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Is atheism a religion?


Off-Topic Discussions

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Shadow Lodge

This has come up in a few places and seems to be a bit of a distraction. I think i have to go with the addage that if atheism is a religion then bald is a hair color.

Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.[1] -Wiki

Most definitions of religion that I've seen call it a system. Atheism is, at most, one part: There is no god. (other types of atheism wouldn't even have that)

That one part does not logically lead to any particular actions. Deriving morality, meaning, some deeper truth of existence or fulfilling any function of religion simply isn't possible from that statement.

from that statement is going to make your logic look like the gnome underwear business plan

There is no god---->Something happens---> Therefore communism
There is no god-----> Something happens---> Therefore Rainbow Ponies


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I have no interest in basketball.

Therefore I don't have a favorite basketball team. My "no team" is not a team itself.

I have no interest in religion, so I don't have one. See above.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Beware - here be semantics.

Please define religion.

But generally, no - because its A-Theism, i.e. no god, not even not believing in a god, the concept of gods don't even exist outside of fiction.

Assuming a necessary component of religion are gods.

Shadow Lodge

I would argue that there are essentially 4 possibilities:

1. Gnostic Atheism - "There is no god" (Strong Atheism)

2. Agnostic Atheism - "I am without belief in a god, however, I am not absolute in my knowledge" (Weak Atheism)

3. Agnostic Theism - "I believe in god, but I am not absolute in my knowledge"

4. Gnostic Theism - "There is a god"

Note agnosticism is technically a statement about knowledge, not belief. So I don't think it makes much sense to just be agnostic. If you are agnostic, and you are not sure if there is a god, you would fall under choice 2. If you are agnostic, believe in some higher power but your not sure what it is, you are choice 3.

Choice 2 is what most atheists probably are - to me it is a position of neutrality. I was born without religion, I was never forced to choose a religion, and I never adopted a belief in god.

I think choice 1 could be a quasi-religion. To say "there is no god" and that "I am certain of this" differs little from choice 4 in theory but differs a lot in application - choice 4 usually comes with a lengthy rulebook. But using your definition one might derive morals from this statement but I think they would have problems getting any spiritual aspect from it - depending how one defines that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Asphere wrote:


Note agnosticism is technically a statement about knowledge, not belief. So I don't think it makes much sense to just be agnostic. If you are agnostic, and you are not sure if there is a god, you would fall under choice 2. If you are agnostic, believe in some higher power but your not sure what it is, you are choice 3.

Choice 2 is what most atheists probably are - to me it is a position of neutrality. I was born without religion, I was never forced to choose a religion, and I never adopted a belief in god.

A mix of one and two for me, depending on the deity. A deity who is obviously logically impossible would be one we could say with pretty absolute confidence does not exist. Of course things that are logically possible aren't the same as things which are plausible or supported by evidence. One can't just hop from logically possible to established to be true.

One could dismiss with similar, if not quite the same, confidence deities that have defined attributes that require certain experiences we would anticipate having but clearly do not. For example, if one's deity lived in a house on the top of Mt. Olympus and we got up there and found no house, we could say we know that deity does not exist.

But in the real world I don't believe in absolute mathematical certainty. We can only get that in math because it's extremely precisely and simply defined. With regard to real world applications, there could always be something that would require us to revise our positions. Life gets pretty messy. If we can't think of ways we could be wrong and know it, so we can do that revision, we've got no business presuming we might be right.

I'll throw in a category 5, though. Outside a particular cultural context, the word deity means nothing to me. So if someone asked me about a completely undefined deity, without any attributes, the word is just meaningless noise. So yes I believe meaningless noise exists. That's never what they're actually asking, but someone could try it someday.


Okay what is a religion?
Religion- the practice of ones theology
Theology- What a person or group of people espouses to believe about god(s)

Make your own determination from there.


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So, given your starting point of "this is a bit of a distraction", tell me again why you started this post?

