Opt in or opt out?

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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:48 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:A religion is a belief that a god exists

Er, no it's not. Belief in a/multiple deity/deities is not a requirement at all for something to be a religion. Take Taoism, for example, or even some flavors of Buddhism.

How would you define a religion then? I don't know much about Taoism but from the Wikipedia article I don't think I'd class it as a religion, same way I don't class philosophy or accupuncture or feng shui as religions.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:And I'm not saying it's a religion because you can't prove that God doesn't exist. It's more because atheism performs functions of other religions. Take some of the questions most if not all religions answer: "What is ultimate reality?" "What happens after we die?" "What is the right way for me to behave?" Etc. You can answer all of these with atheism (Yes, atheism doesn't give a moral code, per se, but everyone's personal moral code and ethics come from somewhere, and for most atheists, it'll probably be rational thinking and logical processes similar to the ones that lead to the rejection of God, or any kind of spirituality).

Atheism doesn't answer any of those questions. They are answered by science, biology and philosophy respectively. Atheism states there are no gods, nothing more, nothing less.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:To paraphrase Forrest Church, as I love to do, "Religion is the human response to the dual reality of having to live and having to die." All I'm saying is that that response may be atheism.

"Motor vehicles are the human response to needing to travel large distances quickly." All I'm saying is that walking may be a motor vehicle.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:Because, you know, it's not.
And if I say, "Well, you know, it is," then we don't get particularly far. :wink:

Atheism, from the roots 'theos' god and 'a' to negate. To not believe in gods. It's sort of the definition :wink:

Edit - Fixed the quotes.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:03 pm

daftbeaker wrote:How would you define a religion then? I don't know much about Taoism but from the Wikipedia article I don't think I'd class it as a religion, same way I don't class philosophy or accupuncture or feng shui as religions.


That's what I'm working on, and whether or not I should include atheism as one. You seem to have a definition going, unless you just sort of decide on the spot based on wikipedia pages. What's your definition of religion?

daftbeaker wrote:Atheism doesn't answer any of those questions. They are answered by science, biology and philosophy respectively. Atheism states there are no gods, nothing more, nothing less.


I'm not sure they do. Science certainly doesn't answer what ultimate reality is. One can take a materialistic approach (atheism) and say that there is no reason to think there's anything besides what the scientific process illuminates, but it's not like the scientific in and of itself is an ultimate reality, otherwise why would other religions persist with theirs? Especially one's that don't contradict with scientific findings. Again, same thing with biology. Sure, that answers what happens to your body, but what about your soul? Though again, you can take the materialistic approach and reject the idea of a soul.

Philosophy too, is generally informed by something. Often religion, occasionally more materialistic, rational, atheistic approaches.


daftbeaker wrote:Atheism, from the roots 'theos' god and 'a' to negate. To not believe in gods. It's sort of the definition :wink:


And religion comes from the roots 're' to return and 'lig' (or ligos or something) to connect, like ligament. Obviously applicable.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:44 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:How would you define a religion then? I don't know much about Taoism but from the Wikipedia article I don't think I'd class it as a religion, same way I don't class philosophy or accupuncture or feng shui as religions.

That's what I'm working on, and whether or not I should include atheism as one. You seem to have a definition going, unless you just sort of decide on the spot based on wikipedia pages. What's your definition of religion?

I gave it to you, a belief in a god or gods held by a large number of people :wink: There's all the associated pomp and ceremony and infidels and crusades and jihad and popes and homophobia and so on but that all follows from the main point :wink: That's why (from the little I gained from the Wikipedia entry) I wouldn't class Taoism as a religion, it seems more like a philosophy along the lines of Confucius.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:Atheism doesn't answer any of those questions. They are answered by science, biology and philosophy respectively. Atheism states there are no gods, nothing more, nothing less.
I'm not sure they do. Science certainly doesn't answer what ultimate reality is. One can take a materialistic approach (atheism) and say that there is no reason to think there's anything besides what the scientific process illuminates, but it's not like the scientific in and of itself is an ultimate reality, otherwise why would other religions persist with theirs? Especially one's that don't contradict with scientific findings.

