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My evolving view on “is atheism a religion?”

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posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 02:38 PM
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originally posted by: Serdgiam
a reply to: SlapMonkey

I think an interesting aspect to this is: can we actually have a lack of belief, or is it simply a different belief?

A lack of belief is absolutely a thing. Just because I opine that no religion has enough supporting evidence that their god(s) exist doesn't mean that the opinion is a different belief, it's a lack of belief. I lack a belief in your god(s). Period.

It's easy to get caught up in the semantics, and everyone will phrase things differently, but the bottom line is that think something doesn't exist is not, in itself, a belief, just an opinion. In this instance (religion and god), belief is based on faith. Not having that faith means you lack the belief.


... does our neurology allow for "voids" in our thinking? And, if it does, would we be able to consciously identify and communicate that void without creating the very neurological structures that would constitute a belief?

I don't see why not.

See what I did there?


I'm not sure we can ever have a true lack of belief, unless its something we have never processed through our brains in any way, shape, or form.

Of course there can be a absolute lack of belief. Not every opinion must be based on a positive thought process, IMO. No one has shown me that the gods of religions exist, therefore I don't believe that they don't exist, I just think that they don't until proven otherwise.

Basically, I'm apathetic to it because it's a non-issue in my life--I give it no positive thought process until I'm presented with a reason to.


Yet, can you ever honestly state you do, or don't, "believe" in my God(s)? Or, is it all based on the established neurology in your brain, incapable of having any actual familiarity with the structures in my neurology? Meaning, in that sense, there can never be anything but a lack of belief.

I was conditioned to believe from a very young age--researching world religions and the history of religions is what broke the chains of that conditioning.

But I don't believe that there is an "established neurology" in anyone's brains. The more or less that you use your brain for complex thoughts and ideas, the more or less neuron connections are formed--it's much like being physically active, where it causes the body to create new blood vessels to increase blood flow to muscles. Nothing in the human body is established, and it is always changing.



I'm of the mind we can only have a genuine lack of belief on subjects we have never been exposed to at all. The topics we are exposed to create actual, physical structures (never a "void," or "lack") for processing that information based on individual neurology and the spectrum defined by our Cultural Story.

Maybe, but again, just because we don't know what we don't know doesn't mean that there's only belief or lack-of-belief out there based on that. I don't think that a "void," as you call it, is impossible, even with things to which we are exposed.




posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 03:35 PM
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a reply to: JoshuaCox




But atheism is kinda making a claim.. a claim to KNOW there is no god. Something that is also unknowable..


How do you know it is unknowable? There is no evidence that it is knowable or unknowable, and claiming otherwise is a matter of faith and belief.

As to your question, it isn't any established doctrine that makes atheism a religion; it's their religiosity and piety.
edit on 4-4-2018 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 03:38 PM
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originally posted by: BelowLowAnnouncement
You are claiming atheists are gullible because it is on faith. So is religion. You are claiming everyone is gullible with nothing substantial to back it up. It is not gullible to doubt things that have no evidence. If that is your measure of gullibility than I am equally gullible for not believing in fairies and djinn. I am equally gullible for not believing a whole host of unproven things.


I think the real question is why do so many believe in atheism when it is based on NOTHING factual.

You're almost right. It is based on the fact that there is nothing factual to the contrary.


There is no lack of substantial evidence to back me up, I'm speaking from experience here, not just theory.

You have all the evidence you need, youv'e just been vaccinated against it.

Read this post from page 1 in case you missed it:


originally posted by: Abednego
Is a matter of having the experience. Some people believe in God only by faith, other (like me) has had the experience to see beyond the physical world. The fact that any of the statements cannot be proved, it does not mean that they are both wrong.



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 04:18 PM
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a reply to: Murgatroid

That's where we differ. Anecdotal evidence is worthless to me on matters such as this. It is not evidence of anything. Certainly not substantial evidence. Out of curiosity though, can you elaborate on the personal experience you're talking about that you consider substantial evidence for God?



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 05:26 PM
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originally posted by: JoshuaCox
a reply to: Sookiechacha

I’m not seeing any daylight between “ there is no evidence atheism” and agnostics..


I didn't say anything about evidence. Believers see evidence in everything. When presented with this "evidence" an atheist will reject it while an agnostic will remain unsure.