(I'm a militant atheist, believe that anyone with a faith is irredeemably stupid, am prepared to be convinced by actual evidence that there is a divine being but even if I am will hold to my philosophical position that if there is they deserve no worship and I will therefore be consigned to whatever creative and unpleasant afterlife they have prepared for the irredeemably stupid who refuse to bow down to the great tyrant in the sky).


Elinor Knutsdottir wrote:


I'm a militant atheist, believe that anyone with a faith is irredeemably stupid, am prepared to be convinced by actual evidence that there is a divine being but even if I am will hold to my philosophical position that if there is they deserve no worship and I will therefore be consigned to whatever creative and unpleasant afterlife they have prepared for the irredeemably stupid who refuse to bow down to the great tyrant in the sky.

this.


Okay I also need to know does it even matter. I can't see it mattering for anything at all... ever.....


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The Minis Maniac wrote:
Okay I also need to know does it even matter. I can't see it mattering for anything at all... ever.....

Accuracy is accuracy.

Andoran

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

Because atheists get very bored dealing, repeatedly, with religious believers who insist that "Atheism is a religion too" and thinking that is some kind of point.

The thread is probably born out of that frustration and a desire that when the argvument is inevitably raised in some moral discussion, they can point here to avoid derailing the existing topic and repeating themselves for the nth thousandth time.

Shadow Lodge

Elinor Knutsdottir wrote:

So, given your starting point of "this is a bit of a distraction", tell me again why you started this post?

(I'm a militant atheist, believe that anyone with a faith is irredeemably stupid, am prepared to be convinced by actual evidence that there is a divine being but even if I am will hold to my philosophical position that if there is they deserve no worship and I will therefore be consigned to whatever creative and unpleasant afterlife they have prepared for the irredeemably stupid who refuse to bow down to the great tyrant in the sky).

Its a bit of a distraction in other threads. Here its the main event (and is likely to be derailed by something else. I'm hoping for something chocholate related)

Definition of religion: Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.[1] -Wiki


"There are no gods. Humans are responsible for themselves because no super parent substitute figure will care for them."

It seems to be a religion of sorts in that view. Except the definition you quoted from wiki is not the only - this one would claim many philosophical schools as religions.


Heck, some religions, such as certain interpretations of Buddhism, work fine with atheism.


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Bald isn't a hair color, but it is a hair style :P


Kryzbyn said wrote:
Bald isn't a hair color, but it is a hair style :P

That's brilliant, and should be the last word on this subject wherever and whenever it is raised.

I bow and doff my helmet to you. Revealing not-bald.

Grand Lodge

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

The best answer is that there are people who promulgate an Atheist philosophy with all the militant fervancy and intolerance seen in a religious fundamentalist. Much like how some gamers argue on this board.

Others are only casually atheistic, much like a Sunday School Catholic.

But Atheism by definition isn't an expression of belief, more than a denial of a certain category of beliefs. After all as Descarte pointed out centuries ago, everyone has SOMETHING they take on faith.


"Atheism is like a religion like abstinence is a sex position."

--Bill Maher

I agree that most atheists are agnostic atheists, in that people are willing to change their mind when new evidence is found to prove the existence of a god or god-like being.

Personally, whatever the cause of the universe is certainly god-like, even if the means it used turns out to be natural and mundane.


LazarX wrote:

The best answer is that there are people who promulgate an Atheist philosophy with all the militant fervancy and intolerance seen in a religious fundamentalist. Much like how some gamers argue on this board.

Others are only casually atheistic, much like a Sunday School Catholic.

But Atheism by definition isn't an expression of belief, more than a denial of a certain category of beliefs. After all as Descarte pointed out centuries ago, everyone has SOMETHING they take on faith.

Definitely, and it depends on which authorities they choose to believe, and why they decide to.

I believe scientists because they are smart, advance our knowledge and technology, have no incentive but the truth, and are willing to change their minds with new evidence. When scientists are proven to lack one of these qualities, they are summarily dismissed and have their findings placed into question.

I don't believe pastors and priests because as cool and confident as they are, their beliefs are absolutist, unwavering, and have nothing on authority but bronze-age writings that could have been intended as fiction or myth for all we know.

