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  #1  
Old 07-20-2012
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I would like your perspective on the idea that atheism is a religion, so that I may further my own philosophy on this subject. I wish to withhold my opinion until I hear others.
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  #2  
Old 07-21-2012
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Atheism is not a religion. In fact, that's all it is. A lack of religion. That's the definition no matter how you look at it. There are some philosophies that are often associated with atheism such as skepticism, existentialism, and sometimes nihilism, but all that is required to be an atheist is the lack of belief in gods.

To paraphrase Bill Maher, atheism is to religion as abstinence is to sex.
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  #3  
Old 07-21-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killshot View Post
Atheism is not a religion. In fact, that's all it is. A lack of religion. That's the definition no matter how you look at it. There are some philosophies that are often associated with atheism such as skepticism, existentialism, and sometimes nihilism, but all that is required to be an atheist is the lack of belief in gods.

To paraphrase Bill Maher, atheism is to religion as abstinence is to sex.
In all honesty, I have to accept with the above; though some people like Hawkins like to consider themselves leaders of some great atheist movement, in truth there is no organisation, leaders or rules...etc, just a simply, good old fashioned lack of belief.
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  #4  
Old 07-21-2012
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A philosophy refers to the investigation of truth. Read another way, that means philosophy refers to the finding of beliefs based on one's own rational analysis.

People have told me before that Christianity in itself isn't a religion because there are many branches of Christianity; Lutheranism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Anglicanism, etc. They referred to Christianity itself as a philosophy and that the branches themselves are religions.

Accepting this, one would then reach the natural conclusion that a religion can be based on a philosophy.

And accepting that, one could then easily reach the conclusion that atheism is merely a philosophy with a different focus; that is, lack of belief of God.

What would one then call skepticism, existentialism, and forms of nihilism? One couldn't call them religions because of the lack of belief in a godly figure. They are simply philosophies that align with another, larger philosophy.

In that case, accepting "Christianity" as a philosophy because of the lack of specific alignment with a particular branch may be a bit inaccurate. In fact, the difference between a religion and a philosophy is merely the belief in a godly figure, or many godly figures.

Questioning that, one would then likely state that a religion cannot be a philosophy because a philosophy refers to truth and holy books are typically told as the word of God when they're really written by men guessing to what God wants, and therefore most likely inaccurate.

However, there are clearly those few I established in the gay marriage thread who are in the minority, who wish to find the truth in the context of their religion, rather than rejecting it outright or going wholesale for what may be proven as false because religion > truth.

Would those people be philosophers? More specifically...

-Philosophy
--Religion
---Religious Branches
----Accepters of Religious Branch (90%)
----Questioners of Religious Branch (10%)
--Atheism
---Atheistic Branches
----Accepters of Atheistic Branch
----Questioners of Atheistic Branch

Does this seem about right? Or would "Accepters" be in a different section than "Philosophy" because they inherently don't question what is true?
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  #5  
Old 07-21-2012
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A- as a prefix means without.

Theism means the belief in a god or gods.

Religion is a collection of beliefs.

Atheism is the lack of that collection of beliefs. It's not a religion, it's the lack of one.
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  #6  
Old 07-21-2012
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However that doesn't answer the question about philosophy's involvement in those two principles.
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  #7  
Old 07-21-2012
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I'm an atheist. I don't have a religion. I also find there to be a difference in how I define religion and philosophy: Philosophies are supported by rational reasoning; religions are supported on faith in whatever beliefs comprise it.

As for the atheist movement - yes, there is one, but just how other minority movements are, such as the gay rights movement: it's an attempt to publicize their existence and advocate social acceptance.
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  #8  
Old 07-21-2012
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People should have known better than to ever take Holy's bait on this one.
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  #9  
Old 07-21-2012
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Originally Posted by Mardigny View Post
I'm an atheist. I don't have a religion. I also find there to be a difference in how I define religion and philosophy: Philosophies are supported by rational reasoning; religions are supported on faith in whatever beliefs comprise it.
This has an assumption that an individual's faith in their religion is entirely lacking in reason, truth, and wisdom. This isn't always the case, which is why I referred to people who both accept and question their own religion.

