Is Atheism a religion?

inhumility

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I understand that people shy away from committing themselves to a Religion and feel relaxed to pose as neutral. Does Atheism have a system or set principles?
If there is no system or a principled approach then there cannot be except chaos or confusion or waywardness. The scientific progress of man is based on finding laws or systems/principles in nature which don not change or change under a system and are accurate and mathematically certain.
Nature is systematic and man is civilized and cultural if adapted to these systems principles/disciplines.
Discipline, in my view, is better though we have choice to whatever discipline we may adopt but on sound footings. We usually compare things; things which have comparatively more merits than demerits are a natural choice of man.
I have started a thread in CR titled “The Greatest Principle of Comparative Religions or Interfaith dialogue” which is exhibited in Comparative Studies Board. The principle is that Claim and Reason of Religion should be from the Revealed Book of the Religion.
The details could be read in the thread. I don’t want to be biased to any faith. Whatever Religion or faith excels in answering five basic questions, and satisfies conscience of man most in this contest/challenge of excellences should be open for acceptance. Please comment and suggest ways/alternatives as to how we can accommodate atheism, Buddhism and other faiths which don not claim to have any revealed resource in this contest/challenge/comparison, a tool for an easy reckoning of the truth?
 
Atheism, religion? No. Very cynically put (not by me, mind you) "...atheism is simply the outpouring of anti-christian sentiments by the intellectual elite." Now, I am currently looking for where I read this so bear with. However, Atheism, in a general sense attributes no importance to deity or (rel) ritual in life.

Most people feel that atheism is denial of god. But that implies knowledge of god. Atheism, therefore, is one without belief, or the need for belief.

I think a big problem with the 'revealed book' aspect, is that you are implying that non-literate religions, like most Native American faiths, have less legitimacy because they have no books. I think what would fit better is the 'Sacred Narrative' :no need for written word.... afterall, the written word is there so we don't have to remember it all...

If you apply the idea of 'Sacred Narrative' then any religion can be included. While Buddhism may not have a revealed text, it does attempt to present the underlying principle of existence. Sorry, I ramble.

btw- what definition of 'religion' are you going by? I prefer Durkheim's :
"A unified set of beliefs and practices, relative to sacred things, which unites one single-moral community."

Sub
 
From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:
Main Entry: re·li·gion
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back -- more at [SIZE=-1]RELY[/SIZE]
1 a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion> 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 : [SIZE=-1]CONSCIENTIOUSNESS[/SIZE]
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
- re·li·gion·less adjective

Taking it down, 1(a) is not applicable to Atheism
1(b) - unlikely to apply - athiests don't generally follow any variety of supernatural beings. 2 - nope. 3 - not applicable, archaic meaning, which leaves definition 4.

I guess one could argue that the denial of existance of deity is a commonality of athiests, so the system of belief would be in the absence of deity, and it is possible to hold to that belief with both ardor and faith, so yes, it can be deemed a religion in the dictionary sense. Of course, that's about ALL that atheists have in common, so it's a pretty narrow set of shared beliefs.

The problem with basing the definition of a religion on a revealed book is that many religions don't have revealed books... wicca for one..... the abrahamic reliance on "holy books" is more of an exception in historical terms than a standard - it's just that at this point in time, there's a majority of folks on the planet who recognize that set of traditions.

As for your quote in the first paragraph, subculture, I think it's dead wrong - most of the atheists I've met don't care either way about christianity. Yes, the loud bigots tend to get more press time - but that's true about most religions. (Or people in general for that matter - on any topic)
 
I also see the quote I posted as 'misrepresentative'. What I was implying, but didn't really explain, is that many people think that atheism is a 'reaction' against Christianity. I'm still looking for the source, but if it makes you feel any better, it was an early 20th (19th?) century response to Intellectualist criticism of Biblical history... I want to say it ties to one of Schleiermacher's texts, like On Rleigion. But I'm still looking (half-assedly mind you) for the source. Watch, it'll end up being from a C- paper written by a student I had 3 years ago!


Sub
 
To be honest, most of the atheism I experience online is rooted in anti-Christianity, rather than disbelief in God.
 
Namaste all,

A-theist is constrasted with theist with the prefix "a" denoting the negative.

as such, A-theists, simply lack a belief in God, gods or Goddesses.

however, a-theists come in a wide variety of flavors, with various points of view regarding other things. there isn't a set doctrine of a-theists.

in fact, i would posit that most beings are a-theists in some form or another.

my Christian friends, for instance, are a-thiest with regards to Zeus and Odin whilst beings like myself are a-theist with regards to a Creator God.

to address the OP question; no, atheism is not a religion.

metta,

~v
 
Vajradhara said:
Namaste all,

A-theist is constrasted with theist with the prefix "a" denoting the negative.

as such, A-theists, simply lack a belief in God, gods or Goddesses.

however, a-theists come in a wide variety of flavors, with various points of view regarding other things. there isn't a set doctrine of a-theists.

in fact, i would posit that most beings are a-theists in some form or another.

my Christian friends, for instance, are a-thiest with regards to Zeus and Odin whilst beings like myself are a-theist with regards to a Creator God.

to address the OP question; no, atheism is not a religion.

metta,

~v

I agree V. If atheism is a religion, then baldness is a haircolor. I think it was Voltaire who said that we are all atheists in one form or another. When you really think about it, professed atheists just believe in one less God than the rest of us.

On a related note, I once read a response by an atheist that said something like: "I won't say there is no God. I don't know what you mean by God. I cannot deny that of which I have no conception."