This is just a small sample of things people might take on faith. To elaborate further would invite a wall of text nobody would read.

Andoran

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Most definitions of religion that I've seen call it a system.

What you are describing might more precisely be called 'organized religion'. However, let's say a single person has a view of 'God' which is unique to themselves with no formal institutions, possibly even just a simple belief in a 'higher power' with no further detail. Is that not a religion?

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Atheism is, at most, one part: There is no god.

I take it you haven't met many 'secular humanists'. There are groups that have organized belief and value systems extending well beyond disbelief or uncertainty about the existence of 'divinity'. Some are very much like any organized religion... right down to community outreach, spreading the faith, congregational meetings, et cetera.

Quote:
(other types of atheism wouldn't even have that)

Another part of the problem... 'atheism' means a lot of different things to different people.

Thus, it really becomes a matter of how we define the words 'religion' and 'atheism'. Personally, I prefer;

religion - 'belief in something on faith'
atheism - 'belief that there are no divine or supernatural powers at work in the universe'

By these definitions, 'atheism' is a 'religion' because the belief that 'there is no God' is based on faith rather than something which can be proven. However, other equally valid definitions of either term exist which would change the analysis.

This is therefor a wholly semantic question and can be truthfully answered with both "yes" and "no"... it's all a matter of framing. Arguing the answer without understanding each person's perceptual framing is thus pointless.

Andoran

Drawn from the other topic:

Here's the thing, I agree that some people treat soccer as a religion. IMO: Anything you give that much power over you can be viewed as a religion, even if it isn't about a higher power. Soccer, atheism, etc. if it is where you devote your time, your energy then how is it different in any meaningful way than Christianity or Wicca?


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BigNorseWolf wrote:


There is no god---->Something happens---> Therefore communism

I endorse this business model.


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CBDunkerson wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Most definitions of religion that I've seen call it a system.

What you are describing might more precisely be called 'organized religion'. However, let's say a single person has a view of 'God' which is unique to themselves with no formal institutions, possibly even just a simple belief in a 'higher power' with no further detail. Is that not a religion?

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Atheism is, at most, one part: There is no god.

I take it you haven't met many 'secular humanists'. There are groups that have organized belief and value systems extending well beyond disbelief or uncertainty about the existence of 'divinity'. Some are very much like any organized religion... right down to community outreach, spreading the faith, congregational meetings, et cetera.

Quote:
(other types of atheism wouldn't even have that)

Another part of the problem... 'atheism' means a lot of different things to different people.

Thus, it really becomes a matter of how we define the words 'religion' and 'atheism'. Personally, I prefer;

religion - 'belief in something on faith'
atheism - 'belief that there are no divine or supernatural powers at work in the universe'

By these definitions, 'atheism' is a 'religion' because the belief that 'there is no God' is based on faith rather than something which can be proven. However, other equally valid definitions of either term exist which would change the analysis.

This is therefor a wholly semantic question and can be truthfully answered with both "yes" and "no"... it's all a matter of framing. Arguing the answer without understanding each person's perceptual framing is thus pointless.

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.

That the understanding most atheists have that a natural explanation for all the universe will emerge sooner or later (taken as a matter of faith) is simply because our understanding of the natural world continues to expand over time, and the room in our worldview for gods continues to shrink. To say that a god handles the unexplained means s/he handles the gaps of our understanding until we fill those voids ourselves.

I agree, let's get a consensus on the terms. If anything can be placed in the religion pile, organized or not, you can also probably place passionate hobbies of any kind in there, too (Paizo-ism), and that weakens the definition IMO.

Andoran

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Swivl wrote:
To be clear: atheism is not a religion.

Sorry, but that is entirely UNclear. There are common definitions of 'atheism' and 'religion' where it is true, but also common definitions of those terms where it is false.

Quote:
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.

However this... I'm unable to think of any definitions where the above would be true. There are no fact based proven observations showing that no 'intelligence' had any part in the creation of the universe and/or life. Ergo, if someone chooses to believe those things to be true (rather than merely something they think likely) they are doing so as a matter of 'faith'.

