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Author Topic: ITT Wintermute yells at me a fuckload.
cfalcon
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posted 02-13-2004 04:07 PM      Profile for cfalcon   Email cfalcon   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why atheism is a religion:

1- Claiming that atheism is or is not a religion is a philosophical arguement. Treating atheism as a religion from a regulatory standpoint is a consistent way of dealing with it.

2- For those who disagree, let's examine the continuity of all this.

A believes in God. He believes in a revealed God, one who created the everything. He believes in a bunch of things that conflict with science. He believes in things that are easily falsifiable, like "people can walk through walls", but has an elaborate mental defense for them when asked why he cannot once demonstrate said walking through walls.

B believes in God. He believes in a revealed God, but has a viewpoint that God mostly keeps out of things. B accepts science.

C believes in some kind of diety or force responsible for the universe, maybe. He feels that something is out there.

We've got plenty of A, B, and C on this Earth.

D believes in some kind of diety or force. He believes this diety or force is only present 50% of the time, however.

E believes in some kind of diety or force.. He believes this diety or force is only present 25% of the time, however.

F believes in some kind of diety or force.. He believes this diety or force is only present 12.5% of the time, however.

.
.
.
.
.

At some number, we will be dealing with a really tiny number, and ZZZZZ whatever will basically be equivalent to an atheist. The arguement the atheist has is that, because he believes in said diety or force ZERO percent of the time, he is somehow the one special and true and unique set of religious beliefs, because of this uniqueness.

The arguement that his beliefs are exactly what you would get from just observing the world without superstition are kind of specious, given that ZZZZZ has about the same set of beliefs, and is not an atheist. Additionally, it's not as if ZZZZZs beliefs are all that out there: basically, he's argueing that at some tiny fraction of time when the universe was created, some intelligence existed and had some kind of influence, if it wanted to, maybe.

How is this near-atheistic religion all that less plausible?

I'm guessing zero has a similar arguement that he is not a quantity?

I mean, before computers were invented, you had zero of them, right? But why are we measuring the acomputered, when they are the natural state? Clearly, zero computers is the normal state, and is therefore... special.

In this thread: http://www.math.miami.edu/~jam/azure/forum/tuff/ultimatebb.php?ub b=get_topic;f=8;t=007713

Toby said to go and look up the definition of religion.

Religion:

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

(4) Isn't the definition we are looking for, because it's the part of speech when you say "Metallica is his religion." You mean that he follows the band with zeal.

Well, this dictionary is kind of crap. Let's take like Buddhism. I don't think that qualifies under the 1st, right? It qualifies under (3), I believe.

But, using this definition, I think I could come up with a religion that wouldn't count.

Would gnostics work? Maybe certain pagans? A lot of groups don't hold that their big chizmo (or chizmos) created the universe, or explicitly worship a different diety or power instead. If Wintermute is gonna argue that a bunch of things that are clearly religious aren't, then he can have at it (but he won't).

Maybe we can qualify atheists under (3)?

Whatever, this is a crap definition of religion.

Now, obviously atheism isn't a religion in the traditional sense of people sitting around and praying, but, again, in the sense that it is a set of beliefs about god(s), it counts. Why?

It counts because of exclusivity. If I am an atheist, I cannot be a Christian.
If I have zero religion, I cannot have 10.5 religion.

I still have an amount of religion (zero), even though I don't have any religion.

Black is not a color, right guys? But if your car is black, it can't be red. We call it a color, even though it is really the absense of one. We percieve it as a color. If someone asks you what color your car is, and you say "it doesn't have one", then you are playing word games so that your car is special, the One True Color That Is Not A Color. And when a cop writes down "black" under color, you can take it to court and say "No, your honor, my car has no color.".

But having a black car is different than having a transparent car, just as being atheistic is different than being agnostic.

All of math works like this, and amounts of color and amounts of pebbles in hand and amounts of gods believed in should all be handled in the same way. In philosophy class, you can talk about the details of "does zero count", but from every other effective point of view, yes, of course.

This reminds me of when I was six and my mother had to convince me that negative numbers exist.

[ 02-16-2004, 03:54 PM: Message edited by: cfalcon ]

From: 39°45' N, 104°52' W | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Jman
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posted 02-13-2004 04:13 PM      Profile for Jman   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In the end, everyone should just be an agnostic.
From: da burgh | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged
cfalcon
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posted 02-13-2004 04:26 PM      Profile for cfalcon   Email cfalcon   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I saw this bumper sticker that I loved once.

It said:

Militant Agnostic- I don't know AND YOU DON'T EITHER!

From: 39°45' N, 104°52' W | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Anthrax
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posted 02-13-2004 04:40 PM      Profile for Anthrax   Author's Homepage   Email Anthrax   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
tl;dr but in the end ZZZZZZ or whatever still has that small percent of belief and an atheist does not.

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She told The Associated Press she first realized her son was mentally ill in 1996 when he killed her oldest child, a 25-year-old woman who suffered from cerebral palsy, by beating her with a dumbbell.

From: Somebody put shit in my pants! | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged
Mr. K
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posted 02-13-2004 05:20 PM      Profile for Mr. K   Author's Homepage   Email Mr. K   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Didn't read any of it, since the premise is flawed and only a total feces-eating moron would believe that.
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Fluorine
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Well, many people who are in fact agnostic define themselves as atheists, for convenience, and because believing in the non-existence of something gives you more flexibility than believing in the existence of something. I mean, there's still a difference between believing there are no pink elephants in my living room because I don't see them, and believing there are because, uh, I don't see any? [Frown] Non-belief just makes sense. It's possible that there are pink elephants in my living room and that I'm too stoned to see them, but fuck that, there's a line to draw, and where you draw that line is very subjective and not necessarily religious.

