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Mar 01 2011

“Atheism is a religion too!”

Doubtless you’ve heard this little nugget of inanity from more than one indignant apologist, and it’s usually the sort of thing they resort to when everything else they’ve thrown your way has been flattened. The glib response is usually something along the lines of, “Yeah, like baldness is a hair color!” Then this is followed by tortuous explanations where you find yourself trying to describe the difference between belief that there are no gods and disbelief in gods, to a mind not exactly skilled in grasping nuance.

But there’s an easier way to deal with this one, a way even Christians might understand, and it’s illustrated by a post today from PZ.

Atheism is not a religion for the same reason theism is not a religion. The terms refer solely to the disbelief or belief in gods. But religion implies a ritualized, or at least organized practice. Indeed, a person can be theistic and yet not the least bit religious. Theism is not a religion, but Christianity, Islam, et al, are.

Similarly, atheism is not a religion, but…there are atheistic religions. And they are just as irrational and lacking in evidence as theistic ones. Buddhism, on the whole, seems generally benign, though its embrace of such fantasies as reincarnation (which is something you’re encouraged to avoid) puts it squarely in the realm of delusion and woo. But then there are the Raelians, a gang of raving nitwits who reject God…only to replace him with aliens. It may be generous even to call Raelianism (if that’s the term) atheistic, since they just put God in a UFO and only reject the traditional notion of a supernatural god. But to some, and to themselves, they are considered atheistic on those grounds alone.

We at The Atheist Experience have all encountered self-proclaimed atheists who go on to voice their eager support for other irrational ideas, like 9/11 Trutherism or “alternative” medicine.

So no, atheism itself is not a religion. But there are atheist religions, and there are individual atheists just as lost to reason and confused as many theists. It isn’t enough to reject gods simply because you don’t like Pat Robertson or the Pope or the Tea Party or what have you. Skepticism and critical thinking must inform everything you do. A person can get to atheism by means other than critical thinking, but it’s possible to adopt even ideas that are right for the wrong reasons. Put critical thinking first, and atheism should not only flow naturally from that, but it will have a much more sound intellectual footing, and you’ll be better inoculated against other slippery falsehoods that sneak through the back door of your confirmation bias too.

66 comments

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  1. 1
    JD

    I see the 'atheism is a religion too' card played *all* the time – by theists and atheists. I got into it with this one girl on Facebook who refused to label herself atheist, even though she had no belief in a god. Maddening.There's a theist blog where I had this discussion with the blog owner. He was nice enough, but clueless. Check out our discussion if you wanna:http://alifeofpraise.blogspot.com/2010/04/oprah-denies-christ.htmlhttp://alifeofpraise.blogspot.com/2010/06/comment-from-atheist.htmlNice enough guy though, so don't bomb his comments please.

  2. 2
    J. K. Jones

    I think the point they are trying to make is that atheism expresses an opinion on religious matters, and where atheism expresses a positive position (a viewpoint), the atheist expressing the proposition has to defend it.

  3. 3
    Eric Pommer

    I think this falls apart pretty quickly if you press the theist on it.If atheism is a religion, who or what does it "worship"?They'll either respond with an actual person (Darwin is a popular choice) which is easily demolished, or they'll respond with, "Well, you worship science and/or reason."If you press them on that further, (what the heck does it mean to "worship" science?) I've found that they usually retreat to a "you have faith in things just like religious people" position, like Mark on AE a few weeks back.And I'm sure everyone with internet access has seen Matt's response to that by now. ;)

  4. 4
    Martin

    J.K.: No, in my experience, what they're trying to do is set up a false equivalence ("It takes just as much faith to not believe as it does to believe!"), so that they can then pull the appeal to popularity fallacy: more people are Christians than atheists, so if it's all down to faith, the bigger numbers win.Really, that is how they think.

  5. 5
    The Invisible Pink Unicorn

    I just saw this story about the new raelian atheist campaign athttp://tinyurl.com/raelianatheistcampaign(that links to prnewswire.com) that highlights your point.

