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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Article calls for people to NOT boycott OSC. (Page 3)

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Author Topic: Article calls for people to NOT boycott OSC.
Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Kelly1101:
Atheism is as much of a religious belief as Christianity, Islam, Scientology, etc.

You can repeat this pretty as much as many times as you want, but it doesn't make it any less completely untrue. Not believing in any religion isn't a religion. Not being religious isn't a religion. Belief structures are not defined or made into something you have membership of just by not believing in something.
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Scott R
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Hmmm. A while back this was discussed here. There was a differentiation made between atheism and agnosticism. A number of agnostics stated the same thing as Kelly- a belief that there is no God and that there is evidence for His non-existence is as faith based as the opposing viewpoint.

('Course that's part of the agnostic creed-- no one can prove anything. :-) )

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Marcoudesept:
[QB] I'm more offended by how OSC can be so open minded in so many writings but be so blindly manipulated by religious fear in this regard. If it can seduce him then it feels that no one is safe. /QB]

It is entirely possible that people are more complex than you may have considered. That complexity- and your apparent lack of regard for it-- may be the cause of your distress.

I suggest a remedy. Two alternatives, actually: get to know people better; and/or refrain from judging them based on partial knowledge.

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Stephan
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You might be able to argue that atheists have a religious fact.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Atheism is as much of a religious belief as Christianity, Islam, Scientology, etc.
Kelly, let's answer these questions:

1) What are the core doctrines of atheism?
2) What rituals are observed by and expected of atheists?
3) Who are the leaders, clergy, and missionaries of atheism?
4) How can one be kicked out of the atheist religion?
5) What are the doctrinal punishments for an atheist who has apostatized?
6) What are the primary scriptures of atheism?
7) What would all atheists agree is the purpose of life?

The idea that "there is no God" is a faith-based claim -- while a somewhat stupid claim, since it's rather like saying "there are no leprechauns" is faith-based -- is not, even if we grant that, insufficient to establish atheism as "as much" of a religion as Christianity or Scientology or Islam. If it were, simply saying "there are no leprechauns" would be enough to argue that Aleprechaunism is a religion, or asserting "the Greek pantheon never actually existed" means that the speaker is a devout Agreekgodist.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Bullshit.

Atheism is as much of a religious belief as Christianity, Islam, Scientology, etc.

Just because you don't like it, doesn't invalidate it.

We've given many arguments why it's not so -- and "we don't like it" wasn't one of them.

And "bullshit" isn't an argument in favour of your position. It seems you're emotionally attached to the idea that atheism is a religion.

But as a sidenote, something I recently heard and like is that atheism can be considered a "degenerate case of religion"

In short, much like you can call a point to be a degenerate circle (one with a radius of zero), you can argue that atheism is a degenerate religion (a religion with zero gods, zero rituals, zero moral injuctions, zero holy sites, and a single epistemic belief that theism is false)

But that's silliness. In ordinary human language, such extreme degenerate case get given their own names -- that's why we say "a point" instead of "a circle with 0 radius".

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Scott R
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There are a lot of folks who believe in God who would have difficulty answering those 7 questions for themselves, Tom.

Just because the belief isn't encoded or communally structured does not signify it isn't faith based.

(Do atheists commonly distinguish between the terms "spiritual" and "religious"?)

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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:

(Do atheists commonly distinguish between the terms "spiritual" and "religious"?)

That is the thing. Some do, some don't. There is no doctrine.

My sister-in-law claims to be an atheist, but believes in ghosts. Some people claim to be atheist but believe UFO's are regularly abducting people and visiting us on a regular basis.

I don't believe in any of it.

But to be honest if it means i can operate tax free under the guise of a religion, so be it.

Also if atheism is a religion because we have faith that there is no god, does that mean you have multiple religions because you have faith the Muslims and Hindus are wrong?

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Scott R
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I'm not sure I follow the logic of your last question

As far as not having doctrine-- well, that's kind of my point. Lots of theists have no defined doctrine either.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I would argue that lots believers have no doctrine, but that no theists lack them.

Sure, atheists have a belief, but clearly they do not have a religion.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
"Lots of theists have no defined doctrine either."
If that's the case, then I think those particular theists will probably disagree with being called "religious" also.

There was a time in my late teens or early 20s when I considered myself "άθρησκος" ("non-religious" "not having religion") but not "άθεος" ("atheist").

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Just because the belief isn't encoded or communally structured does not signify it isn't faith based.
It seems to me that holding a single faith-based belief (if we grant -- which I normally do not grant, mind -- that "there is no God" is a faith-based claim) does not mean you are religious.
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Samprimary
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I'm going to claim to be God, so that anyone who denies the truth of me being God is now part of a new religion.
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Papa Moose
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I think it's inaccurate, and perhaps even somewhat ridiculous, to call atheism a religion (though someone could make one and attempt to co-opt the term). But I think a declaration of "no such thing as God exists" (which I do understand isn't necessarily what is meant by some who use the term "atheist") in most cases is a religious belief (as it's usually given specifically in contrast to the claim that God or a god does exist). Is it possible to consider the belief not to be a religious one, but the claim to be? I think that might be where I land.

I don't think I consider it worth arguing over, though were I an atheist I suppose I might.

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Amka
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1) What are the core doctrines of atheism?

That there is no God.

2) What rituals are observed by and expected of atheists?

It really depends on the sect of Atheism. Evangelical Atheists require that their members never let a remark about God go uncontested.

3) Who are the leaders, clergy, and missionaries of atheism?

Leaders: Sagan, Dawkins, Hickens - any famous scientist - preferably a cosmologist or evolutionary biologist - who writes a book about how God doesn't exist and religious people are deluded, then goes on the lecture circuit. It's especially fun to pull them out like a rabbit in a hat to argue against a Mormon rockstar on tour.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJu98H9UDtM&feature=youtu.be

(In regards to the video - because Atheism is the One True Belief system, it is okay to not research the subject's religion properly and use straw man and weak arguments to support Atheism against a subject who has been ambushed and is not trained in public religious debate. Also, one can talk over them. This is okay because we must use any means necessary to convince the religious of their delusions.

