Is atheism a religion?


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Beckett wrote:
I'm not sure about that. That is my understanding of the definition of atheism as well.

I think that is because you start from the assumption of belief in a higher power being an active thing.

"God" only occurs to me in these types of forums. God as an effect on the world isn't part of my worldview anymore or less than the Easter Bunny.

I am not actively "not" believing in God any more than I am not actively believing in the Easter Bunny. I simply don't have any reason to think either is real.

Unless you list off everything you don't believe exists as a religion, Atheism isn't a religion.

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sykoholic wrote:

atheism (noun)[Greek: a -without, theos -God]

-the belief that there is no God.
~Webster's New World Dictionary

-the belief that there is no God.
~Thorndike-Barnhart Comprehensive Desk Dictionary

-1.
a. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
b. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
~American Heritage College Dictionary

Replace the word "God" with "Flying Spagetti Monster".

You think not believing in him is a religion too?

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Personally, I'm a Whoist.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
meatrace wrote:
sykoholic, you sound like a strong atheist. You assert that there is no god. I, on the other hand, am more of an agnostic atheist.

Actually, I consider myself an agnostic atheist for much the same reasons you consider yourself one. I "believe" there is no "god" but I don't really know for certain. I'm convinced there isn't but being convinced and actually knowing are two different things.

When people who do believe in god ask me why I don't believe, I just tell them that I simply don't find it to be believable.

meatrace wrote:
There are two sides. The disbelief in the existence of gods, and the BELIEF that there are none.

You're going to have to clarify/elaborate on that one. I'm not understanding the difference between the two.

Liberty's Edge

I am a positive (or strong) atheist. My personal definition of God simply does not allow for His existence.

As I've elucidated in previous posts, I believe God must necessarily be both omniscient and omnipotent (and I don't see the need to use both terms; omnipotent should definitively cover everything, but I'll acquiesce in favor of clarity).

An omnipotent God means, to my mind,
(a) one that is transcendent of the material universe (I'm a Physicalist, philosophically) by virtue of the notion that

(b) this God's omnipotence (complete power) must necessarily allow control over all natural processes; and

(c) this God must have command of the creation and destruction of physical systems, including energy.

Everything I know of science and the universe does not allow for such a being, could not allow for such a being.

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I think strong and weak are the wrong terms.

I feel the same way about "God" as I do the Loch Ness Monster.

Liberty's Edge

ciretose wrote:

I think strong and weak are the wrong terms.

I feel the same way about "God" as I do the Loch Ness Monster.

I agree with you, but they've come to be almost common terms to describe degrees of ideology, that it's useful in dialogues to identify with one of them.


sykoholic wrote:

Atheism is not the lack of a belief. Rather, it is the belief of a lack. As an antheist, I BELIEVE there is no higher power. I also BELIEVE there is no afterlife. I am as devout in my beliefs as anyone else is in theirs and my beliefs can be offended, just like anybody else's.

As far as I know, there is no official or recognized "Church of Atheism". Atheist are simply seperate individuals who share a common belief. There is no organization or institution that regulates/dictates what or how we believe. So, at least in that sense, atheism is not a religion. It is a belief system however, and one could say it is spirituality rather than religion since it is personal/individual-based rather than communal/organization-based.

Just my take on the original subject.

There are many religions which don't have churches/organizations/institutions. A group of pastoralists may believe that there are spirits in the jungle that they appease, but they don't have churches/organizations/institutions, yet we call their belief in spirits a 'religion'.


ciretose wrote:

I think strong and weak are the wrong terms.

I feel the same way about "God" as I do the Loch Ness Monster.

You made Nessie cry.


I am an atheist and I accept the possibility of supernatural influences on the universe, and maybe even a singular being that holds dominion over existence.

That is, I accept the possibility that this existence is a computer simulation and that whoever is running it can manipulate it without being subject to its internal rules.

This is akin to playing the Sims and using memory edits to change things within the game without using the tools provided by the system.

If god exists, he is the player and we are the NPCs in his video game.

