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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 28th 2012, 03:16 PM

A pastor posted an article about how public schools allow prayer only during times of tragedy. Here is a quote from the article that stood out.
‎"Liberals have successfully banished God from the classroom, replacing Him with the manmade god of secularism."

The pastor said, "Those who believe in atheism and/or secularism have rather successfully established that as the religion of our schools, despite the Constitution's clear prohibition on the establishment of religion or the restriction of the free exercise thereof."
I responded, "People don't "believe" in atheism/secularism. It's not a religion."
He said, " It very much is, despite what atheists tell you."

Right...
Anyway, I was wondering what you all thought, whether you are religious or not. Can atheism/secularism even be considered a religion? Why or why not?
   
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 28th 2012, 03:18 PM

Atheism: the rejection of the belief in deities.

Atheists do not believe in deities, thus it is not a religion. It is simply a position on the God question.
   
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 28th 2012, 04:22 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosana View Post
Atheism: the rejection of the belief in deities.

Atheists do not believe in deities, thus it is not a religion. It is simply a position on the God question.
Religion isn't dependent on a deity.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 28th 2012, 05:52 PM

lol.

Atheism is a religion like abstinance is a sex position

or not collecting stamps is a hobby

or off is a tv channel

Atheism is the lack of belief in any deity. There's no evidence for such deity so an atheist adopts that position. It isn't a world view or anything of the sort.

If not believing in something is a religion then he has millions of religions.

He must have the religion of not believing in unicorns
Not believing in Allah
Not believing in Santa Claus
Not believing in the God of Jupiter
Not believing in Leprachauns
Not believing in the invisible pink unicorn
etc etc etc

This guy is a fool.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 28th 2012, 06:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chickenonsteroids View Post
lol.

Atheism is a religion like abstinance is a sex position

or not collecting stamps is a hobby

or off is a tv channel

Atheism is the lack of belief in any deity. There's no evidence for such deity so an atheist adopts that position. It isn't a world view or anything of the sort.

If not believing in something is a religion then he has millions of religions.

He must have the religion of not believing in unicorns
Not believing in Allah
Not believing in Santa Claus
Not believing in the God of Jupiter
Not believing in Leprachauns
Not believing in the invisible pink unicorn
etc etc etc

This guy is a fool.
Was going to post this.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 28th 2012, 07:35 PM

While the lack of belief in a deity or deities cannot in itself be a standalone religion, Mike is right in pointing out that holding such a belief does not prevent one being defined as "religious" per se. In its strictest form, Buddhism is an atheistic (or, if you prefer, nontheistic) belief system, given that the rejection of deities on grounds of falsehood was deemed a significant step in Buddha's own enlightenment. Yet few outside of academia would deem Buddhism not to be a religion, even if in technical terms it's a tricky one. Likewise, the term "cult" is often applied to groups or movements with no evident religious motivations despite its actual definition - in one debate a while back, Toz raised the example of the "cult of Stalin", which at its heart was by definition atheistic since Stalin was himself an atheist, yet also displayed traits mimicking religious practice. So while atheism is not on its own a religion, it is possible for a set of atheistic philosophies to take on quasi-religious form nonetheless.


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If you're referring to dr2005's response, it's not complex, however, he has a way with words .
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 28th 2012, 08:12 PM

i have no idea what you just said, and i have an iq of 160 something. therefore, i doubt anyone but you understood your statement.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 28th 2012, 08:24 PM

I understood what you were saying. Although atheists don't all go by the same philosophies, and there are not set of rules for atheism, so I don't see how people could consider atheism a religion.
   
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 28th 2012, 08:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Void of Creation View Post
i have no idea what you just said, and i have an iq of 160 something. therefore, i doubt anyone but you understood your statement.
If you're referring to dr2005's response, it's not complex, however, he has a way with words . Basically, the pastor was mixing two similar concepts: god and religion. There cannot be a god of atheism, so that part of the pastor's statement is nonsense but instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water, dr2005 referenced examples of philosophical beliefs involving a being yet still adhered to atheism (another example would be LaVeyan Satanism). His point was depending on the particular philosophical details of one's atheistic belief, you could advance an argument they are similar to religious beliefs. Since the pastor gave only a blanket statement, it's not entirely founded.