Grand Lodge

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


I believe scientists because they are smart, advance our knowledge and technology, have no incentive but the truth, and are willing to change their minds with new evidence. When scientists are proven to lack one of these qualities,

......

It generally shows that they are human and have imperfections and flaws like the rest of us. Developing a scientific model is frequently a lifetime dedication of work. And frequently in the fervent of modern science you've got more than one possible model available as the data gathered hasn't been sufficient to narrow it down to the one possibility. (String theory is a very good example of this.) Careers are at stake, and all the natural defensiveness will come up when data puts the model at question.

I've known close-minded scientists and honestly inquisitive priests. Lumping all of each into stereotypes is counterproductive.


CBD wrote:
Stuff I largely disagree with.

By that argument for almost all of us the internal combustion engine is a matter of faith. I did science, I have a vague idea of how it works but for all I actually know there's a little elf in there who when I turn the key runs like the clappers on a little conveyer belt to make the car run.

Of the available theories of the creation on the universe, 'a super-being made it' seems very weak and therefore I don't believe it. Faith has nothing to do with it. I would suggest that one believes in positive statements ("there is a god", "the sun will come up tomorrow", "I'm going to win my next Warhammer 40K battle"). Disbelief is a negative statement based on an absence of information/evidence and doesn't require 'faith' or any other justification to be logically valid. I don't need to have 'faith' that the flying spaghetti monster doesn't exist.

Should twenty mile tall letters of fire appear in the sky saying "I, God, Exist, and You, Elinor, are consigned to everlasting Fire" I would believe that a human agency was responsible. I would disbelieve that a divine being was responsible. The first would be a matter of faith (and/or evidence, if I could find any). The second would simply be a matter of disbelief.


CBDunkerson wrote:
Swivl wrote:
To be clear: atheism is not a religion.

Sorry, but that is entirely UNclear. There are common definitions of 'atheism' and 'religion' where it is true, but also common definitions of those terms where it is false.

Which is why I intend to make it so clear that no such dispute exists. As I explain, including atheism in the religion definition also includes other such things that are silly to include.

Quote:


Quote:
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.
However this... I'm unable to think of any definitions where the above would be true. There are no fact based proven observations showing that no 'intelligence' had any part in the creation of the universe and/or life. Ergo, if someone chooses to believe those things to be true (rather than merely something they think likely) they are doing so as a matter of 'faith'.

On the contrary, there are no observations that prove any intelligence had any part in the creation of the universe and/or life. To suggest so requires a proof, and there is none that even hints at that.

I am satisfied with simply pointing out that nobody really knows the answers to everything (which is true, and not taken as a matter of faith at all). I am also satisfied with awareness of the gaps in our collective knowledge without assigning an explanation or a cause until one is found.

It is true that there is room for an ultimate catalyst creator billions and billions of years ago to have brought it all into being. It also true that there is room for the explanation that we're all the fabricated dream of a demon, and that your experience is entirely falsehood upon falsehood, a massive fake delusion with no way out. But to put any of this into facts and theories, there needs to be a trace of it somewhere, along the line of observation, to show for it, or the whole of the explanation is fabrication and speculation.

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
LazarX wrote:

Careers are at stake, and all the natural defensiveness will come up when data puts the model at question.

I've known close-minded scientists and honestly inquisitive priests. Lumping all of each into stereotypes is counterproductive.

All true, but the benefit of science is that it builds upon a consistent repeatable foundation.

That is, if you were so inclined you could go back and recreate every experiment and countless observations to 're-prove' any of the things which science has 'established' over the centuries.

The burning bush? Not so much.

With religion you either believe or you do not. With science you can test beliefs against 'observed reality' and come up with consistent results. Thus, you are then only 'taking on faith' that the evidence of our senses is 'real' (which, if untrue, would blow out every form of religious belief as well). The only place science breaks down into the same kind of 'faith' as religion is in the realm of 'groundbreaking research'. While the answers are still being worked out there is always the potential for 'religious beliefs' to enter into it. However, eventually the answers are found and methods of consistently demonstrating which is right and which wrong are developed.


