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The Religion of Theism, Atheism and Agnosticism.

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posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 03:39 PM
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The Religion of Theism, Atheism and Agnosticism.


I am told often that atheism is not a religion (and this assertion is usually accompanied by a humorous quote from Bill Maher or Ricky Gervaise); but then I cannot help to witness the dogmatic expresion of their beliefs on purely religious matters and concepts. Is the mere claiming that atheism is not a religion sufficient enough to prove it so?

I have arrived at some disconcerting questions and conclusions in this regard.

  1. No one is born an atheist, agnostic, or theist, for they must first know what deities are before they can have a position concerning the nature of them.

  2. It is not our vocation to be theists, atheists or agnostics. It is a choice. It is not our vocation to be of a certain religion. It is a choice. No one is born of a fundamental belief; it is acquired.

  3. No one is born knowing what a deity is; and since a deity cannot and has not been perceived, their nature must then be conceived and assumed. Developing and assuming a concept that has only been conceived, and accepting them as true, whether they truly exist or not, is a belief.

  4. When we speak of deities, whether they exist or not, we are discussing religious entities, ideas and beliefs, nothing else.

  5. When we label ourselves atheist, agnostic, theist, christian, muslim, we are doing so to show where on the religious spectrum we exist, and what our positions are in regards to deities and religion, and nothing else.

  6. If an atheist or agnostic makes mention of his position on deities, he is doing so to quantify his beliefs to himself and others within the context of religion only, and nowhere besides.

  7. The belief and dogma that “there are deities”, is no different than the belief and dogma that “there are no deities”, or that “we can never know whether there are deities or not”; all these propositions share the same subject—deities, a religious concept.

  8. On a census, how does an atheist or agnostic label his religious beliefs? What he answers defines his religious beliefs.

  9. How can one argue that there are deities, that there are no deities, that we cannot know about deities, without first admitting that “deities”, as the subject of these propositions, exist first as a subject worth arguing over?

  10. How is it possible to argue the “non-existence” of something, while at the same time calling it a something and thereby implying its existence?

  11. If it is conceived that there is no God, it should at least be admitted that God is a theory and a concept. Shouldn’t the atheist then be weary of dogmatically expressing his own theories and concepts? his own gods?

  12. How is it possible to know that one cannot know? Shouldn’t we be agnostic about our agnosticism?

  13. When do we call ourselves theist, atheist or agnostic outside of religious discussions?

  14. How does the theist know that there are deities? Since he cannot prove their existence, he takes a leap of faith in regards to the nature of deities.

  15. How does the atheist know that there are no deities? Since he cannot disprove their existence, he takes a leap of faith in regards to the nature of deities.

  16. How does the agnostic know that he cannot know? Since he cannot know that he cannot know, he takes a leap of faith in regards to the nature of to deities.

  17. Faith in regards to the nature of deities? Religion.

  18. Dogma in regards to the nature of deities? Religion.

  19. Promotion of a position in regards to the nature of deities? Religion.

  20. Arguing over religious doctrines? Religion.

Since theism, atheism and agnosticism are positions regarding the nature of deities, they are therefor positions on matters found only in the circle and realm of religion.

Since they are positions on religious matters, and found only in discussions on religions, aren't they themselves religions? Isn't any position in regards to religious concepts, and the subsequent dogmatic expression of these concepts, whether they exist or not, still religion?

It's easy to say that atheism and agnosticism are not religions, but we cannot seem to prove this is the case. There is faith and beliefs involved, which when dogmatically expressed, shows a purely religious motivation—the submission to an assumption of the nature of deities.

How long can we argue about what the theist cannot prove, what the atheist cannot disprove, and what the agnostic cannot know? How long can we argue about what amounts to nothing?




posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 03:46 PM
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Define "Religion".



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 03:54 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 



religion |riˈlijən|
noun
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods: ideas about the relationship between science and religion.
• a particular system of faith and worship: the world's great religions.
• a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance: consumerism is the new religion.




posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 03:56 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
Since they are positions on religious matters, and found only in discussions on religions, aren't they themselves religions?

This logic is flawed. I have a position on Communism (I think it's nonsense), but that doesn't make me a Communist.
I can have a position on matters of professional football, but that doesn't make me a professional footballer.
I can have a position on matters of modern art or music, but that doesn't make me either an artist or a musician.

I am not an atheist or an agnostic.
I am a Christian who has been an atheist in the past.
So I have no pro-atheist axe to grind when I ask this question;
What on earth is the point of Christians spending all this energy trying to demonstrate that atheists have a religion?
Where does it get us, exactly?
Supposing you manage to prove your point, what useful consequence follows?
Come on, tell me- where is the benefit of proving that "atheists and agnostics are religious"?
It certainly isn't going to induce them to change from being atheists and agnostics.
It's an empty. meaningless, debating point.
Why not divert all this ingenuity away from useless point-scoring and into some question more directly relevant to the debate between the two sides?
edit on 21-4-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:02 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 





Come on, tell me- where is the benefit of proving that "atheists and agnostics are religious"?

