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maniacal_engineer
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" Atheism is only a religion if you start adding things to it... at which point you are no longer talking about the philosophical belief atheism, you are taking about a philosophical belief structure, which includes more then just a single belief in the absence of god. A philosophical belief structure, IF it includes certain things, may be a religion."
then state funded universities should not be allowed to teach philosophical belief structures, but they do. Elected oficials should not be allowed to advocate public adherence to philosophical belief structures since that would violate the establishment clause.
tom correctly said "But those atheists who just simply DON'T BELIEVE IN A GOD -- especially if they don't hang out with other atheists to talk about it -- can hardly be considered religious." same with people who think that there is something supernatural in the universe but give it no extra thought. They can hardly be called religious. whether you are religious or not has to do with fervor or devotion, not with the particular religion. as to god being a reference to a single god, im not sure. Mormons believe tht god the father, god the son, and the holy ghost are all seprate and sitinct people. furthermore Elohim is plural, as apparently are all hebrew words ending in -him.

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JonathanTheOmnipotent
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ME,

It is a mythos to aetheists. Science is fact, and religion is just a bunch of rumors that got way out of hand.

Those symbols Ev used are mathematical symbols. They don't stand for any deep meanings like the cross or the star of david or the crescent moon. They're as deep as + - * and /.

The fact that some people join a group or association doesn't make everyone else who has similar beliefs part of that group.

This is starting to get kind of pointless. If you want to define aetheists as religious, fine--but that still doesn't change the fact that science isn't a deity. And holding something to be true is not the same as worshipping it...that's stretching it too much. Nobody prays to science. Nobody makes sacrifices for or in the name of science.

And this Elohim thing...are you trying to imply the Jews believe in multiple gods? Look here.

Useless Factoid of the Day: In Hebrew, the affixes -im and -ot signify plurality, -im for masculine and -ot for feminine. Succa and mezuzah become succot and mezuzot. Tallis and kibbutz become tallisim and kibbutzim.

But your still dodging the question...

What good will it do to have "higher power" instead of no reference to any kind of religious deity at all??


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Everard
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"then state funded universities should not be allowed to teach philosophical belief structures, but they do. Elected oficials should not be allowed to advocate public adherence to philosophical belief structures since that would violate the establishment clause."

I said, IF, and MAY.


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Locus
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If a word is just a word...

How about we legislate "Satan" as "The source of all good" Then do a find/replace through our society of God with Satan.

Then you can take or oaths to Satan ..and in Satan you trust.

That queasy feeling Christians should be getting in their stomachs right about now ..that's what "unbelievers" of all sorts feel when forced swear on your god.

It's just another way of raping someone's values.


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Junpei
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Does anyone remember of a fable where two women are plucking the hairs out of a man's head? One liked his hair black, so she pulled all the grey hairs out; one liked his hair grey, so she pulled out all of the the black hairs.

Sure enough, the man was bald by the end. The moral is that attempting to make everyone happy is a dangerous thing.


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maniacal_engineer
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jto
"This is starting to get kind of pointless. If you want to define aetheists as religious, fine--but that still doesn't change the fact that science isn't a deity. And holding something to be true is not the same as worshipping it...that's stretching it too much. Nobody prays to science. Nobody makes sacrifices for or in the name of science."

People donate money to secular causes, and to support the aetheists organizations listed earlier. that would constitute a sacriface, and who says prayer is an essential ingredient of religion? it is essential in MY religion, but I could certainly posit a religion that had no need of prayer.

quote:
But your still dodging the question...
What good will it do to have "higher power" instead of no reference to any kind of religious deity at all??

the poin is that I think it is important to acknowledge that there is something more to mankind than just opposable thumbs, something more than just an animal that happens to make a lot of stuff. If there is nothing bigger than us, if mankind is just an animal then there is no right or wrong. If the state repudiates and outlaws the acknowledgement of something more than man, specifically the creator who endowed us with rights, then the STATE becomes the ultimate authority. The power of the US experiment is that the power goes from god to the people to the goverment (to kent to the laundy ) back to the people. The authority to govern comes from the governed because god gave it to them to begine with. If there is no god (non-secular, non-specific, higher power) then the power is in the government over the people. If there is no god then moraliry is a matter of opinion, democracy is the ultimate source of morality, and we get PC, mob rule, (dogs and cats living together, atonal music)

locus
nonspecific/generic reference.


