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Old 01-02-2011, 12:27 PM   #1
Ellanoor
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Atheism is a belief system?

You guys are probably tired of arguing this point, but I'm hoping you can help me work this out. Whenever I've come across the argument 'atheism is not a belief system,' it seems to be followed by some analogy/example that didn't convince me when I was a theist and not sure if rings true for me as an atheist. "Atheism is not a unifying system. You can no more unify people who simply don't believe in something than you can play a game of not-football" (youtube/truthseekers)...or the more common "non-stamp collector" analogy. How many non-stamp collectors are active non-stamp collectors and have regular meet-ups where they discuss their lack of interest in not collecting stamps?

Perhaps its just the analogies I've come across that don't really jive with me. I'm not saying the word atheism is necessarily a belief system, but it does seem to come with some baggage, that one does adopt a certain world view when one considers themselves an atheist.

I refuse to take you seriously.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:32 PM   #2
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Another one I like: atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color.

In general, all the analogies about non-hobbies are excellent and accurate. The main difference between atheists and non-stamp collectors is that there are no laws on the books that discriminate against the non-stamp collectors, and there is no general animosity from society-at-large towards them.

I've found that the overwhelming reason for atheists to gather (virtually or otherwise) is to address this discrimination and animosity.

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."
George Bernard Shaw
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:34 PM   #3
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Every theist will share your disbelief in every religion except their own.

Stop the Holy See men!
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Ellanoor wrote View Post
You guys are probably tired of arguing this point, but I'm hoping you can help me work this out. Whenever I've come across the argument 'atheism is not a belief system,' it seems to be followed by some analogy/example that didn't convince me when I was a theist and not sure if rings true for me as an atheist. "Atheism is not a unifying system. You can no more unify people who simply don't believe in something than you can play a game of not-football" (youtube/truthseekers)...or the more common "non-stamp collector" analogy. How many non-stamp collectors are active non-stamp collectors and have regular meet-ups where they discuss their lack of interest in not collecting stamps?

Perhaps its just the analogies I've come across that don't really jive with me. I'm not saying the word atheism is necessarily a belief system, but it does seem to come with some baggage, that one does adopt a certain world view when one considers themselves an atheist.
If the various different kinds of stamp collectors in the world were working not only to make all of the other kinds of stamp collectors convert to their kind, but to make all non-stamp collectors into stamp collectors (on threat of death), you could see more clearly that atheism in public is a reaction to the behaviors of believers. Atheism would vanish if there were no misguided people promoting supernatural absurdities (with fire, laws, swords and guns).

I am a recovering stamp collector and, if I was as vilified and demonized for my stamp-apostasy as I am for atheism, I would militate against all oppressive stampist bastards as well.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 01-05-2011, 02:50 AM   #5
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If all of the stamp collectors in the world started trying to pass laws and convert non-stamp collector's lifestyle's and started impeding on their quality of life, I'm sure non-stamp collectors will begin forming meet-ups all over the world to stop the madness.

If theists quietly practiced their religion in their bedroom and never talked about it openly trying to convince others and pass laws about it, I seriously wouldn't give a flying fuck about religion and this forum would disband in a heartbeat.

Another way to put it is this. If there were no religious people in the world, us atheists wouldn't be 'atheists', we would just be normal people.
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:23 AM   #6
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You are right, Q.

Sadly, however, religions are inherently insecure so they are burdened by the necessity of eliminating all other religions or non-belief in theirs. The "Great Commission" is a banner proclaiming Christianity's abject terror (therefore hatred of) any non-Christian and even some Christians whose beliefs stray too far from their personal orthodoxy.

In all religions, anyone who does not share their beliefs is a seed of doubt that they have chosen correctly from the thousands of equally unlikely gods.

Doubt and uncertainty are the mortal enemies of faith and faith without doubt is the only comfort these people have to control their chronic fear about virtually everything.

Terrified people are easy to spot; they switch into "fight-or-flight" mode against people who do not threaten them.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:55 PM   #7
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My favorite one of these analogies is "atheism is a belief like OFF is a TV channel".

But, to reiterate what others have said, these analogies are viable and reasonable.

