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Atheism Is Not a Religion


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By Pete Blackwell

 

Some Atheists...assert that Atheism is not a religion but instead is the total absence of religion.... But this is like saying that "black," (which physicists define as the total absence of color) is not a color.... In common practice throughout the world, "black" is understood to be a color, despite the technical definition of the physicists. Likewise, "Atheism" is a religion, despite any technical definitions to the contrary. If black is a color, then Atheism is a religion.

 

?Rev. Bill McGinnis, "
The Religion of Atheism
"

 

You hear it regularly from talking heads like Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter (whose latest 'book', Godless, is subtitled The Church of Liberalism), and you're only going to hear it more now that the War on Christmas™ season is upon us: atheism is a religion just as sure as Christianity is, and all these heathens want to do is foist their religion on the good, god-fearing folk of America.

 

There's always an undercurrent of defensiveness and desperation in this claim, as if one's own faith is invalidated by the existence of a genuinely different approach to life and the universe. In making their convoluted arguments, people who conflate atheism with religion actually weaken the foundations upon which their own belief is built. Atheism simply cannot be a religion unless that term carries essentially no meaning.

 

Here's a handy list of qualities shared by almost all religions that atheism lacks:

 

There Is No God

First things first. Atheists do not believe in a god or gods. This is a tautology, of course, since the term "atheism" itself carries that literal meaning. Some atheists have suggested that the term cedes too much to religious believers and argue for a new coinage that captures what atheists do believe rather than what they don't. The fact that there is no such suitable term is a strong argument against classifying atheism as a religion, as we shall see. The denial of god alone, however, is not sufficient proof that atheism is not a religion, since many belief systems do not believe in god. Some, such as Buddhism, Taoism and Shinto?even Scientology?are properly classified as religions since they meet many of the other criteria listed below.

 

There Is No Common Belief

[The truth is out there] Contrary to what the O'Reillys and Coulters of the world will tell you, atheists are bound by no common ideology or belief. An atheist is someone who does not believe in god. Period. Beyond that, things get a little murky. There are the dreaded secular humanists, there are logical empiricists, there are existentialists, there are skeptics, nihilists?you name it. Not all atheists believe in evolution or put their 'faith' in science. This is why no one term could positively describe the entirety of atheism. Atheists as a whole are bound by a common disbelief?and nothing else.

There Are No Laws

Most religions feature a set of laws or regulations, ranging from what not to eat for breakfast to who thou shalt and shalt not kill and or covet. In atheism, this is entirely lacking. This is not to say that atheism is amoral (see below), but to note that there exists no universal atheist code of standards, either vague or specific.

 

There Is No Church or Ritual

It has become fashionable to claim that the Church of Atheism is the editorial board room of the New York Times or the chambers of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but this is nothing more than sophistry based on the supposition that all atheists are cut from the same (non-ecclesiastical) cloth. In fact, this is far from the case. Atheists are everywhere, in all walks of life (watch out!). The idea of an organized church of atheism in which its rituals are practiced by gatherings of (un)believers is a non sequitur.

There Is No Unified Conception of Spirituality

Unlike atheist religions such as Buddhism, non-religious atheism has no spiritual credo. Some atheists may consider themselves 'spiritual', while a great many do not. Some may feel some sort of connection to nature or the universe while others may feel nothing of the sort. In Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud called this the "oceanic feeling", and saw it as the source of the religious impetus. He claimed to have never experienced this feeling himself. Whether or not atheists have experienced this oceanic feeling, it has never coalesced into anything that could be called a religion.

 

There Is No Scripture

Christianity has the Bible, Islam the Koran; Judaism has the Torah, Hinduism the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Atheism has no scripture or sacred text. Darwin's Origin of the Species, while held in high regard by many atheists, doesn't count. The very fact that scientists are continually building on and even refuting Darwin's claims is proof that his version of the truth is not considered to be inerrant or divinely inspired.

 

There Is No Priesthood

In addition to having no rituals, atheism has no ritualistic leaders. Unlike virtually every religion known to man, atheism has no anointed hierarchy to lead its 'adherents' closer to the truth. This is not to say that there aren't prominent atheists. There are. But, absent the sacred texts and rituals of religion?not to mention a proper congregation?they do not constitute a priesthood or clergy.

 

There Is No Tradition

All religions have a tradition and a history. Atheism has many, but no single one that sustains a movement over centuries, as you find in every major world religion.