"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." - Thomas Jefferson

This is an example of someone who questions religion with their own rational reasoning. Reason therefore has a place in faith, and therefore blurs the line between philosophy and religion.

TheOcean: If you're not going to contribute, don't troll. We get enough of that from Rebbie.
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  #10  
Old 07-21-2012
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Originally Posted by Mardigny View Post
I'm an atheist. I don't have a religion. I also find there to be a difference in how I define religion and philosophy: Philosophies are supported by rational reasoning; religions are supported on faith in whatever beliefs comprise it.

As for the atheist movement - yes, there is one, but just how other minority movements are, such as the gay rights movement: it's an attempt to publicize their existence and advocate social acceptance.
1=I would say philosophy is studying the world and trying to understand the balance between truth and perfection. This is how it differs from science; philosophy actually wishes to make ideals for how to live a better life, which in some peoples' opinions is closer to a religion; however it does this from an earthly standpoint! It is looking at how man and society can improve, not what some unproven god may or may not have said. In that point exists a line, maybe some say a vague line, but a line.
Science is Science
Philosophy is Philosophy
Religion is Religion
=They all may have traits or ideals which are similar or work in the same vain, but they are still clearly distinct and different ideologies.

2=Hmmm, to me there is not an atheism movement because atheism is the lack of something. It is a paradox to claim movement in nothingness. However, there are clearly atheists who have taken their lack of beliefs to the take level and made it an action form of believing in non-belief; it is just that the English language has yet to form a word for this evolution in ideology...neo-atheists? Though I do agree this movement is more of a pressure group than an academic or religious order. Religion is about finding a way to live a life closer to your spiritual self...etc, this group is about social reform and activism.

PS Ocean, I think Holy has matured and does just want a fun academic...y debate. ^^
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  #11  
Old 07-21-2012
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Originally Posted by HolyShadow View Post
This has an assumption that an individual's faith in their religion is entirely lacking in reason, truth, and wisdom. This isn't always the case, which is why I referred to people who both accept and question their own religion.
Could you give an example of when it would be logical?

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Originally Posted by HolyShadow View Post

"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." - Thomas Jefferson

This is an example of someone who questions religion with their own rational reasoning. Reason therefore has a place in faith, and therefore blurs the line between philosophy and religion.
Questioning religion does indeed involve rational reasoning; believing the teachings of the religion does not. I don't see how you got 'reason therefore has a place in faith' from that particular quote.

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Originally Posted by Fat1Fared View Post
2=Hmmm, to me there is not an atheism movement because atheism is the lack of something. It is a paradox to claim movement in nothingness. However, there are clearly atheists who have taken their lack of beliefs to the take level and made it an action form of believing in non-belief; it is just that the English language has yet to form a word for this evolution in ideology...neo-atheists? Though I do agree this movement is more of a pressure group than an academic or religious order. Religion is about finding a way to live a life closer to your spiritual self...etc, this group is about social reform and activism.
The atheism movement does not encourage people to believe in non-belief, or whatever, because you wouldn't join it unless you already were an atheist (supposedly.) Just because atheism is a 'lack of something' doesn't mean there's not a movement. It is indeed has more of a public message behind it that encourages people to at least accept that some people are atheists, and should not be seen as immoral or in need of conversion; besides that, other ideals include maintaining a freedom of church and state (Jefferson) and stopping religious forces from committing horrid crimes, hate speech, and intolerance. The one thing I've honestly seen the people at atheist conventions really bash on is ignorance.

I doubt either side is going to convince the other... but the idea that atheism is a religion really baffles me.
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2012
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I consider myself a non practicing Christian. I know all the values and try to apply them to my life. I don't try to force my religion on others, because I figure if people from other religions are doing they're thing and it's working for them, I won't mess with them about it. I don't pray as regularly in good times, but when things are bad, and nothing else seems to be working, I will pray as a last resort. I ask God for grace and strength within myself to deal with certain stressors, and I pray for change in others when my interference seems to hinder the situation.
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  #13  
Old 07-22-2012
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Originally Posted by Mardigny View Post
Questioning religion does indeed involve rational reasoning; believing the teachings of the religion does not. I don't see how you got 'reason therefore has a place in faith' from that particular quote.
Read my previous post about those who accept, and those who question their religion. One can obviously still apply reason to their faith and thus change their mind on issues while still believing the faith as a whole. There also exist people who just accept it.

