This is a potentially controversial subject in some societies, and consequently some teachers may want to carefully consider if they wish to use all of these questions.Religion [ edit ]
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By Austin Cline. Agnosticism & Atheism Expert
Is There a Pagan Atheism? Examples of Atheism in Paganism:
The term "pagan" applies to a variety of pre-Christian, nature-oriented religious traditions. Pagan religions are typically polytheistic, but it is possible for a person to treat the pagan gods as metaphors and not really existing. This is no different from treating the pagan stories as metaphors rather than real events, something that is even more common.
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If a pagan doesn’t believe that the gods in their tradition are real, then they will probably be an atheist. Some may eschew this label, but others are comfortable with it and openly identify as pagan atheists (or atheistic pagans).
Is There a Hindu Atheism? Examples of Atheism in Hinduism:
The Sanskrit word nirisvaravada translates at atheism and means disbelief in a creator god. It does not require disbelief in anything else that might be a "god," but for many anything less than a creator isn't a genuine god in the first place.
Both the Samkhya and the Mimamsa schools of Hindu philosophy reject the existence of a creator god, making them explicitly atheistic from a Hindu perspective. This doesn't make them naturalistic, but it does make them as atheistic as any belief system. philosophy, or religion from the perspective of religious theists in the West.
Is There a Buddhist Atheism? Examples of Atheism in Buddhism:
Buddhism is widely regarded as an atheistic religion. Buddhist scriptures either do not promote or actively reject the existence of a creator god, the existence of "lesser" gods who are the source of morality, and that humans owe any duties to any gods.
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At the same time, though, these scriptures accept the existence of supernatural beings which might be described as gods. Some Buddhists today believe in the existence of such beings and are theists. Others dismiss these beings and are atheists. Since there is nothing about Buddhism which requires belief in gods. atheism in Buddhism is easy to maintain.
Is There a Jain Atheism? Examples of Atheism in Jain Religion:
For Jains, every soul or spiritual being is worthy of the exact same praise. Because of this, Jains do not worship any "higher" spiritual beings like gods nor do they worship or pay homage to any idols. Jains believe that the universe has always existed and will always exist, so there is no need for any sort of creator god. None of this means that no spiritual beings exist which might be called "gods," however, and thus a Jain might believe in beings which might be considered gods and therefore technically be a theist. From a Western religious perspective, though, they'd all be atheists.
Is There a Confucian or Taoist Atheism? Atheism in Confucian & Taoist Religion:
On a functional level, at least, both Confucianism and Taoism can be considered atheistic. Neither is founded on faith in a creator god like Christianity and Islam are. Neither promote the existence of such a god, either. Confucian texts describe a "Heaven" which is a transcendent. personal power of some sort. Whether this qualifies as a personal deity or not is a subject of debate, but it seems at least possible for a person to follow Confucian teachings and be an atheist. Basically the same issue exists for Taoism: belief in some deity may be included, but may not be absolutely required.
Is There a Jewish Atheism? Examples of Atheism among Jews:
Judaism is a religion founded upon belief in a single creator god; it's one of the oldest and earliest forms of monotheism known. Today, however, there are Jews who have rejected belief in this god while retaining attributes of Judaism as possible. In some cases people have retained very little and call themselves Jews for ethnic reasons. Others retain a great deal of Jewish traditions and call themselves Jews not just from a cultural, but also from a religious perspective. They consider themselves every bit as religious as the Jews who continue to believe in God.
Is There a Christian Atheism. Examples of Atheism among Christians:
As a descendant of Judaism, Christianity is also a religion founded upon belief in a single creator god. Atheism is not just rejected, but considered a sin. There are a few people who consider themselves Christians even though they have rejected belief in the existence of any gods, including the Christian creator god. They argue that they are Christian atheists in the same way that some Jews are also atheists: they are Christian for largely cultural reasons, but continue to maintain some religious observances — just without references to any gods.
