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Atheism spreads religious awareness and biases our thinking...

 
 
Cyracuz
 
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 07:01 am
It occurred to me that atheism represents religious influence on secular thinking. To take the stance of atheism is to spread awareness of theism. It's a little ironic, but atheists are actually missionaries for the religions they oppose whenever they engage in debates about it.

You can't explain atheism without first explaining theism. That, when I think about it, makes atheism seem pretty foolish.

Why create a conceptual awareness that you will relate to negatively in the first place, rather than create a conceptual awareness that you can relate to and believe in. Perhaps the answer is that those that claim to be atheist don't really have problems with theism, but maybe theism being forced on our culture for so long has given many people problems relating to the human capacity of faith?
 
Krumple
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 07:08 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

It occurred to me that atheism represents religious influence on secular thinking. To take the stance of atheism is to spread awareness of theism. It's a little ironic, but atheists are actually missionaries for the religions they oppose whenever they engage in debates about it.

You can't explain atheism without first explaining theism. That, when I think about it, makes atheism seem pretty foolish.


This is only true if there is a motivation which you are trying to suggest is there which in fact isn't there. So no, sorry you are looking at the whole situation wrong.

Let me put it in a different perspective for you. If there were a bunch of childmolesters running around trying to claim molesting children is fine, you would want to get involved if you thought it was harmful to society and children.

Atheism is a response to theists. If there weren't theists trying to impose their theology onto society and doing harmful things to people, then there wouldn't be any need for atheism or atheists.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 07:23 am
@Krumple,
Quote:
Atheism is a response to theists. If there weren't theists trying to impose their theology onto society and doing harmful things to people, then there wouldn't be any need for atheism or atheists.


By the same logic, if there weren't any right wing politicians, there wouldn't be any need for left wing politicians?
If theism is a cancer on our society, atheism is the drug that makes it worse under the pretense of curing it. Look at it positively, as theists do, or negatively, as atheists do... You are still looking at it.
Why not look for something else?

And this is where the bias part comes in, because where will we look if we are looking for something that is definitely not theistic?

I am hoping that this thread will be about how the issue of theism/atheism affects and steers our conceptual awareness of reality.
Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 07:47 am
Your thesis assumes that "atheism" is an "-ism" like capitalism, or sociaism or vegetarianism. Of all of them, it is most like vegetarianism. It is a personal choice for which most who can be so described are not out actively proselytizing. Just because, for example, many vegans are loud, pushy people trying to impose their point of view on others, that is not evidence that all vegetarians are loud, pushy people trying to impose their views on everyone else.

Some few atheists are so-called strong or explicit atheists who rail against religion and blame most of the world's ills on religion. But, Frank Apisa's desparate ideology notwithstanding, those are not the majority of atheists--not in my experience, at least. It's a squeaky wheel situation. The loud, pushy, obnoxious atheists like BillRM are just the ones who get the most attention, they are not representative of even a significant fraction of atheists. At a place such as this, one is exposed to atheists a great deal. That is not the experience of every day life, however. In real life, one is surrounded by atheists, by most estimates, between one and two percent of the population. But atheists are not the subject of daily news items, they aren't preaching on the street corners, they aren't knocking on people's doors or collaring them in public. They are only defined by default, by what they don't believe.

Basically, your thesis is a simple-minded idea based on a false dichotomy between theists and atheists. The subject never comes up for me in real life. When i turn away the annoying bible thumpers who come to the door, i just tell them i'm not interested, i don't rant at them about atheism.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 10:01 am
In my opinion, most atheists are in the proverbial closet. How can one not be without tearing asunder the peace and calm in one's family/job/friendships, etc.

Like how can an atheist roll his or her eyes, so to speak, at a child returning from Sunday school? Or, roll his or her eyes at the company Christmas party? Or, roll his or her eyes at the person telling about this or that social gathering at a church function?

Most atheist, in my opinion, live their lives (at least in the US), like Victorian gays did.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 11:47 am
@Setanta,
...all you said is true and I agree, except for one small detail Set...as in most cases the ones getting attention from the media are not the regular citizens, but rather the leading atheist scientists that went on an open crusade against religion after I.D was proposed for biology classes...up to a point I can understand and sympathise with the cause, after all I am a Darwinian follower myself...but would be short sighted to not admit the matter has not always be conducted in the best possible way...some of this guys have done a favour to most extremists in the way they addressed the general population beliefs...if anything I am of the opinion that the vast majority is not at all prepared for such a revolution...but then, most shouldn't ever attend college either, and they do...the problem these days is not in lacking information access, hardly can one posit that, the true problem is lack in understanding...any ways bottom line I am not disagreeing with you but only emphasizing that there is a difference between hard facts and the image that the media brings up on this and other similar issues...
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 12:17 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
That doesn't alter that even the loud-mouthed, pushy atheists are not on the news every day, are not accosting strangers on the street, aren't going door to door. Those are hard facts, which contradict the thesis, but which apparently didn't sink in with you.

I don't know what that goofy fling about Darwinian is supposed to mean--but then, i've never thought you made much sense when you post.
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 12:34 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
By the same logic, if there weren't any right wing politicians, there wouldn't be any need for left wing politicians?
I don't think this is an accurate analogy.