There Is No Founder

Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, L. Ron Hubbard?most major religions have a founding figure or prophet. Atheism has no such figure. There are many old-timers like Galileo, for example, who rise to prominence, but none of these atheists 'founded' atheism and none commands the reverence accorded to the founders and patriarchs of the world religions.

 

There Are No Holidays

Most religions have holy days (still, despite the all-out assault on Christmas). Atheism has no holidays, and no framework to decide when such holidays would be or what they might commemorate. Festivus doesn't count.

There Is No Identifying Clothing

Yarmulkes, robes, veils, turbans, sacred underwear and other holy vestments hold great importance for the majority of religions. Atheism has no dress code, although comfortable shoes are recommended.

 

There Is No Concept of the Afterlife

Most religions attempt to answer the question of what happens to us when we die. Where do we go to be warmed in the loving embrace of the lord? Where do they go to be horrifically tortured? There's heaven and hell, of course, and reincarnation, nirvana and moksha. Atheists have no concept of the afterlife, except that, most commonly, there isn't one.

 

There Is No Creation Myth

Now wait just a minute! How is the Big Bang any less of a myth than Genesis? Keeping in mind that not all atheists believe in the Big Bang theory, it's different because it's a scientific postulate that can be tested and the effects of which can be empirically demonstrated. If in the end this theory does not stand up to scientific scrutiny, it will be chucked on the trash heap alongside the bodily humors and the Atkins Diet.

 

* * * * *

 

So, atheism shares none of the characteristics common to all belief systems commonly known as religions. Even widely-despised and derided belief systems like Satanism, Wicca, paganism and Presbyterianism are religions by these standards. Atheism is not. Arguing that it is means that faith in god, ritual, community, tradition, spirituality and theology are irrelevant. Religion then becomes an incredibly paltry thing. It is not a source of solace and spiritual wonder; it is not a vehicle for bringing symmetry to the chaos of life and meaning to the void?it's just the act of taking a position on the existence of god. That's it. How pathetic.

 

Those who would prefer not to do such grievous harm to the meaning of 'religion' have another argument at hand. Atheism may not be a religion, but it is a faith. Because the existence of god can be neither definitively proven nor disproved, atheism merely replaces faith in god with faith in science. While this argument is subtler, it poses no less of a threat to the underpinnings of religious belief.

 

There is a fundamental difference between faith and atheism that cuts to the essence of what religion is. A scientific-minded atheist believes that science can explain the world and the universe. This does not require that it already has explained everything; only that it can. This is a world view based on hypothesis and evidence. For most religions, on the other hand, faith in the absence of clear evidence is a virtue. Evidence (or at least purported evidence) is not entirely lacking from the religious world, but it is beside the point. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.

 

Religious faith is a complicated thing. It involves the belief in god, but it goes much further than that. Faith is the trust in god and the acceptance of paradox and contradiction. It revels in the revealed truth and embraces the unknowable. In religious people, it is the umbilical cord to the soul. Science is not anathema to faith; it simply operates on a different plane of thought. Faith is 'belief', but it's not the belief in just anything. To say that atheism is a faith because it stakes claim to a belief is to denigrate all true faith. To have a faith and to hold a belief are two distinct things. All faith is belief, but not all belief is faith.

 

Another common misperception is that atheists merely put their faith in secular 'gods' and call them by another name. Richard Dawkins is a popular choice, as are Darwin and Carl Sagan. But whether an atheist is drawn to the ideas of these men or to Nietzsche or Frank Costanza, it is not proof of 'faith'. Plenty of people are widely admired, from the aforementioned thinkers to Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman. We sometimes even use religious language and talk about how they are 'idolized' figures. But there is a difference between agreeing with someone or admiring them and having religious faith in them. Without this distinction, the concept of faith is utterly worthless and the designation of 'god' is a meaningless banality. Certainly the religious faithful do not believe this to be the case. But there is no way to hang the mantle of faith on atheism without eviscerating one's own beliefs.

 

Once it has been established that atheists have neither religion nor faith, it is assumed that they must therefore believe in nothing. Atheism is then synonymous with amorality and chaos. It should be quite obvious that this argument is a fallacy based on a false dichotomy in which all the attributes of religious belief are necessarily absent from non-religious belief.

