Is atheism also a religion?

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Is atheism also a religion?

I am not trying to 'troll' here but I'd like to post my opinions and perhaps someone can, if they disagree with them, explain why they think I'm wrong. Personally, I'm an agnostic because I do not like either side's answer.

As I understand it, metaphysics is branch of philosophy which undertakes the study of the characteristics of the universe which are unprovable. You're allowed to ask questions - oh, metaphysics has such lovely questions - and you can offer possible answers as long as you qualify them by saying they aren't necessarily right. But if you offer an answer to a metaphysical question, it's no longer philosophy, it's religion. (If we ever get a verifyable answer to a metaphysical question it stops becoming metaphysical.)

Metaphysics concerns issues like, why do I feel like I am the only person in the universe? Is there existence after death? (Or the one that most people duck, is there existence before life?)

And, of course, the big one. "Is there a God?" (or, for those of you willing to take your religion with a dash of soda and a twist, "Is there more than one God?&quotEye-wink

Now, theism - by all the brands and versions - answers this question in the affirmative. Atheism, obviously, answers it in the negative.

The problem I have is that it is an opinion. Yes, I know that the burden of proof is on those who want to argue that there is a God because you can't be required to prove a negative.

But here is the point I want to make. Irregardless of one's opinion on the subject - and I'll grant that the atheist opinion is demonstrably a better one - it is still an opinion. The subject is unproven and unprovable. And in fact, I think the issue is a bit larger than most people consider.

I believe that the world - the universe - is rational, that it has certain conditions and laws that are not subject to debate, or prayer, or discussion; that they are required to be followed in the absence of some condition permitting them to be disobeyed, e.g. avoiding the force of gravity requires one use aircraft or some device - usually powered - to rise more than whatever you can jump. I believe that the world is understandable and that we have the capacity of reason to understand it. We may not know everything, but there are some things we do know.

I know that I exist. I also know that there is at least something else out there, either as a part of me or as other people (e.g. if everything around me were an illusion, there would still have to be a separate part of my mind feeding me the illusion.) I also believe this something else is not part of me, e.g. it is you and anyone else who reads this.

Point is I cannot 'prove' any of this. Theists cannot 'prove' their god exists; atheists will not - because they cannot - prove the non-existence of God.

All of these things are based on a belief. For what I believe in, and what Atheists believe in, it's a logical and reasonable belief, but it is still a belief. Let me explain why.

All knowledge, all that we understand as the sum total of everything, is based on a series of conclusions, these conclusions are based on premises: facts, axioms and on the principles of logic, or at least, presumably, on some form of logical analysis. Now, most every conclusion, can be summarized in terms of the premises which support that conclusion. When the premises consist of facts, one has a factual base for the conclusion.

The problem here - and this is the big problem that theists don't like - is that if you have a conclusion which is based on an opinion, you do not have facts to support it, and thus all you have for that particular conclusion is a belief.

Sooner or later, in some aspect of of one's conclusions, if we follow the chain of logic and reasoning, all of the premises used to support those conclusions, you're going to come across at least one conclusion, which is necessary to support the others, and that conclusion cannot be proven; one has to believe in it in order to accept it. One has to make a 'leap of faith' on that one particular conclusion.

And a belief supported only by a faith is of necessity a religious opinion.

This is the reason that I am of the opinion that atheism is a religion. It takes a metaphysical issue and flatly declares an answer which it claims is correct. That it is probably a better form to take than the 'swallow everything whole' sort of blind faith that theists often have, it still, at least in my opinion, appears to be a belief in a religious matter.

If' I'm not completely clear, I apologize. But I am writing this out in order to clarify my own opinions, and possibly learn something.

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Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson wrote:

atheists will not - because they cannot - prove the non-existence of God.

I used to resist the label atheist for a few years myself.  However, when you really look at what the word atheist stands for then you must be forced to change your mind.

Disbelief in the existence of god or gods.

The only statement I'm making with atheism is that I DON'T BELIEVE in a god.