So if I choose to negate the existence of god, that's not necessarily a religious view, it's more relevant to common sense. I don't see god anywhere, I see a shitload of contradictory gods everywhere, I mean, sure, it's not particularily rational to just negate the existence of god, but christ, there's a limit. Everyone needs to believe in something, and atheism is the lesser evil, because it's much more flexible. Science assumes a lot of things that may be false, but that's a risk it's willing to take. There are sufficiently few elements, if any, pointing to the existence of a god, to be justified in assuming its non-existence without being considered as religious.

Besides, unlike most religions, which have a shitload of social or scientific implications, atheism is nothing more than a philosophical position.

There are many atheists that defend their views in a very religious manner, and if you're talking about these people, yes, atheism may just be a religion. I don't think it's totally fair, though, because it doesn't apply to all atheists. There are no fixed guidelines like in organized religions that could possibly make atheism one. Sure, there may be religions like, I don't know, scientology? (not sure what these freaks do exactly), which may be atheist, but that's not atheism, that's something else.

This said, I don't consider deism as a religion either.

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Wintermute
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posted 02-13-2004 06:09 PM      Profile for Wintermute   Author's Homepage   Email Wintermute   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Claiming that atheism is or is not a religion is a philosophical arguement.

What is a philosophical argument? (Not picking on spelling, seriously not sure what you mean.)

Treating atheism as a religion from a regulatory standpoint is a consistent way of dealing with it.

Sure, and I acknowledged that in the thread you linked. However, treating tofu as cheese from a culinary standpoint doesn't make it cheese.

The arguement the atheist has is that, because he believes in said diety or force ZERO percent of the time, he is somehow the one special and true and unique set of religious beliefs,

You're a complete, blistering, astonishing fucking idiot. Why don't you just squat over your keyboard the next time you have explosive diarrhea, it would be about as worthwhile. Thanks for saving me the trouble of working through the rest of your post, though, which I had really intended to do. In the last thread I was essentially trolling and typing as fast as I could think, and you still got absolutely nowhere. This time I was looking forward to forcing you to commit suicide by showing you the hyperspace implosion that is your empty fucking skull.

INSERT COIN

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posted 02-13-2004 07:15 PM      Profile for 10,000Lb.Snorlax   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I always thought that religion was a set of beliefs that governs an individuals course of action through their life.

Is this a poor definition? If so why?

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Charmeleon42
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posted 02-13-2004 07:54 PM      Profile for Charmeleon42   Author's Homepage   Email Charmeleon42   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Atheism is a religion because it has a set belief in a supernatural force or deity - that one doesn't exist.

It's as simple as that. It's the same reason that zero is a number - the lack of countinance.

I found a good quote about zero being a number, which applys in the same way with Atheism.

quote:
It's a bit like Monty Python's Cheese Shop. The shop can be a cheese shop despite the utter absence of cheese because it operates in the semantic context of cheese vending. It sells cheese; there simply doesn't happen to be any lying about. A cheese vendor lurks behind the counter, ready to sell the cheese that isn't there, and he is familiar with the many cheeses for sale in the shop, despite their material absence.

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Anthrax
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posted 02-13-2004 08:36 PM      Profile for Anthrax   Author's Homepage   Email Anthrax   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
ATHEISM ISN'T A BELIEF IN SOMETHING ITS THE LACK OF BELIEF

ATHEISM HAS NO FUCKING RITUALS

ATHEISM HAS NO PLACES OF WORSHIP

ATHEISM HAS NO HOLY BOOK

ATHEISM DOESN'T REQUIRE YOU TO HAVE BLIND FAITH IN ANYTHING

ATHEISM ISN'T A RELIGION

- - - - -
She told The Associated Press she first realized her son was mentally ill in 1996 when he killed her oldest child, a 25-year-old woman who suffered from cerebral palsy, by beating her with a dumbbell.

From: Somebody put shit in my pants! | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged
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quote:
Originally posted by Anthrax:
ATHEISM ISN'T A BELIEF IN SOMETHING ITS THE LACK OF BELIEF

Bingo. Unless someone is an atheist because they follow some kinda cult that worships snails, they don't belong to a religion. God, forcing the prospect on an atheist that they belong to a religion is just as bad as telling an atheist they're going to hell for being one. When was the last atheist church you drove by? We don't have atheist communes where we sit around and talk about how much we don't believe in God. It's not a religion, live with it.

- - - - -
What kind of a fuckass fuck of a bumfuck shithole town is this?

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Dweedle
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posted 02-13-2004 09:19 PM      Profile for Dweedle   Email Dweedle   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
if atheism is a religion, I don't believe in it

why?

because I don't believe in believing in religion

- - - - -
the only way to get pass this will be to commit suicune

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Donald
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posted 02-13-2004 10:13 PM      Profile for Donald   Email Donald      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Atheist: "I don't believe in God."
God: "I don't believe in atheists."

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MewtwoSama
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posted 02-13-2004 10:19 PM      Profile for MewtwoSama   Author's Homepage   Email MewtwoSama   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thread needs more
I'm Rick James BITCH!

- - - - -
Hade ni ikuze!

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Twinkle
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I'm an apathetic agnostic - I don't know and I don't care.

- - - - -
Hich loch faauto noxlattoyen.

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FlameBait
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posted 02-14-2004 12:10 AM      Profile for FlameBait   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MewtwoSama:
Thread needs more
I'm Rick James BITCH!



