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So if we get to the place where we decide atheism IS a religion, then do we also have to go down the road of deciding whether it is an ORGANIZED religion or not?  aka Dana Carvey's routine - "la, la,

I used to think that atheism was an overreaction to leaving The Way. In my case, it was a good long time between leaving TWI and rejecting theism, so I doubt very much that it can be categorized

Or, as they used to say at the university: You spend four years in to the School of Engineering learning to ask the question, How can we make it? You spend four years in the School of Manage

O.K. Raf, given your opening statements, you can not be incorrect, you win the discussion regardless but I doubt winning was your intent, rather, simple discussion of the topic. I ask you, if both are "correct", are you not an arbiter and can thus not take one side or the other, yet, you did. You are sly like the fox.

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MRAP, if you can idolize a book that says answer not a fool according to his folly right before/after it instructs you to answer a fool according to his folly, then I have to assume you can get through an entire post that uses an obvious device like immediate contradiction for effect.

Either that, or I owe you an apology for overestimating your ability to get the point.

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When someone says "atheism is a religion," I find that the best follow-up question is, "what do you mean by that?"

. . .

Does this happen though? That a discussion has come to THAT begs the question.

You stated earlier there are correlations with atheism. Who's making those correlations?

I'm wondering if this thread is a spin-off from a topic in another thread? (I was taking the OP as more hypothetical.)

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The correlations are statistical. People who identify as atheist tend to believe other things as well. Those beliefs are not guaranteed, however. For exampke, if you are atheists, it is likely, statistically, that you don't believe in ghosts. But you can believe in ghosts and be atheist. You can believe in reincarnation and be atheist. It's just less likely. You can be atheist and anti-abortion. Really. Look it up.

More later

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Ok, it's later.

The thread topic was meant to be open, not hypothetical.

The opening post was supposed to reflect the fact that folks will answer the question differently depending on how they define their terms. That's why I spent some time early on showing various definitions. It's not "trying to have it both ways." It's "willing to see it from different angles."

I have encountered those who believe atheism takes as much faith as Christianity, if not more. That is nonsense. But it's nonsense that's based on equivocation about the meanings of "faith" and "believing." That's why it's important to agree on what those terms mean before proceeding with the discussion. Simply put, if it takes faith to believe something, then it does not take faith to disbelieve it.

Etc.

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According to Wikipedia, Faith, has numerous connotations.

The Christians have faith in their Christ. Non-christians do not.

Sure everyone has faith. How is it measured? Who cares?

If you believe something for a long time to be true, and then found evidence that it was always false, might there be faith in moving your thought process to a new viewpoint?

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I have faith in lots of things. None involve religion.

I have faith in my wife's loyalty, for example. Can't prove it, but don't need to.

In my experience, it got to the point in studying the Bible that I came to the conclusion that having faith and believing in something were synonymous terms. They're not. I believe the sun will rise tomorrow. That doesn't take faith. So many disasters would have to take place for me to be wrong about that, the fact that I was wrong would be the least of our worries.

If you believe something for a long time to be true, and then found evidence that it was always false, might there be faith in moving your thought process to a new viewpoint?

Not necessarily. Having faith in Islam and shifting to Christianity would take faith. Having faith in Islam and dropping it does not require shifting faith. It requires abandoning it.

You don't "have faith" in things you can prove or demonstrate. You just know those things.

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. . .

Not necessarily. Having faith in Islam and shifting to Christianity would take faith. Having faith in Islam and dropping it does not require shifting faith. It requires abandoning it.

You don't "have faith" in things you can prove or demonstrate. You just know those things.

I wasn't meaning absolutely always.

I can't prove money is backed by faith of a government I have faith in. I've been conditioned to believe so, I believe. Take my word on it.

(if this is just an exercise in equivocation, as you mentioned, are we having fun yet? :biglaugh:)

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Equivocation is FINE as long as you're not doing it maliciously and you're clear enough so that everyone can follow along. I equivocated in the opening post. The writer of Proverbs equicovated in the "Answer/Answer not a fool" verses. It can be a clever way to get people to think.

Here's my personal favorite: I have no problem with public displays of religion, but I do have a serious problem with public displays of religion."

If you don't know I'm equivocating, that sentence makes no sense. [interpretation: I have no problem with people proclaiming their faith wherever they see fit, on street corners, on the bus or train, CERTAINLY inside AND outside churches, etc. I only have a problem with government displays of religion. Government has no business promoting one religion over another. I won't post a "There is no God" sign at a government run hospital. Keep your 10 Commandments out of a government run courthouse. See what I did there? Changed the meaning of the word "public" from the first sentence to the second].