 

There is a facile assumption that morality belongs only to the realm of religion, and the codes of religious law are offered up as proof. Where would we be without the Ten Commandments? Coveting asses, no doubt. But there is plenty of historical and anthropological evidence to suggest that religious morality is simply a reflection of taboos and strictures that have developed over millennia and are intrinsic to all cultures, regardless of religion (or lack thereof).

 

* * * * *

 

"All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?"

 

"Brought peace!"

 

"What!? Oh... Peace, yes... shut up!"

 

?Monty Python, The Life of Brian

 

Once upon a time, Jesus said, "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" I'm pretty sure that's a fancy way of saying, "What, you think your shit doesn't stink?" It's a little snippet of scripture that every atheist should know.

 

I'm aware that atheists are an embattled minority, far less likely to be elected to the presidency than Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, child molesters and Frenchmen. I know some of the vitriol and condescension of the true believers at Focus on the Family and FOX News is hard to stomach. That doesn't mean you have to return the favor.

 

One of the biggest selling points for the "atheism is a religion" trope is the common misperception that atheists know that there is no god. Certainly there are some who would say so, just as there are Christians who have no religious doubt whatsoever, but these are not (I hope) majority views. Insistence on the absolute correctness of your position is not a sign of either faith or rationalist purity; it's a sign of hubris and epistemological immodesty.

 

There's no question that certain religious groups would like to impose their narrow view of the world on everyone. These people need to be opposed at every turn. But this does not mean that religion as a whole should be denigrated or dismissed as irrelevant.

 

Religion has been central to the history of humanity and there's no reason to believe it won't continue to be. The wisdom of the Greeks and Romans survived the Dark Ages thanks to religion. Gutenberg designed his printing press to reproduce the Bible. Much of the greatest art and architecture in the world was inspired by faith. Religion has been central to movements for social justice, democracy, peace and charity for centuries. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, religion has been the cause of and solution to most of the world's problems.

 

That is not an endorsement of religion so much as it's an exhortation to intellectual honesty. All atheists are not represented by a jerk who wastes everyone's time with irrelevancies like trying to get "under god" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, just like all religious people are not represented by Ann Coulter or Ted Haggard.

 

So much of the atheism versus religion debate takes place at the intractable fringes where there are so rarely either hearts or minds to be won. If we can surge past this white noise, however, we may come to a place where differences can be honestly respected and ideas can be exchanged in good faith (if you will).

 

Despite our differences we must strive for common ground, for that's the only place where we all can live.

 

What do you think?

 

http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2006/11...t-religion.html

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Calling Atheism a religion is like calling baldness a hair colour.

 

I read that on a T-shirt once. :D

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Atheists do not believe in a god or gods.

 

I would argue that this in fact is a common belief. Where conviction of that belief strays toward the extream of denying the possibility of god or gods, I would say the belief is on par with faith. But atheism as a religion...Rev. Bill McGinnis clearly doesn't have any screws fully tightened.

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Atheism a religion? Last time I checked, religion had the foundation of parallel myths as in mythological figures that painted all types of moral messages and went through adventurous trials. Last time I checked, religion integrated the supernatural and healing. Atheism has none of that, therefore, it's automatically denouncing any religious relations and practices. Religion also abides with faith. Atheism moreso abides with facts. If by calling facts equals religion, then you might as well say that eating bananas as a good source of potassium (fact) is a religious practice too. It's another pathetically erroneous statement coming from those who continue to fail at giving any true food for thought. The reverend fails.

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(Wearing my asbestos suit...)

 

I consider myself a strong atheist, i.e. I believe in the non-existence of gods and/or goddesses. Still, I consider my position a religious one, since I cannot disprove the existence of any god. I do agree that weak atheism (i.e. the lack of a believe in a god) is not religion and that there is no burden of proof on the (weak) atheist. I also think the non-existence of some gods (like the Judeo-Christian versions) can be proven, just like the non-existence of a square circle can be proven, but I wouldn't know how to disprove the worldview of a deist.

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hey, do any of you know where i can find a good atheistic church? yeah, didn't think so.

What are you talking about? You can hardly throw a rock without hitting a church of atheist! Athiest completely dominate the religious scene in the US. They get so many tax breaks! Oh wait....I meant CHRISTAIN churches. :lmao:

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hey, do any of you know where i can find a good atheistic church? yeah, didn't think so.