[ 02-14-2004, 12:10 AM: Message edited by: FlameBait ]

- - - - -
"The preceding post may have contained profanity, obscenity, racial slurs, and/or evidence of spamming. By reading this statement, you devoid the right to warn/ban the user based on the above post."

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ceoalex316
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posted 02-14-2004 02:05 AM      Profile for ceoalex316     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
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

Atheism could satisfy number 3.

- - - - -
Maximum Penetration Industries.

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BigCheese
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posted 02-14-2004 03:10 AM      Profile for BigCheese   Email BigCheese   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's as if atheists take offense to having it called a religion.

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I have a nice butt!

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cool daddy
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posted 02-14-2004 04:22 AM      Profile for cool daddy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
i like to think as if religion never existed. so if atheism can even be classified as a religion, i wouldn't have to consider the option of myself being one (atheist) or not. i'd just be a person with no spiritual beliefs or knowledge that one can have a belief in a god and all beliefs included with a religion, like being immune to the idea of religion. the thing with this idea is.. for example with atheism you know that religion exists but you refuse to BELIEVE that a god etc exist. with this idea it can't be a belief because any knowledge of religion is absent. yeah.
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gruco
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posted 02-14-2004 12:05 PM      Profile for gruco        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
ATHEISM HAS NO HOLY BOOK

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

(Yes, that is a joke. No, I don't expect anyone to get it.)

ATHEISM DOESN'T REQUIRE YOU TO HAVE BLIND FAITH IN ANYTHING

Okay, this one I strongly disagree with. Arguments out of uncertainly work in both directions, so if it requires a leap of faith to believe in the existence of god, it requires on just as large to explicitly reject its existence.

'Mute made a good post about strong form/weak form atheism/agnosticism a while back, so depending on how people define the terms, there could be room for argument. But the basic (paraphrased) definitions I've always been familiar with are:

Atheism - the belief in the nonexistence of god (or the belief that god does not exist).

Agnosticism - the state of ignorance regarding whether god does or does not exist.

Using these, I'd say atheism is a religion and agnosticism is not.

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SDShamshel
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posted 02-14-2004 12:32 PM      Profile for SDShamshel   Email SDShamshel   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MewtwoSama:
Thread needs more
I'm Rick James BITCH!

*SLAP*
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Anthrax
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posted 02-14-2004 01:21 PM      Profile for Anthrax   Author's Homepage   Email Anthrax   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by gruco:

Okay, this one I strongly disagree with. Arguments out of uncertainly work in both directions, so if it requires a leap of faith to believe in the existence of god, it requires on just as large to explicitly reject its existence.

If a child is raised without knowing about religion or gods or anything and just took the world at face value he wouldn't have to "believe" in gods not existing. He would have no reason to just one day think "hey some magic man up in the sky made all this." He'd have no "faith" in the laws of science.

There is no evidence of god's existence, therefore one does not need faith to not believe in god. There's more evidence to show that Bigfoot exists than God exists. I don't need faith to not believe in Bigfoot.

- - - - -
She told The Associated Press she first realized her son was mentally ill in 1996 when he killed her oldest child, a 25-year-old woman who suffered from cerebral palsy, by beating her with a dumbbell.

From: Somebody put shit in my pants! | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged
ceoalex316
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posted 02-14-2004 02:27 PM      Profile for ceoalex316     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Anthrax:
There is no evidence of god's existence, therefore one does not need faith to not believe in god. There's more evidence to show that Bigfoot exists than God exists. I don't need faith to not believe in Bigfoot.

[Trash Bear] Excellent. [Trash Bear]
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posted 02-14-2004 02:37 PM      Profile for Slade_64   Email Slade_64   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ceoalex316:
quote:
Originally posted by Anthrax:
There is no evidence of god's existence, therefore one does not need faith to not believe in god. There's more evidence to show that Bigfoot exists than God exists. I don't need faith to not believe in Bigfoot.

[Trash Bear] Excellent. [Trash Bear]
How is circular logic excellent?

- - - - -
Bucket.

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Windex
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posted 02-14-2004 02:41 PM      Profile for Windex   Email Windex   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ceoalex316:
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.

...

Atheism could satisfy number 3.

Although I'm sure beliefs, values and practices could be argued either way with a varying degree of success, I'd like to know what constitutes a spiritual leader in atheism.
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Wintermute
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posted 02-14-2004 02:47 PM      Profile for Wintermute   Author's Homepage   Email Wintermute   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Now, obviously atheism isn't a religion in the traditional sense of people sitting around and praying, but, again, in the sense that it is a set of beliefs about god(s), it counts.

I can't resist. More specifically, it is irresistable to me both to publicly humilate you, and also to try to set you straight.

1a from your "crap definition" does not say "Belief ABOUT a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe." It says belief IN and REVERENCE FOR.

Meditate on that a moment, would you? If it said, "belief about," then yeah, we'd perhaps be closer to the colour situation you talk about. You can believe that there IS one (a god), or believe that there ISN'T one, and that's all belief ABOUT. Too fucking bad that that's NOT THE DEFINITION OF RELIGION. That definition is specifically saying, NOT JUST ANY LEVEL OF BELIEF QUALIFIES, THANK YOU ATHEISTS BUT YOU NEED TO GET IN THE OTHER LINE.

Now, is it useful and consistent to treat atheism as a religion from a regulatory or organizational point of view? Perhaps sometimes. Do atheists take things on faith, just as theists do? Yes, sure. We all do, but as I said in the other thread, that's not the definition of religion, and for good reason. Are atheists sometimes passionate and preachy about their world view, in a manner reminiscent of religious people? Sure. But there's still a reason why we reserve this word, "religion" for different circumstances.

