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Is it just me or is Atheism a religion?
Philosphy Forum ^ | FR Post 12-6-2003 | "A Sloth"

Posted on 12/05/2003 10:43:11 AM PST by vannrox

This is a subject near to my heart and my own spiritual journey, and I'd like to discuss it with as many intelligent minds as possible as I ponder it. It seems to me as though the most basic, intrinsic aspect of a religious philosophy is faith. I have been talking to a lot of Christians lateley, so I'm not sure if that is the prevailing veiw among people of other persuasions. Anyways, it seems to me as though a religion can really be boiled down to beliving that it is THE answer, and it seems to me as though atheism is no exception.

But this is where I came to realize there many different brands of thought given the title of Atheist, each with their own twists. Here are some categories that i have run across, and my opinion(just roll with me on this one):

Spiritual Atheists Some people claim to be "spiritual" but not "religious," disavowing belief in a god persay in favor of just not thinking about the issue. It sounds just lazy to me. They get the "all good people go to heaven" feeling without defining good, heaven, or even feeling itself. This may work for some, but it seems to lack any real thought into the matter.

Non-Practicing Atheists And there are the "Catholics" like my parents who dont buy a word the church says, but are so afraid of what it means to be atheist that they desperately cling to a religion that offers them no real meaning.

Deist Atheists Some people use Atheism to describe a sense of disbelief in the major established world religions, which to me sounds like it could still be a throwback to the deism of the 18th century. Basically it can be summed up as: There is some kind of god, hes a pretty decent guy, dont be an ass and everything will turn out ok somehow, once again, a little too lazy for me.

Orthodox Atheists Then there are the Atheists so absolutly steadfast in their disbelief in god that they would have made an excellent Christian in another life (THAT's an interesting turn of phase!). They dont buy the proof that the various religions offer, but the seem to narrowmindedly rule out any possiblities except absolute soulless oblivion. I have a friend like this, and i have yet to figure out how he can 100% FOR SURE rule out a higher power of any type...

Agnostics This is the only one that really makes sense to me. I mean, maybe there's a god. Probably not one of the big religion's vengeful, mythical "gods" with their spotty and doubtfully accurate "historical records," I doubt reincarnation that doesnt work well with the increasing entropy of the universe, and the evidence for it is even less credible than the rest ... But prove to me god's not just hiding...

Thats where i'm at right now. I would appreciate any input, even religious propaganda. I want to know the truth, even if it means the complete destruction of my current schema for faith.

I would even go so far as to recommend two such books, The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith, to anyone who is openminded enough to consider Christianity. I almost bought into it after reading those, but to me, there are still holes (i'll probably talk about those later) If your already Christian, they will strengthen your faith, and if not, they will rock your world...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: atheism; future; god; hope; man; religion
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To: vannrox
Atheism is just a lack of belief in a deity

It is no more a religion that not believing in Santa Claus is a superstition, not playing baseball is a sport, or not building model train sets is a hobby

The "Atheism is a religion" line is nonsensical propaganda promoted by theocrats

21 posted on 12/05/2003 11:04:41 AM PST by WackyKat
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To: E Rocc
It is not a religion, but it is a religious belief. Therefore it's subject to the same restrictions on government support or inhibition as any other.

Hubby and I were discussing this a couple of nights ago and we both agreed that since it is a religious belief, therefore it should be classified as a religion.

22 posted on 12/05/2003 11:05:46 AM PST by ravingnutter
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To: vannrox
Is it just me...?

If they pass a collection plate, it's a religion.

23 posted on 12/05/2003 11:05:55 AM PST by headsonpikes (Spirit of '76 bttt!)
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To: vannrox
I would even go so far as to recommend two such books, The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith, to anyone who is openminded enough to consider Christianity. I almost bought into it after reading those, but to me, there are still holes (i'll probably talk about those later) If your already Christian, they will strengthen your faith, and if not, they will rock your world...

Good call! I'll pray for you on your spiritual journey. I hope there are those in your life that are earnestly striving to live the life of a Christian and that you see the difference in their lives. The largest attraction to Christianity are Christians and the largest detraction to Christianity are those that say they are and are not living the life.

24 posted on 12/05/2003 11:10:20 AM PST by Rockitz (After all these years, it's still rocket science.)
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To: vannrox
I remember reading within the last month or two that people are developing their own "personal religions" in the sense they base their belief and formulate their "doctrine" on their own experiences rather than historical text or some type of church history. Athesists are no different. Even they have a variety of opinions.
25 posted on 12/05/2003 11:11:16 AM PST by HarleyD
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To: PeterPrinciple
1) Creation - Where did we come from and who are we?

Gee, our parents?
And aren't we what we make of ourselves? If not, why not?

2) Fall - What has gone wrong with the world?

You want to be a little more specific about that?

3) Redemption - What can we do to fix it?

What do you want to "fix"?
And what do you mean "we", Kemosabe?

26 posted on 12/05/2003 11:12:11 AM PST by balrog666 (Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.)
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To: vannrox
If you want to study viruses or learn about distant galaxies you have to adopt the discipline and tools of the microbiologist or astronomer. It is possible to learn of both by studying the writings of experts but that is second-hand knowledge and not at all equal to personal experience. I always think about who I would most want to do brain surgery on me: the man who had read all there was about the subject but never performed an operation or the man who had successfully performed such operations on others. You can take the word of experts that viruses exist or that quasars are real or you can observe them for yourself.

If you want to determine if God is real or not you must undertake the studies and practices of those who say they have achieved first-hand knowledge of His existence. There is no lack of writing about this subject. The trick is to undertake the exercise with an attitude that there may really be something to discover. This is not to say that you have to abandon scepticism and doubt. Doubts need to be addressed and not blindly dismissed or embraced.

