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Is #$#^$#^ a religion?

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People come down on two sides of this issue. Some say that #$#^$#^ is a religion because it is a belief that no God exists. Others say that #$#^$#^ is not a religion because it has no moral code, rites, and other elements of religion. I'm with the second group.

I hope this helps, since apparently the term atheism is not the disbelief in God. So I guess the term is #$#^$#^ I mean the concept certainly exists, so we need a term for it.

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re·li·gion(ribreve.gif-libreve.gifjprime.gifschwa.gifn) n.

1. a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.

b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.

3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.

4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

Seems to me both sides are right. Definition #4 most definitely includes atheism as it is practiced by some who spend an extraordinary amount of time denigrating the beliefs of theists.

I would also say there are many belief systems, such as environmentalism, that all under that definition. A religion does not require a god.

Edited by TimG

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That would make terrorism, communism, capitalism, carpentry and anything else practiced with zeal a religion. Not much of a definition, seems we all have many religions, yet use the word with most people and they would be pretty clear that conditions 1 - 3 should apply. A term becomes meaningless when it's too broad.

Just shows the difficulty of really communicating. The primary culprit is God - there must be at least 7 billion definitions of It, with everybody assuming that the next person means the same thing they do by the term. We seem to be standing on quicksand here.

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A term becomes meaningless when it's too broad.
That is what the dictionary says which means it is a commonly accepted definition of the word. You can disagree but you can't say people are wrong to call atheism a religion. The only people I know that disagree with that definition are strident atheists.

From my perspective in the middle on these issues I see no difference between strident atheists and strident theists. Both are destructive obsessives that create conflict because they are unwilling or unable to accept that others have a different way of looking at the world.

Edited by TimG

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dog·ma·tism(dôgprime.gifmschwa.gif-tibreve.gifzlprime.gifschwa.gifm, dobreve.gifgprime.gif-)

n.

Arrogant, stubborn assertion of opinion or belief.

I think this is the word you are looking for. Applies to theists and atheists equally.

I would argue hat the problem that many have with theists stems from the dogmatism - not the theism.

Edited by TimG

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That would make terrorism, communism, capitalism, carpentry and anything else practiced with zeal a religion.

I think the term 'supernatural' knocks those things out of contention.

Atheism, as defined as 'belief in no gods', isn't quite a religion but it's like one. It's a belief-based values system.

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I think the term 'supernatural' knocks those things out of contention.

Atheism, as defined as 'belief in no gods', isn't quite a religion but it's like one. It's a belief-based values system.

Note Tim's argument to the contrary.

I don't think atheism is a belief-based values system. What are the values of atheism? Atheism itself if just not believing there is a God, no other values and no system involved. I do understand there are now churches of atheists - I guess that qualifies. But that's not atheism as such. I can just see those folks sneering at other atheists that they are not true atheists the way some Christians do to each other. Personally I consider myself a Christian in the sense that the teachings attributed to Yeshua ben Josef have value for me. I don't believe he was any more or less divine than I am tho, so most Christians would not accept me into their fold. Not a problem for me, I don't practice the religion of Christianity.

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What are the values of atheism?
The values of atheism stem from a rejection of the concepts of god and afterlife. This leads to morality based on humanism or similar philosophical frameworks. Edited by TimG

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Note Tim's argument to the contrary.

I don't think atheism is a belief-based values system. What are the values of atheism? Atheism itself if just not believing there is a God, no other values and no system involved. I do understand there are now churches of atheists - I guess that qualifies. But that's not atheism as such. I can just see those folks sneering at other atheists that they are not true atheists the way some Christians do to each other. Personally I consider myself a Christian in the sense that the teachings attributed to Yeshua ben Josef have value for me. I don't believe he was any more or less divine than I am tho, so most Christians would not accept me into their fold. Not a problem for me, I don't practice the religion of Christianity.

Note Tim's argument to the contrary.

Wait - I misread the definition as posted. I guess anything does qualify as a religion then.

How can we further qualify the term 'religion' to exclude things like stamp collecting then ?

I don't think atheism is a belief-based values system. What are the values of atheism? Atheism itself if just not believing there is a God, no other values and no system involved.

Well, I guess the only value I can list is that humans are wholly responsible for their own actions.

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The values of atheism stem from a rejection of the concepts of god and afterlife. This leads to morality based on humanism or similar philosophical frameworks.

It could yes. It could also lead to nihilism, amoralism or antisocialism. Or none of the above. Atheism is just the first step, and by itself is not a belief system. Also you're using positive atheism as your definition here (

Positive atheism is the explicit affirmation that gods do not exist. Negative atheism includes all other forms of non-theism
)

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Wait - I misread the definition as posted. I guess anything does qualify as a religion then.

How can we further qualify the term 'religion' to exclude things like stamp collecting then ?

Exclude definition number 4. Makes the term so broad as to be meaningless. I'm a religious oxygen consumer, how about you?
Well, I guess the only value I can list is that humans are wholly responsible for their own actions.

Not necessarily. Experiments are showing we may not be consciously responsible for any of our actions, they all arise out of the unconscious. Behaviorism says we have no free will. Social Psychology says it can easily be overpowered. Etc. So from a materialistic perspective, our human brains are responsible for what we do, but our person isn't. Say the not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder - are they responsible?