So what's the big deal? Well, consider why cfalcon kept banging on this note over and over in the previous thread, like a retard who prefers the broken key on a piano. He's trying to say, "you atheists are so preachy, but you're no better. you have a religion just like the rest of us."

Okay, NO. The whole fucking point of being an atheist is that you DON'T believe in and revere a supernatural power who created the universe. There are no good arguments that such a thing exists. There's no good evidence that such a thing exists. Many assertions of such things are not even falsifiable. And WORSE, many of them ARE, and HAVE BEEN FALISIFIED. It's these last few things that sting the religious types, and make atheists seem superior and preachy. But atheists are simply saying, you know, these standards of knowledge are important. Humans should abide by them, when we can, because it appears to be the most effective way of dealing with the world around us.

That last bit is a pretty big fucking question. And atheists might very well be wrong about it. But even if they were, it wouldn't mean that atheism is a religion.

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Wintermute
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posted 02-14-2004 02:51 PM      Profile for Wintermute   Author's Homepage   Email Wintermute   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
p.s. Acknowledged that several others have successfully made the same point, and more briefly. But things need to be really spelled out for cockflakkin sometimes. Also I needed to get in some venomous belittling.

thnx

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Fluorine
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posted 02-14-2004 02:54 PM      Profile for Fluorine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Anthrax:
There is no evidence of god's existence, therefore one does not need faith to not believe in god. There's more evidence to show that Bigfoot exists than God exists. I don't need faith to not believe in Bigfoot.

This applies to agnosticism as well as to atheism though.

Neither agnostics nor atheists believe in god. The difference is that atheists actively believe in the non-existence of god. You can believe in A and not believe in /A (theism), believe in /A and not believe in A (atheism), or not believe in either (agnosticism). If you are drunk enough, you can also choose to believe in both A and /A (alcoolism)

quote:
windex Although I'm sure beliefs, values and practices could be argued either way with a varying degree of success, I'd like to know what constitutes a spiritual leader in atheism.
Karl Marx? [Frown]
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BigCheese
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posted 02-14-2004 03:14 PM      Profile for BigCheese   Email BigCheese   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Anthrax:
If a child is raised without knowing about religion or gods or anything and just took the world at face value he wouldn't have to "believe" in gods not existing. He would have no reason to just one day think "hey some magic man up in the sky made all this." He'd have no "faith" in the laws of science.

Yes, true, then he wouldn't have a religion because he'd have no idea what God was, he wouldn't even think about it. But atheists now acknowledge that they don't believe in God, hense they know what one is. And you reject that believe.

IMO anyways I believe that if you were truely atheist, you wouldn't even state "I don't believe in God." It's just something you'd do because nobody told you there was a God.

I really like the zero metaphor too. Zero is the abscene of something, but it's still classified as a number.

- - - - -
I have a nice butt!

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Mentar the Malady Monkey
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posted 02-14-2004 04:42 PM      Profile for Mentar the Malady Monkey   Email Mentar the Malady Monkey   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
windex: Although I'm sure beliefs, values and practices could be argued either way with a varying degree of success, I'd like to know what constitutes a spiritual leader in atheism.

I usually tell my friends Darwin is like the atheist Jesus, so that I can swear on his name and everyone will know I'm not bullshitting them.

Anthrax: If a child is raised without knowing about religion or gods or anything and just took the world at face value he wouldn't have to "believe" in gods not existing. He would have no reason to just one day think "hey some magic man up in the sky made all this."

He wouldn't have a reason to do so, but kids have an incredible propensity to invent mystical explanations for the world around them. It's almost as though, lacking explanations for the way the world is, they invent one - that whole "nature abhors a vacuum" thing. I know when I was a kid, before I knew too much about science fiction or religion, I had a whole cosmology worked out - mirrors were the gateway to an alternate world where your mind went when you dreamed, the moon was more powerful than the sun could ever be because it produced tides, the sky was a canopy made of water, etc.

It wasn't the same as a belief in gOD (which my parents later taught me), but for all the sheer irrationality involved in it, it might as well have been.)

In any case, I think it takes more mental conditioning and discipline to take the world for what it is and abandon this sort of conditioning we get in our youth - whether we arrive at it ourselves or it's taught to us by religious people.

And I'm pretty sure atheism isn't the dogmatic "THERE IS NO GOD" state a lot of you make it out to be. To me, it's more of a "lack of proof equals proof of lack" sort of thing. Not so much a "there is no god you fucking faggots" statement, as it is a "there is no proof of god so stop wasting time believing in one you goddamned apeshit skullfucking faggots". Agnosticism would be just a bit more open-minded in that assertion.

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WHAT.

From: Pandemonium, HL, Hades | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged
BigCheese
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^^ very true, but the lack of proof causes them to say "there is no God" regardless if they say "because of lack of proof" or whatever, they still believe the same thing. So we're on the same page, so I dunno why the hell I bothered to post this anyways. LOOK AT ME!!! [That Guy]

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I have a nice butt!

From: The land of milk and honey...and cheese | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged
Atma
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posted 02-14-2004 06:30 PM      Profile for Atma   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
When you get to "people who mock those who obsess over religion", put me in that category.

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"My name is Atma...
I am pure energy... and as ancient as the cosmos.
Forgotten in the river of time...
I've had an eternity to ponder the meaning of things...
And now I have an answer..."

From: Cinnabar Isle, Long Island, NY | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged
gruco
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Mentok: And I'm pretty sure atheism isn't the dogmatic "THERE IS NO GOD" state a lot of you make it out to be.