 

A quick Google turned up this -

 

Atheist Church

 

A 'Church for the Unchurched' provides community and moral support without God.

 

Seven years ago, three former Catholics and a former Methodist established a church for those who don't believe in God. They had all left religion after losing their faith, but they still wanted a "Sunday morning experience" where they could enjoy the fellowship and sense of belonging that comes with church attendance. Now, the North Texas Church of Freethought (NTCOF) in Carrollton, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, has a membership of over 200, and is believed to be the largest congregation of atheists in the world. They call themselves a "church for the unchurched," where nonbelievers can gather on Sunday mornings for the same social and community benefits that other churchgoers enjoy.

 

Tim Gorski, one of NTCOF's founders, was a dutiful Catholic altar boy until he began to question and investigate his faith at the age of 12. Despite hours of discussion with priests, he found that he was increasingly drawn to a type of rationalism that excluded faith in God, and he became a firm unbeliever. As an adult, married and with a family, Gorski noticed that what he missed about church was the sense of community and weekly ritual that church attendance offered. In 1994, after discussing the idea for several years, Gorski and a friend named Mike Sullivan, along with their wives Deborah Boak and Marilyn Sullivan, decided to start a church of their own. It would have all the social and community structure of conventional churches but devoid of what they call the "supernatural" or "superstitious" content.

 

The "atheist church" draws a variety of freethinkers, who identify themselves as skeptics, atheists, agnostics or doubters. In lieu of theology, these churchgoers cherish rationalism, and the motto of their church is "think". The NTCOF is concerned with issues of justice, honesty, and values, and teaches most of the same concepts of right and wrong as other churches, but they maintain that making the right moral choices has everything to do with rational thought and nothing to do with belief in a higher power.

 

NTCOF services focus on the human condition, living a better life, seeking meaning and making moral choices. Recent "sermon" topics have included "Our American Freedoms," "Gratitude" and "Bioscience, Biotech & Bioethics". One of the most popular offerings at NTCOF is the Freethought Sunday School, which offers members an opportunity to provide their children critical thinking skills and moral guidance without a religious context. The NTCOF says it's a popular misconception that traditional faith-based church teachings are necessary for teaching children to be good people who make moral choices.

 

Later this year the NTCOF will move from the rented conference room where it began seven years ago to a permanent building of its own. With Gorski as the pastor and Mike Sullivan its Executive Director, the church has grown from an initial congregation of 40 to its present membership of over 200. A model for other non-theist churches, including two in Houston and one in Rohnert Park, California, the NTCOF has inspired others to establish churches that prize community and rationalism over theology. In fact, atheists from as far as England and New Zealand have heard about the success of the NTCOF and have contacted them for advice in starting their own churches.

CONTACTS

 

Tim Gorski: Pastor

Mike Sullivan: Executive Director

North Texas Church of Freethought

 

P.O. Box 111894

Carrollton, TX 75011-1894

Phone: (214) 880-9201

 

The link above didn't work, so here it is - http://www.churchoffreethought.org/

 

Here are some interesting tidbits from the sites FAQ -

 

Is the COF tax exempt? Yes. After a long battle with the Texas State Comptroller during which we were privileged to have the legal assistance of Americans United For Separation of Church and State, the Comptroller acknowledged that we were legally entitled to tax-exempt status as a religious organization, even though, as they put it, they "disagreed" with the law!!! As for the US Internal Revenue service, according to the IRS's Form 1023, Application for Exemption Under Section 501©(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, churches "may be considered tax-exempt under section 501©(3) even if they do not file Form 1023. Accordingly, we, like many other churches, have not sought – and under the law do need to seek – formal IRS approval of our status as a tax-exempt organization. Moreover, the COF meets, without question, the IRS criteria of a church as outlined in their Form 1023. On page 23 of Form 1023, it is stated that: "The IRS maintains two basic guidelines in determining that an organization meets the religious purposes test: 1) That the particular religious beliefs of the organization are truly and sincerely held, and 2) That the practices and rituals associated with the organization's religious beliefs or creed are not illegal or contrary to clearly defined public policy." In addition, "1) The organization's activities in furtherance of its beliefs must be exclusively religious, and 2) An organization will not qualify for exemption if it has a substantial nonexempt purpose of serving the private interests of its founder or the founder's family." The COF easily meets all of these criteria.

