Is atheism a religion?


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Come to the Church of Leafar, Eben, and we shall tailor our dogmas around your failings. No need to worry about falling short morally in our church. I mean, unless you're a real weirdo. Italics are so nice.


I'm still trying to figure out what the reference, is, man. Who/what is Leafar?!


He is my Lord and Master. He'll be around later, I'd imagine, but if you don't know him, you're probably better off.


Acolyte of Leafar the Loved wrote:
...but if you don't know him, you're probably better off.

Oh, well, then... by all means, sign me up.


My Master's Link

EDIT: Yes, it's just a Paizo profile.


Appropriate for work?

Liberty's Edge

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Eben TheQuiet wrote:


Ciretose, if you really want to disprove all of our god(s), then I'd suggest we either get sign-off from the majority here that it's kosher in this thread, or start a new thread. :)

I'm really just trying to define terms, and illustrate the difference between not believing an a higher power and believing in one.

God can be defined any number of ways, but if you define God as all-knowing or all-powerful, that is impossible and can be disproved if we agree there are rules that govern the universe that follow logic and reason.

If you define God as "Really knowledgeable" and/or "Awfully powerful", that is a relative to other things, and I may or may not agree that really knowledgeable and awfully powerful creatures may exist.

I can believe the later and still be an atheist if I don't define that being as a God.

If you define a God as something that transcends logic or reason, this is where we enter the realm of invisible pink unicorns and flying spaghetti monsters.

If I reject that anything transcends logic or reason, based on the fact that everything that exists in my experience follows logic or reason, that in my opinion isn't a religion, but the opposite of a religion.


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An omnipotent god Violates the laws of conservation of energy.

While I do not hold those laws with absolute certainty, they do have a fair bit of evidence behind them. Any evidence for a deity which violates them needs to have a fair bit of evidence.

Liberty's Edge

BigNorseWolf wrote:

An omnipotent god Violates the laws of conservation of energy.

While I do not hold those laws with absolute certainty, they do have a fair bit of evidence behind them. Any evidence for a deity which violates them needs to have a fair bit of evidence.

And this is all I'm saying. If you want to worship Christopher Walken as a God, feel free to join the church of Walken, I'm shake your hand and wish you well. If you want to tell me Christopher Walken is all-knowing and all-powerful, and you really mean it, I will think you are wrong.

And I have evidence that Christopher Walken exists.


Eben TheQuiet wrote:
As an undergraduate, did you already know what you wanted to do (and were admirably suited for) with your life?

Not yet -- I originally switched majors to Geology because they supposedly spent a lot of time outdoors. I was an artist before that. It was after a while in my new major -- and acing the prerequisite stuff like chemistry, which I'd previously had little interest in -- that I realized I'd finally found something that I was a pretty good match for.

I've been a skeptic from an early age, though. From the age of maybe six or so (as a guess), I have almost never believed what people told me, because it was too easy to see the evidence to the contrary.


ciretose wrote:
I'm really just trying to define terms, and illustrate the difference between not believing an a higher power and believing in one.

Excellent, then we're on the same page there, at least.

ciretose wrote:
God can be defined any number of ways, but if you define God as all-knowing or all-powerful, that is impossible and can be disproved if we agree there are rules that govern the universe that follow logic and reason.

From what I can tell, this is where my initial break with your argument comes in. The Bible tells me that God is in fact all-knowing and all-powerful. It also shows me that He created the universe and is not constrained by the laws of said universe. Given that, I don't agree that the rules that govern the universe apply to Him, so He can't be disproven using this method.

ciretose wrote:
If you define God as "Really knowledgeable" and/or "Awfully powerful", that is a relative to other things, and I may or may not agree that really knowledgeable and awfully powerful creatures may exist.

The Bible doesn't support this, so it's not a part of what I believe about God.

which puts us here…

ciretose wrote:
If you define a God as something that transcends logic or reason, this is where we enter the realm of invisible pink unicorns and flying spaghetti monsters.

Except for the fact that there is no historically accurate accounts of any of those, nor are there any historically accurate documents speaking to any of these that are in any way as insightful into the history and nature of man. So, again, whie I can see the logic you're using, it's less applicable when trying to refute who I believe God to be.

ciretose wrote:
If I reject that anything transcends logic or reason, based on the fact that everything that exists in my experience follows logic or reason, that in my opinion isn't a religion, but the opposite of a religion.

Again, I'd have to refer this back to the Bible. Once I'm shown how the Bible isn't what it says it is, I'll have to really reconsider my position, and you will have refuted at least my position on who God is. Until then, it is logical for me to suggest that God exists both within and above logic and reason -- which are both of His creation.

