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Featured Religion and Atheism

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by usfan, May 26, 2019.

  1. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    Is atheism a religion? It depends on context and definitions. Most atheists bristle at the suggestion that atheism is a religious belief, and go to great lengths to distance themselves from the term.

    δεισιδαιμονεστέρους is the Greek word for 'religious', as used by Paul in his Athenian speech:

    Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. Acts 17:22

    The root of this word is 'fear of the gods'.

    Another greek word that is translated 'religion' is θρῆσκος, which also carries a sense of 'fear' or 'trembling' toward deities.

    So an atheist, who does not believe in God, and presumably has no 'fear' of deities, would not be 'religious' under this definition and usage.

    But in modern usage, and especially in legal and constitutional matters, atheism is considered a religious belief. It is protected under the first amendment, and nobody can be denied freedom of conscience, for their 'religious' beliefs. The supreme court has ruled that atheism is protected, as a religious belief, under the first amendment.

    There is a phony narrative that confuses this issue: 'Christians have Religion! Atheists have Science!' This is an attempt to move the atheistic opinion/belief about the nature of the universe into a false dichotomy.. a 'religion vs science!' dilemma. But atheism is not 'science!', anymore than a theistic belief. It is an opinion about the nature of the universe. It is a philosophical belief, and is not grounded in empirical science.

    I have no problem defining atheism as a 'religious' belief, by the common usage of the term. It is a philosophical opinion, and 'religious' applies. It relates to a belief about deities, and is a valid opinion.

    To deny the 'religious' nature of atheism would remove it from protected status, under the first amendment. Businesses, govts, or other human institutions could deny access, if one insists on a positive religious belief in a deity.

    So, why is acknowledging the religious nature of atheism a problem, for many atheists? Is it not just another opinion about the nature of man, God, and the universe?
     
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  2. Altfish

    Altfish Well-Known Member

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    Is 'Not collecting Stamps" a hobby?
     
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  3. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Resident Hermit
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    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Tail Wagger
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    It can't be idolatry, which sometimes can't be said for Christianity.
     
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  5. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    Is not believing in stamps, a belief?

    Opinions and beliefs is the issue, not activities.

    How is atheism NOT a religious/philosophical belief? Isn't denying the existence of God, just another belief about God?

    Hinduism
    Buddhism
    Islam
    Christianity
    Wiccan
    Atheism
    Rastafarian

    Are these not all beliefs about the nature of the universe? Should not atheism receive protection and acknowledgment as a 'religious' belief?
     
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  6. Rival

    Rival Noachide
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    Atheism is a term dependent on culture and dominant religion. It has virtually no meaning outside of a larger context.
     
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  7. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    I have been puzzled about this trend for some time. Why the effort to distance from a term that describes one's philosophical beliefs? Why not be inclusive, with the rest of humanity, and embrace the beliefs/opinions as religious? Why the dread and fear of a term?
     
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  8. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    I see it as a very simple descriptor.

    God
    No God

    Those are the possibilities. Either position is a belief. The 'God' possibility has more options, or subheadings, but they are all matters of belief.

    How does 'culture' change the meaning of 'atheism?' How else can you define, 'no God'?
     
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  9. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I suppose it is when you make a point of not doing it each day.
     
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  10. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    This I can understand, and even agree.

    Atheism, however, is simply too little and too inconsequential to seriously propose as _being_ a religion.

    A trait _compatible_ with many religions, definitely. And perhaps even a requirement for some. But that is exactly as far as it goes.
     
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  11. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Atheism is entirely reliant on cultural expectations, because it is defined in relation to "god/deity", which is a superlatively arbitrary concept.
     
  12. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Which is often not at all the case.

    For some of us atheism is as natural and unavoidable as "making a point" of not being three meters tall.
     
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  13. Rival

    Rival Noachide
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    Many cultures throughout history have called those who do not believe in their God or gods, atheists. Similarly, deists were once called atheists.
     
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  14. ImmortalFlame

    ImmortalFlame Well-Known Member

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    Do you understand the difference between something being a belief relating to and/or about religion as aposed to it being necessarily religious in nature in and of itself?

    Atheism itself is not a religion, and it is still granted protection under the first amendment's clause to freedom of belief and speech. This does not mean that atheism itself is religious or that atheism is a religion.

    Do you understand?
     
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  15. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I think it's akin to a racial bigot insisting that his bloodline must never be tainted by the blood of those they consider inferior.

    On the other hand, I do not think atheism is a religion. However, I think it can be, and occasionally is practiced religiously. The difference being that religions are not theologies, they are a set of tools and behaviors that people use to live according to their chosen theology. Therefor, atheism could be considered a theology, but not necessarily a religion, unless it is 'practiced' religiously.
     
    #15 PureX, May 26, 2019
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
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  16. Left Coast

    Left Coast Active Member
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    The main problem with it is that theists equivocate it with their own beliefs. "You have a religion, I have a religion, you have faith, i have faith, see?" When the reality is that atheism is not one belief system. Atheism isn't a belief in anything. It's a lack of belief. Atheists have nothing else in common per se but the fact that they don't believe God/s exist.

    Atheism is protected constitutionally in the US because it's considered a position on religion, so it falls under the same First Amendment protections as religions in the traditional sense.

    First Amendment | American Atheists
     
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  17. ImmortalFlame

    ImmortalFlame Well-Known Member

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    No dread and fear implied, just a desire for accuracy. Religion means a specific thing, and atheism (and also theism) don't fit that specific definition. An atheist or theist can BE religious, but that religion isn't "atheism" or "theism". Both relate to merely one position on one topic, and neither position necessarily entails a religious position or view, or the adoption of a religious doctrine.
     
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  18. Firemorphic

    Firemorphic Activist Membrane

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    A simple use of the search button would save the world :D
     
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  19. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    No, atheism is a belief about the usefulness of a much abused and very questionable concept. That is all.

    For what it is worth, I have been trying to spread awareness of somewhat more practical stances,namely ignosticism and apatheism.
     
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  20. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Don't be silly. How can the same word have different meanings when used in completely different contexts?

    Look in a dictionary. Atheism just means...

    :weary:
     
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