Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Atheism is a religion?

"Yes, atheism is a religion, just like not collecting stamps is a hobby."

Need more be said? Ok, fine... This feller thinks atheism is a religion, and he's got a post to back it up! I'm going to copy some of it for quotes, but if you want the whole of his argument, it's right here.

We, as rational individuals, all know its true except the atheists themselves. When, and only when, they understand that they indeed belong to a religion, then we can get down as to who holds the most accurate and truthful religion out there. For Atheists to attempt to claim "neutrality", in reference to God, is a complete cop out and disingenuous intellectually. They have indeed picked a side. They choose their religion based on what they believe is evidentiary to their presuppositions. Denying what they believe, and hold as truth, may be an easier pill for them to swallow but they are only attempting to deceive themselves.

So everyone but the party in question knows it's true. Sounds like a patently poor argument. So we need to accept the premise that we belong to a religion to determine if our religion stands up to Christianity, I'm in. Atheists do not claim neutrality, agnostics do. Some agnostics don't call themselves such, but a neutral position on theism can only be called agnosticism. Atheists have picked a side, agnostics are on the fence. Who really (other than theists) attempts to deceive themselves? It seems this really is a patently poor argument.

They have their own worldview. Materialism (the view that the material world is all there is) is the lens through which atheists view the world. Far from being the open-minded, follow-the-evidence-wherever thinkers they claim to be, they interpret all data ONLY within the very narrow worldview of materialism. They are like a guy wearing dark sunglasses who chides all others for thinking the sun is out.

On the contrary. Everyone has a different worldview, but I know that's not where this is coming from. The skeptical atheist believes only in what can be observed. The evidence has led to materialism. Sure, we then see everything through materialism, point being... They (plural) are like a guy (single) wearing dark yada yada...

You should have said something more like "The/an atheist is like a guy...". The problem with this is that creationists are the ones lacking in evidence. The atheist is more the person who chides another for wearing dark sunglasses and saying that the sun is not out.

They have their own orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is a set of beliefs acceptable to a faith community. Just as there are orthodox Christian beliefs, there is an atheist orthodoxy as well. In brief, it is that EVERYTHING can be explained as the product of unintentional, undirected, purposeless evolution. No truth claim is acceptable if it cannot be subjected to scientific scrutiny.

Wait a second... Orthodoxy is a generally accepted theory, doctrine, or practice. Not killing people is orthodox. Most people share that orthodoxy. "No truth claim is acceptable if it cannot be subjected to scientific scrutiny." I'm going to assume that "truth" is erroneously used in place of "true", because otherwise it makes no sense. That in mind, the ending statement holds water. When we subject God to scientific scrutiny, we get no evidence for it's existence. Evolution, while our understanding of it is incomplete, is a much more verifiable theory than God.

They have their own brand of apostasy. Apostasy is to abandon one’s former religious faith. Antony Flew was for many years one of the world’s most prominent atheists. And then he did the unthinkable: he changed his mind. You can imagine the response of the “open-minded, tolerant” New Atheist movement. Flew was vilified. Richard Dawkins accused Flew of “tergiversation.” It’s a fancy word for apostasy. By their own admission, then, Flew abandoned their “faith.”

Our own brand of apostasy... According to Webster's Dictionary...
1:renunciation of a religious faith
2:abandonment of a previous loyalty

About Antony Flew, his conversion is unsure. He was in a mentally declining state when this all transpired. His book There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind is suggested to have been primarily written by Roy Abraham Varghese. Even if he'd committed apostasy, it's no more a proof of faith than my changing in preference from Coke to Pepsi. That analogy is flawed, because the two are so similar, but the second definition of the word 'apostasy' should be taken into account before making claims such as this.

They have their own prophets: Nietzsche, Russell, Feuerbach, Lenin, Marx.

Prophets, that's just ridiculous.

They have their own messiah: He is, of course, Charles Darwin. Darwin – in their view – drove the definitive stake through the heart of theism by providing a comprehensive explanation of life that never needs God as a cause or explanation. Daniel Dennett has even written a book seeking to define religious faith itself as merely an evolutionary development.

I (and likely many other atheists) cringe at the word messiah being used in such a manner. Darwin did provide an atheistic explanation of what is and how it came to be, this no more makes him a messiah than Bill Gates or Steve Jobs for revolutionizing the computer. There's some controversy as to how religion came to be, my opinion is that it was needed in history to control the illiterate population. Most people in the Middle Ages, for instance, couldn't read (at least they couldn't read Latin. I'm far from a linguist or linguistic historian). The pope could though, and they were the only people with access to the Bible. The clergy had the tendency to use their power to make people do as they wished. This is, in my opinion the cause for religion.

They have their own preachers and evangelists. And boy, are they “evangelistic.” Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens (Speaking of which, our prayers goes out to Christopher Hitchens in hopes of a speedy recovery for his cancer, we need more time with him Lord) are NOT out to ask that atheism be given respect. They are seeking converts. They are preaching a “gospel” calling for the end of theism.

I first want to point out how well God did with those prayers for Christopher Hitchens who, in case you've been living under a rock, is quite dead. They actually are asking for atheism to be given respect as well as to share the good news. There is no god! Theism is an antiquated social construct which must be eschewed in the name of progress.

Of these, none scream to me 'Religion'.

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