I guess those of us that did understand dr2005's statement have an IQ of over 160 something. For the record, IQ does not equate with intelligence, although that's a separate debate.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 28th 2012, 08:38 PM

Ehh? Atheists can be spiritual to an extent, but that's not a religion exactly, it's a state of being. A lot of "religions" aren't even considered "religions" but belief systems, such as Taoism and Confuscism. I think Atheism is more like a philosophy of religion rather than a religion itself. So, no, don't agree with him.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 28th 2012, 09:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by OMFG!You'reActuallySmart! View Post
If you're referring to dr2005's response, it's not complex, however, he has a way with words . Basically, the pastor was mixing two similar concepts: god and religion. There cannot be a god of atheism, so that part of the pastor's statement is nonsense but instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water, dr2005 referenced examples of philosophical beliefs involving a being yet still adhered to atheism (another example would be LaVeyan Satanism). His point was depending on the particular philosophical details of one's atheistic belief, you could advance an argument they are similar to religious beliefs. Since the pastor gave only a blanket statement, it's not entirely founded.

I guess those of us that did understand dr2005's statement have an IQ of over 160 something. For the record, IQ does not equate with intelligence, although that's a separate debate.
But we all know how wonderously fun it is to brag about our IQ's online. Geez, get with the program old man.

Great post by dr2005, as I would expect.

To me Atheism is the equalivant of an abscence of religion, as darkness is the abscence of light. One could argue darkness is really just a differnt amount of light, but it wouldn't be a good argument as it is based on personal ideas. (eg. Is the glass half full, or half empty?)

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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 29th 2012, 01:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplemask View Post
I understood what you were saying. Although atheists don't all go by the same philosophies, and there are not set of rules for atheism, so I don't see how people could consider atheism a religion.
Neither do most religions. And to the IQ poster, IQ has little to do with intelligence, or in this case, comprehension.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 29th 2012, 01:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JKmadu619 View Post
But we all know how wonderously fun it is to brag about our IQ's online. Geez, get with the program old man.

Great post by dr2005, as I would expect.

To me Atheism is the equalivant of an abscence of religion, as darkness is the abscence of light. One could argue darkness is really just a differnt amount of light, but it wouldn't be a good argument as it is based on personal ideas. (eg. Is the glass half full, or half empty?)

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I would say that analogy of atheism-religion vs dark-light isn't really accurate. The way I see it, religion itself is light, and different religions are different shades of light, and atheism is a complete lack of light. Kind of like how bald isn't considered a hair color.

Also, that post was kickass, David.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 29th 2012, 02:29 AM

Here is his response after I asked how atheism could be considered a religion.
" Atheism is a religion just as "dark" describes a state of light and "cold" describes a state of heat. Both of those terms describe an absence. The belief in the absence of God is itself, by definition, a belief system. And those who hold these beliefs and reject all others lead us to the religious indoctrination our students endure today, with the full blessing of government. (Especially in state colleges.) Atheism is not the lack of belief in a deity. It's the belief that there is no deity. Those are two fundamentally different concepts."

I only accepted that I don't believe in god less than six months ago. I have a lot of reading to do, and a lot of knowledge to gain. I know nothing about debate which is why I'm posting these things on here, but I'd like to hear what you think. Your responses are all very helpful and appreciated.
   
