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CommunitarianKevin

Atheism as a religion

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It's pretty simple when you think about it. We are all born without belief in god(s) of all types, therefore we are born atheist by the definition of atheism. Religion is learned and taught, without this atheism would not exist. Religious people that become atheist are just returning to their original uncorrupted state of mind. So no, atheism is not a religion.

I'll quote a few things I have heard about it that I am sure everyone has probably heard by now.

Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby, or, atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sexual position. etc...

“Atheists obviously have a creed. Some atheists deny that they believe anything. Is bald a hair color, they ask? But this denial is disingenuous. In fact, atheism is more doctrinal than any of the great religions. By definition, atheists agree on the dogma that there is no god, just as monotheists agree on the dogma that there is one. Belief is their preoccupation, as anyone who has read even one book on the subject can attest.” (p 324)

But that is just his opinion. You do not have to agree with it. :tu:

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"Atheists obviously have a creed. Some atheists deny that they believe anything. Is bald a hair color, they ask? But this denial is disingenuous. In fact, atheism is more doctrinal than any of the great religions. By definition, atheists agree on the dogma that there is no god, just as monotheists agree on the dogma that there is one. Belief is their preoccupation, as anyone who has read even one book on the subject can attest." (p 324)

But that is just his opinion. You do not have to agree with it. :tu:

I sure don't!:no:

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I sure don't!:no:

I would say his quote "this is disingenuous" is one of his worse points. Though I agree (based on experience,) saying someone is disingenuous is a very hard claim to prove.

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Without religion there would be no atheism. Atheism is dependant on religion. One could argue that it would still be atheism if everybody was atheist. I wouldn't though, since atheism is derived from theism. My non-belief in gods or supernatural really has nothing to do with religion, but since there is religion and I don't partake they have to call me something.

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Without religion there would be no atheism. Atheism is dependant on religion. One could argue that it would still be atheism if everybody was atheist. I wouldn't though, since atheism is derived from theism. My non-belief in gods or supernatural really has nothing to do with religion, but since there is religion and I don't partake they have to call me something.

I pretty much agree with you except for one thing........ Atheism exists because of religion as a counter to religion. It is not dependent on religion.

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Atheism and religion differentiates in the respect that it simply professes a lack of a belief in a god. It has nothing to do with the purpose, cause or nature of the universe, even though certain beliefs are generally associated with atheism. Theism is also separate from religion, as it only professes belief in a god, and a belief in a god doesn't necessarily indicate a belief in an almighty creator; we all have our own definition of a god.

If one doesnt have a belief in a creator god, then one either must have an alternative ideology as to how the universe and ourselves came about (evolution as an example) or never have considered this point.

Thus, in general, atheists must, and will, have an alternative ideology about human history and existence to many theists.

If you dont believe in an interventionist god, then you will need to compose other rational, logical, and workable conclusions, about why certain things happen in life, or do not. Again, a disbelief in god forces itself into other parts of a persons world view and character just as a belief in god(s) does.

You are right that religion differs, in its codification, from belief, which requires none. Yet, even belief has a logical set of conclusions parameters extrapolatons, etc. A belief doesnt stand alone in a persons mind, as a belief. It is formed from, and influences in turn, all we see and understand about the nature of ourselves, our environment and the relationship between self and all non- self.

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It's pretty simple when you think about it. We are all born without belief in god(s) of all types, therefore we are born atheist by the definition of atheism. Religion is learned and taught, without this atheism would not exist. Religious people that become atheist are just returning to their original uncorrupted state of mind. So no, atheism is not a religion.

I'll quote a few things I have heard about it that I am sure everyone has probably heard by now.

Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby, or, atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sexual position. etc...

One can more properly and correctly reverse this argument. We are born without anything except potential, but our spaience causes us to believe in and create gods (this is clear because only sapient creatures recognise, create, or can perceive gods.)

It is atheism which is an "unnnatural" and learned element of human thought. That doesnt, in itself make it wrong, especiallyy when chosing a belief/disbelief system.

