Opt in or opt out?

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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:45 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
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.

Ok, make a list of all the religions you know. How many of them include the worship of a god? I'm willing to bet just about all of them.

[
Qwertyuiopasd wrote: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 that would be an issue if I said that that definition was anything to do with atheism. I didn't, I said it was my expanded definition of a religion. Any belief that includes one or more of those things I would probably class as a religion. Atheism has none of them, ergo it's not a religion.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote: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.

And I'm coming from the non-academic common sense perspective which is that if there's a bunch of philosophies about life I will call them philosophies.

Unless I missed it you still haven't explained why science is a religion according to your definition :confused:

Edit - How would you classify Plato, Nietzsche, Kant etc?
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:58 pm

daftbeaker wrote:Ok, make a list of all the religions you know. How many of them include the worship of a god? I'm willing to bet just about all of them.


Many, but not all. Many have sacred scriptures, but that's not a requirement for being a religion, either.

daftbeaker wrote:
Qwertyuiopasd wrote: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 that would be an issue if I said that that definition was anything to do with atheism. I didn't, I said it was my expanded definition of a religion. Any belief that includes one or more of those things I would probably class as a religion. Atheism has none of them, ergo it's not a religion.


Oh, damn, I did get confused there.

daftbeaker wrote:Unless I missed it you still haven't explained why science is a religion according to your definition :confused:


Did I say it was a crystallized definition? It was more of a working definition, and I was seeing what I could do with it. It helps that I was very tired when making many of those posts in the train of thought, so I'm not surprised it didn't end up where it thought it was going. Besides, I'm not sure UUism fits in the definition, and UUism is definitely a religion.

daftbeaker wrote:Edit - How would you classify Plato, Nietzsche, Kant etc?


Humans, mostly. :wink: Or, more specifically including their profession, philosophers. I should note I'm really only familiar with Plato out of those three so far.
daftbeaker wrote:But if I stop bugging you I'll have to go back to arguing with Qwerty about whether beauty is truth and precisely what we both mean by 'purple' :moon:


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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:15 am

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:Ok, make a list of all the religions you know. How many of them include the worship of a god? I'm willing to bet just about all of them.


Many, but not all. Many have sacred scriptures, but that's not a requirement for being a religion, either.

Nope, you can believe in god and be religious without a book :wink: I was serious though, make a list of all the religions you know about (and preferably post it here). I'm willing to bet I can split it into ones that are religions under my definition and ones that I consider philosophies.

qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:Unless I missed it you still haven't explained why science is a religion according to your definition :confused:

Did I say it was a crystallized definition? It was more of a working definition, and I was seeing what I could do with it. It helps that I was very tired when making many of those posts in the train of thought, so I'm not surprised it didn't end up where it thought it was going. Besides, I'm not sure UUism fits in the definition, and UUism is definitely a religion.

So my definition is better than yours then? :moon: You will notice that UUism is handily defined as a religion under my definition (belief in gods, supernatural entities and/or divine order (as I understand UUism)) :wink:

daftbeaker wrote:Edit - How would you classify Plato, Nietzsche, Kant etc?

Humans, mostly. :wink: Or, more specifically including their profession, philosophers. I should note I'm really only familiar with Plato out of those three so far.[/quote]
I meant how would you classify their teachings? They all provide a moral framework, directions for living, discussions about religion etc. Surely they fall under religions under your definition?
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Ubi Dubius on Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:16 am

daftbeaker wrote:So my definition is better than yours then? :moon: You will notice that UUism is handily defined as a religion under my definition (belief in gods, supernatural entities and/or divine order (as I understand UUism)) :wink:

Many UUs are atheists as well.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:25 am

daftbeaker wrote: I was serious though, make a list of all the religions you know about (and preferably post it here). I'm willing to bet I can split it into ones that are religions under my definition and ones that I consider philosophies.


I have no doubt you could do that. If you gave me a list of things I considered religions and philosophies, I'm sure I could split it into ones that I thought were religions and ones that I thought were philosophies as well.

daftbeaker wrote:So my definition is better than yours then? :moon:


Hell no, yours is terrible, limiting, not to mention western-centric. Without knowing anything about you, only knowing that that's your definition of religion and that you're an atheist, I could easily tell that you were raised in some form of Christianity and later defected. :wink:

daftbeaker wrote:You will notice that UUism is handily defined as a religion under my definition (belief in gods, supernatural entities and/or divine order (as I understand UUism)) :wink:


Nope. UUism has no dogma. Saying that I'm UU does not tell you anything about my opinion on belief in gods, supernatural entities, and/or divine order. We have plenty of atheist UUs.

daftbeaker wrote:I meant how would you classify their teachings? They all provide a moral framework, directions for living, discussions about religion etc. Surely they fall under religions under your definition?


