Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

Challenge Match: Sheepslayer247 VS. Intrepid Atheism is Not a Religion

page: 1
10

log in

join

posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 03:10 PM
link   
As is customary in any ATS debate, I humbly offer my gratitude to the members, Mods and Admin of ATS. I would also like to thank Intrepid for engaging me in this debate and I am sure he/she will be a most formidable opponent.

That being said, let's begin.


Atheism is not a Religion



Since the beginning of Mankind, we have searched for the answers of our very existence. Did we evolve from the murky waters of prehistoric times, or created by the omniscient hand of God? The true answer is still yet unknown, but many religions have risen over many thousands of years in an attempt to quench the thirst of those seeking clarity. These religions, while vastly varied in their dogma, hold many similarities that bond them together under the definition of religion. Let’s take a look at examples of those similarities.


Scriptures/Gospels



Whether it’s ancient tablets from the Sumerian civilization, the Torah, Bible and Koran from the Abrahamic faiths or the Avesta of Zoroastrianism, religious texts play a vital role in the teachings of theistic ideology. Not only do many of these texts attempt to answer the question of our origins, they also lay-out the foundations for what is acceptable socially and culturally in the eyes of their respective deity. These texts set standards such as what foods are acceptable to eat, how to properly marry in the eyes of “God” and even how to dress in some circumstances.

Needless to say, these writings are much more complicated then the simple explanation I have provided, but they are crucial to their religions as they are the most basic foundation.


Churches/Temples/Mosques



Another basic tenant of religion is centralized worship. Whether it’s a church on 2nd street or a sacred piece of ground in the mountains of China, most religions have specific areas in which worship and religious organization takes place according to their particular beliefs. In some religions, the “church” is an important symbol of the deity itself and can be considered just as sacred.

These places of worship also serve as community centers and cultural centers for the local followers. It is not only about the worship of a deity, but the lifestyle and culture it tries to impart.

Religious Symbolism



Another important part of religion is the symbology in which each individual religion uses. Christians use the cross to symbolize Christ’s sacrifice for Mankind. Taoists use the “Ying and Yang” symbol to symbolize the belief that polar opposites are still universally connected.

These symbols can project a certain belief within the religion or can symbolize particular individuals that are held in high-regard within the religion. One example would be the Virgin Mary in the Catholic faith.

So how does all this apply to Atheism? Fact is, it doesn’t! Atheism does not have texts or systems of belief in place to explain the mysteries of human existence or to worship a mythical “God”. Atheism does not have a place of centralized worship, as atheists do not worship any deity at all. Lastly, there are no symbols used by atheists to symbolize important atheist figureheads or beliefs.

Atheism is the opposite of religion. There is no belief required, nor a mandate in faith.

In subsequent posts, I hope we can touch on “belief”, “faith” and how believing in something or having faith does not automatically equal religiousness.




posted on Dec, 2 2012 @ 12:54 PM
link   
Hello Debate Forum, it's been too long. I want to thank you for reading and hopefully SS and I will give your a debate that is entertaining and thought provoking. I would also like to thank SS, not only for accepting this challenge but for setting it up as well as I'm unfamiliar with the new format.

ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGION

This is a topic which I have been researching and thinking about for years. Personally I have no vested interest in either side. I am neither a Deist or an Atheist but rather an Agnostic.


Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown and (so far as can be judged) unknowable. Agnosticism can be defined in various ways, and is sometimes used to indicate doubt or a skeptical approach to questions. In some senses, agnosticism is a stance about the difference between belief and knowledge, rather than about any specific claim or belief. In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively.


Some may say, "Yes but that is not the topic. The topic is that Atheism is not a religion." If you read closely at the text provided there, "In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively." See the key words there? "Believe" and "disbelieve". Either system requires a belief as the end product is basically unknown and unknowable. So let's look at "belief" and "religion".

Belief:


Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.


en.wikipedia.org...

Thus a belief has no basis in knowable facts but is a state in which one has a firm opinion on a given topic. Both Theism and Atheism are different side BUT different sides of the same coin.

Religion:


Religion is a collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.[note 1] Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the Universe.


en.wikipedia.org...

I have already shown that Atheism is a belief system, as the end is unknowable, so how is it not a religion? My opponent has put forth that Atheism isn't a religion because there are no "churches" or has holy sites. This is disingenuous to say the least. Incorrect to say the most. While Atheism may not have any holy sites they have the same type of belief system as a religious person that doesn't go to church or tunes in to television evangelists. Are these evangelists not part of a religion? Would it not be similar to internet activity that one could access? Google "atheist sites". You will get 5,000,000 hits.

I would like to point out something from the post above as it's actually are making my case:


Originally posted by sheepslayer247
Since the beginning of Mankind, we have searched for the answers of our very existence. Did we evolve from the murky waters of prehistoric times, or created by the omniscient hand of God? The true answer is still yet unknown...