LazarX wrote:
Swivl wrote:


I believe scientists because they are smart, advance our knowledge and technology, have no incentive but the truth, and are willing to change their minds with new evidence. When scientists are proven to lack one of these qualities,

......

It generally shows that they are human and have imperfections and flaws like the rest of us. Developing a scientific model is frequently a lifetime dedication of work. And frequently in the fervent of modern science you've got more than one possible model available as the data gathered hasn't been sufficient to narrow it down to the one possibility. (String theory is a very good example of this.) Careers are at stake, and all the natural defensiveness will come up when data puts the model at question.

I've known close-minded scientists and honestly inquisitive priests. Lumping all of each into stereotypes is counterproductive.

I was providing a short-hand example, and probably a bad one to work with. I will try harder next time.

I am perfectly aware of the Vatican Observatory, in other words.

Lantern Lodge

I imagine a good portion of us are from the USA. The IRS and Armed Forces gives atheist organizations religion status for the purposes of various rights and privileges. Argument solved.

Shadow Lodge

laurence lagnese wrote:

I imagine a good portion of us are from the USA. The IRS and Armed Forces gives atheist organizations religion status for the purposes of various rights and privileges. Argument solved.

Not really. It just means that if you check atheist it is the same as checking "none" and since religious people get rights and privileges then they must extend to nonreligious people. Also, since when does what the IRS and Armed Forces say solve an ontological question.

Silver Crusade

Kajehase wrote:
Heck, some religions, such as certain interpretations of Buddhism, work fine with atheism.

Buddhism works well with a belief in God and atheism. I know some Buddhists who are still open to the existence of a divine being, though they have incorporated Buddhists practice in their daily lives.

Generally, in my experience, most Buddhists are atheists and support scientific explanations of how the universe works. Some forms of Buddhism appear to be religions due to the existence of monks, reverends and temples. It is neither a religion in the sense in which that word is commonly understood, for it is not a system of faith and worship owing any allegiance to a supernatural being.


Speaking as an atheist, atheism is rather obviously not a religion, for the many reasons stated above.

Not trying to insult anyone, but I think the confusion is caused by people who haven't learned the difference between "religious" and "dogmatic".

Andoran

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Elinor Knutsdottir wrote:
By that argument for almost all of us the internal combustion engine is a matter of faith.

In some sense yes. No one human being (as we perceive them) can independently verify all of human knowledge. Therefor we are all taking it on faith that this knowledge HAS been verified... even though there are countless examples of errors creeping into the record (e.g. the Earth is flat, humans only use 10% of their brains, et cetera).

However, it isn't entirely a matter of faith. That internal combustion engine actually works. Grimy mechanics who don't seem to be particularly up on elven lore are somehow able to make it start working again after it stops. Gasoline seems to play an important role. Et cetera. We have a great deal of evidence suggesting that it works exactly the way science says it does. There is still an element of faith, but it is mostly a case of accepting 'the weight of the evidence'.

Quote:
Of the available theories of the creation on the universe, 'a super-being made it' seems very weak and therefore I don't believe it.

Alright. Now, what is the evidence which makes 'there was a tremendous explosion from nothingness and then the universe was there' less "weak"? The universe is expanding? Couldn't the super-being have made it that way? Or caused the explosion? "Let there be light!" Kaboom!

This is pure faith. You have no evidence which indicates one is more or less likely than the other, but you choose to disbelieve only one of them.

"Faith has nothing to do with it. I would suggest that one believes in positive statements ("there is a god", "the sun will come up tomorrow", "I'm going to win my next Warhammer 40K battle")."

That's just framing: "there is no god", "the sun will not come up tomorrow", "I'm going to lose my next Warhammer 40k battle"

Whether you frame a statement as 'positive' or 'negative' does not change the foundation on which it is built.

Swivl wrote:
On the contrary, there are no observations that prove any intelligence had any part in the creation of the universe and/or life. To suggest so requires a proof, and there is none that even hints at that.

