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Re: Re: Religion in the Monastery.

by Anonymous Monk
on Apr 29, 2003 at 22:54 UTC ( [id://254135]=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Religion in the Monastery.
in thread Religion in the Monastery.

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Re: Re: Re: Religion in the Monastery.
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 30, 2003 at 02:07 UTC

    Atheism is a lack of belief in God or gods. It is not an active disbelief. More than that, there is no dogma associated. Atheist means "not theist", and can no more be considered a single religion than "not Christian" is.

    To underscore this I note that there are a number of recognized religions that are consistent with atheism. Two examples being Scientology and Buddhism - religions which don't have much in common.

      Interesting post.
      Would you agree with my use of set thoery?
      Atheism is the "null set" to any set of religions.
      Just as null would be contained in any set of integers yet
      null is not an integer.

        Atheism is trivially a belief.

        However, atheism doesn't occupy the same special status as the zero element — it's not "at the bottom of" ∀ beliefs. Nor is it really the canvas on which other things are painted, as with a null array.

        BTW, {} ∉ Z. {} ⊂ Z.

      Faith is how someone develops a concept of "Who am I?". Religion happens when people band together with others who share roughly the same concept, and start making rules and such based on these common concepts. There is even an atheist Church of Reality. So atheism certainly can be the basis of a religion.
Re: Re: Re: Religion in the Monastery.
by Cody Pendant (Prior) on May 05, 2003 at 04:30 UTC
    I wanted to reply to the "atheism is a religion of not believing in a God" (a God?) thing by quoting, at some length, I'm afraid, Douglas Adams on the subject.

    Mr. Adams, you have been described as a "radical Atheist." Is this accurate?

    DNA: Yes. I think I use the term radical rather loosely, just for emphasis. If you describe yourself as ďAtheist,Ē some people will say, ďDonít you mean ĎAgnosticí?Ē I have to reply that I really do mean Atheist. I really do not believe that there is a god - in fact I am convinced that there is not a god (a subtle difference). I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one. Itís easier to say that I am a radical Atheist, just to signal that I really mean it, have thought about it a great deal, and that itís an opinion I hold seriously. Itís funny how many people are genuinely surprised to hear a view expressed so strongly. In England we seem to have drifted from vague wishy-washy Anglicanism to vague wishy-washy Agnosticism - both of which I think betoken a desire not to have to think about things too much.


    Other people will ask how I can possibly claim to know? Isnít belief-that-there-is-not-a-god as irrational, arrogant, etc., as belief-that-there-is-a-god? To which I say no for several reasons. First of all I do not believe-that-there-is-not-a-god. I donít see what belief has got to do with it. I believe or donít believe my four-year old daughter when she tells me that she didnít make that mess on the floor. I believe in justice and fair play (though I donít know exactly how we achieve them, other than by continually trying against all possible odds of success). I also believe that England should enter the European Monetary Union. I am not remotely enough of an economist to argue the issue vigorously with someone who is, but what little I do know, reinforced with a hefty dollop of gut feeling, strongly suggests to me that itís the right course. I could very easily turn out to be wrong, and I know that. These seem to me to be legitimate uses for the word believe. As a carapace for the protection of irrational notions from legitimate questions, however, I think that the word has a lot of mischief to answer for. So, I do not believe-that-there-is-no-god. I am, however, convinced that there is no god, which is a totally different stance and takes me on to my second reason.

    I donít accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me ďWell, you havenít been there, have you? You havenít seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally validĒ - then I canít even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation weíd got, and weíve now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I donít think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I donít think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.
    Oh and by the way, me? I'm a Buddhist, but only by marriage.
    “Every bit of code is either naturally related to the problem at hand, or else it's an accidental side effect of the fact that you happened to solve the problem using a digital computer.”
    M-J D
Re: Re: Re: Religion in the Monastery.
by petesmiley (Friar) on May 02, 2003 at 20:31 UTC
      • Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
      • A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
    1. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
    2. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
    3. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

    Hmm, no, atheists don't fit definition 1. And I've never met an order of atheists, but I have found plenty of loners. So that eliminates definition 2. 3 is automatically eliminated, I've never met an atheist pope/messiah/prophet. And frankly, if they are number 4 I'd like to know how that works. Do you go out killing other religions screaming, "I punish thee in the name of all that does not exist!!!"

    No sir....I would categorize atheism as a belief, not a religion.