Modern Paranormal Religions & Atheism:
Scientology has little to say on the subject of gods. It "acknowledges" the existence of a single creator god, but doesn't teach anything specific about it and allows members to worship as they see fit. It may thus be possible for a Scientologist to not worship and not believe. Raelians are explicitly and even "militantly" atheist, in the sense that atheism and freedom for atheists is aggressively pursued. Other modern UFO religions. based around belief in aliens rather than supernatural beings like gods, also at least allow for atheism if not openly endorse atheism as more scientific and rational than theism.
Humanistic, Naturalistic Religions & Atheism:
There are humanistic religious groups today which endorse belief systems that focus on the needs of human beings here and now while rejecting (or at least minimizing) supernatural beliefs generally. A significant percentage of the members of Unitarian Universalist churches are atheists, though these churches also include Christians, pagans, and others. Members of Ethical Culture groups may or may not believe in any gods; some don't even regard Ethical Culture as being a religious group for themselves though it is considered a religion under the law. Religious humanism creates a religious context without gods.
by Luke Muehlhauser on January 7, 2009 in General Atheism
I’m always confused when theists say atheism is just another religion. If they think religion is a good thing, then are they praising atheism for being a religion? Do they want to give it the same privileges as other religions: tax exemption, free cash from “faith-based initiatives,” toleration, and unexamined respect?
But usually I hear it in a tone that suggests they think atheism is dogmatic and intolerant: you know, like “other” religions. Are they then condemning their own religion? They seem to be saying, “Atheism is dogmatic and intolerant, just like us. Boo on atheism.”
So, I don’t get it.
In either case, of course, atheism is not a religion. It is not a worldview or system at all. It does not combine a set of beliefs, traditions, rituals, and community structures like religions do. It is, rather, a single belief about one thing. that there aren’t any gods.
Calling atheism a religion is like saying that “not-stamp-collecting” is a hobby, or that “not-aristocracy” is a system of government.
“Calling atheism a religion is like saying that “not-stamp-collecting” is a hobby, or that “not-aristocracy” is a system of government.”
Bingo! And well said.
Often some commentators will refer to ‘New Atheists’ or other pro-atheist fronts in society’s discourse and cultural direction and call it out for religion-like features. When people refer to atheistic movement and inertia within the masses, some will simply abbreviate “some set of atheists” as “Atheism.” See the warfare is mental. for example.
Thanks, Brad. I would say that atheism is just a religion without God, much like Buddhism. I know that upsets many who fancy themselves intellectually superior to the faithful. What to do?
It upsets me to hear that “atheism is a religion” because that statement is false and ignorant, cl. How is atheism a religion? It has NONE of the characteristics of a religion. Atheism is no more a religion than theism is a religion. And theism is not a religion at all .
I’ve always believed that the religious like to refer to atheism as a religion because they are offended by the fact that atheist believe they are more intellectual than Christians and have a more reasoned position.
By saying that atheism requires just as much faith because atheists have faith that there is no God, they can characterize it as a “belief system” which makes the atheist no more intellectually superior than the Christian.
The reason Atheism IS a religion or more correctly a religous belief is because it is absolute. To say God definately exists or definately does not exist would both be relgious positions. Because it is an absolute belief in an unknowable that requires a form of faith. If you were to call yourself agnostic, to say it can’t be known that God exists or not. then I would say that was a lack of a religious belief.
Even Richard Dawkins titled his chapter containing an argument against God ‘Why God almost certainly does not exist.’ Besides, religion has nothing to do with the absoluteness of belief. That’s simply a brand new definition of ‘religion’ you made up just now.
I don’t believe in gods the same way I don’t believe in werewolves. Should I call myself an agnostic about werewolves because I don’t have a 100% decisive disproof against werewolves?