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JonathanTheOmnipotent
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Well, ME, that's exactly my point. There is no such thing as morality. There is no right or wrong. These ideas are illusions.

Does having a god give you a sense of purpose? Do you feel that you need that purpose to justify your existence? Not everyone feels this way--including myself.

Except here's the thing: the "morality" that religion's faithful are imbued with actually has a use in society. It stops people from believing in their own set of morals--which stops them from living for themselves and instead live for society. And that makes a successful society.

But that's not the way it has to be anymore. Today, education is more widespread, and everyone is thinking for themselves more than ever. No longer do we do the things we do because religion told us to. We do it because we are educated. We are moral because we've realized that in order for our society to be successful, we need to be cooperative.

I see religion as something that is no longer useful today. We don't need to indoctrinate the plebians with dogma that rationalizes the existence of caste restrictions. Religion stops people from thinking and gets them to cooperate under a view of the universe that is not true.

We did not get to where we are today--in terms of technology and widespread education--because the innovators of the past believed to the last word everything that is written in the bible. We are here today because people went against what religion taught them.

Religion is a vestige of our past that is no longer necessary. We no longer need it for organizing our society; modern government is capable of that without dogma. And if religion is left to fester, and not cut off, it will be parasitic on our advances in science. Case in point: creationists out west trying to subdue science in the classroom where it is needed first and foremost.

Religion has no place in modern government, and if you need an example of this, just look to the Muslim nations with their ayatollahs.

These are my belief, and I generally don't share them with others, as it tends to piss them off.


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maniacal_engineer
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quote:
I see religion as something that is no longer useful today. We don't need to indoctrinate the plebians with dogma that rationalizes the existence of caste restrictions. Religion stops people from thinking and gets them to cooperate under a view of the universe that is not true.

the arrogance is almost palpable. I prefer not to be part of the 'we' that is apart from the plebians. Of course I also think that all people are morons, so don't get me wrong.
Religion has argued for slavery, and against slavery. It has argued for the status quo/don't rock the boat/don't learn more than the basic prayers, and it has also stated 'the glory of god is intelligence, in other words light and truth'.. and goes on to direct believers to gain whatever knowledge they can in this world - fine literature, the arts, science, medicine, trades, etc.
youa can always cite the bad examples, but the bad cases do not necessarily follow just from religion.

But who is to say that the world view of the religious is wrong? I know serious and sober men, educated, capable, sane, who say that they KNOW that there is a god. but you are smarter than them? They understand the arguments for and against. They are educated, they are intelligent. They disagree.

quote:
, that's exactly my point. There is no such thing as morality. There is no right or wrong. These ideas are illusions...... We are moral because we've realized that in order for our society to be successful, we need to be cooperative.

except that (assuming temporarily a non-divine nature/universe) if everyone knows that the game is just a game, then evryone will be trying to game it for their own advantage. We will live in a legalistic instead of a moralistic society. No thanks. a population that believes in something greater than itself will be more ready to accept the strictures necessary for a cooperative modern society, the fact that there ACTUALLY IS something greater than us, that there actually IS right and wrong, is a fortunate coincidence.

"Religion has no place in modern government, and if you need an example of this, just look to the Muslim nations with their ayatollahs."

people don't need rivers or water - just look at what happened in prague this spring

people shouldn't be allowed into national forests, just look at northern california this last summer

people dont need food - look at how many die from obesity

The problem with the muslim nations not that religious people are in government, it is that they allow no variation in thought, on pain of death. honest differences in opinion are considered capital offences. fanaticism and extremism are the problem, not religion. I would prefer living in a tolerant democaracy that is of a religion dofferent to my own, than in an intolerant dictatorship based on my own faith (an impossibility since in my faith, satan became satan by trying to compel obediance, in opposition to god's plan of giving us free agency)

Those are my responses, thanks for sharing your beliefs. sorry, but I'm not pissed off


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Grant Morgan
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"But those atheists who just simply DON'T BELIEVE IN A GOD--especially if they don't hang out with other atheists to talk about it -- can hardly be considered religious."

Sure, I'll buy that. Not all atheists are religious. But it doesn't refute ME's argument that atheism is a religion, because there are plenty of people who simply DO believe in god (specifically Christ), but don't hang out with other Christians to talk about it. I'd say the majority of our country falls into this class. They are not religious, but that doesn't stop Christianity from being a religion.


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Grant Morgan
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Dang, I didn't see that there was a second page. I guess my last post came a little late in the game.

