9:44 am - Mon, Sep 15, 2014
5 notes
academicatheism:

New Study Revisits Miller-Urey Experiment at the Quantum Level
For the first time, researchers have reproduced the results of the Miller-Urey experiment in a computer simulation, yielding new insight into the effect of electricity on the formation of life’s building blocks at the quantum level.
In 1953, American chemist Stanley Miller had famously electrified a mixture of simple gas and water to simulate lightning and the atmosphere of early Earth. The revolutionary experiment—which yielded a brownish soup of amino acids—offered a simple potential scenario for the origin of life’s building blocks. Miller’s work gave birth to modern research on pre-biotic chemistry and the origins of life.
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academicatheism:

New Study Revisits Miller-Urey Experiment at the Quantum Level

For the first time, researchers have reproduced the results of the Miller-Urey experiment in a computer simulation, yielding new insight into the effect of electricity on the formation of life’s building blocks at the quantum level.

In 1953, American chemist Stanley Miller had famously electrified a mixture of simple gas and water to simulate lightning and the atmosphere of early Earth. The revolutionary experiment—which yielded a brownish soup of amino acids—offered a simple potential scenario for the origin of life’s building blocks. Miller’s work gave birth to modern research on pre-biotic chemistry and the origins of life.

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2:55 pm - Wed, Sep 10, 2014
11 notes

directreferent:

theraginghottruth:

directreferent:

if atheism is defined by “lack of belief in God” then babies and dogs are atheists

don’t be a baby atheist. define atheism as disbelief in God. thank you

This rejection of the wide definition of atheism (lack of belief in gods), in favor of a possible narrow definition…

lol youre delusional if you think im going to watch a fucking video about why agnostics are actually atheists

This is basically an argument from incredulity. Simply saying something along the lines of “Ha ha! fuck you, I don’t believe that” to a statement does not prove that statement false. You have to justify your reasoning, and since you haven’t done that, and in fact openly admit that you didn’t bother to even watch the video, there’s no reason to take your argument seriously.

Also, even though you’re being sarcastic, you’ve actually hit upon an important point. Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive. Neither is agnosticism and theism, for that matter. Even though you’re probably not going to bother reading this, here’s a pretty good explanation from about.com about what agnosticism and atheism actually are, and how agnosticism and atheism (and also agnosticism and theism) can fit together:

Question:
If atheism is just disbelief in gods, then what is the difference between that and agnosticism?

Response:
Many people who adopt the label of agnostic reject the label of atheist — there is a common perception that agnosticism is a more “reasonable” position while atheism is more “dogmatic,” ultimately indistinguishable from theism except in the details. This is not a valid position to adopt because it misrepresents or misunderstands everything involved: atheism, theism, agnosticism, and the nature of belief itself. It also happens to reinforce popular prejudice against atheists.

Prejudice Against Atheism, Atheists

Agnostics may sincerely believe it and theists may sincerely reinforce it, but it relies upon more than one misunderstanding about both atheism and agnosticism. These misunderstandings are only exacerbated by continual social pressure and prejudice against atheism and atheists. People who are unafraid of stating that they indeed do not believe in any gods are still despised in many places, whereas “agnostic” is perceived as more respectable.

Atheists are thought to be closed-minded because they deny the existence of gods, whereas agnostics appear to be open-minded because they do not know for sure. This is a mistake because atheists do not necessarily deny any gods and may indeed be an atheist because they do not know for sure — in other words, they may be an agnostic as well.

Agnostic Atheism & Agnostic Theism

Once it is understood that atheism is merely the absence of belief in any gods, it becomes evident that agnosticism is not, as many assume, a “third way” between atheism and theism. The presence of a belief in a god and the absence of a belief in a god exhaust all of the possibilities. Agnosticism is not about belief in god but about knowledge — it was coined originally to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not.

Thus, it is clear that agnosticism is compatible with both theism and atheism. A person can believe in a god (theism) without claiming to know for sure if that god exists; the result is agnostic theism. On the other hand, a person can disbelieve in gods (atheism) without claiming to know for sure that no gods can or do exist; the result is agnostic atheism.

It is also worth noting that there is a vicious double standard involved when theists claim that agnosticism is “better” than atheism because it is less dogmatic. If atheists are closed-minded because they are not agnostic, then so are theists. On the other hand, if theism can be open-minded then so can atheism.

In the end, the fact of the matter is a person isn’t faced with the necessity of only being either an atheist or an agnostic. Quite the contrary, not only can a person be both, but it is in fact common for people to be both agnostics and atheists. An agnostic atheist won’t claim to know for sure that nothing warranting the label “god” exists or that such cannot exist, but they also don’t actively believe that such an entity does indeed exist.

-Austen Cline

11:58 am
11 notes

directreferent:

if atheism is defined by “lack of belief in God” then babies and dogs are atheists

don’t be a baby atheist. define atheism as disbelief in God. thank you

This rejection of the wide definition of atheism (lack of belief in gods), in favor of a possible narrow definition (disbelief or belief that there are no gods) is basically nonsensical, as things like furniture or dogs lack the intellectual capacity to properly reason about a belief, thus they are unable to have a belief or lack a belief either way. The concept of atheism or theism simply doesn’t apply to them. If the word “single” could be defined as “a lack of marriage”, you’d still know better than to start pointing out furniture, rocks, or dogs if I asked you if anyone at a certain event was single, because thinking something like that could apply to those things is ludicrous.

While it’s true that a baby could be considered an atheist because it lacks a belief in god, this actually does nothing to invalidate the definition of atheism as a lack of belief in god or gods. It’s entirely possible for someone to start out with a default state of lacking a belief in god(s), and, as they grow older and their mind develops, and they learn to properly use reason, to continue to lack belief in gods because they find the evidence or logical arguments for god presented to them to be unconvincing, thus providing them with no reason to leave their default state of lacking belief in a god. It’s also completely possible for someone who was raised in one religion or another to return to the default state of lacking a belief if they take a look at their religion and decide that they have no reason to continue believing it. 

The following video explains why atheism can be widely defined as a lack of belief in far more detail. Please watch and learn:

11:36 am - Wed, Sep 3, 2014
37 notes
Q: A bible verse I came across continues to disturb me. The very act of 'surrending oneself wholly' to God is a direct opposite of my value of being in full control of myself. This is what makes me hesitant about religion. Is just me? or is this real?
Anonymous

liberatingreality:

"Surrendering oneself wholly to God" = The bible is utilized by deceptive religious leaders to justify enforcing a faith based status quo that yields blind adherence to their assertions, sustaining their control and limiting yours.  Truth doesn’t require faith/belief, it validates itself through the vivid sensation of it’s existence.

Despite various arguments as to the true, authentic message behind the bible’s contents, the very fact that it is a secondary source of information (one that’s been edited over the course of thousands of years) invalidates such strict adherence to it in the first place.