I call your attention, however, to the statement you've made that questioning religion is rational whereas believing religion does not. Do you believe that the teachings of religion are all wrong, or do you think certain moral lessons from parables may benefit people in a real way? Furthermore, do you believe that the act of questioning in itself makes you a reasonable individual, regardless of whether or not your questioning ultimately leads you to believing in that religion?

Quote:
The atheism movement does not encourage people to believe in non-belief, or whatever, because you wouldn't join it unless you already were an atheist (supposedly.) Just because atheism is a 'lack of something' doesn't mean there's not a movement. It is indeed has more of a public message behind it that encourages people to at least accept that some people are atheists, and should not be seen as immoral or in need of conversion; besides that, other ideals include maintaining a freedom of church and state (Jefferson) and stopping religious forces from committing horrid crimes, hate speech, and intolerance. The one thing I've honestly seen the people at atheist conventions really bash on is ignorance.
"Intolerance" is a tricky subject. I've seen cases wherein extreme atheist groups attempt to remove, say, statues from public parks because they display religious figures, and thus claim that to be intolerant. However, I can give most atheists the benefit of the doubt and state that I don't think they align with political atheists very much. As Fared has alluded to as a pressure group set on reform an activism, however, they do exist.

Personally I separate those who align in politics and those that align in philosophy differently, with philosophy representing an attempt to find the truth and politics referring to those who distort the truth for gains that may or may not be selfish.

Typically philosophical atheists are ones that have observed, considered, and made their choice, stating reason as their banner, and generally don't want to hassle people. There are many teenage atheists out there who think they have it all figured out, like there are many teenage homosexuals or heterosexuals who think they already know everything there is to know about their respective sexual orientations, but really they haven't experienced enough to really make that call. However, I feel like the ones politicized are inherently... the political ones. In that, I mean the ones who think they're right and try to force their being right down everyone else's throats without really realizing they act exactly as what they hate about mainstream religion.

I view philosophy as an eternal quest for the truth. I feel people who claim they've found the truth and don't question themselves at all are just... strange. I have a need to question myself constantly. As Fared said, I've matured.

Quote:
I doubt either side is going to convince the other... but the idea that atheism is a religion really baffles me.
I used to think that it is indeed a religion, but that's before I reformed my way of thinking to philosophy being the central point.

Last edited by HolyShadow; 07-22-2012 at 02:00 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-22-2012
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Originally Posted by HolyShadow View Post
Read my previous post about those who accept, and those who question their religion. One can obviously still apply reason to their faith and thus change their mind on issues while still believing the faith as a whole. There also exist people who just accept it.
I was referring mainly to people who accept religion on the whole without ever thinking about its illogicality.

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Originally Posted by HolyShadow View Post
I call your attention, however, to the statement you've made that questioning religion is rational whereas believing religion does not. Do you believe that the teachings of religion are all wrong, or do you think certain moral lessons from parables may benefit people in a real way? Furthermore, do you believe that the act of questioning in itself makes you a reasonable individual, regardless of whether or not your questioning ultimately leads you to believing in that religion?
I believe that the teachings in at least the three major abrahamic religions which are positive do not make up for the sheer amount of violence, oppression, misogyny, and flat-out odd arbitrariness that is supposedly holy law. In addition I think that for some people who literally believe in prayer, it could perhaps act as an effective placebo.

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Originally Posted by HolyShadow View Post
"Intolerance" is a tricky subject. I've seen cases wherein extreme atheist groups attempt to remove, say, statues from public parks because they display religious figures, and thus claim that to be intolerant. However, I can give most atheists the benefit of the doubt and state that I don't think they align with political atheists very much. As Fared has alluded to as a pressure group set on reform an activism, however, they do exist.
Could you link me? Some atheists are horrible people, yes, and things like that don't make much sense. But it's because they're bad people. I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to remove a religious figure, but then again, if it's on government-controlled public land it could be seen as government support of religion which I highly dislike.

