Sunday, July 14, 2013

Atheism Is Not A Religion!

Believers have been employing a new tactic lately, claiming that atheism is the same as religion; that it requires the same amount of faith. It is one of those things people say without ever considering whether it actually makes sense. They heard it. It sounded good, so they repeated it. But, truly, what sense does it make to say non-belief requires as much faith as belief? Would anyone say that it requires faith to not believe in leprechauns? Of course not. The very notion would be absurd.

You don't need faith to doubt an unproven unsupported hypothesis and atheism is simply that. It is an expression of doubt. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in gods or goddesses. It asserts nothing except that there is no logical justification on which to base any belief in any gods, known or unknown. There is no reasonable argument or empirical evidence to make the belief in any sort of creator god a reasonable proposition. That's it. That is atheism backwards and forwards. Religion = belief without evidence. Atheism = non-belief due to lack of evidence. Where is the similarity?

Belief ought to require evidence. Therefore, the default position, when there is no evidence except for a few questionable anecdotes and this nebulous spiritual "feeling" believers often describe but cannot verify, quantify, or reproduce, ought to be skepticism. This has been twisted in the psyches of many believers. Their default position when no evidence is available is belief. "No one knows for sure, so I choose to believe." These two ways of looking at the world could not be more diametrically opposed. An atheist does not "choose" to disbelieve. The lack of evidence leaves him or her no choice. Most fought hard to hold onto their beliefs in the face of this dearth of evidence, and the overwhelming evidence refuting religious claims, and endured great emotional hardship when they ultimately lost their faith.

Of course, it could be argued that believers often have no choice in whether or not to be believe due to early childhood indoctrination and societal, cultural, and familial pressure to conform. But this is easily disapproved by the many formerly devout who came to an impasse with religion, when they could no longer overlook the cognitive dissonance they felt trying to rectify the obvious facts of this world with the fantasies spoon-fed them by the church, and became atheists. Yes, there have been many atheists who, horrified by the conclusions logic led them to, ran screaming back to the church, but again, this only shows a choice to believe, not that atheism was a choice to begin with.

But, of course, these facts are only a portion of what believers are usually referring to when they falsely label atheism a religion. They are often referring to the passion some, but certainly not all or even a majority, of atheists show in their religious skepticism and criticism, comparing it to religious or spiritual zeal. Some have even referred to it as "Atheist Fundamentalism", a misnomer if ever their was one. Why? Because fundamentalists don't merely believe. Faith is more than just belief. Faith is belief without evidence and AGAINST ANY AND ALL CONTRADICTORY EVIDENCE. That is not atheism. An atheist could easily become a Christian or any other religion were irrefutable evidence to be presented that would confirm the authenticity of that religion. We would not stubbornly refuse to believe in the face of overwhelming evidence as is the prerequisite for religious fundamentalism. Prove it and we'll believe it and that is the fundamental flaw in the "atheism is the same as religion" argument. We have no doctrines, no mores, no dogma, no rituals, no prayers or hymns. We do not deify Darwin or Dawkins and hold them up as infallible. We accept them as human and expect quite a few of their statements and assertions to one day be proven false or incomplete. The Theory of Evolution is an elegant theory, but one that may ultimately be shown to be inadequate, though probably not false. Some new theory will likely come along to fill in blanks in the theory that Darwin could never have imagined. It may happen. It may not. It may be determined that Darwin's theory is adequate to explain all the diversity on earth. The point is, we will not be surprised either way. And we certainly won't stubbornly cling to this theory if it is ever legitimately refuted. THAT would be a religious reaction to the truth.




5 comments:

  1. Hey Wrath,

    Stumbled upon your blog, and your latest post caught my eye.

    While I agree atheism is not a religion, inadvertently I believe you actually “prove” the Christian argument that atheism is faith based, or at least requires faith.

    Let me do this in a couple parts.

    First:

    Faith is not something that just speaks to religion. It's speaks to every day life.

    While faith does mean a belief and trust in God. It also means: something that is believed with a strong conviction, as well as a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

    You say first:

    ”You don't need faith to doubt an unproven unsupported hypothesis and atheism is simply that. It is an expression of doubt.”

    So far, I am with you. And atheism as you have just described it – expression of doubt – is faithless.