10:18 pm - Tue, Sep 2, 2014
24 notes

citrus-hearted:

I actually rather like that video and this may be hard to believe but i agree with what the speaker is saying. Now before I get on to my explanation I will say that murdering and hurting those in the name of God or any gods is wrong. It’s wrong wrong wrong wrong. No person should ever use their Supreme Being figure as an excuse to hurt anyone. That’s cowardly and evil. 

As a Catholic, I am well aware of my religions bloody history. Killing in the name of God and Jesus, even though scripture tells us “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and Jesus teaches us to love other human beings for everything they are because through love and compassion can we make the world a better place. Many of us have seem to forget that. 

As for my initial post, I’ll apologize for making it vague. Please let me explain my reasoning. Someone came into my inbox about this post and this was my explanation to them. This is my reasoning, and mine alone. No one has influenced this reasoning and this has been formed after 3 years of struggling with what religion actually is. 

Religion, by definition and spanning across all areas, is what put up in my post. There doesn’t need to be a supreme authority and morals changes from group to group(rather what is held as a moral) 

Religion also ties a group of people together and form a community. This community generally agrees on the ideas and principles on which the group was built on. 

Atheists are in a community with one another with the moral that evidence behind an idea is paramount in understanding that idea and should always be present.What Atheist hold in extreme importance and is a goal is to always have evidence to support that idea.Finding evidence to back up your claims is a common practice as is rejecting anything considered unreasonable or unfounded. 

Religion doesn’t need a god. Religion does not require spirituality. Religion requires a common belief, faith in something (in the case of Atheists, faith in facts and reasoning), and something the entire group deems of extreme importance. 

The biggest mistake in reasoning i have seen is when people tie religion with spirituality and the cosmic unknown. That is simply not the case and you’d be ignoring a huge part of valuable insight.

Now I know you’re wondering “Why bring up this notion that Atheism is a Religion?”

Because with the advent of the internet, and swarms of like minded people from around the globe interacting with one another and forming communities, ideas and agreements of what is and is not important to their set of beliefs,Atheists have essentially organized themselves into a very religious like sector and I have met Atheists who preach the words of reasoning and facts in, dare i say, religious fervor.Now whether you agree with me or not, the fact will still stand thatAtheists have formed a Religion that has centered around the belief that an idea is not worth anything without evidence to back it up. Essentially the Religion of Basic Science

Looking into the etymology of “religion” I have learned that it comes from the latin words “religare” which means “to bind”, and “religio” which means “obligation, bond, or reverence” 

Like any group of people, like hard core Trekkies or Whovians, which by now has a pretty darn religious fanbase, Atheists are bound together by their common beliefs and have formed a recognized community. 

And having a community formed around the common belief that evidence and reasoning is the most important thing is actually fantastic. But just like any community, there are bad practicers and good ones. It’s why i personally no longer go to church. 

Going back to the video: No one should be hated and ridiculed for their beliefs, This goes either way, It’s just being a good human being to respect someone’s decisions. End of story. If someone doesn’t agree with my beliefs and I don’t agree with theirs. Thats fine. To compare Atheists to rocks is fucking stupid garbage. 

Another reason why i brought this definition, even though I knew people would fight me about it is because many Atheists I have met claimed to be anti-religious. Though i understand what they are saying i have a way of thinking denotatively. So I looked up the definitions of Religion and found an underlying theme “The belief in something”. Most people do associate religion with spirituality, but digging deeper i found that it’s not the case 100% of time. Just… most of the time since people looking for spiritual answers do tend to cluster into a community. 

Personally, I hope people accept this broader definition. Maybe if we looked at whats in common instead of the differences, it’ll open minds and possibly room for discussion on what the world really is about. People turn to certain beliefs in an attempt to understand the abstract and no one person, in my opinion, is totally wrong. I hope it helps people build respect for one another maybe even just let it go and not belong to any one religion but instead have a mish mash of what makes sense. 

I’m a Catholic that doesn’t like easy answers when it comes to what life is all about. I’ll always attempt to find something in common between creationism and evolution (it’s complicated process but the evidence for evolution is literally up in museums and can be observed everyday and every where! it’s stupid to say everything was JUST created. NO.) I’m still looking for the answer to “What is religion?”. So far, this is what i have. 

What you’ve provided is a strawman definition of atheism, So you’re already on shaky ground. You’re also still using the ambiguity fallacy in your definitions for each term, mainly by conflating weak atheism (a lack of belief in gods, which is also the umbrella that most atheists fall under), strong atheism (A belief that there are no gods) and anti-theism (an active opposition to theism). Even though you claim to have agreed with the video I linked, It’s quite clear that you glossed over most of it, as your objections were dealt with there. Even so, here are a few pieces from an Austen Cline at about.com, the first explaining the general differences between atheism and religion:

Atheism & Religion:

Many Christians seem to believe that atheism is a religion, but no one with a fair understanding of both concepts would make such a mistake. Because it’s such a common claim, though, it’s worth demonstrating the depth and breadth of the errors being made. Presented here are the characteristics which best define religions, distinguishing them from other types of belief systems, and how atheism utterly fails to even remotely match any of them.

Belief in Supernatural Beings:

Perhaps the most common and fundamental characteristic of religion is a belief in supernatural beings - usually, but not always, including gods. Few religions lack this characteristic and most religions are founded upon it. Atheism is the absence of belief in gods and thus excludes belief in gods, but it does not exclude belief in other supernatural beings. More important, however, is that atheism does not teach the existence of such beings and most atheists in the West do not believe in them.

Sacred vs Profane Objects, Places, Times:

Differentiating between sacred and profane objects, places, and times helps religious believers focus on transcendental values and/or the existence of a supernatural realm. Atheism excludes believing in things that are “sacred” for the purpose of worshiping gods, but otherwise has nothing to say on the matter - neither promoting nor rejecting the distinction. Many atheists probably have things, places, or times which they consider “sacred” in that they are venerated or esteemed highly.

Ritual Acts Focused on Sacred Objects, Places, Times:

If people believe in something sacred, they probably have associated rituals. As with the very existence of a category of “sacred” things, however, there is nothing about atheism which either mandates such a belief or necessarily excludes it - it’s simply an irrelevant issue. An atheist who holds something as “sacred” may engage in some sort of associated ritual or ceremony, but there is no such thing as an “atheist ritual.”

Moral Code With Supernatural Origins:

Most religions preach some sort of moral code which is typically based upon its transcendental and supernatural beliefs. Thus, for example, theistic religions typically claim that morality is derived from the commands of their gods. Atheists have moral codes, but they don’t believe that those codes are derived from any gods and it would be unusual for them to believe that their morals have a supernatural origin. More importantly, atheism doesn’t teach any particular moral code.