1) Again, it's not my definition. It's something I was playing with. And for the record, it was a very informative exercise.
2) The problem with Plato, Nietzsche, Kant, is (iirc) they're part of a (well, the) western tradition of philosophy, that actively attempts to use reason and not rely on religion. Granted, in some cases like Aquinas, part of that reasoning is an attempt to prove the existence of god and the validity of their own religion, but there are certainly many parts of Aquinas that don't rely on god or Christianity at all.
daftbeaker wrote:But if I stop bugging you I'll have to go back to arguing with Qwerty about whether beauty is truth and precisely what we both mean by 'purple' :moon:


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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:33 am

Ubi Dubius wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:So my definition is better than yours then? :moon: You will notice that UUism is handily defined as a religion under my definition (belief in gods, supernatural entities and/or divine order (as I understand UUism)) :wink:

Many UUs are atheists as well.

So it's not a religion then? :confused:

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote: I was serious though, make a list of all the religions you know about (and preferably post it here). I'm willing to bet I can split it into ones that are religions under my definition and ones that I consider philosophies.

I have no doubt you could do that. If you gave me a list of things I considered religions and philosophies, I'm sure I could split it into ones that I thought were religions and ones that I thought were philosophies as well.

My point was that almost all of them will be religions as I define it, suggesting my definition works for almost all religions, not just the monotheistic big three :wink:

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:So my definition is better than yours then? :moon:

Hell no, yours is terrible, limiting, not to mention western-centric. Without knowing anything about you, only knowing that that's your definition of religion and that you're an atheist, I could easily tell that you were raised in some form of Christianity and later defected. :wink:

Yep. Just because you consider it to be inelegant doesn't change the fact it works.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:You will notice that UUism is handily defined as a religion under my definition (belief in gods, supernatural entities and/or divine order (as I understand UUism)) :wink:

Nope. UUism has no dogma. Saying that I'm UU does not tell you anything about my opinion on belief in gods, supernatural entities, and/or divine order. We have plenty of atheist UUs.

See my reply to Ubi Dubius.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:I meant how would you classify their teachings? They all provide a moral framework, directions for living, discussions about religion etc. Surely they fall under religions under your definition?

1) Again, it's not my definition. It's something I was playing with. And for the record, it was a very informative exercise.
2) The problem with Plato, Nietzsche, Kant, is (iirc) they're part of a (well, the) western tradition of philosophy, that actively attempts to use reason and not rely on religion. Granted, in some cases like Aquinas, part of that reasoning is an attempt to prove the existence of god and the validity of their own religion, but there are certainly many parts of Aquinas that don't rely on god or Christianity at all.

So they're not religions then? Does that mean the works of Confucius aren't religious either?
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:36 pm

daftbeaker wrote:
Ubi Dubius wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:So my definition is better than yours then? :moon: You will notice that UUism is handily defined as a religion under my definition (belief in gods, supernatural entities and/or divine order (as I understand UUism)) :wink:

Many UUs are atheists as well.

So it's not a religion then? :confused:


Well, not by your silly little definition, no, I guess not.

daftbeaker wrote:Yep. Just because you consider it to be inelegant doesn't change the fact it works.


It doesn't work for me, sorry.



Qwertyuiopasd wrote:So they're not religions then? Does that mean the works of Confucius aren't religious either?


Confucius was trying to give people a way of living that would make the material world reflect the order in heaven. Plus, there's a long tradition of Confucius being given god-like status himself.

Thinking about your definition and how you define it all, you probably reject the idea of an atheistic religion, right?
daftbeaker wrote:But if I stop bugging you I'll have to go back to arguing with Qwerty about whether beauty is truth and precisely what we both mean by 'purple' :moon:


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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:55 pm

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:
Ubi Dubius wrote:Many UUs are atheists as well.

So it's not a religion then? :confused:

Well, not by your silly little definition, no, I guess not.

Atheists do not have a religion. I cannot make it any clearer than that. That is the definition of the word. Either the atheist members are not atheists or they are not 'true believers' in UU or it's not a religion.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:Yep. Just because you consider it to be inelegant doesn't change the fact it works.
It doesn't work for me, sorry.

Why not? Provide a religion that doesn't involve god(s), supernatural entities, immortality, divine order, reincarnation or karma as an active principle and I'll accept it doesn't work. Alternatively, provide a better one :wink: Finally, I consider a false negative better than a false positive. Missing off some buddhist sects is better than defining science as a religion.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:
daftbeaker wrote:So they're not religions then? Does that mean the works of Confucius aren't religious either?

Confucius was trying to give people a way of living that would make the material world reflect the order in heaven. Plus, there's a long tradition of Confucius being given god-like status himself.

Alright then, Marx. Fits all those descriptions and he was deified in the USSR.

Qwertyuiopasd wrote:Thinking about your definition and how you define it all, you probably reject the idea of an atheistic religion, right?

Well yes, what with the whole 'atheist is the word for people that are not religious' thing. I also reject the idea of dry water.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Qwertyuiopasd on Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:34 pm

daftbeaker wrote:Atheists do not have a religion. I cannot make it any clearer than that. That is the definition of the word. Either the atheist members are not atheists or they are not 'true believers' in UU or it's not a religion.