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One can more properly and correctly reverse this argument. We are born without anything except potential, but our spaience causes us to believe in and create gods (this is clear because only sapient creatures recognise, create, or can perceive gods.)

It is atheism which is an "unnnatural" and learned element of human thought. That doesnt, in itself make it wrong, especiallyy when chosing a belief/disbelief system.

I think I've been over this before with you along time ago. Atheism is the natural state. Even though we don't comprehend it at an early age.

Sapience does not cause us to believe in god. It is learned from parents, teachers, and the church. If a person grows up in an isolated area devoid of all gods and religion, he will just be........ He won't be religious because no one is there to teach it and he won't necessarily be an Atheist either because you have to have religion to have Atheism. He/she will just be a person getting on with their lives.

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One can more properly and correctly reverse this argument. We are born without anything except potential, but our spaience causes us to believe in and create gods (this is clear because only sapient creatures recognise, create, or can perceive gods.)

It is atheism which is an "unnnatural" and learned element of human thought. That doesnt, in itself make it wrong, especiallyy when chosing a belief/disbelief system.

There's a lot of evidence to back up this point of view. We're pattern seeking animals and this has clearly conferred an evolutionary advantage to us - it's better to mistake a rock for a bear than vice versa.

We often find connections where there aren't any, eg star constellations.

Linked to this is the readiness to find particular meaning and significance in randomness, and beliefs in deities flow easily from this. It's no coincidence that all cultures developed beliefs in the supernatural. The dogma and codes that inevitably follow have evidently helped humans to cooperate, making the whole greater than the sum of it's parts.

I think you're right, atheism is "unnatural' when viewed this way. Doesn't make it wrong though (as you point out) and I think that one can construct a pretty solid argument that we no longer need to believe.

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If one doesnt have a belief in a creator god, then one either must have an alternative ideology as to how the universe and ourselves came about (evolution as an example) or never have considered this point.

Absolutely. I maintain the belief that we were created as a result of physics and chemistry, not some silly old man with a white beard in the clouds.

If you dont believe in an interventionist god, then you will need to compose other rational, logical, and workable conclusions, about why certain things happen in life, or do not. Again, a disbelief in god forces itself into other parts of a persons world view and character just as a belief in god(s) does.

Science can offer a pretty rational explanation for just about anything. Even in the cases that science does not have an answer, that doesn't mean that religion does. When it comes to an explanation, I would much rather accept the scientific point of view over the religious one (especially since most of the explanations are substantiated through evidence).

You are right that religion differs, in its codification, from belief, which requires none. Yet, even belief has a logical set of conclusions parameters extrapolatons, etc. A belief doesnt stand alone in a persons mind, as a belief. It is formed from, and influences in turn, all we see and understand about the nature of ourselves, our environment and the relationship between self and all non- self.

I think I've used this same analogy about half of a dozen times...

What's the difference between the man who audibly perceives Jesus' instructions to kill people, versus the one who audibly perceives Jesus' instructions of positive guidance?

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I think I've been over this before with you along time ago. Atheism is the natural state. Even though we don't comprehend it at an early age.

Sapience does not cause us to believe in god. It is learned from parents, teachers, and the church. If a person grows up in an isolated area devoid of all gods and religion, he will just be........ He won't be religious because no one is there to teach it and he won't necessarily be an Atheist either because you have to have religion to have Atheism. He/she will just be a person getting on with their lives.

Many biologists would argue that religious belief or that type of belief system is genetic and evolutionary. If that is the case, atheism is unnatural. Who is to say that a person isolated from all gods and all religion will not form a type of religion? This was the case at one period of time. Unless you want to argue that religion predates humans, religion is a human construct. Humans created religion, which makes it a natural human trait. The only way religion is not a natural human trait is if there is, in fact, a super natural interaction with humans, or there is something such as aliens that humans mistakenly took for something supernatural. I think humans have a predetermined mindset that makes them more susceptible to religious beliefs or not susceptible to religious beliefs. If they are atheist it is either religious or non-religious based on this predetermined mindset.