 

Why do you call yourselves a church? Churches are only for Christians! You should rename yourselves! The word "church" describes perfectly what the COF is and what it does. The COF's members are drawn together on the basis of their shared values and approach to questions and problems that are generally considered to be religious. The COF sponsors regular meetings that are free and open to the public as well as other activities for its members. Marriages are celebrated, newborns are welcomed, children are instructed, personal crises are addressed, and the sick and dying are supported, all within the context of these same values. If someone dressed in chaps, spurs, and a Stetson herded cattle mounted on a zebra, would we refuse to call him a cowboy? Of course not. The COF is and does everything that any other church does but without supernaturalism and without imposing doctrines and dogmas on its members. The objection would make more sense if it were true that all other churches are Christian. But the Church of Scientology and the Buddhist Church are certainly not Christian. Indeed, many Buddhists are atheists! Likewise, the Unitarian-Universalist Church does not promote Christian doctrines and, in fact, welcomes atheists and agnostics. Then there is the Universal Life Church (ULC), which sells ordinations by mail and over the internet. The COF is much more like traditional churches than is the ULC. The objection is irrelevant in any case. What other church would change its name to suit outsiders? Should the Catholic Church stop using the word "church" because some Protestants say that the Vatican is the "Anti-Christ" and the "Whore of Babylon?" Of course not. Even many Christians have pointed out to us that the ancient origin of the word "church" is the idea of people who are "called out for a purpose." We are certainly that.

 

Why are you trying to imitate churches, organizations that have wreaked untold harm on the human race? In agreement with most unbelieving critics of churches and religion, the COF holds that the peculiar harms wrought by religions and churches is and has always been the result of people believing that they possess absolute and ultimate truth when they do not. These beliefs, almost by definition, tend to be supernatural or mystical in nature. But the search for understanding by means of critical thought, with a due regard for both facts and reason while bearing in mind their limitations, has been the engine of human progress. The COF is based on the idea that it is helpful, not harmful, for people to honestly address the central questions of the human condition in a positive community that encourages critical thinking and attempts to supply people with the intellectual, social, and emotional needs that all of us have. Our organizational structure is that of a church because it is a proven and successful form of human social organization.

 

Is Freethought a religion? Yes, the COF is predicated on the claim that Freethought is a religion. But it's important to realize that this position incorporates the idea that "religion" is simply what people believe and think about questions that are generally understood to be "religious." These questions have to do with the ultimate nature of reality, the meaning and purpose of the human condition, good and evil, and other matters. It is not necessary for people to believe in the supernatural, to suppress their doubts and questions, or to "have faith" in doctrines and dogmas for their ideas to count as legitimate religious opinion or "religion." Even the courts have admitted this.

 

You say the COF isn't "faith based" but doesn't it take faith to say that god(s) don't exist? To begin with, the COF does not assert that god(s) do not exist. There is no faith required to say that one is not persuaded of something. Faith is needed only when the evidence does not support beliefs or is against them. The COF's position is in agreement with W.K. Clifford's assertion that: "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence." [The Ethics of Belief (1879)] When there is sufficient evidence, then no faith is necessary.

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(Wearing my asbestos suit...)

 

I consider myself a strong atheist, i.e. I believe in the non-existence of gods and/or goddesses. Still, I consider my position a religious one, since I cannot disprove the existence of any god. I do agree that weak atheism (i.e. the lack of a believe in a god) is not religion and that there is no burden of proof on the (weak) atheist. I also think the non-existence of some gods (like the Judeo-Christian versions) can be proven, just like the non-existence of a square circle can be proven, but I wouldn't know how to disprove the worldview of a deist.

 

Why do you feel that you have to disprove the existence of all gods to justify your lack of belief in them? The burden of proof is on the Deists if they wish to believe that there is a god, not on the atheist to prove that there isn't.

 

Santa Claus is the same way. I can't prove that there is no Santa Claus in any form anywhere in the universe, but I still don't believe in him and even say that there is no Santa Claus. If someone were to come to me claiming that there is indeed a Santa, does the burden of proof fall on me to prove that there isn't? No, it falls on the person making the positive assertion that there is.

 

------------------------------------

 

I would consider going to that "church". I live with someone who works at Focus on the Family, and it's draining always being around that shit. If I could have a place to go to be with like-minded people, I would.

 

Hell, I would even give them money if it would go to good secular causes.