No, the definition of atheism is "No gods." That's all. Or have you changed your definition now?

Just to make this easy for you, you wouldn't consider UUism a religion, because there is no required belief in god, gods, reincarnation, divine order, or any sort of woo. But here's an entirely possible conversation: "What is your religion?" "Unitarian Universalism." "Oh, so what do you believe about God?" "I don't believe God exists." Or, if for a more strongly atheist, less agnostic answer, "I believe God doesn't exist."

daftbeaker wrote:Why not? Provide a religion that doesn't involve god(s), supernatural entities, immortality, divine order, reincarnation or karma as an active principle and I'll accept it doesn't work. Alternatively, provide a better one :wink: Finally, I consider a false negative better than a false positive. Missing off some buddhist sects is better than defining science as a religion.


UUism. :wink: More to the point, you've now expanded your definition of atheism to mean more than just "no god(s)." Or, worse, you've expanded your definition of god.

daftbeaker wrote:Alright then, Marx. Fits all those descriptions and he was deified in the USSR.


Considering they were a strictly atheist nation, I doubt that. :wink: Though of as very important, held sacred, maybe, but I doubt people though that he held any supernatural powers.

daftbeaker wrote:Well yes, what with the whole 'atheist is the word for people that are not religious' thing. I also reject the idea of dry water.


So you are twisting the definition of atheist. Let me put it this way. Monotheism means the belief in one god, no more, no less, and nothing else. Monotheism isn't a religion. Of course, there are monotheistic religions. All atheist means is "no god(s)." Doesn't mention anything about being a religion, or not being a religion, or being incompatible with religion.
daftbeaker wrote:But if I stop bugging you I'll have to go back to arguing with Qwerty about whether beauty is truth and precisely what we both mean by 'purple' :moon:


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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby daftbeaker on Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:47 pm

Fine, I give up.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Edd on Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:52 pm

The lesson here is, you shouldn't assume that another is using the words 'religion,' god(s),' or 'atheist (-ism),' the same way you are because they probably aren't.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby DaveL on Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:05 pm

Interesting how athiests seem to have to fit into a theists philosophical framework in order to prove a valid argument. Shouldn't it be the other way? The burden of proof should be with the theist, not atheist.

Circular arguments (ugghh!).
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby MakkaPakka on Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:57 am

DaveL wrote:The burden of proof should be with the theist, not atheist.


Previously someone replied to one of my posts saying you cannot prove a negative (in this case the absence of a god).

Firstly this is non sense. I'm sure there are plenty of negatives that you could prove but here is just one. There exists a proof that the root of two is not a rational number. This proof can be read here http://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching/proof_square_root_2_irrational.php. Now this has nothing to do with theism or atheism but simply shows that negatives can be proven. In this case, if you assert that root two is a rational number, one can prove it is an irrational number that goes on forever without actually calculating every last decimal place because there is no last decimal place.

Secondly it seems grossly arrogant to assume that ones own view on any particular subject is the only valid opinion. I am an atheist, that means to me that there is no god. However for me to assume that my opinion is the default position and that everyone else must prove me wrong would seem rather big headed. Remember that for Christians the proof of God's existence is all around them. Every life form is to them proof that their God must exist. Additionally Christians feel they need no proof their God exists, it is their belief that drives them and they do not require proof. So if you are expecting them to start trying to prove their God exists then prepare for disappointment because it is not going to happen.

A far better approach to winding up theists is to point out the inconsistencies in their faiths. From simple things like their cruel views towards non believers to evidence for the age of the Earth not even closely matching claims in the Bible. For me all religions are shams designed to either further the causes of the leaders or simply ways to control the masses or worst cases raise money for self serving hypocrites.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby DavidH on Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:21 am

You can't prove an unrestricted negative - e.g. that there is no god.

Obviously you can prove many restricted negatives - e.g. there is not a goat in my sock-drawer, the sea is not composed of custard, and so on.

It's as well to take account of the distinction.
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Re: Opt in or opt out?

Postby Tigger_the_Wing on Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:36 am

MP, it was pointed out more than once that 'proof' is for mathematics (and whisky), and you give an example of a mathematical proof. That has nothing to do with the fact that one cannot find evidence of the non-existence of something. It is not arrogance to ask someone asserting the existence of something for some evidence of its existence!

Believers often assert that there is evidence for their particular god; but then deign to put forward that evidence.

Given that believers rarely agree with one another about the properties of their god(s) (or even the number of them), why should a non-believer in any of them prove their non-existence? Christians do not believe in the existence of any of the thousands of gods except one; why is that OK, but for atheists to believe in one fewer god 'arrogant'?

I'm interested; you keep asserting your atheism, but all your arguments are similar to those put forward by some fundamentalist Christians. They don't require themselves to prove the non-existence of all the gods that they don't believe in, so isn't it hubris for them to expect atheists to prove the non-existence of their god before being allowed not to worship it? Are you puting forward arguments you have heard them make, in the hope that you will get some good answers here to use against them? Or are you actually not an atheist at all, but are just not sure? :confused:
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