Why do you keep capitalizing atheism? Is atheism some how a proper noun to you?

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Posted (edited)

Many biologists would argue that religious belief or that type of belief system is genetic and evolutionary. If that is the case, atheism is unnatural. Who is to say that a person isolated from all gods and all religion will not form a type of religion? This was the case at one period of time. Unless you want to argue that religion predates humans, religion is a human construct. Humans created religion, which makes it a natural human trait.

I don't think religion or the study of human belief systems falls under the expertise of biologists; you're probably thinking of cultural anthropologists, as well as other disciplines.

I personally do not believe that atheism should be termed "unnatural" just because it's historically been less common than theism. Anything that promotes cooperation and survival will be selected for. So if atheism were to function at a community and societal level as theism has in the past, then traits leading people to become atheists would be selected for. I think it's more correct to say that ideology is a natural part of human societies, a phenomenon arising out of social organization and culture.

A person isolated from all concepts of gods and religion will not form a religion because religion requires at least a group of individuals--a culture--to be properly labeled as such. At most such a person might be expected to anthropomorphize nature and perhaps begin to worship and make offerings to imagined forces. This could not properly be called a religion, because it is not in the context of a culture, but rather an individual belief system.

Edited by Cybele

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Without religion there would be no atheism. Atheism is dependant on religion. One could argue that it would still be atheism if everybody was atheist. I wouldn't though, since atheism is derived from theism. My non-belief in gods or supernatural really has nothing to do with religion, but since there is religion and I don't partake they have to call me something.

I pretty much agree with you except for one thing........ Atheism exists because of religion as a counter to religion. It is not dependent on religion.

I disgree with both of you on some point.

Atheism, as long as it is not dependent on religion, as much as I don't think it exists as a counter to religion.

Atheism is a counter to the beleif in a God. A religion dosen't require the beleif in a God.

So I would simply say that atheism exists as a counter to one specific beleif. Not to a whole system like a religion.

My thoughts.

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I disgree with both of you on some point.

Atheism, as long as it is not dependent on religion, as much as I don't think it exists as a counter to religion.

Atheism is a counter to the beleif in a God. A religion dosen't require the beleif in a God.

So I would simply say that atheism exists as a counter to one specific beleif. Not to a whole system like a religion.

My thoughts.

As there are different types of religions with and without a belief in god, there are different views on Atheism. In my view (As well as others), Atheism is not just a counter to a belief in god, but also to the entire system of religion as well as spirituality. You disagree with me and that's fine. Just be open to the fact that I and others like myself don't want to be put in a box that constrains one's views.

Thanks for your thoughts!:)

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Atheism means not believing in a god or gods. I'm not sure how not believing in something is a religion. That just doesn't make sense to me.

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I disgree with both of you on some point.

Atheism, as long as it is not dependent on religion, as much as I don't think it exists as a counter to religion.

Atheism is a counter to the beleif in a God. A religion dosen't require the beleif in a God.

So I would simply say that atheism exists as a counter to one specific beleif. Not to a whole system like a religion.

My thoughts.

Excellent post and well thought out

Atheism cannot be a belief system like religion.. I agree with that and I have read a lot on that very thing... To make it a system, you need more than one belief... The add ons that a few Atheists do in the spare time as a club or whatever.. is not what atheism is... I do not find anything intelligent that says it is a religion or like one... No real logic in that... But nothing can be stated as expert info...it is all just a bunch of opinions.. and opinions are like rear ends...everyone has one lol

If Atheism is like a religion... THEN ......Not collecting stamps is like a hobby !!!

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Many biologists would argue that religious belief or that type of belief system is genetic and evolutionary. If that is the case, atheism is unnatural. Who is to say that a person isolated from all gods and all religion will not form a type of religion? This was the case at one period of time. Unless you want to argue that religion predates humans, religion is a human construct. Humans created religion, which makes it a natural human trait. The only way religion is not a natural human trait is if there is, in fact, a super natural interaction with humans, or there is something such as aliens that humans mistakenly took for something supernatural. I think humans have a predetermined mindset that makes them more susceptible to religious beliefs or not susceptible to religious beliefs. If they are atheist it is either religious or non-religious based on this predetermined mindset.