Betsy keeps preaching that we are wholly responsible for our actions tho - she's no atheist. I don't think her stance fits with an omnipotent and omniscient God tho.

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Theism is a belief in deities and does not require an affiliation with a religion. Gnostic atheists are like theists in that they are claiming to know something they cannot. They have 'faith' that no god exists. Most atheists are of the agnostic variety though. They do not believe in deities but cannot claim to know for sure that one does not exist. This position isn't atheism lite, it's just honest.

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Theism is a belief in deities and does not require an affiliation with a religion. Gnostic atheists are like theists in that they are claiming to know something they cannot. They have 'faith' that no god exists. Most atheists are of the agnostic variety though. They do not believe in deities but cannot claim to know for sure that one does not exist. This position isn't atheism lite, it's just honest.

By wiki, the terms are positive and negative atheists. Your gnostic atheist would be a positive one.

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Yep, positive and negative atheism are another attempt to clarify the positions since the terms agnostic and atheist have been so widely misused.

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It could yes. It could also lead to nihilism, amoralism or antisocialism. Or none of the above. Atheism is just the first step, and by itself is not a belief system.
The same is true of theists. i.e. belief in god and an afterlife does not define a value system - the value system is built around those assumptions which is exactly what atheists do.

I also strictly define atheists as people who believe that god does not exist. Agnostics are people who 'don't know - don't care'. Agnosticism is not a religion according to the definition above because it is not a principle pursued with 'zeal'. It is an expression of non-interest in the topic.

Edited by TimG

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The same is true of theists. i.e. belief in god and an afterlife does not define a value system - the value system is built around those assumptions which is exactly what atheists do.

And what are some of these values that atheists have?

Let's make sure that the term "value" is defined (wiki has a straightforward definition):

Religious values are ethical principles founded in religious traditions, texts and beliefs. In contrast to personal values, religious-based values are based on scriptures and a religion's established norms.

Edited by The_Squid

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And what are some of these values that atheists have?
What values do theists have? My point is belief in god or not does not determine your values but provides a framework which is used to construct a value system. The actual value system not relevant to this discussion other than noting that atheists do have a value system that stems from their non-belief in god.

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Some say that #$#^$#^ is a religion because it is a belief that no God exists. Others say that #$#^$#^ is not a religion because it has no moral code, rites, and other elements of religion. I'm with the second group.

.....what is the censor word?

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.....what is the censor word?

It's not censored. Since atheism seems to include both a denial that God exists or just doubt about it, according to some on this board, we need a new term for how atheist is commonly used currently: the belief that God does not exist. I think agnostic atheist really sucks and nobody will know what you mean by it. Apparently positive atheist is the correct term, but I don't like that either. And since a positive atheist is positive about a negative (god does not exist) that sort of makes your head spin. I wanted to point out the silliness of it, as far as I'm concerned we're perfectly good to continue using agnostic for people who have no certainty for God's existence or not, and atheist for people who are sure there is no God. Unfortunately that latter position is at least as silly as people are are sure there is one.

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I think the term 'supernatural' knocks those things out of contention.

Atheism, as defined as 'belief in no gods', isn't quite a religion but it's like one. It's a belief-based values system.

Why are we re-hashing the arguments from the Atheism Defined thread?

There was some very fruitful discussion there about the trouble with defining atheism and why calling it a values system is completely inaccurate.

Moreover, there was plenty of discussion over the difference between belief and knowledge, which helped flesh out the differences and similarities between agnosticism and atheism.

As an atheist, I flatly refuse to accept your definition that is a "values system." It is nothing more than an identifier that indicates the person "has no belief" in deities, often times extending to other supernatural religio-cultural forces.

Edited to add:I just wanted to add what is a values system that is generally associated with atheism, but is not necessarily atheist: Humanism. There is such thing as religion-humanists that emphasize the agency of human beings before all else (God gave free will, for instance), which is why I say it's not necessarily atheist. Nevertheless, many atheists are humanists and this is a values system.

Edited by cybercoma

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Also, this is the best reference on understanding the problems with definitions of atheism. I think American Woman first cited it here, but I'm not certain.

http://www.investigatingatheism.info/definition.html

The source is the Investigating Atheism Project through the faculty of Divinity at Cambridge in partnership with Oxford. They've got some credibility on the matter.

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The same is true of theists. i.e. belief in god and an afterlife does not define a value system - the value system is built around those assumptions which is exactly what atheists do.

I also strictly define atheists as people who believe that god does not exist. Agnostics are people who 'don't know - don't care'. Agnosticism is not a religion according to the definition above because it is not a principle pursued with 'zeal'. It is an expression of non-interest in the topic.

The problem is that someone who doesn't know or doesn't care whether or not God exists doesn't very well believe in God. They're quite literally without belief, which is precisely the meaning of 'a-' '-theism'.

edit: typo.

Edited by cybercoma

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I wanted to point out the silliness of it, as far as I'm concerned we're perfectly good to continue using agnostic for people who have no certainty for God's existence or not, and atheist for people who are sure there is no God.

I have no belief in the supernatural and am positive gods don't exist, until I see some evidence. I'm not sure how you would describe this lack of belief.

It's mostly semantics...

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They're quite literally without belief, which is precisely the meaning of 'a-' '-theism'.
Then you are saying that people who are convinced that god does not exist are misnamed because they are not 'without' belief - they believe in a negative which cannot be proven.

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