So I'm not trying to prove anything.  I just don't believe in something.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson wrote:

This is the reason that I am of the opinion that atheism is a religion. It takes a metaphysical issue and flatly declares an answer which it claims is correct. That it is probably a better form to take than the 'swallow everything whole' sort of blind faith that theists often have, it still, at least in my opinion, appears to be a belief in a religious matter.

This is where you go wrong. Atheism does not do as you claim, 'take a metaphysical issue and flatly declare an answer.'   This is a common mischaracterization of what atheism is, and frankly is it tiresome to keep rehashing it over and over. 

Atheism is a broad category of all those who don't believe in god or gods.  As such, it is a negative category.  Taken in a smaller bite, your logic would cause you to declare non-belief in buddhism as a religion, non-belief in Islam as a religion, and non-belief in paganism a religion.  All people would hold thousands of negative religions. This is patently absurd.  Atheism is not a belief, but a lack of belief.  Contained within this broad category are many people who hold various positions, such as strong atheism, agnostic atheism, weak atheism, etc.  

I hope this helps. If not, try this....

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/sn-definitions.html

 


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Remember, kids, the

Remember, kids, the epistemological spectrum only has two points: Absolute mathematical certainty and total blind faith. There is no space in the middle for varying levels of certainty, with varying degrees of evidential justification and support from logical arguments.

I can't prove with mathematical certainty that solipsism is not the nature of the world, and therefore I can't absolutely prove my computer desk is real. Obviously I take it on blind faith, and my belief in the existence of my computer desk is a religion. I call it Deskism. I'd ask you guys to join my religion, but I can't prove you exist either, so talking to you guys is an implicit acknowledge that I've joined the religion of Otherpeopleism. 

I certainly hope that Otherpeopleism and Deskism don't prohibit joining other religions, because then I'd be fucked. 

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


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You can be both agnostic

You can be both agnostic and atheist.  Infact, you probably are.

 

Check out this link - http://www.rationalresponders.com/rrs_authors

 

And this link -

http://www.rationalresponders.com/am_i_agnostic_or_atheist

 

The first link has quite a few authors that frequent this site and do alot to contribute.  It is alot of reading, but VERY informative.


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Quote: This is the reason

Quote:
This is the reason that I am of the opinion that atheism is a religion. It takes a metaphysical issue and flatly declares an answer which it claims is correct. That it is probably a better form to take than the 'swallow everything whole' sort of blind faith that theists often have, it still, at least in my opinion, appears to be a belief in a religious matter.

 

A = non.  Theism = Belief in god.  A-Theism = Non belief in god.

 

By your logic, everyone not beleiving in unicorns would be Aunicornists and that would be a religion.  Same for Aleprechaunism.  See how silly it is?


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Quote:

Quote:
atheists will not - because they cannot - prove the non-existence of God

Actually you can diprove God (god on the other hand, not really).

The bible clearly states that God did things like me man out of dirt.

We, know this isn't true, so we can conclude that that certian god (the one called God, AKA I'm too incompetent) can't be real.

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This really boils down to

This really boils down to what you can get an atheist to agree with you on. People nowadays (atheists and theists alike) are prone to "wishy-washy" thinking that just won't do.

Atheism a religion? Probably not. Even though "religious" may be the best way of describing this forum's reaction to The End of Faith, "Religious" bears connotations that atheists appear to be allergic to.

Atheism an ideology?  If he doesn't admit this much, he's commiting the pretended neutrality fallacy.

 

My own thoughts are:

 Christianity against Atheism:    Religious conflict. Atheism has metaphysical implications which, much to the disgruntlement of many atheists, does give it religious values.

Intelligent Design against Evolution:   Ideological conflict. While this may happen to closely coexist with the religious conflict (and often both are present at the same time) it is really a totally different beast.

Intelligent Design and Evolution are two mechanisms for explaining science, whereas Christianity and Atheism is a metaphysical conflict. 

"Truth is the cry of all, but the game of the few." George Berkeley
"Truth is always strange — stranger than fiction." Lord Byron

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Sir Valiant for Truth

Sir Valiant for Truth wrote:

 

Atheism an ideology?  If he doesn't admit this much, he's commiting the pretended neutrality fallacy.