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 29th 2012, 02:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplemask View Post
Here is his response after I asked how atheism could be considered a religion.
" Atheism is a religion just as "dark" describes a state of light and "cold" describes a state of heat. Both of those terms describe an absence. The belief in the absence of God is itself, by definition, a belief system. And those who hold these beliefs and reject all others lead us to the religious indoctrination our students endure today, with the full blessing of government. (Especially in state colleges.) Atheism is not the lack of belief in a deity. It's the belief that there is no deity. Those are two fundamentally different concepts."
His argument is poorly stated as he's being tautological, although since this is an excerpt, perhaps he stated it more clearly elsewhere. In effect, his argument seems to be the same as dr2005's, only he briefly derails by commenting atheism leads to indoctrination under full government support. That is a separate argument he is juggling into this, I'm not sure why as it isn't relevant to your question.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 29th 2012, 03:40 AM

To clarify, these quotes are not from the article, but from a conversation with the pastor who reposted the article. So basically I'm using his quotes as the argument for "atheism is a religion" and his last quote would mainly be a response to chickenonsteroids' post.
   
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 29th 2012, 06:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplemask View Post
Here is his response after I asked how atheism could be considered a religion.
" Atheism is a religion just as "dark" describes a state of light and "cold" describes a state of heat. Both of those terms describe an absence. The belief in the absence of God is itself, by definition, a belief system. And those who hold these beliefs and reject all others lead us to the religious indoctrination our students endure today, with the full blessing of government. (Especially in state colleges.) Atheism is not the lack of belief in a deity. It's the belief that there is no deity. Those are two fundamentally different concepts."

I only accepted that I don't believe in god less than six months ago. I have a lot of reading to do, and a lot of knowledge to gain. I know nothing about debate which is why I'm posting these things on here, but I'd like to hear what you think. Your responses are all very helpful and appreciated.
'a' is a prefix stating without
'theism' is the belief in a theological deity of some sort (i think someone can correct me)

sooooo.... a-theism is without god(s) it does not make a positive claim of 'there are no gods'. There have been arguments for the existence of god but in most cases they have been explained with natural causes that has evidence behind it. Not something supernatural (which is usually used to explain the unexplainable when they've contradicted themselves by explaining what is meant to be unexplainable).

Also, what is the point of forcing people to pray? That isn't a very nice thing to do. Yet, when they stop that he accuses schools with simply replacing them with another religion that isn't. lol.

Soon he'll be claiming that science requires just as much faith as the bible does and is a religion too. And that America was founded on Christian values.

There's a difference between atheism and godless cults.

Long story short, there may be better reasons to think there is no god but that does not lead to a positive claim, they're usually responses to arguments for the existence of god. He's just angry and needs a hug.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - February 29th 2012, 03:24 PM

Lol. I looked up definitions of "doctrine" and "religion" and I GUESS atheism could be considered this, but the connotations of the words are what make it sound absurd. I was quite intrigued when reading the definitions.
   
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 1st 2012, 02:28 AM

I agree with most of the things stated before me. Atheism is not a religion for the reasons people have already stated. I won't argue this further considering people have said what I wanted to say on that front.

I'll argue this from a different angle. I've certainly known many, many more atheists who are upfront, passionate and outspoken about their beliefs (or disbeliefs) than any theists I've ever met. Though I don't believe atheism is a religion, it can certainly present itself like religion in some people, merely for the fact that it is an understanding or belief of the world which some people are very adament and enthusiastic about. I don't believe in religion in public schools, just like I don't believe in publics school endorsing political parties or political ideologies. And yes, I would have a problem if teachers and administraters in the education system started pushing atheistic ideas and started to tell children that God was not real or something to that effect.

But they're not. That would be considered just as illegal and unnacceptable as pushing religious ideas. State schools cannot be described as atheist. Atheism is not just an absense of religion but a rejection of Gods and religion. Schools merely avoid involving themselves in matters of faith, they don't outright claim faith is a falsehood. Secularism is a much more apt description, which he also accused of being a religion, however, I don't even see how that could be argued. That's even further away from religion than atheism is.