This is the same sort of framing argument Elinor is making. 'Believing a divine being created life or the universe requires proof'... but not believing doesn't? You're defining your preferred answer ('positive or negative statement') as the default 'Truth' which requires no proof.

Quote:
I am satisfied with simply pointing out that nobody really knows the answers to everything (which is true, and not taken as a matter of faith at all).

No? No faith at all. So you can prove that whole, 'omniscient God', thing is false then? If not... faith.

Quote:
It is true that there is room for an ultimate catalyst creator billions and billions of years ago to have brought it all into being. It also true that there is room for the explanation that we're all the fabricated dream of a demon, and that your experience is entirely falsehood upon falsehood, a massive fake delusion with no way out. But to put any of this into facts and theories, there needs to be a trace of it somewhere,...

I agree on all of that except the requirement of a trace to have a theory. Setting aside that you can find trace evidence for anything, possibilities exist so long as there is no proof that they do not. If you cannot prove that 'God' does not exist, or did not create life and/or the universe, then it is possible that it did and a theory holding that to be the case is just as valid as one holding that it is not.


Is white a color? Atheists do have culture and system of beliefs. It's called Logic, science, and the scientific method. I would wager that most atheists are atheists because they hold these things in the highest regard.

Andoran

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CBDunkerson wrote:


Quote:
Of the available theories of the creation on the universe, 'a super-being made it' seems very weak and therefore I don't believe it.

Alright. Now, what is the evidence which makes 'there was a tremendous explosion from nothingness and then the universe was there' less "weak"? The universe is expanding? Couldn't the super-being have made it that way? Or caused the explosion? "Let there be light!" Kaboom!

This is pure faith. You have no evidence which indicates one is more or less likely than the other, but you choose to disbelieve only one of them.

As you asked:

The Cosmic Microwave Background.
Red-shift of stars consistent with an expanding universe
Spectroscopic analysis of starlight.

Evidence for God:
....

There is none. Pretty much by definiton there can't be evidence of an omnivax god such as the Abrahamic one. You can say there isn't proof there isn't God, which is true, but there equally isn't proof the universe wasn't poofed into existence by Harvey the Invisible Cosmic Bunny last Thursday. Is being an athursdayist a religion?


FuelDrop wrote:
Elinor Knutsdottir wrote:


I'm a militant atheist, believe that anyone with a faith is irredeemably stupid, am prepared to be convinced by actual evidence that there is a divine being but even if I am will hold to my philosophical position that if there is they deserve no worship and I will therefore be consigned to whatever creative and unpleasant afterlife they have prepared for the irredeemably stupid who refuse to bow down to the great tyrant in the sky.

this.

Also gotta second this. (or third or whatever. Haven't finished reading the whole thread yet)


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Is white a color? Atheists do have culture and system of beliefs. It's called Logic, science, and the scientific method. I would wager that most atheists are atheists because they hold these things in the highest regard.

Except that you're describing an ethnicity, not a religion.

Before anyone makes (justified) accusations of semantics, let me say this is exactly the sort of discussion the field of semantics was made for.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
laurence lagnese wrote:

I imagine a good portion of us are from the USA. The IRS and Armed Forces gives atheist organizations religion status for the purposes of various rights and privileges. Argument solved.

And in Britain, Jedism is a recognised religion. Neither one of us has made a relevant point.


Chubbs McGee wrote:
Kajehase wrote:
Heck, some religions, such as certain interpretations of Buddhism, work fine with atheism.
Buddhism works well with a belief in God and atheism. I know some Buddhists who are still open to the existence of a divine being, though they have incorporated Buddhists practice in their daily lives.

Hence my use of the word certain (and my lack of in-depth knowledge stopped me from expounding any further on the matter).

For what it's worth, I would say that Buddhism is a religion, albeit not one who works exactly like the Abrahamitic faiths, but then, that's true for a lot of religions.


Hitdice wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Is white a color? Atheists do have culture and system of beliefs. It's called Logic, science, and the scientific method. I would wager that most atheists are atheists because they hold these things in the highest regard.