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I believe I've seen websites with subforums dedicated to discussing logic/ fallacies/ and how to argue and discuss. These forums were not the main purpose of the website, but it helped keep other threads from digressing into those types of discussions. I thought they were helpful.

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  • 1 year later...
On 2/8/2016 at 2:58 PM, Raf said:

It's abundantly clear. Thank you. And as I said, this is equivocating on what it means to "exist." The existence of believers establishes that the concept of God exists, but it doesn't establish that he objectively exists. Similarly, the existence of my 4-year-old establishes that the concept of Santa Claus and the Sandman exist, but it doesn't mean Santa Claus and the Sandman objectively exist.

. . . 

I think there's an interesting issue in here.

Are abstract concepts object or subjective?  Particularly when dealing with larger groups?

Of particular importance to keep in mind, is God the concept invented consciously or subconsciously?

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  • 8 months later...

So if we get to the place where we decide atheism IS a religion, then do we also have to go down the road of deciding whether it is an ORGANIZED religion or not?  aka Dana Carvey's routine - "la, la, la ..... disorganized"?

Many Christians will spout off a condescending view like "religion is man-made, Christianity is God-made".  I've heard that one before.  I mean I do believe the crux of Christianity is a personal relationship with your Savior, as opposed to becoming intimate with Greek, Hebrew, and politics, and that a bunch of smug b@st@rds make a money making scheme for themselves off of Christianity.  But that quoted phrase itself carries judgment and condescension, which kind of shows the Christian with that viewpoint to have an innate value system where they see their own lives' value and that of their friends as on a different level than the rest of mankind.   That is a dangerous, prideful viewpoint.  And it is not Christ's viewpoint.

Atheism could just be a rational objection to @$$h0l3s, in one sense.

It could be the science versus faith thing.  It doesn't have to be - the Jesuits are an organized arm of the Catholics towards that aim.  They run colleges.

Atheism for those leaving the Way could just be the psyche swinging the balance back the other way, to not accept blindly what people say.  To go hard towards the evidence side.  That is probably a more healthy overall view than a "Pollyanna believing" outlook without accountability or action.

i was thinking about it, and I don't want to pigeonhole atheism into any one label, telling someone how they feel about their own life and thoughts.  That's dumb.  

So I guess it could be a religion.  Or it could be a reaction to a religion.  Or it could just be a viewpoint and nothing else.  If the rationality and logic are inspiring to a soul, more power to you.

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I used to think that atheism was an overreaction to leaving The Way.

In my case, it was a good long time between leaving TWI and rejecting theism, so I doubt very much that it can be categorized as "the psyche swinging the balance back the other way."

I'm not saying that's impossible. I'm saying I don't see where the shoe fits in my particular case.

For those reading who think this post may seem a little redundant, please check the time stamps. It's been two YEARS since I posted on this thread, so I'm not going to take for granted that folks are scrolling back. Nor am I particularly concerned about whether I'm consistent in my phrasing. People change in the way in which they articulate their positions.

That said, to this day I entertain questions about whether atheism is a religion. Some questioners are benign and genuinely curious. Others are hostile and antagonistic. Most can't seem to grasp the idea that a government can actually be neutral about matters of faith. Neutrality about religion = hostility toward all religions except one, namely atheism. 

It's just not true, though. For government to embrace atheism, government would have to say flat out there is no God. I do not want agents of the government making such statements in their official capacities. It is not only disrespectful -- it can all too easily lead to depriving people of their constitutional rights. 

Atheism is a single answer to a single question: do you believe in gods? No.

THAT'S LITERALLY IT.

From there, an atheist can adopt any of thousands of philosophies or worldviews. They can be humanists, nihilists, anarchists, socialists, capitalists, racists, Buddhists (to a large extent) modernists, postmodernists, dentists, are you still reading this, and if so why.

I think when most people make the claim that atheism is a religion, what they really mean is that non-theistic humanism is a religion.

They're wrong. But they're not that wrong. Non-theistic humanism is a lot of things: a worldview, a philosophy, an approach to life. But it lacks the key ingredient that makes a religion: a belief in the supernatural. 

Rambling. Gonna get some sleep and tackle the rest at a later date. Do allow me to say, however, that the above post by chockfull is excellent.

