Atheism is not a religion

@GospelToday left a comment on the blog the other day and on the Friendly Atheist site. Essentially the argument is that atheism is a kind of religion, that it has a central set of tenets and associated symbolism that is common to religion.

This is the response that I left on FA.

@GospelToday is Coca Cola a religious symbol? Is Intel a religion? Is Microsoft or Glaxo? What about the seal of the President of the United States or the Democratic donkey logo?

The Scarlet Letter A is an icon but not in a religious sense. It does remind atheists that there are other people who do not believe in gods, that we aren’t alone in the face of intrusive and ubiquitous religion. The entire OUT campaign is to encourage atheists to be more public about a lack of belief in gods. We can all benefit from dispelling silly rumours about us that only exist because of ignorance of what atheism is.

One such thing that needs dispelling is the assumption that atheists deny the Christian god in the sense of rebelling against God. This is not the case. I do not rebel against God anymore than I rebel against Thor or Ra. I simply don’t find the idea of ANY god compelling. I find the idea of gods logically inconsistent and I give greater credence to the rational explanations for god belief than for actual gods.

I appreciate that some people like the idea and that some even find it comforting. I’ve no interest in shattering that illusion for you. All I want is same consideration from theists. The OUT campaign and the public face of atheism only exists because many theists are not content to keep their “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” (or any other god) personal. They have to force it on others.

Stick around and read some of the articles here. Understand that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet (so to speak) so the concepts and language might be less accessible than a Christian site might be for you. You’ll see an underlying theme after a time and it isn’t a rebellion against your particular god.

If you like I could also point you to many other resources that explain the position of atheists in a largely theistic world.

I can understand how someone raised in an environment where faith took a central place would make this error. It is like trying to understand someone who wasn’t raised within a family. The concept of family is so central to most people that the idea of growing up without one just doesn’t register. Of course, once someone points out that they were raised differently we can adjust our preconceived notions accordingly. We might fall back on old ways of thinking because they work so well but, once informed, we have the new understanding to work with too.

I’ve never had a religion. I was raised with no mention of religion until I went to school. At school it was simply another form or process that we all went through and the lessons in RE dealt more with ethics and how people all over the world have rituals and ideas that we might not understand.

Understanding people who have a faith is difficult for me and I’ve taken great efforts to do so. At least when I haven’t had to defend why I don’t have a faith or why society should have to follow one. I simply cannot make the connection between the idea of gods and what I observe of reality. That isn’t religion, it is an opinion.

Just for the record: atheism is a lack of belief in gods. That’s it. The counter to this is theism (a belief in at least one god) rather than Christianity (a belief in Christ as God as described in the Bible) or Islam (a belief in God as described in the Koran) or any other subset of theism.

Atheism is to religion as bald is to hair colour

Advertisements

13 Comments

Filed under Atheist

13 responses to “Atheism is not a religion

  1. Atheism may well be spurred on by the refusal of religions to engage in self-criticism. I’ve just read http://deligentia.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/263/ on how foreign self-criticism is to religion, and, moreover, how religion misunderstands itself. You might be interested in it.

  2. Hey Hov 🙂

    You have chosen to state and presumably hold the opinion ( ie. believe) that Atheism is a lack of belief (in God/gods).

    How do you consider or compare the difference of that statement to the statement: Atheism is holding to the belief that God(s) definitely do not exist?

    i would suggest that it is such a statement that lies behind the understanding @GospelToday had in making their (unread by me) comment, in that Atheists believe that God does not exist solely by reason of their own tenets of (rational) faith and personal experiences while denying those experiences and tenets of faith which religious believers have has as much veracity or relevance to the ‘real’ (personally observed) world as might their own.

    Ultimately, all of us have to believe in something for which we have no proof, other than that of our own choosing to accept or reject.

    Saying we do not believe in some unproven thing while believing in some other unproven thing is kind of self-delusional, is it not? 🙂

    As is saying we do not ‘believe’ when, in fact, we are believing in SOME thing.

    <B

  3. There is considerable difference between “I do not believe in gods” and “Gods do not exist”.

    • Hov my dear Frog, you mistook my point it would seem. i did not say ‘Gods do not exist’ but ‘holding to the belief ( ie: i believe Gods etc) Gods do not exist’.

      i was attempting to phrase what you said in terms of what Atheists DO believe rather than what they lack a belief of. (Because neither side is capable of proving their own belief absolutely unequivocally).