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 05:49 PM
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a reply to: JoshuaCox

It all seems to boil down to your definition of religion. When i Google it, I get "the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
"ideas about the relationship between science and religion"
synonyms: faith, belief, worship, creed; "

To me it includes your idea or belief about the whole subject so I would include atheism and agnosticism in there.
A lot of people feel this way but I don't believe atheism fulfills the legal definition of religion. I argue that it should.

Science is often thrown into the mix as a confounding factor. The scientific method is a technique and a philosophy not a religion. It's possible to do science or mathematics without calling upon God but still believing in your faith for other parts of life.



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 06:48 PM
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originally posted by: Sanitarium79
"If atheism is considered as a religion, not collecting stamps should be considered a hobby."

- Penn Jillette


Yeah because we all know that this issue is just like stamp collecting
Penn Jillete must have the mind of a child



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 06:58 PM
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a reply to: SlapMonkey

This is actually a discussion I've been wanting to hash out for a while. I don't really want to take it too far offtopic though, but opportunities that even flirt with this facet are few and far between.

Lets just start with basic stuff about our brains to make sure we are roughly on the same page. As we are exposed to stimuli, this is run through our brains. Right from the beginning, this physically shapes the structure that defines how we think (among other things). As we are exposed to certain things more and more, whether through our own volition or otherwise, this "strengthens" those connections that were started previously.

So, from our very first exposure to this subject (again, through our own thinking or otherwise), we have a foundation that is sourced in actual, physical structures in the brain.

In this, even the most ardent, zealous, militant atheist has physical neurological structures that are dedicated to the subject. Said atheist does not have a lack, or void, of these structures. In this sense, it would be more accurate to state that our subject has beliefs about God(s), one of the main ones being it/they/he/she does not exist. The theist also has similar structures regarding the subject, and it could also be said they have beliefs about God(s). Of course, they will be in the affirmative in regards to existence.

In other words, in all cases, there are physical neurological structures dedicated to the topic and contained within are the individuals beliefs.

In this context, its almost a foregone conclusion that each and every individual will "lack the beliefs" that are present in another individual. At least, in the same way that someone with brown eyes "lacks" blue eyes. Its a bit like a fingerprint in that sense.

But, in both cases we are dealing with structures that are very much real and present, even if some particulars vary. It becomes the examination of a spectrum rather than whether it is "there," or not. In much the same way that the person with brown eyes certainly doesn't "lack" eyes, the overall structure simply contains some marginally different variables.

TL;DR: Both the atheist and theist, and anything in between, have physically present structures dedicated to the topic of God(s) and religion. The disparity between affirmation and rejection is not particularly relevant to whether or not there are "beliefs," and those structures will form with absolute certainty with any level of exposure. In that light, an atheist doesn't lack beliefs any more than the person with brown eyes lacks peepers, they are just colored a bit differently.

Sorry if that's a bit disjointed, wrote the reply while doing some work on guitars



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 07:03 PM
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a reply to: Sookiechacha

I mean atheists who don’t claim to know their is no god. Atheists who say “there is no evidence for a god ” vs. agnostics.

Is there a difference between the two??



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 07:25 PM
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originally posted by: Sookiechacha
a reply to: JoshuaCox




But atheism is kinda making a claim.. a claim to KNOW there is no god. Something that is also unknowable..


Atheism makes no claims. It rejects claims as they arise.


The rejection is itself a counter-cliam. This is what I believe the OP is addressing. Atheists counter-claiming existence with non-existence, both are potential realities that can't be known for certain, thus making them beliefs.

In regards to claims its important to address evidence....Evidence is typically denied or dismissed if it doesn't fit the belief. For example...Atheists claim there is no god and the evidence is that there is no visually present and measurable individual endowed with god like qualities....thus, there must be "no god". Counter evidence that is typically proposed is dismissed....such as existence itself, biogenesis, etc...The evidence is dismissed because it doesn't fulfill their box for which evidence must fit....namely scientific (which is a whole other bag of worms).

Those that claim there is a god, reject evidence to the contrary namely due to faith, and scripture.

Religion is a bit more systematic than pure belief....so while Atheism is certainly a belief it may not qualify as a religion, since it lacks the traditional hallmarks of religion such as ritual, worship, hierarchy, and institutions to facilitate it all.

So I would say that Atheism qualifies as a belief but not a religion. The only reason I say atheism is a belief is because it doesn't suspend conclusion for the possibility of further discovery in acknowledgement of incomplete scientific knowledge.

