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CommunitarianKevin

Atheism as a religion

282 posts in this topic

I understand what you mean and I agree.

Thank You!

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.

No, I'm not putting a label on it. I don't see where you're getting this from. Atheism means different things to different people. To some religious people, I'm no better than the other mythical creature known as the Devil. I have never said or implied that Atheism is about going against religion. Some Atheists are against religion. That is my choice but it doesn't define my Atheism.

Some Atheists go bowling......so should we declare that that is part of being an Atheist? I'm not necessarily trying to change the meaning of Atheism but over the years, the meaning has changed somewhat.

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.

Definitions of words are not necessarily static. They change over time.

Agreed.

Great!

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.

Again, just because I as well as others see it as a counter to religion does not mean that I define Atheism as such. Atheism is still just "A lack of belief in god." This meaning has changed before and it will undoubtedly change again over time.

I agree with that.

I think we're closer in agreement than you think.

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Posted (edited)

monstrum

I was presenting Tillich's view.

I am sympathetic to it, obviously, with the following personal addendum. I believe it is a category mistake ever to approach any classification task, a question of the form "Is such-and-such an instance of so-and-so?" as if it were a matter of fact, except in formal discourse where all non-primitive terms are explicitly defined as a condition of participation in the discussion.

A voluntary, elective classification isn't true or false, it is useful or useless, IMO. Usefulness is both personal and siutation-dependent, and only rarely univeral. There are occasions when it is useful to classify a dog as a meal, and other occasions when it is useless. Ditto atheism and religion.

To forbid a classification claim categorically and globally inhibits free inquiry into the nature of the thing classified. I find this oppressive, dogmatic and incompatible with basic respect for the dignity of the human person.

Other views are possible. Welcome aboard.

8ty, I stand with you on this. If I as an Atheist want to classify myself as a philosophy, or a religion or, an ideology, or nothing at all.Then I have the right to do so. Just as the Atheist who does not want to be contained by borders as many on Um prefer-- they equally have the right, and I respect that. I will let a person tell me who they are and go from there.

Atheism is what concerns me, it is my priority and by default I do fore go other claims, and posit with the ones that mean something to me, in the way that I uniquely express atheism..

Edited by Sherapy

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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.

A lot of this is factually(and demonstrably) incorrect. For example a person is not born an atheist, they are born an "open slate" or "an empty hard drive" That is not a disbelief in god(s). They become what a combination of their inner and outer environments causes them to become. The inner environnent includes, especially, our self aware sapience.

A human being requires no other source to come to a belief in god(s). It comes from within. It is a natural consequence of the way we have evolved to think and process the information available to us about our internal and external environments. This has been demonstrated many times in many places; in historical observations, and in modern controlled experiments. (i think in our prior converstiaons you did not accept this point, but it is true.)

Yuou chose to believe that humanity's natural state is non belief, but there is no evidence for that belief.

Religion is a little differnt. A person will create their own religion, if none is taught to them. In other words they will logically sort and codify their own understandings and beliefs about god, if there is no one to teach them . That will inevitably flow from their own identification/construction of god as a deux machina in their lives.

However, most peole ARE taught one form or another of religion, just as most children are taught how to speak in a language by another human. A human being cant learn to speak without having speakers around them, but the evidence indicates that they can, and will, develop a belief in god(s) to explain the world around them and their own self awareness.

A child has to be specifically taught; other knowledge, beliefs, understandings and values, if it is to reject the idea of god(s). Why else would so few humans, historically, ever have rejected the concept of god(s,) and why almost universally, do humans; create, identify, and construct, gods in every culture and period of known human history? It is a self generating and renewing construct/ concept, born anew with every human child.

The idea that god(s) may not exist, on the other hand, has to be learned, (from expereince society etc) or taught to a person.

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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.

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).

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?

Ok then, we are in agreeance. Both atheist and theists have an ideologicala perpective on their world. You and i have a science based ideological viewpoint. My wife has a creationist one. But every human will integrate their belief/disbelief in god(s) to allow a cohesive and rational set of view we call our total world view.

So my wife will see the hand of god in the beauty of a snow flake To her the symmetry and design means a god must exis tto form such a thing. (or her belief in a creator god informs her view on the nature of a snowflake) I will see the science of fractals. I will still appreciate the beauty, but know that no god, or designer, is needed to reach that endpoint. And the same applies ot all things, such as the classic example, the human eye.

Atheism and theism are integrated into every thing we understand about our world. Both are ideological viewpoints, which determine much of who we are, and how we think.

There are many answers to your last question. A person will respond to either request in accord with; a total ethical viewpoint , their understanding of right and wrong, their balance betwen the law of god and the laws of the land etc.

Whats the differnce between a man who hears his wife say, while pointing to their twin girls, " Lets kill the b****es" and one who hears her say, "let the kids chill at the beach ?"

None, until he makes his choice on what to do next. First sensible response is, of course, to ask the wife, "What did you say dear?"

Could be tragic (either way) if he misheard or misunderstood. :devil:

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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.

As soon as one person begins to codify their beliefs into practices eg certain dress, ceremonies, songs, habitual behaviour etc, then they have a religion, even if it is only a religion of one. The term religion is based on the form of worship, not the number of people doing the worshipping. But most humans like to band together with others of common nature, and so most peoplee form groups of like minded religious belief and practice.

