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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ok First lets reply to this is not the definition anyone uses?

Dictionary re·li·gion 1.

a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs
My words short and to the point Religion is really only a group of people believing in a certain way!
Now to address the other issue If I was to say I believe that God does not exsist then that also refers to my belief in things so it all depends on how you want to phrase your arguement.

Religion is really only a group of people believing in a certain way!

Then you could classify all sorts of organizations, like the EFF, the FSF etc as Religions.

It is a very broad definition.

The way I see it, religion is not only about belief, but also practice. Its about living life according to the tenets of the religion. Its about the things you should do - the how & why of doing them & the things you shouldn't do - they whys of not to do them.

Atheism doesn't have any of that.

You left out the "concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe' part. Given your definition, a group of people who all believe that Buffy is the best TV show ever is a religion, because they all believe the same way. Overly broad definitions are a poor way to define things and a good way to sow confusion.


And even with the dictionary definition, atheists do not qualify. While a great many (perhaps most) atheists subscribe to the current scientific theories about the origin of the universe, not all do. There are those who believe that the universe is cyclical, those that adhere to the hypothesis of colliding branes, those that think that M-theory is more likely correct and those who believe that our universe is an elaborate computer simulation.


The only property that all atheists can be assured of having in common is not believing in gods. Other traits may be very common (support for science, for example) but they are neither required of nor exclusive to atheism.

Exactly what the definition says is that it is "a set of beliefs". I don't proclaim "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe (etc)".

My belief would then have to be in the scientific method of reaching conclusions about this based on repeatable and observable phenomena I can make predictions on that will come true. If I must be a religious in some aspect, if I am forced to point to supreme knowledge, I guess I believe in the "god" of science and "worhsip" at it's altar, the peer reviewed scientific literature.

Good point on that. I think there may be some confusion of 'religion' with 'fanatic'. Many atheists can be just as fanatical and unreasoning as their theists counterparts. But that commonality of action does not equate to a commonality of organization. I have also seen some people that do try to make science or atheism into a religion, but I do not believe that such actions by the minorities should color the entire concept to that of a religion.
"when someone says "i'm an atheist" this tells you nothing about what they DO believe." ... uhm,.. well.. It tells you that the person DO believe, that there is no such thing as God(s)...

This is a common miss-perception of atheism, atheism is the non-belief in a god, it is not a belief that there is no god.


Many religious people I talk to often understand anti-theists to be atheist and this is simply not the case at all. People against all belief in a god are generally anti-theist. They often have well thought out and structured argument to support their case, and by definition are also atheist, but the term atheist does not describe their desire to argue against religious belief.


Many anti-theists will not begrudge someone a belief in a god, but desire for people who do, to understand that it is a belief and not a provable fact. This sort of acknowledgement reduces extremism and its acceptance in society.


Hope that helps :)

Actually that was well said and I cant agree more Thank you for your reply!

You're welcome Allie, I would just add that etymologically speaking religion means (according to many scholars) "to reconnect" or "look back".


So from an etymology perspective religion is looking to the past to connect and gain meaning, while atheism is content with the now.

Again well said I honestly think if we had more discussions with your eloquence

atheism would not have such a bad name. The very arguement I brought up

was brought up by my family and I did not honestly know how defend it. You have

helped me tremendously and if more people would argue with intellect instead of ignorance we would all benefit more.

Couldn't atheism be described as the systematic doubt or disbelief based on observation and experimentation of any and all superhuman agencies and their effects on the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe. Therefore, as stated perfectly by Marcel, it is not a positive belief but a disbelief. Like this, my friend John believes in ghosts, I don't believe in ghosts. He is making a belief statement, I am not making a belief statement I am making a doubt statement. Not only does this have burden of proof sway, it also means it's not a belief but a lack of belief in the supernatural cause of the universe.

If I hang out with some buddies who believe that rock climbing is a fun sport, we are a religion? Are political parties religions? Are kindergartens where children are lead to believe they are growing religions?

The definition is so vague and widespread that any people gathering together by some common activity that concerns a particular belief. 

However, and this is my question, isn't belief in evolution a positive belief statement that one has to make in order to say they doubt the supernatural cause? Does that not make it subject to proof? I recognize that there is evidence to the Nth degree concerning an evolutionary cause to the universe but if someone doesn't take it as evidence of evolution could they use that as a possible refutation?

Not at all, evolution is an observable fact like gravity and therefore requires no 'belief' construct at all. For someone to refute evolution without any form of basis for argument or evidence against it, is simply evidence of their delusional nature by definition.


To answer the part of your question of doubt in supernatural causality, one can simply apply many of the different clear and logical reasoning that do not require a relationship to evolution to conclude that no supernatural deity exists.


However this is again not what atheism is about, atheists do not require proof, or a reason to doubt, it is the lack of empirical evidence and possibility of reasoned logic to provide any understanding of the supernatural, considered coherent and complete without chance of rebuttle or rejoinder, that leaves a person in a position where they accept that they, and all humans, can not, and do not, know the nature of a god if one exists. Therefore logically progressing to a conclusion that at their current understanding of the world around them, there is nothing that provides them a reason to hold faith in a god.


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