Is Atheism a Religion?

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This topic contains 67 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #24300

    It is when theists say “I am not religious, I just have a personal relationship with Jesus” that the fun starts.

     

    #24301

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Whether or not religious people are aggressive about the point has nothing to do with whether it’s true or not.  Apart from self-reporting, which is unreliable, and dictionary definitions or popular opinion, why exactly is atheism not a religion?

    Personally I think it’s because even in the broadest sense of religion, atheism doesn’t qualify because it doesn’t have a “head” or leader of any kind.

    However, maybe the religious are saying that it’s a world view, which is true, and this makes it a bit like a religion.

    #24304

    However, maybe the religious are saying that it’s a world view, which is true.

    It absolutely is not a worldview. Not believing in Bigfoot is not a worldview. Religious worldviews are created upon supernatural objective beliefs while atheists tend to create their worldview based upon an understanding of the natural world.

    Claiming Atheism is a religion is like claiming that not collecting stamps is a hobby or that baldness is a hair color.

    #24313

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    Interesting point, and might make some religious people think. Also makes it easier to define and lump cult members into their own lot, since they’ll most probably deny they’re in a cult. But then there’s the “I’m not religious, but spiritual” lot.

    Useful, sometimes, especially when arguing that science is not a religion.

    #24314

    Unseen
    Participant

    It is when theists say “I am not religious, I just have a personal relationship with Jesus” that the fun starts.

    Personally, I’ve never heard that position expressed.

    #24315

    Unseen
    Participant

    Whether or not religious people are aggressive about the point has nothing to do with whether it’s true or not. Apart from self-reporting, which is unreliable, and dictionary definitions or popular opinion, why exactly is atheism not a religion? Personally I think it’s because even in the broadest sense of religion, atheism doesn’t qualify because it doesn’t have a “head” or leader of any kind. However, maybe the religious are saying that it’s a world view, which is true, and this makes it a bit like a religion.

    As was expressed elsewhere, their bar for what’s a religion, is so low that rock star fan clubs and vegans qualify. When one’s definition becomes overly broad, it ceases to mean anything.

    #24316

    Unseen
    Participant

    However, maybe the religious are saying that it’s a world view, which is true. It absolutely is not a worldview. Not believing in Bigfoot is not a worldview. Religious worldviews are created upon supernatural objective beliefs while atheists tend to create their worldview based upon an understanding of the natural world. Claiming Atheism is a religion is like claiming that not collecting stamps is a hobby or that baldness is a hair color.

    Well, atheists don’t not believe in science and the rational powers of the mind. I suppose the argument could be made that we operate in a rationality-based view of the world.

    #24317

    Unseen
    Participant

    Interesting point, and might make some religious people think. Also makes it easier to define and lump cult members into their own lot, since they’ll most probably deny they’re in a cult. But then there’s the “I’m not religious, but spiritual” lot. Useful, sometimes, especially when arguing that science is not a religion.

    Sam Harris argues for a kind of spiritual atheism:

    #24318

    Clearsky
    Participant

    It is when theists say “I am not religious, I just have a personal relationship with Jesus” that the fun starts.

    Personally, I’ve never heard that position expressed.

    It’s possible because, there are ordinary people called Jesus.

    If your husband is called Jesus and you were both Atheist.

    Then saying I am not religious but I have a relationship with Jesus.

    Might just mean she is married to her husband. ( in a relationship)

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  Clearsky.
    #24320

    I have friends called Mary and Joseph. They are both atheists. I tried my best to convince them to call their first born son “Jesus”, especially as he was “unexpected” (I still blame the Holy Spirit). I told them I would buy them a donkey sanctuary if they did as Mary is a vet. Anyway, Paul is almost 10 now 🙁

    #24321

    The Jehovah Witnesses seem to have the line “I am not religious but I do have a personal relationship with Jesus” as a standard reply when you tell them you are not religious. I usually reply “So several million people with exactly the same beliefs about God are not members of a religion? Maybe you are all just members of the same cult then?

    And stop it already with the Book of Daniel please!!

    #24322

    Strega
    Moderator

    I would find Tolkien’s Middle Earth and all its critters more credible than any religions. At least the sacred text is non contradictory.

    I also think that a common denominator in the religions I can bring to mind, is that all of them appear to have an unprovable belief that is alleged to be objective, ie that others joining the group can learn about this objective deity and streamline their belief system accordingly.

    I always appreciate hearing about Reg’s careful debates with theists – but until a theist alleging atheism is a religion is able to tell me what colour hair a bald man has, they don’t really have my attention regarding anything more complex.

    #24325

    Unseen
    Participant

    The Jehovah Witnesses seem to have the line “I am not religious but I do have a personal relationship with Jesus” as a standard reply when you tell them you are not religious. I usually reply “So several million people with exactly the same beliefs about God are not members of a religion? Maybe you are all just members of the same cult then? And stop it already with the Book of Daniel please!!

    By declaring themselves JW’s, they are self-declaring themselves religious.

    #24326

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Your definition is a failure Unseen, and it is also patronizing and condescending.

    #24327

    Strega
    Moderator

    Would you like to annotate that statement, Jake?  After all, this is a discussion, not a card game 🙂

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