  6. 6
    Melissa

    Martin,I usually respond to the "it takes as much faith…" thing with what I actually think of faith. I also want to say I enjoy that you guys respond to atheists that fall prey to woo like you do theists. All of us are potential victims of some sort of woo if we don't keep up on our critical thinking skills. It's a lifelong practice. I never thought embracing my atheism was the end of the process.

  7. 7
    vinegardaoist

    What accept the bald statement "atheism is a religion". Press them to describe just how and respond to each "reason" in turn. Don't yield ground.

  8. 8
    vinegardaoist

    I meant to say "Why" accept.

  9. 9
    harise

    I think many believers can't get their heads around the fact that there are people who don't have any religion at all. Thus atheism must be their religion.

  10. 10
    Kerri

    Personally, I don't see the point in reading any further than: "I partially believe that part of that is that, despite your powerful objections, you know in your hearts that God really does exist–you just don't admit it because you don't want to give up the sin in your lives." Right there, he is basically stating that unless you decide to give up your supposedly atheistic sin, you can't acknowledge that you know God exists. So completely bogus an argument and one that I've heard much more than "atheism is a religion." It's the most pompous statement they can find and it puts them on a higher level. *I* know you believe… you just can't give up your in order to understand it. (head pat) Some day, you'll be as enlightened as I am and you'll see.Gag.

  11. 11
    MH

    If atheism is a religion, AE hosts should probably get tax exemption.

  12. 12
    Martin

    Well, ACA is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

  13. 13
    James Croft

    I agree with the post, but I wonder what the author would say about "religious humanism". "Religion" can refer, as the author notes, to a set of practices, rituals etc. which could, in theory, be entirely naturalistic. Some Ethical Societies engage in such rituals. To my mind these practices have value when it comes to developing community and encouraging shared values.

  14. 14
    Chortletron

    "Skepticism and critical thinking must inform everything you do."It's that kind of line that most people are referring too when people call Atheism a religion. It's tenets are "Following science blindly", "Everything must be weighted by evidence and logic.", ect.The most important thing to say is that Skepticism is not a religion, and even some/most Christians follow skepticism badly, or use it in their apologetics badly. Like "History proves the Bible." ect. If they think they have rational reasons for belief, they'll usually call themselves a skeptic. Atheism doesn't have a tenant of anything (which you've covered by the Realians, Buddhists ect.), including Skepticism (which you blurry a little bit by putting out something that reads like an Atheist commandment)

  15. 15
    Mamba24

    @ J.K. JonesA positive position being what? Because most atheists hold negative positions regarding religion, not positive. But I guess a positive position would be one like the Raelians hold. (aliens created the earth)

  16. 16
    Raymond

    Martin is spot on about the false equivalence.Its an rhetorical attempt by the theist to throw our claim that faith is irrational, back at us.The implication being that if we say their (faith-based) position is irrational then we are saying our own positional is irrational.Add a quick re-definition of atheism to mean absolute certainty that there is no god and the theist thinks they have a killer argument.

  17. 17
    Mamba24

    Even if one were to claim to an absolute certainty that there is no god…is it still an irrational position to hold? Is it irrational to hold the position that unicorns absolutely don't exist? What about leprechauns? Trolls? The BOP always rests on those making the positive claims, not the negative ones. Because it's more reasonable and rational for one to prove existence, not non-existence.

  18. 18
    Melissa

    @ Chortletron: Are you fucking kidding me? How can the promotion of critical thinking and skepticism be seen as a “commandment” by anyone? I’ve never met anyone who thought thinking was a religion. That’s not what theists are referring to when they talk about atheism being a religion. In fact, I’d guess they have no idea what they’re talking about. Most of the time they’re just parroting something they’ve heard. Sure, religionists think many of us follow science blindly, but that’s because they have no idea how rational thinking or science works.Maybe you’re trying to put forth the theists’ views and I’ve misread you a little bit? Do you think the suggestion by Martin and others that critical thinking and skepticism be utilized is wrong?