Maybe that doesn't count as atheism. This could get caught up in semantics forever.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kirth Gersen wrote:


Being a scientist properly means leaving beliefs at the door, and accepting that while better approximations are possible, certainty isn't. If you can't grasp this mind-set, then science will always be a mystery to you, and the type of atheism that I and many others (Dawkins, et al.) ascribe to will also be incomprehensible.

If scientists were Vulcans that statement might be 100 percent true. But last I checked, most of them are Human. While they do their best to keep objective everyone has certain preconceptions that linger when they look for data, and construct operating models. That's why peer review is an important part of the process.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Umbral Reaver wrote:


If god exists, he is the player and we are the NPCs in his video game.

So we have to find out who the PC's are and stay as far away from them as possible?

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Bruunwald wrote:
By the way, Paizo, miniscule, IS a word. Might want to get your thingy looked at.

Standard spelling is minUscule. /spellingnazi


Darkwing Duck wrote:
sykoholic wrote:

Atheism is not the lack of a belief. Rather, it is the belief of a lack. As an antheist, I BELIEVE there is no higher power. I also BELIEVE there is no afterlife. I am as devout in my beliefs as anyone else is in theirs and my beliefs can be offended, just like anybody else's.

As far as I know, there is no official or recognized "Church of Atheism". Atheist are simply seperate individuals who share a common belief. There is no organization or institution that regulates/dictates what or how we believe. So, at least in that sense, atheism is not a religion. It is a belief system however, and one could say it is spirituality rather than religion since it is personal/individual-based rather than communal/organization-based.

Just my take on the original subject.

There are many religions which don't have churches/organizations/institutions. A group of pastoralists may believe that there are spirits in the jungle that they appease, but they don't have churches/organizations/institutions, yet we call their belief in spirits a 'religion'.

Unitarian Universalism is also considered a religion, despite being creedless, though we do have a set of principles. I probably sit in church next to Buddhists, Christians, and Jews, among other religionists, and also people who don't believe in God (all stripes). Names and worship styles also vary from cell to cell. Some people get confused because we are called The Unitarian Church in Summit. Other congregations are called the UU Fellowship of/in, the UU Society of/in, etc, and each congregation is free to organize and develop its own congregational life however it sees fit.


Beckett wrote:
I'm not sure about that. That is my understanding of the definition of atheism as well.

Until Sykoholic posted that, I had never heard of an "atheist" who actively claimed certainty, as a belief -- and I'm active in atheist circles. As someone said before, any definition of "atheist" that specifically excludes people like Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne is a pretty lame definition.


LazarX wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:


Being a scientist properly means leaving beliefs at the door, and accepting that while better approximations are possible, certainty isn't. If you can't grasp this mind-set, then science will always be a mystery to you, and the type of atheism that I and many others (Dawkins, et al.) ascribe to will also be incomprehensible.
If scientists were Vulcans that statement might be 100 percent true. But last I checked, most of them are Human. While they do their best to keep objective everyone has certain preconceptions that linger when they look for data, and construct operating models. That's why peer review is an important part of the process.

You're moving goalposts there. I never said we were completely unbiased; I said we needed to eschew certainty in favor of likelihood.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Being a scientist properly means leaving beliefs at the door, and accepting that while better approximations are possible, certainty isn't. If you can't grasp this mind-set, then science will always be a mystery to you, and the type of atheism that I and many others (Dawkins, et al.) ascribe to will also be incomprehensible.

These are the sorts of mental gymnastics that i hate.

For something that's on the cutting edge of science this makes sense. Black holes, extra dimensions, string hypothesis, sure the doubt is warranted.

For things with mountains of evidence like like evolution, fossils being the remains of ancient critters, uniformitarianism, the brain being the center of thought then no. There is no need for this false modesty. There is no need to pretend that we don't know how the universe works to a certain degree. Sure, its not philosophically proven, but who cares. Philosophy literally cannot justify the existence of its own rear end.

If some kid says that their red cape will let them fly do you really to doubt your conclusions based on the laws of gravity and aerodynamics or do you just grab the kid by the back of said cape and pull them away from the window.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
If some kid says that their red cape will let them fly do you really to doubt your conclusions based on the laws of gravity and aerodynamics or do you just grab the kid by the back of said cape and pull them away from the window.