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Why do you feel that you have to disprove the existence of all gods to justify your lack of belief in them? The burden of proof is on the Deists if they wish to believe that there is a god, not on the atheist to prove that there isn't.

 

Santa Claus is the same way. I can't prove that there is no Santa Claus in any form anywhere in the universe, but I still say there is no Santa Claus. If someone were to come to me claiming that there is indeed a Santa, does the burden of proof fall on me to prove that there isn't? No, it falls on the person making the positive assertion that there is.

 

Good point! I've always seen my atheist belief as a conditional one. The best definition I could give is "Thus far, I have not seen enough positive evidence to convince me of the existence of a deity." If evidence is brought forth, I'll take a look. That's why I feel my position is more intellectually honest than some fundamentalists (of any belief system). They already "know" the truth, I'm still honestly looking for it...

 

IMOHO,

:thanks:

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atheists are bound by no common ideology or belief. An atheist is someone who does not believe in god.

 

Contradiction is as little as two sentences.

 

Religion and belief are two different concepts. The only unbelievers in God are the ones who don't care either way. If you believe there is no Go, you have stated a position on the belief in God. All arguments that the burden of proof is on the deists because its the same as atheists not needing proof that there are no purple polka-dot harpies does not follow. There is no evidence to indicate the possible existence of PPH's, but there is the universe which we can neither be explained through God or the lack of God. PPH's are not equivalent with the universe which is reality and had a beginning. PPH's don't't exist (99.999995%), but God may. The burden of proof is on both the atheist and the deist, and it is just as likely to come from either.

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atheists are bound by no common ideology or belief. An atheist is someone who does not believe in god.

 

Contradiction is as little as two sentences.

 

Religion and belief are two different concepts. The only unbelievers in God are the ones who don't care either way. If you believe there is no Go, you have stated a position on the belief in God. All arguments that the burden of proof is on the deists because its the same as atheists not needing proof that there are no purple polka-dot harpies does not follow. There is no evidence to indicate the possible existence of PPH's, but there is the universe which we can neither be explained through God or the lack of God. PPH's are not equivalent with the universe which is reality and had a beginning. PPH's don't't exist (99.999995%), but God may. The burden of proof is on both the atheist and the deist, and it is just as likely to come from either.

 

Uh, no...that would mean that anybody who makes a statement regarding the existence of the universe would have equal burden of proof. Just because I can't explain the existence of the universe does not mean that I have to prove God doesn't exist.

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Religion and belief are two different concepts.

 

I had to have a good hard look at this.

 

Belief

Etymology: Middle English beleave, probably alteration of Old English gelEafa, from ge-, associative prefix + lEafa; akin to Old English lyfan

1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing

2 : something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group

3 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence.

 

Religion

Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Anglo-French religiun, Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back

1 a : the state of being religious b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance

2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness

4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardour and faith

 

So religion can be said to be BELIEF (in something religious, supernatural etc.) But can belief be said to be RELIGIOUS?

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atheists are bound by no common ideology or belief. An atheist is someone who does not believe in god.

 

Contradiction is as little as two sentences.

 

Religion and belief are two different concepts. The only unbelievers in God are the ones who don't care either way. If you believe there is no Go, you have stated a position on the belief in God. All arguments that the burden of proof is on the deists because its the same as atheists not needing proof that there are no purple polka-dot harpies does not follow. There is no evidence to indicate the possible existence of PPH's, but there is the universe which we can neither be explained through God or the lack of God. PPH's are not equivalent with the universe which is reality and had a beginning. PPH's don't't exist (99.999995%), but God may. The burden of proof is on both the atheist and the deist, and it is just as likely to come from either.

 

Uh, no...that would mean that anybody who makes a statement regarding the existence of the universe would have equal burden of proof. Just because I can't explain the existence of the universe does not mean that I have to prove God doesn't exist.

 

If you 'believe' god or gods do not exist you are making a positive claim.

 

If you simply disbelieve in god or gods, then you are rejecting such a claim.

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Atheism is part of my overall religious outlook, so I don't care if people want to consider Atheism per se a religion or not. I would say no, since Atheism is only a person's opinion on the existence of any gods, and there it rests.

 

For the most part, I think fundies try to say that Atheism is a religion or "requires faith" only to try and put it on a par with Xianity because they think it would irritate us.

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Interesting semantics discussion. Are the following two statements synonymous?