Characteristically Religious Feelings:

Perhaps the vaguest characteristic of religion is the experience of “religious feelings” like awe, a sense of mystery, adoration, and even guilt. Religions encourage these sorts of feelings, especially in the presence of sacred objects and places, and the feelings are typically connected to the presence of the supernatural. Atheists may experience some of these feelings, like awe at the universe itself, but they are neither promoted nor discouraged by atheism itself.

Prayer and Other Forms of Communication:

Belief in supernatural beings like gods doesn’t get you very far if you can’t communicate with them, so religions which include such beliefs naturally also teach how to talk to them - usually with some form of prayer or other ritual. Atheists don’t believe in gods so obviously don’t try to communicate with any; an atheist who believes in some other type of supernatural being might try to communicate with it, but such communication is completely incidental to atheism itself.

A Worldview & Organization of One’s Life Based on the Worldview:

Religions are never just a collection of isolated and unrelated beliefs; instead, they constitute entire worldviews based upon these beliefs and around which people organize their lives. Atheists naturally have worldviews, but atheism itself isn’t a worldview and doesn’t promote any one worldview. Atheists have different ideas about how to live because they have different philosophies on life. Atheism is not a philosophy or ideology, but it can be part of a philosophy, ideology, or worldview.

A Social Group Bound Together by the Above:

A few religious people follow their religion in isolated ways, but usually religions involve complex social organizations of believers who join each other for worship, rituals, prayer, etc. Many atheists belong to a variety of groups, but relatively few atheists belong to specifically atheistic groups - atheists are notorious for not being joiners. When they do belong to atheist groups, though, those groups aren’t bound together by any of the above.

Comparing and Contrasting Atheism & Religion:

Some of these characteristics are more important than others, but none is so important that it alone can make a religion. If atheism lacked one or two of these characteristics, then it would be a religion. If lacked five or six, then it might qualify as metaphorically religious, in the sense of how people follow baseball religiously.

The truth is that atheism lacks every one of these characteristics of religion. At most, atheism doesn’t explicitly exclude most of them, but the same can be said for almost anything. Thus, it’s not possible to call atheism a religion. It can be part of a religion, but it can’t be a religion by itself. They are completely different categories: atheism is the absence of one particular belief while religion is a complex web of traditions and beliefs. They aren’t even remotely comparable.

So why do people claim that atheism is a religion? Usually this occurs in the process of criticizing atheism and/or atheists. It may at times be politically motivated because if atheism is a religion, they think they can force the state to stop “promoting” atheism by eliminating endorsements of Christianity. Sometimes the assumption is that if atheism is simply another “faith,” then atheists’ critiques of religious beliefs are hypocritical and can be ignored.

Since the claim that atheism is a religion is based upon a misunderstanding of one or both concepts, it must proceed from flawed premises. This isn’t just a problem for atheists; given the importance of religion in society, misrepresenting atheism as a religion can undermine people’s ability to understand religion itself. How can we sensibly discuss matters like the separation of church and state, the secularization of society, or the history of religious violence if we don’t adequately define what religion is?

Productive discussion requires clear thinking about concepts and premises, but clear and coherent thinking are undermined by misrepresentations like this.

This second piece is included because most of the objections you provided were addressed specifically, also from about.com:

Myth:
Atheism is just another religion.

Response:
For some strange reason, many people keep getting the idea that atheism is itself some sort of religion. It’s an assertion which I keep hearing in newsgroups, in private email, and in this site’s chat room. Maybe it is because these people are so caught up in their own religious beliefs that they cannot imagine any person living without religion of some sort. Maybe it is due to some persistent misunderstanding of what atheism is. And maybe they just don’t care that what they are saying really doesn’t make any sense.

Whatever the actual reasons, this claim keeps appearing and this article is my attempt to answer such ideas by dissecting an actual letter which I have received, one which manages to perpetrate a number of mistakes:

Dear Sir,

I am afraid I will have to kindly decline your offer to rewrite my post. I stand by my original contention; atheism is a religion. Whether it fits technically with the semantics or not is not a concern of mine; the practical definition of religion is what matters to me, not the letter of the law. And the practical definition, distasteful though it may be to those who disdain religion in all its forms, is that the very thing most atheists hate is what they have become: a religion, with clearly defined rules, eschatology and a philosophy by which to live. Religion is a means of understanding our existence. Atheism fits that bill. Religion is a philosophy of life. So is atheism. Religions has its leaders, the preachers of its tenets. So does atheism (Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Lenin, Marx). Religion has its faithful believers, who guard the orthodoxy of the faith. So does atheism. And religion is a matter of faith, not certainty. Your own faithful say that, as that is what I was referring to in my posting. Welcome to the religious world!

Please forgive my contentious tone. However, I would very much like to bring some (albeit not all as that is not possible) to the realization that all religions set themselves apart from the crowd; they are the pure, the faithful, all others are just “religion.” Here again, atheism fits the bill.

That’s the whole letter in one shot, in order to give readers a sense of original context. Let us now examine it piece by piece so that we can get a better sense of just what lies behind it all…

Whether it fits technically with the semantics or not is not a concern of mine;

In other words, he doesn’t care if he misuses language to fit his purposes? This is a very sad attitude to adopt, but at least he is honest enough to admit it - others making the same claims are less forthright. The fact is, his (convenient) definition lacks one of the central aspects of what a religion most often is (a belief in gods or the supernatural) - and that’s an abuse of language. In fact, whether or not atheism fits technically with the semantics of “religion” should be a concern of his, if he has any interest in an honest dialogue.

Let’s examine what he considers to be the defining characteristics of “religion.”

…a religion, with clearly defined rules, eschatology and a philosophy by which to live. Religion is a means of understanding our existence.

Does atheism have anything approaching “clearly defined rules?” Not in the least. There is only one “rule,” and that is the rule of the definition of “atheism” - not having any belief in any gods. Other than that, atheists are free to do whatever they want and still be called atheists. An atheist can do and believe absolutely anything beyond gods and still fit the definition. Quite the opposite of how “rules” are treated in a religion. This is one area where a misunderstanding of what atheism is probably comes into play.

Does atheism have an “eschatology? Eschatology is a “belief about the end of the world or the last things.” Now, I’m sure that many atheists have some sort of beliefs about how the world might end, but those beliefs sure aren’t clearly defined or uniform among all of us. In fact, any beliefs about the end of the world are accidental - that is to say, they are not a necessary part of atheism. There is absolutely, positively nothing inherent in the disbelief in gods that leads one to any opinions about the end of the world. Quite the opposite of how ‘eschatology’ is treated in a religion.

Does atheism contain “…a philosophy by which to live?” Atheists certainly have philosophies by which they live. A popular philosophy might be Secular Humanism. Another might be objectivism. Still another could be some form of Buddhism. There is not, however, a clearly defined philosophy common to all or even most atheists. In fact, there is nothing inherent in the disbelief in god(s) which leads a person to any philosophy of life (although a person without such a philosophy might be a bit strange). Quite the opposite of how ‘philosophy of life’ is treated in a religion.

