Difference between revisions of "Essay talk:Atheism is a religion"

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Line 81: Line 81:
 
:::::::''There is no single belief that an athiest MUST share'' > Except the belief that there is no God :-D. Also, you said yourself that you aren't a typical atheist for that, zer0, implying that typically atheists are the other way. Don't insist that I'm grouping you too tightly together :-). --[[User:GTac|GTac]] 17:48, 17 February 2009 (EST)
 
:::::::''There is no single belief that an athiest MUST share'' > Except the belief that there is no God :-D. Also, you said yourself that you aren't a typical atheist for that, zer0, implying that typically atheists are the other way. Don't insist that I'm grouping you too tightly together :-). --[[User:GTac|GTac]] 17:48, 17 February 2009 (EST)
 
::::::::Touche' (but my point still stands).  [[User:Z3ro|<font color="black" face="georgia"><b>Z3ro</b></font color>]][[User_talk:Z3ro|<font color="red"><sup>talk</sup></font>]] 17:52, 17 February 2009 (EST)
 
::::::::Touche' (but my point still stands).  [[User:Z3ro|<font color="black" face="georgia"><b>Z3ro</b></font color>]][[User_talk:Z3ro|<font color="red"><sup>talk</sup></font>]] 17:52, 17 February 2009 (EST)
 +
:::::::I will honestly say to you, there is no god, and belief in any form of supernatural entity is, at best, a ridiculous and backwards concept. I honestly can say that there is no "karma" or '''''ANY''''' sort of supernatural influence on this earth '''at all whatsoever'''. Saying that "no supernatural" is a religion is ludicrious because a supernatural event is the core of every religion, the whole "you gotta have faith" concept, forms the backbone of every single belief system in history. In that last statement, I include Buddhism, Islam, and even the Mayan belief system in blood as a sacrifice to raise the sun. EVERY SINGLE RELIGION has a faith in the supernatural, Atheism does not. With that in mind, I therefore state, A(without)theism(god, religion) is not a religon.
 +
 +
:::::::Now, GTac, since you bought up evolution, I will add on quite a bit. Evolution is not a religion because it can be observed, we can say "Take a look at this, over time, organisms change, therefore, we are the result of thousands and thousands of generations of life. A religion requires blind faith, with your eyes wide shut, saying that you are right just because your priest said so. Evolution requires evidence, and as a science, can be refuted, and is open to such, having been contested before, but the end result is that science strives for accuracy, wheras religion strives for "La la la la la la la not listening!".
 +
 +
End rant. {{jsig}}

Revision as of 22:53, 17 February 2009

First thread

Given that all atheists that I know take the initial position:

  • Show me the evidence and I'll believe it.

I'm not sure how that can be construed as a religious belief.--Bobbing up 05:00, 17 February 2009 (EST)

And remember the phrase "atheism is to religion as bald is to hair colour". You can group Christians by their belief in Christian God, you can group Muslims by their belief in the islamic flavour they call Allah. You can't quite group the people who call bullshit to the entire concept in the same way. Many might be "spiritual rather than religious" (an annoying term that I dislike but it should still be considered). You also have to draw the line between what is essentially a non-belief and an active disbelief. Such as "Why don't you believe in the pink and yellow spotted gorrilla behind you? More specifically, why didn't you believe in it before I mentioned it?" But primarily, you're confusing Atheism and Pantheism, both are mutually compatible but not necessessarily related. ArmondikoVsshole 05:12, 17 February 2009 (EST)
Bob, that question depends on how one defines the word "religion." Since that definition is disputed, what is the one you are using? (Also, not all atheists that you know take that initial position; TheoryOfPractice has espoused strong-atheist beliefs.)
Armondikov, false analogy. You can group explicit atheists by their active refusal to believe in any God or supernatural entity. The line between non-belief and active disbelief is also irrelevant, since this is a discussion of beliefs, not their adherents.
And how am I confusing atheism and pantheism? The two are very difficult to confuse, being that the latter has a God on the top and the former does not... Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 14:59, 17 February 2009 (EST)

I dislike your definition of religion. Religion, to me and many others, is about a codified set of beliefs. Panthiesm is not a religion, as they do not have codified beliefs. Deism is of questionable status. Without a set of beliefs and practices there is only spirituality, not religion. Of course you can change the definition of religion to include all forms of belief, or the lack thereof, but that is not the definition most people hold. Z3rotalk 15:11, 17 February 2009 (EST)

