wrote:
ciretose wrote:

If you want me to prove that an omnipotent god can't exist, I can.

If you want me to prove an omniscient god can't exist if we (or even the god itself) have free will, I can.

I'm interested in hearing this.

If god was "all powerful" he could create a being more powerful than God, which would mean he wasn't all powerful, but instead just very powerful. Also if god is all powerful, the greater good argument fails completely, since God would not need sufferering to occur for him to achieve any outcome God wanted, being as he is able to have and do whatever he wants.

If god were "all knowing", he would know what we are going to do before we doing, and more importantly would have known from whatever point God became omniscient. If we ever did something he didn't know we were going to do in advance, he couldn't be all knowing. So everything we do would therefore have to be preordained, otherwise he could potentially be wrong, in which case, not all-knowing. Similarly if God is all knowing, he also knows everything God will ever encounter and how God will react when God encounters it, meaning God has the same free will issue, since an all knowing God can't be wrong.

It is kind of like when people go "If God didn't create the universe, who did? All things need a creator" and I reply "If all things need a creator, who created God?"

Shadow Lodge

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Ciretose wrote:
If all things need a creator, who created God?"

The almighty turtle of course.

After that its turtles all the way down.

Shadow Lodge

In defense of hard atheism, the assertion that "there is no god"

At some point an idea fails to provide evidence that it should be able to meet. At some point an idea contradicts what we already know.

At some point an idea is so internally contradictory or meshes so poorly with how we know reality works that you not only say "I don't believe this" but "this is malarky". People do this with ideas every day: cold fusion, miracle diet plans, astrology, phrenology, turn your debt into wealth, snake oil etc. Who goes around thinking that "this idea has failed to be proved" rather than "this is horse hockey"

Shadow Lodge

Darkwing Duck wrote:


I didn't say anything about creationists and young earth theory. Personally, I think they are both bunk.

I asked you about determining the size and age of the Universe if we don't assume that light is a constant.

Well you asked somebody - not me. I just chimed in mid conversation. Sorry - I thought you were bringing up YEC stuff.

Maybe the speed of light has changed. There are theories that require it to do so...but by really small amounts. Whenever the age of the universe is given it should be understood that it is an estimate. I believe the current estimate is 12-18 byo. But there is no reason right now, other than intense theoretical exercises, to assume that it did change. It hasn't changed at all since we have been able to reliably measure it (at least within margins of error).

It is hard to talk about the size of the universe considering that most models consider it very probably infinite in volume (inflation models). It is kind of weird...finite age but infinite volume.

Osirion

ciretose wrote:
You are taking positions, then backpedaling by saying "I'm not saying anything" which is silly and transparent.

Again, what position am I taking? I'm not backpedaling. Seriously -- I'm very curious as to what I said that suggests I'm taking a position in the overall debate at hand. At one point, I thought I was pretty clear in my position -- I said that I don't care.


What is your position on the Church of Leafar?

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I just checked Moff's posts, and I didn't find anything that suggested a 'position', just pointing out what he thought was an erroneous statement. If someone else can point it out to me, I'd appreciate it.


I am not interested in Moff's position on anything except the glorious Church of Leafar.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm not interested in the Church of Doodlebug.


Nor am I, heathen.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Whatever, keep praying to your imaginary alias.


Moff Rimmer wrote:
ciretose wrote:
You are taking positions, then backpedaling by saying "I'm not saying anything" which is silly and transparent.
Again, what position am I taking? I'm not backpedaling. Seriously -- I'm very curious as to what I said that suggests I'm taking a position in the overall debate at hand. At one point, I thought I was pretty clear in my position -- I said that I don't care.

If I had to figure based in what I've read, I'd say your position is one of uncertainty, and that nobody can possibly be absolute in their certainty with any measure of authority. The agnostic position. Considering most of your opposition in the thread has been atheists, you might favor the deist perspective. So I'd peg you as an agnostic deist (feel free to correct me on this).

As for the topic, it's as you say: not relevant to your discussion on this thread.


Is Communism a religion?


Probably, but it's not as cool as the Church of Leafar.


Leafar! Leafar! Leafar!


I said: Leafar!


Alright, I'm done with that for today.


Promise?

:P


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Atheism is a denial of a potential higher reality or alter state of consciousness.

Therefore:

I'm a theist, I'm a theist, I'm a theist.
I'm a theist, I'm a theist, I'm a theist.
Oh oh oh I'm a theist.

Sorry Falco...


Whew.. just finished catching up on the thread. Very interesting read. I don't know that I heard anything new, but it's always good to hear other people express what they believe and why.

I'm a believer in God (this is for context), and am pretty sure I fit into the mainline definition of someone who prescribes to a religion (and 'irredeemably stupid' to boot, apparently). ;p

All that out of the way, I can't imagine that an atheist would be considered part of a religion. Most of the definitions of 'religion' I've seen discussed here or elsewhere have two things in common. First, that it generally revolves around a view of nature or the beginning of things -- and usually involving a creator or other supernatural/superhuman force. Second, that the former informs a world-view which develops a list of rituals or moral rules.

While "atheism" is a bit of an abstraction to me (because so far I can't tell that there is a unifying outlook that applies to all of them), "atheist" is a bit less so, so I'll go with that.

I can't imagine that not believing in a god/gods qualifies a person to be in a religion. Their world-view isn't shaped by the presence or lack of a god, but with the idea that 'only what i can touch and measure is real'. Given what I summarized above makes a religion, I don't think this fits the bill.

Now, should they get legal and governmental representation in the same light as 'religious folk'? Sure. I can't see that they should be outside of any allowances (though, to be honest, i'm not sure what allowances I get for going to church every sunday… okay, maybe not EVERY sunday).

Interesting side note. Someone mentioned that there are atheists who believe in the evidence of supernatural phenomena, but deny any evidence of a supernatural god. This intrigues me.

Can i ask the OP, what the purpose of the question was? It sounds like this is a spill-out from another thread. WHat is the point this thread is trying to make? (or was it genuinely curious about the question of the thread title?)


Also, someone earlier was saying they could prove the non-existence of God? I'd love to hear this. If God has been proven to not exist, then I really, really want to know. :D

If for no other reason than a lot of my schedule would get freed up.


Muja wrote:

I've always found that there were certain traits that seem to be required in order for something to be considered a religion. There is always some form of mysticism, a dealing of the unknown. They are pedagogical, they teach creation or ethics. I had other traits to add but I can't remember them.

Given what I said I find that atheism is not a religion. Atheism does not explain the origin of life, the universe and everything. Nor does Atheism have an ethical stance.

Like the big bang theory, evolution, and the constant cycle of the expanding and contractcing universe?

Before you make blanket statements about another culture regarding something that you (and many others on this thread) clearly don't have a strong understanding of feel free to educate yourself. It's just a google search away. For example:

Might I direct you to the What we believe section of the First Church of Athiesm FAQ;
The First Church of Atheism is formed around the belief that the mysteries of life can be explained through science and reason. We aim to provide a place for atheists to become ordained, for free, as well as a hub for atheists to find ministers to perform their ceremonies. This is our doctrine:
“Nothing exists besides natural phenomena. Thought is merely a function of that natural phenomena. Death is complete, and irreversible. We have faith solely in humankind, nature, and the facts of science.”


Well since 'Scientology' has already been taken and stained... I don't know, calling a set religion 'Atheism' grates on me. It's like calling a nation, 'Grassless Country'. It becomes confusing when someone can believe in no god, thus rightly being defined as atheist, and not be part of the Atheism religion...

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