  19. 19
    Martin

    Chortletron: As you know of course, if you're thinking critically, then you're not "following" anything "blindly." But you're right, that this is the degree to which the religious fail to understand science. The scientific method is a rigorous and unforgiving method of obtaining knowledge, not a dogmatic list of rules about how you must think about things. They don't get that, though, it's true.James Croft: While humanism does have principles, you might say, it does not as far as I know have tenets or dogmas to which one must adhere on peril of excommunication from humanity or something similar. Nor does humanism expect you to revere or worship anyone or anything. I mean, I guess it's possible for someone, under the rubric of humanist philosophy, to concoct a movement or cult of personality in which the practices of religion — uncritical acceptance of revealed "knowledge," worship or reverence for a leader, adherence to groupthink — were present in a secular sense. You might say that Ayn Rand's most passionate devotees do that very thing. But I wouldn't consider that a good idea either.

  20. 20
    ChaosSong

    I've got the "you have faith in things too" routine before – I like say "I am perfectly willing to change my beliefs once presented with evidence to the contrary… are you?"

  21. 21
    Afterthought_btw

    I actually really dislike the:'Atheism is a religion like baldness is a hair colour'response, actually, for pretty much the reasons said in this post. I much prefer the 'non-stamp collecting' response (or else 'like not having blonde hair is a hair colour'). I know some atheists whose critical thinking skills leave a lot to be desired…Plus I like pointing out to people who see atheism as scary that most Buddhists are atheists, and yet they aren't scared of them. It's hard to do that if you try to say atheists aren't religious! :)

  22. 22
    Raymond

    @mamba24Claiming you are absolutely certain that no gods (lake monsters, trolls etc) exist is a positive claim which leaves the claimant with burden of proof.That was my whole point about the re-definition of atheism. The theist will try to spin atheism as a positive truth claim to switch the BOP and claim therefore we have faith.It is intellectual dishonest to say "There is absolutely no such thing as a unicorn". You would look foolish if one came walking up your street with a leprechaunon sitting on its back..

  23. 23
    Jeremiah

    @Raymond"It is intellectual dishonest to say "There is absolutely no such thing as a unicorn". You would look foolish if one came walking up your street with a leprechaunon sitting on its back.. I am not so sure about that. Is it intellectually dishonest to say that "There is absolutely no way that the earth is flat? You would look foolish if you were walking along and fell off the edge of the earth." Just because we can conceptualize a falsification doesn't mean we have to respect that falsification if is astronomically unlikely or flies in the face of our observed reality. You can take skepticism to absurd levels but there is a point where you have to draw the line and the problem is that religion tries to push those boundaries further than we would accept in almost any other area.

  24. 24
    James Croft

    Martin: Thank you for your reply! Certainly, as you say, Humanism does not have principles that are enforced dogmatically. Indeed one of our principles is a commitment to fallibilism: the understanding that we might be wrong, and that our ethical ideas will change over time.But I'm not sure it's quite right to say "Nor does humanism expect you to revere or worship anyone or anything." Or at least it's not quite a full enough picture for me. Carl Sagan spoke often of "informed worship", and clearly, I think, "revered" the human capacity to discover and to understand. I don't think Kurt Vonnegut could be described as a man without reverence, or Robert Ingersoll. And these were Humanists par excellence.I also think you are perhaps a little ungenerous when you describe the practices of religion as "uncritical acceptance of revealed "knowledge," worship or reverence for a leader, [and] adherence to groupthink". You are right to say these are disturbing aspects of some religious communities and some religious practices. But there's plenty that are not like this, and I don't think ritual and ceremony HAVE to be like this.What would you say, for instance, about lighting candles to commemorate lost loved-ones, as is common in churches? That seems to me something that could be done in an entirely secular way without any groupthink or revealed knowledge.