If you were really just trying to say that an atheist -- by being an atheist -- isn't in a "religion", then i agree with you.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Eben TheQuiet wrote:
As an undergraduate, did you already know what you wanted to do (and were admirably suited for) with your life?

Not yet -- I originally switched majors to Geology because they supposedly spent a lot of time outdoors. I was an artist before that. It was after a while in my new major -- and acing the prerequisite stuff like chemistry, which I'd previously had little interest in -- that I realized I'd finally found something that I was a pretty good match for.

I've been a skeptic from an early age, though. From the age of maybe six or so (as a guess), I have almost never believed what people told me, becasue it was too easy to see the evidence to the contrary.

Hmmm... well, it didn't reveal anything that would show a relationship between your choice of career and religion, but I appreciate your willingness to go along with my nosiness.

Total sidenote, I continue to be impressed with how many people have a desire to be an artist and the talent for science. Not sure what to draw from that one yet. Maybe it has to do with challenging the status quo.


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Am I the only one that harbors a secret desire for Jesus to return to earth riding on the back of a flying spaghetti monster and say:

“I would explain what is happening here but there is no time, we must hurry to the Great Wall of China and destroy the hungry xenomorphs awakening beneath it before all is lost!”

And then once he mission was over ascend back into Heaven with his mount without clarifying any of the ‘grey area’ Theological points in the many religions that use his name?


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If atheism is a religion, than being dead is merely an "alternative lifestyle."


Eben TheQuiet wrote:


ciretose wrote:
If I reject that anything transcends logic or reason, based on the fact that everything that exists in my experience follows logic or reason, that in my opinion isn't a religion, but the opposite of a religion.
Again, I'd have to refer this back to the Bible. Once I'm shown how the Bible isn't what it says it is, I'll have to really reconsider my position, and you will have refuted at least my position on who God is. Until then, it is logical for me to suggest that God exists both within and above logic and reason -- which are both of His creation.

I might be up to this, but first I'd need to know what you think the Bible says it is. Then we can go look and see if that's what it declares itself to be and proceed onward.

For example, if you told me that the Bible declares itself to be a ceramic statue of a kitten, we could go in there and find the text. If there's a line that says "This book is a ceramic statue of a kitten" we could then agree that this is what the Bible says it is. And if there is no such passage, we could then agree that this is not in fact what the Bible says it is. There would be other steps, but that's the first one.

Does that sound reasonable, goofy example aside?


Samnell wrote:
If there's a line that says "This book is a ceramic statue of a kitten" we could then agree that this is what the Bible says it is.

What if that line is in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but not the King James version? And what if it can be variously translated as either "This book is a ceramic statue of a kitten" or, equally, "some books deal with kittens who eat from ceramic bowls"?


I think I know what you mean, and I'll try my best.

The simple answer is God's Word, but there's more than a bit of metaphor in that. I guess what I meant by that is that once it's shown to be proven historically wrong, or something is proven about its authors or its players that is wrong, then I won't be able to rely on it the way I do now.

Don't know if that's what you were looking for, but on short notice, it's the best I got. I'll keep thinking about it, though. (I tend to be a slow processor and responder.)

Shadow Lodge

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Beckett wrote:

On the other hand, evolution, the big bang, aliens, or all the other scientific explanations and beliefs are actually very much "magic did it", as none of them can go past a certain point. The big bang, for example, can not, (it is not posssible based on the premise of the big bang itself) to explain what actually happened prior to that. In science all reactions require something equal or greater to cause them, so something(s) must have happened before the big bang. Something had to happen to create all that is in one big ball prior to it's explosion and spreading out of the universe, for example. It's purely a matter of faith at it's core, just one that is seen as acceptible by many, even though it really answers nothing and in fact does ask more questions of itself.

The Big Bang Theory only applies to describing the sudden expansion of space after the Planck time. That is all it was ever meant to do. We do not have a theory, as of yet, that describes very massive very tiny things and thus we cannot prescribe a theory to a singularity. Newton's gravitational theory only works for speeds must less than light. It isn't wrong - it is just not complete. Einstein came along and completed the theory for masses that are large moving at near light speeds and called it special relativity. Later he added acceleration and called it general relativity. If you take Einstein's field equations and perform a limit as the the ratio between velocity and the speed of light become zero, Newton's equations fall out. Now Einstein was unsuccessful in combining general relativity (which is concerned with the very massive) with quantum mechanics (which is concerned with the very tiny). So Einstein isn't wrong - his theory is just incomplete. Currently, folks are working on theories such as string theory, quantum loop gravity to attempt to come up with a theory that describes a quantum theory of gravity. Once that is understood physicists can start to examine the big bang singularity and perhaps come up with a model - but this would be a new theory that would need to be unified with big bang theory. Saying this is an appeal to magic is baloney. Science is simply a self correcting tool to understand the physical universe.