Peace,
Y
 
I said:
To be honest, most of the atheism I experience online is rooted in anti-Christianity, rather than disbelief in God.

Right. That's my experience too. But a distinction should be made between Atheist and a-theist. I'm an a-theist, but not an Atheist. That notwithstanding, atheism is not a religion. But what is more interesting is why theists would like atheism to be considered a religion. It's an attempt at a naked end-run around the seperation of church and state.

Chris
 
China Cat Sunflower said:
Right. That's my experience too. But a distinction should be made between Atheist and a-theist. I'm an a-theist, but not an Atheist. That notwithstanding, atheism is not a religion. But what is more interesting is why theists would like atheism to be considered a religion. It's an attempt at a naked end-run around the seperation of church and state.

Chris

I've always wondered why so many theists are hell-bent on getting atheists to admit that they are practicing a religion. This makes perfect sense to me.
 
Brian!
I also agree that in the Western world most of the atheists are those who unlike many Christian sects, do not believe that Jesus was God or Son of God; otherwise they believe in one God, the Creator as believed by Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs etc. When such people say they don’t believe in God they mean they don’t believe in divinity of Jesus or his Son-ship of God. Such atheists are in fact not (Scientific) Atheists who don’t believe in divinity or a Creator altogether. Similar is the case with Hindus, what my little knowledge of Hinduism tells me, there are Hindus who believe in oneness of God and then they say Krishna is also a God. There may be Hindus who don’t believe in the divinity of Krishna or they won’t worship other (statue) gods, other Hindus may consider them atheists while they are not.
 
One of he members has stated “I've always wondered why so many theists are hell-bent on getting atheists to admit that they are practicing a religion”.
I leave its response to my fellow theists: Jews, Christians etc.
As for me , I am a student of ( Comparative ) Religions, if some atheists are not blind believers in atheism , like many theists who happen to have blind faith in their religions and are sometimes proud of that , I am looking for a common yardstick ; a common standard in atheists as Revealed Books are for theists for their religions, to facilitate atheists’ inclusion in the contest/challenge/comparison of excellence under “The Greatest Principle of Comparative Studies of Religions/Interfaith Dialogue” to see where does the merit and truth lie and to submit to it according to my conscience. We are all fellow human beings and logically and morally we should help each other in matters secular as well as moral and spiritual for good understanding. Please read the details in the thread “The Greatest Principle of Comparative Studies of Religions/Interfaith Dialogue” in the Comparative Studies Board. The die–hard /scientific/ principled atheists, if the truth lies with them, should also be included in this contest of excellence, unbiased, they should not be left out, in all sincerity.
 
Here's what I've noticed about many atheists I've known:

- They have well developed thoughts on morality, ethics and how humans should treat each other
- They are friendly and have good intentions toward others
- They seem to have put a lot of geunuine and independant thought into their aetheism
- they are strong-headed about what they believe
- They were raised as Christians
- when discussing spiritual matters I find them more interesting than traditional religious believers who accept their religion with little question

As a minimum I would consider atheism a belief system. Beyond that I also consider it to be a religion based on my observations above.
 
Jim M2 said:
Here's what I've noticed about many atheists I've known:

- They have well developed thoughts on morality, ethics and how humans should treat each other
- They are friendly and have good intentions toward others
- They seem to have put a lot of geunuine and independant thought into their aetheism
- they are strong-headed about what they believe
- They were raised as Christians
- when discussing spiritual matters I find them more interesting than traditional religious believers who accept their religion with little question

As a minimum I would consider atheism a belief system. Beyond that I also consider it to be a religion based on my observations above.

Nicely defined but I would have to argue that such an individual is an Agnostic not an A-theist.

David
 
And a further thought.

Would not many of these individuals not infact be christians if they did not percieve the church's to be full of people so openly full of hippocracy? Are such A-theists not actualy closer to the core message of christianity than many of the sunday worshipers??

David
 
David,
As far as agnostism vs atheism I agree. I pointed out to one of my more insightful atheist friends that I thought she was really agnostic and not atheist. She said 'whatever' and mentioned something to the effect that atheism is the more plausible possibility within agnosticism that she is completely comfortable with, and she prefers to simply call herself an atheist. Basically she was annoyed by the distinction.

On another forum everyone wanted to label one this one fella an atheist. He found it very annoying. He didn't want to be labeled at all. Definitionally he was an agnostic in my opinion.

By any label, they are what they are.

As far as these atheist (or whatever they are) having beliefs close to Christianity, I think there's no doubt this is true. They feel like religious values can be derived outside of religion. It would be an interesting area to discuss with them further.
 
inhumility said:
Does Atheism have a system or set principles?

No more than "theism" has a system or set of principles.

Theism may be used as an abstract category in which one places specific religions, which do have specific systems or sets of principles.

Similarly, atheism may be used as an abstract category in which one places specific philosophies or philosophical paths, which do have specific systems of sets of principles.

I'm an atheist, however, I have principles in virtue of being a Eudaimonist (a philosophical path that includes an ethics and nontheistic spirituality), not in terms of being an atheist (which means only that I don't believe in god/s).

I suppose that Eudaimonism could be considered analogous to a religion, though I prefer the term "philosophical path". Atheism is definitely not analogous to a religion at all.

If there is no system or a principled approach then there cannot be except chaos or confusion or waywardness.

I hope I've just explained why this does not apply to atheists.


eudaimonia,

M.
 
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