  25. 25
    Mamba24

    Raymond said.."Claiming you are absolutely certain that no gods (lake monsters, trolls etc) exist is a positive claim which leaves the claimant with burden of proof."-No it's not a positive claim, it's a negative claim. When you say something "doesn't exist", that's a negative claim. I already explained this. "It is intellectual dishonest to say "There is absolutely no such thing as a unicorn". You would look foolish if one came walking up your street with a leprechaunon sitting on its back.."-Wow…I sure hope it isn't that way. Quite the statement to say that it's intellectually dishonest to say there is no such thing as fairies or unicorns. I think most rational thinking people would agree that those two things don't exist….So no buddy, I don't feel anywhere close to foolish by making such a claim. And I feel the same way regarding a god/gods. If someone can offer evidence for the existence of gods(depending on how you define "god/gods"), then I am open to change my mind. Same goes for leprechauns and unicorns.

  26. 26
    Wired For Sound

    "If atheism is a religion, who or what does it "worship"?"The usual response is, "Secular humanists worship themselves." There's an apologetic for everything.

  27. 27
    uzza

    Got your unicorn right herehttp://www.villageidiotsavant.com/2008/06/real-unicorn.html

  28. 28
    JAFisher44

    JD: I appreciate that you think that Tommy is a nice guy, and maybe even he doesn't know it, but he is a colossal dick. His assertion that there is not such thing as a true atheist, and his "proof" are about the most asinine things I have ever read. Sure, he couches it in pretty enough words, but it is one of the most massively insulting things that a theist can say to an atheist.Furthermore, his response presupposes that we have not done that. I have done his proof. I got on my knees more times than I can count, and with absolute sincerity begged God to reveal himself to me. I was raised Mormon. I believed. But God never revealed himself to me. Of course your condescending friend would simply dismiss my sincerity and say I didn't do it right. I wasn't humble enough, I was asking the wrong questions, whatever, fuck off Tommy.

  29. 29
    Mamba24

    @ Uzzalol nice.

  30. 30
    Gods_misled_children87110

    Everyone knows atheism is just another religion. Atheism takes just as much faith as believing in god. Atheism is just another opinion with no facts backing it up. Atheism worships the altar of science. Believing in science takes faith just like religion. Atheist's just want to deny god so they can live in sin. Atheist's know in their hearts that god is real. Atheist's can't prove there is no god.So what else is missing from the theist check list?

  31. 31
    Gods_misled_children87110

    Almost forgot one. Atheist's are just a bunch of ignorant, self righteous arse holes!

  32. 32
    Gods_misled_children87110

    "Atheist's just have an ax to grind." I think that is the last one someone told me.

  33. 33
    Chumbly

    I agree with Raymond that a lot of the "atheism is a religion" and "it takes faith to be an athiest" is an attempt to throw our contempt for faith back at us. But i think there is more to it than that.One theist told me that "nature is the atheist's god" "dna is the atheist's idea of a soul" and that "atheism is a religion". He seemed to be doing this so that the debate could be reconceptualised by him as an argument over the nature of god or the soul.I think a theist is much more comfortable arguing over the nature of god rather than whether god actually exists. Similarly, they would rather debate the nature of the soul than whether a soul actually exists, and the type of religion we each adhere to rather than whether the concept of religion itself is flawed. Therefore, this is an attempt to recast the debate in those terms.

  34. 34
    Raymond

    @Mamba24 and Jeremiah"gods (unicorns etc.) do absolutely not exist" is a positive claim. You are claiming that the universe lacks a diety etc.1) Today in not Sunday.2) The earth is not flat.3) There is a not teacup orbiting the dark side of the moon.The above statements are positive claims about a negitive position. The strenght of the evidence (if any) that can be produced to substanciate each claim will vary widely.I believe that the there are no gods but I would not claim to know for absolute certainty. There was a reason for using the word absolute in my very 1st post. It is a canard often used against atheism. Even the pope of atheism "His Eminence" Dawkins does not claim absolute knowledge about the non existance of a god.