Clergy - Atheist and/or secular humanist professors of any stripe.

Missionaries - Every Member a Missionary!

4) How can one be kicked out of the atheist religion?

Belief in God.

5) What are the doctrinal punishments for an atheist who has apostatized?

Public flogging and shunning, loss of status and reputation, loss of publishing privileges and maybe even grants, everlasting delusion. Of course, they could repent of their godliness and be welcomed back into the fold.

6) What are the primary scriptures of atheism?

All writings of the above mentioned leaders. Things like The God Delusion and Demon Haunted World. It's a large body of work, even devout atheists are not likely going to have read all of it.

7) What would all atheists agree is the purpose of life?

This is a fringe doctrine, and as such atheists are allowed to have differing opinions. Please don't stereotype an atheist by just one example. Some atheists may believe that there is no purpose of life. Others think that the purpose is simply to enjoy life, while others think that as intelligent beings we have a great imperative to explore and understand the universe. Also, in order to succeed, life must procreate so another purpose is to make sure the human race doesn't die. This dovetails nicely with the imperative to explore - by spreading our seed across the galaxy and indeed the universe, we insure that our intelligent species won't die and that we may someday come a point when we fully understand the universe.

[ April 18, 2013, 01:11 AM: Message edited by: Amka ]

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Aris Katsaris
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Amka, you're just choosing to be snarky and insulting, not making serious discussion.

You could even more easily construct similar lists showing how the LA Lakers is a religion, or being a Star Trek fan is a religion. (The vision of Gene Roddenberry about Star Trek is much more important to Trekkers than the words of Dawkins or Sagan or anyone else is to atheists, and Star Trek has a much fuller set of doctrines)

If you want to believe atheism a religion, your choice. But the very fact that you try to insult it by calling it a religion indicates to me that deep down you recognize that religion is stupid.

But in the end it doesn't matter what label you attach to it -- atheism's virtue lies only in the fact of its correctness, not in whether you call it a "religious view" or not. Such a label will lead to completely unpredictive models, and is therefore generally a wrong way to use words -- but that which we call atheism by any other name would be as correct.

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scifibum
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That was a clever bit of snark, Amka.

I think the most accurate and useful definition of "atheism" is "lack of theistic beliefs".

A lack of a belief in something is not a faith based belief. It's just nothing.

The belief that something does not exist is usually just an example of "skepticism" and everyone has some of that same religion.

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Amka
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I was snarky because I'm tired of the "atheism is not a religion" trope. And you're right, Aris - I was trying to double turn the tables and it came out wrong.

I am deeply religious and don't believe it to be stupid at all.

So, let me approach this with less snark and more explaining.

Atheists try to disavow the label of religion because of what they perceive as ills that only religions have. Problems like biased thinking, war over differences of belief, or other perceived ills.

It is a way to further cement the "They are Other" and Us vs Them mentality.

Aris, you said:

quote:
You could even more easily construct similar lists showing how the LA Lakers is a religion, or being a Star Trek fan is a religion. (The vision of Gene Roddenberry about Star Trek is much more important to Trekkers than the words of Dawkins or Sagan or anyone else is to atheists, and Star Trek has a much fuller set of doctrines)
Similar lists yes. In fact, those of the Abrahamic faiths agree with you that Lakers fandom and being a Trekker is like a religion. They call this Idolotry - worshiping something that isn't God.

Atheism doesn't suffer from that, though.

To illustrate that, we'll talk about 1st and 2nd causes. Theists believe that God created the universe, therefore God is the first cause and the Big Bang and Evolution are second causes - the method by which God created the universe. Theists worship and have awe towards their First Cause.

Atheists don't believe in God. The Big Bang and Evolution, etc are their first cause. Though they don't pray or conduct rituals (well, maybe scientific method and inquiry could be called a ritual) they do have great awe in regards to the First Cause. Atheists wax poetic about the wonders and beauties of the Universe and our capacity to understand it. "Billions and Billions..." So they have deeply held beliefs regarding the First Cause which instruct their day to day living.

Atheists believe strongly in integrity and cognitive cohesiveness, and in fairness. Many studies, as well as personal experience, prove the benefits (not just for themselves, but for society) of moral behavior. So Atheism, as a belief system, encourages moral thinking and behavior.

Based on this, I think one could argue that Atheism is a religious belief, but is not an idolatrous one like fandoms are.

Atheists proselytize. They have members of their society which are revered, who regularly preach the word of Atheism. Atheism is for the most part unorganized, but there are some very organized groups - some of which disagree with each other.

When evaluating whether to believe something or not, Atheists and Theists use the same part of the brain.
Where Religious Belief And Disbelief Meet, Science Daily

quote:
The study also found that devout Christians and nonbelievers use the same brain regions to judge the truth of both religious and nonreligious propositions. The results, the study authors say, represent a critical advance in the psychology of religion. The paper appears Sept. 30 in the journal PLoS One.
Atheists are not free of the ills of religion. It has caused the death of people who disagreed with it, on purely ideological grounds:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_atheism

Atheists are often prone to the cognitive dissonance and bias they so accuse others of having.

They usually believe that they are "The one true system of belief", and so are right in taking away the right of others to express their own beliefs. Again, labels such as "Religion is the opiate of the masses" serve to reduce the label of religion to that of people who are lower in intellect and sometimes class. Therefore, it is very distasteful to have the religious label applied to them.

But in fact, Atheism - though not formally organized - is a system of belief which earns protection as a religion under the law.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Atheists try to disavow the label of religion because of what they perceive as ills that only religions have. Problems like biased thinking, war over differences of belief, or other perceived ills.
Nope. Speaking as an atheist, I disavow the label of religion for the same reason that I don't call "cookies" "bagels." It confuses the reality and makes it harder to have a discussion, since most properties of religion and most properties of atheism do not actually overlap. I also do it because I find many religious people like to try to draw false equivalences: "just because there's no actual evidence for my belief that God once covered the Earth with water as a punishment for wickedness doesn't mean I shouldn't hold it; after all, there's no actual evidence that proves conclusively that no gods of any sort exist, and you believe that." Leaving aside whether sufficient evidence of a negative claim does exist, or even the specific terms of that negative claim -- is it enough to believe that the Christian God doesn't exist, or all the Gods except the Christian God don't, or that nothing supernatural exists at all, or... -- the truth is that the sorts of truth claims and demands on behavior being made by religion are very different from the truth claims and behaviors required of atheists.