I'd let the kid crash. But that's just me.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
If some kid says that their red cape will let them fly do you really to doubt your conclusions based on the laws of gravity and aerodynamics or do you just grab the kid by the back of said cape and pull them away from the window.

I act on the 99-point-whatever percent likelihood that he'll break his scrawny little neck if I don't act. I don't KNOW that there's not a trampoline under his window that will allow him to bounce into the air and apprear to fly, but it's a good bet to assume there isn't.

Human knowledge is pretty impressive, but it's never absolute. To be a proper scientist, that's just something you have to accept. It's not "false modesty" -- it's just the way things are. That said, a 99.9...% confidence interval is also pretty impressive, and we can act as if it's certain, while keeping in the back of our minds the realization that it's actually not -- it's just as close as we get.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
meatrace wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
If some kid says that their red cape will let them fly do you really to doubt your conclusions based on the laws of gravity and aerodynamics or do you just grab the kid by the back of said cape and pull them away from the window.
I'd let the kid crash. But that's just me.

You and most of the spectators on the street below yelling at him to "jump".


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Human knowledge is pretty impressive, but it's never absolute. To be a proper scientist, that's just something you have to accept. It's not "false modesty" -- it's just the way things are. That said, a 99.9...% confidence interval is also pretty impressive, and we can act as if it's certain, while keeping in the back of our minds the realization that it's actually not -- it's just as close as we get.

Not that there isn't a lot of available real estate back there in my case, but what is the advantage of keeping "I could be wrong" back there in all cases?


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Human knowledge is pretty impressive, but it's never absolute. To be a proper scientist, that's just something you have to accept. It's not "false modesty" -- it's just the way things are. That said, a 99.9...% confidence interval is also pretty impressive, and we can act as if it's certain, while keeping in the back of our minds the realization that it's actually not -- it's just as close as we get.
Not that there isn't a lot of available real estate back there in my case, but what is the advantage of keeping "I could be wrong" back there in all cases?

I would think so that you aren't resistant to new ideas that arise, that you don't interpret your own anecdotal evidence as empirical fact. But then, new evidence should be met with both delight and reticence.

But sorry, don't want to step on Kirth's toes.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Not that there isn't a lot of available real estate back there in my case, but what is the advantage of keeping "I could be wrong" back there in all cases?

Look at Newton's equations for gravity. They work for human scales, but they're not the whole picture. If Einstein had "believed" them -- as a certainty -- then he'd have thrown away relativity. As it is, Newton's laws, although they work fine at normal scales, don't work at very small or very large scales -- they were very good approximations of what happens, but not perfect descriptions of what happens -- so adjustments were needed.

For a scientist, that's true (or should be true) of EVERYTHING. There's always some set of conditions or outlying points out there that could force you to revise your models and explanations to include them. That's how things are.

As a layperson, feel free to "believe" in things absolutely, without doubt. But skepticism and doubt are a scientist's most important attributes; without them, he can only do half his job.


Meatrace wrote:
I would think so that you aren't resistant to new ideas that arise, that you don't interpret your own anecdotal evidence as empirical fact. But then, new evidence should be met with both delight and reticence.

Whats the difference with a brain dealing with a .00000000000000000000000001% chance and impossible? I mean if the kid actually DOES take off into the air a la superman my brains going to be reacting the same either way.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
What's the difference with a brain dealing with a .00000000000000000000000001% chance and impossible?

For a layperson, probably none. For a scientist, it might well mean that after an estimated 10E+26 trials, I have to adjust my model to account for the oddball condition or situation.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Meatrace wrote:
I would think so that you aren't resistant to new ideas that arise, that you don't interpret your own anecdotal evidence as empirical fact. But then, new evidence should be met with both delight and reticence.
Whats the difference with a brain dealing with a .00000000000000000000000001% chance and impossible? I mean if the kid actually DOES take off into the air a la superman my brains going to be reacting the same either way.

But it's only when the kid does take off (say there's a freak updraft or something) that you need to use the scientific process. "Holy s**t, what just happened?!" is sort of the proto-scientific question, and complete certainty doesn't really allow for it.