  35. 35
    rrpostal

    It all comes down to how you define religion. Obviously. Once you widen the definition enough, who really cares? What's the point? It's just rhetorical. What they want to say, it seems, is that we are being hypocritical. But if so, please tell me how specifically. If the whole argument is "you hate religion but you are religious" it's the slow witted cousin of the TAG argument. Where you try to prove something through the inadequacies or vagueness of the english language instead of producing tangible, quantifiable or testable conclusions. Usually I am not trying to be clever or deceitful in my reasoning. Arguing over definitions is what you do before the debate. Not as a means of debate itself.

  36. 36
    Chortletron

    @MellisaI was just playing apologists advocate. Like Martin said, and I tried to make clear; It's not that it is a commandment or in any way religious to use critical thinking, but it is common for apologists to talk about "they're using mans logic." "If Science contradicts God, it's wrong."I was just bringing up how it looked to me using my Theist goggles, not attacking it in any way.lol, and if you don't think someone would see that as a commandment, then you need to see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9u6GDpXmeQIgnorance to a painful degree.

  37. 37
    hannanibal

    Damn good point.

  38. 38
    Mark B

    What gets to me as bad as the "Atheism is a religion" crap is when a Theist then claims that they don't have a religion, they "have a relationship".

  39. 39
    Βασίλης Περαντζάκης

    Some people confuse belief with religion. A religion has a specific Dogma. Atheism is not a religion. It is a philosophy.Now if you take Atheists that believe in the chaos theory and perform rituals to appease the Heisenberg Uncertainty Theory… then you have a… Religion!!!

  40. 40
    JT

    I wouldn't even say it's a philosophy any more than not believing in unicorns is a philosophy.

  41. 41
    Βασίλης Περαντζάκης

    Believing in Unicorns is a religion. It is specific, dogmatic. Not believing in a god, or believing in a god generally is a philosophy. So, I would insist on it… Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means "love of wisdom"

  42. 42
    JT

    You are confusing the conclusion with the cause. Many atheists aren't wise, and more are atheists for dumb reasons. There's a number of ways to reach the conclusion of atheism.My skepticism is a philosophy that has lead to my atheism.

  43. 43
    JT

    And no, believing in unicorns is not a religion.More importantly, not believing in unicorns (analogous to atheism) is not a philosophy.

  44. 44
    skurys

    Just wanted to give kudos to all of you, from someone who was brought up in a non religious household, and thankful for it, as from as far back in my childhood as I can remember, I would hear god this and religion that and to me it was all equivalent to the boogieman and fairies and the monster under the bed. You know, fairy tales. But when I hear some of these theists arguments, although they usually make no sense, you are all so awesome at putting to words what I already know but have trouble explaining, and have learned alot for debating these kind of issues.

  45. 45
    Jeremiah

    @Raymond"I believe that the there are no gods but I would not claim to know for absolute certainty. There was a reason for using the word absolute in my very 1st post."You are getting hung up on the word 'absolute'. Yes, everyone knows absolute knowledge about anything is not possible in the strictest sense, but that's not really important on a practical level. That is what I meant by taking skepticism to absurd levels. Let me try to explain it another way. We have positive claims about the world like the earth is roughly a sphere. They have evidence to back them up, that is why we accept the claim, let's call this Set A. Now we also have the inverse, which is basically everything else that hasn't been proven, Set B. When I say "no gods exist" I am simply stating that the existence of gods have never been proven (does not reside in Set A) and therefore it is only rational and logical to act as if they don't exist. The 'positive' part of the claim is only that gods are not a member of Set A and the 'proof' of that positive claim is the complete lack of any evidence. It is the same for any non-existent thing. So yes, technically there is a burden of proof, and technically it has been met in that regard.The word absolute just isn't useful in practical epistemology so I feel justified, sans proof, when I make the claim "no gods exist" given what I have said above. I am not concerned with absolutes, just justification, and it's there IMHO. My issue with your original post was with the characterization that it was "intellectually dishonest" to which I just can't agree.

