I was watching a program this morning in the u.k where they discuss a range of subjects and have a panel,usually consisting a Christian,Muslim and or politician or atheist.at one point the Christian spokesman said that atheism is a kind of religion because its a belief system that says there are no gods,would just like your thoughts on this please.

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Yes, that's the trouble with the expression, "belief system"--just what I was trying to get at earlier. To call an assemblage of interrelated, myth-based religious beliefs a "system" is to grant it more utility than it warrants. The only systematic element to it derives from its usefulness in explaining the world by guiding the religious from one belief to the nest to the one after that until they arrive at a satisfying answer that glorifies the core dogma.
Forgive me if this was already said, but I don't feel like reading through every post in this thread...

I have a problem with the word "faith" being used almost exclusively in regard to matters of religion or spirituality; though I suppose it's a matter of definition. The best definition of the word I've come across is: "belief that is not based on proof: e.g. He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact."

While I do not have faith in god(s), I have faith that we can, as a species, overcome our various social ills. Moreover, I have faith that we can do it without the need for belief in god(s) or the supernatural in any form. I believe this in spite of thousands of years worth of evidence to the contrary. Perhaps that makes me naive, or unscientific, but that "blind faith" in my fellow humans is what enables me to face the world every day.
...but that "blind faith" in my fellow humans is what enables me to face the world every day.

I agree, Matt. Faith is a good, versatile word that can apply in non-religious contexts. If the tone the word conveys fits the user's message and intention, he should use it. But he should be ready to clarify his meaning in case someone should challenge or misunderstand him.

But I don't think that a person's faith in the human animal's progress toward goodness and social betterment and moral refinement is a "blind faith," because it's based on traits and trends that we can and do see. Our faith derives from our collective observation, which leads to hope.
But I don't think that a person's faith in the human animal's progress toward goodness and social betterment and moral refinement is a "blind faith," because it's based on traits and trends that we can and do see. Our faith derives from our collective observation, which leads to hope.

You're right, Don. I hadn't thought of it in that way. Though the "traits and trends" I observe go both ways...
They go both ways for sure, but on average, as time passes, through what we continue to learn about who we are and what the world is like, we're getting better at getting along with each other, at "getting more" from life, at acquiring and nurturing an appreciation of natural things, and so forth. I guess it can seem like a race, sometimes, between our beneficial development and our destructive capacities. But if faith in the over-balancing goodness I see in most human beings can inspire hope and confidence, it's that reality-based faith I'll try to bank on. We have a lot of evolving to do. If we don't make it, that will be a sad thing. Just as it was a sad thing for the stegosaurus and the pterodactyl.
I admire your faith. But if you look at the news today, it seems like Don is right. The world is going the way of the dinosaur. Religion, the greatest scourge of mankind, is leading us to extinction. "When will they ever learn?" so goes the song. Catholics in Ireland will keep fighting England until they have a land of their own. Moros, in the South, want to secede from the Philippines.

Muslims will not rest until the whole world in under Islamic hegemony. In places where they are not in absolute control, they practice Taqiyya, the doctrine of deception. They pretend to go along with the dominant power in order to gain time, and muster strength. In the meantime they ask, then later demand, the implementation of a law from Shariah. Adopting one law at a time, imperceptively using the "salami technique"*, they expect ultimately to have Sharia, "the law from God", rule the land. It may take a century, but they are patient. Look at how they spread from just Arabia, into Egypt, Africa, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, parts of the old USSR, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, parts of China and the Philippines, and many more including British Suez Canal. And they did not do it by friendly persuasion. Now they are gaining foothold in Europe and USA.

To preserve the human race, hopefully in the interest of peace, are you willing to convert from your faith in human goodness to the Muslim Faith?
* "Salami technique" = Get one thin slice at a time until you have the whole sausage.

I don't wish to speak for him, but I doubt Don would agree with what you are saying.

To speak for myself, yes, as I said there is plenty of evidence to suggest that we are doomed, but there is just as much evidence to suggest that we are, however slowly, moving in the right direction. Think of it this way, could atheists like us have been as vocal as we are now 100 years ago? Certainly not. This past weekend's Rally to Restore Sanity is another piece of evidence. There were plenty of vocal atheists, and while I'm sure theists outnumbered us by a considerable margin, they were at least the kind of theists that wouldn't shout you down or put their fingers in their ears when you spoke. And consider this: attendance at the Rally was well over twice that of the attendance of the Glen Beck rally.

Is the glass half full or half empty? It depends. If the glass was empty then filled halfway with liquid, then it is half full. If the glass was full and then drank halfway down, then it is half empty. Sounds to me like the world drank you down rather than filled you up.

And to answer your question, would I convert to Islam in the interest of peace? Not a chance. On top of the fact that it would go against everything I believe, any view, be it secular, political, or religious that threatens violence unless those who oppose them convert can never bring peace in the first place.

Atheists like us WERE just as vocal, if not more so, 150+ years ago. The U.S. had a strong freethought tradition until Darwin's theory of evolution upset the applecart and mobilized fundamentalist Christians against freethought and science.

Freethought is MORE discriminated against now than at any time in our history.
Hmm... I suppose you're right. Perhaps I should have gone back farther than 100 years. My point was, however that over time, when considering our entire history as a species, freethought has become more accepted.
True, "Spread by the sword", yet it took centuries. In Saudi Arabia you can't even bring in a Bible. That's how they keep their gains I hope you are right, Michael, that they will be contained, or else Homo Sapiens is doomed. Vive la Xenophobia! But they still have their "salami technique".
I think Aliqs is speaking of when Muslims are a small minority within a region -- not when they are a strong presence or an invading army. Taqiyya is, technically, to be practiced under compulsion or in the presence of a threat to Muslims. In actual practice, being in a significant minority of the local population is enough to warrant taqiyya. When Muslims are in a weak position, locally, they wait until their numbers are significant enough (but still a minority) before they begin agitating for special consideration. Once they feel strong enough as a community, they drop taqiyya and pursue more vocal and intimidating methods. This pattern has been repeated often enough (in Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia) to be recognized for what it is. It's a grassroots tactic for Jihad.


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