Their what? Their 'realities'? I'm sure we've discussed this before, you tend to use words like 'truth' and reality' to suggest that it's something determined by each person individually. It doesn't work like that, if the evidence shows that X is true and Y is false you can't claim that Y is true 'for a personal reality' :idiot: I'll give you a few reasons why they persist though. Some of them really do believe it, some of them go along with it for fear of rejection or violence by their community and some (usually the ones at the top) get a huge amount of wealth and power and they won't give that up voluntarily (those criteria are not mutually exclusive).

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Again, same thing with biology. Sure, that answers what happens to your body, but what about your soul? Though again, you can take the materialistic approach and reject the idea of a soul.

Is there any evidence for a soul? Didn't think so. I feel free to reject the idea.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Philosophy too, is generally informed by something. Often religion, occasionally more materialistic, rational, atheistic approaches.

Most of the philosophy I consider 'good' philosophy (ie. not Aquinas) doesn't deal with gods but rather the way humans behave and how they should behave to maximise everyone's happiness. Are you sure you're not confusing it with theology?

Also, I'm not keen on your referring to atheism as a 'materialistic approach', it sounds like a pejorative when I read it (although that might be from seeing so many creationsists use it as a term of abuse). Try in the future writing the other way, assume that the evidence-based approach is the default and refer to all religious ideas as the 'supernatural approach' :wink:

daftbeaker wrote:Atheism, from the roots 'theos' god and 'a' to negate. To not believe in gods. It's sort of the definition :wink:
And religion comes from the roots 're' to return and 'lig' (or ligos or something) to connect, like ligament. Obviously applicable.[/quote]
Not really. I fail to see what not believing in gods has to do with reconnection :confused:
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Tigger_the_Wing on Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:24 pm

religion
c.1200, "state of life bound by monastic vows," also "conduct indicating a belief in a divine power," from Anglo-Fr. religiun (11c.), from O.Fr. religion "religious community," from L. religionem (nom. religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods," in L.L. "monastic life" (5c.); according to Cicero, derived from relegare "go through again, read again," from re- "again" + legere "read" (see lecture). However, popular etymology among the later ancients (and many modern writers) connects it with religare "to bind fast" (see rely), via notion of "place an obligation on," or "bond between humans and gods." Another possible origin is religiens "careful," opposite of negligens. Meaning "particular system of faith" is recorded from c.1300.
To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. [Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, 1885]

Modern sense of "recognition of, obedience to, and worship of a higher, unseen power" is from 1530s.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:39 pm

Yeah, the 1500s are definitely a good place for a definition of religion. :P

I probably haven't made this clear enough, but I'm coming from a Comparative Religions perspective, so that may explain the way I think about the definition of religion. Religious Studies generally doesn't like the dictionary definition of religion. In fact, there's not really any one particular definition that's decided upon, people usually think something is either too inclusive or exclusive. For the most part, an academic will have a list of things that generally show up in religion, though don't necessarily have to. I was simply responding with the etymological origin of the word, as db provided it for atheism. My point was that's not necessarily relevant to how the word is used in the modern day, especially in something like academia.

First of all, lol at Taoism being anything like Confucianism, and secondly, that's a very limited definition of religion. That's really more a definition of monotheism/polytheism. Which would explain why we disagree. Of course atheism isn't monotheism or polytheism. You should probably not worry so much when people mention atheism being a religion, because I highly doubt they're getting it confused with your definition. :wink:

The first paragraph of the Wikipeida page on Religion seems to be more in line with academia, though.

"Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life and the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency, or human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine."

Okay, so obviously atheism lacks the supernatural agency, anything holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine. But the word used is "especially," so just taking the first clause, I think atheism certainly fits. Cause? Whatever empirical evidence-based investigation reveals. Nature? same thing. Purpose? nothing in particular.