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Originally Posted by HolyShadow View Post
Personally I separate those who align in politics and those that align in philosophy differently, with philosophy representing an attempt to find the truth and politics referring to those who distort the truth for gains that may or may not be selfish.
This is true.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyShadow View Post
Typically philosophical atheists are ones that have observed, considered, and made their choice, stating reason as their banner, and generally don't want to hassle people. There are many teenage atheists out there who think they have it all figured out, like there are many teenage homosexuals or heterosexuals who think they already know everything there is to know about their respective sexual orientations, but really they haven't experienced enough to really make that call. However, I feel like the ones politicized are inherently... the political ones. In that, I mean the ones who think they're right and try to force their being right down everyone else's throats without really realizing they act exactly as what they hate about mainstream religion.
I'm more of a philosophical atheist as per your definition, I think, in that I don't go out of my way to shove it down other's throats irl. It's still sore for me though.

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I view philosophy as an eternal quest for the truth. I feel people who claim they've found the truth and don't question themselves at all are just... strange. I have a need to question myself constantly. As Fared said, I've matured.
What science on the whole continues to provide as a knowledge base to me is far more credible than any belief system invoking something supernatural. I agree in that those who like science should be willing to accept new evidence for new scientific discoveries with grace.

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I used to think that it is indeed a religion, but that's before I reformed my way of thinking to philosophy being the central point.
I don't know how many atheists I know would think that it's a philosophy, because in your everyday life it's not something you think about that often. But it's most certainly not a religion, being just a lack thereof.
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  #15  
Old 07-22-2012
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Could you link me? Some atheists are horrible people, yes, and things like that don't make much sense. But it's because they're bad people. I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to remove a religious figure, but then again, if it's on government-controlled public land it could be seen as government support of religion which I highly dislike.
Regardless of whether it shows support for a particular religion isn't important. It's more important whether they prevent other religions from exercising. I'd think a better world would be one wherein everyone can practice as they wish, rather than nobody practicing at all. In terms of extremes, the former is definitely better.

I'll find a link for you eventually but digging around for that stuff will take a while.

Quote:
What science on the whole continues to provide as a knowledge base to me is far more credible than any belief system invoking something supernatural. I agree in that those who like science should be willing to accept new evidence for new scientific discoveries with grace.
Can science tell you what an ethical choice is for someone? That's what philosophy is for. Science can only tell you what is right in the realm of the sciences. If a person draws their philosophy from religion, then that's just how their experience manifests itself.

To be fair, philosophy used to be a form of pseudo-psychological science iirc, but that's since been replaced by psychology.

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I don't know how many atheists I know would think that it's a philosophy, because in your everyday life it's not something you think about that often. But it's most certainly not a religion, being just a lack thereof.
As long as they think it's true, and value truth as wisdom, it's a philosophy.
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  #16  
Old 07-29-2012
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I consider myself as an atheist, and although I don't see it as a religion, I'm told a lot by people around me that it is a religion, in a way. Religion requires faith, and atheism is, basically, a faith or belief that there is no God. Then again, my parents tell me I can't even call myself an atheist, since I don't believe in any specific religion but I do believe some things about the after life and the concept of karma. So maybe I'm just spouting rubbish and what I'm saying doesn't mean anything.
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  #17  
Old 07-29-2012
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Sounds like you're agnostic, or spiritual.
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  #18  
Old 12-28-2012
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Atheism is just spiritual-default. Some people just need to fill in all life's boxes.
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  #19  
Old 03-10-2013
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I agree with several of the comments above about philosophy and how it relates to religion.
But just as Christianity is the belief that Jesus is our Messiah, atheism is the belief that there is no god, no purpose in life, and no reason for the world's existence. Atheism is based on the belief rejecting the existence of any god, and thus rejecting all meaning in life. Despite atheists' claims in their religion, belief, or whatever you wish to call it - atheism- believing in any form of moral counters the base belief that there is no moral, no conscience. Atheism claims that there is no moral basis to life, therefor such things like killing the innocent, stealing what's not yours, and breaking the law can't be called morally wrong. Many atheists also believe that their religion is one with science and natural law, however the natural law of cause and effect decrees that all things have a cause. Even with this law in play, there has been no answer to the very cause of this world, creating yet another hole in the atheistic beliefs. To believe anything sets the foundations for a worldview, which is how you view the world, and that worldview is the foundation to your religion, your beliefs.