Religion is a means of understanding our existence. Atheism fits that bill.

Sorry, wrong yet again. As the term is normally used, atheism means not believing in any gods. That’s as far as “understanding existence” goes with atheism. Other than gods, there’s a lot of room for differences among atheists as to what they think about existence. Thus, atheism itself is not an “understanding”, but a single commonality. Any two atheists might have as much in common as a Christian and a devout believer in Odin - both of whom are obviously theists. Although some person’s understanding of their existence might contain a principle of atheism, that atheism is not itself the means to understanding.

The belief in an objectively existing world is a common assumption, too - but the people who share it don’t belong to a common religion, now do they? Besides, since many atheists don’t believe that gods “exist” and, hence, aren’t a part of “existence”, that disbelief doesn’t have to be seen as understanding “existence”. I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, and that disbelief isn’t a means of understanding our existence, doesn’t have an eschatology, and certainly has no clearly defined rules.

Religion is a philosophy of life. So is atheism.

Atheism is a disbelief, not a philosophy. My disbelief in the Tooth Fairy is not a philosophy of life - is it for anyone else? Furthermore, a philosophy of life is not necessarily a religion and it doesn’t necessitate that a religious belief exists in the person with the philosophy.

Religions has its leaders, the preachers of its tenets. So does atheism (Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Lenin, Marx).

All of those philosophers disagreed in many ways - thus supporting my contention that atheism, as such, does not have any set of “clearly defined rules” and is not a single religion. Many atheists, in fact, have no interest in those authors.

The Democratic Party, the United Way, a university - all have had their leaders. Are they religions? Of course not - anyone who suggests such a thing would be immediately recognized as a loon, but somehow people imagine that it is respectable to do the same with atheism.

Religion has its faithful believers, who guard the orthodoxy of the faith. So does atheism.

What possible orthodoxy is there for anyone to guard? There are those who attempt to guard the orthodoxy of belief in the Democratic Party - is that a religion, too? At least political parties have some semblance of “orthodox beliefs” which are worth guarding against the gradual shifts of culture.

And religion is a matter of faith, not certainty. Your own faithful say that, as that is what I was referring to in my posting.

"…my own faithful…?" Who are they? What is he talking about? He acts like I’m a high-priest of atheism. Some people imagine that those who read this site and regularly visit the chat room and/or bulletin board are somehow "followers" - but they are simply reading their own predispositions onto the lives of others.

Just because religion necessitates the existence of faith does not mean that the existence of faith (in whatever form) necessitates the existence of religion. I have “faith” in my wife’s love for me - is that a religion? Of course not. I have “faith” in the value of empiricism - is that a religion? Of course not, that’d be silly. The connection between religion and faith only goes in one direction, not both.

Moreover, religionists in cases like this love to equivocate upon the term “faith.” Faith has multiple meanings - not all of which are exactly the same. The sort of faith to which I refer above and which one might consider common among atheists is that of simple confidence based upon past experience. Moreover, that faith is not limitless - it should only go as far as evidence warrants. In religion, however, faith means a great deal more - it is, in fact, essentially a belief without or in spite of evidence.

Welcome to the religious world! Please forgive my contentious tone. However, I would very much like to bring some (albeit not all as that is not possible) to the realization that all religions set themselves apart from the crowd; they are the pure, the faithful, all others are just “religion.” Here again, atheism fits the bill.

Huh? This makes no sense. Just because atheists see themselves “apart from the crowd,” this makes atheism a religion? Absurd.

At every point in the above letter, there is an attempt to show places where religions and atheism have something in common. I’ve either pointed out that there isn’t anything in common - that the alleged commonality is shared by other organizations or beliefs that clearly aren’t religions - or, finally, that the alleged commonality isn’t a necessary part of atheism. The problem is, the author managed to pick things that aren’t necessary parts to religion. A religion doesn’t have to have leaders, an eschatology, defenders, etc. to be a religion. Just because something does have those things doesn’t mean that it is a religion. If someone disagrees, they’re going to have to do a better job of supporting this position than just listing them - they’re going to have to explain, in depth, just how each of those points are sufficient and necessary.

Perhaps it would also help to examine what a religion is. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, in its article on Religion, lists some characteristics of religions. The more markers that are present in a belief system, the more “religious like” it is. Because it allows for broader grey areas in the concept of religion, I prefer this over more simplistic definitions we can find in basic dictionaries. Read the list and see how atheism fares :

  1. Belief in supernatural beings (gods).
  2. A distinction between sacred and profane objects.
  3. Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.
  4. A moral code believed to be sanctioned by the gods.
  5. Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual, and which are connected in idea with the gods.
  6. Prayer and other forms of communication with gods.
  7. A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein. This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it.
  8. A more or less total organization of one’s life based on the world view.
  9. A social group bound together by the above.

To try and claim that atheism is a religion requires, it should be pretty obvious from the above, a radical ad hoc redefinition in what it is that “being a religion” is supposed to mean, resulting in a radically equivocal use of the new term— if atheism is a religion, then just what isn’t a religion?

In addition, it should be noted that theism itself does not qualify as a religion based upon the above - and for most of the same reasons that atheism does not qualify. When you stop to think about it, theism - the mere belief in god(s) - does not automatically entail almost any of the beliefs or practices listed in either the above letter or the above definition. In order to have a religion, you need quite a bit more than either simple belief or disbelief. This fact is clearly reflected in the real world, because we find theism which exists outside of religion and religion which exists without theism.

Now, I know it seems a bit lazy of me to just source other people’s arguments, but it’s late, and I’m tired as all get out. Yet the fact that I was able to find something so easily shows something very important about your argument: It’s not that smart, it’s not that original, and it’s pretty much dead on arrival. Nice try though!

I never said it was original. No thought is original, really. 

I see I still have some learning to do and I see a lot of my points in that letter. but despite all of that explanation, there will still be those who have a religious like fervor. 

you’re still conflating atheism with anti-theism. Those are different things. Seriously, this is simple stuff. I shouldn’t have to explain it to you.

Though, like I said (i suppose this will always be a debated point, but i’ll still stand with it), Religion doesn’t need to have a belief in a God or gods, though it will have its basic principles that each religion goes by. A religion doesn’t need to be organized either (the responses on the top point at organized religion) and Atheists are still bound together in their common belief(s). 

You’re still using the strawman and ambiguity fallacies in your definitions of atheism and religion, mainly by using non-differentiating definitions, and ignoring any important differences (see links in earlier reply). It’s a bit like arguing that since an ostrich has two legs and can’t fly, and a human also has two legs and can’t fly, then an ostrich is a human. Also, by strawmanning the definition of atheism in order to make it look like a religion, you’ve actually made the definition of “religion” so vague that it’s meaningless as any kind of descriptive term.

