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Can atheists be religious?

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Atheists are fond of saying that atheism is no more a religion that baldness is a hair color. But, this isn't exactly true. Strictly speaking atheism is the absence of belief in deities, not the total absence of religion. While most atheists are secular, couldn't one be religious if they're religion doesn't have any deities?

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Buddhists don't believe in god(s), but they are religious.

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Depending on one's idea of deity, it's possible that most of the religious people throughout history have been atheistic - among Buddhists and Taoists , the animist spiritualities of northern Asia and Africa, the "deep myth" ancestor tales of Australian and American aboriginals, it's clear that what we in Western monotheistic traditions regard as a God is not found.

 

As we range from the leprechuans of Donegal and the invisible elves of Iceland, through the Kitchen "Gods" of Shinto and Skinwalkers of the Four Corners tribes, past the tree spirits of Ice Age England and the great Snake of the Australian outback, to the Prime Mover of Vatican Christian theology , it's not really clear where deity starts to show up.

 

It's also obvious that atheistic religions differ greatly from each other, so that if some atheists are religious clearly they do not all belong to the same religion.

Edited by overtone

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"Atheists are fond of saying that atheism is no more a religion that baldness is a hair color. But, this isn't exactly true. "

Not really

 

It's true that some people are both religious and atheist, just as there are some people who are religious and left-handed.

But that does not imply that atheism is a religion any more than left-handedness is a religion.

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Atheists, as we understand them, deny the existence of God as we commonly understand it.

 

But the paradox here is that the passionate atheist tags his belief system to the absence of God and ardently believes himself to be true.

 

Being as unbiased as possible, mathematically, the ardent atheist makes an assertion, which he treats as axiomatic.

The same is true about the ardent believer.

 

The question is not about who is right. (That is a moot issue).

 

The observation in both the cases is that both the viewpoints make assertions, which are believed to be true as per the observers value system.

 

Then actually both are "believers". (although their belief system is antipodal, if you may describe it as that).

 

An analogy would be seeing a shadow. Just as we can't describe the image from looking at a shadow, we can't describe the shadow by looking at the image.

 

It is a matter of perception.

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But arguing that atheism is a belief system comparable to theism is the same as arguing that evolution is a belief system comparable to Creationism. All theistic belief systems have things that would show their deity to exist (answering prayer for example) but no evidence has supported those predictions. It's the same with any supernatural phenomena, there hasn't been anything shown to be impossible to explain without the supernatural so the assumption based on evidence is that the supernatural doesn't exist.

 

That's not to say there aren't people who treat atheism as a dogmatic belief system, but atheism in itself isn't fairly comparable to theism.

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Atheism is a religion. "Bald" can be associated with hair style. Was a man's hair cut bald for style? If yes, then it is a style of hair; a man who did not cut his hair for style purposes can still be associated with style. Does an Atheist believe in God? No. Was this decision for religious purposes? Yes. Ultimately Atheists form a faction that preaches the same ideas. They are a religion but their God is replaced by science. Otherwise you would simply ignore God; instead you preach against God. You are a cult/religion.

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You are arguing against a caricature... A strawman of the actual position held by most atheists. The fact that you are now suggesting bald is a hair "style" shows just how disingenuous you are. If you must resort to such tactics to argue your point, then it's well worth considering that your point is probably mistaken.

 

If atheism is a religion, then "bald" is a hair color, and not collecting stamps is a hobby, not kicking a kitten is a form of animal abuse and so on.

 

Perhaps more to the point is this argument that Sam Harris makes:

I think that “atheist” is a term that we do not need, in the same way that we don’t need a word for someone who rejects astrology. We simply do not call people “non-astrologers.” All we need are words like “reason” and “evidence” and “common sense” and “bullshit” to put astrologers in their place, and so it could be with religion.

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Atheism is a religion. "Bald" can be associated with hair style. Was a man's hair cut bald for style? If yes, then it is a style of hair; a man who did not cut his hair for style purposes can still be associated with style.

But no one said anything about hair "style", they mentioned hair "color". You're changing the analogy so you can refute it.

 

Does an Atheist believe in God? No. Was this decision for religious purposes? Yes. Ultimately Atheists form a faction that preaches the same ideas. They are a religion but their God is replaced by science. Otherwise you would simply ignore God; instead you preach against God. You are a cult/religion.

You can't replace a god with science and call it religion. Scientists don't worship. And if atheists explain why they don't believe in god(s), it gets called preaching? You can't show that to anyone's satisfaction. Atheists will happily ignore gods if theists would stop mentioning them.

 

Let me ask this: Is my non-collecting of stamps considered a hobby? Then why is my non-belief in god(s) considered a religion?

 

 

Edit to add: Cross-posted with iNow. I should check to make sure we aren't wearing the same suit....