Religion, such as the Abrahamic ones, are the Bronze age ramblings of Babylonian desert nomads. You can try to liberalize your theology and say that they were describing in ways that they understood but that is very wishful thinking. In reality they simply plagiarized their holy books from previous religious groups (Judaism from Hermopolitans and Sumerians, Christianity from Zoroastrianism). Their mythology is in constant contradiction with what science tells us about the world.

Shadow Lodge

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Science is a methodology that attempts to answer the question "how?" not "who? or what?". Most atheists, if asked "who? or what?" would say I don't know but until I can know I will accept a null hypothesis. When asked "how?" most will default to the current scientific consensus. However, a scientific explanation does not describe an ultimate purpose. Because atheists, in general, do not attempt to explain an ultimate purpose to the universe, life, and humanity - they do not belong to a religion. Atheism does not contain central mythologies that explains why we are here, how we should act, and who we should marry.


Eben TheQuiet wrote:

I think I know what you mean, and I'll try my best.

The simple answer is God's Word, but there's more than a bit of metaphor in that. I guess what I meant by that is that once it's shown to be proven historically wrong, or something is proven about its authors or its players that is wrong, then I won't be able to rely on it the way I do now.

Don't know if that's what you were looking for, but on short notice, it's the best I got. I'll keep thinking about it, though. (I tend to be a slow processor and responder.)

There's no due date here, though I suppose there's always the risk of one or both of us forgetting about the discussion with time. :)

Maybe I can help with a few questions. I'd need to ask some anyway to be sure I've properly understood your position, but we could get a whole neat positive feedback thing where my understanding it better helps you understand it better which helps you communicate it better which helps my understanding it better and so on.

So by saying the Bible is your god's word in more than a metaphorical sense, do you mean that you believe your god personally dictated its words to men who served as stenographers in copying them down? Or do you mean more directly your god put pen to paper (well, the period equivalents) himself?


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Samnell wrote:
If there's a line that says "This book is a ceramic statue of a kitten" we could then agree that this is what the Bible says it is.
What if that line is in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but not the King James version? And what if it can be variously translated as either "This book is a ceramic statue of a kitten" or, equally, "some books deal with kittens who eat from ceramic bowls"?

One thing at a time. I'm trying to do this kind of conversation the smart, measured way instead of skipping around for once. :)


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Eben TheQuiet wrote:


From what I can tell, this is where my initial break with your argument comes in. The Bible tells me that God is in fact all-knowing and all-powerful. It also shows me that He created the universe and is not constrained by the laws of said universe. Given that, I don't agree that the rules that govern the universe apply to Him, so He can't be disproven using this method.

A few things. 1)The bible does not "show" that god created the universe. It says it. No evidence is presented.

2)If you believe that there is a being that needn't obey the laws that govern the rest of the universe, what stops you from believing in other things like ghosts, goblins, unicorns, fairies, UFO abductions, or other deities?
3)Why is it that you believe only your interpretation of the bible is correct? Certainly you've been shown factual evidence as to the veracity of the stories? Who do you think has the right to "edit" god's word? Do you further believe that those who compiled what we now know as the bible from disparate holy texts and letters from the apostles were ALSO divinely inspired? On what basis do you decide who, in today's world, is divinely inspired and who is a kook? Joseph Smith claimed divine inspiration for the Book of Mormon, why do/would you disbelieve him in favor of someone else?

Okay that's more than a few things, but it illustrates my primary concern with people who take the bible on faith. You're not just saying "this book was written/inspired by god" you're also saying that its compilers, editors, translators were inspired by god. Furthermore you believe that your interpretation is right, or the most right, out of the thousands of interpretations that exist.


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@ Samnell

Well, I'm not a scholar, but once again I'll answer from what I understand to be the case.

I'm definitely not suggesting the Big Guy took out his Almighty Quill and wrote it all, though it would make things exceedingly easier were that the case. My general understanding is that the Bible was written by the people who lived the experiences or were first-hand observers. So they would be people who witnessed the acts of God himself. In the Old Testament (except for the earliest books) this would have taken the form of the protagonists themselves or the on-hand religious leaders at the time. The Gospels would have been written by their namesakes (with a little bit of possible contention coming into play if I've understood things right), so they were observers of Christ himself. After that it's again a collection of leading Christian leaders of the time.