(The single truth claim required of atheists: there are no gods (generally asserted due to an asserted insufficient quantity of positive evidence of gods, but other rationales can be put forward). The behavior required of atheists: none.)

I think you're confusing atheism with humanism, which is at the very least a positive belief (and I don't mean "positive" in the "good" sense, mind; I mean it in the "this is an actual sort of belief that I hold" sense.)

quote:
So they have deeply held beliefs regarding the First Cause which instruct their day to day living.
This is, quite frankly, bull-pucky. There is not a single decision I make in my day-to-day life that is informed by my personal belief that the observable universe is actually the manifestation of the edge of one brane passing through another in multi-dimensional "space." It's just not particularly useful when I'm trying to decide whether or not to have anal sex.

quote:
When evaluating whether to believe something or not, Atheists and Theists use the same part of the brain.
In related news, when seeing things, both atheists and theists use the same round, squishy things set into holes in their faces. More important, I would argue, is whether atheists and theists use the same epistemologies. (News flash: some do. Not all theists are stupid, and not all atheists are rational.)

quote:
Atheists are not free of the ills of religion. It has caused the death of people who disagreed with it, on purely ideological grounds.
And here I think we run into your most glaring error of kind, Amka. Atheism is not an ideology. But atheists can hold other ideologies; the only ideologies excluded by atheism are ideologies that are predicated in a belief in deity. So, yes, ideological atheists can do stupid things in the name of their ideologies. But there is no such thing as an atheist ideology.

quote:
They usually believe that they are "The one true system of belief", and so are right in taking away the right of others to express their own beliefs.
Really? Again, I'm going to call bull-pucky on this one. It's entitled whining.

[ April 18, 2013, 03:59 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Stone_Wolf_
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I think there is some talking past each other here...

On one hand, atheism as a concept is -not- a religion, by any useful definition of term religion and trying to force that square peg into that round hole requires a heavy hand indeed.

On the other hand, there are some militant atheists who treat their personal credo as a religion, (borrowing the worst possible attributes of religion) to be championed by themselves as missionaries, and some who even pass judgement upon those ignorant enough to still believe the antiquated hog wash which clearly shows the inferiority of their intellect.

So, is atheism a religion...no.

But do some people treat it that way...yes.

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TomDavidson
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*nod* That I'll definitely agree with. Atheism is not a religion, but some -- far from all -- atheists are religious.
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Rakeesh
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While I agree with what you posted, Stone_Wolf, to me the interesting and most relevant part of that is that when we say that atheism can borrow from religion, it is almost always used to point to bad attitudes or practices not of atheism itself but of particular atheists or groups. So the point being made is that: yes, some atheists mimic the worst aspects of religion and human arrogance and in effect proselytize. We don't just say 'boy, are they arrogant' we say 'they're like religious zealots'.

Whereas on the other side of things, you don't need to borrow from religion to get those good things that individual atheists and groups do. You might say 'she's a saint', but then many of us know people without religious leanings who are that good.

--------

quote:
Atheists try to disavow the label of religion because of what they perceive as ills that only religions have. Problems like biased thinking, war over differences of belief, or other perceived ills.
This is not actually accurate, as others have noted. It would be an incautious atheist indeed who said that religion was the only path to those flaws-but pointing out that religion is an often and hard to argue against path to them is a different matter.

quote:
Based on this, I think one could argue that Atheism is a religious belief, but is not an idolatrous one like fandoms are.
This to me is very odd-it seems to strip the definition of religion of one of its most important components: belief in things not seen. I'm not talking about what a religious person believes other people, such as prophets or ancestors have seen, but things they have detected-and can demonstrate-with their own eyes. The kind of seeing of things one does that when they tell others and then go and show them, they are believed so long as that other person's eyes are working. And I don't mean metaphorical eyes or anything.

But in any event, you're still wrong about what beliefs atheism professes. To be an atheist doesn't require absolute belief in the Big Bang, Evolution, or any other scientific belief you would care to name. It's a lack of belief in deities, and that's all. That is the bedrock, but unlike many beliefs its bare rock. It's not like, say, Christianity where you believe Jesus is the Son of God and so necessarily you'll believe the things said by him as true, which means you'll believe things related to those things. Atheism doesn't go further that 'lack of belief in deities'.

Finally, let me add a rejection of the claim 'atheism has caused deaths'. It's one which is very commonly trotted out, and it's both bizarre in its mercy to monstrous people and systems and offensive for its nature as a false attack, however earnestly it might be believed.

If we are to be rejected when we try and point out 'religion caused such and such atrocity', then it *certainly* doesn't get to be applied to us. There is nothing about atheism which says: atheists, advance your non belief into the minds and lives of believers, even if they don't want it, and if they resist, for their own good or because they're simply heathens, use force. Contrasted to this, many religious systems do *exactly* that. I might as well say vegetarianism and golfing-Germany and North Korea-lead to atrocity.

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Amka
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Stone_Wolf_ - I think you may have it right.

Still, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when someone asserts "Religion is the cause for all the evils in the world" and "Atheism is not a religion."

Also, I still contend that Atheism and Theism are both in the same category as "Belief systems that explain the first cause."

quote:
This is, quite frankly, bull-pucky. There is not a single decision I make in my day-to-day life that is informed by my personal belief that the observable universe is actually the manifestation of the edge of one brane passing through another in multi-dimensional "space." It's just not particularly useful when I'm trying to decide whether or not to have anal sex.