Yes, I'm one of those annoying people who thinks we should say "seemed to be to me" rather than "is."


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Look at Newton's equations for gravity. They work for human scales, but they're not the whole picture. If Einstein had "believed" them -- as a certainty -- then he'd have thrown away relativity. As it is, Newton's laws, although they work fine at normal scales, don't work at very small or very large scales -- they were very good approximations of what happens, but not perfect descriptions of what happens -- so adjustments were needed.

But there's no reason you can't shift your brain from absolute certainty to some degree of doubt.

Quote:
As a layperson

You're not the only one on the boards with a degree.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
You're not the only one on the boards with a degree.

Are you a professional scientist (n/incl. a "computer science technician" or a "social scientist")? If so, I stand corrected in my guess that you are not.

If a professional plumber comes on and says, "For home repair it might not matter so much, but for an industrial-scale plumber, it's very important that your teflon tape be "X" gauge or better," I'm not going to counter with "you're not the only one on the boards with kitchen pipes."


BigNorseWolf wrote:
But there's no reason you can't shift your brain from absolute certainty to some degree of doubt.

If your certainty is absolute, it's not subject to shifing. That's what "absolute certainty" means.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
For a layperson, probably none. For a scientist, it might well mean that after an estimated 10E+26 trials, I have to adjust my model to account for the oddball condition or situation.

If you'd done that many trials and gotten the same result and then gotten an anomaly you would most likely whap the machine and try it again.

Quote:
Are you a professional scientist (n/incl. a "computer science technician" or a "social scientist")? If so, I stand corrected in my guess that you are not.

I have a bachelors in Biology and forestry. (hence the comments in the other thread about biology being fine with blurry lines. ) The idea that your conclusions are always a trend and not an absolute is pretty much inherent in the entire field of biology simply because living things exhibit so much variety.

You expect that you get an occasional wolf that's not afraid of people. If someone tells you that a wolf breathes fire you look up what kind of mushrooms they were eating.

Quote:
If your certainty is absolute, it's not subject to shifting. That's what "absolute certainty" means.

Absolutely still doesn't mean completely incapable of being moved. You entrench an idea proportionally to how much evidence you have for it. At some point it stops moving and you (rightly) need something huge to come along and get it moving.

I would be absolutely certain that the kid was going to fall until he started flying.

Even relativity didn't overturn newtons laws, it just added an asterix. Offer not valid at light speeds and high gravity. If symptoms persist for more than four hours...


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Until Sykoholic posted that, I had never heard of an "atheist" who actively claimed certainty, as a belief --

Apparently, I need to re-word what I said as it seems it is being taken the totally wrong way.

Saint Caleth wrote:
So maybe we should be more careful about throwing around the word "believe" since it is fairly imprecise in normal English usage.

So I see.

There are two types of "dumb" people in this world- dumb people who are too dumb to know they're dumb and dumb people who are smart enough to know they're dumb. I would like to think that I fall into the second category and as such, will quietly exit stage-left before I make any more of a fool of myself.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

I would be absolutely certain that the kid was going to fall until he started flying.

Even relativity didn't overturn newtons laws, it just added an asteri[sk].

Because they're approximations, not perfect representations. Relativity is a closer approximation over a wider range of conditions.

.
Look, when a religious fundamentalist hears you say you're "absolutely certain," to them it means that when the kid starts flying, you deny it and claim the kid is dead -- just as when faced with proof that some line in the Bible is factually incorrect, they choose to wilfully ignore the proof and stick with the line of text. That's "certainty" in a faith sense -- it implies unshakable. In science it's not considered a good thing. It's not even considered a good thing by religious moderates, because it smacks to them of hubris.

If we look at a 12" ruler, it's not EXACTLY 12.00000000000000000000000000000 (to infinity) inches -- because when we get down to the atomic level, it doesn't even have solid ends! No matter how well-made, the ruler is approximately 12 inches, and we accept that. When you say it's "exactly" 12 inches, you mean something different than "exactly." Likewise, when a religious person says "absolute certainty," they're not looking at rulers -- they're looking at imaginary constructs. Using their (ideal) language for our (physical) properties and predictions needlessly confuses the point.

