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.
Atheism is an absence of belief. It can only really be defined as a religion by comparing it to other organised beliefs. To be honest currently Atheists are having to be vocal because of the growing religious madness in the world, if that wasn't the case we'd just get on with our lives and not really consider the fact that we don't believe in god.
It feels likes a religion when you are on a site like this or when you are defending yourself or establishing that we have values. There is a sense of community. Currently I would say yes to this (because it is a religion by comparison, it is perceived as an opposite belief by believers) but in a good world, in a sane world we'd just be down the pub and wouldn't need to worry about it and the answer would be no.
atheism has no dogma or doctrine...there is no moral code, there is no faith or leadership....it is nothing like a religion because there as no such thing as being a "devout" atheist, no matter how many times i've read the phrase.
like someone has already said..atheism is the lack of believe in a god...not the belief that there is no god. and that is the difference.
Fanaticism is another term that needs defining. Apparently Churchill said that a fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. It entails the inability of self-criticism and often involves the preparedness of the threat or use of violence to silence dissent.
Now there is a difference with being convinced and bringing good arguments to the table that the opponent is unable to refute, while relentlessly pointing out the flaws in theirs. This might drive people with irrational ideas crazy and call their opponents "militant" or something bordering on a reductio ad Hitleram, but it that is not fanatical.
Fanatical would be something like shooting people point blank in the face because they act not in accordance with your beliefs, like Christians from the "pro-life" movement. It would be like beheading people for burning a book the other side of the world. Are there atheist equivalents? No, on the side of atheists Christian people usually designate as the most militant, the most unreasonable fanatic to be around a soft spoken evolutionary biologist with an English accent by the name of Dawkins and then a while nothing and then in his wake Harris, Hitchens, Stenger, Susskind, Dennett, Myers and so on.
So I don't know if I would agree with a statement like there are fanatics on both sides, that seems to suggest some kind of symmetry that in all reasonableness is just plain counter-factual.
Yes I see, thank you. You mean something like China's crackdown on Falun Gong, or old Soviet Empire politically expedient and selective policies vis a vis different religions in the territories or Albania perhaps (immense successes there.) I didn't even occur to me that a theist in debating an atheist would identify your average friendly neighborhood atheist with Stalin himself.
But there does seems to live some kind of highly artificial persecution complex with some within the dominant Christian majority in the US at least, where it just is utterly misplaced and farcical. And if you can prevent such misunderstandings by clearing up what atheism means and divorcing it from the negative connotations they have, then yeah that might be the easiest and most practical way forward.
Not recognizing that there are definitions of words and concepts is a big handicap to discussions in the United States. Definitions exist; these may vary from common usage to academic or scientific rigor, but they exist.
Personal opinions or stray thoughts are not definitions.
Here's a definition of religion from one of the great students of mythology, Joseph Campbell: Religion is the ritual presentation of the culture myth. This would include nationalism, patriotism and other -isms like Nazi-ism, but I'm not acquainted with any atheist culture, myths, or rituals outside enforced state political systems such as communism.
Bravo, well said and thought provoking.
I may fall into your last category. I value individual freedoms, but I also value those of the collective/tribe. Occationally these don't agree, can I still be concidered a champion of human rights if I sometimes wish to permanently limit them for the greater good? (i.e. Gun control, excess taxation and regulation of harmful goods, etc)
My dictionary defines it as
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods : ideas about the relationship between science and religion.
• details of belief as taught or discussed : when the school first opened they taught only religion, Italian, and mathematics.
• a particular system of faith and worship : the world's great religions.
• a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance : consumerism is the new religion.
Unless you try to stretch the meanings, no way. Or in that case, watching TV and shopping would be religions for most folks too. Or attending their offspring.
If atheism is a religion, then doing no sports ever is a form of sports, and abstinence is just a form of having sex.