Many who strongly self identify as Atheists also identify as humanists. One of their primary arguments is that they don't believe a good god would allow that. They believe every human being - indeed, every creature - has value. And so the same thing that informs their First Cause beliefs inform their daily moral choices.

So what does inform your choice as to whether or not you'll have anal sex. How about, does your wife want to? You value her comfort and pleasure too, because you believe in humanist ideals and you believe there is no God because at least in part, you believe no good God would allow the evil that exists in this world.

But then again, perhaps you realize some of the fallacies of the problem of evil, and it is just a matter of "I'll believe it when I see it (or reputable scientists show it is true)"

quote:
And here I think we run into your most glaring error of kind, Amka. Atheism is not an ideology. But atheists can hold other ideologies; the only ideologies excluded by atheism are ideologies that are predicated in a belief in deity. So, yes, ideological atheists can do stupid things in the name of their ideologies. But there is no such thing as an atheist ideology.
I'll recall the word ideology, but I will not recall my assertions that some Atheists claimed that because theirs was the superior belief, they had to right to discriminate against, imprison, throw into labor camps, and kill people who practiced religion.

How many times do I have to hear, Religion is the cause of most problems in the world, and in the same breath, Atheism is not a religion.

It isn't religion that causes those kinds of evil. It is human nature. Pride, the need for dominance, the need for security, Us vs Them mentalities, shame and honor.

We wrap it up in whatever beliefs we have, to give ourselves permission to do horrible things. And when we do those horrible things, and feel the shame, we dig ourselves deeper by saying "They aren't us, so it's okay."

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Many who strongly self identify as Atheists also identify as humanists.
And many do not. I don't, for example; I'm sympathetic to humanism, but I think a lot of it is soggy, feel-good crap.

quote:
you believe there is no God because at least in part, you believe no good God would allow the evil that exists in this world
Nope. While that's certainly a good reason not to believe in an omnipotent and omnibenevolent god, non-omnipotent gods, ones who have not created the laws of the universe -- like, say, the Mormon one -- don't fall under the whole Problem of Evil thing. Me, I don't believe in gods because I don't think there's any compelling evidence for a single one.

quote:
How many times do I have to hear, Religion is the cause of most problems in the world, and in the same breath, Atheism is not a religion.
I don't know. Certainly no one here has said it, but I don't know where you hang out. Obviously it's something you think you hear pretty often.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Still, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when someone asserts "Religion is the cause for all the evils in the world" and "Atheism is not a religion."
Even if the first were a common statement of atheists-and I suspect that while neither of us has polling on the question, I am more often in conversation with atheists than you are-it wouldn't address the accuracy of the second statement one way or another.

Atheism is not an explanation for first cause, Amka. Saying 'I don't believe god did it because I don't believe in deities' *is not* saying 'I believe this did it'. This is a common argument I hear from one particular theist-that to have a lack of belief in God is actually a belief in something else. He's never been able to assert an argument for why this is true except to repeat that it's inherent in disbelief. For example, I don't believe in deities, but I'm not convinced that the Big Bang is the cause of existence. It seems like a good explanation so far, compared to others, and so far as I understand it-which is poorly-I think it's got a good solid grip on the truth. But that's a long way from the sort of claims religion makes.

quote:
Many who strongly self identify as Atheists also identify as humanists. One of their primary arguments is that they don't believe a good god would allow that. They believe every human being - indeed, every creature - has value. And so the same thing that informs their First Cause beliefs inform their daily moral choices.
To me this serves as an example that you don't understand atheism nearly as well as you believe you do. Starting point: belief in a good, kindly deity is far from the only religious belief possible. It's far from true that to believe a good god wouldn't allow this, that is existence, then that means there is no god.

quote:
I'll recall the word ideology, but I will not recall my assertions that some Atheists claimed that because theirs was the superior belief, they had to right to discriminate against, imprison, throw into labor camps, and kill people who practiced religion.
I'll challenge you plainly to name a single example of someone who has said, and then done, this. Not just an atheist who has committed atrocities, but an atheist that says and professes 'because you do not disbelieve in deities, and we do disbelieve in deities, we will kill you'. I'll just avoid potential trouble and point out that the most common examples of this, actually aren't. If you were going to say 'atheists can be monsters', you would have a case, but you go further than that and say 'atheism can tell atheists to be monsters', just like religion can. It can't. How could it? What is the chain of reasoning that links 'I don't believe in any gods' to 'therefore I can take your land and kill you if you resist'? Or 'I can make you swear on a book I revere and if you don't, I can torture you'? So on and so forth.
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scifibum
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You don't think Stalin qualifies, Rakeesh?
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Amka
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quote:

quote:
Still, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when someone asserts "Religion is the cause for all the evils in the world" and "Atheism is not a religion."
Even if the first were a common statement of atheists-and I suspect that while neither of us has polling on the question, I am more often in conversation with atheists than you are-it wouldn't address the accuracy of the second statement one way or another.
It isn't that the first statement addresses or doesn't address the accuracy of the second.

It's that by labeling something, and then saying, we, however, are NOT that label but are the cure to it, they are saying that Atheism does not lead to similar social problems.

Atheism is not just some philosophy that is neutral in regards to religion. It is the One True Truth in the eyes of atheists. It sets itself at opposition to all other religions. It's most famous adherents write books and teach and lead. New Atheists strive to convert others. In an age where it is easy to find each other, there are organized meetings of atheists.

Good grief, some have dropped any pretense of not being a religion and set up churches.
http://news.discovery.com/human/life/atheist-church-set-to-go-global-130308.htm

Putting religion and atheism in the same classification might be the same as putting apples and oranges in the same class. And they are: both are fruit from a deciduous tree.

Since Atheists feel they have The Truth, by extension they believe everyone else is wrong.

When one begins to think of themselves as being unquestionably right and hold no doubt, they tread on dangerous ground.

quote:
If you were going to say 'atheists can be monsters', you would have a case, but you go further than that and say 'atheism can tell atheists to be monsters', just like religion can. It can't. How could it? What is the chain of reasoning that links 'I don't believe in any gods' to 'therefore I can take your land and kill you if you resist'?
Actually, it has though probably not in those specific words. It's more like, I don't believe in God. I think you use God to enslave people, so I can take your land and kill you if you don't agree with me. If you practice the religion you believe in, I will kill you."

