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.
The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviors, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural), and/or scriptures.
...Atheism has none of those, therefore cannot be considered a religion.
If we go by your definition of religion, then fans of a band can be considered a part of a religion.
HOWEVER, atheism is protected under our first amendment, our right to freedom FROM religion.
It is wrong to define atheism as an absence of belief because when you negate something, you automatically affirm its opposite. Unlike what most people assume, there is not only one opposite of a belief in an existence of one god, so it is debatable which belief an atheist affirms when denying the belief in god. Whatever that may be, it must be a belief of some kind.
Just to make things straight, a belief is a very broad term and includes our belief in the sensory data we gather from our senses, belief in their interpretation as it is done by our brain, etc. Therefore it is necessary to accept certain things without evidence to even be able to function on a day-to-day basis. However, it is much easier to take our sensory input and interpretation of it at face value than it is for an abstract, invisible, omniscient and all-powerful god. To get back on the subject...
Having beliefs is necessary. If I want to claim I do not hold any beliefs whatsoever, I need to believe what I`m saying. In other words, I believe that I do not hold any kind of belief, which is a contradiction.
There is the other possibility of assessing that the existence of god cannot ever be proven by any scientific method and should be, therefore, moved aside "until more evidence is available". But it is, again, a belief (that god`s existence can, or cannot, be proven). Maybe we are in need of a different word because belief is too strongly associated with religion. But if you consider it in a broader context (as I have shown earlier) you will see that every person which states something expresses some kind of a belief.
So, being an atheist can include some or all of the following:
1. A belief that God does not exist
2. A belief that God cannot be proven to exist
3. A belief that Religion is unnecessary
4. A belief that God is unnecessary
5. A belief that we should not bother ourselves with any of it (which is the closest to the "absence of belief" mentioned in the earlier posts)
There could be more, but you get the point.
No, the belief in the lack of an invisible pink unicorn would assume the existence of a person that believes that an invisible pink unicorn does not exist.OR "invisible pink unicorn" has no referent, OR the expression "invisible pink unicorn" signifies nothing. The belief concerns the person whose belief it is, it does not concern said unicorn. If it did, we would only be able to have beliefs about things which do exist. Since we know that is not the case, a belief doesn`t sound to me as meaning anything different from a point of view. What`s with the "a point of view that affirms their willful ignorance to the existence of a god"? I don`t know where you came upon that but I certainly never said anything even remotely like it. I just read some of the earlier posts and saw something of a discussion about what is the definition of an atheist and proceeded to offer an analysis of components which an atheist`s position might consist of. At the end of your post you said "a point of view that there are no gods". In my post, under 1., I wrote: "A belief that God does not exist. So you exchanged "a belief" with "a point of view" and took god in the plural. Where is the difference from what I`ve written? I`m not saying that I am right, I am saying that I am right in ascertaining that atheist have belief(s) IF you accept my explanation of the usage of the word "belief". If you do not accept my explanation then you can freely say "a point of view", but what would be the point? (couldn`t help myself)
Luka. Think about this: to have no belief in the existence of some entity is NOT equivalent to believing that such an entity does not exist. Therefore, atheism does not necessarily entail any particular belief. It's that simple. Many atheists quite willingly accept the remote possibility that a god or gods may be out there. They do not assert that gods do not exist. Nor do they claim to believe that gods don't exist. With respect to gods, they have no definitive beliefs.
Again, to quote George Smith (see below), "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."
Well okay then. I won`t press the matter any further because it`s really the same difference to me. When you define belief as I have, the aspects mentioned come naturally. If you take belief in the usual, more stricter sense of the word, yes, then you can say that atheism is an absence of a particular belief.
If this is so problematic we can completely avoid mentioning belief or the absence of it by saying that an atheist is a person who considers science and rational thinking to be the only objective criterion of validity and who practices identifying and pointing out logical fallacies and lack of evidence for various statements or belief systems.
This is a problem, Luka, of course, but there is no need for us to "avoid mentioning belief or the absence of it." That would be absurd. It would amount to a linguistic surrender to the mistaken and unfounded assertions of religious believers. Instead, there is a need for us to distinguish among the word's connotations. We all have beliefs, of course. To believe is to have a firm conviction or trust in the truth of a proposition.
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 his not knowing doesn't matter! He beleeeeves anyway. He really believes.
In too many parts of our world, these are still the Dark Ages.
Please see this, by Greta Christina: "Is Atheism a Belief?"
"It is wrong to define atheism as an absence of belief because when you negate something, you automatically affirm its opposite."
Sorry, Luka, but this is simply not true. The absence of a belief in anything in no way affirms its opposite. Nor does the absence of a belief suggest that some other belief must somehow take its place. To say "...an atheist affirms [another belief] when denying the belief in god" is patently absurd, and such a position betrays an understanding of what atheism really and fundamentally is.
While an atheist may hold some or all of the five beliefs you list, none of those beliefs in any way defines atheism, nor is holding any of those beliefs a necessary condition of atheism.
Let me take the chance to point out here that it's also a mistake for us to define atheism as a "lack of belief in gods." It's a mistake because that is the theists' definition of the word. Many dictionaries offer this definition, I know--but dictionaries are largely written by theists who fail to recognize their implicit bias. The word "lack" carries the connotation of deficiency, the sense that what is lacking is something to be desired. By definition, to lack something is to be in want of whatever one lacks. Atheists know that belief in god is nothing to be desired.
The better and more accurate definition is: "the absence of [belief in] gods." It's from the Greek; "a" meaning "not" or "without," and "theism" meaning [belief in] gods.
As George Smith has written:
"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.
With respect to the the problem of "faith," as a useful word (like "belief"), I will offer that, too often, believers cannot or will not recognize the clear distinction between the religious and non-religious connotations of the word. So, unfortunately, this represents another instance where, to avoid pugnacious challenges, non-believers must either refrain from using a perfectly good word in a fitting context or take extra care to make sure they aren't being misunderstood.
What always gets me when I think about it is how thoroughly most religious people have been hoodwinked, or brainwashed, into regarding deep religious faith as some kind of supreme virtue. To have faith in things unseen and unseeable (as well as unknowable), in spite of all the evidence against those unseen things, is supposed to be an excellent and admirable trait of character--instead of a mark of stubborn gullibility, which is what it really is. Accompanying this foolish attitude is the ostentatious self-regard of the pious, guised in humility, like the baseball player who points a grateful finger to the sky after hitting a home run. Just once I'd like to see him point to the underworld after grounding into a double-play.