From the old thread...

quote:
Weak agnosticism: You don't know whether there's a god.
Strong agnosticism: You think it's impossible to know whether there's a god.
Weak atheism: You don't believe that god exists.
Strong atheism: You believe that god doesn't exist.

So, re: the whole do atheists take things on faith issue, I'd say strong form absolutely, weak form not necessarily.

Mute: Do atheists take things on faith, just as theists do? Yes, sure. We all do, but as I said in the other thread, that's not the definition of religion, and for good reason.

I'm still not sure that we've reached any kind of agreeable definition though. Going by the dictionary, entry 4 seems to be a reasonable fit. But, since meaning is determined by usage, there are a number of ways to look at it. Actually, given both that, and this

Now, is it useful and consistent to treat atheism as a religion from a regulatory or organizational point of view? Perhaps sometimes.

I don't see why classifying atheism a religion has has to be such a bad thing. Couldn't it be argued that it depends on the speaker's context?

Also, since I'm finding the black/color and zero/number arguments very pursuasive, I'd be interested to see anyone refute them.

From: Clock Town | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
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posted 02-14-2004 11:54 PM      Profile for Wintermute   Author's Homepage   Email Wintermute   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Allow me further attack these number and colour analogies that appear to be favoured by select morons, and gruco.

First of all, arguments by analogy are dangerous and weak. Their force depends on the similarity of the things compared. You'll allow that religion is not very much like colours or numbers. What they have in common appears to be that all three have degrees of freedom. There is a range, or dimension involved. But how is it involved in each?

I've already made the point that religion is not a spectrum. It is not a dimension such as quantity. 1a does not say, "THE DEGREE OF belief in and reverence for a supernatural power..." The way we use the term, "religion," it is more like a name for being at or around a certain value along along such a spectrum. Yes, not everyone who would claim to have a religion has the same degree of belief, however you might quantify such a thing. But some degrees are simply out of the range that we call religion. If we must use an analogy, I suggest thinking of religion not as equivalent to our use of "the EM spectrum," but more equivalent to our use of "ultraviolet." You don't look at infrared light and say, "well, this is just another kind of ultraviolet. I mean, you can show intermediate degrees of wavelength between them, right? so really it's all ultraviolet." Don't be stupid.

Or, consider a lightswitch with a dimmer. This too involves degrees of freedom, in brightness. But we name two special states for it: on and off. When it is off, is it appropriate to say, "well, it's still ON. it's just a level of ON, like say, 100 lumens, and no more special?" This would be just as stupid as calling infrared ultraviolet.

grukes: Going by the dictionary, entry 4 seems to be a reasonable fit.

Entry 4 reads: "A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion." Atheism simply means that you don't believe that god exists. That's not a cause or an activity. You might use "principle" here, though clumsily, but nothing about atheism entails zeal or conscientious devotion. And tread very carefully here. cfalcon actually hit on why it doesn't matter even if it does fit. This is a meaning of the term religion that, in common usage, is clearly separate from the other meanings in which I think we're all most interested. To say that a man pursues his nonbelief in god with zeal does not entail that he believes in a supernatural power. To assert that a man has religion for this reason, and to argue that not believing in god is therefore a religion in the same sense that Christianity is a religion, is a baldfaced example of the fallacy of equivocation.

It would be the same as looking at the Metallica guy and saying, oh, so Metallica is a religion just as much as Christianity and Judaism are.

For laughs I hit Google, and instantly returned this page. One guy presents a few arguments that atheism is religion, with only some overlap to cflaccid's stuff. Another guy just shreds them.

From: Winnipeg, Manitoba | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
gruco
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I'll try to refrain from elaborating on the analogies too much, since it would just get cumbersome for each side to continually amend them. Um...actually, your explanations there just left me really fucking confused, since I didn't think "intermediate degrees of freedom" or whatever was a factor to begin with. It's just a matter of what we decide the relevant range is.

Actually, let's just do this:

1) Strong form atheism requires a leap of faith.

2) Weak form atheism and agnosticism do not.

3) If "belief in the supernatural" is the definition of religion (this seems to be the one you're sticking with), then atheism is not a religion.

4) "Belief in the supernatural" while a common, perhaps most common use of the term, does not adequately apply to the use of the term religion in every situation.

5) Buddhism and Confucism and other stuff are often called or calssified as religions.

6) I need to learn more about them before I draw any conclusions on that.

7) Depending on the context, a speaker may use the word religion to mean, "Specific faith based belief about god", "Faith based belief/value system," or...uh...something similar.

8) It would be reasonable to call strong form atheism a religion in such a sense.

9) It may or may not be wildly irresponsible to use religion in this sense (this is the point I'm most concerned with I guess).

10) Using a very broad definition does not necessarily mean equivocation.

11) I really hate the Yankees.

Don't be stupid

Better to be stupid now and learn then etc.

From: Clock Town | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
cfalcon
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Though I'll do a real post later, I just want to say that the color analogy is not so easily dismissed.

Wintermute, if someone asks you what your religion is, do you say "I don't have one" or do you answer "I'm an atheist"?

Everyone reading this knows that the second answer specifically answers their question, whereas the first doesn't (Have you never heard of religion? Did you reject it? Was it all to confusing? Are there so many that you haven't picked your favorite yet? Etc).

What if I claimed to believe in all religions at the same time? In that case, I wouldn't have "a religion" either, would I? Granted, I would have a serious case of confusion, but the first answer doesn't rule this out either.

The second answer is unmistakable.

