# Can atheists be religious?

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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.

You've merely set up a situation where you create the very problem you're criticizing. If you don't ask me about god(s), I won't have to tell you about my non-belief in them and you won't consider me to be religious. Ironically, in your perspective, you can tell me all about how religious you are, but if I tell you more than once that I don't believe in god(s) you're going to label me as religious.

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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.

According to your earlier post the fact that I say things makes me religious- you said

"But you're expressing your beliefs now, and you probably do this regularly. "

as a reason why I'm acting religiously.

Do you think it's "religion" to say "I think it's going to rain soon"?

Or do you realise that making statements of opinion isn't the same as having a religion?

In doing so, you have done as I predicted- you have tortured the word "religion" until it is meaningless.

As for "I think I'm correct in saying you act very much alike a religion. "

well, you shouldn't because I already pointed out the difference.

The difference is evidence.

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S1eep, I think the problem you, as well as others who claim that "atheists are religious", have is the incorrect use of the word religion. Crack open a thesaurus sometime and you will see next to religion (and therefore describing) the words "faith", "belief", "worship", and "creed". Also, religious persons and theists will gather to affirm to each other and their deity their belief in said deity or creed.

In my opinion, when Buddhism is used as an example of a non-theistic religion is incorrect. Buddhism is more a way of life than religion. It seeks nothingness as a way to end suffering. Because you can't have happiness for one without suffering for another.

Rather than say that atheists are religious, it'd be a bit more productive to say that *some* atheists are *spiritual*. Spirituality only has to do with the metaphysics of the self, not the whole and as such doesn't deal with the belief, or disbelief, in a deity. I have been born and raised Catholic, but if someone asks me about my beliefs and religious affiliation, I tell them that I am spiritual, but not religious. Most would say that this makes me agnostic (and at times it may be fitting) but agnosticism is when someone is unsure as to whether they believe in the existence of deities.

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S1eep, I think the problem you, as well as others who claim that "atheists are religious", have is the incorrect use of the word religion

I'm reminded of an episode of House where Cuddy's mom is trying to hook Cudy up with House. She says,

"So, say you two got married, would you convert to Judaism?"

He says "I'm an atheist”.

She says, “Honey, half the jews I know are atheists"

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Yes, as religion can generally refer to a cultural system.

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Yes, as religion can generally refer to a cultural system.

Right.

Actually, the full quote isn't "Honey, half the jews I know are atheists."

It's...

"Honey, half the jews I know are atheists. It’s about community”

That's what she said on the show. You hit that nail right on the head. Religion has been reduced to community. It used to be about truth and power, and any more it's about holding on to the things that bind us. I'd personally rather be bound by other things... and religion just needs to dry up in the desert sun and die already! We don't need it for culture. We can find culture all on our own, thanks.

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In my opinion, when Buddhism is used as an example of a non-theistic religion is incorrect. Buddhism is more a way of life than religion.
If you are going to exclude Buddhism and Animism and Ancestor Worship and in general most of the commonly practiced belief systems ordinarily described as religions from your category "religion", then you can by such redefinition create a frame in which no religious people are atheists.

But I don't see the point. It's like redefining legs so that insects don't have them.

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.

So now passionate beliefs are to be labeled religious beliefs? The existence of axiomatic belief discovers a religion?

Bach's religion, like Beethoven's and Janis Joplin's, was not music. Meanwhile, there are dispassionate and non-axiomatic atheists, even in Western monotheistic dominions which surround them with continual threat.

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I am not trolling. I think it's pretty simple stuff. We have conflicting opinions, but I think...

Yes, it is pretty simple.

Merriam-Webster says:

re·li·gion

: the belief in a god or in a group of gods

: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods

: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

and

athe·ism
Definition of ATHEISM
1
2
a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
b : the doctrine that there is no deity

Unless you rewrite the dictionary to mean what you want then your assertion is incorrect. Just because you want the word religion to mean what you want does not make it so.

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Yes, it is pretty simple.

Merriam-Webster says:

and

Unless you rewrite the dictionary to mean what you want then your assertion is incorrect. Just because you want the word religion to mean what you want does not make it so.

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

this is the definition.

Edited by s1eep
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Atheists believe in Science.

Wrong yet again, so I didn't bother reading the rest. The acceptance of science as a valid method of studying and understanding the universe is independent of the lack of belief in god or gods (despite the often large degree of overlap in the two groups). Edited by iNow
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"Atheists believe in Science"

​I believe in science in the same way that I believe in Australia.
I haven't seen it, but the evidence is pretty good.

However, if someone shows me that the evidence is invalid then I will stop believing in Australia.

​And that's at least the third time that the difference has been explained to you

Do you understand why that makes it look like you are trolling or somehow unable to understand the issues?

.

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

this is the definition.

Let's look at two examples to see if we can agree on something:

1) Some people create a group that studies the sun. They emerse themselves into all kinds of data and observations of the sun. They have regular meetings and even dress up and get drunk to celebrate the solstices and the equinoxes.