Right and Left Wing Politics are different ends of the same spectrum (politics). But Atheism is not within the spectrum of theology at all. It is entirely non-theological.

In general, Atheists are only revealed when theistic assumptions are splashed like wet paint onto a group of people, but it fails to stick on a few. When you ask those few why they came out clean you find out they're Atheists. Otherwise you would never know.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 02:26 pm
@Setanta,
...given your reply to my reply I think there isn't much more to ad pretty much your sort of commentary speaks for itself...see u around Set...
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 03:18 pm
I have yet to see an acurate portrayal of atheism by the religious.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 04:13 pm
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 04:47 pm
@rosborne979,
Brilliant, Rosborne Exclamation
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 04:48 pm
@Cyracuz,
...the only difference I have with you on this issue is about taking the whole for the part, mainly due to the visibility of a certain wing of atheists quite in vogue now on the crusade against religion as the mother of all evil...so bottom line I think you have a good point there although this distinction seams important if we want a moderate rational debate upon the matter...
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 06:33 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
But Atheism is not within the spectrum of theology at all. It is entirely non-theological.


This is simply not true. What is atheism about? It is about theological beliefs, about how they are wrong... That in itself is a belief, one which we cannot prove. A person who has an entirely non-theistic world view would not bother with atheism. He would simply do something else. Atheism is not non-theistic, it's anti-theistic, which is something else entirely.

Whether you believe that gods exist or that gods don't exist, a central theme in that line of thinking is gods, and in our western society with a Christian heritage, it's God. A non-theistic approach would not concern itself with the idea of gods at all....

Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 06:48 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

Quote:
But Atheism is not within the spectrum of theology at all. It is entirely non-theological.


This is simply not true. What is atheism about? It is about theological beliefs, about how they are wrong... That in itself is a belief, one which we cannot prove. A person who has an entirely non-theistic world view would not bother with atheism. He would simply do something else. Atheism is not non-theistic, it's anti-theistic, which is something else entirely.

Whether you believe that gods exist or that gods don't exist, a central theme in that line of thinking is gods, and in our western society with a Christian heritage, it's God. A non-theistic approach would not concern itself with the idea of gods at all....


For the most part I would agree with you. My personal problem is that theology by it's very nature tries to impose itself onto all of humanity regardless if they want it or not. In the past this situation was met with much more violence than today (in some cases). If a theist kept their belief to themselves (as it should be) then I would have no problem with theology at all and wouldn't need debate.

However; when theists want to strong arm politics and force non-believers to live by their perspective then I have objections to it and the only way to address these issues is to directly question the theology itself and the only good medium to do this is debate.

As things have continued and my perspective has broadened, it has only strengthened my case that theology has no positive substance to offer society at all. Sure some can claim that theology has done positive things for humanity but if you generally invesitiage such claims you will discover that it was not theology that influenced these positive outcomes but instead they were secular demands.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 06:55 pm
@Setanta,
My "thesis" revolves around the very point that atheism isn't like other isms. As you say, atheists are defined by default by what they don't believe in.

My claim is that theism is a reaction to theistic oppression through hundreds of years, and that this reveals a bias in our thinking when it comes to spiritual aspects of our existence. Many times here on a2k I have shared thoughts about consciousness being something more fundamental to the universe than what is generally assumed. More often than not such ideas are classified as theistic, because of our biased way of thinking.

Most atheists erroneously think that they can live without holding any beliefs. That is the core of the issue, not deities in themselves, but the idea that something has to be taken entirely on faith.

So a theist believes god exist. An atheist believes god does not exist. Both of these beliefs are about god, which makes both variations of theism.
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 07:13 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

Quote:
But Atheism is not within the spectrum of theology at all. It is entirely non-theological.

This is simply not true. What is atheism about? It is about theological beliefs, about how they are wrong...
No. It's not. Atheism simply means "without theism". It's likely that all anti-theists are also atheists, but not all atheists are anti-theists.

I've said this before and I'll repeat it... "Atheism is a belief, like not-collecting stamps is a hobby".
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 07:30 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
You can't explain atheism without first explaining theism. That, when I think about it, makes atheism seem pretty foolish.

There's less to this point than meets the eye. I mean, we're all atoothfairyists here. How many explanations about the tooth fairy did it take to get us here?
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 07:30 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
"Atheism is a belief, like not-collecting stamps is a hobby".


No. The assertion that "there are no gods" is just as much a belief as the assertion that there are gods. A common factor for both is the concept "god". Atheism is about god/gods.

You might ask someone if they are religious. That person might answer "no, I am an atheist". That doesn't mean that this person has no beliefs regarding theistic notions. On the contrary; it means that he has beliefs about theistic notions. He believes them to be wrong. If the person doesn't have such beliefs he isn't an atheist. That person would be truly free of theism, unlike those who still cling to the concept if only to define what they are not...
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jun, 2012 07:33 pm
@Thomas,
I disagree. I have no specific belief that the tootfairy doesn't exist. It is not an issue I think about. Ever.

But if you asked a person, and he said "I am an atheist", what would that tell you if you didn't know what theism was? Nothing. For that person to be able to relate to you what atheism is, he would first have to tell you what theism is.
 

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