"Well, ME, that's exactly my point. There is no such thing as morality. There is no right or wrong. These ideas are illusions."

JTO, I think you may be alone on this one.

And I 'm curious--is your own strong conviction that people should not be allowed to amass personal fortunes of billions of dollars just an illusion? If so, I guess I win our argument on the taxation thread, huh?


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TomDavidson
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"But it doesn't refute ME's argument that atheism is a religion, because there are plenty of people who simply DO believe in god (specifically Christ), but don't hang out with other Christians to talk about it. I'd say the majority of our country falls into this class."

The problem is this: if atheism is a religion, and some atheists are not religious, what word would you use to describe atheists who aren't religious -- specifically those atheists who self-identify with NOT being religious?

[This message has been edited by TomDavidson (edited October 28, 2002).]


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Ron Lambert
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Tom, they would be secularists. But really, they are just what you are describing them to be: non-religious. That does not change the fact that atheism shows many of the characteristics of religion. (So does evolutionism, but that's a another subject.) Thing is, you can be a Baptist and not be religious. Likewise you can be an atheist and not be religious about it. But you can be a devout atheist, which is the real point.

The above comments brought to my mind the title of a book I saw in my college bookstore back in days of yore. It was titled: How to Become Bishop Without Even Being Religious. I never read it. But the title stuck with me.


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Everard
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Again, I'd like to point out, that atheism is NOT a religion unless you are willing to say that anyone who holds any belief is a member of the religion that holds belief X. In which case, we are all members of millions of different religions.

Ron, Maniacal, you are just simply dead wrong on this issue. There isn't really a way to argue that atheism is a religion, and be logically consistent about the definition of religion. Because, frankly, atheism doesn't include ANYTHING as a subset, where christianity carries whole BOATLOADS of ideas as subsets. Which particular version of christian you are depends on which boatload you hold to be true.

A religion is a system of beliefs. Atheism is not, and is therefore not a religion. Again, unless you are willing to say that any belief is a religious belief.


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Sohryu Asuka Langley
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Not to be weird, or revealing anything about my odd-lifestyle..but if I worship my cat is that a religious belief? (I told my mom to keep me out of the oreos)


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Locus
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Good and evil aren't illusions ..they're man made constructs. Consider how the definitions change from generation to generation ..and from church to church. (and from pope to pope)

If they were universal constants set by god they wouldn't be at the mercy of social whims.


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Grant Morgan
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"Again, I'd like to point out, that atheism is NOT a religion unless you are willing to say that anyone who holds any belief is a member of the religion that holds belief X. In which case, we are all members of millions of different religions."

Actually, I think that ME has been arguing too strong of a point. I agree, Ev. Atheism is not a religion. The beliefs of various atheists is simply too diverse for all of them to be put into a single religious classification.

Of course, I'd say that christianity is not a religion either. Beliefs among christians are so diverse that many would refuse to recognize ME, the long-lost Pete, or myself as christians. Rather, Christianity is a collection of MANY religions, along with a whole bunch of people who vaguely believe, but who aren't really religious.

Same thing with Atheism. You have the numerous atheistic organizations that were listed earlier, which qualify as distinct religions, and you have a whole bunch of people who generally believe that there is no god, but who don't care to give it any more thought than that.


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LetterRip
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As ME and others note,

there are 'atheists' who disbelieve in God as an act of faith. There are also 'evolutionists' who believe in evolution as an act of faith. They are dogmatic in their belief, etc. However, because some individuals share common beliefs, and a portion of those individuals engage in behavior that is characteristic of religion does not make that belief a religion.

Indeed capitalism, pop music, and sports share many more aspects of religious behavior than do atheism or evolution. Are Ayn Rand, Britney Spears, and Mike Ditka gods by your definition? Faith, worship, sacrafices? They make the 'faithful' of atheism pale by comparison.

LetterRip


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Ron Lambert
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Most of us are conceding that there are beliefs and behaviors that are religious in nature, even among atheists (and among sports enthusiasts–"fan" is short for "fanatic," after all). The dispute seems to be over how many or what kind of religious beliefs or behaviors there are and how commonly held they are before we can call it a religion.

I think the real point some of us wish to make is that a great many atheists are not objective or open-minded; they can in fact be just as fanatical and close-minded to contrary evidence as a cultist.


