So, I have 2 people telling me atheism is a religion. So I broke it down for them, but they still disagree. Here's how it went.
Mom: Atheism is an oxymoron.
Me: Theism= belief in a god or gods, especially in a personal god as a creator and ruler of the world.
Atheism= rejection of that belief.
Deism= belief in a god or gods who set the universe in motion, then ceased t o interact with it
Agnosticism= you can neither prove nor disprove the existence of a god or gods; it is unknown and unknowable
Atheism is clearly not an oxymoron, or even a simple contradiction. It is a rejection of the theist beliefs.
I don't know how everyone else views things, but here is what I think:
I hold the position of agnostic atheist.... I think that proving or disproving a god or gods is impossible, but I do not believe in a personal god AT ALL. I especially reject the gods of organized religions. If there is a god, the deists have it right, imo, however I do not believe in that sort of creator either. Just acknowledge it is a possibility. Which I have to assume is why she finds a contradiction.
Here's what person #2 says about atheism being a religion....
Him: In order for something to qualify as science it must be observable, testable, demonstrable and falsifiable. The textbooks our children are learning from are teaching that evolution is a fact. Nothing could be further from the truth. Evolution does not really even qualify as a theory. It cannot be shown (observed) to happen. It is a belief and therefore a religion.
(We have argued over evolution for 3 days, so I wont go there.)
Me: A belief does not make a religion, however a religion is made up of several beliefs.
Him: The first definition of religion according to the Random House dictionary is: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe
Me: I don't have a specific belief in the cause or purpose of the universe. I live by the laws of nature. This is not a religion.
Him: but you believe in big bang, evolution which we have argued and you believe to be true (note the word believe) i believe to not be true therefore you still believe. it is a belief that you have, you just dont like the term religion but you know its right. religion does not always have to have God in it.
Me: Religions carry some sort of unchanging (for the most part) spirituality, supernaturalism, or mysticism even if there is no god. Religions have ideologies on how you should live your life and treat other people. It has mythologies and it has rituals.
Him: the main definition of religion was and started out as a belief. atheism is a belief, christianity is a belief both are religions
My buddy jumps in while I am gone, to try and clear up the confusion between "think" and "believe" and now the conversation has turned to the easter bunny and santa...
Re: evolution and this guy
He acknowledges microevolution, but denies macroevolution. He also denies it taking a very long time to happen... because the world is 6-10 thousand years old.
Facepalm. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,.-‘”. . . . . . . . . .``~.,
Creationists love to point out that carbon dating can only go back 50,000 to 70,000 years and thus doesn't support the idea that the Earth is billions of years old. Get him to say that, then ask him how it could go back more than 50,000 years if the Earth is less than 10,000 years old.
Also, as others have pointed out, his definition of "belief" makes everything a belief because it doesn't distinguish between belief based on evidence and belief based on no evidence. See:
Seriously, though, if a person is a young earth creationist, then there is no point in speaking with him at all. He is insane.
I have been thinking about this Lewis Black quotation since Keely posted it a few days ago. It tells you all you need to know:
"What this is, purely and simply, is a clinical psychotic reaction. They are crazy. They are stone cold, f*k, nuts. I can't be kind about this because these people are watching the Flintstones as if it were a documentary."~Lewis Black, Red, White & Screwed
Religion. All definitions have something to do with a higher power, a spiritual lider, a god, etc.
I am curious. Does he believe that the belief in Santa is also a religion?
You can tell him something like: "I believe you are stupid. Does that mean I have a new religion?" It shouldn't matter whether you believe he is stupid or not; just to see what his response is.