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  • personal beliefs or values: a set of strongly-held beliefs, values, and attitudes that somebody lives by

    unbelief in God or deities: disbelief in the existence of God or deities

    And that is your belief.

But no one said anything about hair "style", they mentioned hair "color". You're changing the analogy so you can refute it.

 

 

You can't replace a god with science and call it religion. Scientists don't worship. And if atheists explain why they don't believe in god(s), it gets called preaching? You can't show that to anyone's satisfaction. Atheists will happily ignore gods if theists would stop mentioning them.

 

Let me ask this: Is my non-collecting of stamps considered a hobby? Then why is my non-belief in god(s) considered a religion?

 

 

Edit to add: Cross-posted with iNow. I should check to make sure we aren't wearing the same suit....

But do you create a movement for "not collecting stamps"? It's the same as creating a movement for "not believing in God". Atheists do worship their disbelief, it's just a lot simpler than getting on your knees and praying; you worship Atheism to keep the trend going. Why call yourself Atheists, why not ignore what religious people say, and continue life, minus the idea of God? I think you take a lot of credit away from people who keep away from God - a person who does not take part in religious activity is more worthy of the title Atheist. Why call yourself Atheist? Why call yourself "not a collector of stamps?". It depends on the context. If I asked you, do you collect stamps? If you said "No", then you are grouped as a non-stamp collector. You could make it into a religion, but in this context, I will make it your religion anyway. If I asked you, do you believe in God? We reach the same conclusion. If you say "No", I group you as non-God believer.

 

What this means is that you can be associated with religion because of the context. Do you actively believe in Atheism, instead of being characterized by your lack of belief? Yes, you do actively support and preach Atheist values. You are a religion, but your beliefs are anti-God. If you were innocent, and never said you were Atheist, and did not listen to what others said about God, then you are truly not part of a religion. Because you contextualize yourself with God, as you might with collecting stamps, you are a religion.

Edited by s1eep

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  •  

     

    And that is your belief.

I don't "believe" there isn't a god(s). I have a lack of belief in god(s), not a belief in a lack of god(s).

 

But do you create a movement for "not collecting stamps"? It's the same as creating a movement for "not believing in God". Atheists do worship their disbelief, it's just a lot simpler than getting on your knees and praying; you worship Atheism to keep the trend going.

I don't get together with other atheists to discuss our lack of belief; there's nothing to discuss, worship or otherwise get together about. Similarly, I don't get together with my non-stamp-collecting friends to discuss our lack of involvement in that hobby. I have done nothing to sponsor any kind of "movement" in either of those regards.

 

Why call yourself "not a collector of stamps?". It depends on the context. If I asked you, do you collect stamps? If you said "No", then you are grouped as a non-stamp collector. You could make it into a religion, but in this context, I will make it your religion anyway. If I asked you, do you believe in God? We reach the same conclusion. If you say "No", I group you as non-God believer.

 

What this means is that you can be associated with religion because of the context. Do you actively believe in Atheism, instead of being characterized by your lack of belief? Yes, you do actively support and preach Atheist values. You are a religion, but your beliefs are anti-God. If you were innocent, and never said you were Atheist, and did not listen to what others said about God, then you are truly not part of a religion. Because you contextualize yourself with God, as you might with collecting stamps, you are a religion.

I'm not sure why you would group me with any other atheist if I said I didn't believe in god(s). I don't group all theists together, or all those who claim to follow a specific religion. I think it's probably because, as you confirm above, you think not believing in god(s) is the same as "your beliefs are anti-God". Do I really have to be anti-stamp collecting if I don't collect stamps? Can't I just support your right to believe in something without sharing that belief myself? Can't I be bald without being forced to condemn those with hair?

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I don't "believe" there isn't a god(s). I have a lack of belief in god(s), not a belief in a lack of god(s).

 

I don't get together with other atheists to discuss our lack of belief; there's nothing to discuss, worship or otherwise get together about. Similarly, I don't get together with my non-stamp-collecting friends to discuss our lack of involvement in that hobby. I have done nothing to sponsor any kind of "movement" in either of those regards.

 

I'm not sure why you would group me with any other atheist if I said I didn't believe in god(s). I don't group all theists together, or all those who claim to follow a specific religion. I think it's probably because, as you confirm above, you think not believing in god(s) is the same as "your beliefs are anti-God". Do I really have to be anti-stamp collecting if I don't collect stamps? Can't I just support your right to believe in something without sharing that belief myself? Can't I be bald without being forced to condemn those with hair?

 

Yes, but you don't sit back and not believe in God, as you would with not collecting stamps, you enter a stamp collecting context and say "No, I do not believe". Atheism is equal to creating a religion for not collecting stamps. You worship the answer, "No, I do not believe," instead of simply not believing. You have contextualized yourself with not collecting stamps, a step forward than simply not collecting them.