Of course, the exacts specifics may differ from atheist to atheist, and someone might define themselves as an atheist humanist or somesuch. I think the part of it might be that atheism is, in our language today, used as both a category like Monotheism/Polytheism, to show the category of a religion, but also as the religious affiliation itself (like on the census. It doesn't, for instance, have a category for "monotheism," though it includes monotheistic religions)

"Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life."

Okay, no application to atheism here. But we already know that atheism is sort of the ugly stepchild, and I don't think these are required, necessarily. For an organized, institutionalized religion, yes. Atheism is obviously not a religion in that sense. But we've established that that's not what I'm talking about.

"They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature."

I think this should speak for itself. Obviously an atheist is going to derive morality specifically differently than a theist.

It looks like what I'm going towards is reading atheism as something that fits easily in place of any religion when looking at it from this academic perspective, such that the only reason it's not a religion is because atheists say it's not. But if it looks like a duck and it sounds like a duck, it's a duck. Or whatever that saying is. XD

Also, these responses. Couldn't find a place to put them in this post (I wrote them separately somehow), so I'll just tack them down here.


daftbeaker wrote:if the evidence shows that X is true and Y is false you can't claim that Y is true 'for a personal reality'


But evidence doesn't show that X is true and Y is false. The closest thing anyone has to disproving the existence of god is occam's razor. Which is all well and good for a strictly empirical approach. All I'm saying is that you're still answering the questions religions answer.

daftbeaker wrote:Is there any evidence for a soul? Didn't think so. I feel free to reject the idea.


Go right ahead, I'm not arguing with that at all. All you're doing is answering questions religion answers :wink:

daftbeaker wrote:Also, I'm not keen on your referring to atheism as a 'materialistic approach', it sounds like a pejorative when I read it (although that might be from seeing so many creationsists use it as a term of abuse). Try in the future writing the other way, assume that the evidence-based approach is the default and refer to all religious ideas as the 'supernatural approach' :wink:


Yeah, it's not really an ideal terminology. Of course all I mean is that it's more an empirical approach, only concerned with that which is material, nothing transcendent or anything. Is empirical non-offensive to you? Evidence-based approach is only your lens for viewing the world. Which is fine, I'm just saying other people have a different kind of lens. But in this analogy lens = religion.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Edd on Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:06 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Obviously an atheist is going to derive morality specifically differently than a theist.


Let me jump in and disagree with you there.

I was raised a Catholic. I began questioning my faith at an early age but didn't consider myself an agnostic until I was a teenager and I didn't move on to outright atheism until my twenties. There were no epiphanies; the changes were very gradual. Did my morality change? Not more than any other child becoming and adult. Did the basis for my morality change? Nope, it was still a conglomeration of influences ranging from my parents, my teachers, other influential individuals, the books I read, and probably even the television shows I watched.

And before you give some hypothetical situation where my morality might differ from most theists, I'd like to point out that there are most likely some theists whose morals closely mirror mine and were derived in much the same way.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:19 pm

Hmm, I'm not sure. I probably didn't word my statement the best way. Parents, teachers, etc, are where everyone learns morality, etc. But all morality is (or should be, I think it is automatically) check by personal rational thinking. I mean, what if you disagree with your parents on a point of moral conduct?

The statement in question is: "They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature." Who doesn't do this? It's like a means to an end type of thing. Sure, we may all end up in the same spot, and in the same ways, but a theist is going to believe morality comes from God, ultimately. An atheist is, by definition, not. It's more about the underlying groundwork, rather than where it's learned from or how it's transferred.

EDIT: Wow, I'm obviously tired and it shows. XD Let me try to be slightly clearer here:

Edd wrote: Did the basis for my morality change? Nope, it was still a conglomeration of influences ranging from my parents, my teachers, other influential individuals, the books I read, and probably even the television shows I watched.