Additionally, I've heard it from more than one source -- some of whom I respect their understanding of such things and some whom I really don't know too well -- that most or all of the writings are "Inspired Writings", meaning that God would have been with them in a more intimate way when they recorded the events -- suggesting that the Truth of their writings is maintained despite their human failings. Honestly, this is something I've wrestled with and don't have a definite answer about.


Eben TheQuiet wrote:
I'm definitely not suggesting the Big Guy took out his Almighty Quill and wrote it all

LOL! Love this sentence.

Liberty's Edge

Eben TheQuiet wrote:

@ Samnell

Well, I'm not a scholar, but once again I'll answer from what I understand to be the case.

I'm definitely not suggesting the Big Guy took out his Almighty Quill and wrote it all, though it would make things exceedingly easier were that the case. My general understanding is that the Bible was written by the people who lived the experiences or were first-hand observers. So they would be people who witnessed the acts of God himself. In the Old Testament (except for the earliest books) this would have taken the form of the protagonists themselves or the on-hand religious leaders at the time. The Gospels would have been written by their namesakes (with a little bit of possible contention coming into play if I've understood things right), so they were observers of Christ himself. After that it's again a collection of leading Christian leaders of the time.

Additionally, I've heard it from more than one source -- some of whom I respect their understanding of such things and some whom I really don't know too well -- that most or all of the writings are "Inspired Writings", meaning that God would have been with them in a more intimate way when they recorded the events -- suggesting that the Truth of their writings is maintained despite their human failings. Honestly, this is something I've wrestled with and don't have a definite answer about.

This is an honest and not antagonistic recommendation of a wonderful book written by a former nun.

A History of God.

This isn't Dawkins, or any other atheist tract. It's just a damn good book on the history of the three religions.


meatrace wrote:
A few things. 1)The bible does not "show" that god created the universe. It says it. No evidence is presented.

You're right, but I pretty much admitted up-front that my evidence is the Bible, combined with my own experiences and observations about life.

meatrace wrote:
2)If you believe that there is a being that needn't obey the laws that govern the rest of the universe, what stops you from believing in other things like ghosts, goblins, unicorns, fairies, UFO abductions, or other deities?

I touched on this up-thread a bit, but it has to do with the historical accuracy of the Bible. From what I can tell, there hasn't been any disproving that is it fully historically accurate. If that can be proven wrong, then I will fully admit I need to re-think my position about everything. If it's not true, then it is -- at best -- just a book instructing us in a really good way to live life. (well, the New Testament, anyway.)

meatrace wrote:
3)Why is it that you believe only your interpretation of the bible is correct? Certainly you've been shown factual evidence as to the veracity of the stories? Who do you think has the right to "edit" god's word? Do you further believe that those who compiled what we now know as the bible from disparate holy texts and letters from the apostles were ALSO divinely inspired? On what basis do you decide who, in today's world, is divinely inspired and who is a kook? Joseph Smith claimed divine inspiration for the Book of Mormon, why do/would you disbelieve him in favor of someone else?

Do you mean my personal translation? Or do you mean the translation that i choose to read from? I'll assume the latter, as it is more pertinent to your other questions. I actually have a few different translations that I use -- each for a different reason. They are chosen because they have been translated by different people with different backgrounds and slightly different ways of translating. I do my best to find the translations/translators who have the best credentials (linguistics training, history training, etc) for the job. I haven't learned all the languages involved, nor have I intensely studied the culture of all the players involved in the writing of the original scripts. My studies over the years have had me brush against these vast oceans of information, but I"m far from an authority on any of them. I do my best to know people who have done more studying than me and value finding the truth as much as I do. At this point in my life, it's the best I can do.

I think if I found out that any of the translators for any given translation were 'editing' the original work, (and by edit I mean they changed words so that it meant something other than as close to original as possible), it'd be hard not to disregard that translation fairly quickly. Again, I'm not a scholar, so I have to trust those who are identified as scholars to help me make those distinctions.

About further divinely inspired - I honestly don't know. I said in my previous post that I'm still trying to understand and formulate my own stance on this concept in general, so I'm not sure what else I can say to this question.

Divinely inspired vs. kook - For a large part, see above. Though it's a bit easier to determine who I believe I can trust or not based on who they are, what they say believe, what they show they belief by their actions, and how they live.