2) A man worships the sun as a living entity. He celebrates all the sun provides - life, warmth and happiness. He claims the sun speaks to him at certain times and provides revelations for all of humanity. He mostly keeps to himself, but he does jot down these revelations.

Based just on this information, I would say the first group could claim to be atheists, whereas the man cannot. The first group may appear to be more of a religion - having ritual, gatherings, etc., but that isn't the essence of a religion.

The essence of religion is that humanity can't think for themselves, they need a superior leader to show them the way. Of course in practice, this means the leader of the group, but they are claiming it comes from "up there".

This doesn't mean atheists don't believe in kooky stuff. They just are not allowed to believe in a superhuman controlling power. That makes them not an atheist.

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Let's look at two examples to see if we can agree on something:

1) Some people create a group that studies the sun. They emerse themselves into all kinds of data and observations of the sun. They have regular meetings and even dress up and get drunk to celebrate the solstices and the equinoxes.

2) A man worships the sun as a living entity. He celebrates all the sun provides - life, warmth and happiness. He claims the sun speaks to him at certain times and provides revelations for all of humanity. He mostly keeps to himself, but he does jot down these revelations.

Based just on this information, I would say the first group could claim to be atheists, whereas the man cannot. The first group may appear to be more of a religion - having ritual, gatherings, etc., but that isn't the essence of a religion.

I would agree with your assertions, but I would state it differently. The first group make assertions about the sun that would be experimentally verifiable or refutable. That makes what they do science. That fellow in the second group is making assertions that are not subject to independent experimental verification. So his association with the sun is religious in nature.
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the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

this is the definition.

Yes, that is the definition of religion but atheists lack belief of any a superhuman controlling power or a personal God or gods. Now can you see why atheism is not a religion?

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If you are going to exclude Buddhism and Animism and Ancestor Worship and in general most of the commonly practiced belief systems ordinarily described as religions from your category "religion", then you can by such redefinition create a frame in which no religious people are atheists.

But I don't see the point. It's like redefining legs so that insects don't have them.

But Buddhism is a philosophical view of the world that happens to have a large following, not a religion. I don't have to change the definition of religion to exclude Buddhism. Whereas part of Animism dictates that there is a supernatural power that works in the background pulling strings. Ancestor veneration can't really be defined as a religion either. It's nothing more than honoring the memories of those who came before you and hoping that their existence continues after death. The only argument you could make in regards to ancestral worship is that it is present in many religions. However, being present in various religious doctrine doesn't make it a religion unto itself.

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In my opinion, when Buddhism is used as an example of a non-theistic religion is incorrect. Buddhism is more a way of life than religion.

But Buddhism is a philosophical view of the world that happens to have a large following, not a religion. I don't have to change the definition of religion to exclude Buddhism.

Okay, IMO Overtone already addressed this handily when you first presented it, but since you've basically ignored that rebuttal and merely doubled-down on your original (inaccurate) position, here ya go:

Buddhism: a religion represented by the many groups (especially in Asia) that profess various forms of the Buddhist doctrine and that venerate Buddha

Buddhism is a religion indigenous to the Indian subcontinent that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha, meaning "the awakened one".

a religion of eastern and central Asia growing out of the teaching of Gautama Buddha that suffering is inherent in life and that one can be liberated from it by mental and moral self-purification

a widespread Asian religion or philosophy, founded by Siddartha Gautama in northeastern India in the 5th century bc.

a religion, originated in India by Buddha (Gautama) and later spreading to China, Burma, Japan, Tibet, and parts of southeast Asia, holding that life is...

Bud·dhism

n.

1. The teaching of Buddha that life is permeated with suffering caused by desire, that suffering ceases when desire ceases, and that enlightenment obtained through right conduct, wisdom, and meditation releases one from desire, suffering, and rebirth.

2. The religion represented by the many groups, especially numerous in Asia, that profess varying forms of this doctrine and that venerate Buddha.

3. A religious teaching propagated by the Buddha and his followers, which declares that by destroying greed, hatred, and delusion, which are the causes of all suffering, man can attain perfect enlightenment

4. A religion, originated in India by Buddha and later spreading to China, Burma, Japan, Tibet, and parts of SE Asia, holding that life is full of suffering caused by desire and that the way to end this suffering is through Enlightenment that enables one to halt the endless sequence of births and deaths to which one is otherwise subject.

Are you noticing a pattern here?

So yes... You really are choosing to redefine religion simply to make your argument. Buddhism is very much a religion no matter how forcefully or repeatedly you continue to assert otherwise.

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Okay, IMO Overtone already addressed this handily when you first presented it, but since you've basically ignored that rebuttal and merely doubled-down on your original (inaccurate) position, here ya go:

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=buddhism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buddhism

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/Buddhism

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/buddhism

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Buddhism

Are you noticing a pattern here?

So yes... You really are choosing to redefine religion simply to make your argument. Buddhism is very much a religion no matter how forcefully or repeatedly you continue to assert otherwise.