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Most of you seem to be getting very irritated when I imply that some of atheism is a religion. I think most of you just ignore what I have to say, which is fair because I am just another dumbass on the internet. What I wanted to do instead was type up much of a chapter in Stephen Prothero’s book God is not One. I am some idiot on the internet but here is someone that at least has a degree in the area. Here is his bio…

Stephen Prothero is a professor in the Department of Religion at Boston University and the author of numerous books, most recently God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter (HarperOne, 2010) and the New York Times bestseller Religious Literacy: What Americans Need to Know (HarperOne, 2007). He has commented on religion on dozens of National Public Radio programs, and on television on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, FOX, and PBS. He was also a guest on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, "The Colbert Report," and "The Oprah Winfrey Show." He was also the chief editorial consultant for the six-hour WGBH/PBS television series "God in America" (2010). A regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, he has also written for the New York Times, Slate, Salon, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. In 2010 he was invited to speak about religious literacy at the White House. Prothero received his BA from Yale in American Studies and his PhD in the Study of Religion from Harvard. He lives on Cape Cod, and he tweets @sprothero.

Let me know if you need any information on what exactly a religious scholar does. I have a feeling that many if you will simply ignore this but I hope at least a couple of you read it and think about it…

If you do not like what he has to say, there is his twitter account… tell him he is wrong. The following is not my opinion so do not tell me I am wrong, though I know you will…

I will try and keep this short so I will start with the section titled But Is It a Religion. I will simply be quoting from the book.

But Is It a Religion

“Some atheists, including attorney Michael Newdow, who took his complaint against the inclusion of God in the Pledge of Allegiance all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, believed that atheism is, in the words of novelist David Foster Wallace, an “anti-religious religion, which worships reason, skepticism, intellect, empirical proof, human autonomy, and self-determination. Most atheists, however, are offended by the suggestion that they, too, might be religious. For them, exhibit A is as simple and powerful as their denial God. But all sorts of religious people deny God, including many Buddhists, Confucians, and Jews.” (p 323)

“Whether atheism is a religion depends, of course, on what actual atheists believe and do. So the answer to this question will vary from person to person, and group to group. It will also depend on what we mean by religion. Religion is now widely defined by scholars and judges alike…” (p 324)

“According to one common formula, members of the family of religions typically exhibit Four Cs: creed, cultus, code, and community. In other words, they have statements of beliefs and values (creeds); ritual activities (cultus); standards for ethical conduct (codes); and institutions (community). How does atheism stack up on this score?” (p 324)

“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)

“Cultus is trickier. Years ago I received a letter from a Boston-area chaplain’s group accompanying an interfaith calendar…Among the holy days was the birthday of British philosopher Bertrand Russell. More recently, the Albany, New York-based Institute for Humanist Studies published a Secular Seasons calendar with more through accounting of atheists’ High Holy Days, including Thomas Paine Day and Darwin Day. There is not much evidence, however, that atheists celebrate these days with any gusto or actually regard these exemplars as saints.” (p 324)

“Most atheists do have a code of ethical conduct. In fact, one of the most frequent claims of the New Atheists is that they are the moral superiors of the old theists.” (p 325)

“Although most atheists go it alone, some father into communities. There is a network of summer camps for atheist children called Camp Quest. Other prominent atheist organizations include Atheist Alliance International, American Atheists, British Humanists Association, Humanist Association of Canada, and the Germany-based National Council of Ex-Muslims…A U.S. group known as the United Coalition of Reason ran a billboard and bus campaign with ads that read, ‘Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.’ Thought intended to raise visibility of atheists in the America public square, this campaign also trumpeted the availability of atheist communities…” (p 325)

“Using this functional approach, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded in 1961 that secular humanism functions like a religion, so secular humanists merit the same sorts of First Amendment protections that religious practitioners enjoy. In 2005, in a decision that irked atheists and Christians alike, a lower U.S. court held that, because atheism walked and talked like a religion, judges should treat it as such.” (p 325)

“Onfray, the most radical and, after Hitchens, the most gifted New Atheist writer, detects the stench of religion in much atheism today… ‘The tactics of some secular figures seem contaminated by their enemy’s ideology: man militants in the secular cause look astonishingly like clergy. Worse: like caricatures of clergy,’ he writes… Onfray seems to be channeling at least some of the spirit of German philosopher Arnold Ruge, a friend of Marx who refused to jump on the atheist bandwagon not because it was too radical but because it was too traditional: ‘Atheism is just as religious as was Jacob wrestling with God: the atheist is no freer than a Jew who eats pork or a Mohammedan who drinks wine.’ “ (p 326)

“Are human beings homo religiosus? Is it human nature to grasp after the sacred? Yes, say those biologists who find evolutionary advantages in religious beliefs and practices. If they are right, if religion is an inescapable part of being human, then atheism would seem fated to take on the form of religion. But not all atheists are religious. Some take their atheist creed with a shrug, steering clear of the cultus, codes, and communities of their atheist kin. For others, however, atheism is, in the words of German theologian Paul Tillich, an ‘ultimate concern.’ It stands at the center of their lives, defining who they are, how they think, and with whom they associate. The question of God is never far from their minds, and they would never even consider marrying someone outside of their fold. They are, in short, no more free from the clutches of religion than adherents of the Cult of Reason in eighteenth-century France. For these people at least, atheism may be the solution to the problem of religion. But the solution is religious nonetheless.” (p 326)

If atheism is a religion, then not playing football is a sport.