Humans also created slavery......does that make it natural?

Why do you keep capitalizing atheism? Is atheism some how a proper noun to you?

I don't understand your fascination with grammar and punctuation. On these are forums I can express myself how I see fit as long as I adhere to the forums rules.

Questioning ones spelling, grammar, and punctuation are against the forums rules.......so please stop! I don't want to have to repeat this to you!

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Posted (edited)

As there are different types of religions with and without a belief in god, there are different views on Atheism. In my view (As well as others), Atheism is not just a counter to a belief in god, but also to the entire system of religion as well as spirituality. You disagree with me and that's fine. Just be open to the fact that I and others like myself don't want to be put in a box that constrains one's views.

Thanks for your thoughts!:)

I disagree with you too..sorry... For example I read up on Buddhism....And it is noted it is strictly not a religion...it is known as a philosophy

Here is some info I read....and again it is just an example....

1. There is no almighty God in Buddhism. There is no one to hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgement Day

2. Buddhism is strictly not a religion in the context of being a faith and worship owing allegiance to a supernatural being.

3. No saviour concept in Buddhism. A Buddha is not a saviour who saves others by his personal salvation. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha as his incomparable guide who indicates the path of purity, he makes no servile surrender. A Buddhist does not think that he can gain purity merely by seeking refuge in the Buddha or by mere faith in Him. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others

Source -> http://www.buddhanet.../snapshot01.htm

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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I disagree with you too..sorry... For example I read up on Buddhism....And it is noted it is strictly not a religion...it is known as a philosophy

You disagree with me? I have stated before that I believe that Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion. Others will call it a religion....and that's their choice, but some people look to much at dictionary definitions without really thinking for themselves. Not saying you're one of those people.:)

Here is some info I read....and again it is just an example....

1. There is no almighty God in Buddhism. There is no one to hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgement Day

2. Buddhism is strictly not a religion in the context of being a faith and worship owing allegiance to a supernatural being.

3. No saviour concept in Buddhism. A Buddha is not a saviour who saves others by his personal salvation. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha as his incomparable guide who indicates the path of purity, he makes no servile surrender. A Buddhist does not think that he can gain purity merely by seeking refuge in the Buddha or by mere faith in Him. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others

Source -> http://www.buddhanet.../snapshot01.htm

Which is why I don't see it as a religion!

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You disagree with me? I have stated before that I believe that Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion. Others will call it a religion....and that's their choice, but some people look to much at dictionary definitions without really thinking for themselves. Not saying you're one of those people.:)

Which is why I don't see it as a religion!

You did? Sorry luvie.. I must not have read it... My apologies lol

I feel too many stick on their own personal views and make up their own definitions to what religion is.. It really all boils down to ones opinion....

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Posted (edited)

As there are different types of religions with and without a belief in god, there are different views on Atheism. In my view (As well as others), Atheism is not just a counter to a belief in god, but also to the entire system of religion as well as spirituality. You disagree with me and that's fine. Just be open to the fact that I and others like myself don't want to be put in a box that constrains one's views.

Thanks for your thoughts!:)

Atheism is the simple lack of beleif in a God. How could there be diffrent views about a simple lack of beleif in a God? There are not multiple "no-Gods" of diffrent theories about how "there is no God".

There can't be many views on atheism. There are no diffrent ways to simply not beleiving in a God. Not beleiving in a God is not beleiving in a God. Period. That's what atheism is. Nothing else.

Dosen't mean atheists can't go against religious systems but it dosen't mean that the purpose of atheism is to go against a whole religion either.

I just feel that you imply that the purpose of athism by definition is not only to go against the beleif in a God but also the whole religious system(s) which is incorrect.