If you are serious be prepared to spend a long time at this.
It is unlikely (though not impossible) you will arrive at a final determination in just weeks or months or even a few years.

The real key to all this is to be truthful about the quest. You have to excercise total honesty with yourself and about yourself. No idea is beyond the most ruthless examination and, if found wanting, must be modified or discarded regardless of how dearly held.

Real saints are few and far between. Real saints are those who know God IS. But then real scientists or real authorities on any subject tend to be rare as well.

27 posted on 12/05/2003 11:12:57 AM PST by scory
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To: vannrox
By imposing their religious beliefs - atheism, agnosticism they are able to exclusively promote their religious beliefs.

They have tricked the state into promoting religion.

A single religion above all others.


28 posted on 12/05/2003 11:14:27 AM PST by Kay Soze (Liberal Homosexuals kill more people than Global Warming, SUVsí, Firearms & Terrorism combined.)
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To: miloklancy
Religions aspouse the belief in God(s). Atheists don't believe in God(s). So to answer your question, no it is not a religion.

Further evidence for my theory that liberals don't own dictionaries.

Main Entry: re·li·gion Pronunciation: ri-'li-j&n Function: noun Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back -- more at RELY Date: 13th century 1 a : the state of a 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 ardor and faith - re·li·gion·less adjective

Atheism is a religion, they just hate to admit it. Until you can PROVE God does not exist then you're working in the realm of faith my friend.

29 posted on 12/05/2003 11:15:21 AM PST by highlander_UW
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To: whattajoke
I'll bite...

Another way to look at these discussions is to replace the term 'God' with another term, such as 'invisible purple monkey'. This is not meant as a slight to the religious, but is a healthy way to handle these types of discussions...

So, is a disbelief in these creatures a religion of its own? If so, most of us must belong, although I have to admit I have missed the last few meetings.
30 posted on 12/05/2003 11:16:33 AM PST by warpsmith
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To: vannrox
One God. One morality. Decency toward others. Deed over creed.
31 posted on 12/05/2003 11:19:02 AM PST by onedoug
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To: WackyKat
Atheism can be a religion. Just as Star Trek can be a religion. If you become so consumed with the defense of atheism that it defines your life you in a sense worship. Worship, hommage, whatever is not limited to supernatural beings. This is what idolatry is all about. I don't see how you can practice idolatry and be a devout atheist. :)
32 posted on 12/05/2003 11:20:21 AM PST by Naspino (I am in no way associated with the views expressed in your posts.)
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To: warpsmith
Right. And to date no one has seen the slightest evidence for invisible purple monkeys, so it certainly seems like a religion to me.

33 posted on 12/05/2003 11:22:37 AM PST by whattajoke (Neutiquam erro.)
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To: PeterPrinciple
1) Creation - Where did we come from and who are we?

Energy level of the universe is zero (positive + negative = 0), and universes happen all the time. We are in a hospitable part of a hospitable universe.

2) Fall - What has gone wrong with the world?

Nothing. Life/universe/nature is not good or evil. Lions eat deer. Life happens.

3) Redemption - What can we do to fix it?

Nothing. Enjoy it while you can. Vote Republican. Give to your favorite charity.
34 posted on 12/05/2003 11:22:46 AM PST by warpsmith
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To: All
Btw, to those of you here who are pushing for "Atheism" or non theism (my term) to be declared "religions," um, think about GWB's "Faith based initiative" and all the fun atheists could have with that.

Not to mention the tax implications.

Hmmm... gets me thinking...
35 posted on 12/05/2003 11:24:21 AM PST by whattajoke (Neutiquam erro.)
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To: lelio
Buddha had nothing to say about a God, for or against. But the philosophy has credos, rituals, prayers and a way to live the best you can. Taoism has no God, although there are human Immortals, there is a belief in a encompassing void, The Tao. Both are religions to me.

Agnoticism originally meant that God is too awesome to be proven, so why bother. It was changed to God may or may not exist.
I have a friend who claims he is an Atheist and does not believe in a religious God. But he DOES believe in flying saucers and advanced civilizations. So he has a religion , of sorts.
36 posted on 12/05/2003 11:25:21 AM PST by catonsville
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To: skraeling
>>>Really? Does a religion need to have a (singular) God? Is not a "belief structure" enough to qualify?<<<


From American Heritage Dictionary:

RELIGION: An organized system of beliefs centering on a supernatural being or beings.

ATHEISM: Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God.


Atheists have a belief (such as it is), but they do not have a "religion".

Funny enough though, Satanists have a religion, yet they are atheists because they do not believe in God (satan is a fallen angel)
37 posted on 12/05/2003 11:26:45 AM PST by Roughneck (". . .For there is going to come a time when people won't listen to the truth. . .")
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To: highlander_UW
Until you can PROVE God does not exist then you're working in the realm of faith my friend.

I may be crazy but if one claims the existence of something, the burden of proof is therefore on the claimant. YOU state something exists, YOU show me. I state something DOESN'T exist, how in the hell am I going to show THAT to you?!

A more illustrative example since I have a feeling you'll think me nuts...

Bob: "I believe man-eating papayas exist."
Joe: "I don't, as I've never seen such things."

Now, which guy would have to show evidence for his contention? This ain't rocket science!
38 posted on 12/05/2003 11:28:59 AM PST by whattajoke (Neutiquam erro.)
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To: vannrox
It's just you. I'm sure you can find evangelical atheists like Murry, but you can also find psychopaths claiming to be religious. That is a personality disorder, not a religion.
39 posted on 12/05/2003 11:29:00 AM PST by js1138
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To: vannrox
Romans 1:18-23 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like the corruptible man - and birds and four footed animals and creeping things.
40 posted on 12/05/2003 11:31:08 AM PST by Luke (u)
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