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A lot of this is factually(and demonstrably) incorrect. For example a person is not born an atheist, they are born an "open slate" or "an empty hard drive" That is not a disbelief in god(s). They become what a combination of their inner and outer environments causes them to become. The inner environnent includes, especially, our self aware sapience.

Well, I can agree with you that we are born with an "Open Slate" so to speak. Especially since Atheism cannot exist without Theism.

A human being requires no other source to come to a belief in god(s). It comes from within. It is a natural consequence of the way we have evolved to think and process the information available to us about our internal and external environments. This has been demonstrated many times in many places; in historical observations, and in modern controlled experiments. (i think in our prior converstiaons you did not accept this point, but it is true.)

Yuou chose to believe that humanity's natural state is non belief, but there is no evidence for that belief.

I believe that the roots of religion and a belief in god came from a lack of understanding of the world. Fear of the unknown, and a lack of understanding of the world, created superstition. These superstitions became something handed down from generation to generation. Since people didn't understand all of the wonders, and all of the dangers, people came to believe that there must be something more. something controlling everything. At first there were a plethora of gods, tree gods, wind gods, etc. but as time went by all of these gods started to be lumped together until they had one god. Although there are still those that believe in multiple gods.

You say belief is a natural consequence. Then why don't I and millions of other people have a belief in god? Did your god overlook us? Does he not care about us. If he/she exists, there must be a reason why we were overlooked. Or do you consider us oddities of nature?

You say that your views have been demonstrated, that they have had historical observations, and that there have been modern controlled experiments. I asked you for proof of this through unbiased links on the internet but you never gave me any, so why should I accept your points on face value?

So Which came first, in your opinion religion or god? And why?

Religion is a little differnt. A person will create their own religion, if none is taught to them. In other words they will logically sort and codify their own understandings and beliefs about god, if there is no one to teach them . That will inevitably flow from their own identification/construction of god as a deux machina in their lives.

Then why are there millions of Atheists out there. Ones like me that have never had a belief in god? Does that make me illogical, an oddity, or what?

However, most peole ARE taught one form or another of religion, just as most children are taught how to speak in a language by another human. A human being cant learn to speak without having speakers around them, but the evidence indicates that they can, and will, develop a belief in god(s) to explain the world around them and their own self awareness.

A child has to be specifically taught; other knowledge, beliefs, understandings and values, if it is to reject the idea of god(s). Why else would so few humans, historically, ever have rejected the concept of god(s,) and why almost universally, do humans; create, identify, and construct, gods in every culture and period of known human history? It is a self generating and renewing construct/ concept, born anew with every human child.

The idea that god(s) may not exist, on the other hand, has to be learned, (from expereince society etc) or taught to a person.

Most people identify with a god only because they were taught it by their parents, family peers, or the church. Most people do not construct gods. God is simply learned.

Modern humans have been around for.....what....200,000 years. When do you think the first religion started, or the first belief in a god? Today there are approximately 170 million Atheists and growing. If you add in those that say they are non-believers yet won't quite admit to being Atheist, the numbers approach 1 billion people, or about one in seven. Those are pretty good numbers.

And by the way, I was never taught to be an Atheist. I was just simply never given a reason to believe!

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Posted (edited)

If atheism is a religion, then not playing football is a sport.

In Australia where football is accorded religious status, some of us opposed to football and its influence on people/society, especially the young, founded the Anti Football League. This was a pun on anagrams as the Australian Football League had the same initials. You got a badge of memebrship which was a rectangular shaped football(being impossible to kickor bounce)

My point is that, indeed not worshiping sport can be a religion, just like worshiping sport can be. It goes to beliefs, values, and lifestyles.

The Anti-Football League is an Australian organisation that pokes fun at the obsession with Australian Rules Football. It was founded by Melbourne journalist Keith Dunstan in 1967. The chief qualification for membership is not an active dislike but a disinterest in football, a desire to spend ones time and conversation on other things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Football_League

Dunstan suggested that a badge should be devised, so that League members could recognise each other and intelligent non-football discussion could take place. The badge was to be in the shape of a red cube, symbolic of an object that would not bounce.

If you read the wiki page or other sites you will note the comparison with some atheists and their relationship to some theists/christians. I might even suggest that atheists design and produce a badge or symbol so that they could recognise each other and hold intelligent non -religious based discussions.

I note that various atheist foundations produce a plethora of marketing devices, including some very funny "buttons", but there doesnt seem to be one overiding atheist symbol. Maybe that A, with a sweeping extended tail, goes close.

The googling i did on atheist symbols aligns me even more to the view that, for some , atheism is a form of religious expression. Even as a parody of religious iconography it imitates and becomes a religious form.

Edited by Mr Walker

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name='Euphorbia' timestamp='1333769370' post='4257716']

Well, I can agree with you that we are born with an "Open Slate" so to speak. Especially since Atheism cannot exist without Theism.