In the interest of saving me from additional decades of living a life in ignorance of the ideological ground in which you believe I am necessarily rooted by my atheism, would you mind taking a moment to enlighten me as to the ideological landscape entailed by my claim of never having encountered any reason to consider this empty term 'god' to refer to an actual existent?

 

Quote:
My own thoughts are:

 Christianity against Atheism:    Religious conflict. Atheism has metaphysical implications which, much to the disgruntlement of many atheists, does give it religious values.

Whether such a thing disgruntles atheists or not is of no importance to whether or not your claim that atheism has metaphysical implications is true. What are the metaphysical implications of one not holding a belief in a 'god' that would give atheism religious values?

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Calling atheism a religion

Calling atheism a religion depends on two fallacies:

1. Shifting the burden of proof.

2. Special Pleading.

If I accuse a random person of the random murder of a person they're not connected to at all, and zero evidence is found linking them to the crime, but they have no alibi, where does that leave my claim? Does my claim have a kind of validity because it hasn't been excluded from all possibility? Say I claim the moon formed a face and winked at America the other day. I can't prove it, but there must be thousands of cameras pointed at the moon at any given time; so with a time and date stamped photo, my claim could be tested. Not so with the claim of gods. They're not defined, they're untestable, unfalsifiable... as they stand now at least. Where specific claims have been made about them, and science has had the capacity to explore those areas, no god has ever added anything to any explanation. But there's always more to explore, right? Always a gap? We would have to scour every dimension of space to disprove what isn't our burden to begin with.

Given the lack of evidence, lack of consistency, lack of logic, lack of everything, in god claims, one has to wonder how this question has gotten so far. We take it for granted that there's a special validity to asking this question, so much so that rejecting it needs a distinct name, and so much that we're blinded as to how this is only one of many possible claims with equal supporting data (none). I don't believe in any gods, nor do I believe in nature spirits, or the gentry, or the dwende, or the capre, or kobolds, or the Lady in the Lake. Almost every culture on earth has some kind of gods... but people neglect to mention that they also have some permutation of fairies, leprechauns, forest spirits, demons, and other things even god-believers dismiss without a second thought.

Atheism is a neutral view of the naturalistic world that doesn't (or, in an general sense, not a dogmatic sense, aspires not to) impose superfluous concepts onto observable reality. Most cultures, however, are not neutral, but start with the assumptions that religion imposes, so a distinction is made for those that reject the presumptuous norm.


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Even if atheism were based

Even if atheism were based solely on blind faith, it probably still wouldn't be a religion, because religion implies other facets besides blind faith. While a categorical definition of religion would be impossible, as per Wittgenstein, there are some traits that I think most people would agree to be part of most religions:

1) Belief in the supernatural or paranormal. 

2) Reverence, worship, and/or supplication of a particular supernatural entity.

3) A social structure or hierarchy, from leaders down to worshippers.

4) Unquestionable dogma, usually held as the works of the entity worshipped.

5) Blind faith in some central aspect of the belief system.

There are undoubtedly religions that fail one or two of those requirements, and different opinions on what characteristics are most important, but I think it can be safely said that religion is not simply synonymous with blind faith. People may have blind faith in some supernatural or paranormal entity -- the spirit world, UFOs, shadow people, various gods -- yet not possess other characters of a religion, such as worshipping those entities or a social structure with priests and prophets. It's why you get people who say they're spiritual but not religious -- religion has connotations beyond believing things on blind faith.

 

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


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Vessel wrote: In the

Vessel wrote:
In the interest of saving me from additional decades of living a life in ignorance of the ideological ground in which you believe I am necessarily rooted by my atheism, would you mind taking a moment to enlighten me as to the ideological landscape entailed by my claim of never having encountered any reason to consider this empty term 'god' to refer to an actual existent?

You just made the pretended neutrality fallacy. In asserting that you yourself have no ideological rooting "never having encountered any reason" you actually betray the deep "feel based" opinion you possess "to consider this empty term 'god' to refer to an actual existence?"

QED.

The lack of an ideological rooting cannot produce feelings. Both you and I are ideological, the only difference between us is that I'm honest about it to everyone, whereas you aren't even honest about it to yourself.

 That answer your objection?