Joseph Smith and the Mormon church is an interesting thing to bring up. I hope you'll respect the fact that I don't want to bash or attack someone else's faith or religion. When it comes down to it, in the studying I've done (and again, i'm not a scholar) the history of that church, it's early leadership, and the things it teaches doesn't convince me that it is the Truth.

meatrace wrote:
Okay that's more than a few things, but it illustrates my primary concern with people who take the bible on faith. You're not just saying "this book was written/inspired by god" you're also saying that its compilers, editors, translators were inspired by god. Furthermore you believe that your interpretation is right, or the most right, out of the thousands of interpretations that exist.

I don't hold that concern against you, and I'm not interested in proving you wrong. I believe there is more to everything than what can be seen and measured. I understand that is foreign to people who embrace the "show me and i'll believe" stance, and I'm okay with that. I do believe that my interpretation is right, and the moment I stop searching, re-evaluating, and testing my own understanding and its relevancy, historical accuracy, and truth, then I also know that I am in danger. I think once you think you know everything, you slip further and further from the truth.

Someone upthread was talking about how scientists are fine knowing they don't know everything, but they seek still in the hopes of uncovering those things that they don't already understand. I'm the same way. If I found out tomorrow that Jesus never lived, then I'd have some serious searching to do. I'm gonna mis-quote Paul a bit here (because I think it's applicable), but if any of this i proven wrong, "we (believers) are to be pitied more than all men."


ciretose wrote:

This is an honest and not antagonistic recommendation of a wonderful book written by a former nun.

A History of God.

This isn't Dawkins, or any other atheist tract. It's just a damn good book on the history of the three religions.

I'll look into it. :)


Eben TheQuiet wrote:
The Gospels would have been written by their namesakes (with a little bit of possible contention coming into play if I've understood things right), so they were observers of Christ himself. After that it's again a collection of leading Christian leaders of the time.

The four gospels of the modern bible were not written by anyone who ever knew christ. The earliest of them, Mark, was purportedly written by a man named...Mark...who, again supposedly, was a friend of the apostle Peter in his dotage. But it was written 70 years after christ's death at the earliest reckoning. The rest of the gospels are based on Mark's account.

So, if I were to write a book that was meant to be a biography of an important figure, and my sole source was ONE GUY who knew him for a few years 70 years ago (which would also mean that Peter was an apostle at a VERY young age, like <10) how accurate do you think my book would be? I mean with no corroborating evidence or witnesses.

The rest of the books in the new testament were written, IIRC, between 50 and 100 years after that.


Eben the quiet wrote:
I'm definitely not suggesting the Big Guy took out his Almighty Quill and wrote it all, though it would make things exceedingly easier were that the case. My general understanding is that the Bible was written by the people who lived the experiences or were first-hand observers.

At the bleeding edge of theoretical BEST, the bible was written by Moses. Moses did not see genesis happen, a burning bush told him it was the creator of the universe.

Why couldn't the burning bush lie? Because its God and God doesn't lie, the bush said so.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Eben TheQuiet wrote:
I'm definitely not suggesting the Big Guy took out his Almighty Quill and wrote it all
LOL! Love this sentence.

Glad I could entertain, man. :)


Eben TheQuiet wrote:

@ Samnell

Well, I'm not a scholar, but once again I'll answer from what I understand to be the case.

I am likewise a layperson. I'm guessing neither of us has any Koine Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew beyond scattered words one just picks up from being in our cultures. But we can still muddle through.

Eben TheQuiet wrote:


I'm definitely not suggesting the Big Guy took out his Almighty Quill and wrote it all, though it would make things exceedingly easier were that the case. My general understanding is that the Bible was written by the people who lived the experiences or were first-hand observers. So they would be people who witnessed the acts of God himself. In the Old Testament (except for the earliest books) this would have taken the form of the protagonists themselves or the on-hand religious leaders at the time. The Gospels would have been written by their namesakes (with a little bit of possible contention coming into play if I've understood things right), so they were observers of Christ himself. After that it's again a collection of leading Christian leaders of the time.

Biblical authorship is a complicated field, since the whole thing obviously wasn't written by one dude sitting at his computer. Rather we're looking at multiple authors writing in places sometimes considerably separated by distance and frequently separated also by time. Taking on the whole thing at once might be a bit much, since we have something like sixty (How many exactly depends on what canon we're using.) pieces of writing and thus potentially 60+ authors.

