Is Atheism a Religion?

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This topic contains 67 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 4 years, 7 months ago.

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    @popebeanie It depends if it’s tax exempt.



    3 Dimensions to look at the Phenomena of religion.


    1)religion as beliefs and meaning,

    Stuff like beliefs in God, who you are for example a soul and created by God

    What’s out there, what is the universe

    The beliefs in rites and rituals, miracles

    What is moral what is sinful.


    2) Religion as Identity( group)

    In group / out group, Christian compared to Hindu

    Atheist compared to Theist

    3) religion as structured social relations. ( power relations)


    The relationship (created by religion ) between different groups of people

    The relationship between men and women, between different religious groups, between Caste.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by  Clearsky.


    What does a religious person mean, when they say that atheism is like a religion? We might be surprised at the answer. Maybe they mean that we take whatever we believe in, “on faith”.

    Often, this is the point they try to make. What they miss is that there’s a crucial difference between placing faith in something (e.g., science, physical laws, logic) that passes rational tests and giving one’s faith to something irrational, unsupportable, and untestable.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by  Unseen.


    1)religion as beliefs and meaning […]  2) Religion as Identity( group) […]  3) religion as structured social relations. ( power relations)

    I like that. I’ve never taken a course on religion, but if I did, I’d also be interested in how religion and politics relate (or not) to each other, especially those times when they’re kept separate or together, benign or damaging to human freedom at large. I think one cannot grasp most of what Islam is still about without including sharia law, caliphate, and other built-in political (and often militant) conspiracy.




    Its not my Idea I read about it in an article.  OK people can debate about which beliefs are false or true. ( the belief dimension) that’s subjective.

    if people look at the objective consequence of those (false) beliefs. The effects to individuals and society. Which are often harmful. It might be possible to argue against those beliefs.

    The main point being not so much the actual belief but on its consequences.

    How does Religion cause group identity and what is the relationship between identity & violence?

    What role role play in power relations? In society?

    There are probably beneficial personal and social outcomes as well?

    Does religious belief result in the most happiness and least suffering for the most number of beings? Or does it cause the opposite?








    What does a religious person mean, when they say that atheism is like a religion?

    They mean that religious knowledge, scientific knowledge and critical thinking are equal in terms that they all require a belief in that which lacks at least some certainty.

    This is wrong for several reasons. The clearest being that religious belief is usually directly related to who someone’s parents are and an enormous dose of emotional conditioning and ideas held by emotional experience.

    Critical thinking and science are much much much less so.

    The second reason this is wrong is that those trained in rational thinking fully admit that certainty is next to impossible to maintain, that its method of inquiry is less than perfect, next to know facts are absolute and that their goal is to use and refine whatever method they use that returns more reliable information…hopefuly impervious to subjective, cultural and emotional bias.

    Religious thinking requires the suspention of one or more of the above…sometimes all.

    Since the religious folk who claim atheism is held on faith hold that all methods of inquiry are equal in terms of believability and reliability and that they are equally prone to emotional knowledge and parental/cultural condition that none are free of assuming fundamental axioms meaning:

    All existential claims must be held on faith.

    It is in a sense forcing their own epistemological view and metaphysical view onto those who hold an essentially different one. That is why it feels like you are slamming into a brick wall talking to some religious folk.

    An additional problem on top of the above is the fact that many people lack belief in God because they haven’t been confronted with or seriously taught about nor forced to deal with “God”. How could you possibly hold by faith that something you’ve never heard of or never really confronted with seriously…doesn’t exist. That is the final nail in the coffin that refutes their claim to  very high level of rational certainty.



    It couldn’t be more obvious. If you want to placate people, and get them to do as you wish you simply promote yourself as a humble servant of the eternal judge and earn divine control over the flock. King and bishop, priest and politician all understand this all to well. You can explain why their lives are miserable while under control, why they need to make war and why they must teach their children to be sheep as well. You can then make lofty statements like “God Bless this or that” when disaster strikes. And if you are really not that smart you can even convince yourself it’s all true. Of course atheism is just another religion to those who are soo far gone it’s all they can conceive.