I don't care about your intentions, why do you care about mine?



It's an empty. meaningless, debating point.

Meaningless enough to have you respond?

My point is with my meaningless and flawed logic is to show that your much coveted debate of whether deities exist or not is meaningless.

I'm only seeking answers to some difficulties. Care to help?


edit on 21-4-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:06 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 



Originally posted by LesMisanthrope



religion |riˈlijən|
noun
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods: ideas about the relationship between science and religion.
• a particular system of faith and worship: the world's great religions.
• a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance: consumerism is the new religion.



It would follow, then, that atheism is NOT a religion.

A. There is no superhuman controlling power in atheism. Just the opposite.
B. There is no "system", "faith" or "worship" involved in atheism.
C. What is to "pursue" when the belief is that there is nothing to pursue?



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:14 PM
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It's easy to say that atheism and agnosticism are not religions, but we cannot seem to prove this is the case. There is faith and beliefs involved, which when dogmatically expressed, shows a purely religious motivation—the submission to an assumption of the nature of deities.

How long can we argue about what the theist cannot prove, what the atheist cannot disprove, and what the agnostic cannot know? How long can we argue about what amounts to nothing?


I'm agnostic and sometimes swing towards atheism.

It's very difficult to make the case that either belief-system is religious in nature if we look at any number of definitions for 'religion.' It's also factual to say that babies are born 'atheist' as they have no concept of God, gods or worshipping deities. Objectively, atheism and agnosticism are neutral and without religious overtones.

For the record, I enjoy reading your OPs and respect the way you go about expressing your thoughts although I do disagree with you on this.

When I say they are 'neutral' I'm referring to the concepts and not to the assertive varieties of atheists who regard it as a cause and sometimes a movement. For instance, Northern Europeans represent a large population of atheists and agnostics who express their understandings by rarely even speaking about religion. By that I mean we don't tend to care much about the subject of religion and have no incentive to 'convert' others to that way of thinking.

Religion is mostly irrelevant to our thoughts and the activities of militant atheism are seen as similarly irrelevant.



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:16 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
I don't care about your intentions, why do you care about mine?

It's not just about you, but about everybody who comes forward with this line of argument.
I care because I'm a Christian, and as a Christian I would want the Christian case to be presented in the most productive way.
This line of argument is not productive, for the reasons I've already mentioned.
a) The only effect on atheists and agnostics is that they deny the point.
b)But if they did concede the point and say "OK, we accept, our atheism is a religion", it would still achieve nothing, because it would not shift them from being atheists.
That is my point. It is wasted energy, and I care about Christian energy being wasted on a line of attack which can so easily be deflected.



Meaningless enough to have you respond?

Meaningless enough to have me wish that Christians could devote their energies to something less meaningless, and to say so.
If i saw somebody trying to enter a building through a brick wall, I hope I would try to divert him towards a door.



My point is with my meaningless and flawed logic is to show your much coveted debate of whether deities exist or not is meaningless.

Why is it "my" coveted debate? Did you miss me mentioning that I am a Christian?
edit on 21-4-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:21 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 



It would follow, then, that atheism is NOT a religion.

A. There is no superhuman controlling power in atheism. Just the opposite.
B. There is no "system", "faith" or "worship" involved in atheism.
C. What is to "pursue" when the belief is that there is nothing to pursue?


I know. This is the contradiction I see.

"God" is a concept (this has to be admitted to go any further). This concept is believed in and dogmatically expressed and claimed to be true by the theist. "No God" is another concept believed in and dogmatically expressed and claimed to be true by the atheist. But both are nonetheless positions and ideas about the concept God, which is a religious notion. Whether one prays to it or builds a system on it doesn't matter, they are still positions of faith in regards to the nature of the concept of deities. Both are arguing about something that cannot be argued. Each proposition is fruitless and futile.



It's difficult to explain.



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:26 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


If you'd like me to explain:

My intention is to show that there is no argument for or against the theist, atheist and agnostics views. It is futile. Yet you and others hinge your entire lives and the way you conduct yourself through it to what amounts to subordination to a venerated and deified assumption. It's time to drop the idea of the deity altogether, quit arguing over what possibly may exist or not, and build anew.



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:30 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

I must admit I've been making the wrong assumption here.
Slight case of egg on face.
I've seen so many threads put forward by Christians as part of Christian-atheist controversy,using an argument resembling the beginning of yours, that I took this to be another of the same kind.
On closer inspection, it isn't.
Sorry, I think I aimed my rant at the wrong target.



