Is atheism a religion?

Dec 2011
1,917
Kierkegaard was a fideist, while I am not. I don't oppose reason to faith or faith to reason. But I don't believe that the object of faith is knowable in this state otherwise than by faith itself: this is the Christian view, not a fideist one.
Interesting point.

Fideism has multiple levels though, right ? To be honest I am not that clear on what fideism actually is.

I thought that at its core it simply says that faith and reason are separate. My understanding is that faith does not have to be in opposition or hostile to reason and/or vice versa, although, that is or can be part of it.

I'm not really up to date on this philosophy. I could be thinking about this incorrectly.
 
Oct 2013
5,898
Planet Nine, Oregon
I don't understand how one can be thankful for providence; if someone goes and shoots a bunch of people on a campus, and one person manages to survive; that person is just lucky --"god" created the circumstances and "evil" for it to happen to begin with. No convolutions can answer why bad things happen to good people, unless there is nothing in charge that cares, something allowed "evil" to exist for sime reason, or, far more likely, there is no good or evil, no god(s), or nothing that cares about our species' exceptionalism. Occam's razor.
 
I’m really puzzled by the distinction you make. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines agnostic as “one who maintains a continuing doubt about the existencd of knowability of a god or any ultimates” while defining atheism as “a disbelief in the existence of a god or any other deity” and “the dotrine that there is neither a god nor any other deity.”

Can you post a link that explains the difference? As I said above, I used to be agnostic and to me the difference has always been plain.

Finally, based on the answers so far to my question as to whether the two premises were accepted, I’d say that most of the people here claiming to be atheists are really agnostic.
I'll post a link when I next have a good opportunity to sift the web, but Matt Dillahunty does very good videos on atheism and agnosticism as mutually inclusive concepts, as well as other atheism-related topics. Other so-called new atheists have taken a similar stance.

But I don't think your Webster definitions particularly disagree with me. Agnosticism is defined in Webster as a position on knowledge relating to god, whereas atheism is defined as a position of disbelief on gods or a belief in no gods. Belief in no gods is incompatible with agnosticism (I would follow Dillahunty and others in calling it Gnostic atheism), but disbelief in gods in and of itself isn't. One might not believe god-claims because they view them as lacking in evidence and also think that they can't actually know whether there are gods or not.
 

Ficino

Ad Honorem
Apr 2012
6,814
Romania
Interesting point.

Fideism has multiple levels though, right ? To be honest I am not that clear on what fideism actually is.

I thought that at its core it simply says that faith and reason are separate. My understanding is that faith does not have to be in opposition or hostile to reason and/or vice versa, although, that is or can be part of it.

I'm not really up to date on this philosophy. I could be thinking about this incorrectly.
According to my understanding fideism is the opposite of rationalism: concerning the relationship between reason and faith in our knowledge of the truth the first despises reason while the second despises faith.
 
I’m really puzzled by the distinction you make. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines agnostic as “one who maintains a continuing doubt about the existencd of knowability of a god or any ultimates” while defining atheism as “a disbelief in the existence of a god or any other deity” and “the dotrine that there is neither a god nor any other deity.”

Can you post a link that explains the difference? As I said above, I used to be agnostic and to me the difference has always been plain.

Finally, based on the answers so far to my question as to whether the two premises were accepted, I’d say that most of the people here claiming to be atheists are really agnostic.
It's perhaps a bit of a provocative video, but it does explain my position.

 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,180
Eastern PA
I’m really puzzled by the distinction you make. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines agnostic as “one who maintains a continuing doubt about the existencd of knowability of a god or any ultimates” while defining atheism as “a disbelief in the existence of a god or any other deity” and “the dotrine that there is neither a god nor any other deity.”
.
My personal viewpoint is that I am open to the concept of a creator, something responsible for the existence of everything. That creator is not a god as understood, conceptualized or worshiped by people among the countless religions that have ever existed. Rather, if there is a creator, that creator may or may not be aware of humans, may not even be aware of individual universes. Most certainly there is no system of rewards and/or punishment for worship or any other activity.
 

Maribat

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
4,951
Fairies are different than God. No reasonable, intelligent adult that I have ever met believed in fairies. In terms of my ability to convince another reasonable adult to agree with me on fairies, there is no argument because we already agree. We both know there are no fairies. But I have met many reasonable, intelligent adults who believe in God. It is my experience that I can not change their mind using logic, reason, or empiricism, so in terms of our ability to find common ground, the existence or non-existence of God must remain an opinion or belief, not a fact or knowledge.