Exactly. Thus either position is an act of faith, a belief system, thus a religion. I would like to ask my opponent 2 questions:

1- Can you provide 100% evidence that a supreme creator exists?
2- Can you provide 100% evidence that a supreme creator doesn't exist?

Back to you SS.



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:20 PM
link   
It seems as though you and I have something in common….I consider myself agnostic as well.

I would go one step further to say that I am an agnostic atheist.




“Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.”


Agnosticism and atheism are “kissing cousins”. It is quite common to NOT believe in a deity because there is no evidence to prove their existence and is unknowable. The following quote does a better job of explaining the relationship.



“If a man has failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a God, it is perfectly natural and rational that he should not believe that there is a God; and if so, he is an atheist... if he goes farther, and, after an investigation into the nature and reach of human knowledge, ending in the conclusion that the existence of God is incapable of proof, cease to believe in it on the ground that he cannot know it to be true, he is an agnostic and also an atheist – an agnostic-atheist – an atheist because an agnostic... while, then, it is erroneous to identify agnosticism and atheism, it is equally erroneous so to separate them as if the one were exclusive of the other..”


It’s quite easy to understand that atheism and agnosticism go hand-in-hand. If we are to believe your premise that atheism is a religion, then would it not be applicable to say that agnosticism is a religion as well? No, I think not.


Belief





“Thus a belief has no basis in knowable facts but is a state in which one has a firm opinion on a given topic”


This we can agree on as well. Belief, in the context used in this debate, has no basis in knowable facts. But atheism is rooted in the fact that there is no empirical evidence to suggest the existence of any deity. Therefore, atheism requires no belief at all. There is nothing to believe. All atheism requires is an understanding that there is no proof that “God” exists.



Thus either position is an act of faith, a belief system, thus a religion.


This argument only works if atheists "believed" in evolution exclusively. Individual atheists have many differing theories as to how we came to occupy this planet and many have no theory at all. But all religious people and religions claim that their "deity/deities" created humans, thus highlighting the key difference between atheism and religion.



1- Can you provide 100% evidence that a supreme creator exists?


No. And to believe as such would require belief and faith.



2- Can you provide 100% evidence that a supreme creator doesn't exist?


No, I cannot prove a negative.

To understand that there is a lack of evidence proving the existence of a deity does not require "belief" or faith. It only requires common sense and logic....neither of which are religious in any way.

Source



posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 12:51 PM
link   
My opponent says:



“Thus a belief has no basis in knowable facts but is a state in which one has a firm opinion on a given topic”




This we can agree on as well. Belief, in the context used in this debate, has no basis in knowable facts. But atheism is rooted in the fact that there is no empirical evidence to suggest the existence of any deity. Therefore, atheism requires no belief at all. There is nothing to believe. All atheism requires is an understanding that there is no proof that “God” exists.


If there are no "knowable facts" how can anyone KNOW anything on the subject? If one can't KNOW something then the have that "firm opinion" of it, thus a belief. And a belief, as I showed in my previous post, is very much a religion. Something you left out from your source SS:


The agnostic atheist may be contrasted with the agnostic theist, who does believe that one or more deities exist but claims that the existence or nonexistence of such is unknown or cannot be known.


I see this as an attempt to muddy the waters between Theism/Atheism and Agnosticism. the first 2 are belief systems, already shown as such, while the latter has NO belief system. Agnostics say, "I don't know." By attempting to graft either system with Agnosticism what you end up with is what we have here, an Oxymoron.


An oxymoron (plural oxymora or oxymorons) (from Greek ὀξύμωρον, "sharp dull") is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms.


Another good example there is "living dead". It just doesn't work.

SS says further:


This argument only works if atheists "believed" in evolution exclusively. Individual atheists have many differing theories as to how we came to occupy this planet and many have no theory at all. But all religious people and religions claim that their "deity/deities" created humans, thus highlighting the key difference between atheism and religion.


If Atheists don't believe in creation what other option is there than evolution? It has to be one or the other.

First question:

SS, if we weren't created nor evolved how did existence come into being?

Now, if we are to accept this premise and I can't see how one could not, would not the writings of Darwin be considered defining text? Scripture so to speak? One could say, "Well how many Atheists read Darwin?" My reply would be, "How many that claim to be Christian read the Bible"?

I have to correct myself from my previous post. There is a place that may be considered a holy site to Atheists. That would be the Galapagos Islands. There's even a tourist sector built around Darwin's experiences there:

www.discovergalapagos.com...

Answers to my questions:



1- Can you provide 100% evidence that a supreme creator exists?




No. And to believe as such would require belief and faith.


Indeed.



2- Can you provide 100% evidence that a supreme creator doesn't exist?




No, I cannot prove a negative.