Is your morality only your morality because your parents, teachers, etc said them to you? Or did you learn things from them, and then check them against your own, say, "ideas about the cosmos and human nature?" Among other things, perhaps. A theist would worry about what God said about morality, since God is morality, or at least the source of it. An atheist obviously would worry about something different.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Tigger_the_Wing on Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:28 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Yeah, the 1500s are definitely a good place for a definition of religion. :P

I probably haven't made this clear enough, but I'm coming from a Comparative Religions perspective, so that may explain the way I think about the definition of religion. Religious Studies generally doesn't like the dictionary definition of religion. In fact, there's not really any one particular definition that's decided upon, people usually think something is either too inclusive or exclusive. For the most part, an academic will have a list of things that generally show up in religion, though don't necessarily have to. I was simply responding with the etymological origin of the word, as db provided it for atheism. My point was that's not necessarily relevant to how the word is used in the modern day, especially in something like academia.



Qwerty, you provide, not 'the' etymological origin, but one possible etymological origin; that is why I quoted the etymological dictionary to show all the various possibilities. Every word in that post was directly from the link. The last sentence in that definition was "Modern sense of "recognition of, obedience to, and worship of a higher, unseen power" is from 1530s."

Modern sense.

Are you claiming that the etymological dictionary is wrong, and that isn't the modern sense of the word 'religion', or are you trying to distort the definition so that 'atheism' can be forced into it?


Qwertyuiopasd wrote:First of all, lol at Taoism being anything like Confucianism, and secondly, that's a very limited definition of religion. That's really more a definition of monotheism/polytheism. Which would explain why we disagree. Of course atheism isn't monotheism or polytheism. You should probably not worry so much when people mention atheism being a religion, because I highly doubt they're getting it confused with your definition. :wink:


The reason that atheists get upset about atheism being called a religion has nothing to do with academia, and you know it. Academics aren't the ones denying atheists their rights in the USA. It isn't a confusion of definition that is the problem, it is confusion in the mind of the believer, probably planted by their churches, that 'atheist' means 'god-hater'; i.e. that the atheists are religious, do know that God exists, but hate him. Surely such a person would be an anti-theist, not an atheist? When reasonable people support the mis-definition of atheism as a religion, they give support to the unreasonable ones.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:The first paragraph of the Wikipeida page on Religion seems to be more in line with academia, though.

"Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life and the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency, or human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine."

Okay, so obviously atheism lacks the supernatural agency, anything holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine. But the word used is "especially," so just taking the first clause, I think atheism certainly fits. Cause? Whatever empirical evidence-based investigation reveals. Nature? same thing. Purpose? nothing in particular.


But those aren't beliefs. Those are facts gained through study of the evidence. Atheism cannot be shoehorned into that definition!

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Of course, the exacts specifics may differ from atheist to atheist, and someone might define themselves as an atheist humanist or somesuch. I think the part of it might be that atheism is, in our language today, used as both a category like Monotheism/Polytheism, to show the category of a religion, but also as the religious affiliation itself (like on the census. It doesn't, for instance, have a category for "monotheism," though it includes monotheistic religions)

"Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life."

Okay, no application to atheism here. But we already know that atheism is sort of the ugly stepchild, and I don't think these are required, necessarily. For an organized, institutionalized religion, yes. Atheism is obviously not a religion in that sense. But we've established that that's not what I'm talking about.

"They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature."

I think this should speak for itself. Obviously an atheist is going to derive morality specifically differently than a theist.

It looks like what I'm going towards is reading atheism as something that fits easily in place of any religion when looking at it from this academic perspective, such that the only reason it's not a religion is because atheists say it's not. But if it looks like a duck and it sounds like a duck, it's a duck. Or whatever that saying is. XD

Also, these responses. Couldn't find a place to put them in this post (I wrote them separately somehow), so I'll just tack them down here.


daftbeaker wrote:if the evidence shows that X is true and Y is false you can't claim that Y is true 'for a personal reality'


But evidence doesn't show that X is true and Y is false. The closest thing anyone has to disproving the existence of god is occam's razor. Which is all well and good for a strictly empirical approach. All I'm saying is that you're still answering the questions religions answer.

daftbeaker wrote:Is there any evidence for a soul? Didn't think so. I feel free to reject the idea.