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Sir Valiant for Truth

Sir Valiant for Truth wrote:

Vessel wrote:
In the interest of saving me from additional decades of living a life in ignorance of the ideological ground in which you believe I am necessarily rooted by my atheism, would you mind taking a moment to enlighten me as to the ideological landscape entailed by my claim of never having encountered any reason to consider this empty term 'god' to refer to an actual existent?

You just made the pretended neutrality fallacy. In asserting that you yourself have no ideological rooting "never having encountered any reason" you actually betray the deep "feel based" opinion you possess "to consider this empty term 'god' to refer to an actual existence?"

QED.

The lack of an ideological rooting cannot produce feelings. Both you and I are ideological, the only difference between us is that I'm honest about it to everyone, whereas you aren't even honest about it to yourself.

 That answer your objection?

Not at all.

You seem to have imported some emotional baggage into your reading of the question that does not belong. I make no claim to having no ideological rooting. I will in fact state right here for all to see that I do have very deep ideological roots. For one to be a-ideological seems, to me, to be impossible. 

 So back to the actual questions I asked in an attempt to have you clarify some assertions you made without providing an supporting substance:

A.) In what ideological ground is one encessarily rooted by making a claim of holding no god belief?

B.) What are the metaphysical claims of not holding a belief in a god that give atheism religious values?

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Sir Valiant for Truth

Sir Valiant for Truth wrote:

 

Atheism an ideology?  If he doesn't admit this much, he's commiting the pretended neutrality fallacy.

Sigh. Let me explain it to you: an atheist can have any ideology, atheism is not an ideology. It's a lack of belief in whatever nonsense theists think they hold to....

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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Sir Valiant for Truth

Sir Valiant for Truth wrote:

Vessel wrote:
In the interest of saving me from additional decades of living a life in ignorance of the ideological ground in which you believe I am necessarily rooted by my atheism, would you mind taking a moment to enlighten me as to the ideological landscape entailed by my claim of never having encountered any reason to consider this empty term 'god' to refer to an actual existent?

You just made the pretended neutrality fallacy. 

Whether or not a particular atheist has an ideology has no relevance to the question of whether atheism itself is an ideology. You're not only wrong,  you're not even able to stick to your own point.

Oh, and by the way... if one is pretending, then one is conceding that their claim is false, hence it would not be a 'fallacy'.

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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todangst wrote:Sir

todangst wrote:
Sir Valiant for Truth wrote:

Vessel wrote:
In the interest of saving me from additional decades of living a life in ignorance of the ideological ground in which you believe I am necessarily rooted by my atheism, would you mind taking a moment to enlighten me as to the ideological landscape entailed by my claim of never having encountered any reason to consider this empty term 'god' to refer to an actual existent?

You just made the pretended neutrality fallacy. 

Whether or not a particular atheist has an ideology has no relevance to the question of whether atheism itself is an ideology. You're not only wrong,  you're not even able to stick to your own point.

Yeah. This is what I was trying to get him to  clarify. One may be able to argue that a given atheists claim is ideologically based (though where he tries to state that non-cognitivism is an ideologically based claim I would argue to the contrary)  but to claim that atheism is, in itself, an ideology is simply incorrect. Of course, atheism as an ideology is what he would have to argue for if he wanted to attempt to pin atheism with religious values.

* edited to remove unquoted text *

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Paul Robinson wrote: As I

Paul Robinson wrote:
As I understand it, metaphysics is branch of philosophy which undertakes the study of the characteristics of the universe which are unprovable. You're allowed to ask questions - oh, metaphysics has such lovely questions - and you can offer possible answers as long as you qualify them by saying they aren't necessarily right. But if you offer an answer to a metaphysical question, it's no longer philosophy, it's religion. (If we ever get a verifyable answer to a metaphysical question it stops becoming metaphysical.)

I don't think that's quite right...
You're right that metaphysics doesn't deal in absolute proofs.
It doesn't start with grounding axioms with which to build proof on. Instead it is a holistic enterprise, i.e. you have an overall theory that rather than prove or disprove, you gradually iron out contradictions and inconsistencies as they come up.
So rather than talk in terms of "this is true" and "this is false" you talk in terms of "this fits nicely" or "that's riddled with problems."