I believe that the roots of religion and a belief in god came from a lack of understanding of the world. Fear of the unknown, and a lack of understanding of the world, created superstition. These superstitions became something handed down from generation to generation. Since people didn't understand all of the wonders, and all of the dangers, people came to believe that there must be something more. something controlling everything. At first there were a plethora of gods, tree gods, wind gods, etc. but as time went by all of these gods started to be lumped together until they had one god. Although there are still those that believe in multiple gods.

In terms of beliefs, this is probably corrcet, although it goes to even more basic characteristics of humanity. It relates to how our minds work as children and even as adults. Religions, to be effective, adapt to both expanding knowledge and to altered environmental conditions. So religious forms based on nomandic pastoralisn evolve into agrarian forms and then into religions suited to city living.

You say belief is a natural consequence. Then why don't I and millions of other people have a belief in god? Did your god overlook us? Does he not care about us. If he/she exists, there must be a reason why we were overlooked. Or do you consider us oddities of nature?

Belief is not connected to the reality of god so, no, your disbelief has nothing to do with gods existence or not. You disbelieve for reasons peculiar to yourself. I dont know your history or childhood well enough to comment. But your disbelief now, IS a learned condition as are all other apsects of your life from language to tastes in food. You may not be conscious of where you lost any belief in god, but as a young child you would have had one until something or someone made you feel differently. That could have happened before your sconscous memepry begins (what can you remember before you are 4 years old, for example)

You say that your views have been demonstrated, that they have had historical observations, and that there have been modern controlled experiments. I asked you for proof of this through unbiased links on the internet but you never gave me any, so why should I accept your points on face value?

I did point out the year long discussion of this in the New scientist magazine during 2010 (from memory) where they gave all the background links and scientific experts/studies on this issue. It is not my responsibility, or even desire, to try and force you to change your mind, but i do feel obligated to point out that this evidence exists .

So Which came first, in your opinion religion or god? And why?

I need to be clear here.

In terms of religious belief, pure and simple, humans constructed god and do so anew as each child is born. This reconstruction of god has been happening since neandertal times and is incontovertible by cromagnon times. Thus we can assume it is linked to evolving sapience (and this is confirmed in modern studies.)

But belief in god is only one reason why people acknolwedge god. Others perceive or recognise god in the world inside them, and around them. This also becomes possible as language and symbolism enable humans to see things and attach labels to them. God then is recognisable, like the wind is recognisable. People hear, see, and feel god's touch.

Finally there are those of us who know god as a separate physical entity which exists outside our minds or perceptions, at least to the extent that cats dogs trees and other humans do.

So I know a god which is real, physical and powerful. It exits in the world in relationship to me just as my wife does and my dog does. This seems less common than other forms of god connection, but it is not all that uncommon. there are millions of us in this physical relationship with god (extrpolating statistically from those i know, around me. This form of god is an evolved physical entity ,older than man and probably considerably older than our brief period of self awareness. This form of god, then, preceded mankind just like the dinosaurs did.

Then why are there millions of Atheists out there. Ones like me that have never had a belief in god? Does that make me illogical, an oddity, or what?

About 5% of the worlds pop declare an atheist philosophy or belief. So i a way statistically you are an oddity (Thats not a judgement. I am an oddity at the other end of the spectrum)

I suspect NONE of them were "born that way" Time, life, circumstance, their treatment by people, the influence of those they loved and respected, the absence of physical evidence for god, plus the logic available to them, lacking any evidence; might all have formed their decisions. There are manyy reasons why a person choses atheism. I did. Two factors influenced me quite strongly. The physical absence of god during my childhood and adolescence and being brought up to believe that i wa s capapble of anything in life withut any need for god. I was never taught that i needed god for anything. Quite the opposite. ALthough i also deliberatley chose secular humaism as a more positive and affirming philosophy of life tha just atheism. I maintained a belief in atheism until god walked into my life and made that choice of belief unviable.

Most people identify with a god only because they were taught it by their parents, family peers, or the church. Most people do not construct gods. God is simply learned.

I can only repeat. That is your belief but it is not born out by history or by modern science. I can beter understand why you believe it, if you also believe that you cmae to atheism as a natural unlearned attitude of mind; but, with respect, i dont believe tha t happened either (because it is outside of my undertanding an knowledge about people) But i acknolwedge tha t, not having lived your life, I can't be absolutely certain I am right. If you are right that makes you very unusual (almost unique) in human history.

Modern humans have been around for.....what....200,000 years. When do you think the first religion started, or the first belief in a god? Today there are approximately 170 million Atheists and growing. If you add in those that say they are non-believers yet won't quite admit to being Atheist, the numbers approach 1 billion people, or about one in seven. Those are pretty good numbers.

I am not sre of the relevance of this. If you define modern humans as homosapiens, then yes possibly about 150000 years. If you mean cromagnons, about 40000 years ago. It is in cromagnon life tha t evidence for belief in gods first conclusively appears, although there is debatable evidence from neandertal lives.

Thus we know that, once humans developed a modern form of sapient self awareness they began constructing/recognising the presence of god(s) There is absolutely no evidence that 1 in 7 humans do not believe in god(s) All the statistical data continues to show about 5% of humans dont believe in any form of god (s) Some nations like russia, china, and north korea, have made great efforts to eliminate relgious belief over the last half a century including shooting people found with a religious book in their home, yet it perseveres religion has become marginalised in most western countries and is no longer the fundamental basis of peoples every day existence, yet it perseveres. Education tends to rationist materialist forms, yet young people maintain a belief in god .

