If you really think about it there are fanatics on both sides. Religion is really only

a group of people believing in a certain way. Atheism to me is the same way

my beliefs and the right to them. I like to live my life with my own beliefs

so I do not begrudge anyone else in their beliefs.

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The Greek skepticists were those whose only rule of conduct was to refrain from making any kind of claims. But people realized very early on what I have written in my post: that the position of refraining from making claims is a result of a belief that nothing we believe in can be absolutely validated. That kind of a position is absurd and does not improve us as human beings. You also have solipsists who believe the only thing that really exist is them. However, a large percentage of humankind functions on the precepts of certain beliefs which cannot truly be verified, yet it would be hard to even imagine living without them. For example, you must believe that you exist, that other things beside you exist, and that there is something you can know with a relatively high chance of probability about yourself and the world around you. I think there is no one (or almost no one) who does not believe these, so therefore you are not a theist or anything of the kind. Generally speaking, you can talk about religious and/or superstitious people as postulating entities for whose existence there is no viable proof in order to ascribe meaning to otherwise unexplained things or events. This is the role that in today`s society science is assigned to and has, up until now, refuted many religious and superstitious beliefs. But somehow the things created for the sake of explanation got a life of their own and now, after they have been found inadequate, redundant, or even absurd, those people refuse to give up on them and accept a validated scientific explanation. If any of your beliefs concern entities which are not or cannot be validated by any scientific method then you are a part of this group. If they are not, you are not
Religions tend to worship a deity. Atheists tend to shun that which is not tangible nor proven. Case closed.

An atheist is simply someone who doesn't give any creedence to any of the god proposals or definitions.


It is similar to those who don't think there's enough evidence to believe in fairies..  Just because I don't believe in fairies doesn't make my non-fairy-acceptance into a religion.   I don't feel the need to start the First United Church of Non-Fairieism'.  There's just too many things I don't accept the validity of because there's not enough evidence to support the proposal or definition in the first place.

No, Jared, atheism cannot be said to be a religion, not with any justice, not even when some atheists assert a kind of dogma or certainty.  The attributes of religion are simply nowhere evident in atheism.  Atheists have no belief in gods.  That's it.
Theism isn't a religion, so a-theism isn't either.
Most theists profess to subscribe to one system of belief or another, while most atheists do not.
Atheism to me is a descriptive term that merely describes a belief in self-determinism. I had to think twice about even joining this group, as it did seem a bit like giving in to Atheism being a belief. A great portion of my disgust with religion, is the immense waste of time that a good portion of it involves. Although there are good deeds performed by religious groups, by and large a great percentage of time given to religion is pure waste. Who knows what good could have been done for society using that time, but then who knows what good I could be doing instead of posting here. If that makes any sense.
What disturbs me more about religion than the time wasted is the money wasted on trappings, edifices and the enrichment of cult leaders that could be used to help cure some of society's many ills such as hunger and disease.

I have posted these links elsewhere in this discussion, but they are worth offering again.

Please see this, by Greta Christina:  "Is Atheism a Belief?"

And this: "Do You Care Whether the Things You Believe in Are True?"

What if the same individual proclaimed they don't believe in God?

Yes, Jared, but we ALL have beliefs.  That's not the point.  Atheism, at its essense, is the absence of belief.  That is what the word means.  Some atheists may believe, as you say, that gods do not exist, but their conviction does not make atheism a belief.

Let me offer this again from George Smith:

"Atheism, therefore, is the absence of theistic belief. One who does not believe in the existence of a god or supernatural being is properly designated as an atheist.  Atheism is sometimes defined as 'the belief that there is no God of any kind,' or the claim that a god cannot exist. While these are categories of atheism, they do not exhaust the meaning of atheism--and are somewhat misleading with respect to the basic nature of atheism. Atheism, in its basic form, is not a belief: it is the absence of belief. An atheist is not primarily a person who believes that a god does not exist, rather he does not believe in the existence of a god."

Atheism: The Case Against God (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1989), p. 7.

Valid belief arises from knowledge, nowhere else.  A belief has value only insofar as the knowledge it's based on is reliable.  The validity of any belief must hinge on our ability to determine the extent to which it may be true.  That is, to hold a valid belief we must have a way to determine whether the knowledge on which that belief is based is true.  And we do have a way; it's called epistemology. 

To use the word "belief" to refer to a deep religious conviction is to stretch the word's useful meaning and to ignore its essence, the knowledge on which any belief must be based.  The fact that many religious people hold "true believers" in such awe only testifies, perversely and witlessly, to the emptiness of religious belief.  When a fundamentalist rises to his feet in church to shout, "I BELIEVE, I BE-LEEEEVE!" he is declaring his absolute conviction and trust in something (a system of belief) for which everyone in that church knows there exists no evidence.  That's why, to them, his declaration of belief in all its fervor is so moving, so inspiring.  He doesn't know, but that doesn't matter!  Because he beleeeeves anyway.

When theists use "belief" to refer to something that can be known without any evidence, and when they insist that wishful thinking is knowledge, they have righteously and arrogantly corrupted the essential meanings of both words, "belief" and "knowledge."

Of course words have essential meanings.  We could not communicate effectively--and a good many of us can--if that were not true. 

Disagree with Smith if that makes you happy, Jared, but an assertion isn't an argument.  The argument in support of the purest and most accurate meaning of "atheism" runs like this:

Atheism is: "the absence of [belief in] gods."  From the Greek; "a" meaning "not" or "without," and "theism" meaning [belief in] gods.

You're also confused about the meaning of "agnostic," a word that refers more to knowledge (from the Greek; gnosis, for knowledge) than to belief.  There are many agnostics who say that we cannot know whether a god exists; yet, therefore, they have no belief in a god.  Those agnostics are also atheists.  


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