But that allowed, you believe that the books were written by either their protagonists, other eyewitnesses to events, or the religious leaders of the time. In the interests of economy it's probably best to focus on a few particular works so we don't end up with 60+ separate discussions. :)

Specifics of who, what, where, and when can probably wait for a moment, though. Let's try to nail down the commonalities of the authors first.

Quote:


Additionally, I've heard it from more than one source -- some of whom I respect their understanding of such things and some whom I really don't know too well -- that most or all of the writings are "Inspired Writings", meaning that God would have been with them in a more intimate way when they recorded the events -- suggesting that the Truth of their writings is maintained despite their human failings. Honestly, this is something I've wrestled with and don't have a definite answer about.

So what you're saying is that the Bible is largely journalism, barring those parts which do not claim to report actual events like the details of law codes or advice on how to run a church. The authors were there, they saw it, and they wrote down what they saw. If they were mistaken, had faulty memories, or misinterpreted something as we all do, than maybe your god stepped in to be sure those errors and inaccuracies did not reach the text. But you're not 100% on that, which is ok.

That anticipates one of what would have been among my next questions. Cool. :)

Do I have it right so far?

PS: We may get into some of the things others are bringing up later on, but like I told Kirth I'm trying to go from the ground up here with you so I know what you mean by things and we can figure out what the implications of your beliefs are and what would confirm or disconfirm them.


@Eben. I appreciate your candor. One of the reasons I became an atheist (or rather, realized I'd always been) is that I feel something as deeply personal as a religion should be chosen based not on blind faith but gone into with your eyes open. The more I opened my eyes the more I saw it was bunk.

What I meant with the term "editing" is that, when Rome adopted Christianity, they had thousands upon thousands of pages of documents, each purporting to be of relevance to the faith. Everything from poetry, to plays, to descriptions of dreams and prophecies. What they distilled from this was four stories, and some appendices, that seemed to give full form to the central narrative. However, that was Rome's imperative. Christianity at that time wasn't particularly interested in anything being official, because that's not what their religion was about.

In other words, Christianity went from being a semantic and charismatic jewish reform movement, to being a syncretic, doctrinal, and hierarchical religion that took the shape that Rome thought religions ought to have, down to a central doctrine in the form of the bible.

In the end, if you get moral strength or inspirations from the stories in the bible, and they help you to live as a good person in a larger society, then that's great. But, for me, it's always helpful to remember they're just stories, and when one of those stories conflicts with something I know to be untrue, you chuck it out.


I wouldn't say atheism is a religion but I would say Gnostic Atheism is a faith.

It fits definitions one and two for sure, and it would say it almost fits definition two. People who are 100% sure in the fact that there is no God do not have hard proof to such effect. Generally they are basing it of things like "Why would a loving god ever (Insert terrible thing here)." So spiritual apprehension rather than proof. Gnostic Atheism is not the position of people who are working entirely based off of the facts in-front of them. It is generally the position of people who hold some kind of grudge against God or religion. Or who think its cool to bash all those crazy (insert religion here) who are obviously idiots because they hold a faith in something that can't be directly proven by science. (How ironic)

People who are looking at it objectively based on the evidence have to accept the fact that a god, or some other form of supernatural power is a possibility, however remote they may believe it is.


Andius wrote:

I wouldn't say atheism is a religion but I would say Gnostic Atheism is a faith.

It fits definitions one and two for sure, and it would say it almost fits definition two. People who are 100% sure in the fact that there is no God do not have hard proof to such effect. Generally they are basing it of things like "Why would a loving god ever (Insert terrible thing here)." So spiritual apprehension rather than proof. Gnostic Atheism is not the position of people who are working entirely based off of the facts in-front of them. It is generally the position of people who hold some kind of grudge against God or religion.

People who are looking at it objectively based on the evidence have to accept the fact that a god, or some other form of supernatural power is a possibility, however remote they may believe it is.

People who are 100% sure of anything are relying on faith. It is impossible to disprove last Thursdayism or brain in a jar theories.

But somehow that never comes up when I say I say that Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster don't exist. Or for that matter, when I say I believe in China, despite never having been there myself.
Only when we're talking about God do we have to distinguish between absolute certainty, far beyond the shadow of a doubt and the more normal everyday level of certainty.

Do we relegate everything short of absolute mathematical proof to "Well, I dunno." or do we accept what we'd take as reasonable in every other context?


thejeff wrote:

People who are 100% sure of anything are relying on faith. It is impossible to disprove last Thursdayism or brain in a jar theories.

