The following debate originally took place upon my Facebook wall…Brian J.: Hey Rayn. After some further research, I’ve realized that atheism is not a religion. You’re just talking about fundamentalists and behavior patterns that make it look like a religion, but it’s not a religion. If you look up the definition of religion, it always involves something spiritual. And that’s why communism was a religion, that used atheism to not believe in other gods, but to worship the state. Which had nothing to do with atheism. Atheism simply means, “a lack of belief in god or gods.” Which is why I don’t believe in any gods, or creators. Now whatever a person does after that, has nothing to do with atheism. Being an atheist activists, doesn’t really have anything to do with the definition of atheism. Which is why atheism turns into an ideology, in spite of itself.
It’s not suppose to be an ideology, or a religion. But because of religious people, it gets turned into that, while having nothing to do with the definition of atheism. Atheism is just a statement. It’s an unbelief. I require no faith to have an unbelief in god or gods. It doesn’t take faith to believe in a time n chance universe. Especially since scientists like Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss are starting to realize that there was something, before something else got created. And that everything didn’t happen by chance or randomly. Evolution and the big bang had a random component, but it wasn’t all random. So as an atheist, I don’t have to believe in a time n chance universe. Because not all of it happened by time n chance.
But as an atheist, I do have faith. I have faith in the natural world, and in things that I can see. I have the hope that a more secular world, can create a better world. But I have no evidence for this, so I rely on faith. 🙂
Rayn: I did not say that atheism in itself, is a religion. I said that atheism can be religiously adhered to, and that there are, in fact, a few religions of atheism in existence. With this in mind, being an atheist does not automatically make you a member of these religions of atheism, of course, nor does it mean that you religiously adhere to atheism.
According to you, “if you look up the definition of religion, it always involves something spiritual.” While I must emphasize dictionaries DO NOT create words, but only record their historical, popular usage, let’s still do exactly what you suggest, to see what we find:
1a : the state of a religious* <a nun in her 20th year of religion>
b(1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural
(2) : commitment or devotion to religious* faith or observance
2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious* attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 (archaic): scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
1: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity <a religious person> <religious attitudes>
2: of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances <joined a religious order>
3a : scrupulously and conscientiously faithful
b : fervent, zealous
As you can see, the 1a, 1b(2), 2, 3, and 4 definitions of RELIGION are 100% compatible with the idea that atheism can be religiously adhered to. And, all forms of the definition of RELIGIOUS, 1, 2, 3a and 3b, are applicable to the same such concept.
According to you, “atheism simply means, ‘a lack of belief in god or gods’.” As I explained to you before, this is simply not the case. The true definition of atheism is much broader, and, historically predates the anti-current-establishment viewpoint that you pose. What you are postulating is as exclusionary as saying, “atheism simply means, ‘a lack of belief in zeus’.” Use of the exact proper name of an ancient deity to describe the very concept of deity is logically fallacious, as it completely, artificially boxes in the true definition. It is much more intellectually honest, and conducive to critical thinking to use one or more describing words (even abstract ones), instead, such as: Creator, Architect, Father, Husband, Spirit, Will, Truth, Light, Universe, or even, Slave-Master, Accuser, Slanderer, Darkness.
You may believe that atheism is “not suppose to be an ideology, or a religion,” but even the dictionary doesn’t seem to supports such a viewpoint, nor does it narrow the definition simply to “god”:
1 (archaic) : ungodliness, wickedness
2a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
b : the doctrine that there is no deity
Take note of the 2b definition of atheism. It further lends to the idea that atheism can be religiously adhered to, and in multiple ways. Isms lead to the schisms! I would postulate that this fact becomes especially true if such atheist doctrine is meant to push back against any already-established religions that have become tyrannical, as such movements are typically framed solely in terms of as resistance to existing oppression, and soon become obsolete as a religious practice once stated goal is met.