You are comparing a single beleif (beleif that there is no God) with a whole system/ideology. That's what I disagree with. If atheists go against a whole religious system, you can't label this "movement" as being atheism per se. It's only a movement followed by atheists. You could give it a name and make it a religion if you please. But it can't be solely called "atheism" because atheism is not even a system to begin with.

You seem to imply that atheism is a whole system (that is going against religion) which it is absolutely not true by definition. Just like not collecting stamps is not a hobby or a system that goes against stamp collector's conventions.

Peace.

Edited by JayMark

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You did? Sorry luvie.. I must not have read it... My apologies lol

I feel too many stick on their own personal views and make up their own definitions to what religion is.. It really all boils down to ones opinion....

No problems whatsoever! :tu:

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Then there are those of us who don't give much of a monkey's either way!

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Atheism is the simple lack of beleif in a God. How could there be diffrent views about a simple lack of beleif in a God? There are not multiple "no-Gods" of diffrent theories about how "there is no God".

You are correct in that Atheism is in it's simplest term, a lack of belief in god. It's not about having different views on the lack of believing in god, rather the fact that as far as everything else goes, Atheists all have different views. Again, it's about not being put in a box.

Dosen't mean atheists can't go against religious systems but it dosen't mean that the purpose of atheism is to go against a whole religion either.

I never stated that that was it's purpose. But some Atheists do go against religion as a whole while not having it be a defining part of their Atheism.

I just feel that you imply that the purpose of athism by definition is not only to go against the beleif in a God but also the whole religious system(s) which is incorrect.

I'm not implying this at all. You seem to want to put Atheism in this small neat, tidy little box of rules that all Atheists must adhere to. Some Atheists just sit back and watch the world go by and some are the in-your-face kind that join clubs or organizations that p!ss off the religious. I fall somewhere in the middle.

You are comparing a single beleif (beleif that there is no God) with a whole system/ideology. That's what I disagree with. If atheists go against a whole religious system, you can't label this "movement" as being atheism per se. It's only a movement followed by atheists. You could give it a name and make it a religion if you please. But it can't be solely called "atheism" because atheism is not even a system to begin with.

You seem to imply that atheism is a whole system (that is going against religion) which it is absolutely not true by definition. Just like not collecting stamps is not a hobby or a system that goes against stamp collector's conventions.

Peace.

There's that word imply again.....Atheism is not a system, I never said it was......but that doesn't mean that some Atheists don't have a system. All Atheists are different on their views except for the one concerning a lack of belief in god.

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Posted (edited)

You are correct in that Atheism is in it's simplest term, a lack of belief in god. It's not about having different views on the lack of believing in god, rather the fact that as far as everything else goes, Atheists all have different views. Again, it's about not being put in a box.

I understand what you mean and I agree.

I never stated that that was it's purpose. But some Atheists do go against religion as a whole while not having it be a defining part of their Atheism.

Well, you said: "In my view (As well as others), Atheism is not just a counter to a belief in god, but also to the entire system of religion as well as spirituality."

So you are putting a label on atheism which is incorrect. That is what I don't agree with. But I acknowledge that it could be the case for many people. There is nothing wrong with it as long as you don't imply that it's what atheism is all about by definition (I mean going against a religion). If you choose to see it as is, then it's your choise and it's legal. It's simply more than atheism but atheism is part of it.

You seem to want to put Atheism in this small neat, tidy little box of rules that all Atheists must adhere to.

No. I'm simply respecting the definition of atheism. I also said, numerous times, that they could very well go on with specific agendas about it.

Some Atheists just sit back and watch the world go by and some are the in-your-face kind that join clubs or organizations that p!ss off the religious.

Agreed.

There's that word imply again.....Atheism is not a system, I never said it was......

Well, you said: "In my view (As well as others), Atheism is not just a counter to a belief in god, but also to the entire system of religion as well as spirituality."

Seemed to me that you implied more than a simple lack of beleif in a God. If that wasen't your intention, I apologize.

but that doesn't mean that some Atheists don't have a system. All Atheists are different on their views except for the one concerning a lack of belief in god.

I agree with that.

Edited by JayMark

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