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maniacal_engineer
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quote:
Ron, Maniacal, you are just simply dead wrong on this issue. There isn't really a way to argue that atheism is a religion, and be logically consistent about the definition of religion. Because, frankly, atheism doesn't include ANYTHING as a subset, where christianity carries whole BOATLOADS of ideas as subsets. Which particular version of christian you are depends on which boatload you hold to be true.

quote:
I agree, Ev. Atheism is not a religion. The beliefs of various atheists is simply too diverse for all of them to be put into a single religious classification.

this is odd - how do i reconcile these two statements? IIUC, Ev is saying that the non-existence of god doesn't necessarily result in any one system of beliefs, so nothing is a subset of atheism. But the same could be said of religion. the existence of a supernatural power doesn't necessarily result in any particular religion. maybe a geometry analogy would be apt. I believe that there is one and only one parallel line to a given line. I am a monoparallelist. others believe in that there are no parallel lines. they are aparallelists. you could say that nothing follows from the non-existence of a parallel line, but in fact any thing you do depends on that existence or non-existence. The same is true of god. what philosophical decisions you make depend, fundamentally, intrinsically, basically, on whether the universe has a god or not. local small scale geometry is not measurablt affected by the parallel postulate, but big scale things are. So any of those philosophies that exclude god are just 'sects' of the 'religion' of aetheism. The religions that worship the god of abraham are pretty diverse, but all hold as axiomatic the existence of that god. the diversity of philosophies that maintain the non-existence of god is equally diverse, but the atheist premise is equally essential to all of them.
the parallels between religion and atheism are almost totally complete.

locus
you are confusing truth with our knowledge of truth. I don't believe the true nature of the physical universe has changed throughout human history. relativity and quantum mechanics held during the middle ages as well as it does now. planck's constant has always existed, it just hasn't always been known. Same with good and evil. our knowledge is hopefully refined over time. the problem is that the epistemology for knowing good and evil is less defined, less codified, and much more subjective than that of science. Scientifically minded people are often uncomfortable with the squishyness and so science excludes these epistemologies. and rightly so.

but back to the main point: there are devout christians, muslims, jews, buddhists, taoists, confusianists, zen, and aetheists. there are many non-devout people of same.
what I am really doing is defining a meta group of those who are devout about a philosophical belief system. I chose to call this meta-group a group of religions. I don't really think that that is a reach.

(BTW i did know that the symbols Ev used earlier were mathematical - they don't hand out MSME degrees wiffout you takin sum maf. ;P I was just unfamiliar with his particular symbols for example iff means 'if and only if' but I have never seen it used as a prefix, --> means 'then' as in P-->Q {if p, then q}. but I was not sure quite how to read ev's symbology, yes I knew it wasn't a star of david, cross, pentagram, or mercedes star )
(edited for typos and to add some smilie faces - <lighten up ME> )

[This message has been edited by maniacal_engineer (edited October 29, 2002).]


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Locus
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M.E.

The exact same thing ..in the light of different cultures can be both good AND evil.

The culture sets the results of the "experiment". If morals were constant then the outcome of the simulation would be the same regardless of where and when it was conducted.

In your terms it's like saying P.C. is 6.626X10^-34 Js in Ohio and 7X10^-34 Js in Brazil.


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maniacal_engineer
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sorry locus, I didn't follow that one at all.

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Locus
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Actions gain their moral values from within the context of the culture viewing them.

You may find something in another culture immoral and wrong while they accept it as a natural everyday thing.


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maniacal_engineer
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so maybe one way of expressing a universal morality would be 'something that violates social norms'. this can't be the only principle, but certainly consideration of others is a good thing, being inconsiderate is a bad thing, and so you get things that are bad in one culture are not in another. I remember my wife got mad at me once for sitting on a picnic table because "you just dont sit on a table - people eat on it"
In mongolia or some such three brothers all marry the same woman, and each father one son from her. it works for them, but would be considered immoral by most in the west who would make moral distinctions (meaning, many in the west will not say anything is immoral)
the morality I am talking is a deeper principle - something like 'keep your word'
and just because two cultures have different ideas doesn't mean that one of them isn't WRONG. I bet my life that my beliefs are right. I bet my life by living it every day. (bet your life is also a good Rush song, but I digress)
just because there is a disagreement doesn't mean that truth doesn't exist, just as a disagreement over relativity vs newtonian physics doesn't mean that one of them isn't wrong. In the physics case you can measure it, but you can't measure morality. Just cuz science cant measure it doesnt mean it doesnt exist

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