What's more, it's not so much making claims about facts of nature, it's about analysing the nature of facts.
Physics is about investigating what the laws, causes and properties of nature are.
Metaphysics deals in what it is for something to be a 'law' or a 'cause' or a 'property'.
Much of the time it is talking about our way of thinking about the world as much as anything else. This is why there is so many thought experiments, as we are experimenting onto how we naturally think certain concepts and apply them in scenarios.

I also disagree with your (and most other people on this board) conception of religion. It's more than just having a metaphysical worldview. Some religions can be atheistic while theists can be non-religious. While religion tends to involve metaphysics, there's more to it than just metaphysical beliefs. It appears to change the way that you treat these beliefs. Not that I can come up with a clear definition of religion myself... Smiling


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I recently came across two

I recently came across two nice definitions of religion.

1. (from Dennett) a social activity in which people seek the approval of a supernatural agent or agents
Seeking approval is the significa differentia in this one that separates religion from mere belief.

2. (from Rodney Stark and Roger Finke) "...social enterprises whose purpose is to create, maintain and supply religion to some set of individuals and to support and supervise their exchanges with a god or gods."

Atheism isn't a religion under either of these definitions.  Neither is "Darwinism," incidentally. 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Quote: I used to resist the

Quote:
I used to resist the label atheist for a few years myself. However, when you really look at what the word atheist stands for then you must be forced to change your mind.

Disbelief in the existence of god or gods.

The only statement I'm making with atheism is that I DON'T BELIEVE in a god.

Now, first, I'm not trying to 'trap' you, I'm simply trying to be certain I understand what you are saying. Are you in fact saying that you have no opinion at all and are willing to accept either based on some evidence to support their claim, or are you saying your opinion is that you disbelieve in the opinion that there is a God? Because it seems that if you have an opinion, then you've made a decision based on something which lacks evidence one way or the other. And that, as far as I can see, represents a religious opinion.

Don't necessarily knock the point; I think some of the most important opinions in the world are, of necessity, religious in nature because the only way we can hold them is on the basis of faith. Everything beyond our own existence depends on the belief that our senses are correct and that the world is as it appears to be, and we're not being fed something vis-a-vis pods in The Matrix.

Our own existence need not be proven; it is self evident. As is, as I pointed out, the world around us; even if we were being fed what the world is by some part of our own brain, that part itself would have to be an autonomous component. But beyond that, it is not something provable. And I think that is the point I am trying to make, since it is not provable we still have to depend upon faith to accept it. Either that, or we would have to reject virtually everything.

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Quote: This is where you go

Quote:
This is where you go wrong. Atheism does not do as you claim, 'take a metaphysical issue and flatly declare an answer.' This is a common mischaracterization of what atheism is, and frankly is it tiresome to keep rehashing it over and over.

And this is exactly the reason why you and others who take that kind of attitude essentially drive away those whom you might be able to convert to your side if - like myself - they sit on the fence or might even be convinced of what you think, or in the alternative, perhaps made to realize that perhaps their opinions could be wrong. Unless you want people to think your idea represents something of a crackpot minority like the Flat Earth Society rather than an educated opinion based on reason.

Most people do not understand the issue - it was damned hard for me and I am fairly intelligent - but you get ordinary people who want to understand and you immediately dismiss them because you don't like having to answer the question multiple times. Whenever you hold to some unusual belief - even if you're right - people are not going to understand you unless you're willing to allow them to understand or perhaps offer help to try. I think the figures are that about 90% of the people of North America and 70% of the rest of the world have some belief in (usually) one entity of supernatural characteristics which all of them have as the idea of 'God'. Since you don't agree with their uneducated opinion, they do not understand why, you disagree with something to them that is, for all intents and purposes, self-evident. You have an unusual and - to a vast majority of people in North America, at least - strange particular opinion that, frankly, they have no doubt about the issue.

If you want to dismiss people who are trolling, or crackpots, or otherwise ridiculous, that's one thing. But I think what I stated in my original post and how I phrased my argument shows that this is not something casual or meaningless, but a deeply serious statement I am making in hopes of perhaps understanding something.