Yes i think the number of atheists is growing and will continue to grow, but the resilience of belief is indicated in how slowly it grows despite all the factors working against religious/spiritual belief in the modern word. People tend not to need god so much in a wealthy prosperous country,at least until something happens to them.

And by the way, I was never taught to be an Atheist. I was just simply never given a reason

I cant comment on that. I know its what you think. Yet you were taught to think and to speak. As you were taught hese things, your mind was absorbing the attitudes values and reactions of those around you. In my view, like all of us, you had to learn to be an atheist. At age 20 i would have said that i, "just was" an atheist, but of course that wasn't true. I had been given good reasons to adopt an atheist belief system.

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Posted (edited)

It is learned from parents, teachers, and the church.....

Nope. This is wrong. Certainly for many , but not for all. There are very logical reasons that can lead one to beleive in the divine with out teachers.

Edited by Seeker79

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Nope. This is wrong. Certainly for many , but not for all. There are very logical reasons that can lead one to beleive in the divine with out teachers.

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Posted (edited)

Like?

Personal experiences and the inner workings/logic of ones mind.

We are born without an extensive data base of knowledge, or any experiences on which to make comparative judgements and analyses. But we do learn to think and to process environmental stimuli very quickly. That is an evolved survival trait.

Thus we create "deux ex machinas" or gods, from our earliest thoguhts, to explain that which is otherwise inexplicable. the human mind ALWAYS prefers order to chaos, patterns to randomness, and thus creats a sense of order and pattern, by what ever mechanism is available to it, even as a child.

Plus, some people just experience "the divine" as they experience "the mundane." Physically, using their sensory organs and intellectual abilities, and as an integrated part of their total environment.

Edited by Mr Walker

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Personal experiences and the inner workings/logic of ones mind.

This doesn't really tell me much.

We are born without an extensive data base of knowledge, or any experiences on which to make comparative judgements and analyses. But we do learn to think and to process environmental stimuli very quickly. That is an evolved survival trait.

Agreed!

Thus we create "deux ex machinas" or gods, from our earliest thoguhts, to explain that which is otherwise inexplicable. the human mind ALWAYS prefers order to chaos, patterns to randomness, and thus creats a sense of order and pattern, by what ever mechanism is available to it, even as a child.

Plus, some people just experience "the divine" as they experience "the mundane." Physically, using their sensory organs and intellectual abilities, and as an integrated part of their total environment.

See, this is the thing, I read (and post), on these forums to try to understand the mindset of the religious, be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish,etc. Creating a sense of order, as opposed to chaos or randomness is innate to most of us, but not necessarily all of us. I can be mesmerized by patterns, especially those found in nature. and even more so by the strange plants that I have collected over the last 25 years. Google my screen name and you will see some of the strange plants with strange patterns that I love. But I can at least also have a love of complete randomness. Maybe I'm alone in this but I've always liked things that are strange, out of the ordinary, things that are not pattern-oriented that give certain things "uniqueness".

But, creating a god or gods from this is not necessarily logical in my opinion. It just tells me that the religious can't rationally explain things so they come up with the catch-all explanation.......god.

I do have sensory organs and I do have an intellect, but none of these have made me see, feel, hear, or have in any way, divine experiences. It seems that I'm simply incapable of rationalizing a god or gods. Outside of people telling me that a god exists and that something came over them to make them feel god, I am still at a loss as to what a god is or what drives people to believe in god. I occasionally read stories of people that go to religious summer retreats or something of that nature, and during a time when all are praying there is one person that just doesn't feel it. They feel deprived or guilty for not feeling it and often loose faith. I can see myself as being one of those people had I had religion forced upon me.

I have been an Atheist my entire life and I have rarely had any confrontations with any Christians (never any Jews). In person I don't argue with Christians and for the small minority that have said things to me like I'm going to hell or that there's simply something wrong with me, I just walk away from them and never have anything more to do with them. I would however like to understand why they have this mindset. As well as those that make up the Majority of Christians (however small), that simply don't care that I'm an Atheist.

Maybe I will never understand their mindset, but I will keep searching for someone that can truly make me understand, and hopefully Christians will all try to get to know some Atheists and learn a few things from them. If we all try to understand each other we can remove some of the biases and fears that are so prevalent in this world.

Until then I will keep searching.........

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Posted (edited)

This doesn't really tell me much.

Agreed!

See, this is the thing, I read (and post), on these forums to try to understand the mindset of the religious, be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish,etc. Creating a sense of order, as opposed to chaos or randomness is innate to most of us, but not necessarily all of us. I can be mesmerized by patterns, especially those found in nature. and even more so by the strange plants that I have collected over the last 25 years. Google my screen name and you will see some of the strange plants with strange patterns that I love. But I can at least also have a love of complete randomness. Maybe I'm alone in this but I've always liked things that are strange, out of the ordinary, things that are not pattern-oriented that give certain things "uniqueness".

But, creating a god or gods from this is not necessarily logical in my opinion. It just tells me that the religious can't rationally explain things so they come up with the catch-all explanation.......god.