As a working scientist, I've had to learn to be very clear in communicating findings and opinions. For example, "the data suggest X" rather than "this proves X." Even if I'm as convinced as I can be of anything, I might say "it appears to be nearly certain that... X is the case."

Use of absolute terms to describe physical reality doesn't work, because those terms, strictly speaking, apply only to ideals, not real life. If you're trying to describe a materialistic world-view, use of absolute terms strongly implies to the listener that it's based on faith (ideal constructs) rather than on evidence (physical reality). And thus you end up with people claiming that atheism is a religion.


Kirth, I think you just wove the thread into a mobius-strip :P


Hitdice wrote:
Kirth, I think you just wove the thread into a mobius-strip :P

I suspect it always was, Kirth simply defined the model that shows it to be thus.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Until Sykoholic posted that, I had never heard of an "atheist" who actively claimed certainty, as a belief -- and I'm active in atheist circles. As someone said before, any definition of "atheist" that specifically excludes people like Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne is a pretty lame definition.

That was me. One would think that would go without saying, and yet threads like this one regularly unravel into 20 page arguments about the definition of "atheist."

I personally believe "atheism as a religion" is just an attempt, conscious or otherwise, to shift the burden of proof.

Edit: Only the Sith deals in absolutes. :P


Kirth Gersen wrote:


.
Look, when a religious fundamentalist hears you say you're "absolutely certain," to them it means that when the kid starts flying, you deny it and claim the kid is dead

And when you say things like you're not totally sure, science is a useful fiction they hear that you're not sure, science is fiction, and that science is just as arbitrary as religion, making religion just as valid as science.

Quote:
As a working scientist, I've had to learn to be very clear in communicating findings and opinions. For example, "the data suggest X" rather than "this proves X." Even if I'm as convinced as I can be of anything, I might say "it appears to be nearly certain that... X is the case."

And when you read a journal they use that language for their own findings and anything new but you don't see "IF evolution is true" or "assuming the world wasn't created last Tuesday" or " if the atomic decay rates haven't changed..." or "if granite actually was formed by cooling magma..."

Quote:
Use of absolute terms to describe physical reality doesn't work, because those terms, strictly speaking, apply only to ideals, not real life. If you're trying to describe a materialistic world-view, use of absolute terms strongly implies to the listener that it's based on faith

When you measure something its implicit that there's a certain amount of tolerance, which varies depending on what you're measuring and especially its size. If you say its 12 miles from town A to town B even the most anal retentive geek on these boards isn't going to complain if its 63360 and a half feet. But get someone's height wrong by 6 inches and you've screwed up bigtime.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
When you measure something its implicit that there's a certain amount of tolerance

It's implicit to you and me, because we share a reality-based world-view. Fundamentalists do not -- they ascribe to a faith-based world-view in which absolute perfection not only exists but supposedly interacts with the "real" world all the time, as an integral part of it. Given that view, "a certain amount of tolerance" is alien; things are either perfect or imperfect, True(TM) or false, good or evil.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
When you measure something its implicit that there's a certain amount of tolerance
It's implicit to you and me, because we share a reality-based world-view. Fundamentalists do not -- they ascribe to a faith-based world-view in which absolute perfection not only exists but supposedly interacts with the "real" world all the time, as an integral part of it. Given that view, "a certain amount of tolerance" is alien; things are either perfect or imperfect, True(TM) or false, good or evil.

Yet strangely not testable...

Liberty's Edge

ciretose wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
When you measure something its implicit that there's a certain amount of tolerance
It's implicit to you and me, because we share a reality-based world-view. Fundamentalists do not -- they ascribe to a faith-based world-view in which absolute perfection not only exists but supposedly interacts with the "real" world all the time, as an integral part of it. Given that view, "a certain amount of tolerance" is alien; things are either perfect or imperfect, True(TM) or false, good or evil.
Yet strangely not testable...

I guess you could test for imperfections (how much evil, how much false, how much whatever), but you'd need a baseline mensuration of perfection to do that.

So, whatever number from 42.