Thus it is no different than proof of god. Therefore a belief, or faith, that you said just above. I will leave with this quote from M. Ruse's(Professor at FSU) blog:


Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion -- a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint -- and Mr. Gish [Duane T. Gish the Creation Scientist] is but one of many to make it -- the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.


www.huffingtonpost.com...



posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 03:26 PM
link   


If there are no "knowable facts" how can anyone KNOW anything on the subject? If one can't KNOW something then the have that "firm opinion" of it, thus a belief. And a belief, as I showed in my previous post, is very much a religion.


Perhaps I should use an example to properly illustrate the average atheist's way of thinking. Please bare with me.

Imagine a barn in the middle of a Midwestern cornfield. You and I are standing in front of this barn. We cannot enter it, nor will we ever be able to do so.

As we are standing there, you (religion) make the claim that you believe there is a red BMW inside that barn. You believe so strongly that there is a BMW inside that you build a church next to the barn to worship the red BMW.

I (atheism) come to the conclusion that since there is no way to open the barn door and there is no logical reason to assume that there is a red BMW inside, I reject your assertion and refuse to believe in the BMW.

You would be taking the position of belief:



Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.


I would be taking the position of disbelief:



the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true.


It seems that his debate has hinged upon the word "belief". As I have illustrated, atheism is the opposite of belief and requires no energy on the part of the "disbeliever".

Simply put: if there is no empirical reason to believe in God....an atheist won't believe in God.



I see this as an attempt to muddy the waters between Theism/Atheism and Agnosticism. the first 2 are belief systems, already shown as such, while the latter has NO belief system. Agnostics say, "I don't know." By attempting to graft either system with Agnosticism what you end up with is what we have here, an Oxymoron.


It's complex to say the least, but an oxymoron it is not.

There is no contradiction in holding an ideology that says there is no way of knowing of the existence of a deity and at the same time rejecting religious adherence to one particular belief.

Using my previous example I could say that I reject your belief in the red BMW, but at the same time I can assert that in reality there is no way of knowing if the BMW exists or not.



If Atheists don't believe in creation what other option is there than evolution? It has to be one or the other.


Not so.

Usually Creationism has a religious context to it, but there are those that believe we were created by our ancestors that came to this Earth from another celestial body...not a supernatural deity. There are others that believe we were created in our most basic human form and then left to evolve over time through natural process'. In reality, it is possible that both are true.

We could go on for quite some time discussing the various aspects of individual theories, but to say that we must pigeon-hole the origins of Mankind into a "one or the other" scenario is disingenuous at best.



I have to correct myself from my previous post. There is a place that may be considered a holy site to Atheists. That would be the Galapagos Islands. There's even a tourist sector built around Darwin's experiences there:


It looks like a very nice place. Sadly I failed to notice, on the link you provided, how these vacation spots are specifically marketed towards atheists. It seems like any other advertisement for a tropical vacation destination...such as Mexico or the Caribbean.

On the other hand, it is quite easy to find a religious-oriented destination or themed cruise to satisfy the religious among us. For example, here is one package in which the faithful can follow in the Footsteps of Paul while enjoying the luxury of an Aegean Sea cruise.

While there are cruises specifically for Atheist get-aways, there are no pilgrimages to the Galapagos in the name of worship to Darwin and it is no different than a cruise for people that play darts....or weave baskets as a hobby.

Let me conclude this debate by saying that I believe I have provided ample information for the logical thinker to deduce that disbelief is not dogma, disbelief is not religious and Atheism is not a religion.

I'd like to again thank intrepid for keeping me on my toes and proving to be a worthy opponent, and thanks to those that read this debate. I hope intrepid and I have been able to entertain and enlighten.

The floor is yours intrepid and I rest my case.


Source



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 05:05 PM
link   
To the last post succinctly:

The red BMW scenario is the same as the God scenario. The contents are unknown. Thus unknowable. For one to say there ISN'T a red Beemer in the barn is akin to the person that thinks there is one. Thus belief comes into play. THAT is the whole crux of this debate. From my opponent:


It seems that his debate has hinged upon the word "belief". As I have illustrated, atheism is the opposite of belief and requires no energy on the part of the "disbeliever".

Simply put: if there is no empirical reason to believe in God....an atheist won't believe in God.


But you have already said that you can neither prove God exists or doesn't. If he doesn't can you provide evidence that the red BMW doesn't either? That's rhetorical, you already said you couldn't.


Using my previous example I could say that I reject your belief in the red BMW, but at the same time I can assert that in reality there is no way of knowing if the BMW exists or not.


Exactly. THAT is my point. Thank you.



If Atheists don't believe in creation what other option is there than evolution? It has to be one or the other.


Not so.

Usually Creationism has a religious context to it, but there are those that believe we were created by our ancestors that came to this Earth from another celestial body...not a supernatural deity.