"There is no God or gods" is the common belief.

Actually, atheism is most commonly a lack of belief in gods. This was addressed in the video I posted earlier, that you obviously skimmed through. Here is it again for convenience. Please actually watch it this time:

"There is a God" is a common belief within Christianity, Islam and Judaism. "We can achieve enlightenment through meditation" is a common belief in Buddhism

Right down to the nitty gritty, rock bottom core of religion, a common belief and a group of people bound to one another through it is enough. 

And you’re right back to using the ambiguity fallacy in your definitions of atheism and religion. It’s intellectually dishonest, and you should seriously cut that out.

It’s now plainly obvious you skimmed almost everything I provided. I recommend you take a second look and actually read it, and understand it this time. It really will deal with any further objections you may have.

(via pumpkin-hearted)

9:10 pm
24 notes

citrus-hearted:

theraginghottruth:

high-infidelity:

citrus-hearted:

Long story short: Atheism is a Religion by definition. 

Short story long: you should not cherry pick definitions from every dictionary you can get your hands on until you find a definition so vague it kinda fits your purpose.

Merriam Webster:

re·li·gion noun \ri-ˈli-jən\
: the belief in a god or in a group of gods

: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods

: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

Dictionary.com

religion
[ri-lij-uh n] 
noun
1.
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects:
the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices:
a world council of religions.
4.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.:
to enter religion.
5.
the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6.
something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience:
to make a religion of fighting prejudice.
7.
religions, Archaic. religious rites:
painted priests performing religions deep into the night.

wiktionary.org

religion (plural religions)

1. The belief in and worship of a supernatural controlling power, especially a personal god or gods.
My brother tends to value religion, but my sister not as much.
2. A particular system of faith and worship.
Islam is a major religion in parts of Asia and Africa.
Eckankar is a new religion but Zoroastrianism is an old religion.
3. The way of life committed to by monks and nuns.
The monk entered religion when he was 20 years of age.
4. Any practice that someone or some group is seriously devoted to.
At this point, Star Trek has really become a religion.
5. (obsolete) Faithfulness to a given principle; conscientiousness. [16th-17th c.]

You see? Context is important, and dictionaries are useful tools that should not be treated in the same way that Christians treat their bibles.

Also, he failed to show that atheism could fall anywhere near a similar definition. A half-formed argument is far from cogent. Citrus-hearted, here’s a good explanation of what atheism actually is, and, more importantly, what it isn’t:

I actually rather like that video and this may be hard to believe but i agree with what the speaker is saying. Now before I get on to my explanation I will say that murdering and hurting those in the name of God or any gods is wrong. It’s wrong wrong wrong wrong. No person should ever use their Supreme Being figure as an excuse to hurt anyone. That’s cowardly and evil. 

As a Catholic, I am well aware of my religions bloody history. Killing in the name of God and Jesus, even though scripture tells us “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and Jesus teaches us to love other human beings for everything they are because through love and compassion can we make the world a better place. Many of us have seem to forget that. 

As for my initial post, I’ll apologize for making it vague. Please let me explain my reasoning. Someone came into my inbox about this post and this was my explanation to them. This is my reasoning, and mine alone. No one has influenced this reasoning and this has been formed after 3 years of struggling with what religion actually is. 

Religion, by definition and spanning across all areas, is what put up in my post. There doesn’t need to be a supreme authority and morals changes from group to group(rather what is held as a moral) 

Religion also ties a group of people together and form a community. This community generally agrees on the ideas and principles on which the group was built on. 

Atheists are in a community with one another with the moral that evidence behind an idea is paramount in understanding that idea and should always be present.What Atheist hold in extreme importance and is a goal is to always have evidence to support that idea.Finding evidence to back up your claims is a common practice as is rejecting anything considered unreasonable or unfounded. 

Religion doesn’t need a god. Religion does not require spirituality. Religion requires a common belief, faith in something (in the case of Atheists, faith in facts and reasoning), and something the entire group deems of extreme importance. 

The biggest mistake in reasoning i have seen is when people tie religion with spirituality and the cosmic unknown. That is simply not the case and you’d be ignoring a huge part of valuable insight.

Now I know you’re wondering “Why bring up this notion that Atheism is a Religion?”

Because with the advent of the internet, and swarms of like minded people from around the globe interacting with one another and forming communities, ideas and agreements of what is and is not important to their set of beliefs,Atheists have essentially organized themselves into a very religious like sector and I have met Atheists who preach the words of reasoning and facts in, dare i say, religious fervor.Now whether you agree with me or not, the fact will still stand thatAtheists have formed a Religion that has centered around the belief that an idea is not worth anything without evidence to back it up. Essentially the Religion of Basic Science

Looking into the etymology of “religion” I have learned that it comes from the latin words “religare” which means “to bind”, and “religio” which means “obligation, bond, or reverence” 

Like any group of people, like hard core Trekkies or Whovians, which by now has a pretty darn religious fanbase, Atheists are bound together by their common beliefs and have formed a recognized community. 

And having a community formed around the common belief that evidence and reasoning is the most important thing is actually fantastic. But just like any community, there are bad practicers and good ones. It’s why i personally no longer go to church. 

Going back to the video: No one should be hated and ridiculed for their beliefs, This goes either way, It’s just being a good human being to respect someone’s decisions. End of story. If someone doesn’t agree with my beliefs and I don’t agree with theirs. Thats fine. To compare Atheists to rocks is fucking stupid garbage. 

Another reason why i brought this definition, even though I knew people would fight me about it is because many Atheists I have met claimed to be anti-religious. Though i understand what they are saying i have a way of thinking denotatively. So I looked up the definitions of Religion and found an underlying theme “The belief in something”. Most people do associate religion with spirituality, but digging deeper i found that it’s not the case 100% of time. Just… most of the time since people looking for spiritual answers do tend to cluster into a community. 

Personally, I hope people accept this broader definition. Maybe if we looked at whats in common instead of the differences, it’ll open minds and possibly room for discussion on what the world really is about. People turn to certain beliefs in an attempt to understand the abstract and no one person, in my opinion, is totally wrong. I hope it helps people build respect for one another maybe even just let it go and not belong to any one religion but instead have a mish mash of what makes sense. 

I’m a Catholic that doesn’t like easy answers when it comes to what life is all about. I’ll always attempt to find something in common between creationism and evolution (it’s complicated process but the evidence for evolution is literally up in museums and can be observed everyday and every where! it’s stupid to say everything was JUST created. NO.) I’m still looking for the answer to “What is religion?”. So far, this is what i have. 