I could go on forever, but to sum it up, yes, I think that atheism is just another religion, another worldview, and another belief about life.

And in case you were wondering, I am a Christian~ c:
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Old 03-10-2013
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Originally Posted by ShizukaMikudou View Post
I agree with several of the comments above about philosophy and how it relates to religion.
But just as Christianity is the belief that Jesus is our Messiah, atheism is the belief that there is no god, no purpose in life, and no reason for the world's existence. Atheism is based on the belief rejecting the existence of any god, and thus rejecting all meaning in life. Despite atheists' claims in their religion, belief, or whatever you wish to call it - atheism- believing in any form of moral counters the base belief that there is no moral, no conscience. Atheism claims that there is no moral basis to life, therefor such things like killing the innocent, stealing what's not yours, and breaking the law can't be called morally wrong. Many atheists also believe that their religion is one with science and natural law, however the natural law of cause and effect decrees that all things have a cause. Even with this law in play, there has been no answer to the very cause of this world, creating yet another hole in the atheistic beliefs. To believe anything sets the foundations for a worldview, which is how you view the world, and that worldview is the foundation to your religion, your beliefs.

I could go on forever, but to sum it up, yes, I think that atheism is just another religion, another worldview, and another belief about life.

And in case you were wondering, I am a Christian~ c:
That is a generalization. Atheism, in its purest definition, does not require you to have an active belief about gods. It is the lack of belief in said god or gods. That is a very important distinction.

You hardly have to believe in a god to have a system of morals either. Neither does lacking belief in god mean believing that life is meaningless.

I don't really intend to engage in a religious discussion, but the things you said there were equivalent to somebody else generalizing all Christians as religious zealots who will kill any infidels, similar to the common view of the Islamic belief.

In any case, Atheism is most certainly not a religion.
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  #21  
Old 03-10-2013
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That is a generalization. Atheism, in its purest definition, does not require you to have an active belief about gods. It is the lack of belief in said god or gods. That is a very important distinction.

You hardly have to believe in a god to have a system of morals either. Neither does lacking belief in god mean believing that life is meaningless.
Actually, there is already something with the definition of "does not claim to have a religion" - Agnosticism. Yes, atheism is the belief that there is no god, meaning it does lack the belief in any known god. What atheism does believe, though, is as said, the lack of any being called "god".

Believing in a god does not set the foundation for a system of morals either. It's the worldview that sets the foundation for every belief, including morals. Why do we believe killing innocent people is wrong? What tells us that breaking the law is wrong? Is it our instincts? Our conscience? Even in following any set of laws, we are accepting something else as a higher importance and in a way, giving that thing the title of "god". Atheism in claiming that there is no god claims that laws and morals hold no influence over a person's own choices, which in fact makes every person his or her own god. A "god" does not always label some powerful, magical person or statue. A god is any thing that people respect regard as more powerful than themselves.

So it is in fact an inverted belief to think that atheism is being generalized. ^^

There are phrases that self destruct, such as "There is no truth" and "Atheists don't believe in anything", because then "There is no truth" must not be a truth either, and to say that "Atheists don't believe in any religion" means that atheists don't believe in atheism, the belief that there is no "god", either. xD
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  #22  
Old 03-10-2013
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Edit: too lazy to swap, but muddled Atheism and Agnosticiam somewhat

Im afraid, in what you are describing is not Atheism, but nihilism.

Agnosticism is being uncertain or disinterested in there being a God, but is accepting that there could be.

Atheism is the belief that there is no God because there is no scientific evidence of God. Should proof of a God be shown, they are willing to follow. You are also missing the point of the term. Theism translates into god, monotheism is a belief in a single god, while polytheism is many. You also keep confusing 'religion' with faith. Religion implies a collective group following a particular set of spiritual beliefs, while faith is the beliefs of one person and one person alone. While you can use language and throw it around to make the claim that Atheism's a religion, it is more putting your faith in science and science alone to find the answers.