I do have sensory organs and I do have an intellect, but none of these have made me see, feel, hear, or have in any way, divine experiences. It seems that I'm simply incapable of rationalizing a god or gods. Outside of people telling me that a god exists and that something came over them to make them feel god, I am still at a loss as to what a god is or what drives people to believe in god. I occasionally read stories of people that go to religious summer retreats or something of that nature, and during a time when all are praying there is one person that just doesn't feel it. They feel deprived or guilty for not feeling it and often loose faith. I can see myself as being one of those people had I had religion forced upon me.

I have been an Atheist my entire life and I have rarely had any confrontations with any Christians (never any Jews). In person I don't argue with Christians and for the small minority that have said things to me like I'm going to hell or that there's simply something wrong with me, I just walk away from them and never have anything more to do with them. I would however like to understand why they have this mindset. As well as those that make up the Majority of Christians (however small), that simply don't care that I'm an Atheist.

Maybe I will never understand their mindset, but I will keep searching for someone that can truly make me understand, and hopefully Christians will all try to get to know some Atheists and learn a few things from them. If we all try to understand each other we can remove some of the biases and fears that are so prevalent in this world.

Until then I will keep searching.........

Euphorbia, I can and do appreciate your approach, as an atheist, to this subject. This entire thread is semantical and that makes it fun. As to your final statement....If there is a God, as a Christian, I do not think it unreasonable to recommend something. Ask, genuinely ready to receive an answer, this potential God to make Himself(no offense, I don't believe God has a wee-wee,its just easier) known, no expectations or timeframes. If there is a God He must be by definition, powerful beyond our comprehension, intelligent beyond our comprehension, in control beyond our comprehension, and given the amount of free will He allows, waiting for something from you. My personal perspective and experience is that He looks for genuine willingness and that can only be given not taken. Ask and see where that takes you. Also, your profile quote implies a question, and this is where all reason starts.

Edited by blarney

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Euphorbia, I can and do appreciate your approach, as an atheist, to this subject. This entire thread is semantical and that makes it fun. As to your final statement....If there is a God, as a Christian, I do not think it unreasonable to recommend something. Ask, genuinely ready to receive an answer, this potential God to make Himself(no offense, I don't believe God has a wee-wee,its just easier) known, no expectations or timeframes. If there is a God He must be by definition, powerful beyond our comprehension, intelligent beyond our comprehension, in control beyond our comprehension, and given the amount of free will He allows, waiting for something from you. My personal perspective and experience is that He looks for genuine willingness and that can only be given not taken. Ask and see where that takes you. Also, your profile quote implies a question, and this is where all reason starts.

Thank you for your response!

I know this has become a cliche, but it would be like asking me to genuinely ask leprechauns to make themselves known to me. There has to be something inside of a person that already makes them believe somehow and that all they are doing is asking for confirmation.

If there is a god, I believe that it would be his responsibility to meet people halfway. Take the first step so to speak. Because to me saying god exists is an extraordinary claim which requires extraordinary evidence. Can't remember who first said that.....Carl Sagan maybe?

Your definitions of god are all man made definitions and while you say he is waiting from something from me, I am waiting for something from him. If your god exists and this is his way, then he will have lot's of non-believers. If he showed himself, he might have everyone worshiping him. I simply need more than man's word.

I'm not sure what you mean about my profile quote. How does it imply a question?

Thanks for being civil!

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Thank you for your response!

I know this has become a cliche, but it would be like asking me to genuinely ask leprechauns to make themselves known to me. There has to be something inside of a person that already makes them believe somehow and that all they are doing is asking for confirmation.

If there is a god, I believe that it would be his responsibility to meet people halfway. Take the first step so to speak. Because to me saying god exists is an extraordinary claim which requires extraordinary evidence. Can't remember who first said that.....Carl Sagan maybe?

Your definitions of god are all man made definitions and while you say he is waiting from something from me, I am waiting for something from him. If your god exists and this is his way, then he will have lot's of non-believers. If he showed himself, he might have everyone worshiping him. I simply need more than man's word.

I'm not sure what you mean about my profile quote. How does it imply a question?

Thanks for being civil!

My perspective again....For an answer to be given, there first needs to be a question. For any being of any definition( will you allow sentiency as an acceptable def) what is the most valuable thing at the core of human relations? What is at the core of all wars, all loves, all gov structures. What is the most valuable thing we as a species seek at all costs, good or bad? Our wills. Humans use force to control the will of others but the most valuable will is that which is given. Not in the form of control, but of relationship. Creating a robot which does what you say or runs on a preset program is fun but its still a robot. If you or I were to create a being, what would be the greatest success in this creation? Our children are the picture of this we are given. To see them voluntarily choose to seek us for advice and then configure that advice into their lives. I can't perform a lab experiment for you. i can try to express the essence just as I could never adequately describe parenthood, it has to be experienced. I initially used human logic to formulate a question....curiosity, but if I don't want to hear the answer to begin with, then the question was a mute point. I expect my children to ask me their questions, I have already provided them their very existence. As you or I value the willingness of relationship, not forced or controlled, so does your Creator. Humanity has screwed up the simplicity of this, but to get the best of free will....you must be willing allow the worst of it , or it isn't free will. As i said, no lab experiment, its empirical on an individual basis. I'll shut up now.