I am not speaking of the definitions that "most people hold," as I find them inadequate — mostly because, if you do not have a strong definition like mine or the straw-man one, less dogmatic Christians will find a way to say that their beliefs are not a religion, either. Regarding "spirituality," see my article on that word. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 15:27, 17 February 2009 (EST)
But you can't make up a definition that no one agrees with, then shout that everyone else is wrong. This isn't CP, and you're not Andy. You must either use the definition everyone else uses, or convince everyone else that you are right; you've done neither.
Regarding sprituality, the word is more usually used to mean any kind of supernatual belief. I'm not making an argument for it. Z3rotalk 15:31, 17 February 2009 (EST)
EC.EC Is there any definition of religion that would include a group which had, as a basic principle "Show me the evidence and I'll test it and accept it if it passes the test?"? This is the standard sceptical position of atheists. Under which definition of religion would this be included? I imagine that one could create an arbitrary, personal definition which included such a position but, as Z3ro suggests, such a definition would hardly be the generally held one. --Bobbing up 15:32, 17 February 2009 (EST)
Also words mean what the majority accept them to mean. Personal definitions are great for debate but they carry no weight.--Bobbing up 15:34, 17 February 2009 (EST)

Z3ro and Bob, I am merely suggesting the use of my definition, which you can hardly claim is only a "personal," "made-up" one since it is highly similar if not identical to the one used by the U.S. courts.

Also, I did not merely assert that the dictionary definitions were wrong: I argued from the premise that three belief systems, defined by this Wiki to be religions, are actually such. To those who do not believe that all three of those are religions, some parts of the argument will obviously be invalid.

Bob, most definitions of "religion" include such a group: those Christians who converted after finding "proofs" of YHVH's existence, as documented on Conservapedia. Not all of them are willing to take YHVH's existence on faith alone. They just have different ideas of what constitutes "evidence." Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 15:59, 17 February 2009 (EST)

I don't normally get my definitions from the courts. Regardless, it is still not a definition that most people use, therefore, you must convince us to accept it. You have not. Regarding religions put forth by this wiki, there will be some arguing about what exactly is or isn't a religion. You'll have to take that up on those pages. Z3rotalk 16:08, 17 February 2009 (EST)
That is acceptable. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:53, 17 February 2009 (EST)
Actually I'm not talking about "proof", but "evidence". Religion may well like to imagine it has "proof" but what science deals with is evidence. If you have enough evidence you can provisionally accept something as true, unless or until it's falsified by something else. In which case you go back to the start again. Nothing is taken on faith, nothing is worshipped, nothing is prayed to, nothing supernatural is believed to happen.--Bobbing up 16:27, 17 February 2009 (EST)
Correction. One point is taken on faith: "We can't accept any hypothesis as true without enough evidence." Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:53, 17 February 2009 (EST)

Nonsensical argument based on falacy of "i've created a group"

(Yes, I know it's not a real fallacy, sheesh). The point is, there is no such thing as "the atheists", there is "an atheist here" and a "*different* atheist" there. Atheists do not come from the same place, share any much less all of their culture, their identity, their frame works, their views of society, their views of the world, their views of nature (or as scholars call all of this, a "world view") which is a minimal shared set of expectations about the world that believers in a "religion" must have. Some athesis, such as myself, are pagans and worship the earth *as* a god, though not believing it to *be* a god. My religion is Wiccan. To me, what your real contention is, is this "is pantheism" or "oninism" (sp) a religion. That may be a better starting place, but redefining religion is not the place to being this particular argument, nor is your definition effective in conveying what a religion is. a religion is *not* a belief in god, nor the supernatural, it is a **shared** set of morals, ethics, understanding of nature, practice and ritual about the world. --Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«Poetry involves the mysteries of the irrational perceived through rational words. V.Nabokov» 15:19, 17 February 2009 (EST)

Bullshit.

Pure and simple bullshit. Ken could not have done better. How many yoga classes did you have to attend to be able to stretch words and meanings this way? A person's religion is the summation of that person's beliefs explicitly concerning the supernatural, including the question of its existence. No. Show me some sources--and how far they go back--that show the word being used that way. By that definition, everybody has to have a religion, because everyone has some sort of belief about the subject at hand, even if that belief is only "I dunno" or "beats me." it's a gotcha game, and a pretty lame one, at that.