See the French Revolution and the Soviet Union (an Atheist State until 1939, merely secular after that.) and more.

Or sometimes even, "Because I am stronger and have more technology, I have the right to overwhelm you and take over your land (or ability to reproduce), because morality is determined by might not God. We must ensure the strength of the race." Do most atheists believe that? No, but the idea of no God has lead to this logic. Many supporters of eugenics used this logic. However, the "might makes right" can also derive from false notions of Divine Right.

All I am saying is that people will use whatever logic they want to gain power over others. They may even have a vision of a beautiful utopia where everyone is free and happy (so long as they are the same as us), and then they'll commit grievous atrocities to bring it about. Atheism is often as central to that logic as other religions are.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Atheism is not just some philosophy that is neutral in regards to religion. It is the One True Truth in the eyes of atheists. It sets itself at opposition to all other religions.
Seriously? You're just going to dig in your heels here and be as wrong as possible?

There are other ways to handle being egregiously wrong, you know; you're picking one of the worst of them. And I can tell from your tone that you know it, that you've been handed your ass on this one but are just going to double down over and over again until people get tired of arguing with you or get tired of it enough to insult you, at which point you'll feel free to write them off. But you're ridiculously wrong, here.

You realize that there are atheistic Buddhists, right? Unitarian Universalists and Humanists are religious, as well, while remaining compatible with atheism.

What you're meaning to say -- what you're desperately trying to say -- is that merely being an atheist doesn't mean that someone is free from irrationality or dangerously committed to some ideology or another. But you're refusing to let go of the convenient false equivalence -- "atheism is just another religion" -- because you're too lazy to work around the distinctions. Get over it.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
You don't think Stalin qualifies, Rakeesh?

I think Stalin qualifies brilliantly, as in really fits the bill, as a monstrous atheist. But be didn't just say 'you believe in God, therefore I get to relocate you' or so on and so forth. The relevant question is why he believed-or stated, anyway-that the belief in God was dangerous and invited oppression. It would hurt the people, it would hurt the state, it would hurt the revolution, it would adhere to foreign elements, it was in bed with fascists, so on and so forth. It wasn't atheism that Stalin 'defended' against theists, it would invariably be those other things. His power-well, truthfully his power was vested in guns and propaganda, but the disguise he put on those things wasn't atheism, it was communism, the people, the workers, glorious Russia, the party, etc.
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Kelly1101
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Atheism is as much of a religious belief as Christianity, Islam, Scientology, etc.
Kelly, let's answer these questions:

1) What are the core doctrines of atheism?
2) What rituals are observed by and expected of atheists?
3) Who are the leaders, clergy, and missionaries of atheism?
4) How can one be kicked out of the atheist religion?
5) What are the doctrinal punishments for an atheist who has apostatized?
6) What are the primary scriptures of atheism?
7) What would all atheists agree is the purpose of life?

The idea that "there is no God" is a faith-based claim -- while a somewhat stupid claim, since it's rather like saying "there are no leprechauns" is faith-based -- is not, even if we grant that, insufficient to establish atheism as "as much" of a religion as Christianity or Scientology or Islam. If it were, simply saying "there are no leprechauns" would be enough to argue that Aleprechaunism is a religion, or asserting "the Greek pantheon never actually existed" means that the speaker is a devout Agreekgodist.

You are making up a definition of religion to suit your purposes with these questions.

If you look at the actual definition of religion:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion

Definition of RELIGION
1
a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion>
b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2
: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3
archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
4
: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith


Atheism is compatible with 2 and 4.

I think you're confusing religion with ORGANIZED religion, which are two different things.

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TomDavidson
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I think you'll find that atheism is not a personal or institutionalized set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices; and moreover that it is not a cause, principle, or system of beliefs. It is the lack of belief in the existence of god(s); it has no other properties.

Pointing that out was, in fact, the point of my questions.

If atheism meets your criteria for #2 and #4, so does a belief in the existence of pancakes.

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Rakeesh
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Ok, since the #2 definition of religion hinges on...well, what the definition of religion is, Kelley, that one's a wash. #4 *could* apply, but then if you decide that it does, then Yankees fan is a religion. Starcraft fan is a religion. A specific method of cooking and eating is a religion. Etc. As others have said, it is quite unusual to hear such things labeled religion, even though technically it fits 25% of one dictionary's definitions-the last, no less.

By this reasoning, you don't have one religion, you have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands. You do not believe in Zeus, so according to your reasoning this is a religious belief. You're a Zeus atheist religion member. Same with Thor, Vishnu, and for that matter Crom or is it Krom? You're also not just a Thor atheist religion member, but one for the comic book Thor as well as the movie Thor.

If it weren't so human, it would be odd how quickly so many people are to turn arguments they reject onto people they disapprove of or disagree with. When someone, whether it's an atheist of just a heretic says, 'This religion is responsible for this bad thing' the accepted thing to do is to reject it and say that no, it's not the religion but what people have made of it.

But along comes some atheists who-according to some people, often with a poor understanding of the term to begin with-who treat their disbelief in an aggressive, religious style and suddenly the common talk about 'it's not the belief that does it, it's what some people make of it!' goes right out the window.

If atheism is going to be labelled a religion because some disbelievers act on it in an evangelistic* way, then Islam is a terrorist religion, Judaism is a land-stealing religion, Catholicism is a child molesting religion, Protestantism is a money-worshipping religion, so on down the line. If I made those claims, the people who are now labeling atheism a religion would very quickly remember that I don't get to pick a few examples out of a large group and say their behavior speaks for the entire belief system.

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Kelly1101
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I think you'll find that atheism is not a personal or institutionalized set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices; and moreover that it is not a cause, principle, or system of beliefs. It is the lack of belief in the existence of god(s); it has no other properties.