  46. 46
    Carlos

    "Secular humanists worship themselves." How do you guys respond to this?The more moronic the statement the more trouble I have responding to it. I mean, how do you instill sense in someone spewing nonsense?

  47. 47
    Mamba24

    Raymond said.."gods (unicorns etc.) do absolutely not exist" is a positive claim. You are claiming that the universe lacks a deity etc."-I beg to differ, I personally label those as negative claims. Maybe I'm mistaken though. But it's not that important. What exactly is absolute certainty?? It's just another term. Can we be absolutely certain that we even exist? Maybe not. Once you start saying that we can't be absolutely certain about anything, then the word loses it's meaning. I agree with what Jeremiah said. It's just not useful in these kinds of discussions.So yeah you can sit there and say, "Oh you can't be absolutely certain that unicorns don't exist! Ha Ha!"……Okay cool man. I guess you are right in the sense that we can't be absolutely sure about anything, but then that really gets us no where. So in practical terms, which is what I mean in these kinds of discussions, I feel comfortable in saying that I lack a belief/I don't believe/I believe unicorns don't exist…… pretty darn certainly, about as close to absolute certainty as you can get if you want to get anal about the "absolute certainty" game. I feel the same way about god/gods. I even made sure to say it depends on how you define them in my last post. So can I be absolutely certain that gods don't exist? I guess not depending on what your gods are. But in most general definitions, I feel pretty darn certain that they don't exist for the same reason I'm pretty darn certain that unicorns with leprechauns sitting on their backs don't exist.

  48. 48
    Mamba24

    "1) Today in not Sunday.2) The earth is not flat.3) There is a not teacup orbiting the dark side of the moon.The above statements are positive claims about a negitive position. The strenght of the evidence (if any) that can be produced to substanciate each claim will vary widely."-And this is where the issue of extraordinary claims comes in. It's pretty easy to prove a negative like your first example, all you have to do is whip out your cell phone and prove that it's Wednesday. Same goes for proving the earth isn't flat, find a picture of the earth and it solves the problem.(But wait! Can you be absolutely sure it's Wednesday or that the earth isn't flat?..Yeah let's not play the anal semantics games lol) But when you get into claims about the existence/non-existence of things, it's quite difficult to prove those negatives. Trying to prove something doesn't exist isn't the same thing as trying to prove it isn't Sunday.

  49. 49
    JT

    @CarlosDeny it, and ask them what their definitions are. It's trying to get them to defend the position that they stumble over themselves.Like the word 'Faith', there are multiple definitions, and there's really only one that we object to (Accepting something as true without sufficient evidence). Point out exactly what the accusation is (in this case that we consider ourselves god-like, I think?), and counter that, or ask for examples of secular humanists saying anything remotely like that…. although, for some of these people, they've already sailed away to fantasy world, and all you can do is wave them goodbye.

  50. 50
    Gods_misled_children87110

    A good rule of thumb is to never use qualifiers such as, 'ALL', 'ABSOLUTELY'.,etc. It's only when you use these qualifiers you've just assumed the burden of proof as Matt has said in previous shows. I've had a ton of chrisian's try and hook me with qualifiers that I never said, so I have to tell them I never said 'all' or 'absolutely.'All you really have to say is god 'probably' doesn't exist based on current scientific knowledge of ourselves and our universe. The most brillant people say our universe is based on 'probabilities' with no absolute certainty but that within itself is seemingly good enough to be true.

  51. 51
    Mamba24

    "All you really have to say is god 'probably' doesn't exist based on current scientific knowledge of ourselves and our universe. The most brilliant people say our universe is based on 'probabilities' with no absolute certainty but that within itself is seemingly good enough to be true."-Or you can just say, "based on the lack of any evidence for the existence of a god, I am not convinced that one exists."..That's all you really need to say. You don't need to get into this semantics debate of "Absolutely, probably, possibly, etc…"

  52. 52
    Raymond

    I may well guilty of being hung up on the word absolute. This is purely because it was the language that I used the my original post. I was deliberate in the way that I used it.As gods_misled_children said we should avoid having such language put into our mouths or allowing ourselves to be strawmanned into a position which doesn't reflect basis of the reasoned atheist position.I freely admit to being a pedant.(not always a bad thing, but can get annoying)If you claim that there is no chance of a god existing ever ever ever then you leave yourself open having to defend that position. Best not to start down that road when a simple rejection of the theists claim due their burden of proof not having been met will do just as nicely.