Oh, and back to the argument about atheism being or not being a religion religion, I think people who spend a lot of time on boards like this and talking about similar things out in the world (whether they're theists or atheists) seem to think all atheists are as passionate and outspoken about their beliefs as the people I mentioned earlier. But that isn't true. Most people who are atheists don't care about religion or non-religion and couldn't ever be bothered to involve themselves in arguments like this; it would probably bore them to tears (like I'm sure it would with a lot of theists). Most atheists just don't believe in God and that's the extent of it- without the arguments, strong opinions on religion or adamancy of their stance. So while in some people atheism might have commonalities with religion, in others, it couldn't be futher apart.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 1st 2012, 02:51 AM

It not really a religion but some may consider it. Its basically what you dont believe in. There is also agnostics who believe in a higher power but not god.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 1st 2012, 02:59 AM

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Originally Posted by ac135453 View Post
There is also agnostics who believe in a higher power but not god.
Wrong. Agnostics believe that the existence of any deity (and the metaphysical) either has not been proved or cannotbe proved. They do NOT believe in a higher power.
   
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 1st 2012, 05:26 AM

Religion (www.dictionary.com):


1.a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2.a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

Atheism:

1. The doctrine or belief that there is no God
2. Disbelief in a Supreme Being or Beings

Based on the definitions listed above, no, Atheism is not a religion in and of itself.

However, I do believe Atheists sometimes mobilize themselves in the way Christians do in defense of their beliefs (which, by the way, isn't an absence of belief; it does not acknowledge a Deity, but it is still a belief in the fact that there isn't a Deity).

Also, I really wish some religious leaders weren't so ignorant of their word choices. "Liberal" does not mean "secular" by any definition of the word. People who interchange words that have nothing to do with one another really need to know what they are saying before making public comments.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 1st 2012, 06:21 AM

I may be mistaken in this, and I apologize if I am, but I'm afraid you're incorrect here:

Quote:
which, by the way, isn't an absence of belief; it does not acknowledge a Deity, but it is still a belief in the fact that there isn't a Deity
Atheism isn't a positive statement: "There is no God." What the term atheism says is, "I lack faith in a God." That's it. Nothing more, or nothing less. When someone asserts that there is no god, they are what is called a Gnostic Atheist. Gnossos meaning "knowledge," and the term meaning one who positively makes the assertion that there is no God.

Secondly, I think it's kind of redundant to say that atheists mobilize themselves in the same way Christians do when in defense of their beliefs. How is that any different from saying that atheists mobilize the same way as a Hindu, Muslim, or Democrat, or Marxist?


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 1st 2012, 12:38 PM

I wouldn't say so. I don't see how not believing in something is the same as believing in something :|

I don't believe in God or any higher power but I don't call myself an "Atheist" I don't want to label my beliefs. I don't want to mould my beliefs into a box.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 1st 2012, 04:39 PM

Atheism actually is a positive belief in the non-existence of god(s). Weak atheism or agnosticism would be considered otherwise. I.E. saying you're uncertain. I guess you could argue only strong atheism is a positive statement, but I'd be inclined to disagree. You reasoned enough to conclude there are/is no god(s), where the former hasn't reached that point. We are essentially born agnostic, to a degree. At least it appears to me that way, as we formulate beliefs later on.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 1st 2012, 07:02 PM

I personally do not consider atheism a religion.
   
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 1st 2012, 07:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by OMFG!You'reActuallySmart! View Post
If you're referring to dr2005's response, it's not complex, however, he has a way with words .
Yeah...blame the law degree for that one I guess.

Also, thanks for the positive messages guys - have to admit when I first saw Shively's post I did start to wonder about what I'd actually written! For the record, Shively, if there's anything you want me to clarify just shout. The Man and XX Master's post pretty much covered it though.

Also going to say I'm not sure I find the light-dark analogy the best either...


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If you're referring to dr2005's response, it's not complex, however, he has a way with words .
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 1st 2012, 08:12 PM

dr2005: I personally love how you made the quote a part of your signature. Secondly, I'm not really sure if it was the best choice of words, but it was all I could think of at the time. :/

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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 1st 2012, 09:26 PM

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Originally Posted by JKmadu619 View Post
dr2005: I personally love how you made the quote a part of your signature. Secondly, I'm not really sure if it was the best choice of words, but it was all I could think of at the time. :/

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The worrying bit is, it probably sums me up very well! And no worries, apologies if it came across as an attack - I can see what you mean, I'm just not sure about the analogy insofar as the atheist position as most on here would describe it.


