Really? Is it?......Theists always bring this up during debates and discussion for whatever reason..I don't know. However, this is a silly notion as atheism is neither a belief or a religion but LACK of belief and LACK of religion. The prefix "A" before theists should be clearly seen as the absence of something, but then again theists don't use common sense.

 

The Merriam-websters dictionary defines religion as; "(1) The service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance" and those are just 2 of the many definitions I can pick out for the term religion. Now neither of those apply to atheism. There is no service and worship of anything, no devotion  to any religious faith.

 

Theists might argue however, that atheism is a community and we have a set of beliefs and attitudes. I agree, but does that make it a religion? Then going by that logic, drinking beer on a friday night is a religion.

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Comment by John Camilli on May 30, 2011 at 7:50pm

John D, you're gonna have a hard time finding anyone who agrees with you about Gandhi being a classist politician. The man shunned pretty much all luxury. He made his own clothes and rode the same trains as the masses. He was instrumental in setting up the textile industry in India, which remains a critical component of India's economy. He suffered racism, classism and the stacked legal system of the British empire, and he did it all gracefully, peacefully, and prevailed against them with non-violence. He was the personal hero of people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. He galvanized the warring princedoms of an entire continent so that it could rise up into the nation now called India.

 

But why am I even defending him. I hear no one agreeing with you anyway. I suppose I just wanted to educate you a little, but you have showed that such a feat is nearly impossible. You have become dogmatic in your own view, and I have nothing left for you but sadness.

Comment by John Camilli on May 30, 2011 at 7:38pm

Glen, how is education a function of religiosity? Some of the smartest people I know are theist. Some of the dumbest are also theists. Likewise, some of the smartest people I know are atheists, and some of the dumbest, like John D, lol. I really don't think there's a correlation between the two.

 

Well, to be fair, there is a way in which I see your point. To me, education is a process of exploring and of not making up one's mind. And believing is a process of ceasing one's exploration and making up one's mind. But belief is required for living. At some point, we all have to stop wondering and make a decision. Just to get out of bed in the morning you have to do that. You could lie in bed and seek your reason for getting up; you could ponder and philosophize about it until the sun goes back down, but then you would never get up. To do so, you have to excersize belief, decide on a reason and use it to motivate action. Any action, IMO, is motivated by belief because I do not beleive humans are capable of knowledge beyond the knowledge of existence.

 

So, in that sense, yes belief is a cessation of education. But it's not as though atheists avoid that process by not believing in god. Atheists have ceased educating themselves about the questions that religions ask, so they are stifling their own education in that regard as well. The difference is that a theist decides he or she has an answer to those questions, while an atheist decides those questions aren't important. You see what I mean?

Comment by Craigart14 on May 30, 2011 at 4:42pm

Samhita,

 

I loved India during a month-long visit in 1996 (I'm sure it has changed a lot since then), and probably the most spiritual experience of my life was in a Hindu temple to Nandi, near Chennai, though people were still calling it Madras at the time.  I happened to be there on the one day per week when worshipers carried the idol of Nandi around the temple courtyard.  It was clear that many of them were in a state of religious ecstasy.

 

Still, there was appalling poverty, and it seemed to me that the caste system, though it was supposedly ended by the Indian constitution in 1948, was an effective way of maintaining social order, considering the karmic promise of good behavior in one lifetime being rewarded in the next.  Christianity promises rewards in a supernatural afterlife; Hinduism promises rewards in another life on earth, ultimately leading to paradise after many lifetimes.  Both systems have to be taken on faith.  No one returns from heaven to verify its existence to Christians, and reborn Hindus seldom have recollections of past lives.

 

As far as the atheism of many bloody dictators is concerned, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Tamurlane, Pol Pot, and Mao all committed mass murder for the sake of ideologies to which they were entirely devoted, secular religions of a sort, NOT for the sake of atheism or in the name of atheism.  Some atheists may feel a greater freedom of action because they lack a fear of God, but then many theists in history have felt an unlimited freedom of action because they thought they were doing God's will.  What evil can one not commit if one believes it is God's will?  Adolf Hitler considered himself a Catholic to the end.  Not to put too fine a point on it, the Gita is a justification of killing, with Krishna telling Arjuna that because the soul is immortal, Arjuna can't really kill his friends, relatives, and teachers in the opposing army.  It's a beautiful discussion of the immortality of the soul, but the broken, bleeding bodies will suffer extraordinary agony in the here and now.

 

I came to this discussion very late, and I haven't read all the posts.  I just wanted to respond to the assertion that mass murdering dictators were perhaps driven to their crimes by atheism.  And I get all warm and fuzzy remembering my brief time in India.

 

 

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on May 30, 2011 at 4:18pm

And John education is a function of religiosity, correct?(Economics too) Religion interferes with and retards reason and education.  Atheists are better educated.

I will resist the temptation to rant although you left the cheese of determinism right smack in front of the mouse. I will just say take a look in each religion where in the "churche's" hierarchy the women are.

I do agree that there is a pschological dynamic  in which abusers are actually insecure and religious attitudes towards women make it acceptable to abuse women.

 

Comment by Antonio Chambers on May 30, 2011 at 4:02pm
I love ghandi. "I like your christ, but i dont like your christians because your christians are nothing like your christ." -ghandi
Comment by John Camilli on May 30, 2011 at 3:51pm
John D, if you think Gandhi was a piece of shit, then you probably loved Hitler. That's an excellent character recommendation for you, lol.
Comment by John Camilli on May 30, 2011 at 3:49pm
Glen, I have noticed that the less educated a man is, the more likely he is to oppress women, but I have not honestly seen a correlation between religion and mistreatment of women. I think it's just easier to see that if you its what you're looking to see because there are both a lot of religious men, and a lot of men who don't respect women. But some of the men I have known who I have thought were the most respectful to women, were those who were strongly religious. I think abusing other people, whether it be women or slaves or nerds with glasses or people with red hair, comes from not feeling empowered yourself, which is symptomatic of lacking education.
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on May 30, 2011 at 3:48pm

Antonio,

Another voice of reason in Connecticut. Nice.

And more confirmation bias for me!

Comment by Antonio Chambers on May 30, 2011 at 3:35pm
@Samhita, heard. However I disagree with your thoughts about atheism related to atrocities. None of those men you listed killed in the name of atheism. Both Stalin and Hitler had mustaches, does that mean mustached people are evil? On the other hand theists have killed in the name of god COUNTLESS amount of times.
Comment by Jimmy Clay on May 30, 2011 at 3:11pm
I try to not let it go to my head, but maybe that explains my need to save the world.

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