Atheists and agnostics would take morals either as a cultural construct or a biological instinct, such as we will not kill a member of our own tribe/family unless it is necessary.

Nihilism, what you are descibing, is the absolute belief that nothing beyond what is physically here exists, there is no moral vitue, and everything we do is fundamentally pointless. There are even more extreme subgenres of this such as antinatalism, which states we should stop having children because it only causes more suffering.

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  #23  
Old 03-10-2013
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Originally Posted by ShizukaMikudou View Post
Actually, there is already something with the definition of "does not claim to have a religion" - Agnosticism. Yes, atheism is the belief that there is no god, meaning it does lack the belief in any known god. What atheism does believe, though, is as said, the lack of any being called "god".

Believing in a god does not set the foundation for a system of morals either. It's the worldview that sets the foundation for every belief, including morals. Why do we believe killing innocent people is wrong? What tells us that breaking the law is wrong? Is it our instincts? Our conscience? Even in following any set of laws, we are accepting something else as a higher importance and in a way, giving that thing the title of "god". Atheism in claiming that there is no god claims that laws and morals hold no influence over a person's own choices, which in fact makes every person his or her own god. A "god" does not always label some powerful, magical person or statue. A god is any thing that people respect regard as more powerful than themselves.

So it is in fact an inverted belief to think that atheism is being generalized. ^^

There are phrases that self destruct, such as "There is no truth" and "Atheists don't believe in anything", because then "There is no truth" must not be a truth either, and to say that "Atheists don't believe in any religion" means that atheists don't believe in atheism, the belief that there is no "god", either. xD
That is also not true. Agnosticism is merely not making a claim that there is or is not a god and is generally applied to believing in an undefined higher power. They hold that such things are inherently unknowable.

As I said. Atheism is the lack of a belief in a god in its most basic form. Somebody who does believe that there isn't a god can be considered an atheist, true. But a religious zealot can still be considered a Christian in that same vein. It's the distinction between lacking belief in something and claiming to have proof that something does not exist.

What you are doing is combining the two under one blanket statement. That is the exact definition of making a generalization.

I did not claim that believing in a god sets the foundation for a system of morals, though a large number of religion practitioners do treat it that way.

Now...

You appear to be using two definitions for 'claiming there is or is not a god' here. Certainly, things of higher importance can be considered a "god" to somebody, in a very loose sense of the term. But that's not what the core of the religious debate is about. It is literally about whether something made creation of its own will or it did not. To apply the term 'religion' as loosely as you're trying to do destroys any applicability it can have even to itself.

For instance, take somebody who values hard work and achievement above anything else. Under your logic, they would consider such concepts the driving force and motivation behind their life, or their "god". But you can hardly say Atheists are claiming that does not exist. It is simply watering down the concept of "religion" and "god" in what is honestly a pretty twisted logic. It does not apply in context.

I will say it again. Atheism cannot be defined as a "belief". Its core definition is a lack of belief. Agnosticism is the stance that the existence of a deity cannot be proven or disproven. These are two very different stances, where Atheism's core is that there is no proof of a higher power in the context of religion.

The sentence you posted,

Quote:
"Atheists don't believe in any religion" means that atheists don't believe in atheism, the belief that there is no "god", either. xD
In particular is fallacious. Atheism is not a belief system or a religion. There is no logical fallacy in atheists not "believing in any religion", as you put it, as Atheism is not, again, a religion. It is not a belief. It is a lack of belief.

If this isn't coming across clear enough, just look at the roots of the word, A- and -Theism.

Theism is the belief that at least one deity exists, at its base.

The root "A-" is used to denote an opposite concept.

"Atheism", then, is the lack of a belief that at least one deity exists.
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Old 03-10-2013
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In Agnosticism, you are unsure of what you believe in, but refrain from claiming to believe in anything because of that. That is what "not believing in a religion" is.

And yes, many atheists and agnostics do have morals which they regard as instincts, and they follow these instincts, because they believe that their instincts tell them what is morally just, and in this precise way, they regard themselves as their own god.