1 (archaic): teaching, instruction
2a : something that is taught
b : a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : dogma
c : a principle of law established through past decisions
d : a statement of fundamental government policy especially in international relations
e : a military principle or set of strategies
In reality, the modern revival of the ancient Babylonian deity “God” (aka “Fortune/Chance/Divider”) and even, “Lord” (Ba’al) by influence of the murdering, plundering, ethnic-cleansing, eugenicist Greek Empire, Roman Catholic church, and British Crown, has provably been superimposed over ancient texts that wrote nothing of the sort, to begin with! And, these texts were not theirs to alter, anyway! What we discover, when addressing the roots, is the combined efforts of the previously-mentioned empires to bastardize the Creator-concept. The results are evident: the idea of an old white male deity in the sky (“Zeus”) who acts as the Babylonian “God/Fortune” for those who pay tribute to the “church” (a word also superimposed over every instance that the word “assembly” existed, so as to control individuals through buildings, which require land “lords” [aka ‘masters/owners’] – a highly Euro-centric, hive-like understanding of property rights, not shared by the majority tribal groups of the world). This was a purposeful, calculated effort at revisionism and control that has been very successful for a long time. This oppressor-class may have pillaged human culture, and vandalized, hidden and destroyed many sacred Scriptures, but this will not remain, as time has never been on their side. Remember: “the lip of truth shall be established for ever; but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”
The current spiritual tyranny of our oppressors has been made so complete that, still, to this day, I continue to meet more and more “atheists” that are technically agnostic, but do not realize so. It only becomes apparent upon an open discussion of the issue, where they soon admit that are actually agnostic in regards to an abstract sort of Creator-concept, while, at the same time, are ADAMANTLY against the idea of a mean-spirited, murderous, damning “Judeo-Christian God,” along with the “Adam and Eve” myth of creation.
These people are those I call, “spiritually traumatized,” and the remedy they seek is actually within: the Ruach HaKodesh (רוח הקודש, aka “Spirit of Discernment,” aka “Set-Apart Spirit,” aka “Holy Spirit,” aka “LOGIC/REASON”)! It is their access to this CRITICAL THINKING ability that has already caused them to reject the religion of violent, coercive oppression! They need only tap into this ability more and more! And, THIS is the CORE TRUTH of the TaNaKh (misnomer: “Old Testament”) and the Renewed Covenant (misnomer: “New Testament). It is the “Mosaic”/”Messianic” approach of opening the mind, questioning the root, then discerning the truth from the base. “Moses” illustrated this when he inquired the Name of the Creator, while Mashiach restored the full methodology, teaching “ASK, and you shall receive,” as well as “by their fruit, you will know them,” and “be converted, and become as little children” (meaning, to come with an open mind).
This same type of methodology is described by Greeks as the “Socratic method”:
Remember: according to Plato’s “Apology,” Socrates learned he was the most wise precisely because he BELIEVED he wasn’t, which kept him honest, open and searching! 🙂
And, as wiki even explains, “the influence of [the Socratic] approach is most strongly felt today in the use of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD, in which hypothesis is the first stage.”
In conclusion, here’s some information about “G-d” and “Lord” that you might find interesting:
יהוה [HE IS] Shall Not Be Called “G-d,” Nor “Lord”:
Brian J.: But religions of atheism, has nothing to do with atheism. Because atheism is not a belief, it’s a disbelief. Religion involves a belief, and it’s usually in the supernatural. Atheism is not a belief, and it’s just a statement. Atheism means that I don’t believe in god. But I can still have faith in something. Like, faith in my fellow man, or the faith that science and evolution could make a better world. And I know that I have no evidence to prove that, but I just take it on faith. There is no real evidence that science can make a better world. If that ship hasn’t sailed yet, it’s just starting to move. But when you’re talking about communism, now that is a religion that tried to use atheism as a tool. But they weren’t real atheists, since they believed in the state. Stalin was an atheist, but he did terrible things for a political ideology. Atheism just means, “a lack of belief in god or gods.” It’s an unbelief. Anything beyond that, is just a bunch of fundamentalist atheists, acting stupid. But by definition, atheism is not a religion, or an ideology. That goes with the original definition of atheism as well. It’s just a statement. It’s not a standard. It’s not a moral standard. It’s not a standard for anything. It doesn’t promise a better world, nor does it make promises that it doesn’t keep. It’s just a conclusion.
