Senate Atheism 5.0 - Is Atheism a belief?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by SuperWatto, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    ummm isnt that the entire religious endeavour?

    ALLYOOOP!!
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, Feb 28, 2013
  2. Mortimer Snerd Force Ghost

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    Your life will definitely be lacking in pure joy until you've gone naked BUT wearing clown shoes. I'm naked save for clown shoes right now and lemme tell you...it's bliss.
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  3. timmoishere Force Ghost

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    There is as much evidence for the existence of God as there is for the Easter Bunny, unicorns, Harry Potter and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Rational people shouldn't have to be labeled as deniers of the existence of a thing. I've never heard of a "aunicornist", have you?
  4. Mortimer Snerd Force Ghost

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    There is very little money to be made from free-thinking rational types.
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  5. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

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    The difference is that belief in unicorns, Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc. isn't widespread and doesn't have a significant impact on our culture. Like it or not (and I was at one point someone who really, really didn't like it, so I can sympathize with where you're coming from), theists are the majority of the population, and members of majority groups always insist on slapping labels on the minorities.

    I blame the lack of nuance on the little pea brains our species is endowed with.
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  6. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

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    Well, if it's any consolation more and more people are becoming non-theists or non-religious but spiritual. So there is that little nugget of knowledge, but unfortunately we'll probably never see society and culture not completely ****ed by the religious. The change is happening, though; that might explain why the faiths that are getting further and further from the mainstream are radicalizing.
    Last edited by Fire_Ice_Death, Mar 1, 2013
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  7. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    America's Most (and Least) Religious Metro Areas

    Provo, Utah tops the list for most religious, and unsurprisingly my ancestral home of the Birmingham, AL area is one of three Alabama cities in the top five.

    Least religious:

    Boston/Cambridge, MA
    Albany, NY
    Springfield, MA
    Madison, WI
  8. Bale Force Ghost

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    Being religious means nothing. The Pharisees were very religious, yet when the Messiah appeared before them in the flesh they rejected Him.
  9. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Judaism is so superior to Christianity as a religion that it's hard to blame them. Almost all my Jewish friends are atheists. Skepticism about God doesn't have to get in the way of tradition and culture.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Apr 5, 2013
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  10. Bale Force Ghost

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    I'm not sure what you mean by "superior" but the Jews are God's chosen people and the Pharisees had great power and privilege. I can understand them not wanting to give that that power up.
  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    By superior I mean "more tolerant of atheism." If God doesn't exist, then any religion that permits atheist adherents is closer to being a true religion.
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  12. wannasee Force Ghost

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    It wouldn't make sense for Christianity, a religion based on faith, to incorporate atheists.
  13. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    That's a completely foolish statement. "Judaism as a religion" is no more tolerant of atheists than is any serious branch of Christianity. The central tenets of both revolve around affirmative belief in an omnipotent deity.
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  14. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    I've really, personally, never understood this way of turning something that is, very much, theistic into a claim to be an atheist as well, like people saying they're an atheist and a Jew (in anything remotely a religious sense). They seem contradictory.

    I mean, I can see how it works for something like, say, being buddhist and atheist at the same time, since there's not a theistic element to buddhism, by necessity, but that seems a lot harder to get around when it comes to Judaism.
  15. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Clearly neither of you know many Jews if you can't understand this. It is the only religion with a secular branch. Every year I celebrate Passover with a number of mostly atheistic Jewish friends. Atheism doesn't seem to interfere in the slightest with observance of their religion. That most Christians fail to grasp this is evidence of how myopic Christians tend to be about the nature of Faith. It's the observance that gives Judaism its potency, not God. The Jews are the Chosen people because they chose themselves to be Chosen. Their religion is just a metaphor for that.
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  16. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    You're simply framing things bizarrely. Celebrating Passover while atheist doesn't give the religion "an atheistic branch." It acknowledges the cultural importance of something that is no longer actively believed. For instance, the MacLeod clan of Scotland has a flag that, it was once believed, had magical power to summon fairies to their aid. They even offered to use it against Hitler during World War II.

    Clearly the MacLeod family of the mid-20th century did not actually believe in fairy princesses. They don't, by continuing to revere the flag, add an "atheistic branch" to English fairy tales and witchcraft. They are acknowledging the importance of a cultural custom that originated hundreds of years ago for them. Transforming something from a religious into a cultural event is not at all the same thing as a religion having an "atheistic branch."
  17. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    I'd say an even better example is that I think it'd be weird to talk about my family and I as atheistic Christians because we celebrate Christmas and, to a lesser extent, Easter (and probably technically Halloween too). They're holidays with religious roots (be it the pagan or Christian ones) that I've only ever celebrated in a secular method and without any of the religious overtones.
  18. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Again, you both completely misunderstand Judaism.

