Author Topic: Atheism is not a religion. Period.  (Read 1227 times)

UnreasonableFaith

  • Posts: 215
    • View Profile
Atheism is not a religion. Period.
« on: December 12, 2016, 08:29:24 AM »
I don't know how the situation looks like here but from what I gather a lot of people still think atheism is a religion. It's not, and here is why.

First things first let's define religion, I'll use numerous sources for that, I'm going to use these definitions that actually pertain to god, obviously keen fan of football can say that football is his religion, we can say that for some people nationalism is like religion, but these are all colloquial uses and that's not what people mean when claiming atheism is a religion. So, without further ado let's start:

Religion is:

From Merriam-Webster:

the service and worship of God or the supernatural

From Oxford Dictionaries

The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods

From Cambridge Dictionary:

the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or any such system of belief and worship

From Free Dictionary:

The belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers, regarded as creating and governing the universe

From Collins Dictionary:

belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny

Now let's have a look at atheism.

Atheism is:

From Merriam-Webster:

a disbelief in the existence of deity

From Oxford Dictionaries:

Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

From Cambridge Dictionary:

the belief that God does not exist

From Free Dictionary:

Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.

From Collins Dictionary:

rejection of belief in God or gods

As we can see to be an atheist all you need to do is to lack a belief in god.  And if you want to be sure you can believe that there is no god.

What are the requirements for religion? Well, all definitions have at least two things in common - belief in supernatural power and some kind of worship or obedience towards it.

So atheism isn't the exact opposition of religion, in theory you can reject gods, but still believe in some supernatural force, so no, these are not oppisite notions, contrary to what some people think.

However embracing atheism clearly puts you away from religion. If you're an atheist you reject belief in at least one supernatural power.

In other words atheism for religion is like not running for sport.

If you do the opposite that is you believe in god, or you run, then the good chances are you're respectively a follower of a religion and you're practicing some sport. However if you abstain from these activities, if you don't believe in god and you don't run, then it does not necessarily mean you're not religious nor a sportsman, however it removes a whole spectrum of religions and sports you can respectively follow and play.

I think it proves beyond a shadow of doubt that atheism isn't religion. To prove the contrary one woould have to prove that atheism implies a believe in and worship of some supernatural power. The latter requires the first, but as we already established atheism only makes it harder to believe in supernatural, it removes a whole category of potential supernatural forces.

Someone can also try to argue that definitions I provide aren't good, I hope it won't be the case, these are natural and common definitions, if you want to argue that if you choose a very specific, particular definition of religion, which is unrecognizable to most of people, and very particular definition of atheism, which again, is unpopular and not used by atheists themselves, then go ahead, but it's not what we're discussing here. I doubt it's even possible to find such a pair of definitions.

So, did I miss something?
You see a grammar or spelling error in my post? Feel free to point it out, I'm still learning.

searcherman

  • Posts: 2616
  • Science is methodology, not religion
    • View Profile
Re: Atheism is not a religion. Period.
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2016, 12:40:23 PM »
I would say that using regular dictionaries are only good for vernacular parlance. It's best to go to theologians and philosophers for technical definitions. Using that I have found a succinct and encompassing definition of atheism from a pre-Huxley Victorian theologian, James Buchanan. He said atheism is denial or doubt of the existence of a deity. We need that broadened definition in order to accommodate the three epistemological species described in my tag line below.

A religion would have to encompass anything supernatural. There is an historical term for an unyielding atheism, "dogmatic atheism". One must not confuse dogma with religion, even though they overlap. Apologists who throw around the "religion" moniker against science, naturalism, and/or atheism are just indulging cheap shot intellectual sloppiness.
Atheism, in the sense now generally admitted to be alone appropriate, may be of three species,- namely, denial of the existence of the Divine, denial the Divine has been shown to exist, and denial that it can be known that the Divine exists. - Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1901 Edition

lucious

  • Posts: 3080
    • View Profile
Re: Atheism is not a religion. Period.
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2016, 06:35:11 PM »
Atheism can function like one. It can rally members into an ideological fervour, united by a common cause.