See my profile quote

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My perspective again....For an answer to be given, there first needs to be a question. For any being of any definition( will you allow sentiency as an acceptable def) what is the most valuable thing at the core of human relations? What is at the core of all wars, all loves, all gov structures. What is the most valuable thing we as a species seek at all costs, good or bad? Our wills. Humans use force to control the will of others but the most valuable will is that which is given. Not in the form of control, but of relationship. Creating a robot which does what you say or runs on a preset program is fun but its still a robot. If you or I were to create a being, what would be the greatest success in this creation?

So what is the question?

So is your point here that to god we are nothing but robots?

If I was to create a being, the greatest success would be for ME to be able to communicate with it. Not for it to try to communicate with me and then sit back and say nothing while hiding in the shadows. What's the point? A relationship and/or a conversation has to be two-way or it's not a relationship.

Our children are the picture of this we are given. To see them voluntarily choose to seek us for advice and then configure that advice into their lives. I can't perform a lab experiment for you. i can try to express the essence just as I could never adequately describe parenthood, it has to be experienced. I initially used human logic to formulate a question....curiosity, but if I don't want to hear the answer to begin with, then the question was a mute point. I expect my children to ask me their questions, I have already provided them their very existence. As you or I value the willingness of relationship, not forced or controlled, so does your Creator. Humanity has screwed up the simplicity of this, but to get the best of free will....you must be willing allow the worst of it , or it isn't free will. As i said, no lab experiment, its empirical on an individual basis. I'll shut up now.

See my profile quote

I am a father. I have a son in his early twenties. We interact, have conversations, and even occasionally hug. These are all real interactions between two sentient beings

I guess you think that it is up to us (each individual), to reach out to god, and then if he thinks we're sincere he will reciprocate. What I don't think you understand is that for an individual to reach out to god there has to be some element of belief to begin with. I don't have that element of belief. It's just not there. This is where your god would come in, just like a parent, encouraging and guiding their child in a face to face manner. With my son sometimes all it took was a glance, a look of encouragement, a look that says everything will be OK. With your god I get nothing. No glance, no look of encouragement, no conversations..........nothing. Not even an appearance. All I have is man's word that a god exists. I need more than that. I need the mutual respect that one can only get through a face to face conversation. Is that asking to much of your god?

OK, you meant your profile quote and not mine. Nice quote.

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This doesn't really tell me much.

Agreed!

See, this is the thing, I read (and post), on these forums to try to understand the mindset of the religious, be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish,etc. Creating a sense of order, as opposed to chaos or randomness is innate to most of us, but not necessarily all of us. I can be mesmerized by patterns, especially those found in nature. and even more so by the strange plants that I have collected over the last 25 years. Google my screen name and you will see some of the strange plants with strange patterns that I love. But I can at least also have a love of complete randomness. Maybe I'm alone in this but I've always liked things that are strange, out of the ordinary, things that are not pattern-oriented that give certain things "uniqueness".

But, creating a god or gods from this is not necessarily logical in my opinion. It just tells me that the religious can't rationally explain things so they come up with the catch-all explanation.......god.

I do have sensory organs and I do have an intellect, but none of these have made me see, feel, hear, or have in any way, divine experiences. It seems that I'm simply incapable of rationalizing a god or gods. Outside of people telling me that a god exists and that something came over them to make them feel god, I am still at a loss as to what a god is or what drives people to believe in god. I occasionally read stories of people that go to religious summer retreats or something of that nature, and during a time when all are praying there is one person that just doesn't feel it. They feel deprived or guilty for not feeling it and often loose faith. I can see myself as being one of those people had I had religion forced upon me.

I have been an Atheist my entire life and I have rarely had any confrontations with any Christians (never any Jews). In person I don't argue with Christians and for the small minority that have said things to me like I'm going to hell or that there's simply something wrong with me, I just walk away from them and never have anything more to do with them. I would however like to understand why they have this mindset. As well as those that make up the Majority of Christians (however small), that simply don't care that I'm an Atheist.

Maybe I will never understand their mindset, but I will keep searching for someone that can truly make me understand, and hopefully Christians will all try to get to know some Atheists and learn a few things from them. If we all try to understand each other we can remove some of the biases and fears that are so prevalent in this world.

Until then I will keep searching.........

I really like this post Both its tone and content. I dont want to argue with you You seem hapy and well adjusted and in that case stick with what works. You make one good point about others.Unless you live the life and the realities of another peoron you really cant apprecaite or understnad them nOt all of us live in the same or even similar realities Yes Some peole choose beliefs. Some for vety good and logical reasons, some less so Eg a woman loses 10 of her 14 children in infancy. She has a choice of believing thats all there is to her life or believing she will be reunited with her children and other loved ones in death . Which is a more logical and comforting belief? And who decides this?

And honestly (although why should you believe it because it is outside your experiential knowldge?) there are people like me who "walk with" or live with; gods, angels, and miracles, in a very physical and real sense. We dont get a chance to believ i god or angels or miracles, because we know them . There is no question of belief; they are as real as my wife and dog. Should you ever encounter the entitys I encounter you will know them and recognise them as real indepndent beings. What you might then label them, is entirely up to you.

If you can touch, hear, see, and interact responsively with an entity then it is real and physical, particularly when others around you can do likewise with it. . A physical force which changes the natural environment is real and physical. Its not really very complicated.

Faith is a choice available to all humans. Knowledge, apparently, is confined to fewer people But i envy those who chose by faith. I envy their choice and i envy the fact that they chose god, not the other way around. Its like the differnce betwen voluntering for the military and being drafted.

