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Featured Religion and Atheism

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

  1. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    @usfan ((It seems to me the real issue in what you’re objecting to is stereotypes, prejudices and unfairness against people who say they believe in God. I think that debating about terminology is worse than useless, except for socializing and entertainment purposes. If you have any other purpose in mind, let me know. Then for my purposes we would also need to address the problem of stereotypes, prejudices and unfairness against people who call themselves atheists.))
     
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  2. Altfish

    Altfish Well-Known Member

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    The difference with atheism is that it says nothing else except "I don't believe in gods"
    Religions have rituals - praying, regular meetings, etc.,
    If you are (say) Catholic you can say something about what they do on Sundays, who they believe to be their leader, what their attitude to contraception is (although to be fair that is falling apart in the ranks)
    If you are an atheist you cannot say what I'll be doing on Sunday (or any other day), we have no leader or elders, our attitude to contraception is not known. What else, other than I don't believe in gods, can you say about an atheist?
     
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  3. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    This is idiotic. The first amendment in no way protects only "religious" rights, and I am pretty sure you are aware of this - which makes the above point in your argument entirely dishonest. If so, way to go with the lying, Mr. "Biblical Christian!" And if not, accept my apologies - and also let me drop some advice that you maybe go read the thing you're referencing?

    I have also been puzzled for quite some time - why the constant attempts to pull atheism closer to your own brand of philosophy/world-view? If we stand in opposition, then why are you effectively making the statement: "Well, if we're wrong, then atheism is just as wrong!" This is basically what you're doing, and I assure you, no atheist I have ever seen/heard/read has ever said anything like this about religious views. And it's because it makes no sense. You're basically marrying yourself to the ideals of the opposition, and as I implied, tacitly admitting you are wrong. Does that sound like a smart move to make in an argument/debate? To me it always appears as one of the most self-defeating possible statements theists can make, hands down.
     
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  4. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    Perhaps you find the word religion demeaning, but I don't.
    Like many other words, it has a range of meanings. Usually the precise meaning comes from the context of the usage.

    About the only time I find describing atheism as a religion is in some context requiring a comprehensive set. For example, "religious equality before the Law". In order to treat everyone fairly there must be a category to fit everybody. So, the government might consider atheism a category of "religion", although that's a really imprecise use of the word.
    Tom
     
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  5. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    The negative consequences is it is a manifestation of the tribalism that dominates religion today.
     
  6. usfan

    usfan Active Member

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    I am unable (and unwilling!) to address ALL the 'stereotypes, prejudices and unfairness against people' in a single thread. I thought it enough to tackle this one, and others can come later. ;)

    'Debating terminology', is the crux of most debates, and the foundation upon all communication. Otherwise, each person has their own definitions, and we talk past each other with meaningless terms.

    This 'discussion', about this specific terminology is not new, and comes up all the time, as many have noted.

    Why is that? Has the ambiguity and Orwellian redefinition of 'Religious!', rendered it useless, except as a pejorative?
     
  7. usfan

    usfan Active Member

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    I clarified that we are takling about beliefs, not rituals or 'religious acts'. Why would hinduism be a religious belief, or Wiccan, but not atheism?

    Institutions are not the issue, and have little to do with the individual's worldview.
     
  8. usfan

    usfan Active Member

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    Hmm.. very interesting response. Is it common to go off on ad hom rants, here? I suspect i could not reply in kind, without infraction.

    But i will leave you to both the straw man caricature of my points, and the ad hom derision.

    I don't really see anything to reply to, in a rational manner.
     
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  9. Kangaroo Feathers

    Kangaroo Feathers Hardline moderate

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    And there's the goal post shift. Of course atheism is a religious belief, but your original question was "is atheism a religion", and although they're related, those are two different things.
     
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  10. usfan

    usfan Active Member

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    If legally, atheism is considered a 'religious belief', and it receives protection under the law, why change that perception in all other contexts?

    If we list a set of 'religious beliefs', why should atheism be exempted?

    If a theist, not a ritual following member of some institution, has 'religious beliefs', why are atheist's beliefs not religious? Are they not all an expression of an opinion about the universe?

    It seems to me the only purpose of isolating atheistic beliefs from the 'religious!' descriptor is to use the term pejoratively.
     
  11. Altfish

    Altfish Well-Known Member

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    So, the only belief an atheist has is ...? A non-belief??

    The thread title is "Religion & Atheism" not "Institutions and Atheism"
     
  12. usfan

    usfan Active Member

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    Not really. The supreme court has recognized atheism as a religion, for legal purposes. A religion is not necessarily connected to an institution. Many people have religious beliefs, and adhere to a 'religion', without rituals and institutions. Atheism is included in that. It is just another 'religion', or worldview/ideology about the universe.

    Of course 'religion!' can be defined narrowly, so that few meet the description. Or, it can be defined broadly so that many, if not all fit it.

    Why are so many atheists afraid of the term, and react with indignation if their beliefs are called, 'religious!'?
     
  13. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    So greek religious people gave the non religious a name that worked for them. How does not believing in god become a religion without bastardising the definition to suite ones personal ego trip.

    Atheist : a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.

    Nothing more, nothing less, anything else is misrepresentation.
     
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  14. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    I think it's important to keep religion and philosophy distinct. Over the centuries, many religious folk have attempted to use their religion to infringe on other domains, e.g. philosophy, spirituality, politics. I would agree that a common theme in religion is to try to answer philosophical questions. But philosophy should remain distinct in our minds. Same with spirituality and politics. We should keep them distinct from religion.
     
  15. usfan

    usfan Active Member

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    This is the context and usage of the term, in this thread:
    Non belief in something is still a belief. Why the fear of a term?

    I have no belief in atheism. Doesn't that make me a non-believer in the atheistic belief?
    'Religious!' no longer carries an exclusive 'God fearing' connotation. Buddhists and many religious beliefs do not 'fear God', or even acknowledge a singular Deity.

    I am fascinated with language, and the evolution of terms and definitions. I'm picking this one out as an obvious candidate for Orwellian redefinition. ;)

    The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable." ~George Orwell
     
  16. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Ah, there's your mistake!

    Atheism is not considered a religious belief but a belief concerning religion.

    And it is beliefs concerning religion that the US Constitution protects.
     
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  17. usfan

    usfan Active Member

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    I noted the evolution of the English word, 'religious'. There were 2 different words in the Greek (and there are more).

    I also noted that in common usage, AND in legal, constitutional usage, it is broader than the 'fear God' limitation.

    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.
     
  18. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Which has no baring on atheism. Try again
     
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  19. usfan

    usfan Active Member

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    Maybe.. but that seems a stretch, to escape a terrifying term.

    I'd be happy to not use it at all, but i find it flung as a pejorative at theists constantly.

    I would prefer, 'philosophical opinions', and let that cover everything.

    Why the need to pigeonhole theists as 'religious!' while exempting atheists from the horrors of the term? ;)
     
  20. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    Because most contexts are different from a legal context.

    It depends on the context.
    To me, the real meaning of the word is "believes that religion is fiction.", not "believes that god(s) don't exist".

    So in most contexts the imprecision of the legal meaning prevents communication.
    I don't see why you can't see a nuanced view of such a complex concept. A big part of the problem is that religion is that, fundamentally, religion is about even more vague concepts. Even more poorly defined things, like gods and afterlives and spirits and supernatural(unknowable) things like that. So, :shrug:

    Tom
     
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