If you don't care and have no problem with people being, in effect, spoon fed something that you know is obviously wrong, then you should ignore people's questions. But if you want to encourage people to think, then you have to be willing to listen to people asking the same questions. Or provide fairly good explanations in an obvious fashion (you passed on a link of some kind; I will take a look at it). If you want to encourage people to think, you've got to drive a wedge into their confort zone and make them a bit uncomfortable in order to perhaps allow them to see what you're saying.

But I have to disagree with your point. Some people believe that there is "a" God. Those are theists. Since the opinion is about a matter that is metaphysical in nature, and the opinion claims itself to be correct, that opinion is by definition a religious opinion. Atheism disagrees with that opinion and flatly declares it wrong. Therefore I see atheism as a religious opinion, e.g. a religion.

Quote:
Atheism is a broad category of all those who don't believe in god or gods. As such, it is a negative category.

I'm not including agnosticism, of which I happen to be a believer in, as being part of atheism. When I say "atheism" I mean that particular portion that holds an opinion that there is no God. It also means that they must be in disagreement with those who hold to the opinion that there is one. As I see it, if you have a direct disagreement with core point of a religious opinion, that disagreement must of necessity be a religious opinion. That's all I am saying.

Quote:
Taken in a smaller bite, your logic would cause you to declare non-belief in buddhism as a religion, non-belief in Islam as a religion, and non-belief in paganism a religion.

If you flatly declared the primary idea of their religion totally inaccurate, then yes I would agree that it was a religious opinion. If you have no opinion at all about that particular religion, then you don't have a religious opinion. But once you express an opinion about religion or about a religious opinion I think that opinion itself is a religious opinion.

If someone said that they read a really great book titled "In the Matter of: The Gatekeeper: The Gate Contracts", and someone else said it was a terrible book, they would rightfully be considered opinions on the subject. If someone else came along and was of the opinion that no such book existed, then I think it would be an opinion related to that book.

Most people either have no opinion on the other religions (as they consider them irrelevant) or (for those who do have some other religion) see them either as poor unfortunates who believe in some incorrect reliion (because it isn't theirs), or, if they're less charitable, as saps who fell for some Trap of Satan and will "burn in hell forever."

Quote:
All people would hold thousands of negative religions. This is patently absurd. Atheism is not a belief, but a lack of belief. Contained within this broad category are many people who hold various positions, such as strong atheism, agnostic atheism, weak atheism, etc.

I think those who lump agnosticism in with atheism 'muddy the waters' and perhaps confuse the issue. I do not believe (no pun intended) that my opinions are anything related to the concepts based in atheism because it takes a stand on an unproven and unprovable issue; the idea of whether or not there is some supernatural entity which presumably has some form of control over this world. It expresses an opinion that the idea is without merit.

I disagree with the idea that it is a lack of belief. Agnosticism is a lack of belief; an agnostic doesn't believe either opinion. An atheist has already established a belief in something, because they have an opinion (which they presume to be correct) on a matter that cannot be proven. And that opinion is by definition a religious opinion.

Whereas, as an agnostic, I simply take the tack that the opinion of whether or not there is a God, or isn't one, is that, an opinion. And until someone offers me some evidence one way or the other, I'm simply not agreeing with either side. If someone on the atheist side presents some logical argument or satisfactory evidence to presuppose the arguments on the other side do not have validity, then I'll be proud to say "I am an atheist." If, on the other hand, the theists can fix their problems and provide something to validate their arguments, I'll be proud to say that I am a member of whatever particular religious sect holds to what I see as the correct standing.

In the mean time I remain unconvinced by what I see as religious arguments on both sides. Which is why I remain an agnostic because I see both sides as the two sides of the same coin, both having an opinion on a religious issue.

I know I'm not going to convince anyone here of anything; I'm not trying to. I basically want to learn something and perhaps see if I have to refine what I believe in in order to clarify it and better understand it myself. I do know what I believe in, I'm just not always certain how to explain it to others.

 

"Above all else... We shall go on..."
"...And continue!"
The lessons of history teach us - if they teach us anything - that nobody learns the lessons that history teaches us.


