I was engaged in a discussion the other day with a team member: Topic of discussion? Atheism.... What exactly IS Atheism? My personal opinion as well as one I have shared with many people that I have spoken to about the topic is this: An Atheist is void of a belief in something higher than ourselves, be it "God" or any other being that has some sort of divine control over the lives and / or actions of people. It does not ONLY refer to the lack of belief in the Christian concept of god. At least, like I said, to me. To my team member, Atheism refers to the disbelief in "God," but allows Atheists to believe or at least have an Agnostic view towards other religions.On a side note, we had a brief conversation about Buddism, which he referred to as an "Atheistic religion," a term which I did not share the same feelings about.
Anyway, before I get carried away, what IS atheism? Help me out here.
Do you mean the part where I say my atheism aligns with Johny's, or the part where I go on to talk about my 'devout atheism'?
I can see how what I call 'devout atheism' definitely falls under skepticism, although for me there is actually a lot more too it - I just didn't feel it was an appropriate place to expand on those things. Essentially I've taken an eclectic approach by blending my favorite parts of Skepticism, Humanism, Naturalism, and Alcoholism.
I define atheism as unbelief in supernatural (which includes gods), that is why some people see themselves as naturalist which is the same thing. But form me to be an atheist also means that there is no luck, destiny, curse and so on.
p.s. in other words, you don't have to believe in god to believe that you're cursed, or that you are luckier than other people and so on
I think you are missing the same point that many in this thread seem to be missing, and that is that atheism is not the same thing as naturalism or materialism. As per your example, a person who believes that he is luckier than others, perhaps because he always carries a lucky horse shoe, but does not believe in any gods IS an atheist. One does not have to be a naturalist, or a materialist or a rationalist to be an atheist. This is very important to understand and it's a point that many people seem to miss.
I agree with Caesar's point. Atheism is not the process, it is the conclusion. This is why rather than simply pushing atheism I always push critical thinking skills. With properly developed critical thinking skills and understanding of the scientific method people should come more and more to atheism and ultimately to naturalism. But just because we may personally be naturalists / materialists (meaning the rejection of a "dual" physical and spiritual realities) does not mean that atheism by itself requires a completely naturalistic worldview.
For example, it is fairly clear that Heather is a skeptic, a rationalist, a naturalist and possibly an anti-theist. But just identifying as an atheist does not automatically mean that all of these other concepts must apply.
I wouldn't necessarily say I am an anti-theist, or as some conservatives put it, "Anti-Christian." I will share my beliefs with those that would wish to hear, but I will not force people to believe what I believe, or condemn them for what they believe...
UNLESS those people are actively forcing others to believe their beliefs, or condemning other people for what they believe.
Basically my rule is that the only acceptable offensive is a counter-offensive.