Except that you're describing an ethnicity, not a religion.

Before anyone makes (justified) accusations of semantics, let me say this is exactly the sort of discussion the field of semantics was made for.

I'm talking about the pallet color, not Caucasians. Is the lack of something (or more technically the encompassing of all) still categorized the same. As in is the lack of religion (aka atheism) a religion or not.

In hind site it's a bad comparison. Feel free to ignore that part and concentrate on the comments about culture.

Andoran

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Paul Watson wrote:


As you asked:
The Cosmic Microwave Background.
Red-shift of stars consistent with an expanding universe
Spectroscopic analysis of starlight.

All of which could be equally explained by 'God' having caused the 'Big Bang', as I noted before you suggested them.

Quote:
You can say there isn't proof there isn't God, which is true, but there equally isn't proof the universe wasn't poofed into existence by Harvey the Invisible Cosmic Bunny last Thursday. Is being an athursdayist a religion?

Belief in the Invisible Cosmic Bunny? Sounds like a fairly typical religion to me.

Maybe 'true' vs 'probable' will help. If you believe things to be 'true' without proof then you are doing so on faith. If you consider one thing more 'probable' than another due to an absence of proof either way then you are not operating on faith alone... though you may be biased or otherwise incorrect in your thinking.

The subset of 'atheists' who say, 'I know there is not a God' are operating on faith every bit as much as those who say that they 'know there is'. I think this is a very important distinction. You can't (honestly) distinguish yourself from 'those irrational religious people' while operating on the same sort of unfounded belief.


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Elinor Knutsdottir wrote:
I'm a militant atheist, believe that anyone with a faith is irredeemably stupid

I'm an atheist myself, but... really?

Does that include whoever came up with "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?"

I may not believe in a god, or that we are all going to keep being reborn until we can achieve oneness with the Brahma, but to claim that anyone with a faith is "irredeemably stupid" is just, to borrow a phrase, irredeemably stupid.

Throughout human existence, as far as we know, the majority of us have had some sort of religious faith, and you'll have to excuse me if I disagree with the notion that Isaac Newton was stupid because he dabbled in magic and thought of the universe as a clock created by God.

If you want more people to turn away from religion, I suspect that a good start would be to not insult their intelligence.

Grand Lodge

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Paul Watson wrote:

Evidence for God:

....

There is none. Pretty much by definiton there can't be evidence of an omnivax god such as the Abrahamic one. You can say there isn't proof there isn't God, which is true, but there equally isn't proof the universe wasn't poofed into existence by Harvey the Invisible Cosmic Bunny last Thursday. Is being an athursdayist a religion?

I'm an atheist but I can make a case for God, at least one along Spinoza's model which apparantly was the God Einstein believed in. Our increasing ability to observe the universe around us has shown how fantastically lucky we are to have a planet that can support us.

1. Earth is located at exactly the right spot temperature wise. (Venus and Mars are good examples that show close to it, is not close enough)

2. We have the incredible good fortune of having a nice sizable Moon to provide tides and stabilize our rotation axis. (Biology and Mars again shows why these are good things.), plus we have an aesthetic bonus of having a lunar orbit that's just at the right distances to give us the occasional treat of total solar eclipses in which we can see the fantastic beauty of the Sun's corona.

3. The universe has just the right constants to permit complex objects to exist. If a certain given constant had been a bit higher, the universe would be full of black holes and nothing else. If it had been a bit lower, nothing more complicated than helium gas would have formed. There is no scientific reason for the constants to be what they are.... they just are.

In short this universe seems to have been constructed with a lot of very fine details just right, so that parts of it could become aware enough to examine it's whole. There isn't a scientific explanation as to why it should be the case. There isn't even the beginning of one.


Kajehase wrote:
Elinor Knutsdottir wrote:
I'm a militant atheist, believe that anyone with a faith is irredeemably stupid

I'm an atheist myself, but... really?

Does that include whoever came up with "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?"

I may not believe in a god, or that we are all going to keep being reborn until we can achieve oneness with the Brahma, but to claim that anyone with a faith is "irredeemably stupid" is just, to borrow a phrase, irredeemably stupid.