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does that mean that it's impossible for a person to not have a religion? JohnMcL 19:34, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
"But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes. You're gonna have to serve somebody, Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you're gonna have to serve somebody." - Bob Dylan Conservative 17:26, 10 November 2014 (EST)Smartt's "Criteria"
Daniel Smartt suggests that Ninian Smart's list can be used as criteria which define worldviews as religions. This seems like a misreading of Smart, who instead offers the list as the things we should look at when analyzing worldviews, religious or secular. In other, he meant for his list to be applied to secular worldviews as a way of understanding them, but not so that we can define them as religions. You can read it here on page 2.
(This is another person) I agree with the person above me; the criteria are obviously meant for both religious and secular worldviews, so anything that fills the criteria is not necessarily a religion. If it were just for religion, it would be missing something sort of. uh. important for religions: belief in something supernatural? Without that, you could could argue almost anything as a "religion"; Boy Scouts of America, for example. It has Narrative (campfire stories, mission statement, camp history), Experiential (there's a lot of personal experience to be had in the organization, which can be life-changing or personality-changing things), Social (BSoA has leaders), Ethical (from the BSoA website: "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent." sounds like they encourage ethical behavior to me), Ritual (graduation ceremony), and Material (Camp grounds are a gathering place, American Flag is respected). Nothing doctrinal (at least nothing concerning the "nature of reality") but hey, 6 out of 7 isn't bad, eh, since you don't need all 7 to qualify. I believe my Public School also qualifies as a religion, since we have narrative (school history, we have a wall dedicated to artifacts and stories from the beginnings of the school), experiential (I have life changing experiences here), Social (We have the principal and faculty as leaders), Ethical (we have a code of character and conduct that is stressed every day, etc.), Doctrinal (We have a philosophy class where we discuss the nature of the universe or whatever), Ritual (Graduation), and Material (the school building where we gather, as well as the monument to the school founder and the artifacts on the history wall). The point is that there are plenty of things that qualify that don't involve the supernatural, which is one of the key points of religion. But as I said, those criteria aren't meant as qualifiers for a religion, but a worldview.
That said, Atheism doesn't even qualify as a worldview, as none of the things you mentioned are actually valid qualifications for each criterion. The difference between the qualifiers used for religions (rituals, beliefs, narratives, ethics, etc.) and the ones you used for Atheism, is that the religious ones are part of the religion by definition. The ethics outlined in the bible are the official "Christian" ethics, the rituals and narratives are all essential parts of Christianity. Alternatively, Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a God. Anything else beyond that can be described as "Atheistic" in the sense that they don't involve God, but they are not purely Atheist things to do and are not essential parts of Atheism. If you are Atheist you do not have to believe the theory of evolution is true, and not all Atheists do. You do not have to reject God to be an Atheist. That assumes you believe in God in the first place. A person raised as a hermit in the woods would never have the experience of "rejecting God". So you could believe evolution is false, never "reject God", not go to Atheist gatherings (or even know that they occur), never know about any prominent Atheists, never spend time considering the ultimate nature of reality or convincing yourself of the non-existence of God or that faith is illegitimate, never get married, not be concerned about the religion vs. secular nature of your funeral, and not believe that nature is sacred, and you can still be an Atheist. The only thing involved in Atheism is not believing religious claims of a God. Yes you can argue that some things are Atheistic, but that ultimately just means they don't involve God, not that they are a "part of Atheism" or what have you. In essence, you don't have to do anything to be an Atheist. There are no positive beliefs, rituals, or experiences that are a central part of Atheism. If you are not religious, you are Atheist by default.
P.S. Here's another way of thinking about it. What if you don't believe in Christanity or any other religion. And then you also reject Atheism as well. You don't believe evolution, don't attend any Atheist conventions, etc. What are you then? Nothing? Yes. We have a term for that. It's called Atheism. Without Theism. Without Religion. Yes it's true that many atheists share beliefs on topics, but that is ultimately meaningless as those things still aren't essential to what atheism really is and what it is to be an atheist.