Go right ahead, I'm not arguing with that at all. All you're doing is answering questions religion answers :wink:

daftbeaker wrote:Also, I'm not keen on your referring to atheism as a 'materialistic approach', it sounds like a pejorative when I read it (although that might be from seeing so many creationsists use it as a term of abuse). Try in the future writing the other way, assume that the evidence-based approach is the default and refer to all religious ideas as the 'supernatural approach' :wink:


Yeah, it's not really an ideal terminology. Of course all I mean is that it's more an empirical approach, only concerned with that which is material, nothing transcendent or anything. Is empirical non-offensive to you? Evidence-based approach is only your lens for viewing the world. Which is fine, I'm just saying other people have a different kind of lens. But in this analogy lens = religion.


I still think you are mistaken in trying to change the definition of religion so that atheism can be forced into the category. Even if you succeed, what word will you invent for the category of people who have no religion? :confused: Or do you deny there can be any such person?
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Edd on Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:28 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Hmm, I'm not sure. I probably didn't word my statement the best way. Parents, teachers, etc, are where everyone learns morality, etc. But all morality is (or should be, I think it is automatically) check by personal rational thinking. I mean, what if you disagree with your parents on a point of moral conduct?

The statement in question is: "They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature." Who doesn't do this? It's like a means to an end type of thing. Sure, we may all end up in the same spot, and in the same ways, but a theist is going to believe morality comes from God, ultimately. An atheist is, by definition, not. It's more about the underlying groundwork, rather than where it's learned from or how it's transferred.


Are you addressing me? The statement I'm questioning is this one:
Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Obviously an atheist is going to derive morality specifically differently than a theist.


You now seem to be saying the exact opposite, that everyone derives their morality the same way. You've changed the subject now to what people believe about morality, which is a very different thing.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Tigger_the_Wing on Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:33 pm

Qwerty is becoming slippery…
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Ubi Dubium on Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:45 pm

Tigger_the_Wing wrote:Qwerty is becoming slippery…


It's those Philosophy classes. They'll do it to you.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:54 pm

EDIT:
Tigger_the_Wing wrote:Qwerty is becoming slippery…


Careful. No, it's just semantics. In Edds case, concerning the word "derive."

Edd wrote:Are you addressing me? The statement I'm questioning is this one:
Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Obviously an atheist is going to derive morality specifically differently than a theist.


Which is a statement in reference to the statement I brought up. If I'm saying anything differently, that's only because I'm being clearer, I guess. Maybe I interpret derive differently than what it was used originally.

What I understood from the wikipedia quote: "Often a religion will be a basis for a moral or ethical code."

What I then said "a theist and an atheist will have a different basis for a moral or ethical code."

Clarification: "A theist believes, generally, that morality comes from God. an atheist doesn't, by definition." Are we on the same page now?

Sorry, I probably shouldn't be trying to have this conversation while so tired. XD But considering, I don't think I'm doing a terrible job of communicating my ideas...

Tigger_the_Wing wrote:Are you claiming that the etymological dictionary is wrong, and that isn't the modern sense of the word 'religion', or are you trying to distort the definition so that 'atheism' can be forced into it?


Ah, my bad. I'm going to go with the former, here. As I said, I'm coming from an academic perspective, and the dictionary definitions don't seem to cut it for our purposes.

Tigger_the_Wing wrote:The reason that atheists get upset about atheism being called a religion has nothing to do with academia, and you know it. Academics aren't the ones denying atheists their rights in the USA. It isn't a confusion of definition that is the problem, it is confusion in the mind of the believer, probably planted by their churches, that 'atheist' means 'god-hater'; i.e. that the atheists are religious, do know that God exists, but hate him. Surely such a person would be an anti-theist, not an atheist? When reasonable people support the mis-definition of atheism as a religion, they give support to the unreasonable ones.