By this definition, belief is the result of disagreement while knowledge is the result of agreement based on logic, reason, empiricism, and falsifiability.
It’s good we both know there are no fairies. So you think it’s quite different with God? OK, but what about god or even gods? With small letter. Do we know there are no gods? No Greek gods for example? I think the answer will be - there are no real Greek gods. They are just a matter of fantasy. Do you (or the majority of people Christians included) know or believe there are no real Greek gods? By the way in the Christ time and somewhat later Christians were excecuted (so they say) because they refused to acknowledge the existence of other gods but their god. And the people then believed the Greek gods existed!
Can we say now we have a sound knowledge there are no real Greek gods? Or we just believe and there's a chance they really exist?
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,485
Dispargum
It’s good we both know there are no fairies. So you think it’s quite different with God? OK, but what about god or even gods? With small letter. Do we know there are no gods? No Greek gods for example? I think the answer will be - there are no real Greek gods. They are just a matter of fantasy. Do you (or the majority of people Christians included) know or believe there are no real Greek gods? By the way in the Christ time and somewhat later Christians were excecuted (so they say) because they refused to acknowledge the existence of other gods but their god. And the people then believed the Greek gods existed!
Can we say now we have a sound knowledge there are no real Greek gods? Or we just believe and there's a chance they really exist?
If I was the only person alive in the universe, the difference between knowledge and belief would be very small to me. I can act on belief the same way that I can act on knowledge. Very rarely do I ask myself, "Do I know this to be true or do I only believe it to be true?" More commonly, I might try to solve a problem with a solution that I believe to be true. If my belief is wrong and the solution does not work I try something else. I might study the problem more thoroughly to gain a deeper understanding of it, but by this time I am thinking more in terms of what works and what doesn't work rather than belief vs knowledge. This is why I prefer my consensus definition of knowledge.

The purpose of education is to provide society with standardized knowledge - everyone graduates knowing the same things. Without a common set of knowledge, society can not function. So again, I consider knowledge to be more valuable when dealing with others rather than in a purely inward looking context.

You can substitute Greek gods for fairies in my previous post and get the same result. I have met no one in my lifetime who thought the Greek gods were real. Nor do I. Because we agree, everyone living today knows the Greek gods were not real. If I was the only atheist living in Athens 3,000 years ago, everyone else talking among themselves would know that the Greek gods were real because they agree. When talking with me, because we disagreed on the existence of the Greek gods, my Greek friends and I would not have shared knowledge. We would have differing beliefs. 3,000 years ago probably precedes the invention of logic, reasoning, empiricism, etc. If there was a difference back then between knowing and believing, knowing something to be true must have been based on some other criteria.

As for other modern gods like those found in Hinduism, or the Bhuda, or in Shinto, or other religions still practiced in the modern world, if someone tried to get me to contribute money to their church or temple, I would refuse on grounds that I have a disbelief. For all intents and purposes, knowledge and belief in the falsity of that message are the same thing. I would never say that "I know your religion to be false." That's just rude, but I would say that "I do not share your belief."

I believe there is life elsewhere in the universe even though there is not yet any empirical evidence to support such a belief. I need more than the absense of proof to know that there is no life out there. The history of discovery tells me that many things existed before there was proof of that existence.

I do not believe in the existence of God, however, I need more than the absense of proof of existence to know that He does not exist. So far, I can only believe that he does not exist.
 
Jan 2010
4,273
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Kierkegaard was a fideist, while I am not. I don't oppose reason to faith or faith to reason. But I don't believe that the object of faith is knowable in this state otherwise than by faith itself: this is the Christian view, not a fideist one. For that which is knowable otherwise, no faith is required.
But I believe Kierkegaard also originated the idea of the”leap of faith.” I am much of a Christian existentialist.
 
Jan 2010
4,273
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Hmmm.. Personally I would think the nature of the creator or reality would be immanent and apparent in all things great and small, and that the evidence for what "it" is, would be screaming in our faces all of the time. We just have to give up our human wishes, fears, and constructions, e.g. fear of death and oblivion, recognizing that suffering and death are part, perhaps, necessary for life to exist at all.
Is your view of God that of a tyrant who , if existant, would give us no choice but to obey God’s will?
 
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