Nihilism is like the most extreme form of atheism in that yes, it does believe that absolutely nothing is of value and there is nothing else left. Nihilism could easily be, in this way, categorized as a strict subdivision of atheism.

So while they are considered two things, Nihilism, in all its beliefs and worldview, is more like a subdivision of atheism, as is antinatalism. The difference is that atheists actually do believe in a set of laws, which are the religion known as atheism. Atheists generally follow what the individual thinks is right, making the individual his or her own god.
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Old 03-10-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShizukaMikudou View Post
In Agnosticism, you are unsure of what you believe in, but refrain from claiming to believe in anything because of that. That is what "not believing in a religion" is.

And yes, many atheists and agnostics do have morals which they regard as instincts, and they follow these instincts, because they believe that their instincts tell them what is morally just, and in this precise way, they regard themselves as their own god.

Nihilism is like the most extreme form of atheism in that yes, it does believe that absolutely nothing is of value and there is nothing else left. Nihilism could easily be, in this way, categorized as a strict subdivision of atheism.

So while they are considered two things, Nihilism, in all its beliefs and worldview, is more like a subdivision of atheism, as is antinatalism. The difference is that atheists actually do believe in a set of laws, which are the religion known as atheism. Atheists generally follow what the individual thinks is right, making the individual his or her own god.
That's not a religion you're describing. That's an individual methodology. As I said in my last post, you can't water down the term 'religion' so much that everybody can have an individualized one without completely destroying any applicability of said term.

Breathing is pretty important to me. Would that be considered my god? No. That's pretty silly. And you could hardly say that, in that context, atheism would involve lobbying against breath-gods.

You're confusing the term 'religion' with 'anything anybody holds as fact'. That is not what religion is.
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Old 03-10-2013
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Obvious troll is obvious.
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Old 03-10-2013
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In all plain reality, an atheist saying that atheism is not a religion is exactly like saying, "I'm an atheist, but I don't believe in atheism."

I think the definition that we aren't reading right is the definition of religion. It seems that religion is being treated like a cult or a ritual. Even the given definition in a few dictionaries, such as "The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods." is not nearly the same definition of religion being used here. Everyone has a religion, and everyone has a worldview. The definition of religion that I am using here is practically the same as the definition of a worldview, which is "A particular philosophy of life or conception of the world."

Besides, even if you were to accept the former definition as the definition of a religion, it would still apply. If you are your own god, then you believe in atheism, the belief that there is no other being greater than yourself.

I don't feel the need to repeat myself either, since what has been said has been said. But for one, breathing isn't a thing or even a person. It's an action. It is an important action, because we need to breathe in order to live, because our own lives are instinctively important to us. An atheist believes that his or her own instincts are just, and that his or her life is important, and that himself or herself is his or her own god.

Though the concept is very deep, that is simply what I believe and have been taught in my Apologetics class. I'm not trying to force any facts or truths on anyone, only offering a different perspective and possibility. c:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zairak View Post
"Atheism", then, is the lack of a belief that at least one deity exists.
So Atheism is the worldview and belief that the world lacks a "deity", making it another set or system of beliefs, another worldview, and another religion among others.
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Old 03-10-2013
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I'm not sure why you're trying to redefine a word. Atheism is not a belief. It is the lack of belief. That's the word. Killshot summed it up best in the second post of this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by killshot View Post
Atheism is not a religion. In fact, that's all it is. A lack of religion. That's the definition no matter how you look at it. There are some philosophies that are often associated with atheism such as skepticism, existentialism, and sometimes nihilism, but all that is required to be an atheist is the lack of belief in gods.

To paraphrase Bill Maher, atheism is to religion as abstinence is to sex.
As he said. Trying to classify atheism as a religion is like trying to classify abstinence as a form of sexual activity. It is not. It is the lack of sexual activity.

To make another example, it's like trying to classify zero as a number in the same context that one, two, and so on are considered numbers. Yes, it represents a counting concept the same way one, two, and so on do. But it doesn't represent a number. It represents the lack of a number.