Just like if someone asks me what color my Z is, I don't answer "It doesn't have one." If I did, you could assume that it is transparent (Never heard of religion. What's that again?), white (I just sort of believe them all equally... man....), or black (atheism). Hell, I could answer gray, but the analogy there (I kind of believe all of them) is pretty fucked up too.

If I said Red, that would solve things easily. Red is a color. Christianity is a religion.

I think the statement that "atheism is not a religion" is logically similar to "black is not a color", because both deal with whether the *absence* of a thing counts as a *type* of that thing.

This is what I meant by a philosophical argument (sp?) earlier- questions like "If I have no nothing in my hand, do I therefore hold something? If not, how much nothing is in my hand right now? If so, what is the something? Is the something nothing?"

Your big arguement is that our definition of religon involves more than belief in god(s) and such. I argued that that was a crap definition, and you ignored my arguement. If someone believes that the leaves are a manifestation of a great spirit that breathes life into us, you know full fucking well that that is a religion, even though it doesn't qualify by the BS definition we're running with.

Additionally, why the fuck would you need the "teachings of a spiritual leader?" Why couldn't you just be following spiritual teaching written by a bunch of guys over the years? Do Hindus not count now or something, unless they worship whatever multiarmed elephant headed dude is their creator thingy? According to the dictionary definition, satanism isn't a religion. Doesn't it sound like one, though?

You know that a reasonable definition of religion would be something like "Belief in another level of reality not easily (or possibly) observed from our own, belief in one or more dieties, spirits, angels, demons, devils, raksasha....". Basically like superstition with a little added to it.

... And gruco, don't be persuaded just because Toby can sound like a very clever giant asshole when writing a response.

One more thing Wintermute: though you argue for atheism being treated like religion from a regulatory standpoint, your position in the more recent first amendment thread seems to me to run counter to that- because if atheism *were* treated like a religion, then overt displays of atheism should be banned in schools. According to Fearless Kleader, atheists in the national cemetary get an atom on their gravestone to represent their religion (not a blank space- cheap shot). Since an "overt display" is subjective, then they could rule that, oh, well, you know, no representations of atoms allowed on school grounds...

So clearly you *don't* want atheism treated like a religion from a regulatory standpoint. That was the reason I launched this thread.

From: 39°45' N, 104°52' W | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
cfalcon
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Additionally, I agree that (4) doesn't include atheists. Though many atheist pursue their belief with fervor, that doesn't make it a religion by the definition that we're looking for.

It's like saying that Linus Torvald's religion is Linux- it's actually another definition of religion, one that means closer to "passionate drive" or somesuch.

From: 39°45' N, 104°52' W | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
New Guy
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Neither agnostics nor atheists believe in god. The difference is that atheists actively believe in the non-existence of god.

If this is true, then I have an infinite number of beliefs since I activly beleive in the non-existence of a Jaberwok in my clost, in my chair, in one of my blood cells, up that tree, etc.

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@!!**... I forgot my chain saw!-Satan

From: Georgia | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged
Slade_64
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posted 02-15-2004 03:22 AM      Profile for Slade_64   Email Slade_64   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Who the hell deleted my post?

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Bucket.

From: Funky Town Texas | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged
cfalcon
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posted 02-15-2004 03:30 AM      Profile for cfalcon   Email cfalcon   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I the hell deleted your post.
The most relevant part of it was when you insulted me, so I figured the world wouldn't miss the post that had nothing to do with the topic ("faith can't be proven that's why it's faith").

From: 39°45' N, 104°52' W | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Slade_64
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posted 02-15-2004 03:40 AM      Profile for Slade_64   Email Slade_64   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Don't delete something just because you have the power to. I'm surprised you havn't used this tactic in your other arguments, deleting one's post when it doesn't fit your liking. I'm not the only person who insulted you here or in any other thread so don't act like a fag and single me out.

I can make whatever the hell statement I want to make; this is karp park afterall. So don't censor me for no good reason to how you see fit if your not going to do so with everyone else; unless you want to be a hypocrite.

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Bucket.

From: Funky Town Texas | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged
cfalcon
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posted 02-15-2004 03:57 AM      Profile for cfalcon   Email cfalcon   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You walked in and said "Hey, faith doesn't rely on proof."

Thank you. Also the sky is blue.

I don't kill off the opposing viewpoint because that's relevant to the discussion, and it wouldn't be a discussion in that case, just one guy bellowing. Hell, I didn't even disagree with your point (in fact, I've actually posted that, in the relevant discussion): it was just utterly misplaced.

I'm not the only person who insulted you here

But the other posts all had something to fucking DO WITH THE TOPIC.

Edit: This conversation continues in another thread. Discussion related to atheism and Wintermute goes here.

[ 02-15-2004, 04:17 AM: Message edited by: cfalcon ]

From: 39°45' N, 104°52' W | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Random Loser
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One of the links 'mute provided had a slightly more detailed definition of religion, as pertaining to this discussion, apparently from the Encyclopedia Of Philosophy. Not sure if anyone bothered to read it, so I'll put it here. Basically, these are 9 markers of religion, and the more of them fit the bill, the 'more religious' a religion is:

1. Belief in supernatural beings (gods).
2. A distinction between sacred and profane objects.
3. Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.
4. A moral code believed to be sanctioned by the gods.
5. Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual, and which are connected in idea with the gods.
6. Prayer and other forms of communication with gods.
7. A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein. This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it.
8. A more or less total organization of one's life based on the world view.
9. A social group bound together by the above.