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When I was in junior high school and beginning my journey into the higher levels of mathematics, I found myself completely lost. Oh,teachers would willingly offer to resolve any questions I had. I was so lost, though, that I didn't even know what questions to ask, much less how to articulate them. So, religion and philosophy are a bit like this. Not only about seeking answers but about finding the right questions to ask and learning to voice them. I stumbled on this audio cast recently that addresses this issue. It's quite a bit lengthy and I will understand completely if you pass on it. If you do happen to listen, please don't allow yourself to be intimidated by all the academic references. (I certainly am not familiar with almost all of them.) I don't think that's as important as trying to get a grasp of the total message being presented. I think it's appropriate for the discussion at hand. Your mileage may vary.

 

HERE

Edited by waysider
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Waysider, thanks for that audio cast…very interesting stuff !

I like Dennett – he seems so at ease on the subject and kinda reminds me a little of Letterman…of late, I’ve become more interested in philosophy but feel lost most of the time – since I’m a latecomer – but Dennett has a way of making it seem accessible to me…if he’s like that in his books – I may just have to check out some of them: his “From Bacteria to Bach and Back”,   “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon”,   “Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?”, and   “Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking” (all look interesting so I put them on my Amazon wish list).

Like you were saying and Dennett explains further - philosophy and religion is the approach you take when you don’t know the right questions to ask…Dennett also talked about science as an effort to seek truth – since it asks the right questions – which are usually very specific - like, how far away is that? .... What is that made of?...  When did this happen? – and for that endeavor science often develops technological “prosthetics” (telescopes, microscopes, radio waves, Carbon-14 dating, etc.) in search of the truth…

I think Dennett also mentioned that philosophy came long before the sciences were developed…guess you have to start somewhere…I’ve always had a love for science, even as a kid – but doggone it – I got sidetracked into giving religion priority over science when I joined The Way Ministry :asdf: Grrrrrrrr 

…well, anyway – I’m trying out a new approach – where science takes precedence over religion as I attempt to draw (in pencil – it has an eraser at the other end, ya know  :biglaugh: ) a mental map of reality…maybe this goes along with what Chockfull said about it not having to be a  science versus faith thing - - uhmmm I'm working on a synthesis, I guess…well, there you have it folks, my belief system in a nutshell. :rolleyes:

thinking about what Raf said – I like his honesty - entertaining questions about atheism being a religion – and I also related to something else he said – I have wondered if my getting out of a fundamentalist’s mindset was overreacting to TWI dogma – maybe a little bit – but – I think a lot of what motivates me to check out and really consider other ideas and viewpoints is simply the adventurous thrill of exploring the unknown.

There’s some really intelligent sounding folks on that audio cast – I felt like a little kid eavesdropping on adults…I believe they’re talking about some very important heady stuff – but for now guess this little kid will just have to keep playing at philosophizing in my little world.  :spy:

Edited by T-Bone
formatting + clarity
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Thanks for listening, T-Bone. I kinda thought you might like it. Sometimes with a long podcast like that I just listen in multiple short sessions, like reading a book a few chapters at a time. I especially liked his take on "your right to believe what you what to believe.". You cross the line when your beliefs start to have a negative impact on others. It reminds me of how dangerous the *law of believing* can be. Also, his use of the eagle's eyesight as an  example of  how "the truth" can be relative resonated with me. Keep on thinking and questioning. And, if you don't know the right questions to ask, that's o.k., too. Make your quest, then, about finding the right questions to ask.

 

Well, that's what I took away from it. I think it helped me better understand what defines atheism.

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2 hours ago, T-Bone said:

I think Dennett also mentioned that philosophy came long before the sciences were developed

Philosophy gave us the questions, science (and religion) gave us the answers.

Edited by waysider
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10 hours ago, waysider said:

Philosophy gave us the questions, science (and religion) gave us the answers.

Or, as they used to say at the university:

You spend four years in to the School of Engineering learning to ask the question, How can we make it?

You spend four years in the School of Management learning to ask the question, What will it cost?

And you spend four years in the School of Liberal Arts learning to ask the question, You want fries with that order?

Edited by So_crates
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1 hour ago, So_crates said:

Or, as they used to say at the university:

You spend four years in to the School of Engineering learning to ask the question, How can we make it?

You spend four years in the School of Management learning to ask the question, What will it cost?

And you spend four years in the School of Liberal Arts learning to ask the question, You want fries with that order?

Ha ! There’s something to that, Socrates!

After 2 years in a fine arts program - as a professor was critiquing my work - I remember thinking “who the hell is going to pay me to make them a painting?” So I did the smart thing - dropped out of college...and joined a cult. :biglaugh:

If I had to do it all over again I’d probably go for a degree in electrical engineering  and minor in philosophy...

Not too concerned about that now ...fixin’ to retire next year...so it will be full time couch potato and resident philosopher. :rolleyes:

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