Edited by s1eep

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Yes, but you don't sit back and not believe in God, as you would with not collecting stamps, you enter a stamp collecting context and say "No, I do not believe". Atheism is equal to creating a religion for not collecting stamps. You worship the answer, "No, I do not believe," instead of simply not believing. You have contextualized yourself with not collecting stamps, a step forward than simply not collecting them.

 

So as long as I don't talk to you about god(s), I can be atheistic while enjoying my non-religious lack of belief?! I guess I'm fine with that, so long as you promise not to engage me in such discussions in the future. You apparently have the power to make me religious just by asking me about religion.

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So as long as I don't talk to you about god(s), I can be atheistic while enjoying my non-religious lack of belief?! I guess I'm fine with that, so long as you promise not to engage me in such discussions in the future. You apparently have the power to make me religious just by asking me about religion.

Hehe. If you don't want to believe in God, that's up to you. I'm simply stating Atheism is a religion. Why not just not categorize yourself and forget about God?

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Hehe. If you don't want to believe in God, that's up to you. I'm simply stating Atheism is a religion.

Repeating yourself doesn't suddenly make your position any more valid. We know you're "simply stating atheism is a religion," and contributors here have demonstrated repeatedly where your assertion is mistaken, flawed, and fallacious.

 

If I tell you that I do not believe in leprechauns, is that a religion? No, of course it's not. What does my lack of belief in leprechauns tell you about any of my other beliefs or worldviews? Nothing. All you know is that I do not believe in leprechauns. Lack of belief in god or gods is no different.

Edited by iNow

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Hehe. If you don't want to believe in God, that's up to you. I'm simply stating Atheism is a religion. Why not just not categorize yourself and forget about God?

 

Except it isn't just up to the individual, because belief in God is pushed upon people at many times and in many places over the course of a day or week. Pushing back is required. I imagine many atheists would be fine with not having a "movement" (for lack of a better word) if actual religion wasn't continually infringing on them.

 

Simply stating that atheism is a religion is simply wrong. It (often) stems from the false premise that everyone believes in something, which makes for a nice strawman. Why should anyone accept such intellectual dishonesty?

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I prefer to think of atheism as not believing in anything super natural this includes gods but is not limited to a disbelief in gods. My statement that the supernatural has no evidence to back up it's claims is not a religion...

 

Atheism is no more a religion than not believing in bigfoot is a religion..

Hehe. If you don't want to believe in God, that's up to you. I'm simply stating Atheism is a religion. Why not just not categorize yourself and forget about God?

Why categorize myself? How does not believing in god categorize me in any way other than i do not believe in gods? I do not believe there is sufficient evidence to justify asserting there are gods, you can draw no conclusions from that statement other than i do not believe in gods. "I do not believe" is in no way a religion nor is it a term that defines anything about me other than i do not believe in gods.

 

I can be anything on the spectrum of human behavior except believing in a god, a theist can be anything on the spectrum of human behavior as well but hold a belief in gods, none of the other things on that human behavior spectrum can be deduced about a theist other than a belief in gods. Why should being an atheist be anything more than not believing in a god?

Edited by Moontanman

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Hehe. If you don't want to believe in God, that's up to you. I'm simply stating Atheism is a religion. Why not just not categorize yourself and forget about God?

Religion: the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

 

Who do I worship?

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Except it isn't just up to the individual, because belief in God is pushed upon people at many times and in many places over the course of a day or week. Pushing back is required. I imagine many atheists would be fine with not having a "movement" (for lack of a better word) if actual religion wasn't continually infringing on them.

 

Simply stating that atheism is a religion is simply wrong. It (often) stems from the false premise that everyone believes in something, which makes for a nice strawman. Why should anyone accept such intellectual dishonesty?

Not every Atheist is as good thinking as you though, some may enjoy the religious aspects to Atheism. That's the problem when you put your clans name in flashing lights preaching "Join us... Quick, they see I'm being religious, 'BALD IS NOT HAIR COLOR". I find Atheists an annoyance and I'm discontinuing in this thread since some people are becoming abusive. You know my opinion, and no I'm not convinced you are not a religion because you have all the same traits. If an Atheist comes into a discussion thread about God not aimed at converting, only to criticize people's intelligence, swasonts good Atheist image becomes void.

Edited by s1eep

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"Not every Atheist is as good thinking as you though,"

It only takes one to destroy the idea that "atheists are religious" because at least one isn't.

So you can stop now.

Atheists may be religious, or they may not.

Atheism clearly isn't a religion because plenty of us are not religious (unless you torture the meaning of that word to include us- in which case it includes everyone so it's meaningless).