Pointing that out was, in fact, the point of my questions.

If atheism meets your criteria for #2 and #4, so does a belief in the existence of pancakes.

I find that atheism is a personal set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices.

I also find that many hold it as a cause, principle, and system of beliefs.

Something doesn't have to be organized to be religious. Plenty of protestants do not abide by the dogma of their particular sect. That does not prevent them from being religious. Religion can be, by definition, a *personal* set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices. ORGANIZED religion is not defined in the same way, but I think relatively few people abide by and believe in every bit of dogma contained within an organized religion-- I would still consider that they "have" a religion.

Saying that someone whose religion is based around the belief in a natural creation rather than an intelligent creator is "not a religion" does not fit the actual definition of "religion."

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Kelly1101
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Basically-- something does not have to have a certain number of adherents to become a religion. There is no numerical dividing line between religion and non-religion. If one person or one hundred people or one million people have a set of religious beliefs, they have a religion.

So yes, if someone's belief system revolves around Star Trek, that would be a religion.

I don't see why ya'll are so determined to invalidate a religion.

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Aris Katsaris
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Kelly, we've been telling you why we don't think atheism is a religion -- the reason you keep on saying you "don't see", is because you keep on metaphorically closing your ears and humming at everything we say.

You say atheism has practices, but neither you nor anyone else here has yet listed a single one -- and please try to have a serious discussion instead of stating something like "atheism's practice is to snark at theists" or "atheism's practice is to not worship God".

You say atheism has attitudes, but again not a single one has been listed. What's atheism's attitude towards premarital sex? What's atheism's attitude towards abortion? THERE IS NONE. Atheism has no attitudes or injuctions.

Atheism isn't even a *set* of beliefs. It's a single belief, and one negatively defined -- that what theists describe as God doesn't exist. NOTHING else. It can only be defined by the negation of what other people believe.

Now you can keep playing the "You strange people, I don't see why keep denying the obvious" game, or you can actually read what we are saying.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
So yes, if someone's belief system revolves around Star Trek, that would be a religion.
This may be the problem you're having. There is no single atheist belief system, and very few atheists base their belief system on the absence of God. Some theists may base their beliefs on the perceived properties and desires of the god(s) in which they believe, which only makes sense -- but when you don't believe in god(s), you wind up basing your belief system (your ethical framework, your morals, your epistemologies) on something else.

And this makes sense. If you don't believe in something, then its absence isn't something that's going to be core to your life experience; it's just not going to figure in. You'll find something else to base your life on -- and atheists do. And because there are so many, many alternatives available, I think you'll find a fairly diverse group of atheists with a wide range of beliefs. The only true commonality -- a lack of belief in god(s) -- is no more universally unifying than a lack of belief in yetis has been bringing people together for hundreds of years.

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Stephan
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http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religious?show=0&t=1366464259

Yup, pretty much requires a belief in some form of mythological creature.

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Kelly1101
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
Kelly, we've been telling you why we don't think atheism is a religion -- the reason you keep on saying you "don't see", is because you keep on metaphorically closing your ears and humming at everything we say.

You say atheism has practices, but neither you nor anyone else here has yet listed a single one -- and please try to have a serious discussion instead of stating something like "atheism's practice is to snark at theists" or "atheism's practice is to not worship God".

You say atheism has attitudes, but again not a single one has been listed. What's atheism's attitude towards premarital sex? What's atheism's attitude towards abortion? THERE IS NONE. Atheism has no attitudes or injuctions.

Atheism isn't even a *set* of beliefs. It's a single belief, and one negatively defined -- that what theists describe as God doesn't exist. NOTHING else. It can only be defined by the negation of what other people believe.

Now you can keep playing the "You strange people, I don't see why keep denying the obvious" game, or you can actually read what we are saying.

Atheists absolutely have positions on premarital sex or abortion. They may not have identical positions, but neither do Christians. Some Christians support and practice abortion even if their avowed church is against it. Does that mean that they have no religion?

Again, again, again-- it is not NUMERICAL. You don't need a hundred people to all believe and act in the same way to qualify as a religion. That really doesn't even happen in the Big Three-- not all Christians have the same beliefs, practices, views of god, etc., etc. Christianity is a vast variety of individual beliefs that are labelled under the umbrella term of "Christianity" because they have all one basic thing in common-- the belief in the Christian god(s) as creator of the universe. Just as "atheist" is an umbrella term of people who have the basic belief that the universe sprang from natural causes. Within atheism you can have sects (like Humanism), within Christianity you can have sects (like Methodists), each sect having widely varied dogmas, rituals, etc-- and even within sects you have varying levels of compliance or agreement with the dogmas and rituals. But that doesn't mean that someone who does not have the "official" set of beliefs and practices as a Christian sect has "no religion."

There are a lot of religious beliefs in the world, some shared by lots of people, some individual. It does not seem productive or intelligent to attack one of them because it does not follow the same pattern as your own.

And you can dogpile all you want with imaginary qualifications like being able to EXPEL someone from it, or otherwise it's "not a religion," but it is still by definition a pretty open concept that can be assigned simply to someone's personal beliefs, attitudes, and practices (personal-- just one person), so such imaginary qualifications are meaningless.

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Kelly1101
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religious?show=0&t=1366464259

Yup, pretty much requires a belief in some form of mythological creature.

The definition of "religion" you post is the same I posted. Only 1(b) mentions a mythological creature. And that means... "requires"? LOL. How does that work?
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Kelly1101
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Oh, I like the "religous" definition even more. only mention of a mythological creature in that one is this:

1
: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity <a religious person> <religious attitudes>

"Ultimate reality or deity."

... "Ultimate reality" does not have to be an entity. Did you read these links before you posted them saying it "requires a belief"?

