Is atheism a religion?
Properly defined religion is “a set of beliefs concerning the nature and purpose of the universe, generally agreed upon by a number of persons; something one believes in and follows devotedly.” So you don’t need God to have a religion. All you need are some prophets (e.g. Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris), an authoritative book (e.g. The God Delusion), an ultimate concern (e.g., the self, reason), a church (e.g. the Freedom from Religion Foundation) and a devout belief (e.g. evolution and science). Thoughts?
Nope. Atheism is the complete lack of a religion. It is the rejection of religion. You don't follow atheism, or believe in it; you simply do not believe anything, and do not follow anyone.
Evolution and science aren't beliefs; they are facts. They exist, whether someone believes in them or not. They are things that can be proven.
Interesting. I wonder: in your perception does atheism thus represent absolute truth? And does this mean people are born atheists by nature and then are taught religion?
People are absolutely taught religion. They're born as blank slates, not as atheists.
I see. So a person moves from being "blank" to the rejection of belief to the absence of belief in anything.
No actually it's the rejection of deities. There are atheistic religions.
It is an ideology but not a religion.
The only exceptions to this are atheists who fervently believe in the singularity and some environmentalists. For example, there is no god but we're going to invent an all knowing all seeing good AI that will tell us what to do and create a perfect world. Don't do this and support it, and you get the post-apocalyptic burning, starving, poor world. And they'll have brain uploading technology in just 20-40 years, before the current generation dies, with the assumption they'll have a digital heaven to spend an eternity in. AKA heaven.
For the environmentalists, it is doom and gloom for the world with ever more apocalyptic visions unless we all absolutely agree with them and live in poverty and tight social control as they demand, complete with persecution of doubters and silencing those with contrary scientific opinions. Put faith in the great models, to the point of altering real world data to suit the models instead of the other way around.
NOAA Fiddles With Climate Data To Erase The 15-Year Global Warming ‘Hiatus’
http://dailycaller.com/2015/06/04/noaa- … ng-hiatus/
German Professor: NASA Has Fiddled Climate Data On ‘Unbelievable’ Scale
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government … ble-scale/
No. I have yet to meet an atheist who believed they knew without a doubt the purpose of the universe. I also don't consider liking and following what a person does any where near the same as believing in something that you have never seen, touched, or proven. Also, while the definition you provided is one of the definitions, the one that popped up when I typed it in was "the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods". In no way would atheism fit into that definition.
There is a huge difference between following something with faith, and following something based on facts. Atheism itself is not something we follow, it is simply an identifying word showing what we do not follow.
The things you mentioned (prophets, authoritative book, etc.) are not agreed upon foundations of atheism. You could think Richard Dawkins is a hack and still be an atheist. You can appreciate non-religious foundations, but belong to none of them. And you can even believe in mysticism/spiritualism without a belief in god.
I don't know why this question is asked so often, other than as an intended 'gotcha' to suggest that atheists are religious. Except the problem is that an atheist can be religious. There is such a thing as an atheist religion. It's just that atheism itself isn't a religion anymore than theism is a religion. If someone tells you they believe in god, it doesn't automatically make them part of the Christian religion or the Muslim religion. It just means they believe in god. Beliefs are not religion.
Questions are great so one doesn't fall into the trap of presuming what others think. This way I can make an assessment with real-life proof. The Q is likely asked because as this forum suggests, there are many modern interpretations of "religion."
Isn't it interesting that we say things like "he took his vitamins religiously"? "he called his mom on Sundays religiously"? What do we do with the term "Mother Nature"?
There is this interesting notion that something is 1 billion years old and we can prove it with scientific method. Well couldn't a God make it 1 billion years old if she so chose.
Clearly there is a difference between faith and religion. Clearly many scientific theories require a leap of faith -- we really cannot be crystal clear on the evolution of man. Causes of Ice Ages are so varied they cannot be set in stone through science. Black holes are weird. Why do men of science, doctors, so frequently call it the miracle of life with birth?
Religion is a man made construct. God did not say "poof" and there were Catholics and Buddhists.
So the question of whether or not Atheism is a religion is not a wholesale concept. Probably for most Atheists it is not. But some Atheists practice it religiously.
Religion is belief in the supernatural. Do atheists believe in the supernatural?
I think you are confusing spirituality/faith with religion. Religions are groups of protocols, dogmas, doctrines and commonality.
Nope. I actually paid attention in class. Religion is belief in the supernatural.
So if I believe in my God that no one else believes in and do not follow any customs of worship -- I have a religion of one?
Mythologies are stories about the supernatural and religion is belief in the supernatural.
Well I can see where you get your notion of religion. Seems current notions of religion kind of merge faith with religion. I think that not making a distinction between faith and organizational institutions is an intellectually lazy approach.
Don't worry. I make the distinction - which is why I spend most of my time alone with God, rather than allow myself to mingle with the things of man. I am a Quaker.
It seems one thing is evident from the answers and comments in this forum: that regardless of what the "textbook" definition of religion is, there are various degrees of interpretation amongst different people.
No, though religion can often have supernatural elements, religion in itself is not belief in the supernatural.
Atheism is a religion. It is a belief, therefore it is a religion. The same can go for the theory of evolution, it is a theory that is believed by faith, there is no evidence or darwin idea of evolution, so that also is a form of religion. It is an idea taken on faith. Atheists and people who believe in evolution will not like to hear this, but it is true.
No, you don't need to have a god to have religion. And you don't need religion to have a God.
But no, atheism is not a religion for me. Just like theism is not a religion. They're merely positions on whether any God(s) exist or not. That's all it means... it does not imply what one believes or does not believe beyond that.
An atheist CAN have a religion-- some Buddhist sects, Pagan sects, Unitarian Universalism, etc. Even LaVeyan Satanism is an atheistic sect.
But the fact is, most atheists do not have a religion. Atheism in itself is not a religion, it's a position on one thing. What atheists happen to have in common (or not) beyond that is irrelevant to the term.
Agreeing with Christopher Hitchens, for example, or thinking he expresses your viewpoint well, doesn't mean you are in a religion following him.
I understand that Buddhism kind of fits the bill. I hear that the Buddha never expressed any clear belief in God; he was basically agnostic. Following the religion, then, did not depend on a belief in God.
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