    Simon Paynton

    We have to remember, nobody can prove whether or not God exists, either way.  So in a sense, the two positions are equivalent.



    There is a Flying Spaghetti Monster a live

    Its one trillion light years from earth so it’s practically  impossible to get there

    , its so small that it’s impossible to see and

    has no mass to affect gravity

    its so quiet that it’s impossible to hear. It gives off no detectable electromagnetic  radiation.

    I honestly and faithfully believe in this monster, but I am fair and open I will stop belief in him if  YOU prove he does not exist!


    Are the two positions the same?





    We have to remember, nobody can prove whether or not God exists, either way. So in a sense, the two positions are equivalent.

    Simon, that is exactly the misunderstanding that befalls theists.They think it is a 50/50 situation. It is why intellectually bankrupt ideas like “Pascal’s Wager” still persist. Basically it states that either God exists or does not exist so you have nothing to lose by believing and everything to gain. Apologists use it as if they are explaining some profound philosophy rather than displaying their lack of understanding of what “Belief” means (and does not mean). It also shows a lack of understanding of probability theory which I usually let slide unless they start to “explain” it to me.


    Simon Paynton

    Has the Flying Spaghetti Monster caused a book with genuine wisdom in it, to be written?  Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster help people in their everyday lives?


    Simon Paynton

    They think it is a 50/50 situation.

    We actually don’t know how probable or improbable God is.  If we look at the Christian or Moslem version of God – these can be shown to have a number of logical inconsistencies.  But maybe there’s a real one that these two haven’t fully captured.



    Has the Flying Spaghetti Monster caused a book with genuine wisdom in it, to be written? Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster help people in their everyday lives?

    The debate is on proofs existence or non existence God that’s one thing

    The results and behaviour of a belief or non belief like religious books, rites rituals social structure is something else . I personally do think that there are good ideas in scripture. Like charity, golden rule,mindfulness. There are bad stuff also wars, genocide.

    What we are discussing here is really about the epistemology of GOD. True it’s impossible to disprove. Because you can’t logically prove a negative phenomena.

    If I were to prove totally that the flying spaghetti monster does not exist I would have to search all of space the whole of the universe until the end of time,in theory so I can’t logically prove the non-existent monster

    But I can induct and use pragmatic truth to say he does not exist for me anyways

    Pierce who discovered the pragmatic theory of truth says

    a belief “worked” when it allowed one to make predictions which could be and were verified — thus, the belief that a dropped ball will fall and hit someone “works

    Belief if God does not have this ability to make predictions which can be verified in our immediate experience.


    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by  Clearsky.

    Simon Paynton

    Belief if God does not have this ability to make predictions which can be verified in our immediate experience.

    What predictions would belief in God make?  For one, I think that doing “what God wants” – unselfishly and bravely helping others – should be aided from “on high” or out of nowhere.  Reality should bend to encourage this behaviour.



    Simon you are failing to distinguish between two things. One being the ability to have absolute certainty. The other one being default skepticism vs. Cultural-motional-conditioning. In no system ever used could you prove anything absolutely is as you say so. Its an annoying yet true thing. We don’t and so at cannot know everything. A tiny sliver of doubt exists on every claim.

    And that doesn’t even take into account the reliability of a claim. A statement on the whole is usually reliable when using a sceptic-impirical-rational method. Much less when you use cultural-emotional conditioning. Just look at the level of certainty we have about objects in the sky vs. cultural-emotionally based inventions and assumptions. Yes…there is always uncertainty but the sceptic-empirical-rational method offers more reliability and in most cases a higher level of certainty.

    In any case…That is NOT the same as using faith to arrive at a claim or not accepting a claim. That’s a completely different from uncertainty. The religious use blind faith to fill in the gaps of doubt they have. Empirical rationalists use a method of enquiry involving very very little blind faith to plug up doubt. That doubt is actually a useful tool in understanding things reliably with a greater level of certainty. One is closingredients your eyes and saying it must be true…the other is trying to find out if its true.

    Some religious people don’t get that and they treat faith as a universal in epistemological methods despite that being clearly false. We don’t need faith to hold a sceptical-rational-empirical non-belief in God. Most of then do need faith to maintain their delusions.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by  Davis.
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