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Kelly1101
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To try to be clear-- because no, really, Aris, I don't know why this is not coming through--

There are "Christians" who do not go to church, do not take communion, support same-sex marriage or abortion or premarital sex or whatever, do not believe in a literal translation of the Bible, basically diverge widely from what would be the "official" beliefs, practices, and attitudes of Christianity. But this person could still call themselves a Christian if they believe that the creator was the Christian God. You wouldn't say that they have no religion just because they are the only person to hold their particular, individual set of beliefs. And you wouldn't make up a whole new name to call their particular, individual sets of beliefs-- you would call them a Christian because they meet the one very basic qualification to be considered under that broad term.

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Rakeesh
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Kelley,

quote:
Atheists absolutely have positions on premarital sex or abortion. They may not have identical positions, but neither do Christians. Some Christians support and practice abortion even if their avowed church is against it. Does that mean that they have no religion?
The standards for what qualifies as religious thinking continue to expand, it seems. Christianity teaches some very specific attitudes towards premarital sex, in particular. Different sects may interpret things differently, but the point is that the religion isn't silent on the subject. It's an issue, and the religion speaks to it, by name in fact.

What is the atheist teaching on premarital sex? I'm not asking whether individual atheists have attitudes on premarital sex, because that's not the same thing! Find me an atheist who says, "There are no deities, therefore premarital sex is moral or immoral." I'll wait. An atheist might say-and often does-I don't believe in religious teachings on premarital sex, therefore I'll create or go find a teaching on it I like. But that still wouldn't be atheism having a position.

quote:
Again, again, again-- it is not NUMERICAL. You don't need a hundred people to all believe and act in the same way to qualify as a religion. That really doesn't even happen in the Big Three-- not all Christians have the same beliefs, practices, views of god, etc., etc. Christianity is a vast variety of individual beliefs that are labelled under the umbrella term of "Christianity" because they have all one basic thing in common-- the belief in the Christian god(s) as creator of the universe. Just as "atheist" is an umbrella term of people who have the basic belief that the universe sprang from natural causes. Within atheism you can have sects (like Humanism), within Christianity you can have sects (like Methodists), each sect having widely varied dogmas, rituals, etc-- and even within sects you have varying levels of compliance or agreement with the dogmas and rituals. But that doesn't mean that someone who does not have the "official" set of beliefs and practices as a Christian sect has "no religion."
Now you're-again-claiming that atheism is making a positive claim about something. It isn't. "I don't believe in deities" is not an affirmative statement about the origins of the universe. Now at this point, you can behave as though you haven't been told this a half dozen times already, or you can listen. An atheist might say, if you'd actually ask instead of conducting both sides of the hypothetical conversation, "I don't believe in any deity. As for how the universe began, I believe it never did begin and has always been cycling through expansion and contraction," or, "I'm not convinced all of reality isn't an illusion," or, "I have no idea at all." It's not a 'I disbelieve in deities, therefore...', it's an entirely separate thought. It's not at all the same thing as 'I'm a Christian, therefore I believe God created the universe.'

It's not about numbers of people, although it's interesting you'd use that rebuttal since your argument has essentially been 'some atheists behave religiously, therefore it's a religion'.

quote:
And you can dogpile all you want with imaginary qualifications like being able to EXPEL someone from it, or otherwise it's "not a religion," but it is still by definition a pretty open concept that can be assigned simply to someone's personal beliefs, attitudes, and practices (personal-- just one person), so such imaginary qualifications are meaningless.
You can self-pity all you like, but it's not an 'imaginary' qualification but one that is often used. You're right to say that it IS an open concept, but you're broadening it to the point of meaninglessness. Star Trek fan is a religion, Yankee fan is a religion, dog show competitor is a religion, pescatarianism is a religion, *everything* in which some number of practitioners behave in similar ways is a religion.

quote:
The definition of "religion" you post is the same I posted. Only 1(b) mentions a mythological creature. And that means... "requires"? LOL. How does that work?
So what, at this point are you just going to pretend I didn't point out 'hey, #2 doesn't actually apply since your use of it is completely circular?' LOL. How does that work?

Another question you have repeatedly ignored: do you consider yourself to be religious dozens of times over, one for each religion you don't believe in? Of course not. No one does.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality
To what ultimate reality do atheists manifest faithful devotion? *blink*

Again, your own faith is blinding you a bit here: in the absence of god(s), the absence of god(s) is not an "ultimate reality" at all. It's background noise. If you do not believe that a god has ever existed, the non-existence of that god has as much influence on your "ultimate reality" as the non-existence of yetis. It's not something to which most people are "faithfully devoted" at all.

Heck, even the loudest and most evangelical atheists will almost certainly not say that they are "faithfully devoted" to the absence of gods; such people are, if anything, faithfully devoted to the belief that rational empiricism (or a handful of similar models, depending on the person to whom you're speaking) is a superior epistemological model. If there were empirical evidence of a god, those same people would incorporate the existence of a god into their beliefs without blinking, since their "faithful devotion" is not to the absence of gods but to a method of modeling reality.

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Kelly1101
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Kelley,

quote:
Atheists absolutely have positions on premarital sex or abortion. They may not have identical positions, but neither do Christians. Some Christians support and practice abortion even if their avowed church is against it. Does that mean that they have no religion?
The standards for what qualifies as religious thinking continue to expand, it seems. Christianity teaches some very specific attitudes towards premarital sex, in particular. Different sects may interpret things differently, but the point is that the religion isn't silent on the subject. It's an issue, and the religion speaks to it, by name in fact.