 

"I do not believe in the existence of god."

 

"I believe god does not exist."

 

It seems to me that the arguments that some Christians have about athiests actually being adherents to the "religion" of Atheism are purely spurious. What their real argument is:

 

Atheists are godless people who all believe in at least one thing, that Christianity is at best a concocted, half-baked explanation of the universe and the part human beings play in it, and at worst, a dangerous and destructive socio-political belief system that exploits the weak and downtrodden for the benefit of those in power, even to the extent of enslaving, torturing, and murdering entire cultures if it suits their purposes.

 

This view of atheists as enemies of Christianity is a call-to-arms for the Evangelicals and fundamentalists - it has nothing to do with intellectual debates about theology.

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If you 'believe' god or gods do not exist you are making a positive claim.

 

If you simply disbelieve in god or gods, then you are rejecting such a claim.

 

You can't make a positive claim about a negative.

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Interesting semantics discussion. Are the following two statements synonymous?

 

"I do not believe in the existence of god."

 

"I believe god does not exist."

 

No. The latter is making a positive assertion (albeit in a negative context) while the former is simply abstaining.

 

Your summation of the real issue religious beilevers have with atheism, however, is spot on. Extremely well said.

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Interesting semantics discussion. Are the following two statements synonymous?

 

"I do not believe in the existence of god."

 

"I believe god does not exist."

 

Asimov and I are currently debating that over here.

 

The shot answer is 'no', and the much longer answer is 'definitely no'.

 

 

Atheists are godless people who all believe in at least one thing, that Christianity is at best a concocted, half-baked explanation of the universe and the part human beings play in it, and at worst, a dangerous and destructive socio-political belief system that exploits the weak and downtrodden for the benefit of those in power, even to the extent of enslaving, torturing, and murdering entire cultures if it suits their purposes.

 

Well, I'm not an atheist, but I see both of those as reasonable explanations of the negative aspects of Christianity as an institution.

 

 

If you 'believe' god or gods do not exist you are making a positive claim.

 

If you simply disbelieve in god or gods, then you are rejecting such a claim.

 

You can't make a positive claim about a negative.

 

All you have to do is rephrase the negative claim.

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hey, do any of you know where i can find a good atheistic church? yeah, didn't think so.

In 1995, for people like you and me, I started the Rock & Roll Church of All Nations, a/k/a Rock & Roll Church of All Nations, North America (RRCANNA).

 

http://www.opinionsoup.com/about.html

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Asimov wrote:

Just because I can't explain the existence of the universe does not mean that I have to prove God doesn't exist.

 

It does if you claim or believe that a God did not create the universe and cannot show or even theorize how it could have come into being. (See next.)

 

Clergycide wrote:

If you 'believe' god or gods do not exist you are making a positive claim.

 

If you simply disbelieve in god or gods, then you are rejecting such a claim.

 

"Disbelief" is defined as a refusal to believe. So disbelieving in the existence of a God is exactly the same thing as believing that God doesn't exist. It just puts the negation in a different place in a sentence. This slight of hand lexicography that some Prof. Yahoo thought up in his ivory tower for his Philosophy 101 skulls-full-of-mush just doesn't hang. It's only power is derived from the status it's achieved as a mantra.

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It does if you claim or believe that a God did not create the universe and cannot show or even theorize how it could have come into being. (See next.)

 

Most scientists do not believe that god did not create the universe, they just reject the claims that a god did based on lack of compelling evidence. This is simple, but you are trying to protect your own position so you are arguing semantical points in order to level the playing field.

 

See below.

 

"Disbelief" is defined as a refusal to believe.

 

No it's not, it is a state of being unconvinced. There's a big difference.

 

So disbelieving in the existence of a God is exactly the same thing as believing that God doesn't exist.

 

No, it is not. You just want it to be to justify your own position.

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"Disbelief" is defined as a refusal to believe.

 

No it's not, it is a state of being unconvinced. There's a big difference.

 

Look it up. Or are definitions subject to revision as necessary to protect one's position.

 

And hell, I'm unconvinced either way.

 

Disbelief

Function: noun

: the act of disbelieving : mental rejection of something as untrue

Function: verb

transitive verb : to hold not worthy of belief : not believe

intransitive verb : to withhold or reject belief

 

A refusal expresses an unwillingness to accept

 

 

 

 

 

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