I see you failed to also show the definition of religion. For your convenience, I'll quote Merriam-Webster:

re·li·gion noun \ri-ˈli-jən\

: the belief in a god or in a group of gods

Based on this, I think I'm well within what I said before. Which is the point that I was trying to argue. I don't ignore posts like some do here. I replied to his rebuttal as was needed and discussed each point that was made. I don't see how that can be considered ignoring. I have not changed the definition to suit my argument.

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I see you failed to also show the definition of religion. For your convenience, I'll quote Merriam-Webster:

Based on this, I think I'm well within what I said before. Which is the point that I was trying to argue. <snip> I have not changed the definition to suit my argument.

Well, yes. In fact, you sort of have... More specifically, what you've just done is known as cherry-picking. There are clearly other elements in the definition of religion that are important here.

an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods

: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

There are many religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.

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Well, yes. In fact, you sort of have... More specifically, what you've just done is known as cherry-picking. There are clearly other elements in the definition of religion that are important here.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion

Then by that right, atheism is a religion.

explain

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re·li·gion noun \ri-ˈli-jən\

: the belief in a god or in a group of gods

: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods

: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

Atheists have an interest concerning their disbelief in deities. It may not always be an active interest except when the topic arises, at which point, albeit based on my experiences with atheists, they become rather animated in religious debates. The atheists that I have come across are very adamant in their disbelief, mirroring the zealots of many religious groups. I'm not saying this is true of all atheists, but it still gives a good feel of how a portion of that community acts.

To avoid rehashing a previous back-and-forth in this thread, I'll skip over belief and activity.

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There's a difference between actively believing there are no gods and simply moving forward on the assumption that there probably are none that actually exist outside of peoples imaginations. The latter group is more common.

There's also a difference between expressing frustration with religiots and practicing a religion, in much the same way that being passionate about something does not ipso facto mandate it too is a religion.

If you need to expand the definition of religion so extensively solely to make your argument, then you really ought to consider altering your position and changing your argument... but as you said, this has all already been discussed right here in this very thread.

Becoming rather animated in religious debates $\ne$ Practicing a religion

Engaging in behaviors that seem to mirror behaviors of zealots $\ne$ Practicing a religion

Buddhism IS a religion. Atheism is NOT.

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I'm not saying this is true of all atheists, but it still gives a good feel of how a portion of that community acts.

but that right there is key. There's not just a portion of Christians that believe in Christ and his teachings, it's all of them. There's more than just a portion of Islam that believes in and follows the Koran. The same is not true of atheists. They only have one thing in common, they lack belief in deities. No other beliefs, values, morals, ethics, etc. can be said to be true for all atheists. It is not a belief system or a culture. It involves zero worship. It is not religious. There are some atheists that are militant over their lack of belief but that does not make them religious, it makes them militant. There is no need to blur the meaning of the word religion over this. As it stands when one refers to someone as religious it implies a belief in one or more gods. Once you include atheists then the meaning of religion becomes meaningless. This defeats the purpose of having words like 'religion' in the language at all when you redefine them and take away the clarity that exists in the language.

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I find it more than a little disturbing that the definition of religion being used here judges atheism as a religion strictly on how much an atheist defends his stance. If no one brings up religion, this definition allows an atheist to keep his non-belief to himself and avoid being thought religious, but if someone claims belief in god(s) the atheist isn't allowed to share his non-belief stance without being considered religious?! It should be fairly easy to see the conclusions this definition attempts to make are fallacious and unworkable.

It's ridiculous that a negative stance about the existence of god(s) is considered a religious one. I shouldn't have to argue that my non-belief is actually a belief. If I choose Christianity as my religion, that may make me a non-Islamist and a non-Buddhist among other things. If I choose nothing as a religion, it should simply make me non-theist, or atheist. I should be able to offer my explanation without it being considered a "religion" just because it's about god(s).

If I think hobbies are a complete waste of time and would never be caught dead building a model or collecting stamps and didn't feel shy about telling anybody who will listen, it would be foolish to consider me a hobbyist of any kind. Why on Earth should atheism be considered a religion?

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I find it more than a little disturbing that the definition of religion being used here judges atheism as a religion strictly on how much an atheist defends his stance. If no one brings up religion, this definition allows an atheist to keep his non-belief to himself and avoid being thought religious, but if someone claims belief in god(s) the atheist isn't allowed to share his non-belief stance without being considered religious?! It should be fairly easy to see the conclusions this definition attempts to make are fallacious and unworkable.

It's ridiculous that a negative stance about the existence of god(s) is considered a religious one. I shouldn't have to argue that my non-belief is actually a belief. If I choose Christianity as my religion, that may make me a non-Islamist and a non-Buddhist among other things. If I choose nothing as a religion, it should simply make me non-theist, or atheist. I should be able to offer my explanation without it being considered a "religion" just because it's about god(s).

If I think hobbies are a complete waste of time and would never be caught dead building a model or collecting stamps and didn't feel shy about telling anybody who will listen, it would be foolish to consider me a hobbyist of any kind. Why on Earth should atheism be considered a religion?

WHAT! You don't believe in hobbies! Just wait till my flying fish/piranha cross is finished... where did you say you lived btw?

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