      Surely you are not arguing that Atheist have no belief whatseover?

      <B

  4. hoverFrog, please answer these questions for me so that I don’t have to make assumptions about them:

    1: Where did mankind come from? (Origin)

    2: How do you separate good from bad? (Morality)

    3: What is your life’s meaning? (Purpose)

    4: What is going to happen to you after you die? (Destiny)

  5. I wonder how many people, who read Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion, caught the point that (on page 74 in the paperback version) Richard Dawkins wrote that he is only making an “assumption” about his believe of God’s nonexistence.

    The Richard Dawkins Delusion (Part 2) – The god Richard Dawkins http://bit.ly/4nFJ0L

  6. atheismisdead

    isgodimaginary.com/forum/index.php/topic,40909.0.html

    you really need to add comment moderation to your blasphemy…

    these fools try to use science to destroy every mystery in the universe…BUT NOT THIS ONE!!!

  7. The Atheist worldview is in a great crisis because it has no foundational support for what it says it believes in. The Atheist worldview holds as truth that it is based on science, logic, and reason. In fact, the Atheist worldview has no basis to prove that it is based on science, logic, and reason without actually giving evidence that the Biblical worldview is true because only the Biblical worldview by its own definition is founded on science, logic and reason as set forth within the Holy Bible. Both the Atheist worldview and the Biblical worldview cannot both be true because that would be a contradiction breaking the law of non-contradiction therefore, the Atheist worldview is false and the Biblical worldview is true.

    Beyond Doubt – Christianity is True – Atheism is False http://bit.ly/5vtvvF

    • There is no “Atheist worldview” and atheists don’t say what we believe in. Quite the opposite actually, at least in the context of deities.

      The Atheist worldview holds as truth that it is based on science, logic, and reason.

      No it doesn’t. The only thing that atheism says is that atheists don’t believe in gods. A view of life based on reason, logic and the findings of science naturally follows. To be fair I would think that reason, logic and evidence based thinking would be pretty sound for anyone. The alternative being a bit mad. You’d need to base your decisions on nothing more than wishful thinking and emotion. That may work for you but if you don’t mind I’ll keep my distance.

      the Atheist worldview has no basis to prove that it is based on science, logic, and reason without actually giving evidence that the Biblical worldview is true

      Atheists, of course, don’t need to prove anything of the sort. Ours is a sceptical position and the burden of proof is on the claimant. That said you seem to be mixing up “evidence” with “mythology”. I’m not sure how you’ve managed that particular feat but then that isn’t really my problem is it?

      the Biblical worldview by its own definition is founded on science, logic and reason as set forth within the Holy Bible

      Ha, ha, ha. Nice one. Wait, you’re being serious. I’m sorry to break this to you but the bible stories are mythology and oral traditions in an historical context. They are not science, logic or reason. They aren’t even philosophy.

      Both the Atheist worldview and the Biblical worldview cannot both be true because that would be a contradiction breaking the law of non-contradiction

      Putting aside for a moment that the law of non-contradiction is something that you just made up I do find myself nearly agreeing with you. There cannot both be a God and no gods. Sadly that isn’t what atheism says. We don’t claim that there is no god, we claim that we don’t believe in gods. It certainly can be true that you believe in God and I do not.

      I think you mean the Principle of contradiction (principium contradictionis) in which case you should be aware that such an argument is self defeating in that in order to verify or falsify the laws of logic one must resort to logic as a weapon.

      the Atheist worldview is false and the Biblical worldview is true.

      Even if there were an “Atheist worldview” and that you had proven it to be false it does not make a “Biblical worldview” true. Whatever a “Biblical worldview” is. I think you’ll find that there are many interpretations of the bible books and many worldviews that arise from them. Anyway even if atheism were entirely false it doesn’t make Christianity true. That is a false dichotomy. It is like having a shape in your hand and proving that it is a cube by showing that it isn’t a sphere.

  8. hoverFrog,
    Do you remember answering those four questions I asked you a while back?
    1: Where did mankind come from? (Origin)
    2: How do you separate good from bad? (Morality)
    3: What is your life’s meaning? (Purpose)
    4: What is going to happen to you after you die? (Destiny)

    The answers you gave to these four questions make up your worldview. Being that you are an atheist, it happens to be that the answers you gave to these questions are almost identical to those other atheists who have answered them. Thus, the Atheist worldview is what you believe in. If you had read the article from the link given, you would have known this.