People dont usually have any evidence for god, even a feeling, when they make a faith based choice to believe in him, thus all the "credit" for their decision goes to them.

Perhaps this is how it is meant to be. A relationship with god either physically, or faith, based is intensely personal and powerfully transforming. It alters you and your life irrevocably and completely, if it is real and genuine. No one who truly believes that god walks with them and exists within them knowing everything in their heart and mind, can ever steal lie or do evil to anpther person They are driven to love and care for all those they can. How could you do otherwise with god right there as part of what you are doing or thinking?

Unless you are comitted to god in faith, it is almost impossible to live a life in which he is an integral part. Unless you know his physical presence in you and around you..

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Okay, I don't like resurrecting old dead topics, but I saw this again, and I really must insist: atheism cannot be a religion. Atheism is a rejection of religion; in other words: not having religion. Therefore, unless someone wants to argue that not doing something is the same as doing it, there's no way in hell that atheism is a 'religion'.

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Okay, I don't like resurrecting old dead topics, but I saw this again, and I really must insist: atheism cannot be a religion. Atheism is a rejection of religion; in other words: not having religion. Therefore, unless someone wants to argue that not doing something is the same as doing it, there's no way in hell that atheism is a 'religion'.

I was convinced of this for a while it seemed to be logically sound. But as time has gone on and I interact with more and more atheists and I observe their champions.... I'm starting to doubt

It certainly is not a religion, but I will say that some defiantly are makeing it look similar.

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I was convinced of this for a while it seemed to be logically sound. But as time has gone on and I interact with more and more atheists and I observe their champions.... I'm starting to doubt

It certainly is not a religion, but I will say that some defiantly are makeing it look similar.

The atheist 'champions' can be a bit aggressive at times, granted. But that is not because they are forwarding any atheistic 'beliefs' (atheism, again, constitutes a lack of belief), but rather refuting the claims of religions.

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The atheist 'champions' can be a bit aggressive at times, granted. But that is not because they are forwarding any atheistic 'beliefs' (atheism, again, constitutes a lack of belief), but rather refuting the claims of religions.

I reject their claim in " lack of belief" they do have beliefs that are just different than the theist's. Their premise is based upon philosophy like any other. They simply claim authority through science.... Dogma. Most arguments are completely full of ad homonyms, and Petitio Principii ( begging the question), yet they claim to be logical, while the theist is illogical. The fact of the matter is that the existence of god(s) is a philosophical question, because we cannot possibly explore what is beyond or before this universe, and fundamental reality eludes us. for atheists to insist in one sentence that there is no god(s) and that they don't have any beliefs is either ignorant or dishonest.

Then to ignore evidence through dogma of collective conciousness and other phenomenon that may very well be a basis for the divine.

Like I said the more I look into it, the more I am convinced of the religious like nature of cynical atheism. There are plenty that don't fit that, however, and my hat is off to them fir staying true.

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Definition of religion... what is it? That it has followers, that it has ideology, that it collects money from it believers, that you need to be part of the organisation sect of that religion? If I follow buddhist principles but don't claim to be a follower nor show my belief to anyone, dont give nor take money related to my belief nor belong to any buddhist organisation, what does that make me? What if I say I'm not a buddhist, does that make a difference? Maybe to me yes, but in abstract sense or from someone else's point of view (when assuming that the someoneelse knows I believe in buddhism) ? I'm asking, even if you try to determine things or look for a determination from some law-book or dictionary or from an authority of your choise, what are you really at the end of the day?

To believe, is to regard something you don't know about, truth or more or less likely to be true, more if your belief is strong and less if your belief is not strong. Isn't that what belief is?

This doesn't apply to all atheists, but I've noticed many to cling on to their views about "god doesn't exist, there's nothing but the material world that can be seen through physics and chemistry". Doesn't that make you a believer of sorts too? But whether it's a single atheist or atheism at large which you talk about, then I can't say if it's a religion or not for sure. But I think that if you deny the existence of something that you can't confirm to not-exist, then you're a believer or if your ideology denies that, then your ideology is a religion.

Accepting possibilities might be considered a religion as well, I'm willing to accept that possibility. I certainly do believe in possibilities after all.

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The atheist 'champions' can be a bit aggressive at times, granted. But that is not because they are forwarding any atheistic 'beliefs' (atheism, again, constitutes a lack of belief), but rather refuting the claims of religions.

There has been alot more genocides in the name of god then aeithism.

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Okay, I don't like resurrecting old dead topics, but I saw this again, and I really must insist: atheism cannot be a religion. Atheism is a rejection of religion; in other words: not having religion. Therefore, unless someone wants to argue that not doing something is the same as doing it, there's no way in hell that atheism is a 'religion'.

Yeah, but I am an Atheist and it kind of irritates me that there are conventions, rallies, fundraisers, meetings and whatnot, that seem fundamentally like a religion. What would entice me to go to something like that other than the fact that we have nothing in common besides we don't believe in a god?

Isn't that what religious people do? They congregate for a common cause or belief.

I can understand the belief that Atheism is like a religion...especially if the main course of action is to convert your way of thinking onto other people. I think that is called proselytizing. I've seen booths set up in fairs, handing out literature on Atheism where no religions were allowed to do so. How is that different?

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