Is Atheism considered a "worldview?"
July 31, 2015 at 5:03 am #1840
There are lots of definitions of what constitutes a “worldview.” I got into a heated discussion the other day about what it means to be an atheist…it went something like this:
Them: “Atheists don’t believe in god….”
Me: No that’s not true..
Them: “Yes it is! A-Theism…against god…”
Me: Well I am an atheist and I’m telling you that is NOT what it means to be an atheist.
……….I gave up pretty quickly…sigh. No use in banging my head against the wall….
But I started to wonder since it is always incinuated that atheism is a belief system…I started to wonder if atheism could be considered a worldview…which is slightly different than a belief system.
One simple definition of a worldview is as follows:
“A particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.”
So with a definition like that, do you think it’s a worldview? If so, does that also mean it is a belief system?
Since I know one of the first things out people’s mouths is going to be, “The only thing we have in common is our LACK of belief in a god.”
I’m not so sure about that….and that’s the notion I want to challenge.
Are there other examples of isms that are categorized by their lack of something?
When was the last time you heard of a group of mothers gathering together because of their lack of belief in feeding their babies formula? NO! Mothers gather because of their belief that breastfed is best fed…sorry that was the first thing that came to mind….
If you can come up with a example of a cause or initiative that has brought people together because of something the group LACKS…I suppose I will stand corrected. Otherwise….what the hell is atheism anyway? A belief system? A worldview?….or do we just try to take a stance so strongly against being inclusive so that we don’t walk and talk like religion?
Yah I’m being kind of snarky when I say that but I really want to challenge our pre-conceived notions here…
What do you think? Is atheism a worldview?
I don’t know…I think so. I think it stands to reason that being an atheist brings further implications of a worldview that follows logic and evidence rather than emotion and presupposition. So in that sense, yes. I think it is a worldview. Maybe. Probably. I don’t know, lol…..July 31, 2015 at 7:47 am #1841
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
The view that Atheism is a religion, a worldview or that it is “against god” is something that theists are told and then just repeat.
It takes no faith not to believe in something you don’t believe in. You also cannot be angry with a god that does not exist, even if you are angry with how religious indoctrination might have made you feel at some point.
Atheism is not a worldview but when we become aware of our own atheism and realise what we do not believe in any gods existing we are compelled to look for alternative answers to the big questions in life.
It is through Science that we find the best answers. Once we come to understand the implications of its discoveries we can form our own worldviews. We do this by thinking critically and freely about things. We arrive at our conclusions via reason and education rather than through faith and dogma. We make the effort to learn and understand for ourselves and it is an open and ongoing process.
My current worldview is based upon my current understanding of the knowledge available to me. I will revise it (up or down) based upon new information I receive and from the new insights gained upon reflecting (free thinking) upon it. It is the opposite of how religion work where people presuppose to know the truth. Everything they experience afterwards is used to confirm those biases. Why think too deeply when you already know the answer?
Think Atheist and you will find yourself in the Zone….(my bad!)
July 31, 2015 at 8:05 am #1843
- This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by Reg the Fronkey Farmer.
Think Atheist and you will find yourself in the Zone….(my bad!)
LOL!!! That put a huge smile on my face…..
I think you said it very well Reg and that makes TOTAL sense…how do you do that?? lol…
I don’t think it’s just theists that get it wrong. For example if you just google the definition of atheism, it says, “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of god or gods.” but makes no mention of the idea that a person who arrives at the conclusion that there is not evidence for the existence of god/s is part of that equation…so…the internet is misleading people too…I think….
I for example when I was a christian would look at a definition like that and think the same thing this person thought. And how can we really say they are wrong when the definition from a so-called reliable source misleads them?
I’m curious who it was that ORIGINALLY made the distinguishing phrases, or the original idea that there is a “lack of evidence….etc…” to define what it means to be atheist. Was it Hitchens?….July 31, 2015 at 8:22 am #1844
Reminded me of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ORpiAc1f_A
LOL!! Bill Maher is so sexy, lol…July 31, 2015 at 10:00 am #1846
The reason that I would personally argue that atheism is not a worldview is it is directed at a very specific part of life (belief in God/Gods).
For me, a worldview should be a general approach, e.g. the best way to evaluate the truth of something is rationally based on available evidence or the most moral way to treat people is to be kind/gentle/caring, etc, etc.
Another example of a worldview which is one I do not subscribe to is Gordon Gekko’s “Greed is good” from Wall Street.July 31, 2015 at 11:48 am #1847
People often use the term “worldview” to mean the world as they view it, not necessarily the world as it is. The term smells like religion to me. I don’t have, need or want to have a “worldview”.July 31, 2015 at 1:06 pm #1848
Atheism is NOT a world view. It is a lack of belief in God (or the rejection of all claims made that a God exists). That is not a world view. Not even close.