    Let’s examine the statements you made below.

    From the comment I made: “The Atheist worldview holds as truth that it is based on science, logic, and reason.”
    You answered, “No it doesn’t. The only thing that atheism says is that atheists don’t believe in gods. A view of life based on reason, logic and the findings of science naturally follows.”

    How does reason and logic become derived from abiogenesis and Darwinism? These concepts are both based on randomness and without any direction nor with any intelligent assistance.

    From the comment I made: “the Atheist worldview has no basis to prove that it is based on science, logic, and reason without actually giving evidence that the Biblical worldview is true”
    You answered: “Atheists, of course, don’t need to prove anything of the sort. Ours is a sceptical position and the burden of proof is on the claimant. That said you seem to be mixing up “evidence” with “mythology”.”

    If you had read the article, you would find that the Holy Bible is scientifically confirmed in many aspects where the Atheists are not scientifically confirmed.

    From the comment I made, “Both the Atheist worldview and the Biblical worldview cannot both be true because that would be a contradiction breaking the law of non-contradiction.”
    You answered, “Putting aside for a moment that the law of non-contradiction is something that you just made up I do find myself nearly agreeing with you. There cannot both be a God and no gods.”

    I didn’t make up the law of non-contradiction. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_contradiction

    To prove the law of non-contradiction, let’s do a test.
    Are you alive? If so, you are not dead. If you are not dead, then you are alive. The law of non-contradiction says that you cannot be both alive and dead at the same time.
    Another test of the law of non-contradiction: Are the Is the Grand Canyon in the United States? If so, the law of non-contradiction says that the Grand Canyon cannot be in Russia because it cannot be in both places at the same time.

    By the way, those are absolute truths too… Those reading this are alive. The Grand Canyon is in the United States. West of the Grand Canyon is the Pacific Ocean…

    In any case, again, how would logic come from the Atheist belief that life is derived from abiogenesis and Darwinism? If you read the article you would find that logic confirms the Holy Bible.

    From my comment, “the Atheist worldview is false and the Biblical worldview is true.”
    You said, “Even if there were an “Atheist worldview” and that you had proven it to be false it does not make a “Biblical worldview” true.”

    If you were not afraid to read the article you would learn how the Atheist worldview is false and the Biblical worldview is true.

    Beyond Doubt – Christianity is True – Atheism is False http://bit.ly/5vtvvF

  9. yourimpulse

    im not sure if this is considered Atheism or not, but i accept that humans cant understand the concept of eternity or infinity..we always see a beginning and a end..therefore we create religion out of fear of the unkown and the unimaginable..we are obviously not ment to understand the supernatual, therefor why try? why must we bicker and fight and kill over what someone thought..what right do we have to try and tell anybody what to think…who are we to sove are opinions down someones throat, someone who might not think the way we do, as if it were fact? just because someone does not share ur belives does not mean they are ignorant or stupid.@GospelToday u dont have the right or the authority to say what is right or what is wrong because some book told u so…i understand if u wish to press morals on to someone because its logical and ethical, but to press ur belifes onto someone because that was how you were raised is going against all morals and ethics..i personally think that religion is just another of mans faults and insecurities…im not telling you that what you belive is wrong, for what right do i have to commett such an act? i dont know weather you are right or wrong, i accept this, because im not ment to know..but i do love to argue 🙂 im just putting my opinoin out there…u may do with it what u wish

  10. yourimpulse

    im sorry for my spelling errors…i sorta rushed

  11. Yourimpulse, let’s examine your comment. (no worries about spelling… if it wasn’t for the spell checker, I’d be misspelling too!)

    You stated, “we create religion out of fear of the unkown and the unimaginable..we are obviously not ment to understand the supernatual, therefor why try?”

    I agree with you that many religions are created because of the unknown and unimaginable and I’ll also add to that, that many religions are created to just control people and/or to gain power over people.

    I disagree with you however when it comes to us being meant to understand the supernatural and by supernatural I refer to the God of all Creation, Christ Jesus. The Holy Bible is all about giving us an understanding of God and insight into God’s purpose for us and His desires for us. True, you and I will never fully understand God because God is infinite and you and I are finite yet God gave to us the Holy Bible so that you and I can begin to understand Him and His perfect love for us.

    Why try to understand God? It is one of our primary purposes in life on earth to honestly seek to have a personal relationship with God via His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus.