That seems to both fit the common usage of religion, and expand on the ambiguities (vagueries? if it's not a word, it should be...) of the straight dictionary definitions. Looking at it, all the religions I can think of fit, while atheism falls outside. Actually, the entire page he linked to (the last link he listed, I believe) was quite good, and I'd suggest anyone that skipped it go back. So yeah, I'd have to sit at the 'not-religion' side of the table on this one.

From: Uni of Virginny | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
cfalcon
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posted 02-15-2004 06:12 AM      Profile for cfalcon   Email cfalcon   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ok, that at least sounds like a plausible definition of religion. One of the websites Toby linked to was one of the ones where they have to deal with the fundamentalists arguing that atheism is a religion- but not in the way I'm arguing it. Those guys are argueing that it qualifies because it meets all the requirements of a religion- it has a game plan, it teaches philosophy, it has spiritual leaders, etc. These guys are wrong because they are referring to one specific kind of atheism. A man who says "There is no God" and leaves it at that is an atheist, even though he can live in any society at any time in history (though he may have to keep his belief secret at some points in time and places). While this is hypothetically true of the man who says "Jesus Christ is Lord.", in practice that's a different ballgame, because it isn't as if Christianity started independently in multiple places (this is one of the many arguements in favor of atheism being more plausible- it's the only belief system you can find *everywhere*, though it's usually really rare). In other words, no Christians were found when Europe met Japan, but atheists were. And those atheists didn't have a worldview that was consistent with other atheists.

Anyway, the page was mostly an atheist with a brain tearing into a bunch of Christians who see the secular humanist movement and see a lot of parrallels between it and themselves, in terms of belief and occasionally fanaticism, so they call it something that isn't really accurate- they call it a religion in the classical sense. They aren't calling it black: they're saying that they are red and the atheist are blue.

That's a different arguement than mine, and we're saying different things.

The other real point that no one (unless I missed it) has talked about in my original post was the exclusivity of atheism. If you are an atheist you cannot be a Muslim. It's just not possible. This makes it effectively a religion (and not a type of fruit) because you can have atheism and an apple, but you can't have atheism and Christianity.

Atheism wasn't always looked at as if it were a religion. In America, this was a good thing when it occurred, because suddenly you couldn't treat atheists like second class citizens (at least, not on the books).

Why can't you make all the kids pray to Jesus each day in school?

Generally, you have to be hurting someone for this to occur. Who are you hurting?
Well, not the Christians, obviously.

You are hurting the Muslims and the Jews, who don't believe in Jesus as Lord. If there was no injured party, it could never go to trial. Slander might be illegal, but you can slander the martians all you want: until they take you to court, it's ok.

So if atheism isn't a religion, then forcing them to say "I believe in the supernatural, be it God, spirits, or something." is A-OK, because, hey, nobody is being hurt. After all, we aren't interfering with the free exercise of religion, because atheism isn't a religion. And we aren't making a law concerning religion, because our oath is acceptable to all the religions!

I'm pretty sure Toby agrees that this is a good idea, now that he has pointed out that he thinks you should treat atheism like a relgion (just like we treat black as a color even though it is by definition the lack of color).

But if that's the case, then were did the commens in the first amendment thread come from?

From: 39°45' N, 104°52' W | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
ceoalex316
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posted 02-15-2004 11:55 AM      Profile for ceoalex316     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by cfalcon:
If I said Red, that would solve things easily. Red is a color. Christianity is a religion.

[Roll Eyes] I thought this was flawless logic. [Roll Eyes]

I have to actually read your whole post before I reply.

First off, black people are really dark brown. It is just easier to say white. Which is why we don’t call white people peach or something.

Second, you just gone from using the word religion to misusing the word atheism. Stop it, now.

Third, religion in school upsets the constitution as you pointed out in another thread.

And finally, if atheism is a religion and US is a secular nation, should the disbelief off god be banded from public schools? Since it is the only requirement for being an achiest

[ 02-15-2004, 12:15 PM: Message edited by: ceoalex316 ]

From: NYC | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged
Wintermute
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posted 02-15-2004 01:30 PM      Profile for Wintermute   Author's Homepage   Email Wintermute   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
if someone asks you what your religion is, do you say "I don't have one" or do you answer "I'm an atheist"? Everyone reading this knows that the second answer specifically answers their question, whereas the first doesn't

I totally disagree. Listing plausible follow-up questions to the 1st answer doesn't mean that it's not a complete answer. I can list follow-up questions to the 2nd answer, if you like. More importantly, you're just taking your same tired argument and putting new paint on it. The person asking the question is using the term poorly. A better first question would be "are you religious?", and I have heard this question many times. I have truthfully never had someone come up and ask me, "what is your religion?" This is because most well-formed english-speaking adults know that some people do not have a religion.

I think the statement that "atheism is not a religion" is logically similar to "black is not a color", because both deal with whether the *absence* of a thing counts as a *type* of that thing.

Sure. And by convention, the overwhelming majority of people regard black as a colour. That is why dictionary definitions of colour include definientia apart from those from optical physics. Some people regard atheism as a religion, I have never disputed. There's you, Char42, and that fucktard from the about.com letter. Maybe one day so many people will say that atheism is a religion that a definiens will need to be added. But as we use the term now, it's not only wrong but in my opinion embarassingly stupid for an atheist to say, "yes, I have religion." Notice that he is saying, "yes, I have belief in and reverence for a supernatural power that I regard as creator and governor of the universe." NOW let's talk about funny follow-up questions - "Oh, you don't say. So tell me about your specific religion."

"Glad you asked. You see, the SUM TOTAL OF MY RELIGION IS THAT I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT GOD EXISTS."

Mm-hmm.