But somehow that never comes up when I say I say that Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster don't exist. Or for that matter, when I say I believe in China, despite never having been there myself.
Only when we're talking about God do we have to distinguish between absolute certainty, far beyond the shadow of a doubt and the more normal everyday level of certainty.

Do we relegate everything short of absolute mathematical proof to "Well, I dunno." or do we accept what we'd take as reasonable in every other context?

You accept the 1% chance you could be wrong. If you were a caveman you would have far more reason to believe the Earth is flat than it is spherical based on the science available. You look around you, and you don't notice the earth sloping off in either direction. Therefore it's flat.

That caveman would have been very justified to say, "The Earth is in all probability flat." He would not have been justified to say, "The Earth is flat and everyone who believes otherwise is a fool!"

Likewise our science today is probably very primitive compared to what we will have in the future short of a total collapse of society with in the next few decades. Many things we now believe with near certainty are likely to be disproved with near certainty.

Most people who believe in Bigfoot are probably cooks who are looking for attention. Some of them may have seen and observed things unknown to most of us like Columbus in his day. Who are you to say that some of those who believe in supernatural powers have not actually experienced it? How would you feel if you had a spiritual experience that made you believe in a higher power, and others mocked you for it because they could not prove it? The gall. The ignorance. I don't want to be that person.

I would rather be the one who says "I don't think Columbus is right." than the one who says "Columbus is DEAD wrong! There is no POSSIBLITY of him being right!!!" like the Catholic Church did.


Sigh... pump the breaks, fellas... you've overwhelmed the poor little believer's brain.

Now I gotta go sink into even more searching. I appreciate everyone's posts, thoughts, and sincerity. Clearly this little fish is out of his depth, though.

I say again... sigh.


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Andius wrote:


I would rather be the one who says "I don't think Columbus is right." than the one who says "Columbus is DEAD wrong! There is no POSSIBLITY of him being right!!!" like the Catholic Church did.

That's a myth. Educated people knew the Earth was round back in Antiquity. The people who thought Columbus were crazy thought that he'd underestimated the size of the world substantially. They were right too. If not for running into the Americas he'd have run out of food long before he reached China.


I only stopped to read the first page and the OP's definition. That definition is too broad. Though religions can encompass those things within them, the use of the word "culture" in the definition is misleading.

Religions are, unto themselves, cultures. But that does not mean that every culture must be a religion, or contain one. The Wiki definition implies very strongly that this might be so, but it is simply incorrect. I would recommend somebody offer that article up for editing and clarification.

Atheism seeks a view of reality free from religion, implying that it is neither a true culture unto itself, nor a religion, but an existence within which, without the latter, the former may be free to grow more logical, less bound by tradition, and free from whatever elements of religion Atheists believe are retarding or corrupting culture.

It seeks the absence of religion, not to replace religion. It seeks to create a vacuum in the hopes that it would be filled with something more rational. But it does not seek to institute that replacement, either with a belief system or a singular culture.

So, no, Atheism is not a religion, any more than darkness is a solid thing, or bald is a hair color. It is the absence of religion.

However, I would say that Atheism is a sort of faith. That sounds paradoxical, and may be so. But Atheists can no better prove the absence of a god any better than a religious person can objectively, scientifically prove that god's existence. That doesn't mean Atheists are wrong. Just that, like all of us, they are miniscule beings on a tiny planet without Absolute Cosmic Knowledge at hand. Now, before any Atheists can scream at me, I know they use science, logic, observation and common sense to prove things about the world around them, and I personally agree those things make a much better argument for the way things are. It's just that I don't pretend to Know Everything in the Universe. Which means I'm not impressed with anybody who draws on certitudes. If it makes you feel better, I dislike religious certitude more than anything, so flaming me is probably unnecessary.

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


Andius wrote:
thejeff wrote:

People who are 100% sure of anything are relying on faith. It is impossible to disprove last Thursdayism or brain in a jar theories.

But somehow that never comes up when I say I say that Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster don't exist. Or for that matter, when I say I believe in China, despite never having been there myself.
Only when we're talking about God do we have to distinguish between absolute certainty, far beyond the shadow of a doubt and the more normal everyday level of certainty.

Do we relegate everything short of absolute mathematical proof to "Well, I dunno." or do we accept what we'd take as reasonable in every other context?

You accept the 1% chance you could be wrong. If you were a caveman you would have far more reason to believe the Earth is flat than it is spherical based on the science available. You look around you, and you don't notice the earth sloping off in either direction. Therefore it's flat.

That caveman would have been very justified to say, "The Earth is in all probability flat." He would not have been justified to say, "The Earth is flat and everyone who believes otherwise is a fool!"