What is the atheist teaching on premarital sex? I'm not asking whether individual atheists have attitudes on premarital sex, because that's not the same thing! Find me an atheist who says, "There are no deities, therefore premarital sex is moral or immoral." I'll wait. An atheist might say-and often does-I don't believe in religious teachings on premarital sex, therefore I'll create or go find a teaching on it I like. But that still wouldn't be atheism having a position.

quote:
Again, again, again-- it is not NUMERICAL. You don't need a hundred people to all believe and act in the same way to qualify as a religion. That really doesn't even happen in the Big Three-- not all Christians have the same beliefs, practices, views of god, etc., etc. Christianity is a vast variety of individual beliefs that are labelled under the umbrella term of "Christianity" because they have all one basic thing in common-- the belief in the Christian god(s) as creator of the universe. Just as "atheist" is an umbrella term of people who have the basic belief that the universe sprang from natural causes. Within atheism you can have sects (like Humanism), within Christianity you can have sects (like Methodists), each sect having widely varied dogmas, rituals, etc-- and even within sects you have varying levels of compliance or agreement with the dogmas and rituals. But that doesn't mean that someone who does not have the "official" set of beliefs and practices as a Christian sect has "no religion."
Now you're-again-claiming that atheism is making a positive claim about something. It isn't. "I don't believe in deities" is not an affirmative statement about the origins of the universe. Now at this point, you can behave as though you haven't been told this a half dozen times already, or you can listen. An atheist might say, if you'd actually ask instead of conducting both sides of the hypothetical conversation, "I don't believe in any deity. As for how the universe began, I believe it never did begin and has always been cycling through expansion and contraction," or, "I'm not convinced all of reality isn't an illusion," or, "I have no idea at all." It's not a 'I disbelieve in deities, therefore...', it's an entirely separate thought. It's not at all the same thing as 'I'm a Christian, therefore I believe God created the universe.'

It's not about numbers of people, although it's interesting you'd use that rebuttal since your argument has essentially been 'some atheists behave religiously, therefore it's a religion'.

quote:
And you can dogpile all you want with imaginary qualifications like being able to EXPEL someone from it, or otherwise it's "not a religion," but it is still by definition a pretty open concept that can be assigned simply to someone's personal beliefs, attitudes, and practices (personal-- just one person), so such imaginary qualifications are meaningless.
You can self-pity all you like, but it's not an 'imaginary' qualification but one that is often used. You're right to say that it IS an open concept, but you're broadening it to the point of meaninglessness. Star Trek fan is a religion, Yankee fan is a religion, dog show competitor is a religion, pescatarianism is a religion, *everything* in which some number of practitioners behave in similar ways is a religion.

quote:
The definition of "religion" you post is the same I posted. Only 1(b) mentions a mythological creature. And that means... "requires"? LOL. How does that work?
So what, at this point are you just going to pretend I didn't point out 'hey, #2 doesn't actually apply since your use of it is completely circular?' LOL. How does that work?

Another question you have repeatedly ignored: do you consider yourself to be religious dozens of times over, one for each religion you don't believe in? Of course not. No one does.

I don't know how to quote-box, but--

They absolutely ARE imaginary qualifications-- they don't exist within the definition but you are trying to put them there to confirm your ideas. You keep trying to narrow down the definition, when the definition has been stated and it has nothing to do with a laundry-list of "must have a means to expel members from it", etc. I think, again, that you are confusing religion with ORGANIZED religion. Yes, ORGANIZED religion has that laundry list, and ORGANIZED religion has specific viewpoints, but religious individuals do not have the same characteristics.

As a member of an atheist sect that DOES make positive claims-- it's not just "there is no god." That's not all it is at all, and I think that's the problem you're having is that you don't understand that atheism is not as simple as you seem to think it is. Just as Christianity is not as simple as you seem to think it is.

Same-sex marriage is an "issue" that is dealt with in Christianity-- and different sects and different individuals have some completely contradictory views on it. Some people would say, "I believe in God so I think we should have same-sex marriage BECAUSE..." or "I believe in God so I think we should NOT have same-sex marriage BECAUSE..."... or a Christian's view on marriage may not be tied to a belief in God AT ALL. Because EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT in their religious beliefs, even if they fall under an umbrella term expressing an organized religion or related set of religions. Just so-- someone can make the argument of "I don't believe in a deity so I think we should have same-sex marriage BECAUSE..." or "I don't believe in a deity so I think we should have same-sex marriage BECAUSE..."

And, like some Christians, some atheists don't connect their views on same-sex marriage to their religious beliefs at all. With the "imaginary qualifications"-- "atheists" don't have to address pre-marital sex to be religious. For that matter, different Christian sects take opposing views on different issues-- and different atheistic sects could also take opposing views on different issues. That doesn't mean that atheistic sects have to all talk about the same issues-- just as Christian sects don't talk about the same issues-- OR that atheists have to be concerned with the same issues that Christians are concerned with to be a "religion."

Your "Dog show competitions is a religion" spiel is an absurdity. "Star Trek" is not a religion unless it deals with religious beliefs. If someone believes that Star Trek has something fundamental to do with their religious beliefs, then yes, that is part of their religion. Why do you have a problem with this? People can have any crazy religious ideas they like-- it doesn't mean that if they don't fall in with the large organized religions that they don't HAVE a religion. It's ridiculous how important it is to you to degrade and invalidate what doesn't fall in line with your personal belief system. Some would say that Christianity or Islam or Scientology is just as crazy as a person whose religion is built around Star Trek-- but that doesn't keep these things from being religions.

I did not see you pointing out anything being "circular." And I still do not see how the definition requires a supernatural being, considering that only one small part of it even mentions a supernatural being. Please explain that further.

I don't consider myself to have dozens of religions. I consider myself to have one religion, which is an atheistic sect that makes positive claims about proper human action based on religious beliefs.

I'm not going around saying crap like "Christianity isn't a religion, it's just a conquest tool for subjugating the masses, blah di blah di blah"-- I have no interest in invalidating your religion-- why are you so damn interested in invalidating mine? What benefit do you get out of it?

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Kelly1101
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And my name is Kelly. It's at the start of every post I make.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
As a member of an atheist sect that DOES make positive claims-- it's not just "there is no god."
See, that's the thing. In the phrase "atheist sect," the important word is "sect." You cannot say "as an atheist;" you must say "as a member of an atheist sect." Because, yes, there are many philosophies and religions which permit or require atheism; as I've noted, both Unitarians and Buddhists can be atheists.

Based on this last post, I think your problem is that you don't actually know what a "religious belief" is, which makes it doubly problematic when you define "having a religion" as "having a religious belief." Your particular religion is an atheist one that apparently does a bad job of educating its members; that does not necessarily mean that all atheists are religious.

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