"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

However bleak things seem, however insurmountable the darkness appears, remember that you have worth and nothing can take that away.

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If you're referring to dr2005's response, it's not complex, however, he has a way with words .
RIP Nick
   
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 2nd 2012, 12:07 AM

While Athiesm in and of itself isn't really a religion it has similar principals of building blocks as far as what they believe from which every member differs slightly. I still would not call it a religion because it's Athiesm... Theo means god.... A as in anti means no or lack of that there of.


   
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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 2nd 2012, 06:09 AM

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Atheism actually is a positive belief in the non-existence of god(s). Weak atheism or agnosticism would be considered otherwise. I.E. saying you're uncertain. I guess you could argue only strong atheism is a positive statement, but I'd be inclined to disagree. You reasoned enough to conclude there are/is no god(s), where the former hasn't reached that point. We are essentially born agnostic, to a degree. At least it appears to me that way, as we formulate beliefs later on.
Have you ever heard of ignosticism? it basically says we've assumed to much about what a god is. So you could say people are born ignostic as they have no knowledge of what a god is so they aren't in the position to say they lack belief, believe or say they don't know.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 2nd 2012, 11:18 AM

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Have you ever heard of ignosticism? it basically says we've assumed to much about what a god is. So you could say people are born ignostic as they have no knowledge of what a god is so they aren't in the position to say they lack belief, believe or say they don't know.
I have, but a child hasn't assumed anything about any god(s), so a broader version, agnosticism, is appropriate in this context, I believe. Ignostic would be more applicable, were we speaking of one version of a deity.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 2nd 2012, 09:09 PM

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I have, but a child hasn't assumed anything about any god(s), so a broader version, agnosticism, is appropriate in this context, I believe. Ignostic would be more applicable, were we speaking of one version of a deity.
Agnosticism implies there has been some consideration of deities and religion, which is not possible if a child has no knowledge of any gods or religions. Ignosticism implies the definition of a particular deity is required before making any further decisions, which is consistent with a child not knowing anything about deities and religions. I think you're jumping the gun by suggesting such a child would be agnostic.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 5th 2012, 04:48 AM

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I may be mistaken in this, and I apologize if I am, but I'm afraid you're incorrect here:

Atheism isn't a positive statement: "There is no God." What the term atheism says is, "I lack faith in a God." That's it. Nothing more, or nothing less. When someone asserts that there is no god, they are what is called a Gnostic Atheist. Gnossos meaning "knowledge," and the term meaning one who positively makes the assertion that there is no God.

Secondly, I think it's kind of redundant to say that atheists mobilize themselves in the same way Christians do when in defense of their beliefs. How is that any different from saying that atheists mobilize the same way as a Hindu, Muslim, or Democrat, or Marxist?
Atheists don't believe in God. However, a lack of belief is still a belief. Atheists believe there is not God. Put whatever spin you want on it, positive or negative, it doesn't really matter to me, because I don't put much emphasis on it. But even a lack of belief in something is still a belief, also called an opinion, view, stance, position, etc. It's just semantics.

I chose Christians simply because that's who Atheists seems to pit themselves against the most, that's all (and vice versa). I could have used another example; it's just what came to mind.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 5th 2012, 01:59 PM

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Atheists don't believe in God. However, a lack of belief is still a belief. Atheists believe there is not God. Put whatever spin you want on it, positive or negative, it doesn't really matter to me, because I don't put much emphasis on it. But even a lack of belief in something is still a belief, also called an opinion, view, stance, position, etc. It's just semantics.

I chose Christians simply because that's who Atheists seems to pit themselves against the most, that's all (and vice versa). I could have used another example; it's just what came to mind.
No. A lack of belief is a lack of belief. Darkness is not a color. It is a stance, yes, but it is not a theological belief. The very term itself means to lack belief. I don't know why you don't get this; you seem somewhat intelligent.


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Re: Is ATHEISM a RELIGION? - March 16th 2012, 09:49 PM

"Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair colour."

Sums this up quite nicely.
   
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