Your big arguement is that our definition of religon involves more than belief in god(s) and such.

No, it is not. You're drifting close to the point of being not worth replying to.

I argued that that was a crap definition, and you ignored my arguement.

Because I thought that whole passage was moronic. You stated that it was a crap definition. Was there an argument there? Outline its structure for me, and particularly, show why the proposed imperfections entail that the definition is also wrong to exclude atheism (hint: irrelevant). In any case, dictionary definitions are never perfect, both for trying to hit a moving, amorphous target, and because, to quote a great poem, a thought spoken is a lie. Deal with it.

The passage was further comical because you brought in the definition, tried to fuck around with it, got nowhere relevant and knew it, and then said, "well, whatever, this definition is crap."

you argue for atheism being treated like religion from a regulatory standpoint

No, I do not. Talk about another level of reality...

From: Winnipeg, Manitoba | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Wintermute
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posted 02-15-2004 01:31 PM      Profile for Wintermute   Author's Homepage   Email Wintermute   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The other real point that no one (unless I missed it) has talked about in my original post was the exclusivity of atheism. If you are an atheist you cannot be a Muslim. It's just not possible. This makes it effectively a religion (and not a type of fruit) because you can have atheism and an apple, but you can't have atheism and Christianity.

You have just argued that an exacto knife is a vegetable. I mean, if you are an exacto knife, you cannot be a carrot. This makes it effectively a vegetable.

From: Winnipeg, Manitoba | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
cfalcon
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Treating atheism as a religion from a regulatory standpoint is a consistent way of dealing with it.

Sure, and I acknowledged that in the thread you linked. However, treating tofu as cheese from a culinary standpoint doesn't make it cheese.

you argue for atheism being treated like religion from a regulatory standpoint

No, I do not. Talk about another level of reality...


Then I mistook your earlier statement.

Your big arguement is that our definition of religon involves more than belief in god(s) and such.

No, it is not. You're drifting close to the point of being not worth replying to.


Ok, but if this arguement (your support of the dictionary definition) went away, you couldn't immediately point to it and say "see, atheism doesn't qualify"

Because I thought that whole passage was moronic. You stated that it was a crap definition. Was there an argument there?

1- I listed the definition.
2- I listed things that we can both agree are religions that did not fit the definition.
3- I repeated 2 a couple times later in another post.
4- I came to the conculsion that the definition, as given, was crappy, as it doesn't deal correctly with situations where we already know the outcome.

How in the world is this wrestling with a problem and getting nowhere?

You have just argued that an exacto knife is a vegetable. I mean, if you are an exacto knife, you cannot be a carrot. This makes it effectively a vegetable.

This is a hierarchial trick. Exacto knife is a subclass of knife, pointy object, metal object, bladed object, brand named object, artsycraftsy object, "things that you can carve your flesh with", nonorganic object, nonhuman object, nonliving object....

Carrot is a subclass of vegetable, living object, nonhuman object, orange object, objects that contain vitamin A, object that fits in a breadbox...

The reason that a carrot cannot be an exacto knife is much higher up the hierarchy than you imply, and it fulfills multiple requirements that do make sense. For instance, if the box said "What is your primary material?" And the carrot marked "Organic matter" and the knife marked "Metal", you would have a similar situation. If space itself came along and wrote in "Immaterial", then we would have a situation comperable to the atheist one.

So clearly I should have said:

-Atheism is treated as a religion because it *replaces* any given religion: you cannot have atheism *AND* that religion as beliefs.
(This exclusivity is, technically shared by religions)

-Atheism is treated as a religion because it *replaces* no other attributes, and works as if it is on the same hierarchial level of things as religion: You *can* have atheism and be a teacher.

You could argue that being an atheist does not preclude you from being a refrigerator, but being Christian does, but you are again resorting to an odd zero case- a refrigerator doesn't have thoughts, so not having thoughts on God at all shouldn't really make it an atheist, or even really a weak agnostic.

I'm not sure if this is a more general statement or not:

-Atheism is treated as a religion because it *has no effect* on any definable attribute that religion does not also effect.

-Atheism is treated as a religion because it *has effect* on any defineable attribute that religion effects.

In other words, they fill in the same blanks as each other, and leave the same blanks empty.

[ 02-15-2004, 03:19 PM: Message edited by: cfalcon ]

From: 39°45' N, 104°52' W | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
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posted 02-15-2004 06:19 PM      Profile for Random Loser   Email Random Loser   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by cfalcon:
So if atheism isn't a religion, then forcing them to say "I believe in the supernatural, be it God, spirits, or something." is A-OK, because, hey, nobody is being hurt. After all, we aren't interfering with the free exercise of religion, because atheism isn't a religion. And we aren't making a law concerning religion, because our oath is acceptable to all the religions!

I could be wrong in my interpretation, but I'd say that 'free exercise of religion' includes the right not to practice it at all, atheism. You are hurting them by forcing them to have religion, not by making them violate theirs.
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posted 02-15-2004 06:26 PM      Profile for cfalcon   Email cfalcon   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Right, but if you argue that "free exercise of religion" includes the right not to have religion, you are treating the lack of religion as if it WERE religion, thus going right back to my point.

You are hurting them by forcing them to have religion, not by making them violate theirs.

This sounds good...
Hm...

But couldn't you interpret that just as effectively as "you aren't hurting them, because they don't have a religion to be violated?"

I don't think, in America, you can get away with protecting the rights of atheists without treating atheism as if it were a religion.

But maybe something you're saying just isn't clicking in my head for some reason.

From: 39°45' N, 104°52' W | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged


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