    You wrote; “why must we bicker and fight and kill over what someone thought..what right do we have to try and tell anybody what to think.” Religion is a cause for much bickering and fighting including murders however the primary cause of it all is our selfishness. Religion also tells people what to think, how to act, what to do, when to do it, how to do it, etc. Between selfishness and religion comes the bickering, fighting and murdering. That’s why I am against religion.

    You wrote; “who are we to sove are opinions down someones throat, someone who might not think the way we do, as if it were fact?” This question of yours seems to me be coming truly from your heart. I agree with your premise in that I don’t like opinions shoved down my throat and in fact, when people do this to me, I most often disregard what it is that they are saying most often without even listening to them and most often what these people are trying to shove down my throat is not fact. Note that I have not made any shoving efforts of what I have professed to you as fact and have merely suggested to you (and the others) that it would be extremely wise of you to truly and honestly investigate what I present to you as fact for yourself. I am just pointing you to the facts. It is up to you and your personal responsibility to do if you choose to honestly investigate them or not.

    You wrote: “just because someone does not share ur belives does not mean they are ignorant or stupid.” Ignorance of the law is no excuse in a court of justice. Ignorance does not mean someone is stupid. Ignorance means that someone does not know something. It could be by choice that the person does not know something or it could be that the person has not experienced something which makes them ignorant of it. Stupidity is when someone has taken the time to detail out what needs known to a person and that person chooses to remain ignorant about it and not honestly investigate it for himself or herself.

    You wrote: “@GospelToday u dont have the right or the authority to say what is right or what is wrong because some book told u so…” Yes, I do have the right and authority to say what is right and what is wrong because only the Holy Bible defines absolute morality.

    You wrote: “i understand if u wish to press morals on to someone because its logical and ethical, but to press ur belifes onto someone because that was how you were raised is going against all morals and ethics..” Again, only the Holy Bible defines absolute morality, what is right and what is wrong, good from evil. On what basis as an atheist, do you have anything foundation for rational thinking, logic, ethics, and morals? For you to say that I press my, “beliefs onto someone because that was how you wer raised is going against all morals and ethics..” would be you saying that Atheists have a set of absolute morals and ethics with which everyone should follow yet being from abiogenesis and Darwinism (which are random chemical reactions reacting) there is no basis for any morals and ethics whatsoever.

    You wrote: “..i personally think that religion is just another of mans faults and insecurities” I agree that religion is a manmade thing which causes faults and insecurities. Like the religion of Atheism was created to ease the minds of people who want to do their own will and not the will of God. It eases the Atheist’s mind to not believe in God so that he or she can do whatever it is he or she wants with almost a clear conscience.

    You wrote: “im not telling you that what you belive is wrong, for what right do i have to commett such an act?” With your Atheist worldview, what is right and what is wrong? Are right and wrong not just choices that the Atheist chooses for himself or herself to believe or not? In the Atheist worldview, does it matter that you and I think differently? All there is in the Atheist worldview is random chemical reactions reacting together like baking soda and vinegar so there really isn’t any absolute right and wrong, just opinions in the Atheist worldview. So in the Atheist worldview, what harm is it for you to think one way and for me to think another way and for someone else to think differently all together because are we not all just random chemical reactions reacting together in the Atheist worldview?

    You wrote: “i dont know weather you are right or wrong, i accept this, because im not ment to know” Who told you the lie that you were not meant to know right from wrong and why do you believe him or her? I highly suggest to you that you stop being apathetic about knowing right from wrong and seek the absolute truth for yourself and stop believing what someone has told you to believe. You and I are merely vapors which will expire anytime now and it is your responsibility to honestly seek out and find the absolute truth for yourself before it is too late for you to do so. Remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse nor is there any reason for you to not honestly seek the absolute truth. Also, I’m pointing you to the right direction and if you are wise, you will take it upon yourself to truly and honestly investigate it for yourself.

    You wrote: “i do love to argue 🙂 im just putting my opinoin out there…u may do with it what u wish” Remember, whenever you argue with reason and logic you are confirming that the Holy Bible is true and that Atheism is false. The Holy Bible is the foundation of logical thinking and reasoning and is based upon the purely logical God of all Creation where Atheism is only based on random chemical reactions randomly reacting together. Thank you for your opinion and for your questions.

    Beyond Doubt – Christianity is True – Atheism is False http://bit.ly/5vtvvF
    http://findingtruthtoday.org/TheSkepticsPrayer.aspx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s