Andrew turner wrote:
I guess you could test for imperfections (how much evil, how much false, how much whatever), but you'd need a baseline mensuration of perfection to do that.

You can measure a bar of metal against both a slot and a laser measuring device and see that it gets bigger or smaller as it heats up and cools off. You then either get the idea that heating up a bar of metal in a different room caused the laser and the slot to shrink at the exact same rate, or that heating the bar expanded it.


bugleyman wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Until Sykoholic posted that, I had never heard of an "atheist" who actively claimed certainty, as a belief -- and I'm active in atheist circles. As someone said before, any definition of "atheist" that specifically excludes people like Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne is a pretty lame definition.

That was me. One would think that would go without saying, and yet threads like this one regularly unravel into 20 page arguments about the definition of "atheist."

I personally believe "atheism as a religion" is just an attempt, conscious or otherwise, to shift the burden of proof.

Edit: Only the Sith deals in absolutes. :P

What's the definition of religion? Do you have to bow at an alter for religion? Some Buddhists don't use an alter or believe in an afterlife, but we generally think of them as having a religion.

I know people without religion. They don't know if their is a god or not, and don't care to think about it. Calling them agnostic is like calling a marble rolled towards a small stack of pennies a wrecking ball - it brings to mind an image of greatness that just isn't there. These people sometimes have philosophy or politics, but not religion.

Atheism is a little like that. There are some atheists who are a lot like the passive agnostic above, and haven't given much of a thought about it, other than that the idea of a god sounds stupid or putrid to them on an emotional level and they don't devote much brain power, time, or conversation to it.

On the other hand, there are Atheists that send money to Richard Dawkin and his friends, read books, try to express big thoughts, try to convert people, and do things motivated by their sense of right and wrong derived from their cosmic view of the universe - either being nihilists or believing in some kind of group centric altruism. These people most definitely have a religion. I personally consider them the same group of people as Christians and Muslims. The only difference is that they have a different set of likes and dislikes.

Liberty's Edge

cranewings wrote:


What's the definition of religion? Do you have to bow at an alter for religion? Some Buddhists don't use an alter or believe in an afterlife, but we generally think of them as having a religion.

At minimum I would think it has to have tenets to follow.

Sovereign Court

Are horses a type of unicorn?

Are crane flies a type of pixie?

Are goths a type of vampire?

Are jelly beans a type of lembas?

Are bread knives a type of vorpal sword?

Are ants a type of Ankheg?

Are fallacious arguments a paladin archetype?


GeraintElberion wrote:


Are bread knives a type of vorpal sword?

You somehow doubt?


CBDunkerson wrote:


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.

But secular humanism and atheism are not the same thing.

Atheism is exclusively a single negative stand point, i.e. I do not believe there are gods

While secular humanism is a whole system of beliefs, only one of which is atheism.

Humanism is a system of belief, atheism is not.

Oh and while we are at it, I am pretty sure that humanism cannot spread the faith, because none of its tenets are based upon faith.


Hmmm the philosophical wankery continues.... I might as well join the circle...

I am an Atheist, a Skeptic, a Humanist and Secular......

Does it make me a Secular Humanist? I suppose it does.

I am I part of a group or attend meeting or attempt to convert people to what it consider the most rational possibilities behind our existence? No... No Group, no meetings, I don't attempt to convert people...

Do I think people should be free to worship as they wish or seek scientific answers to philosophical questions... Yes as long as it does not interfere with others and is a personal choice not a choice forced upon a person.

Would I be upset if my spouse or children decided to find religion.... Not at all in fact my wife is very alternative and we very often disagree on things like acupuncture (I was accused of having a modern western mindset when I pointed out it has never had a rigorous double blind set of testing and is effectively a placebo).

Worship as you will - treat me with disdain or condescension for my beliefs then I don't have time for you. Be a normal friendly person and I to will be a normal friendly person... I wont talk about religion unless you ask.


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cranewings wrote:


I know people without religion. They don't know if their is a god or not, and don't care to think about it. Calling them agnostic is like calling a marble rolled towards a small stack of pennies a wrecking ball - it brings to mind an image of greatness that just isn't there. These people sometimes have philosophy or politics, but not religion.