DrTerwilliker
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Paul Robinson, I understand

Paul Robinson,

I understand your confusion, because most people seem to have this fundamental misunderstanding of atheism.  However, agnosticism and atheism are two answers to two different questions.  They by no means contradict one another.  You might not consider agnostics to be in the same category as atheists, but you're mistaken to not, because the two beliefs can easily, and often do, coexist in the same person.

    See, all that agnosticism (in a religious context) means is that you don't know for sure if there is a god or not, or, in many cases, that you don't believe people can ever be positive about the question of deities' existence.  But this doesn't answer whether or not you believe in such deities.  It only testifies to the degree of your belief or lack of belief in a higher power.

One still has to answer whether or not one holds an active belief in god.  If one does, then one is a theist.  Someone can be an agnostic theist, quite easily in fact, if they are not one hundred percent sure about their faith.  But if someone doesn't hold a belief in any gods, then one is automatically an atheist.  You're either a theist or an atheist.  Agnosticism is by no means a middle ground between the two, and people who think it is are misinformed.

Atheists seldom hold an active belief that there are absolutely no gods.  They merely don't hold an active belief in any.  You would appear to be an atheist, and I understand your hesitancy to label yourself one because of the many people who are confused about the definition of it, but the fact is, that if you don't hold a belief in god, then you are one.   I suggest you look up the definitions of "agnosticism" and "atheism" to settle your confusion once and for all.  You can't have an opinion on the definition of words.  It's usually pretty cut and dried.

Best,

DrTerwilliker 

 

 


Watcher
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Paul Robinson wrote: Now,

Paul Robinson wrote:

Now, first, I'm not trying to 'trap' you, I'm simply trying to be certain I understand what you are saying. Are you in fact saying that you have no opinion at all and are willing to accept either based on some evidence to support their claim, or are you saying your opinion is that you disbelieve in the opinion that there is a God? Because it seems that if you have an opinion, then you've made a decision based on something which lacks evidence one way or the other. And that, as far as I can see, represents a religious opinion.

Don't necessarily knock the point; I think some of the most important opinions in the world are, of necessity, religious in nature because the only way we can hold them is on the basis of faith. Everything beyond our own existence depends on the belief that our senses are correct and that the world is as it appears to be, and we're not being fed something vis-a-vis pods in The Matrix.

Our own existence need not be proven; it is self evident. As is, as I pointed out, the world around us; even if we were being fed what the world is by some part of our own brain, that part itself would have to be an autonomous component. But beyond that, it is not something provable. And I think that is the point I am trying to make, since it is not provable we still have to depend upon faith to accept it. Either that, or we would have to reject virtually everything.

When I say I'm an atheist, I'm saying there is no god that I believe in.

That means I have heard nothing that convinces me that the Christian god exists.

Or Allah, or Thor, or Odin, or Zues, etc.

I keep hearing people mention all these gods, but I haven't found any evidence to believe in one.

That's decidedly different then saying I BELIEVE that no god exists.  I don't believe in any god that anyone has brought up.

I agree in the possibilty of some type of entity that could be called "god".

But to say that me calling myself atheist means the same thing as theist, just another type?  Ridiculous.

Theism: Belief in the existence of a god or gods.

Atheism: Disbelief in the existence of a god or gods.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


gregfl
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Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson wrote:

And this is exactly the reason why you and others who take that kind of attitude essentially drive away those whom you might be able to convert

Maybe your confused. I am not trying to convert you, only responding to your question. The reason that it is tiresome is that it comes up constantly and never gets resolved. We will hash this out in this thread, only for it to get posted again by someone else tomorrow who is using essential the same erroneous definitions you are.

Paul Robinson wrote:

Most people do not understand the issue 

Granted 

Paul Robinson wrote:

But I have to disagree with your point. Some people believe that there is "a" God. Those are theists. Since the opinion is about a matter that is metaphysical in nature, and the opinion claims itself to be correct, that opinion is by definition a religious opinion.

 One of the problems with your conclusion is that you are defining any metaphysical opinion as religious in nature. Metaphysics and religion are not synonyms.