As an aside, it is incredibly offensive for you to imply that atheists think of themselves as gods. It is not a belief. It is an organized movement in the same way that religious zealots have an organized movement: That is, people trying to use a concept to force their view on the world. It is not appropriate to generalize the way you are.

I will allow your statement about differing definitions of religion, but I touched upon that earlier. You can't define religion to be the same thing as a worldview. It destroys the meaning of the word and renders any discussion pointless.
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Old 03-11-2013
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OK, as my view is basically that of Zairak's, Killshot's and Grim's I will not brother repeating what they have already said, but I would like to clarify a few terms for everyone's benefit.

Atheism=The lack of a belief in God/Gods. Simple as that. Though, in twisted logic 'some' Atheists, such as myself possibly, could be defined as believing in a lack of belief due to the strength of their convictions, the point remains that a positive plus a negative still makes a negative. (It is also worth noting that Atheists who do take an anti-religious stance do not need to be Atheists to do this. Their beliefs or convictions against religion are against the religion's rules, teachings and practices, not the idea of God itself, and as such, their actions actually in truth have f-all to do with their atheism and everything to do with their personal/social issues with a particular religion/religions, issues which those who believe in God could equally hold.)

Religion=This is not the belief in God. Religion is a defined organisation based on a commonly held set of 'spiritual' teachings, rules and practices used to find holy or spiritual enlightenment. This is why, even if Atheism is a belief (which it is not to most peoples' minds), it is still not a religion. To be Atheist takes no action at all, there are no rules, teaching or practicies, and there is certainly no holy or spiritual enlightenment to it; it is just a state of being. As I said, some Atheists may be more open about their Atheism, but that does not make them anymore or less of an Atheist because other than their lack of belief, there is no common practice or anything of such regard required to be considered an Atheist.

Philosophy=Religion is not a philosophy, philosophy again is not something defined by teachings, rules or common practices, it is a school of reasoned thought about culture, man and existence. Philosophy is arguably a brand of academic thought and in that regard can be part of an organisation/other organisations, but fundamentally philosophy is about studying and learning through reason. Religion on the other hand, as I stated, is about finding holy or spiritual enlightenment.

Agnosticism=This is about accepting the lack of evidence for/against God and thus abstaining from a conclusive answer. Note conclusive, that does not mean they do not have any opinion.

Belief=To think something is correct/true, even if one does not have the evidence to prove it so. Note, you believe in anything, not just god, so even if one does not accept the logic that + plus - = -, and holds fast to the idea that Atheism is a belief in not believing, that does not make Atheism a religion, it just makes it a twisted form of belief; however, I will now go on to explain why I think calling it a belief is wrong.

Faith=(This is important, because this is different to belief) to believe that something is truth/right, even if you cannot prove it to be so. This is much stronger than belief, and that is why it is only a noun, not a verb. Believing is something we just do, we do it a lot actually. Faith, however, is something we have (not something we do) and to have faith therefore, requires us to have faith in something. You can have faith in a belief, but you cannot believe in faith. That is the key difference, and this is why religious people often say they have faith in god, and not just believe in him. Someone who believes that God exists, may not have faith in him. Anyway, I am just digressing now, my point here is that you cannot have faith in Atheism because there is nothing there to have faith in, which is why I would assert that it is not a belief, let alone a religion. It is lack of them.

Morals=A commonly held set of ideals by a group or culture based on a range of academic, religious, cultural, social, and scientific practices and norms. So yes, religion can be used to form morals, but to claim religion is the only mandate upon which morality can be defined by or based upon is wrong. Furthermore, to say that without religion morals would just be instincts is crazy. Other animals base their actions on instincts, but humans are far more self-aware than that, and as such, we base our morality on a range of reasoned and logical deductions, even the unreasonable ones. This is why humans experience social evolution as well as physical. PS As final point, the Law is neither moral nor religiously motivated, but I cannot be bothered to define Law when the confusion its definition was small, unimportant just not worth the hours it would take me to give any sort of adequate definition of what the Law really is. Though I guess I could explain what it is meant to do/ not do easily enough.

There are probably other terms which require further definition, but for now, I feel this clears up any misunderstandings which have been displayed in a way which is detrimental to the progression of this debate.
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Old 03-11-2013
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