  53. 53
    Dances_with_the_beast

    The Anonymous official/unnoficial inconsistancy is perfectly explained by Monty Python: "The further to the left they are the more they hate each other". It's funny 'cos it's true. Consider the atheist "be a dick vs don't be dick" wars, or the Dawkins/RRS spat. The right is generally more internally harmonious because it's a case of monkey-see-monkey-do when the facts are irrelevent.Down with the anonymous legions, long live the legions of anonymous!!

  54. 54
    uzza

    It all comes down to how you define religion. … Arguing over definitions is what you do before the debate. QFT. But what do you do with people who refuse to define their terms? That's what I encounter most. Also, Unicorns.

  55. 55
    Βασίλης Περαντζάκης

    JT, a specific, like believing in something or not believing in somthing is not a philosophy. Believing in something specific (having a belief) is the very definition of religion (as long as it is public and not a personal belief).Atheism is not a religion because atheism has no specific belief. Religion is always connected to a specific public belief and not a lack of it. The same generic stance of Atheism constitutes a philosophy. Believe me (privately so we don't turn it in to a religion!!!) I am Greek.. I should know my… philosophies!!! (ok, this last phrase is just joke).

  56. 56
    Βασίλης Περαντζάκης

    Also, I may not be an atheist myself, I am an agnostic, which is guess what: a philosophy.

  57. 57
    Keruso

    Atheism a religion -really?? An atheist will answer NO to all of the following, theists typically will say YES to all. Nuff said.Belief in gods or God? Ritual prayer or rug butting? Churches or Temples? Holy Books and Scriptures? Priests & Religious Leaders? Spooks & Supernatural? Miracles? Disembodied Afterlives? Holy Wars? Heavens & Hells? Lifestyle Restrictions (celibacy, diet)? Belief without evidence?Don't think – just believe mentality? Belief despite conflicting evidence? Supernatural origins of universe? Murderous fundamentalist extremists? Annoying street / doorstep preachers? The soul(not the music)?Regular ceremonies / acts of worship? Vicarious atonement? Fall of Man / Original Sin? Words as weapons – Blasphemy? We are gods chosen people? Supposedly celibate paedophiles?Dogmatic homophobia? Subservient to men whose uniform is a dress?Happily inherit cultural myth and superstition?There really are men who do not masterbate?

  58. 58
    JT

    @VassilisBelieving in something specific (having a belief) is the very definition of religion (as long as it is public and not a personal belief).Could you please direct me to a dictionary that sites anything like that? Atheism is not a religion because atheism has no specific belief. Religion is always connected to a specific public belief and not a lack of it. The same generic stance of Atheism constitutes a philosophy.That is a complete non-sequitur. Atheism can be a religion if it has dogma, doctrine and ritual. Atheism ins't a philosophy because it isn't dictating anything. It's not suggesting any process. If I don't believe in leprechauns, is that another philosophy alongside not believing in unicorns, or are they all one philosophy? If they're separate philosophies, then apparently we all have infinite philosophies, because there's an infinite number of things to not believe. If they're batched together, then they aren't individually philosophies, but rather the result of a common philosophy – something like skepticism.I'm curious what you think an atheist is. Either you've invented your own definition of "athieist", or you've invented your own definition of "philosophy".Also, I may not be an atheist myself, I am an agnostic, which is guess what: a philosophy.No, it isn't. How is it a philosophy? Are we confusing the academic study of philosophy with a conclusion drawn from philosophy?I'd consider myself an agnostic atheist (like most atheists do).1) I don't accept the claim that god exists.2) I don't believe the god claims are knowable.