What you’ve provided is a strawman definition of atheism, So you’re already on shaky ground. You’re also still using the ambiguity fallacy in your definitions for each term, mainly by conflating weak atheism (a lack of belief in gods, which is also the umbrella that most atheists fall under), strong atheism (A belief that there are no gods) and anti-theism (an active opposition to theism). Also you’re using the etymological fallacy to replace the broad, relevant definition of “religion” with a more narrow one that better suits your argument, even though it’s nowhere close to what people actually mean when they talk about religion. You’ve got some serious intellectual dishonesty going on!

Second, even though you claim to have agreed with the video I linked, It’s quite clear that you glossed over most of it, as your objections were dealt with there. Even so, here are a few pieces from an Austen Cline at about.com, the first explaining the general differences between atheism and religion:

Atheism & Religion:

Many Christians seem to believe that atheism is a religion, but no one with a fair understanding of both concepts would make such a mistake. Because it’s such a common claim, though, it’s worth demonstrating the depth and breadth of the errors being made. Presented here are the characteristics which best define religions, distinguishing them from other types of belief systems, and how atheism utterly fails to even remotely match any of them.

Belief in Supernatural Beings:

Perhaps the most common and fundamental characteristic of religion is a belief in supernatural beings - usually, but not always, including gods. Few religions lack this characteristic and most religions are founded upon it. Atheism is the absence of belief in gods and thus excludes belief in gods, but it does not exclude belief in other supernatural beings. More important, however, is that atheism does not teach the existence of such beings and most atheists in the West do not believe in them.

Sacred vs Profane Objects, Places, Times:

Differentiating between sacred and profane objects, places, and times helps religious believers focus on transcendental values and/or the existence of a supernatural realm. Atheism excludes believing in things that are “sacred” for the purpose of worshiping gods, but otherwise has nothing to say on the matter - neither promoting nor rejecting the distinction. Many atheists probably have things, places, or times which they consider “sacred” in that they are venerated or esteemed highly.

Ritual Acts Focused on Sacred Objects, Places, Times:

If people believe in something sacred, they probably have associated rituals. As with the very existence of a category of “sacred” things, however, there is nothing about atheism which either mandates such a belief or necessarily excludes it - it’s simply an irrelevant issue. An atheist who holds something as “sacred” may engage in some sort of associated ritual or ceremony, but there is no such thing as an “atheist ritual.”

Moral Code With Supernatural Origins:

Most religions preach some sort of moral code which is typically based upon its transcendental and supernatural beliefs. Thus, for example, theistic religions typically claim that morality is derived from the commands of their gods. Atheists have moral codes, but they don’t believe that those codes are derived from any gods and it would be unusual for them to believe that their morals have a supernatural origin. More importantly, atheism doesn’t teach any particular moral code.

Characteristically Religious Feelings:

Perhaps the vaguest characteristic of religion is the experience of “religious feelings” like awe, a sense of mystery, adoration, and even guilt. Religions encourage these sorts of feelings, especially in the presence of sacred objects and places, and the feelings are typically connected to the presence of the supernatural. Atheists may experience some of these feelings, like awe at the universe itself, but they are neither promoted nor discouraged by atheism itself.

Prayer and Other Forms of Communication:

Belief in supernatural beings like gods doesn’t get you very far if you can’t communicate with them, so religions which include such beliefs naturally also teach how to talk to them - usually with some form of prayer or other ritual. Atheists don’t believe in gods so obviously don’t try to communicate with any; an atheist who believes in some other type of supernatural being might try to communicate with it, but such communication is completely incidental to atheism itself.

A Worldview & Organization of One’s Life Based on the Worldview:

Religions are never just a collection of isolated and unrelated beliefs; instead, they constitute entire worldviews based upon these beliefs and around which people organize their lives. Atheists naturally have worldviews, but atheism itself isn’t a worldview and doesn’t promote any one worldview. Atheists have different ideas about how to live because they have different philosophies on life. Atheism is not a philosophy or ideology, but it can be part of a philosophy, ideology, or worldview.

A Social Group Bound Together by the Above:

A few religious people follow their religion in isolated ways, but usually religions involve complex social organizations of believers who join each other for worship, rituals, prayer, etc. Many atheists belong to a variety of groups, but relatively few atheists belong to specifically atheistic groups - atheists are notorious for not being joiners. When they do belong to atheist groups, though, those groups aren’t bound together by any of the above.

Comparing and Contrasting Atheism & Religion:

Some of these characteristics are more important than others, but none is so important that it alone can make a religion. If atheism lacked one or two of these characteristics, then it would be a religion. If lacked five or six, then it might qualify as metaphorically religious, in the sense of how people follow baseball religiously.

The truth is that atheism lacks every one of these characteristics of religion. At most, atheism doesn’t explicitly exclude most of them, but the same can be said for almost anything. Thus, it’s not possible to call atheism a religion. It can be part of a religion, but it can’t be a religion by itself. They are completely different categories: atheism is the absence of one particular belief while religion is a complex web of traditions and beliefs. They aren’t even remotely comparable.

So why do people claim that atheism is a religion? Usually this occurs in the process of criticizing atheism and/or atheists. It may at times be politically motivated because if atheism is a religion, they think they can force the state to stop “promoting” atheism by eliminating endorsements of Christianity. Sometimes the assumption is that if atheism is simply another “faith,” then atheists’ critiques of religious beliefs are hypocritical and can be ignored.

Since the claim that atheism is a religion is based upon a misunderstanding of one or both concepts, it must proceed from flawed premises. This isn’t just a problem for atheists; given the importance of religion in society, misrepresenting atheism as a religion can undermine people’s ability to understand religion itself. How can we sensibly discuss matters like the separation of church and state, the secularization of society, or the history of religious violence if we don’t adequately define what religion is?

Productive discussion requires clear thinking about concepts and premises, but clear and coherent thinking are undermined by misrepresentations like this.

This second piece is included because most of the objections you provided were addressed specifically, also from about.com:

Myth:
Atheism is just another religion.

Response:
For some strange reason, many people keep getting the idea that atheism is itself some sort of religion. It’s an assertion which I keep hearing in newsgroups, in private email, and in this site’s chat room. Maybe it is because these people are so caught up in their own religious beliefs that they cannot imagine any person living without religion of some sort. Maybe it is due to some persistent misunderstanding of what atheism is. And maybe they just don’t care that what they are saying really doesn’t make any sense.

Whatever the actual reasons, this claim keeps appearing and this article is my attempt to answer such ideas by dissecting an actual letter which I have received, one which manages to perpetrate a number of mistakes:

Dear Sir,

I am afraid I will have to kindly decline your offer to rewrite my post. I stand by my original contention; atheism is a religion. Whether it fits technically with the semantics or not is not a concern of mine; the practical definition of religion is what matters to me, not the letter of the law. And the practical definition, distasteful though it may be to those who disdain religion in all its forms, is that the very thing most atheists hate is what they have become: a religion, with clearly defined rules, eschatology and a philosophy by which to live. Religion is a means of understanding our existence. Atheism fits that bill. Religion is a philosophy of life. So is atheism. Religions has its leaders, the preachers of its tenets. So does atheism (Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Lenin, Marx). Religion has its faithful believers, who guard the orthodoxy of the faith. So does atheism. And religion is a matter of faith, not certainty. Your own faithful say that, as that is what I was referring to in my posting. Welcome to the religious world!