Let's put the toys away (i.e.wiktionary) look at a real dictionary, the only one that matters--the OED. Under religion, dating back to 1300, the OED has:

"4. a. A particular system of faith and worship."

Dating back to 1535:

"5. a. Recognition on the part of man of some higher unseen power as having control of his destiny, and as being entitled to obedience, reverence, and worship; the general mental and moral attitude resulting from this belief, with reference to its effect upon the individual or the community; personal or general acceptance of this feeling as a standard of spiritual and practical life."

The second of these implies an acknowledgement (i.e. a conscious affirmation) of a believed existence in something supernatural; they both imply the idea that that something calls for a particular conduct on the part of the believer. "Religion" has always implied the idea that something beyond our immediate experience exists, and it calls for us to act a certain way because of that. Atheism does nothing of the sort. TheoryOfPractice 15:52, 17 February 2009 (EST)

TOP, I am making no claim that my definition of "religion" is a widely accepted or traditional one. The U.S. courts use something similar, to be able to define atheism as a religion, but that is the closest it comes.
Unfortunately, I do not own a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, only Webster's. Does the OED provide any other definitions of "religion" worthy of note? I will try to work them into the essay. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:47, 17 February 2009 (EST)

Faulty definition

Listener, your definition of religion purely in terms "belief" is faulty - by the same logic, you could say that believing in ghosts or aliens or the Loch Ness Monster - or not believing in any of those things - is a religion. What defines religion is not just belief but observance such as rituals, worship, commandments or ethics determined by the religion, and often some some of mythology, and/or places or objects deemed to be sacred. Not all religions involve all of these, but they involve some, and atheism does not include any of them. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:17, 17 February 2009 (EST)
You said this before. I answered it before. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:47, 17 February 2009 (EST)

A bit from the other side

Though I don't think atheism is a religion, but I don't think usage of the term is ridiculous, since atheists do have a strong belief system which is in some ways similar to religion.

  • For one, it's not like atheists don't have beliefs of their own. I don't think I ever saw an atheists deny creationism without bringing up their alternative: evolution. Yes, it may be a damn better alternative, and you came upon it through rationality, but that's the same reasons every religious person would give too. My point is that you aren't merely denying their beliefs.
  • Furthermore, I'm sorry to say that there are a lot of atheists who believe so strongly in their atheism that their argumentation manner is very similar to religious fundamentalists. Sad but true.
  • Finally, the term atheism is a reference to your religious beliefs (namely none), which always groups it together with religion, so I don't think it's too weird if some people perceive it as a religion. I think a better analogy could be "Saying atheism is a religion is like saying bald is a hair style". Technically wrong, but seems to works for practical purposes. --GTac 16:33, 17 February 2009 (EST)
I'd like to responsd to this, because points like these piss me off.
1. "Believing" in evolution is a total misnomer. My alternative to creationism is nothing; how life became what it is today is evolution. I "believe" in evolution like I "believe" in gravity.
2. What does argument style have to do with anything?
3. A better analogy would be classifying not collecting stamps as a hobby. What do people who don't collect stamps have in common? Nothing, except that they don't collect stamps. Organizing atheists as a group is pointless and counterproductive. Z3rotalk 16:40, 17 February 2009 (EST)

We have a strong belief system? In WHAT. you have to believe IN something to have that as part of your belief system. I don't believe in Jack-a-lopes nor in Leprechauns. Why would that in any shape or from denote a strong "belief" in something. Being an atheist is something I "am" only by extension when a theist says "to you believe in god". 1) As for evolution, Christians believe in that, as do Muslims, Mormons, Indians, Hindus, Africans, Buddhists... I also believe in medicine, the idea that Socialism is a sound institution for modern life, and that Lost is a sucky tv show. what does this have to do with a singular "religion"? 2) There are some fundies that make me want to scream, this doesn't mean that a person who is a fundy Buddhist is a "fundy", nor does it mean that a woman who is pro-choice is an "abortionist". It means they have strong opinions and are assholes. 3)Atheism is a reference to religion only because it is the religious who ask "do you believe in a god" and demand we give ourselves some "name" if we don't. It was first coined not by disbelievers, of course, but by the Christian Elite.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«Poetry involves the mysteries of the irrational perceived through rational words. V.Nabokov» 16:44, 17 February 2009 (EST) (edit conf)