First of all, why do you say 'god' as opposed to 'gods'? Why god as opposed to animistic spirits?

You say calling them agnostics is like calling a marble a wrecking ball, but unless they they claim to 'know' that there isn't a god, that is exactly what they are. Agnostic. The same will go for every religious person who does not claim to know that there gods.

And every one of them, unless they actively believe in gods, is also atheistic.

cranewings wrote:


Atheism is a little like that. There are some atheists who are a lot like the passive agnostic above, and haven't given much of a thought about it, other than that the idea of a god sounds stupid or putrid to them on an emotional level and they don't devote much brain power, time, or conversation to it.

Those 'passive agnostics' above ARE atheists. The class of atheist your talking about here are not different from the 'passive agnostics' because of either atheism or agnostism, they are different because of their views about the gods in which they don't believe and the religions which are formed around said gods, not about if there are or are not gods.

cranewings wrote:


On the other hand, there are Atheists that send money to Richard Dawkin and his friends,

I send money to save the children and Médecins Sans Frontières. Does that make me a member of the Médecins Sans Frontières religions by your definition?

cranewings wrote:
read books(edit: presumably books by Dawkin and friends),

If I where to read "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations", would you consider me to be a member of the religion of capitalism?

cranewings wrote:
try to express big thoughts,

I think a lot about some 'big thoughts' related to psychology and biology, and try to express those thoughts in essays for my current studies. Does that make me a member of the religion of academia, or psychology, or biology.

cranewings wrote:
try to convert people,

Convert is a loaded term, but I do try to change peoples minds about things, such as trying to convince creationists of the evidence for evolution. Does that make me a member of the religion of evolutionism?

cranewings wrote:
and do things motivated by their sense of right and wrong derived from their cosmic view of the universe - either being nihilists or believing in some kind of group centric altruism.

Nihilism? Really?

But that aside,in ethics, if I am say a stoic, does that make a follower of the religions of stoicism?

cranewings wrote:


These people most definitely have a religion.

They no more have a religion than a person who donated money to quantum physics, reads books on quantum physics, writes papers on quantum physics, teach quantum physics at university and who has included his in depths studies of the subject into his ethical system, has quantum physics as a religion.

cranewings wrote:


I personally consider them the same group of people as Christians and Muslims.

When atheists, based upon there atheism, start seriously asserting that 'straight people shouldn't be allowed to marry, because the parable of the celestial tea pot says makin' babies is sinful', and then make laws which prevent straight marriage, based on that alone, I will agree that atheists are like Christians and Muslims. But the current, "we'd like to mobilise to religion messing up the world, oh, incidentally and we'd like to talk to each other about the logical basis for our non belief' social movement within atheism, to my mind has about f and all to do with being a religion.

cranewings wrote:
The only difference is that they have a different set of likes and dislikes.

Are you kidding me? One side believes things like 'I believe that the world was made by two titans knocking boots and then one of their titan children uses a sword to 'seperate' the two parent titans and that made the sky and the earth, and I believe this to be true and what I would base my life on, without any evidence to support such a view', while the other says a permutation of, 'I have no more reason to believe in gods than I do fairies, I don't have enough reason to believe in fairies, so I don't believe in them, and it would take more evidence to believe in gods than in fairies, so I don't believe in gods either.'

There is a difference, and its much deeper than more than just likes and dislikes

Liberty's Edge

To Aretas, at al.:

Atheists aren't afraid of satire.

We're not afraid to poke fun at ourselves, and we're not offended when you join in.


Andrew Turner wrote:

To Aretas, at al.:

Atheists aren't afraid of satire.

We're not afraid to poke fun at ourselves, and we're not offended when you join in.

Oh, I hadn't seen those :D

I really like Atheist Barbie. Her lunch looks yummie though.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Andrew Turner wrote:

To Aretas, at al.:

Atheists aren't afraid of satire.

We're not afraid to poke fun at ourselves, and we're not offended when you join in.

To be fair, being genuinely funny helps. "lol u guyz are teh stoopid. God rulez" isn't so welcome.

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