T Nation

If Atheism is Not a Religion, Then...

why are they seeking to convert?

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,450445,00.html

It is an Associated Press story for the Fox News haters out there in cyberland…

They are just trying to combat religion in the public sphere. If creches and the ten commandments (for example) can be found in the public sphere there’s no harm in allowing atheists/agnostics the chance to send their message out as well.

Atheism a religion?

Uhmmmmm…no.But by all means,carry on equating the two.Logic and the truth should be no barrier.

http://home.comcast.net/~plutarch/atheism.html

[quote]Neuromancer wrote:
Atheism a religion?

Uhmmmmm…no.But by all means,carry on equating the two.Logic and the truth should be no barrier.

http://home.comcast.net/~plutarch/atheism.html

[/quote]

I think it depends a lot on the person. There are a lot of “religious” people that don’t follow those steps at all.

I agree that they don’t fit into the category of believing in supernatural powers, but all the atheists I know fit at least parts of the definition.

“A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.”

I think for the ones I have met there is a core set of beliefs. There is no gos is the main one, but there are a number tat stem from that.

Being in charge of your own destiny

There not being consequences after death

Even things like morality being completely personal

This would lead me to believe things like a belief in or feeling of guilt would be inherently different. (things like premarital sex, est.) This, to me, makes more likely a different set of atheist “practices”, though not necessarily written out in divine book form.

I would even argue a belief there is no supernatural is still a belief about the supernatural. And that the real ultimate non-religious group would be the agnostics because they don’t hold beliefs about supernatural powers at all.

There are even books on atheist spirituality. Where they try and lay out routines and practices to give an individual many of the same benefits belonging to a religion does.

You even have to admit some people belong to atheism as a trendy sometimes cult like thing to do, the same as many religions. (notice I said BELONG to atheism) Though you can probably argue that isn’t true atheism, there is a religious like following of atheist derived values out there.

BTW I’m not trying to offend any atheists or attack athiesm.

Religious “understanding” requires indoctrination whereas atheism is the natural state we are all born into.

The notion of god is completely imaginary.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Religious “understanding” requires indoctrination whereas atheism is the natural state we are all born into.

The notion of god is completely imaginary.[/quote]

Once again I would disagree. Agnosticism is the state we are all born into. Not having seen an ocean before is not the same as believing there is no ocean, whether there actually is or not. You have to make a choice to believe there is no god to become an atheist.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Religious “understanding” requires indoctrination whereas atheism is the natural state we are all born into.

The notion of god is completely imaginary.

Once again I would disagree. Agnosticism is the state we are all born into. Not having seen an ocean before is not the same as believing there is no ocean, whether there actually is or not. You have to make a choice to believe there is no god to become an atheist.[/quote]

The notion of agnosticism first requires the notion of the possibility of god. This can only come about one of two ways:

  1. it is imagined
  2. one is indoctrinated by someone else progressing back to one who was the first imaginer

The notion of god is not naturally inborn.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
Once again I would disagree. Agnosticism is the state we are all born into. Not having seen an ocean before is not the same as believing there is no ocean, whether there actually is or not. You have to make a choice to believe there is no god to become an atheist.[/quote]

DoubleDuce, atheist means “one without god-belief.” It is an absence of belief in god.

So atheists do not necessarily believe that “there is no god.”

Anyways, that is the broadest definition of atheism. Some atheists reject theism altogether, while others affirm the nonexistence of gods.

One could argue that agnostics are actually atheists because they do not have a god-belief. Also agnostics believe that theism is impossible to prove or disprove. Somehow, I don’t believe a new-born can actually hold this position. He would have had to at least contemplate theism/atheism first.

So I would have to say, we are all born “atheists.”

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Religious “understanding” requires indoctrination whereas atheism is the natural state we are all born into.

The notion of god is completely imaginary.[/quote]

I think that is mainly a trait of ones character. My older son is pretty spiritual and my daughter is a natural born atheist. Religion is learnt, not spirituality.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
DoubleDuce wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Religious “understanding” requires indoctrination whereas atheism is the natural state we are all born into.

The notion of god is completely imaginary.

Once again I would disagree. Agnosticism is the state we are all born into. Not having seen an ocean before is not the same as believing there is no ocean, whether there actually is or not. You have to make a choice to believe there is no god to become an atheist.

The notion of agnosticism first requires the notion of the possibility of god. This can only come about one of two ways:

  1. it is imagined
  2. one is indoctrinated by someone else progressing back to one who was the first imaginer

The notion of god is not naturally inborn.[/quote]

If it is not inborn, the why has every separated major culture I’ve ever heard of have beliefs in the supernatural?