(EC, just saying what everyone else said at the same time as me) Evolution is completely irrelevant: it is not part of the defition of atheism. Atheism existed long before evolution & there are plenty of theists, polytheists and pantheists who believe in evolution. (While we're on the subject, though, belief in evolution is not comparable to religious belief systems. Evolution is observable from the evidence, just as the fact that the earth revolves around the sun is observable. Saying that the earth revolves around the sun is a statement of fact, not belief. Evolution should be regarded the same way; it's only the propaganda of creationists that leads it to be regarded as a belief or an unproven theory.) WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:48, 17 February 2009 (EST)

Refutation by analogy here. Anyone can add to it. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:16, 17 February 2009 (EST)

Your 'alternative' to creationism is science, this is a common belief system shared between atheists. A religion is more than just believing in a specific god (who says a god is even required?), it's a shared belief system, and atheists are very similar to that. 2) if an atheists behaves just like a religious fundamentalist, I'd say that's a good indication on how the two can be pretty close. 3) They often have a lot in common, and atheists dont just not believe in a God, they believe in a lack of God.
And no, evolution isn't completely irrelevant, that's my point. It's one of the pillars on which atheism can stand. Many of you wouldn't be atheists if you didn't have answers in sciences like evolution. I'm an atheist, because it's the rational choice. I'd probably believe in Gods 6000 years ago when I had no way of finding out what put men on the earth and who creates lightning. --GTac 17:18, 17 February 2009 (EST)
Sighs. Science is not an "answer" or "alternative" to creationism; any more than science is an "answer" to Snow White, or Zeus. Science is not a "belief system", it is science. There is nothing to "believe" about science. As I said, my religion is Wiccan, yet I am an atheist. 2) I share almost nothing with any other random atheist on the street. A christian shares much with any other random christian - Including such things as Keeping one day a week holy, the belief that Jesus is the son of god and that he died and rose for sins, the belief in some kind of a heaven, the belief that there is a god watching us, and that we are judged as good or evil, etc. A buddhist (who is by most accounts, an atheist, by the way) shares beliefs about the world with other buddhists NECESSARILY. to not do so gets him kicked out of the Club. There is no single belief that an athiest MUST share (by definition) or lose membership in your self-defined club. 2)if a jackass is from France, all jackasses must be from france? and if they only ACT like jackasses, then they must be LIKE the people from france???? 3) I belive in "lack of leprichauns" "lack of fairies" and "lack of quality televsion"... so fricking what? why does this make me members in a club?--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«Poetry involves the mysteries of the irrational perceived through rational words. V.Nabokov» 17:26, 17 February 2009 (EST)
To GTac, I won't adress most of your points, except the part about not being an atheist if is wasn't for evolution. I'm not a typical atheist; I didn't have a big deconversion story after believing for a long period. I just always was an atheist; even as a kid I never really believed in god, even if my parents and pastor said I should. I would still be an atheist without evolution. Be careful not to group us too tightly together. Z3rotalk 17:36, 17 February 2009 (EST)
There is no single belief that an athiest MUST share > Except the belief that there is no God :-D. Also, you said yourself that you aren't a typical atheist for that, zer0, implying that typically atheists are the other way. Don't insist that I'm grouping you too tightly together :-). --GTac 17:48, 17 February 2009 (EST)
Touche' (but my point still stands). Z3rotalk 17:52, 17 February 2009 (EST)
I will honestly say to you, there is no god, and belief in any form of supernatural entity is, at best, a ridiculous and backwards concept. I honestly can say that there is no "karma" or ANY sort of supernatural influence on this earth at all whatsoever. Saying that "no supernatural" is a religion is ludicrious because a supernatural event is the core of every religion, the whole "you gotta have faith" concept, forms the backbone of every single belief system in history. In that last statement, I include Buddhism, Islam, and even the Mayan belief system in blood as a sacrifice to raise the sun. EVERY SINGLE RELIGION has a faith in the supernatural, Atheism does not. With that in mind, I therefore state, A(without)theism(god, religion) is not a religon.
Now, GTac, since you bought up evolution, I will add on quite a bit. Evolution is not a religion because it can be observed, we can say "Take a look at this, over time, organisms change, therefore, we are the result of thousands and thousands of generations of life. A religion requires blind faith, with your eyes wide shut, saying that you are right just because your priest said so. Evolution requires evidence, and as a science, can be refuted, and is open to such, having been contested before, but the end result is that science strives for accuracy, wheras religion strives for "La la la la la la la not listening!".

End rant. ĴάΛäšςǍ₰ I saw a fritter over here...