    However:

    “It asserts nothing except that there is no logical justification on which to base any belief in any gods, known or unknown. There is no reasonable argument or empirical evidence to make the belief in any sort of creator god a reasonable proposition. That's it.”

    Ah, but this is not doubt as it does assert!

    You’ve moved beyond an “expression of doubt.”

    As you rightly imply doubt does not “assert” a proposition. Here, though, your definition of atheism does just that!

    So with any assertion comes the question: can you prove this?

    If you can’t, then you are making a statement regarding a firm belief in which you lack proof.

    That’s faith, as it is defined.

    Had you just stayed with “doubt” your argument would hold.

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    Replies
    1. part two:

      “Belief ought to require evidence. Therefore, the default position, when there is no evidence except for……or reproduce, ought to be skepticism. This has been twisted in the psyches of many believers.”

      For one, much of what you actually believe as “facts” in life can’t fit into your mold as you put it. Such as abstract objects. Etc. Sounds great in theory, but practically speaking it can’t work as often as we’d like.

      In addition - Skepticism is not atheism though, Wrath. Especially as you defined it. Skepticism is true expression of doubt, nothing more. It too makes no claim or assertions other than: uncertainty or general questioning of a truth claim. But it does NOT make a claim such as you say atheism does.

      Thus, by your measure, it only follows then that we should be skeptics about the claims you say atheism asserts.
      “These two ways of looking at the world could not be more diametrically opposed. An atheist does not "choose" to disbelieve. The lack of evidence leaves him or her no choice.”

      Well, if this statement is true, then I have no other choice than TO believe. All the evidence I see points to a god. I have no choice, if I were to remain intellectually honest with myself. As to do so otherwise, is to ignore the evidence I do see.

      Not to mention, the questions the above statement leads to such as: is atheism true? Or just a current belief (or lack thereof)?

      And if they accept their atheism as true – despite the inability to prove it – they are accepting it in faith.

      “ Most fought hard to hold onto their beliefs in the face of this dearth of evidence, and the overwhelming evidence refuting religious claims, and endured great emotional hardship when they ultimately lost their faith.”

      Certainly. Same with atheism. Neither of which means the other proposition is true/false. This is anecdotal, only. Many atheist fight to hold onto their atheism and ultimately gain faith – does that mean God exists? Nope. Does the fact a person looses their faith mean God doesn’t exist? Nope.

      In the end, what usually defeats a belief is not LACK of evidence, but CONTRARY evidence. Not just someone asserting that there is “no evidence” or a belief is not justified.

      “Faith is more than just belief….AGAINST ANY AND ALL CONTRADICTORY EVIDENCE.”

      Incorrect. Proof is the magic word, not evidence. It is, as I presented in this context. A belief one cannot PROVE.

      But even so, atheism (as you defined it) doesn’t provide ANY/ALL contradictory evidence. Atheism does nothing more that assert than “except that there is no logical justification…of creator god a reasonable proposition.”

      So this piece seems odd, as if I go by this statement, I am still quite justified in my belief – especially in light of lack of contrary evidence.

      So while I agree, Wrath, atheism is not a religion, it does require faith. At least, as you have described it.

      To remove faith from atheism, you have to step back to just plain ol’ doubt as you started out with. A step any further (as you have done) that puts forth a proposition that cannot be proven (a belief), moves it into the territory of faith.

      There’s my two cents.

      Take care!

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    2. Everything may "point" to it (a God)... But when Atheists look in the direction in which you are pointing - there is nothing there. That's the problem.

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  2. The true Gospel is now delivered as a witness Matt 24:14.

    Our heavenly Father will not put any child of his into a hell fire no matter what their sins. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer7:31, Jer 19:5. The witness is on these websites http://thegoodtale.blogspot.com, http://thegoodtale.wordpress.com

    The word Gospel means Good Tale.
    God chose a woman to deliver Rev 12:5-6 the true word John 1:1, Acts 3:21-23 like unto Moses Deut 18:18 proving the power of God as Elijah Matt 17:3, Luke 1:17. The proof of what I tell you is in the hearing. If you love God with all your heart, soul and mind then obey God's word Matt 4:4 and prove ALL things 1 Thes 5:21.

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  3. Wrath - this one is a killer, I love it. You may like my latest post: Christians Read Your Bibles!!! @ apanage21.blogspot.com

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