I would definitely say there is something in our nature that raises the question of the spiritual.

Agnosticism is not making a choice one way or the other. Atheism and “religious peoples” both make that choice.

If there is a little boy in Africa who has never heard of the tooth fairy, is that the same as a child raised in America that upon seeing his father placing a quarter under the pillow chooses to believe there is no tooth fairy? Absolutely not. The child in Africa is in his “natural” position on the toothfairy but may still be open to believing in it.

By your logic anything you haven’t considered before you automatically believe it’s false. Before I studied Quantum I didn’t disbelieve it. Now that I’ve studied it, I disbelieve it. =0) And yes Quantum is a completely imaginary world (that’s what theory is).

[quote]kaaleppi wrote:
Religion is learnt, not spirituality.[/quote]

There is a distinction between religion and spirituality. Spirituality does not require a notion of god though one may come to that idea. Spirituality is an emotional phenomenon built by man’s inability to completely grasp the natural world. It entails the idea that there is something larger than man directing the world; some people may call that natural law.

Spirituality is a unique quality in individuals though it tends to be a cultural phenomenon taking on norms just like the idea of love, etc.

[quote]oneils wrote:
DoubleDuce wrote:
Once again I would disagree. Agnosticism is the state we are all born into. Not having seen an ocean before is not the same as believing there is no ocean, whether there actually is or not. You have to make a choice to believe there is no god to become an atheist.

DoubleDuce, atheist means “one without god-belief.” It is an absence of belief in god.

So atheists do not necessarily believe that “there is no god.”

Anyways, that is the broadest definition of atheism. Some atheists reject theism altogether, while others affirm the nonexistence of gods.

One could argue that agnostics are actually atheists because they do not have a god-belief. Also agnostics believe that theism is impossible to prove or disprove. Somehow, I don’t believe a new-born can actually hold this position. He would have had to at least contemplate theism/atheism first.

So I would have to say, we are all born “atheists.”[/quote]

WIKI:
as an explicit position, can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods,[1] or the rejection of theism

Dictionary.com:

  1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
  2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

american heritage:

  1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
  2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
kaaleppi wrote:
Religion is learnt, not spirituality.

There is a distinction between religion and spirituality. Spirituality does not require a notion of god though one may come to that idea. Spirituality is an emotional phenomenon built by man’s inability to completely grasp the natural world. It entails the idea that there is something larger than man directing the world; some people may call that natural law.

Spirituality is a unique quality in individuals though it tends to be a cultural phenomenon taking on norms just like the idea of love, etc.[/quote]

Religion doesn’t require the belief in the existence of a god either.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
DoubleDuce wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
If it is not inborn, the why has every separated major culture I’ve ever heard of have beliefs in the supernatural?

I would definitely say there is something in our nature that raises the question of the spiritual.

Agnosticism is not making a choice one way or the other. Atheism and “religious peoples” both make that choice.

If there is a little boy in Africa who has never heard of the tooth fairy, is that the same as a child raised in America that upon seeing his father placing a quarter under the pillow chooses to believe there is no tooth fairy? Absolutely not. The child in Africa is in his “natural” position on the toothfairy but may still be open to believing in it.

By your logic anything you haven’t considered before you automatically believe it’s false. Before I studied Quantum I didn’t disbelieve it. Now that I’ve studied it, I disbelieve it. =0) And yes Quantum is a completely imaginary world (that’s what theory is).[/quote]

DoubleDuce, I think your understanding of agnosticism is mistaken. Agnosticism is the position that certain metaphysical claims are impossible to prove or disprove.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

WIKI:
as an explicit position, can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods,[1] or the rejection of theism

Dictionary.com:

  1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
  2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

american heritage:

  1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
  2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
    [/quote]

You left this out from the wiki entry:

It is also[3] defined more broadly as an absence of belief in deities, or nontheism.[4][5][6][7]

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
Neuromancer wrote:
Atheism a religion?

Uhmmmmm…no.But by all means,carry on equating the two.Logic and the truth should be no barrier.

http://home.comcast.net/~plutarch/atheism.html

I think it depends a lot on the person. There are a lot of “religious” people that don’t follow those steps at all.

I agree that they don’t fit into the category of believing in supernatural powers, but all the atheists I know fit at least parts of the definition.

“A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.”

I think for the ones I have met there is a core set of beliefs. There is no gos is the main one, but there are a number tat stem from that.