Atheism is a philosophical position, with ramifications. These need to be examined for consistency and plausibility.


And I'm not sure religion necessitates a belief in the supernatural--religion can be any systematic belief system or philosophy which revolves around ultimate meaning or significance. This can be entirely naturalistic, such as druidism.

searcherman

  • Posts: 2616
  • Science is methodology, not religion
    • View Profile
Re: Atheism is not a religion. Period.
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2016, 11:21:56 AM »
Atheism can function like one. It can rally members into an ideological fervour, united by a common cause.

Atheism is a philosophical position, with ramifications. These need to be examined for consistency and plausibility.


And I'm not sure religion necessitates a belief in the supernatural--religion can be any systematic belief system or philosophy which revolves around ultimate meaning or significance. This can be entirely naturalistic, such as druidism.

Sure we can use the term in the vernacular, like, "fishing is my religion", or "my religion is you". But to conflate dogmatism and religion in a technical sense is wrong.
Furthermore, to call a pagan, pantheistic, and even polytheistic religion, like Druidism, as a form of naturalism is patently ridiculous.
Atheism, in the sense now generally admitted to be alone appropriate, may be of three species,- namely, denial of the existence of the Divine, denial the Divine has been shown to exist, and denial that it can be known that the Divine exists. - Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1901 Edition

UnreasonableFaith

  • Posts: 215
    • View Profile
Re: Atheism is not a religion. Period.
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2016, 05:30:29 AM »
Well I'm not sure whether any more technical definition would help. My goal was to prove this: Using the same the measure we apply to other things before we classify them as "religions" you can't call atheism a religion.

The reason for this approach is that I feel people tend to use some different standard when calling atheism a religion. They just say "you beleive that there is no god, so atheism is religion". For one thing it covers only one part of atheism, and secondly I think it goes without saying, that belief that god doesn't exist is different than others believes concerning god, definitions I provided reflect this difference.
You see a grammar or spelling error in my post? Feel free to point it out, I'm still learning.

lucious

  • Posts: 3080
    • View Profile
Re: Atheism is not a religion. Period.
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2016, 07:00:53 PM »
Atheism can function like one. It can rally members into an ideological fervour, united by a common cause.

Atheism is a philosophical position, with ramifications. These need to be examined for consistency and plausibility.


And I'm not sure religion necessitates a belief in the supernatural--religion can be any systematic belief system or philosophy which revolves around ultimate meaning or significance. This can be entirely naturalistic, such as druidism.

Sure we can use the term in the vernacular, like, "fishing is my religion", or "my religion is you". But to conflate dogmatism and religion in a technical sense is wrong.
Furthermore, to call a pagan, pantheistic, and even polytheistic religion, like Druidism, as a form of naturalism is patently ridiculous.

Druidism in some sense could be a religious worship of nature. What would you call people like this?

searcherman

  • Posts: 2616
  • Science is methodology, not religion
    • View Profile
Re: Atheism is not a religion. Period.
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2016, 03:23:09 PM »
Atheism can function like one. It can rally members into an ideological fervour, united by a common cause.

Atheism is a philosophical position, with ramifications. These need to be examined for consistency and plausibility.


And I'm not sure religion necessitates a belief in the supernatural--religion can be any systematic belief system or philosophy which revolves around ultimate meaning or significance. This can be entirely naturalistic, such as druidism.

Sure we can use the term in the vernacular, like, "fishing is my religion", or "my religion is you". But to conflate dogmatism and religion in a technical sense is wrong.
Furthermore, to call a pagan, pantheistic, and even polytheistic religion, like Druidism, as a form of naturalism is patently ridiculous.

Druidism in some sense could be a religious worship of nature. What would you call people like this?

As I understand it, this kind of "nature worship" involves a pantheistic "life force", and/or a polytheistic array of spirits, gods or entities. It could be called paganism, or animism, I guess.
Atheism, in the sense now generally admitted to be alone appropriate, may be of three species,- namely, denial of the existence of the Divine, denial the Divine has been shown to exist, and denial that it can be known that the Divine exists. - Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1901 Edition