Brian J.: And I’m not an agnostic, because I’m not open to any creator, or god. It’s just a foolish to me. So I remain an atheist, because I know that there is no god or creator. I have never seen, touched, nor taste this creator. So I remain an atheist. At least until some new piece of evidence shows up, that disputes my position. Until then, I believe in the natural order of things. I think most things could be explained through science, but it’s not gonna explain everything. And the things that scientists can’t explain, they simply say “I don’t know.” And that’s how I feel about the beginning of the cosmos. I simply don’t know, and I’m happy that I don’t know. I’m happy that there is no easy answer like “Creator”, or “God.” To me, that sounds like an easy fix. It’s the “God in the gaps” argument. I just humble myself, and say “I don’t know.” 🙂
Rayn: According to you, “religions of atheism have nothing to do with atheism,” because “atheism is not a belief,” but “just a statement,” while “religion involves a belief.” Yet, as I cited in my last comment, the Merriam-Webster definition of RELIGION also includes (1a) “the state of a religious,” (1b2) “commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance,” and (4) “a cause, principle, OR system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” These three definitions defy any notion that RELIGION inherently “involves a belief,” as you claim, and (4) specifically adheres to the point I have been making all along:
And, since two of of the aforementioned definitions of RELIGION [(1a) and (1b2)] use the word RELIGIOUS (also cited in my last comment), in these cases, the definition of RELIGION includes (1) “relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity,” and (2) “of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances,” as well as being (3a) “scrupulously and conscientiously faithful,” and (3b) “fervent, zealous.” These definitions also defy the notion that RELIGION inherently “involves a belief”:
But, let us take a step back, and quickly review exactly what a “belief” is in the first place, so as not to confuse the issue here:
1: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
2: something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
3: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence
So, by the VERY FIRST DEFINITION of BELIEF (1), ATHEISM (even when ignoring its PRACTICAL definition of “the doctrine that there is no deity,” and addressing only conceptually definition of “disbelief in the existence of deity,” as you seem to do), STILL qualifies! In such cases, BELIEF IN ATHEISM can be defined as following: “a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in [Atheism].” And, this is where we get the term “ATHEIST” from:
one who believes that there is no deity
Allow me to repeat with emphasis: “atheist: one who BELIEVES that there is no deity.”
Brian J.: Atheism has nothing to do with having a devotion to religion faith or observance. Atheism simply means a lack of belief in god. You’re getting two definitions mixed up. The definition of atheism means a lack of belief in god. It has nothing to do with belief. Even your statement, “atheist: one who believes that there is no god.” That’s still an unbelief, not a belief.
Brian J.: According to the definition of religion, it involves a belief. So atheism is not a religion. It’s not even the same ball park, it’s not even the same sport. Atheism simply means, “a lack of belief in god.” Anything beyond that, has nothing to do with atheism. There is no doctrine with atheism, or a moral standard. Like I said, you seem to be confusing two different definitions. Atheism is just a statement, nothing more or less. It doesn’t involve believing in any god, since it’s a disbelief. A religion is not made out of a disbelief. Even Buddhism has a set of beliefs. That’s not atheism.
Brian J.: And the problem with Webster, is that he’s a freaking theist. So of course he’s going to make atheism sound like a “belief” of some sort. But it’s not. It simply means “a lack of belief in god.” That’s the atheist definition. Even Stalin wasn’t a real atheist, he only used atheism as a tool. But communism is a religion, and it’s completely separate from atheism. If you consider the state to be something divine, then you’re not a true atheist. You’re just a communist. And when you got fundamentalist atheists, or militant atheists, that doesn’t make it a religion. It’s just fundamentalist people, that has nothing to do with atheism. Sports isn’t a religion, but you have fundamentalist people, and zealous people for sport. So basically anything that you’re zealous for, could be a religion of some sort. But it’s not the true definition of a religion. A religion usually involves something spiritual, or supernatural. In fact, that’s probably all religions. Including “Star Wars”, and “Star Trek.” So in the end, atheism is not a religion. By definition, it’s just a statement. The activism, and the push-back that atheists do against the religious, has nothing to do with atheism. That has more to do with people just being activists.
Rayn: By ignoring the full definitions of the words you are using, you are engaging in the logical fallacy of “cherry-picking.” I’ve more than made my point. If you’re looking for a reply to your latest comments, you need only refer to the two replies I have already shared with you. 🙂
Brian J.: I’ve read your two replies. And the definition of religion, doesn’t really add up to the definition of atheism. Because atheism is just a statement. What comes after it, is something entirely different. So I’m not cherry picking the definitions. You’re just appealing to one part of the definition, and trying to latch it onto atheism, and it’s not working to me. Making a religion out of a none-belief, is none-existent in this world. Buddhists still believe in the supernatural, and so do communists. I can’t say that about atheists, who just don’t believe in god. Even webster has that definition wrong. Atheism means a lack of belief in god. That’s all it is. Even the worst dictators, killed people for reasons that had nothing to do with atheism.
Rayn: “[I’m] just appealing to one part of the definition,” you write? You’re bold, to accuse me of what you’re doing. LOL. Amusing, but “it’s not working.” 🙂
Brian J.: I don’t see how I’m cherry picking. I’m just talking about the actual definitions of the two words. And you’ve yet to show me how atheism can be a religion. Even the most fundamentalist people, are just fundamentalists, and they don’t seem to have anything to do with the definition of atheism.
Brian J.: Have you read some of the comments on that Webster’s definition of atheism? Some of the comments are more accurate than the definition. Lol!