Is atheism a religion?

Likewise, I do not believe that there are no gods. I just don't believe the claims that there are gods. This doesn't strike me as being a matter of faith. It would be like if I were a juror and was asked to convict someone if they appeared guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If I cannot say that someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, that doesn't mean that I am saying the opposite. I'm not saying that someone is innocent beyond a reasonable doubt. But I've been asked to assess the positive claim that someone is guilty. Likewise, if someone asks me to believe in a god, and I'm not convinced of this god's existence, that's not a matter of faith in the opposite, but a failure to be persuaded. That is atheism at its core.
 
Oct 2013
6,158
Planet Nine, Oregon
I think you might be flirting with agnosticism. AnthropomorphIc gods and goddesses are as equally unlikely (depending upon definitions), as the existence of a sentient jockstrap that brought the universe into existence.:)
 
I'm engaging in both atheism and agnosticism. I don't consider them to be mutually exclusive.

To quote myself at post 13: "Atheism at its core is simply disbelieving claims that there is a god/are gods. It's a position of 'I have not been convinced, and so I do not believe your claim.' One, however, can be an agnostic atheist or a gnostic atheist. Whereas theism and atheism describe positions on belief, agnosticism and gnosticism describe positions on knowledge. So an agnostic atheist simply disbelieves god claims. A gnostic atheist asserts that there are no gods; they themselves make a claim about the nature of reality. Now, some people have different (perhaps looser) definitions of 'agnostic' and 'atheist', but I am referring to commonly-held definitions used by the likes of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Matt Dillahunty, etc."

That being said, I am more gnostic when it comes to dealing with specific claims made by certain religions. For example, I'm pretty confident that creationists are wrong when they say that the Earth was created 6000 years ago, because the issue for me in that case isn't just a lack of evidence, but the weight of scientific data against that claim.
 
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Likes: Todd Feinman
Aug 2010
15,728
Welsh Marches
"Is it possible to be a materialist without being an atheist?"

If one is a reductive materialist, believing that matter is the sole reality and that consciousness is an epiphenomenon (or even illusion), it is not possible to be a theist; much Western atheism is based on such a belief, in the illusion that this is what 'science' says, rather than that this is a philophical inference from what science has discovered about the nature of physical reality. As one encounters it on the internet (the discussion in the academic literature is obviously more sophisticated) this is really 19th Century scientism, which doesn't take any account of the fact that physics had advanced beyond billiard ball atomism, cannot account for the nature of consciousness and its two-way interactions with material reality, cannot account for the origin of life, and has revealed an extraordinary degree of fine tuning in the ordering of the universe etc. etc. In other words that science itself, quite part from any broader implications that one might infer from its findings, is in a state of development and flux, and that the present paradigm might change in all kinds of unexpected ways. It seems naive to me to accept the present paradigm as representing the ultimate truth. A crucial point is obviously the status of consciousness: is material reality primary, or is consciousness primary, and how are they interconnected?
 
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Jun 2016
1,770
England, 200 yards from Wales
"Is it possible to be a materialist without being an atheist?"

If one is a reductive materialist, believing that matter is the sole reality and that consciousness is an epiphenomenon (or even illusion), it is not possible to be a theist; much Western atheism is based on such a belief, in the illusion that this is what 'science' says, rather than that this is a philophical inference from what science has discovered about the nature of physical reality. As one encounters it on the internet (the discussion in the academic literature is obviously more sophisticated) this is really 19th Century scientism, which doesn't take any account of the fact that physics had advanced beyond billiard ball atomism, cannot account for the nature of consciousness and its two-way interactions with material reality, cannot account for the origin of life, and has revealed an extraordinary degree of fine tuning in the ordering of the universe etc. etc. In other words that science itself, quite part from any broader implications that one might infer from its findings, is in a state of development and flux, and that the present paradigm might change in all kinds of unexpected ways. It seems naive to me to accept the present paradigm as representing the ultimate truth. A crucial point is obviously the status of consciousness: is material reality primary, or is consciousness primary, and how are they interconnected?
I'd agree with most of that, I suppose it is basically what I meant when I said, in an earlier post, "I suppose nowadays materialism doesn't mean the same as it did a century ago - after all we have learned a lot more about matter and its constituents and nature - it is no longer a simple, solid thing.", only better and more fully expressed.
It is surely the essence of science, or any evidence-based study, that, at least in principle, the 'present paradigm' can always change in the face of new evidence, ultimate truth is more the province of some forms of religious belief surely?
So as something like a reductive materialist who yet agrees with most of what you say I would rather say that it seems to me, based on what I know of the matter (much less than I'd like it to be) that it seems likely that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of brain activity, that there isn't much reason to assume more, but that could indeed change.

"is material reality primary, or is consciousness primary, and how are they interconnected" or are they aspects of the same basic thing, and thus there is no problem with how they interconnect?
 
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Maribat

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
4,991
A crucial point is obviously the status of consciousness: is material reality primary, or is consciousness primary, and how are they interconnected?
I think it's very simple - one has to have a brain (material matter) to home consciousness. Thus material is primary. Any other thought is just a religious brain washing.
 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,482
Eastern PA
Likewise, I do not believe that there are no gods. I just don't believe the claims that there are gods. This doesn't strike me as being a matter of faith. It would be like if I were a juror and was asked to convict someone if they appeared guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If I cannot say that someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, that doesn't mean that I am saying the opposite. I'm not saying that someone is innocent beyond a reasonable doubt. But I've been asked to assess the positive claim that someone is guilty. Likewise, if someone asks me to believe in a god, and I'm not convinced of this god's existence, that's not a matter of faith in the opposite, but a failure to be persuaded. That is atheism at its core.
Well said!
 
Jan 2010
4,365
Atlanta, Georgia USA
No- it isn't. Its all they have.

I don't care if its platos version of magical sky daddies, or Christian versions.
ALL arguments trying to prove God thru logic or deduction have been soundly refuted.
they are all wishful thinking and trying to make up some justification for the fact that there is no actual evidence of any celestial deity.

As science and human reportage has improved, the majestic miracles of purported gods have woefully diminished, from Brimstone, floods and turning folks to salt- to cures of illnesses that even atheists sometimes recover from, and laughably amateurish portraits of his Mom or Son.

No evidence is no evidence.
Ergo- all they have is the fact that generations of people HAVE believed it. Have written about their beliefs. and made claims that can not be verified, nor duplicated.
This is proselytizing. Stick to the topic of the thread
 
Jan 2010
4,365
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Atheism is the non-belief in a god, but the non-existance of any god must also be taken on faith. Any honest Christian must admit the lack of evidence of God. Both Christians and atheists base their opinions on faith.
While I agree with your first and last sentences, I disagree with your second unless it is qualified to “evidence acceptable to science.”
 

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