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"Not every Atheist is as good thinking as you though,"

It only takes one to destroy the idea that "atheists are religious" because at least one isn't.

So you can stop now.

Atheists may be religious, or they may not.

Atheism clearly isn't a religion because plenty of us are not religious (unless you torture the meaning of that word to include us- in which case it includes everyone so it's meaningless).

But you're expressing your beliefs now, and you probably do this regularly. How are you trying to cover up your mess like a cat in a litter tray? What you're doing RIGHT NOW, is a characteristic of religion. You may not believe in God, and you may not have Atheist traditions like Christmas, but how you act is religious. You have a particular belief and you preach it. You are preaching for Atheism when you say "Atheism clearly ins't a religion", and by being Atheist, I imagine you enjoy having these discussions.

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But you're expressing your beliefs now, and you probably do this regularly. How are you trying to cover up your mess like a cat in a litter tray? What you're doing RIGHT NOW, is a characteristic of religion. You may not believe in God, and you may not have Atheist traditions like Christmas, but how you act is religious. You have a particular belief and you preach it. You are preaching for Atheism when you say "Atheism clearly ins't a religion", and by being Atheist, I imagine you enjoy having these discussions.

Can you smell that smell, the smell of troll that surrounds this thread?

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But you're expressing your beliefs now, and you probably do this regularly. How are you trying to cover up your mess like a cat in a litter tray? What you're doing RIGHT NOW, is a characteristic of religion. You may not believe in God, and you may not have Atheist traditions like Christmas, but how you act is religious. You have a particular belief and you preach it. You are preaching for Atheism when you say "Atheism clearly ins't a religion", and by being Atheist, I imagine you enjoy having these discussions.

Thank you for illustrating my point.

I said "Atheism clearly isn't a religion ... (unless you torture the meaning of that word to include us- in which case it includes everyone so it's meaningless)."

 

and you did.

 

Incidentally the big difference between what I did there and what is usually considered religion is that I cited evidence.

Specifically, I cited your own assertion as that evidence: "Not every Atheist is as good thinking as you though,".

So, you are now arguing against yourself.

 

Moontanman may well be right in thinking your are a troll.

Or you may just be foolish enough to not realise when you are proving my point and, in doing so, arguing against yourself.

Personally, I don't really care, but trolling is against the rules here.

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I am not trolling. I think it's pretty simple stuff. We have conflicting opinions, but I think I'm correct in saying you act very much alike a religion. Somehow cover it up with bad analogies. It's not a characteristic, you are not actively avoiding God, you actively seek debate and discussion where you can vent your ideas about how you don't believe in God. You preach Atheism so that others will join you; you worship science like it was God -- there is no difference between Atheists, and Christians, bar their traditions - on the face of things, both act the same, and both of you are a group of people with values/beliefs.

 

If you don't want to collect stamps, don't. Don't make a religion about "not collecting stamps". You've tagged yourself "not a stamp collector". There's a difference between not collecting stamps and being someone who is actively not a stamp collector. At least I'm wise enough to see the difference. I never troll and rarely insult people, but I've seen nothing but witty insults. I think you are the ones who are trolling. Swasont was okay.

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I am not trolling. I think it's pretty simple stuff. We have conflicting opinions, but I think I'm correct in saying you act very much alike a religion. Somehow cover it up with bad analogies. It's not a characteristic, you are not actively avoiding God, you actively seek debate and discussion where you can vent your ideas about how you don't believe in God. You preach Atheism so that others will join you; you worship science like it was God -- there is no difference between Atheists, and Christians, bar their traditions - on the face of things, both act the same, and both of you are a group of people with values/beliefs.

 

If you don't want to collect stamps, don't. Don't make a religion about "not collecting stamps". You've tagged yourself "not a stamp collector". There's a difference between not collecting stamps and being someone who is actively not a stamp collector. At least I'm wise enough to see the difference. I never troll and rarely insult people, but I've seen nothing but witty insults. I think you are the ones who are trolling. Swasont was okay.

 

 

If religion didn't consistently shove it's idiocy in my face very nearly all the time I doubt I would ever have a thought about God, but the reality is that religion makes that impossible by continuously proselytizing everyone. I feel it's necessary to debunk religion to counter the continuous assault by religion. The idea of keeping my disbelief to my self is how religion has taken over our society and even enforced laws based on religion, everything from sex to how to react to those who do not share your particular belief is proscribed by religion, it is impossible to live with out religion rearing it's ugly head in your life. You are an atheist when it comes to most gods, does that mean you worship them secretly? As for rarely insulting people, the assertion that atheism is a religion is in it's self insulting and asserting things as facts with no intent to back them up with evidence to get a reaction out of people is the definition of trolling... if the shoe fits lace that bitch up and wear it...

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