If you are interested in a world view…consider HUMANISM. Most people on this site are clearly humanists, even if they don’t say so (or even know so).July 31, 2015 at 2:14 pm #1852
@davis: For doG’s sake, I wish you’d quit your fence-sitting on this issue and pick a side, already. 😛
OK, with that tongue-in-cheek upbraiding out of the way…
The phrase “world view” to me implies a much more detailed view of how the world works, a lot more than just “doesn’t have a god in it,” and even more so with respect to “doesn’t look to me like it has a god in it.”
One’s view of how the world works is one’s worldview (that’s not a very precise definition, but right now there is too much blood in my caffeine stream–it’ll have to do for starters, and hopefully it’s close enough no one will think it’s just wrong). There’s no implication that it’s either a rational, evidence-based conception or not.
It is, however, quite possible for someone’s world view to be an atheist one. Not the atheist one, but an atheist one, if it does not include a doG. Or doGs. (Some people seem to have at least 101 Dalmatians in their worldview though dropping the first two digits is more fashionable these days.)
The point being that atheism is very non-specific. All you’ve committed to by claiming atheist is one position on one question. “I don’t think there is a god” does not logically imply anything else about you other than that most likely you don’t engage in certain activities on Sunday morning. (Though I am sure that many atheists out there go through those particular motions.)
This is why I get a little irritated by people who try to co-opt “atheism” by implying the only “correct” way to be an atheist is to adopt their particular agenda [(*cough*)Atheism Plus(*cough*)] on logically unrelated matters. That’s not to say that I don’t have positions on issues, but if you disagree with me, that doesn’t make you somehow “less of an atheist” or even an inconsistent atheist. Groups like A+ are basically engaging in the same behavior Belle’s friend engaged in, trying to make atheism more than it is. (And I see it in many local groups, which end up being monthly propaganda sessions for the unrelated political agenda of their chairmen/chairwomen.)July 31, 2015 at 2:48 pm #1853
Belle’s question was… “Is atheism a world view”. The answer is no. Atheism is not a world view. Some people might take the qualities they used to become an atheist and exagerate those qualities in their daily lives (perhaps because of the hostile environment they live in or the desire to get other people from believing in their God) but that is not an atheist world view. That is a world view with enforced qualities that led them to be atheists or keep them from reverting to a belief in God (any mixture of rational enquiry, critical thinking, secularism, personal autonomy, liberal rights … or even something completely different) with a preoccupation or obsession with religion and/or anti-religious sentiment/actions.
I would argue that at least 9 out of 10 times someone says they have an atheist world view (or when someone complains someone else has an atheist world view) they are actually describing a humanist world view. I wish that term was used more. It would help discard so much confusion.July 31, 2015 at 3:21 pm #1857
I hope you weren’t suffering from the misapprehension that I disagree with you! But when I saw how…emphatic your first response was I couldn’t resist a bit of humor.
I agree, “Humanist” is more specific. fits a large majority of atheists, and should be used where appropriate, to describe things that Humanists agree on that aren’t logically inherent in “atheism.”July 31, 2015 at 3:26 pm #1859
Simon MathewsParticipantSteveInCO wrote:
This is why I get a little irritated by people who try to co-opt “atheism” by implying the only “correct” way to be an atheist is to adopt their particular agenda [(*cough*)Atheism Plus(*cough*)] on logically unrelated matters. That’s not to say that I don’t have positions on issues, but if you disagree with me, that doesn’t make you somehow “less of an atheist” or even an inconsistent atheist.
+1. It must be human nature to try and continually make a group more exclusive by honing it to align with one’s own views. You see this a lot and it is quite sad. It’s like people want things to be more special and more relevant to them rather than more inclusive. I guess it makes those people feel more important.July 31, 2015 at 4:24 pm #1862
LOL no…no misaprehension. I said no in extremely large font because this question comes up so often in so many different ways … and because characters like Dr. Bob repeated his nonsense about atheism as being something other than believing in his preposterous stupid imbecilic world view … that I thought it might be a nice idea to put as big of a no as possible 🙂
I thought about putting a link to a webpage that has one giant enormous red no. Here it is if you would like to see just how much of a NO the answer should be.July 31, 2015 at 7:24 pm #1870
Well… yes. World view comes from the Germanic concept of Weltanschauung. Part and somewhat parcel to this is the idea of a Life Stance . Indeed, in Germanic countries the term religion is superseded by the term life stance, for instance my middle school class that replaced Christianity was called Life Stance and my confirmation was Life Stance neutral.
Atheism is simply a world view devoid of belief in supernatural influences on our world.July 31, 2015 at 7:30 pm #1871July 31, 2015 at 7:50 pm #1872
If someone were to ask me what my perspective of the world as I see it was, I doubt the first words out of my mouth would be “without gods”. I’m without blonde hair, for example, I have no blue eyes and I’m missing dimples. They’d be slightly ahead on my list of things I lack 🙂 (the first item being a lack of a list of things I lack).
I’m still not sure about the leprechauns though.
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