      I find it amusing that you try and disprove my implied definition of religion simply by quoting a book. My post was just a little flame-bait thrown into the mix with the purpose of observing that both athiesm and organized religions share many of the same qualities. The most dominant of these qualities being the unsupported belief in (or against) something.

      I really don't care to concern myself with such a debate, especially on a programming website. I hope a few people have found it thought-provoking.

      Religion: Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship. The life or condition of a person in a religious order. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion Although I do agree with your definition of religion I (being an Atheist) must disagree with Atheism being a belief. Because what could it possibly be considered a belife in? So I put forth that Atheism is not a belief bu an idea.

        how about an atheist believes the religious are wrong?

Re: Re: Re: Religion in the Monastery.
by AssFace (Pilgrim) on Apr 29, 2003 at 22:59 UTC
    While atheism technically meets one of the less used (usually) definitions of a religion - for the most part I think atheism is better described as a dogma... but I suppose that is all just semantics really.

    There are some odd things afoot now, in the Villa Straylight.
Re: Re: Re: Religion in the Monastery.
by LameNerd (Hermit) on Apr 29, 2003 at 22:58 UTC
    Other than Atheist don't believe in God(s) right? That would make'em different wouldn't it? *geez*
Semantics, Shemantics
by Reverend Phil (Pilgrim) on May 01, 2003 at 17:51 UTC
    I think we're playing the semantic game here folks. I am only an egg, but IMHO, we're confusing the word 'religion' with the word 'faith' (or dogma, as AssFace mentioned. What I mean to say is, the similarity between atheism and religion is that they imply a faith - a belief without proof.

    Religions tend to place their faith in some un(scientifically)knowable deity and/or a specially inspired doctrine. One can probably not seem like too much of an idiot making the generalisation (generalisations being idiot-making mechanisims) that an atheist has instead placed faith in themselves, or perhaps the expanded concept of humanity as a whole - such as science being grounded in certain principles and procedures which, when applied, tend to give scientists comfort in the accuracy of their observations.

    Atheism, just like Christianity, is a faith. But it is not a religion.

    woops, s/Sym/Sem in the title, pardon my French, and danke diotalevi

      I usually sum up my own definitions with three levels.

      Polite form:

    • faith is a belief in any unprovable truth
    • religion is a codification of specific faiths
    • church is an organization sharing a religion
    • I am very accepting of other peoples' faiths and even their religions. I've informally studied quite a few religions, treating them as mythologies, just because every Genesis-like story and every Leviticus-like rulebook has some interesting comparative value. However, I'm deeply distrustful of any church, thanks to the introduction of mob psychology to an otherwise straightforward subject.

      Hardline cynic's form:

    • faith is the personal rationalization of dogma
    • religion is a codification of mythological law
    • church is the courtroom to judge the outsider
    • I express these solely to extend a fertile ongoing conversation here. I don't put bumper stickers on my car, as that just gives someone else a reason to hate me. I rarely describe my faith or religion or church to people, because most people don't want their faith to be challenged. I find proselytization to be obnoxious, and the dogmatic indoctrination of children to be horrid.

      "Orthodoxy means not having to think." --Orwell

      [ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]

        Sorry, I only noticed your post when reviewing this thread again just now. I'd like to present a somewhat different, quite opinionated and definitely rather non-standard set of definitions :)

        • faith is what I have experienced and know to be true about Life, the Universe and Everything (that includes God). It obviously needs to transcend my own life and strength to be useful.
        • religion is a codified set of expected moral behaviour and beliefs, usually strongly influenced by society and personal history.
        • church is the set of people sharing a common faith in God, and sharing loving relationships with each other as outlined by the bible (e.g. mutual accountability, ministering to each other). Church is always defined by the centre (Christ), rather than at the fringe. Note the lack of buildings or institutions in this definition.

        From these definitions it follows that I consider religion to be harmful: It gives you a standard to reach, yet fails to explain that you can't reach that standard.


        People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton

        There is nothing more ugly than an orthodoxy without understanding or without compassion. -- Francis A. Schaeffer

        I don't put bumper stickers on my car, as that just gives someone else a reason to hate me.

        That is wrong on so many levels.

      Atheism, just like Christianity, is a faith.
      No, it's not. The hypotheses there exist no god, is quite scientific. It's scientific because it can be falsified: there exists a way of showing the hypotheses is false, namely showing there is a god (just point out one).

      The reverse, there is a god, is not scientific, as it cannot be falsified (you can't prove no gods exist). It is therefore a faith.


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