Please forgive my contentious tone. However, I would very much like to bring some (albeit not all as that is not possible) to the realization that all religions set themselves apart from the crowd; they are the pure, the faithful, all others are just “religion.” Here again, atheism fits the bill.

That’s the whole letter in one shot, in order to give readers a sense of original context. Let us now examine it piece by piece so that we can get a better sense of just what lies behind it all…

Whether it fits technically with the semantics or not is not a concern of mine;

In other words, he doesn’t care if he misuses language to fit his purposes? This is a very sad attitude to adopt, but at least he is honest enough to admit it - others making the same claims are less forthright. The fact is, his (convenient) definition lacks one of the central aspects of what a religion most often is (a belief in gods or the supernatural) - and that’s an abuse of language. In fact, whether or not atheism fits technically with the semantics of “religion” should be a concern of his, if he has any interest in an honest dialogue.

Let’s examine what he considers to be the defining characteristics of “religion.”

…a religion, with clearly defined rules, eschatology and a philosophy by which to live. Religion is a means of understanding our existence.

Does atheism have anything approaching “clearly defined rules?” Not in the least. There is only one “rule,” and that is the rule of the definition of “atheism” - not having any belief in any gods. Other than that, atheists are free to do whatever they want and still be called atheists. An atheist can do and believe absolutely anything beyond gods and still fit the definition. Quite the opposite of how “rules” are treated in a religion. This is one area where a misunderstanding of what atheism is probably comes into play.

Does atheism have an “eschatology? Eschatology is a “belief about the end of the world or the last things.” Now, I’m sure that many atheists have some sort of beliefs about how the world might end, but those beliefs sure aren’t clearly defined or uniform among all of us. In fact, any beliefs about the end of the world are accidental - that is to say, they are not a necessary part of atheism. There is absolutely, positively nothing inherent in the disbelief in gods that leads one to any opinions about the end of the world. Quite the opposite of how ‘eschatology’ is treated in a religion.

Does atheism contain “…a philosophy by which to live?” Atheists certainly have philosophies by which they live. A popular philosophy might be Secular Humanism. Another might be objectivism. Still another could be some form of Buddhism. There is not, however, a clearly defined philosophy common to all or even most atheists. In fact, there is nothing inherent in the disbelief in god(s) which leads a person to any philosophy of life (although a person without such a philosophy might be a bit strange). Quite the opposite of how ‘philosophy of life’ is treated in a religion.

Religion is a means of understanding our existence. Atheism fits that bill.

Sorry, wrong yet again. As the term is normally used, atheism means not believing in any gods. That’s as far as “understanding existence” goes with atheism. Other than gods, there’s a lot of room for differences among atheists as to what they think about existence. Thus, atheism itself is not an “understanding”, but a single commonality. Any two atheists might have as much in common as a Christian and a devout believer in Odin - both of whom are obviously theists. Although some person’s understanding of their existence might contain a principle of atheism, that atheism is not itself the means to understanding.

The belief in an objectively existing world is a common assumption, too - but the people who share it don’t belong to a common religion, now do they? Besides, since many atheists don’t believe that gods “exist” and, hence, aren’t a part of “existence”, that disbelief doesn’t have to be seen as understanding “existence”. I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, and that disbelief isn’t a means of understanding our existence, doesn’t have an eschatology, and certainly has no clearly defined rules.

Religion is a philosophy of life. So is atheism.

Atheism is a disbelief, not a philosophy. My disbelief in the Tooth Fairy is not a philosophy of life - is it for anyone else? Furthermore, a philosophy of life is not necessarily a religion and it doesn’t necessitate that a religious belief exists in the person with the philosophy.

Religions has its leaders, the preachers of its tenets. So does atheism (Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Lenin, Marx).

All of those philosophers disagreed in many ways - thus supporting my contention that atheism, as such, does not have any set of “clearly defined rules” and is not a single religion. Many atheists, in fact, have no interest in those authors.

The Democratic Party, the United Way, a university - all have had their leaders. Are they religions? Of course not - anyone who suggests such a thing would be immediately recognized as a loon, but somehow people imagine that it is respectable to do the same with atheism.

Religion has its faithful believers, who guard the orthodoxy of the faith. So does atheism.

What possible orthodoxy is there for anyone to guard? There are those who attempt to guard the orthodoxy of belief in the Democratic Party - is that a religion, too? At least political parties have some semblance of “orthodox beliefs” which are worth guarding against the gradual shifts of culture.

And religion is a matter of faith, not certainty. Your own faithful say that, as that is what I was referring to in my posting.

"…my own faithful…?" Who are they? What is he talking about? He acts like I’m a high-priest of atheism. Some people imagine that those who read this site and regularly visit the chat room and/or bulletin board are somehow "followers" - but they are simply reading their own predispositions onto the lives of others.

Just because religion necessitates the existence of faith does not mean that the existence of faith (in whatever form) necessitates the existence of religion. I have “faith” in my wife’s love for me - is that a religion? Of course not. I have “faith” in the value of empiricism - is that a religion? Of course not, that’d be silly. The connection between religion and faith only goes in one direction, not both.

Moreover, religionists in cases like this love to equivocate upon the term “faith.” Faith has multiple meanings - not all of which are exactly the same. The sort of faith to which I refer above and which one might consider common among atheists is that of simple confidence based upon past experience. Moreover, that faith is not limitless - it should only go as far as evidence warrants. In religion, however, faith means a great deal more - it is, in fact, essentially a belief without or in spite of evidence.

Welcome to the religious world! Please forgive my contentious tone. However, I would very much like to bring some (albeit not all as that is not possible) to the realization that all religions set themselves apart from the crowd; they are the pure, the faithful, all others are just “religion.” Here again, atheism fits the bill.

Huh? This makes no sense. Just because atheists see themselves “apart from the crowd,” this makes atheism a religion? Absurd.

At every point in the above letter, there is an attempt to show places where religions and atheism have something in common. I’ve either pointed out that there isn’t anything in common - that the alleged commonality is shared by other organizations or beliefs that clearly aren’t religions - or, finally, that the alleged commonality isn’t a necessary part of atheism. The problem is, the author managed to pick things that aren’t necessary parts to religion. A religion doesn’t have to have leaders, an eschatology, defenders, etc. to be a religion. Just because something does have those things doesn’t mean that it is a religion. If someone disagrees, they’re going to have to do a better job of supporting this position than just listing them - they’re going to have to explain, in depth, just how each of those points are sufficient and necessary.