That wasn't my question. It was:


SS, if we weren't created nor evolved how did existence come into being?


Existence. Not life on Earth. It either had to be created or evolved.


While there are cruises specifically for Atheist get-aways, there are no pilgrimages to the Galapagos in the name of worship to Darwin and it is no different than a cruise for people that play darts....or weave baskets as a hobby.


Try the link again:

www.discovergalapagos.com...

"Darwin's Enchanted Islands"? Quotes by Darwin? I'm thinking they don't get many evangelicals going on those "pilgrimages".

 


OK, the bullet points:

The existence of God is unknowable. To think s/he does or not is a personal belief. Belief again.


Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.


en.wikipedia.org...

And Religion:


Religion is a collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.[note 1] Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the Universe.


en.wikipedia.org...

Note it says, "...to explain the origin of life or the Universe." It didn't say, "life on Earth." Thus the previous question about "existence".

Religions have texts. Holy books. Atheism has texts, most notably the works of Darwin. Remember the 5,000,000 Atheist sites I referenced? Maybe those will be "scripture" in 1000 years. Maybe not.

The Bottom Line

It has been my experience that pointing out to Atheists that their belief is akin to a Theist brings derision. "I don't believe dude." What they miss in the is that they are as "unknowing" as a Theist. Thus a belief and religion. Whatever your belief is I hope that this has provided you with some food for thought. The logic is sound no matter what one thinks personally.

To the readers. I hope you enjoyed this debate. SS and I HOPEFULLY provided you a good debate.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 05:12 AM
link   
Judgments





First of all, congratulations to sheepslayer247 and intrepid.

Atheism is not a Religion, if there's a hard topic to debate this would be it, I most definitely enjoyed reading both sides of this debate, but in my mind, from the beginning sheepslayer247 had the edge and managed to keep the lead throughout...

I found sheepslayers276's opening post to be strong, simple and a good way to present the reader with a basic outline of the debate to follow...
intrepid's first post was also strong, but quotes like these quickly had me agreeing with SS...
******
To understand that there is a lack of evidence proving the existence of a deity does not require "belief" or faith. It only requires common sense and logic....neither of which are religious in any way.
******
With that being said, after reading each members 3rd post my mind was made.

winner sheepslayers247









This was a very difficult debate to judge, because the two contestants were arguing different definitions of atheism

To not believe in God is much different than to believe there is not God.

Sheepslayer does a fine job arguing that the first version is not a religion, because there is no definitive belief system but a lack there of.

Intrepid also is convincing in arguing that when atheism is defined as completely ruling out God, then it does take on religious qualities of faith and belief.

Sheepslayers argument may have been strengthened if he were able to provide evidence that the majority of atheists are the agnostic type.

I thought Intrepid's argument may have been strengthened by providing some direct testimony from atheists saying there is definitively no God. The quote that evolution is a religion was good, and I thought another example directly relating to the question of God may have really clinched the debate.

Still, as the nature of the debate was for sheepslayer to prove the statement: "atheism is not a religion," and intrepid acceptably proved that atheism is a religion in certain forms, I declare Intrepid the winner.

Congratulations to Intrepid, and to both debaters for a well fought battle.




The debate was a tie. A third judge was brought in to break the tie:





The Spoilers in this debate made it difficult to glean a decision. Both opponents presented clear cases about their personal beliefs, so IMO it removed some of the tenacity usually resulting from presenting opposing positions in a debate. Overall, both members stated their cases with clarity and accuracy in their openings, so the rest of the debate was a quote-fest of splitting hairs.

I used this definition of religion to determine the winner:

"A religion has two components which must both be present. It is a formalized system of ritual and belief. It is focused on a supernatural being or beings."

sheepslayer247, in his presentation, adhered to those guidelines. He continuously re-inforced those three major premises throughout, while refuting his opponent.

intrepid tended to focus primarily on the "belief" aspect of religion, while overlooking the "rituals" and "supernatural being(s)" that are also inherent in a religion, and also the defining characteristics. For example:

"I have already shown that Atheism is a belief system"

"And a belief, as I showed in my previous post, is very much a religion"

"Thus a belief and religion."

A belief is just that, and without the "rituals" and "supernatural being(s)", intrepid failed to convince me that Atheism is religious in any way other than just a simple belief system. One could argue that science is a belief system, (a system of beliefs) but no one would agree that it is a religion.

As such, a topic like this is difficult to formally argue, without incorporating all aspects of the definition.

While both opponents gave good arguments, i will give the debate to sheepslayer247.



Congratulations to sheepslayer on winning the debate.


Congratulations to intrepid on a well-fought comeback to the Debate Forum. We hope to see more of you in the future.

Thank you to the judges for thoughtful and patient judging.






top topics



 
10

log in

join