    False. The central tenet of Judaism is promoting, maintaining and perpetuating the identity of Jews as a chosen people. "Chosen by God" has always been at heart a metaphor for self identity. True, many Jews still take it literally. But I suspect at least as many don't. But most of those I know would dispute that they no longer practice their religion faithfully.

    Also false, an argument from a position of ignorance. You and Low are drawing an inappropriate analogy to lapsed Christians who like Santa Clause. No Jew I know would ever acknowledge not being Jewish or not practicing the religion religiously merely because they don't believe in a deity. The symbolic importance of all the holidays is that they reinforce the purpose of the religion, which is to reinforce Jewish identity and cultural unity.

    ex Christians who celebrate what has largely become a secular holiday in no way whatsoever resemble Jews celebrating Passover.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Apr 11, 2013
  19. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    That is why I chose the MacLeod Clan example, rather than the Christmas. Religion and cultural are often mutually reinforcing, especially in cases like these. But you are simply conflating the religious and cultural identity. You cannot. Your understanding is ahistorical, and in the present non-factual. Participating in a religious ritual is not the same thing as being a practicing member of a religion. Find me the writing of any Orthodox rabbi who would claim the religion doesn't oblige a belief in a deity
  20. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    No, I'm not. I have friends who are non-practicing Jews with a sense of cultural identity. And I have practicing, religious Jewish friends (by far in the majority) who do not believe in God. Orthodox rabbis aren't in charge of all of Judaism any more than the Pope is in charge of the United Methodist Church. Why would any of my atheist Jewish friends who attend services regularly and have raised all their children to be devout atheistic Jews care what an Orthodox rabbi has to say about the nature of their Judaism? Orthodox Jews are not even a majority of Israeli Jews.
  21. Ghost Chosen One

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    Jabbadabbado, you're talking about the Jewish ethnicity and culture, not the Jewish religion.

    Likewise, there are many people who are in the Christian culture (as said above, celebrating Christmas and Easter) who are not part of the Christian religion.

    Judaism the religion is very closely connected to the Jewish ethnicity/culture. If anything, being "Jewish" is more about the ethnicity/culture than the religion. You cannot be a religious Jew who doesn't believe in God. You can still believe in the traditions and rituals and cultures and not believe in God, but that's not being religious in the Jewish sense. And I'm not just talked about the Orthodox Jewish view, but also the two other main religious branches, Conservative and Reform, who also believe in God as one of the core tenets of their faith.

    When Moses and God condemned the Jewish people for worshipping the Golden Calf in the Bible, they were still the Jewish people, even when they were worshipping an idol. When a Jewish person converts to Islam and becomes a faithful Muslim, they're still Jewish because that's their ethnic/cultural background.

    Judaism was not a religion that sought converts... in fact, they discourage converts. They want people of the Jewish faith to either be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or to marry a descendant.

    They believe that most of the laws and morals in the Tanakh (the Old Testament) do NOT apply to people who aren't Jewish (less than a dozen do, called the laws of Noah, but that's a little apocryphal).

    People of the Jewish faith do not believe that only they will enter paradise or anything like that... they either believe (1) there is no afterlife, or (2) everyone will be resurrected and judged some day in the future... and the Jewish people will simply be held to a higher standard when it comes to judgment, and that the Jewish people have an important role to play in turning the world into a more just and peaceful place before that Day of Judgment (again, if they believe death isn't the end... some do.).
    Last edited by Summer Dreamer, Apr 11, 2013
  22. Placeholder Force Ghost

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    I was going to post on this thread, but this post here is exactly what I was going to say.
  23. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    No. Atheistic Jews who observe all the holidays, fast for Yom Kippur, spend the day in synagogue, bring their children into the faith from birth (snip!), educate their children about Judaism, help them through Hebrew school and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah and confirmation are not just participating in "Jewish ethnicity and culture," they are practicing their religion at as deep and faithful a spiritual level as any other Jew.

    The practice of Judaism as a religion has an integrated deep appreciation for education and reflection, skepticism and open questioning. This is why Judaism wasn't blinded by science the way Christianity seems to have been. It's capable of processing reality and moving forward.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Apr 11, 2013
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  24. Ghost Chosen One

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    There's plenty of Christians like that too. But they aren't really religious Christians. Just like these aren't really religious Jews.

    All this:
    is Jewish culture. Not necessarily Jewish religion. There's plenty of Christians like this too, and I'm certain there's some from every religious background.

    Please read the rest of my post.

    (Also, I honestly don't understand why people do that to themselves and their children when they're actively denying the most central part, but that's another topic)



    EDIT:

    See my thread on science/religion... both Judaism and Christianity have factions that completely embrace science, completely reject it, and everything in between.
    Last edited by Summer Dreamer, Apr 11, 2013
  25. EHT Manager: New Films

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    Being an atheist follower of a theist religion makes no sense.