Perhaps it would also help to examine what a religion is. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, in its article on Religion, lists some characteristics of religions. The more markers that are present in a belief system, the more “religious like” it is. Because it allows for broader grey areas in the concept of religion, I prefer this over more simplistic definitions we can find in basic dictionaries. Read the list and see how atheism fares :

  1. Belief in supernatural beings (gods).
  2. A distinction between sacred and profane objects.
  3. Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.
  4. A moral code believed to be sanctioned by the gods.
  5. Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual, and which are connected in idea with the gods.
  6. Prayer and other forms of communication with gods.
  7. A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein. This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it.
  8. A more or less total organization of one’s life based on the world view.
  9. A social group bound together by the above.

To try and claim that atheism is a religion requires, it should be pretty obvious from the above, a radical ad hoc redefinition in what it is that “being a religion” is supposed to mean, resulting in a radically equivocal use of the new term— if atheism is a religion, then just what isn’t a religion?

In addition, it should be noted that theism itself does not qualify as a religion based upon the above - and for most of the same reasons that atheism does not qualify. When you stop to think about it, theism - the mere belief in god(s) - does not automatically entail almost any of the beliefs or practices listed in either the above letter or the above definition. In order to have a religion, you need quite a bit more than either simple belief or disbelief. This fact is clearly reflected in the real world, because we find theism which exists outside of religion and religion which exists without theism.

Now, I know it seems a bit lazy of me to just source other people’s arguments, but it’s late, and I’m tired as all get out. Yet the fact that I was able to find something so easily shows something very important about your argument: It’s not that smart, it’s not that original, and it’s pretty much dead on arrival. Nice try though!

(via pumpkin-hearted)

1:49 pm
86 notes
allahaljalil:

allahaljalil.tumblr.com
 Quoted by: Omar Suleiman

And today’s fallacy is straw man:

Also, please watch the following and be educated:

allahaljalil:

allahaljalil.tumblr.com

 Quoted by: Omar Suleiman

And today’s fallacy is straw man:

image

Also, please watch the following and be educated:

1:30 pm
32 notes
anonymousatheist420:

Via David G. McAfee
9:13 am
24 notes

Religion, Noun, Definition: A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance

high-infidelity:

citrus-hearted:

Long story short: Atheism is a Religion by definition. 

Short story long: you should not cherry pick definitions from every dictionary you can get your hands on until you find a definition so vague it kinda fits your purpose.

Merriam Webster:

re·li·gion noun \ri-ˈli-jən\
: the belief in a god or in a group of gods

: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods

: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

Dictionary.com

religion
[ri-lij-uh n] 
noun
1.
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects:
the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices:
a world council of religions.
4.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.:
to enter religion.
5.
the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6.
something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience:
to make a religion of fighting prejudice.
7.
religions, Archaic. religious rites:
painted priests performing religions deep into the night.

wiktionary.org

religion (plural religions)

1. The belief in and worship of a supernatural controlling power, especially a personal god or gods.
My brother tends to value religion, but my sister not as much.
2. A particular system of faith and worship.
Islam is a major religion in parts of Asia and Africa.
Eckankar is a new religion but Zoroastrianism is an old religion.
3. The way of life committed to by monks and nuns.
The monk entered religion when he was 20 years of age.
4. Any practice that someone or some group is seriously devoted to.
At this point, Star Trek has really become a religion.
5. (obsolete) Faithfulness to a given principle; conscientiousness. [16th-17th c.]

You see? Context is important, and dictionaries are useful tools that should not be treated in the same way that Christians treat their bibles.

Also, he failed to show that atheism could fall anywhere near a similar definition. A half-formed argument is far from cogent. Citrus-hearted, here’s a good explanation of what atheism actually is, and, more importantly, what it isn’t:

(Source: pumpkin-hearted)

2:46 pm - Mon, Sep 1, 2014
9 notes

academicatheism:

In the last two parts of my philosophy series, “ Thinking about the ‘Metaphysics’ in Metaphysical Naturalism,” there was an aspect in each discussion that suggests we live in a deterministic universe.

In my article about cosmology and time, I discussed the B-Thoery of time, which holds that all time is equally real, so that the past exists in the same moment as our present, and our present exists in the same moment as the future. This theory of time explains how our universe did not “begin” ex nihilo, but has always existed in four permanent dimensions, with time simply being the fourth dimension of space. This approach to time is useful for countering the apologetic cosmological argument, but it also leads to the conclusion that our universe is fully determined. After all, if the future already exists in the same moment as our present, then the future must already be determined.

Continue Reading

12:38 pm
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Modal realism tells us what possibilities are: they are states of affairs which obtain in every possible world. A necessary state of affairs is one which obtains in every possible world. Modal realism also makes clear what, in reality, makes propositions necessarily true or false. However, it does present some difficulties for the idea that some of the properties of objects are accidental. It is accidental that I have the property of being a writer of philosophy, in the sense that I could have been something else instead. The way we formulated this in the language of possible worlds was to say that, in some possible world, I am not a writer of philosophy. This implies that I exist in more than one world. But, if modal realism is correct, we cannot exist in more than one world, as we are bound in time and space to this one. If A is spatially and temporally unrelated to B, then they cannot be one and the same object. But if A is in one world and B is in another, then they are spatially and temporally unrelated to each other. Hence no-one can be in more than one world. The solution adopted by the modal realist is to say that, although I do not exist in any world but this one, I do have counterparts in other worlds: that is, individuals who are very like me in certain respects but different in others. Thus, I have a counterpart in some other world who is more like me than any other object in that world, but who, unlike me, is the Tsar of Russia. It is by virtue of my having some other world a counterpart who is the Tsar of Russia which makes it true that I could have been the Tsar of Russia.

Unfortunately, this raises problems for the notion of a necessary being, for a necessary being would be one which existed in all worlds. Since any being can inhabit one world at most, there is, on the modal realist picture, no such thing as a necessary being. We are assuming here, however, that everything that exists does so in time and space. Can this assumption be questioned? Perhaps a necessary being is one which does not exist in time and space. But this creates difficulties for the modal realist’s notion of what it is to be in a world. If to be in a world is to be in the space and time of that world, then beings outside time and space exist in no worlds. And since the sum of all possible worlds is all there is to reality, a being which is in no world is not real. Worse, it is an impossible being.

What consequences does this have for God? It seems, if the modal realist picture is correct, that the theist faces a dilemma, for, either God exists in time and space, or he exists outside of time and space (otherwise he does not exist at all). If he exists in time and space, then he cannot exist in more than one world. Therefore he is not a necessary being. If, however, he exists outside of time and space, then he cannot exist in any world at all. Therefore he is an impossible being. Either way, it seems we cannot keep the idea of a necessary God compatibly with modal realism.
Poidevin, Robin. Arguing for Atheism: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, p.29-30. London: Routledge, 1996. Print. (via academicatheism)
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