User: Williagz's suggestions re: Smartt were added. See material HERE Conservative 04:58, 28 May 2012 (EDT)
Shouldn't this be an essay? AndrewLe 10:53, 27 July 2014 (EDT)
Why? Conservative 11:39, 27 July 2014 (EDT) Because it is the exposition of a point of view, not an encyclopedic article. AndrewLe 11:50, 27 July 2014 (EDT) Atheism meets the criteria of a religion (the 7 criteria). The article is not going to be labeled an essay. Conservative 13:02, 27 July 2014 (EDT) Your choice. But it is an essay nonetheless. AndrewLe 13:13, 27 July 2014 (EDT)
AndrewLe, your first post on the talk page in the form of a question didn't exactly impress me. It appeared as if you could not defend your stance and/or possessed intellectual sloth. Subsequent posts confirmed this matter. Declaring an accusation to be true and showing it to be true are two different matters.
By the way, do you have any proof and evidence that atheism is true? Christianity has abundant proof and evidence that it is true. Conservative 13:34, 27 July 2014 (EDT)
AndrewLe, why don't you provide proof and evidence that atheism is not a religion? That would have been the most reasonable thing to do when posting to this talk page. I don't think you can do it because atheism is a religion and meets Ninian Smart's criteria of a religion. In addition, atheism lacks proof and evidence that it is true and requires blind and unreasonable faith. Conservative 13:51, 27 July 2014 (EDT) I never said atheism is true, and I never said atheism is not a religion, so I have no obligation to support either of those positions. My concern is limited to the form of this article, not its content. At Conservapedia:Essays it says, "Unlike articles, essays may represent a particular point of view." Atheism is a religion represents a particular point of view on an issue that is the subject of debate (as is stated in its first sentence). It is an essay. AndrewLe 15:58, 27 July 2014 (EDT) AndrewLe, are you an atheist? If so, what proof and evidence do you have that atheism is true? By the way, I changed the beginning of the article. Conservative 17:28, 27 July 2014 (EDT)Evidence that many atheists are in fact religious
Arguing for or against biological evolution is not an argument for or against the existence of a deity - it is only an argument for or against the assertion that the earth is both young and that observable lifeforms were created and have always existed in its present form. The fact that even atheists who accept evolution believe it is evidence against the existence of a deity is evidence of a persistent strain of irrational thinking among many of them. Tollerson 16:45, 10 November 2014 (EST)Atheist Cults
There are two sections in this article named Atheist Cults, one is an actual section, with a link to Atheist cults. the other is simply a "See Also." Are there any objections to me removing the "See Also" section? IHop 09:39, 7 January 2015 (EST)
Fixed. Thanks. Conservative 15:54, 7 January 2015 (EST)What about the etymology of "religion"?
Are people to just disregard the proper definition of "religion", and follow Smart and Smartt's definition, whose definition actually applies to everything. It looks like Smartt didn't really put much thought into defining what religion is. but rather, the result of what religion tends to leave behind (particular worldviews and systems), which seems like his definition would make Conservatism, Liberalism, charity, work, joining any group, (etc), a religion. However, if a person looks at the etymology of the word "religion", the Latin origins seem to be pretty clear. "Re-" is the prefix which means "again", and "ligare", coming from "ligo", means "to bind" or "to connect" (think of "ligaments", which "connect" bones). Clearly, the obvious definition of "religion" for all of human history has been that religion "reconnects" a person with God.
I would assume that's why the word "irreligion" is used so frequently on this website to refer to atheists, since the prefix "ir-" means "to negate". "Irreligion" would, therefore, be the negation of religion. So logically, my follow-up question would be this, "Why does this website refer to atheists as 'irreligious' (the negation of religion), while equally calling atheism a religion in several places?" That is both a positive and negative assertion, which is, fundamentally, a contradiction that should be reconciled.
We could also look at the word "atheism" for a better understanding. It's found in the Bible as "atheos", in the Greek form (Ephesians 2:12 - remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world). The prefix "a-" means "without", and "theos" means "God". Although the literal English translation would be "without God", the interpretation would be "Godless".