I can honestly say I've never heard this idea of atheist meaning a 'god-hater.' Though, this does give a good reason, finally, for why you're so opposed to the idea. I can't be sure how realistic it is. I don't know that this is really that widespread of a problem, and if it is, would the denial of atheist rights in the USA really be fixed by getting everyone on the same page about the definition of atheism as religion or not?

And how much am I really supporting the unreasonable ones? I mean, if they quoted me to support their atheist-hating agenda, I'd very easily be able to say "Er, no, that's not what I was saying, you unreasonable person." But of course, what would it accomplish? They're being unreasonable. :P

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
Okay, so obviously atheism lacks the supernatural agency, anything holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine. But the word used is "especially," so just taking the first clause, I think atheism certainly fits. Cause? Whatever empirical evidence-based investigation reveals. Nature? same thing. Purpose? nothing in particular.


Tigger_the_Wing wrote:But those aren't beliefs. Those are facts gained through study of the evidence. Atheism cannot be shoehorned into that definition!


Er, what are facts? The purpose of human life being nothing in particular? I fail to see how that is a fact gained through the study of evidence.

I think I need to clarify, actually. It's not that atheism is a religion that states that evolution is how humans came to be, or anything like that. What I'm saying is that atheism is a system of belief that states "nothing other than our observable empirical world, nothing without due evidence." From that statement, if you ask someone "Why does the world work the way it does?" you get a scientific explanation, rather than "Goddidit."

Tigger_the_Wing wrote:I still think you are mistaken in trying to change the definition of religion so that atheism can be forced into the category. Even if you succeed, what word will you invent for the category of people who have no religion? :confused: Or do you deny there can be any such person?


Well, from where I'm standing, there is no clear cut definition of religion. So yes, I'm trying to see if I can't find a way to fit atheism under a definition that also works for other religions. For people who have no religion, nonreligious, obviously. :P But probably, yeah, I doubt there's anyone who doesn't have an account of the world/cosmos.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Ubi Dubium on Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:16 am

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:I can honestly say I've never heard this idea of atheist meaning a 'god-hater.'


You haven't? Oh, boy I sure have. Apparently the fundamentalist churches try to deal with the existence of atheists by insisting that we really believe in their god, and just hate him, or are denying him because we "want to sin", or some such nonsense. Their worldview is so wrapped around the existence of their god being so completely obvious that they cannot admit that there is anybody who simply doesn't agree.

Last year I was talking with a godbot on another website about a year ago, when he finally got it. He had been going on and on with the usual bible thumping and apologetics, when the light dawned. He said something along the lines of "It just hit me! You guys really don't think there's a god, do you? I've been thinking you just hated god, but that's not it. You actually don't believe there's anybody up there! Now the stuff you have been saying makes a lot more sense!" Of course, he was not agreeing with us yet, he was still a believer. But it took a long time of patient discussion to break through the "atheists hate god" model that his church had been feeding him.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:35 am

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:First of all, lol at Taoism being anything like Confucianism, and secondly, that's a very limited definition of religion. That's really more a definition of monotheism/polytheism. Which would explain why we disagree. Of course atheism isn't monotheism or polytheism. You should probably not worry so much when people mention atheism being a religion, because I highly doubt they're getting it confused with your definition. :wink:

First off, I didn't say taoism is like the ideas of Confucius, I said I'd class it as a philosophy like Confucius. The point I was making is I don't consider Confucianism to be a religion but a philosophy and (from the little I've seen about taoism) I'd also class that as a philosophy rather than a religion.

Secondly, I think it covers just about everything. Christianity, judaism, islam, mormonism, sikhism, hinduism, rastafarianism, shinto, cargo cults, shamanism (again, from the little I understand), ancestor worship etc. It covers just about everything and if you want to start getting picky about jainism or some buddhist sects I'll expand it to 'A belief in a god(s), supernatural entities, immortality, divine order, reincarnation or karma as an active principle.' Happy now? :wink:

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Okay, so obviously atheism lacks the supernatural agency, anything holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine. But the word used is "especially," so just taking the first clause, I think atheism certainly fits. Cause? Whatever empirical evidence-based investigation reveals. Nature? same thing. Purpose? nothing in particular.