Being in charge of your own destiny

There not being consequences after death

Even things like morality being completely personal

This would lead me to believe things like a belief in or feeling of guilt would be inherently different. (things like premarital sex, est.) This, to me, makes more likely a different set of atheist “practices”, though not necessarily written out in divine book form.

I would even argue a belief there is no supernatural is still a belief about the supernatural. And that the real ultimate non-religious group would be the agnostics because they don’t hold beliefs about supernatural powers at all.

There are even books on atheist spirituality. Where they try and lay out routines and practices to give an individual many of the same benefits belonging to a religion does.

You even have to admit some people belong to atheism as a trendy sometimes cult like thing to do, the same as many religions. (notice I said BELONG to atheism) Though you can probably argue that isn’t true atheism, there is a religious like following of atheist derived values out there.

BTW I’m not trying to offend any atheists or attack athiesm.[/quote]

At its root,atheism is an absence of belief in a god,not a denial of existence of a god.

Just as theism is a belief in the existence of a god.

The existence of a god/gods is something beyond the scope of proof,no matter how much anyone says to the contrary.Hence it is firmly
in the area of personal belief.

One can discuss these issues at depth,but it still just comes down to what you choose to believe.And whatever helps you lead a meaningful,positive life is fine by me.There are as many varied positions on this as there are humans under the sun,as it should be.

But you cannot take an absence of belief in something,and label that a religion,can you?

Raising a boogeyman where there is none,is at best disingenous,and sometimes, devious.

It does the religiously inclined person no favors.

Being agnostic means “without knowledge”,and so,is removed from the area of belief.Which is what we are discussing here.So one could say,as you did,that we are born agnostic on a whole host of issues,including the existence of god.On some ,like the existence of the ocean,you will not remain agnostic as it can be shown to you.

In my opinion,as far as god is concerned,we can choose to believe or not,but we are agnostic till the day we die and we find out for ourselves.

That in no way detracts from the validity of the beliefs you or I hold.

But an absence of something does not make it into something else.

Boy,did this thread run on while I was typing that up!

[quote]oneils wrote:
DoubleDuce wrote:

WIKI:
as an explicit position, can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods,[1] or the rejection of theism

Dictionary.com:

  1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
  2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

american heritage:

  1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
  2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

You left this out from the wiki entry:

It is also[3] defined more broadly as an absence of belief in deities, or nontheism.[4][5][6][7]
[/quote]

Because I copied the explicit definition from each source. Explicitly it is a belief. The dictionaries don’t even mention anything else.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
kaaleppi wrote:
Religion is learnt, not spirituality.

There is a distinction between religion and spirituality. Spirituality does not require a notion of god though one may come to that idea. Spirituality is an emotional phenomenon built by man’s inability to completely grasp the natural world. It entails the idea that there is something larger than man directing the world; some people may call that natural law.

Spirituality is a unique quality in individuals though it tends to be a cultural phenomenon taking on norms just like the idea of love, etc.[/quote]

Great, thank you for the definition.

[quote]oneils wrote:
DoubleDuce wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
DoubleDuce wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
If it is not inborn, the why has every separated major culture I’ve ever heard of have beliefs in the supernatural?

I would definitely say there is something in our nature that raises the question of the spiritual.

Agnosticism is not making a choice one way or the other. Atheism and “religious peoples” both make that choice.

If there is a little boy in Africa who has never heard of the tooth fairy, is that the same as a child raised in America that upon seeing his father placing a quarter under the pillow chooses to believe there is no tooth fairy? Absolutely not. The child in Africa is in his “natural” position on the toothfairy but may still be open to believing in it.

By your logic anything you haven’t considered before you automatically believe it’s false. Before I studied Quantum I didn’t disbelieve it. Now that I’ve studied it, I disbelieve it. =0) And yes Quantum is a completely imaginary world (that’s what theory is).

DoubleDuce, I think your understanding of agnosticism is mistaken. Agnosticism is the position that certain metaphysical claims are impossible to prove or disprove. [/quote]

webster:
1: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable ; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god2: a person unwilling to commit to an opinion about something

  1. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.
  2. a person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study.

American heritage: 1.
1. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
2. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.
2. One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.

Wiki:
is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims ? particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of deities, ghosts, or even ultimate reality ? is unknown or, depending on the form of agnosticism, inherently impossible to prove or disprove.

Agnosticism is a lack of belief and most basically an uncommitted or doubtful person. Believing that it is unknowable or unprovable is a way to arrive at agnosticism, but not inherent to the condition.