When a person correctly understands the etymology of the words "religion" and "atheism", based on both their historical Roman and Biblical origins. I think it becomes clear that atheism isn't a religion, but used to define people who don't express a belief in God, (and consequently, a desire to have a relationship with that God,) as opposed to those who do. If my understanding is correct, however, then Smart and Smartt would be disregarded, along with any assertions that atheism is a religion. Personally, I don't think Smart and Smartt were very smart to construct this argument and push it to people, since it seems to me that they failed to understand what the words even meant.
Re- also means "back" so I have understood "religion" to mean that which "binds back" one to one's faith. I also read that the ancient Greeks didn't have a word for "religion", and that it was a Roman concept. People speak colloquially about someone being "religious" when they only mean the religion usually and conspicuously practiced in the United States. I for one think the article adds to the thinking of many about atheism. So I won't go out of my way to criticize the article even though I don't totally agree with all of it. VargasMilan (talk ) 06:28, 16 August 2015 (EDT) Well, I'm sorry if I'm not convinced. Lots of people also confuse the words "there", "their", and "they're". Just because the public tends to misunderstand and confuse words doesn't mean anything. The adjective "religiously" developed out of an observation of religious behavior, although it was never the most fitting adjective. More appropriately, the adjective "religiously" means "obsessively religious". But, what happens when a person acts "obsessively irreligious"? The adjective "religiously" no longer applies. To say that someone is "religiously irreligious" might sound cute, and people understand what it means, but the meaning directly contradicts itself, resulting in an irreconcilable oxymoron. The notion that "atheism is a religion" is a mistake, due to ignorance, as I've plainly spelled out. If there were any validity to it, then it would have to be acknowledged, but: "truth is, by nature, self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear." - Mahatma Gandhi Humanperson (talk ) 23:09, 26 August 2015 (EDT) There may be some truth to that. Didn't the Supreme Court go astray when it regarded "atheism" and "Christianity" as just two religions among many instead of regarding Christianity and its holy book as the basis of the United States government? VargasMilan (talk ) 23:44, 26 August 2015 (EDT) Well, I see that people believe the Supreme Court ruled Secular Humanism as a religion in the Torcaso v. Watkins trial (I'm thinking that's what you're referring to?). (Opinion:) It seems that Humanism would more appropriately be labeled a "philosophy" or a "way of life", but the SCOTUS shouldn't ever rule it to be a religion. In Torcaso v. Watkins, they granted Humanist organizations religious-based tax exemptions. In my own opinion. that shouldn't be the case, because it denies logic; on the flip-side, I don't understand why religious-based organizations get tax exemptions or protections, anyway. I don't know what the most appropriate course of action is, but if we're going to tax organizations, then it seems they should all be taxed fairly - whether religious, political, philanthropic, educational, entertainment, social, etc. The only fair alternative is to not tax any of them. In my own opinion (which is irrelevant), same-sex marriage may be Constitutional, but I don't see how ObamaCare is. It's not that I have any vendetta against the ACA, and I've seen it has helped many people, it's just that I don't see how it's considered Constitutional to enforce it. Being human, the SCOTUS is susceptible to mistakes, too, but America has a tendency to learn from our mistakes and rectify them. However, considering that Freemasonry is the basis of the US government (which is a pretty inclusive group), I can understand why the SCOTUS wouldn't have considered the Bible as the cornerstone. I've read some of the Freemason documents, and they don't take kindly to Atheists. However, even though all of the Founders were religious of some sort (whether Christians or Deists), establishing a secular nation was the only way to protect Theists of all sorts, as to avoid preferential treatment. It seems that even the Supreme Court Justices were ignorant of the meaning of the words; else, they deliberately ignored the meaning to protect people. Still, is it wise to keep this perspective on this website? Andy thinks highly of himself, but this article (and other assertions on the site) seems kind of embarrassing. It's certainly their choice, whatever they decide, but I try to promote reason, even where people disagree with me. I hope this hasn't caused any ill feelings. Humanperson (talk ) 00:41, 27 August 2015 (EDT)Conservapedia