Likewise our science today is probably very primitive compared to what we will have in the future short of a total collapse of society with in the next few decades. Many things we now believe with near certainty are likely to be disproved with near certainty.

Most people who believe in Bigfoot are probably cooks who are looking for attention. Some of them may have seen and observed things unknown to most of us like Columbus in his day. Who are you to say that some of those who believe in supernatural powers have not actually experienced it? How would you feel if you had a spiritual experience that made you believe in a higher power, and others mocked you for it because they could not prove it? The gall. The ignorance. I don't want to be that person.

I would rather be the one who says "I don't think Columbus is right." than the one who says "Columbus is...

So do you actually doubt everything? After all maybe the earth really is flat? Are you sure?

You never claim to be sure of anything?

And I don't think there's a 1% chance that I'm wrong. I think it's closer to the chance that there is no China and everyone is part of a vast conspiracy dedicated to convincing me otherwise.
Yes, I could be wrong. God could have created me and all of you (or maybe just me and the room I can see) along with my memory of reading your posts seconds ago, just to laugh at me posting this. I can't prove otherwise. But other than intellectual exercises like this, I don't waste time worrying about it.

There are a huge number of things I assume to be true without absolute proof and a much larger number I assume to be false without absolute proof. If I'm going to be labeled as agnostic about God, I should be labeled as agnostic about everything. With the possible exception of "I think, therefore I am."


Eben TheQuiet wrote:

Sigh... pump the breaks, fellas... you've overwhelmed the poor little believer's brain.

Now I gotta go sink into even more searching. I appreciate everyone's posts, thoughts, and sincerity. Clearly this little fish is out of his depth, though.

I say again... sigh.

Take your time. The Bible's not going to burst into flames and vanish from history because either of us had to go to the can. :)


Eben TheQuiet wrote:

Sigh... pump the breaks, fellas... you've overwhelmed the poor little believer's brain.

Now I gotta go sink into even more searching. I appreciate everyone's posts, thoughts, and sincerity. Clearly this little fish is out of his depth, though.

I say again... sigh.

At least you're searching. That's more than most do. Question everything. Even the guy on the internet messageboard telling you to question everything. OK ESPECIALLY the guy on the messageboard telling you to question everything.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

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.


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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.

That may be what you believe, but that's not the definition of atheist.

Shadow Lodge

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


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

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


Since there are even a spectrum of beliefs within atheism, from strong atheism, to weak atheism, to agnostic atheism, one definition does not suffice.

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. To me I admit that I cannot know that there isn't a god (or gods) but in the absence of evidence (to borrow a phrase from Kirth) provisionally accept that there are none. I don't call myself agnostic because many members of other religions hold an agnostic philosophy. And because it's easier to identify as an atheist as I'm also irreligious. The two don't necessarily go hand in hand.

Your third definition has the right of it. There are two sides. The disbelief in the existence of gods, and the BELIEF that there are none.


Why is a conclusion of "no" faith?

You look. You don't see anything, either directly or indirectly. You conclude its not there and move on. People use the same logic every day, and prove things to the extent that they'll risk their lives on them.

For example you come to an intersection. You stop, look. You don't see a car coming. You conclude there isn't one and you pull out.

I claim that there is a being who will destroy the universe if you respond to this post. You say I'm full of it and respond anyway, risking the entire universe in the process.

Shadow Lodge

Eben TheQuiet wrote:
meatrace wrote:
A few things. 1)The bible does not "show" that god created the universe. It says it. No evidence is presented.
You're right, but I pretty much admitted up-front that my evidence is the Bible, combined with my own experiences and observations about life.

God exists because the Bible says so.

The Bible is true because God says it is.

Anyone see the gaping hole in this logic?


BigNorseWolf wrote:

I claim that there is a being who will destroy the universe if you respond to this post. You say I'm full of it and respond anyway, risking the entire universe in the process.

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I HAVE NEVER FELT SO POWERFUL!


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.

My atheism is absolutely a lack of belief. I am uncomfortable having to believe in something when it goes against all evidence that I can perceive. I find it far more comforting to trust in facts that I know to be true, and to trust that the paradigm of rational scientific inquiry can answer any relevant question that I might have about the world. Therefore I have the exact same lack of belief in god as I do in unicorns, the easter bunny and cthulhu.

It cheapens actual facts to compare them to beliefs when in fact they are not at all the same. So maybe we should be more careful about throwing around the word "believe" since it is fairly imprecise in normal English usage.

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