The problem you seem to be having is not the analogies themselves, but the negative results of not adhering to religion, as opposed to no results of not adhering to the others.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Ellanoor wrote View Post
You guys are probably tired of arguing this point, but I'm hoping you can help me work this out. Whenever I've come across the argument 'atheism is not a belief system,' it seems to be followed by some analogy/example that didn't convince me when I was a theist and not sure if rings true for me as an atheist. "Atheism is not a unifying system. You can no more unify people who simply don't believe in something than you can play a game of not-football" (youtube/truthseekers)...or the more common "non-stamp collector" analogy. How many non-stamp collectors are active non-stamp collectors and have regular meet-ups where they discuss their lack of interest in not collecting stamps?

Perhaps its just the analogies I've come across that don't really jive with me. I'm not saying the word atheism is necessarily a belief system, but it does seem to come with some baggage, that one does adopt a certain world view when one considers themselves an atheist.
Some of the reasons why this might be the case:
1.) Atheism is often compared to religion/s suggesting comparison within a category
2.) Theists (including ex-theists ) may be so used to their world schema revolving around an organised system that it is very difficult to imagine anything different
3.) Atheism is often linked with other ways of approaching / dealing with the world e.g. scepticism, empiricism, humanism (I suspect this is the "baggage" to which you refer Ellanoor?) and is often used by proponents in both theist/non-theist camps as a convenient short hand in debate etc.

A think that a solid definition / concept might be more useful to clarify one's stance in one's own mind resulting in a firmer foundation from which to argue if a semantic pedant decides one day to nit pick around the real meat of a subject

Invisibility and nothingness look an awful lot alike.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:32 AM   #9
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Some of the reasons why this might be the case:
1.) Atheism is often compared to religion/s suggesting comparison within a category
2.) Theists (including ex-theists ) may be so used to their world schema revolving around an organised system that it is very difficult to imagine anything different
3.) Atheism is often linked with other ways of approaching / dealing with the world e.g. scepticism, empiricism, humanism (I suspect this is the "baggage" to which you refer Ellanoor?) and is often used by proponents in both theist/non-theist camps as a convenient short hand in debate etc.

A think that a solid definition / concept might be more useful to clarify one's stance in one's own mind resulting in a firmer foundation from which to argue if a semantic pedant decides one day to nit pick around the real meat of a subject
While I find "non-stamp collecting" a good analogy, a more effective approach seems to be that theists are all atheistic toward all of the other ten-thousand equally respectable gods.

Theists do know what atheism feels like; they practice it all the time. We just include their particular god in our un-pantheon.

"Those who most loudly proclaim their honesty are least likely to possess it."
"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
"Reality, the God alternative"
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:53 AM   #10
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So atheism is a belief like not being a Hindu is a belief? Damn Jesus-worshipping atheists.

I've used the analogy that atheism is a belief is the same way that not subscribing to any magazines is a magazine subscription.

atheist (n): one who remains unconvinced.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:42 PM   #11
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Doubt and uncertainty are the mortal enemies of faith and faith without doubt is the only comfort these people have to control their chronic fear about virtually everything.
There can be no faith without doubt, by definition. If there was no doubt, there would be no need for faith.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:45 PM   #12
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While I find "non-stamp collecting" a good analogy, a more effective approach seems to be that theists are all atheistic toward all of the other ten-thousand equally respectable gods.

Theists do know what atheism feels like; they practice it all the time. We just include their particular god in our un-pantheon.
Isn't the distinction between those who accept the supernatural (even if they can't agree on how to define it or the form it takes) and those who don't accept it rather more than a trivial matter of number?
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:48 PM   #13
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So atheism is a belief like not being a Hindu is a belief? Damn Jesus-worshipping atheists.

I've used the analogy that atheism is a belief is the same way that not subscribing to any magazines is a magazine subscription.
If a large group of those who didn't subscribe to magazines didn't do it for the same, perhaps philosophical, reason I think it would be OK to describe the outcome as a result of a belief.

Last edited by thomastwo; 01-11-2011 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:18 PM   #14
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If a large group of those who didn't subscribe to magazines didn't do it for the same, perhaps philosophical, reason I think it would be OK to describe the outcome as a result of a belief.
It would be considered a belief to not be interested in reading a specific magazine, because it doesn't provide anything useful?

What belief drives men to not subscribe to Cosmopolitan?

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:44 PM   #15
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I quite like Cosmo myself.

You can define an aCosmopolitan as somebody who doesn't subscribe to Cosmopolitan, but it's clear that you actually extend the definition implicitly to include the concept of it providing use. That would define a belief of a group of aCosmopolitans I think.
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