So what you're saying is that the answer to cause is empirical observation, nature is empirical observation and no purpose beyond what we observe with empirical observation. Congratulations, you've just defined science as a religion :haha: Still nothing to do with atheism which, for about the third time, says there are no gods. It does not say anything more than that. No gods.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:It looks like what I'm going towards is reading atheism as something that fits easily in place of any religion when looking at it from this academic perspective, such that the only reason it's not a religion is because atheists say it's not. But if it looks like a duck and it sounds like a duck, it's a duck. Or whatever that saying is. XD

The only problem here is you've got 8 cages, 7 with ducks in and 1 empty one, and you're claiming you have 8 ducks :facepalm:


Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:if the evidence shows that X is true and Y is false you can't claim that Y is true 'for a personal reality'

But evidence doesn't show that X is true and Y is false. The closest thing anyone has to disproving the existence of god is occam's razor. Which is all well and good for a strictly empirical approach. All I'm saying is that you're still answering the questions religions answer.

What questions do religions answer? Now try and answer those questions with the phrase 'There are no gods'. Do you still think atheism answers them?


Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:Is there any evidence for a soul? Didn't think so. I feel free to reject the idea.

Go right ahead, I'm not arguing with that at all. All you're doing is answering questions religion answers :wink:

No, I'm answering the questions religions ask. The concept of a soul is a religious construction.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:Also, I'm not keen on your referring to atheism as a 'materialistic approach', it sounds like a pejorative when I read it (although that might be from seeing so many creationsists use it as a term of abuse). Try in the future writing the other way, assume that the evidence-based approach is the default and refer to all religious ideas as the 'supernatural approach' :wink:

Yeah, it's not really an ideal terminology. Of course all I mean is that it's more an empirical approach, only concerned with that which is material, nothing transcendent or anything. Is empirical non-offensive to you? Evidence-based approach is only your lens for viewing the world. Which is fine, I'm just saying other people have a different kind of lens. But in this analogy lens = religion.

Describe it how you want, I was just pointing out it can be interpreted as you having made your mind up already in the same way that you can spot a homeopath when they refer to medicine as 'allopathic medicine' :facewall:

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:I can honestly say I've never heard this idea of atheist meaning a 'god-hater.' Though, this does give a good reason, finally, for why you're so opposed to the idea.

No, I'm opposed to it because it's not a religion. The same way I'm opposed to people calling an empty space an aeroplane or a bike or a hamster or an Albanian traffic warden.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:So yes, I'm trying to see if I can't find a way to fit atheism under a definition that also works for other religions. For people who have no religion, nonreligious, obviously.

We've already got a word for people that don't have a religion. This might come as a shock but the word for people that are not religious is 'atheist'. Please try and remember that because I am fed up of repeating it now :wink:
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:12 am

daftbeaker wrote:Describe it how you want, I was just pointing out it can be interpreted as you having made your mind up already


Never assume that about me. :wink: I'll tell you when I've made up my mind.

daftbeaker wrote:We've already got a word for people that don't have a religion. This might come as a shock but the word for people that are not religious is 'atheist'. Please try and remember that because I am fed up of repeating it now :wink:


Well, by your definition, I suppose, which is where the conflict is coming. I reject the idea of religion as "people believing in god or gods." And the study of comparative religions tends to agree with me. For instance, Buddhism has no gods. You can easily say it's an atheistic religion (possibly agnostic, as it's more that they're not really worried about it than directly saying that there isn't anything).

And if you are expanding to add "immortality, divine order, reincarnation or karma," how can you do that and still call it atheism? After all, all atheism says is "no gods." Nothing about immortality, reincarnation, karma, or anything like that. Just, no gods.

And Taoism and Confucianism are religions. You can keep saying the opposite, and I can keep saying the opposite. But considering I'm from the academia perspective here, and all my books, teachers, resources, etc, classify them as religions, so I'm going to go with that.
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