  59. 59
    Jose

    Atheism is a religion in the same way that bald is a hairstyle.Cheers from Spain -Europe-

  60. 60
    Aife

    @Raymond"If you claim that there is no chance of a god existing ever ever ever then you leave yourself open having to defend that position. Best not to start down that road when a simple rejection of the theists claim due their burden of proof not having been met will do just as nicely." I'm not sure how to respond to the little background flavor of "tin foil hat" that's leaking through here.Yes, if you claim that there has never been, will never be, and there is no chance that there has ever been any sort of god, etc. then you would have to find proof. But I, and most here, are not claiming any such thing. Indeed, many atheists (including most of those who congregate here) reject all claims of gods, supernaturals, etc. but do not make a claim.But you clearly have no idea whatsoever that rejecting a claim is not the same as making a claim. The fact is, Raymond, that supernatural Flying Spaghetti Monster rip-offs require proof. I reject that the God of the Bible, the God of the Koran, the God of the Torah, the gods of the Greeks, the gods of the Scandinavians, creationist aliens, etc. exist because no sufficient proof has been shown. Does that mean I claim that they can't? Flying Spaghetti Monster, no. In that case, by my own standards, I'd have to prove such a thing. But I have no obligation to replace a rejection of claims with my own claim. I can reject that unicorns exist. But I am not obligated to replace that rejection with leprechauns exist instead. And here's a fun fact: Simply rejecting a claim of supernatural nature doesn't "do as nicely" as claiming that there isn't-it does better. We are not getting into petty squabbles of 'I'm right.' 'No, I'm right!'. Instead, we are forcing you to find evidence. Raymond, I would dearly like to believe that you are not as either intentionally dishonest or downright stupid as you seem to be. The problem is, I'd need evidence that you're not. And therein lies the difference between you and me. I require evidence for claims, belief, religion, and so on. You don't.Aife the Happy Penguin, signing off.

  61. 61
    Aife

    And I just realized how long that was. I apologize.

  62. 62
    Raymond

    @Alfie the Happy Penguin.Please read my other comments on this page.You may misunderstand my position.As for "But you clearly have no idea whatsoever that rejecting a claim is not the same as making a claim. "100% correct-a-mundo. Never said any different.Please don't misrepresent me.Here is my 1st post."Martin is spot on about the false equivalence.Its an rhetorical attempt by the theist to throw our claim that faith is irrational, back at us.The implication being that if we say their (faith-based) position is irrational then we are saying our own positional is irrational.Add a quick re-definition of atheism to mean absolute certainty that there is no god and the theist thinks they have a killer argument."

  63. 63
    Aife

    @RaymondAh, sorry. I skipped to the bottom to see if there were any arguments that hadn't yet been answered and, taken out of context, the argument did seem to be favoring a theist position.I apologize for the misunderstanding.Oh, and by the way, my name's "Aife" not "Alfie". If you have some sort of spellcheck on, that might be why.

  64. 64
    Raymond

    Cool Aife (sorry bout the name thing, daft mistake).It has just been a bit of a drawn out discussion between myself and others as to what constitutes a positive claim and how that relates to where burden of proof lies.My tinfoil hat has been retired until we broach the subject of PC v Mac. I have an irrational hatred of one of them but will leave you guessing. ;-)

  65. 65
    Aife

    I'm going to guess that you hate Mac because I have a hatred of PCs that is anything but irrational. :DI do still stand behind my point, which is that before they can even start down that road of "well you're making a positive claim too so where's your proof!" you have to expressively convey that you're not making a claim-you're rejecting theirs, and it isn't necessary to replace one claim with another. I guess I was just directing the rant at the wrong source. Sorry about that.

  66. 66
    SEBU WEB EXPERT

    Why do people automatically believe that atheism is the equivalency to nihilism?Thank-you Silver MLM

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