Throughout human existence, as far as we know, the majority of us have had some sort of religious faith, and you'll have to excuse me if I disagree with the notion that Isaac Newton was stupid because he dabbled in magic and thought of the universe as a clock created by God.

remove "irredeemably" and change "stupid" to "Naive" and perhaps it's a more accurate statement.

Children, for example, aren't stupid. They just don't know any better.

Education can change that, but it's dependent up on the willingness of the person to challenge their own perceptions. In my experience the religious choose not to challenge their perceptions. It's the nature of faith. Science/Atheisism is founded on logical progression and the burden of proof. Meaning if you can prove it you can change the mind of an atheist. I've never observed the same about the religious.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Is white a color? Atheists do have culture and system of beliefs. It's called Logic, science, and the scientific method. I would wager that most atheists are atheists because they hold these things in the highest regard.

Except that you're describing an ethnicity, not a religion.

Before anyone makes (justified) accusations of semantics, let me say this is exactly the sort of discussion the field of semantics was made for.

I'm talking about the pallet color, not Caucasians. Is the lack of something (or more technically the encompassing of all) still categorized the same. As in is the lack of religion (aka atheism) a religion or not.

In hind site it's a bad comparison. Feel free to ignore that part and concentrate on the comments about culture.

Dude, no! I was saying atheists are an ethnicity-but-not-a-religion given your description, not white people; I was so totally not trying to bring in the racial aspect. My fault for lack of clarity.


LazarX wrote:
In short this universe seems to have been constructed with a lot of very fine details just right, so that parts of it could become aware enough to examine it's whole. There isn't a scientific explanation as to why it should be the case. There isn't even the beginning of one.

The problem with that argument for me is: Who says there has to be a why?

And from what the various news about almost-but-not-quite Earth-like planets that keeps being discovered by astronomers, I'd say that while it may take a while (as in between a month and a century or two), but eventually we will find another planet with signs of life (whatever that may be, it's not like we'll be able to go look for ourselves) on it.

Andoran

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LazarX,
And the puddle said "Wow, this depression in the ground is perfectly fitted for me. It must have been made with me in mind." We are as we are because of the constants of the universe, not vice versa. If they weren't 'just right' we wouldn't exist to observe them. Well. we might but we'd be very different beings with a very different set of physical laws to understand.

Grand Lodge

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Kajehase wrote:
LazarX wrote:
In short this universe seems to have been constructed with a lot of very fine details just right, so that parts of it could become aware enough to examine it's whole. There isn't a scientific explanation as to why it should be the case. There isn't even the beginning of one.

The problem with that argument for me is: Who says there has to be a why?

Because we're genetically hardwired to ask that question. The drives for both scientific inquiry and religious faith have always been intertwined. Until the time of Galileo they always worked hand in hand. Gregor Mendel was a Monk. Copernicus had Church support for the publication of his theory. (they actually kept begging him to release it for publication.. he refused to do so until he was on his deathbed.)

It's in our nature to ask why. To try to forcibly ignore it is about the same as forcing left handers to be rightys.

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
In short this universe seems to have been constructed with a lot of very fine details just right, so that parts of it could become aware enough to examine it's whole. There isn't a scientific explanation as to why it should be the case. There isn't even the beginning of one.

Actually, there is other than the bit about the Moon being the right size and distance for coronal eclipses thing... which wasn't always true in the past and will stop being true in the future.

The rest of the things you cite are examples of 'emptiness calls fulfillment', 'nature abhors a vacuum', 'life finds a way'. That is, it isn't some divine miracle that humans have the ability to see the very wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation which are most prevalent in Sunlight... there just wasn't any reason that we would evolve to be able to see wavelengths which aren't common. It isn't a miracle that we're in the 'Goldilocks zone' for habitable planets... given the billions of stars in the universe there are many planets like that. We just happen to be one of them. If cosmic constants are... constant, then they cannot be 'tweaked'. They are and only can be what they are. Et cetera.

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