I can and do  for example, hold a metaphysical position that the natural world is all that exists.  This metaphysical position is irreligious in nature, not religious as religion is defined as a belief system grounded in supernatural concepts (edit). Maybe this helps you? 

Paul Robinson wrote:

 Atheism disagrees with that opinion and flatly declares it wrong.

this is another error you are making. "atheism" is the broad category of all people who lack theism. As I alluded to in my first post, the broad category includes people who hold many different opinions. Just in this thread you had someone say he could disprove god. That is certainly a position I don't hold. I am an atheist and I hold the position that I think the god concept is highly unlikely but not 'flatly wrong'. 

 

Paul Robinson wrote:

 Therefore I see atheism as a religious opinion, e.g. a religion.

 

this is largely to definitional problems you are holding with the terms 'atheist', 'metaphysics', and 'religion'.


Paul Robinson wrote:

I'm not including agnosticism, of which I happen to be a believer in, as being part of atheism. When I say "atheism" I mean that particular portion that holds an opinion that there is no God. It also means that they must be in disagreement with those who hold to the opinion that there is one. As I see it, if you have a direct disagreement with core point of a religious opinion, that disagreement must of necessity be a religious opinion. That's all I am saying.

Add the term agnosticism to the list of terms you are having definitional issues with.  Agnosticism deals with the concept of knowledge, not belief, and Atheism deals with the concept of belief, not knowledge. They are not different degrees of the same concept.

 

Paul Robinson wrote:

Whereas, as an agnostic, I simply take the tack that the opinion of whether or not there is a God, or isn't one, is that, an opinion.

That is neither agnosticism or atheism, but rather a statement of fact.

That is all I really have Paul. I hope it helps you. If you stay stuck on the definitions you are using for metaphysics, Religion, Atheism, and agnosticism, you are going to continue to come to different conclusions then the people posting in this thread. Constructive philosophical discussions are impossible when opposing parties aren't using the same definitions.

Peace out.


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JeremiahSmith

JeremiahSmith wrote:

Remember, kids, the epistemological spectrum only has two points: Absolute mathematical certainty and total blind faith. There is no space in the middle for varying levels of certainty, with varying degrees of evidential justification and support from logical arguments.

I can't prove with mathematical certainty that solipsism is not the nature of the world, and therefore I can't absolutely prove my computer desk is real. Obviously I take it on blind faith, and my belief in the existence of my computer desk is a religion. I call it Deskism. I'd ask you guys to join my religion, but I can't prove you exist either, so talking to you guys is an implicit acknowledge that I've joined the religion of Otherpeopleism. 

I certainly hope that Otherpeopleism and Deskism don't prohibit joining other religions, because then I'd be fucked. 

 

Fucked you are.

I regret to inform you that Forumism requires you to reject all other religions, including deskism and otherpeopleism. Your participation here has  caused the contradiction meter to violently and dangerously vacillate.

I further regret to inform you that you must kill yourself now. Unfortunately this is the only way to restore rationality.


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atheism is not a religion.

atheism is not a religion.

Simple.

It hold non the the struture of a religion, no tennats rules laws or statments of certantiy about any thing.

It is simply not beliving in a deity.

 

the trouble is declaring atheism a religion is in its heart a tactic to water down the postion of the athiest. Leveling the playing field if  you will. "aka now that your labeld and understood as i am we can apply my falcys and logical problems to your statments". 

 

 

Many a man have failed because his wish bone is where his back bone should have been. " not written by me"


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Atheism is not a

Atheism is not a religion..

 

And denying the existence of deities is not a belief.  It is rejecting what is irrational, nothing more.  How does that require faith?  It doesn't.  Denying Santa Claus doesn't require faith, so why does this not apply to God(s)?  Just because belief in a God is so widespread, that doesn't mean it should be a default to believe.  Reject what is illogical.  Logic is the reason that humans have been around for so long.  It has made us one of the strongest species (only the strongest survive) living.  So when it comes down to it, I'm sticking with logic.  I'm not going to push it aside just because somebody thinks it's impossible to apply it to something such as a deity.  Bottom line:  Theism is irrational, so how if faith required to reject what's illogical?  Answer..faith isn't required.