Science is supposed to be fluid enough to allow facts to change when experimentation and observations begin to contradict....If science does not leave room for doubt it then becomes its own type of religion.
edit on 4-4-2018 by Sly1one because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 07:46 PM
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a reply to: JoshuaCox
If atheism is a religion, then it is a religion with no particular religious rituals and traditions. Atheists are not entitled to baptism, circumcission, scarification ( Eucharist ), holy communion, matrimony convenant etc..

They are also not bound by any religious laws such as praying, paying compulsay tribute to temples or mosques, compulsory pilgrimages, observing special days and years and many others.

To be honest, I hate all this special regulations imposed on religious folks, which is one of the many reasons I do not subscribe to any particular religions. Too much hassles, too many things to do, too little time, too many principles and control, too many laws to suppress freewill, too many potential sins to be accountable.

It doesn't affect what I believe to be.


edit on 4-4-2018 by EasternShadow because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 11:05 PM
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a reply to: SlapMonkey

But only if that belief is absolute..

Which I see countless people who claim atheist who do not claim an absolute belief.



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 11:11 PM
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a reply to: EasternShadow

What I am really asking is “aren’t about 90% of people who claim atheist and are labeled athiests, really agnostic?”

If you leave open even a 1/1,000,000,000,000,000 chance and think all the evidence is against a god. Wouldn’t you still be an agnostic because of that 1 in a trillion chance???

If so, then that includes ALMOST all the athiests..


If we go past that. Then couldn’t the .01% of athiests who claim to know there is no god, be fairly called a religion???


Which I can’t even think of any, since most public athiests are in the 1/trillion chance column..



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 11:13 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Unknowable at our pestent level of technology, with all evidence agaist it being true since NONE of the claims it makes about reality have been found to be true.



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 11:13 PM
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originally posted by: JoshuaCox
Now, just to point out my starting point. I normally classify myself as an atheist, because I think it is historically obvious that none of the ancient religions are even remotely right in the historical claims they make.


I read your OP but i did not read all the replies, so if this is already addressed, then i will just emphasize it.

Atheism is a lack of belief in a deity or deities, right? And you base your (normal atheistic classification of yourself) to the fallacies of religions.

Why are religions needed to believe in God? I find tiny bits of solid wisdom in most religions, but can't fully buy the whole story of any. And i believe in God.



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 11:15 PM
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a reply to: JoshuaCox

I'd like to know who is claiming that they can prove that there is no 'god'.

Painting all 'atheists' with the same brush is a bit extreme.

Personally, I believe everyone deist and non-deist alike, is in reality an agnostic and unable to objectively prove or disprove the existence of a deity. Proof in spiritual matters can only by subjective, never objective.



posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 11:24 PM
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originally posted by: FyreByrd
Personally, I believe everyone deist and non-deist alike, is in reality an agnostic and unable to objectively prove or disprove the existence of a deity. Proof in spiritual matters can only by subjective, never objective.


I liked these words.


But if we are talking about objectively proving of disproving the existence of a deity, or in more clear words if we debate the subject, i think that the burden of proof is on the shoulders of those who claim that there is a deity or deities.

I mean... I can claim that Mickey Mouse in a frog suit created this universe and rules it. But since he has not showed up, the status quo is that he is not real.



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 12:42 AM
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originally posted by: FyreByrd
a reply to: JoshuaCox

I'd like to know who is claiming that they can prove that there is no 'god'.

Painting all 'atheists' with the same brush is a bit extreme.

Personally, I believe everyone deist and non-deist alike, is in reality an agnostic and unable to objectively prove or disprove the existence of a deity. Proof in spiritual matters can only by subjective, never objective.


Faith is not a scientific definition, it's faith
Claiming those with faith are agnostics is a stretch though it does sound reasonable simply for the lack of evidence
Believers can't be agnostic because they believe, though that can change, obviously

Though painting everyone with the same brush is unreasonable



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 12:47 AM
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a reply to: Finspiracy

Buddhism does not believe in God as I understand, it has many philosophies, wise words?
Though it has all the trappings of religion by the looks of it



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 03:26 AM
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a reply to: Sly1one

Actually athiests day there is no evidence based on the fact there is ABSOLUTELY nothing we can in anyway measure that is specific to ANY RELIGION and zero of the claims about reality that we can test have been correct...

The concept of a god (unless it is the fish bowl god who really just started the ball rolling) breaks the laws of physics.. requiring us to create a science that doesn’t exist , for a concept you can never measure.

Which is what religion really is “the science of the spirit” a spirit that we have no reason to think exists...



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