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New Atheism is religion


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This might not fit into the evolution thread, but I had no where to put it.

 

I recently picked up a book called "I don't believe in atheists" bu Chris Hedges

In it he makes some very crazy claims.

 

"is a critique of what Hedges perceives as a radical mindset that rages against religion and faith. Hedges states the book was motivated by debates he had with atheist authors Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens whom Hedges feels excessively demonize religion, particularly Islam, in ways that Hedges believed were eerily similar to the thinking of Christian fundamentalists."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hedges#I_Don.27t_Believe_in_Atheists_.282008.29

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Buddhism is considered a religion, but it is not centered on god. It is more about the individual overcoming the limitations of the body and the world. If Buddha was around today, since he doesn't teach about god, he would be called an atheism. It is a religion too.

 

One thing that is never discussed, is the irrational atheist. Being an atheist does not mean one is automatically rational. The only requirement is to deny god and deny being a religion. Atheism also defines itself as the opposite of religion, so it assume it can't be a religion since it is opposite of religion. But if we add the irrational atheist to the blend, this sales pitch appears to work but will be defended like a religion.

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So, not believing in Poseidon is a religion? Interesting stance.

Same for not believing in Zeus? Strange, indeed.

I suppose also not believing in unicorns, the easter bunny, or leprechauns is a religion, too? Wild. Who'da thunk it?

 

 

In case my point above is unclear, I've expressed a response to this suggestion (atheism is a religion) in another thread recently. It seems appropriate to share it again here:

 

 

Atheism is not a religion. It is not an ideology. It is not a worldview or source of beliefs any more than a lack of belief in Thor, lack of belief in unicorns, or lack of belief in the easter bunny is a religion, worldview, or source of beliefs. Atheism is merely the absence of theism. That's it. Beyond lack of belief in god(s), one cannot accurately infer anything whatsoever or garner any relevant information about a person based on the label atheism alone.

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Atheism is no more a religion than theism. These are very broad categories. Some specific flavors of atheism, such as these are considered religions. As for this New Atheism thing, I think it would depend on how you define religion. Wikipedia sayeth:

A religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

(this is sourced to here)

 

This would make strong atheism a religion, since it is a set of beliefs (that there is no god) about the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe (naturally caused, following natural laws, and with no inherent purpose). As for weak atheism (agnostic atheism), they simply lack a belief in gods, but they do tend to have the same beliefs as strong atheists in regards to the other aspects I mentioned.

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I don't know. Asserting that there are no gods doesn't really say anything positive about the cause, nature, or purpose of the universe. It just excludes a certain set of possible causes, natures, or purposes. And it definitely doesn't include supernatural agencies, ritual observances, or moral codes. (Though it doesn't necessarily exclude any of those things.)

 

At most, you could say that "naturalism" says something about the nature of the universe, i.e. that it obeys consistent natural laws at all times. It doesn't fit any other part of that definition.

 

The "new atheism" as opposed to regular old atheism, on the other hand, doesn't really say anything about the universe. It just says something about religion, namely that it is inherently irrational and destructive and should not be respected. From what I gather, they're not saying "there is no god," they're saying "it is irrational to think there is a god," which is not the same thing.

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....whom Hedges feels excessively demonize religion, particularly Islam, in ways that Hedges believed were eerily similar to the thinking of Christian fundamentalists."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hedges#I_Don.27t_Believe_in_Atheists_.282008.29

I didn't see any books get torched, or war in the name of atheism, or an official book to convert flocks with, nor do I see them automatically qualify for religious tax exemptions, or having a mytholgical being and/or spiritual teacher as a central leader, or federally recognized holidays devoted to personal mythologies, or legendary/ancient scriptures of mysterious origin that's written by a divine or spiritual author.

 

Let's face it, what you're calling a religion is a struggle against the practice of excessive unquestioning by society against religious leaders or dogma. Sure, a few atheists might go overboard because they're cynical of the religions leaders' ability (or desire) to ever reform that massive corruption. And I don't blame them for such cynicism, really.

 

Even if they're kind of misguided for it.

 

And yet I strongly believe in God, so you might ponder why I'd stick up so much for atheists. Not only that, but it'd sadden me to witness a great or lifetime atheist becoming converted to a religion, just as it saddens me when a devout person loses faith. Go think about it for a long while.

 

 

One thing that is never discussed, is the irrational atheist. Being an atheist does not mean one is automatically rational. The only requirement is to deny god and deny being a religion. Atheism also defines itself as the opposite of religion, so it assume it can't be a religion since it is opposite of religion. But if we add the irrational atheist to the blend, this sales pitch appears to work but will be defended like a religion.

So then, define for us: what's an irrational atheist? Define a few qualities making them so irrational.

 

Now...you could simply be meaning irrational people, but there are lots of irrational people in the world, and their being irrational's not exactly a religion. It's not even a belief, but more like a feeling or impulse. So you must be referring to something else.

 

 

Atheism is no more a religion than theism. These are very broad categories. Some specific flavors of atheism, such as these are considered religions.

Pagans? Well mabe technically, but really...how many self-described atheists you know call themselves pagan or even believe in such?

 

Atheists lacking totally in faith should probably just make up another term, like "dispiritual".

 

A religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

(this is sourced to here)

 

This would make strong atheism a religion, since it is a set of beliefs (that there is no god) about the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe (naturally caused, following natural laws, and with no inherent purpose).

Not excatly. If you don't think about the purpose of something -- because you just don't think one exists -- it's not the same as being concerned with its purpose.

 

By your reasoning, too, what's to stop ID proponents from mandating no science in classrooms as it's a form of religion -- especially concerning the scientific "theories"?

 

Although, for the legal aspects of identifying a religion, it matters what law defines it as, not Wikipedia. :P

Edited by The Bear's Key
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Although, for the legal aspects of identifying a religion, it matters what law defines it as, not Wikipedia. :P

 

And how is religion defined in the law?


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged

Hm, I found this: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Religion

The Supreme Court has interpreted religion to mean a sincere and meaningful belief that occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to the place held by God in the lives of other persons. The religion or religious concept need not include belief in the existence of God or a supreme being to be within the scope of the First Amendment.

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Without having read the book (just the Wiki), I do see what he might be getting at.

 

Just as a religion has moderates, who quite happily accept that another doesn't share their beliefs and radicals who just can't stand the idea that others don't share their beliefs, so does Atheism.

 

There are moderate atheists who are quite happy with the beliefs of others, so long as they don't impinge on their rights. (Religious laws and that sort of thing) There are also what I call "Evangelical" Atheists.

 

Like an evangelical preacher, they just can't accept that others don't believe the same as they do and will take every opportunity to try to either "convert" or ridicule and demonise those who disagree. It's like they have a Non God given mission to convert others to a non belief. The mere existence of those who believe differently is an affront to their ideas and beliefs.

 

It might not be a religion, but some members of the atheist community sure act like it is one. There are things you must believe or be cast out. Often there are perhaps "Saints" who's word is ultimate truth. (Or at least close to it) There is a "mission" to defeat the opposition and convert the uneducated heathen.

 

So, by the general definition of "Religion", atheism is not one. But by the practical test of "If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...." then sometimes, for some people, then yes, it is a religion.

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