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:44 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 




I must admit I've been making the wrong assumption here.
Slight case of egg on face.
I've seen so many threads put forward by Christians as part of Christian-atheist controversy,using an argument resembling the beginning of yours, that I took this to be another of the same kind.
On closer inspection, it isn't.
Sorry, I think I aimed my rant at the wrong target.


Honesty is a sign of greatness. Thanks for reading.



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:47 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

Waste not, want not.
I've just saved the relevant paragraph for the next time the real article turns up.



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:47 PM
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edit on 21-4-2013 by DISRAELI because: double post



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 04:51 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 



Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
"God" is a concept (this has to be admitted to go any further). This concept is believed in and dogmatically expressed and claimed to be true by the theist. "No God" is another concept believed in and dogmatically expressed and claimed to be true by the atheist. But both are nonetheless positions and ideas about the concept God, which is a religious notion. Whether one prays to it or builds a system on it doesn't matter, they are still positions of faith in regards to the nature of the concept of deities. Both are arguing about something that cannot be argued. Each proposition is fruitless and futile.


Simply taking a position on a concept does NOT constitute a religion. A belief in God (Theism) is not a religion. Many believe in God, but do not follow a religion. Theism is simply a position (opinion) on the existence of a God.

Christianity, Islam, Judaism are religions. Holding a position on the existence of God, one way or another, is simply an opinion.



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 05:11 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Nice! Well thought out.


I do take issue with number 9, though.


How can one argue that there are deities, that there are no deities, that we cannot know about deities, without first admitting that “deities”, as the subject of these propositions, exist first as a subject worth arguing over?


The question of whether or not this is a subject worth arguing over becomes a matter of what some people do with their belief that a deity exists. When their belief is used to kill, hurt, oppress, dominate, scare, or hate others, only then does it become (MUST become) an issue worthy of discussion.

Even I have to concede that SOMETHING is beyond our knowledge when it comes to the creation of the universe and the formation of life. Be it some kind of intelligence or purely natural, this belief should not EVER interfere or control us.



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 05:26 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 




Simply taking a position on a concept does NOT constitute a religion. A belief in God (Theism) is not a religion. Many believe in God, but do not follow a religion. Theism is simply a position (opinion) on the existence of a God.

Christianity, Islam, Judaism are religions. Holding a position on the existence of God, one way or another, is simply an opinion.


I have to agree with you here. Nice points, as usual.

It is true that atheism can be said to hold no religious practices, no religious morality etc. but there seems to remain a religious mentality in the perpetuation, dogmatic expression of, and arguing over a purely religious concept. I think the similarities between these positions and opinions far outweigh the differences. But you have shown that the systems that arrive from such convictions in these opinions are the true religions.

This is what I see common to all religions, the conviction in an unprovable idea, and the consequent dogmatic expression of it. I feel this leads to disastrous results, pure division. Atheism is also guilty of this. I think this is the aspect of religion—the attempt to posit an idea such as God or No God as true—that causes the most destruction to real things and entities. I feel we should walk away from the argument entirely, and hence let it die in peace.



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 05:30 PM
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reply to post by jiggerj
 



The question of whether or not this is a subject worth arguing over becomes a matter of what some people do with their belief that a deity exists. When their belief is used to kill, hurt, oppress, dominate, scare, or hate others, only then does it become (MUST become) an issue worthy of discussion.


I wholeheartedly agree.

Would not then the conviction in a mere concept—either God, no God, or we cannot know—and the striving to see it realized be the cause of this destruction? Isn't this religious motivation? I have to wonder why the atheist and agnostic contribute to this division by taking part in it, getting his hands just as dirty so to speak.

edit on 21-4-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 05:31 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Well if you had hundred thousand, million dollar, churches littering every corner worshiping the great unicorn...

And if you had a society that praises a presidential canidates belief in the great unicorn....

And you had people standing on street corners telling you that eternal torment waits after death for those who do not worship the great unicorn...

Then it would be hard to NOT have an opinion on the existence of a magic unicorn for which there is no evidence.
edit on 21-4-2013 by Wertdagf because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 05:37 PM
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reply to post by Wertdagf
 




Well if you had churches worshiping the great unicorn...

And if you had a society that praises a presidential canidates belief in the great unicorn....

And you had people standing on street corners telling you that eternal torment waits after death for those who do not worship the great unicorn...

Then it would be hard to NOT have an opinion on the existence of a magic unicorn for which there is no evidence.


True enough.

But isn't it contradictory, hypocritical and useless to apply dogma to defeat dogma? What we dislike most about religion we employ to defeat religion. What we're doing here is multiplying zeroes to zeroes and developing further division in the process.

"Is there another way?" is the difficult question.






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