1 of 2
1
Atheism Religion ?
Posted: 29 October 2006 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2006-10-29

Can an atheist have his own religion ? Is it necessary to have one ?

My 2c:

Religion served human society more than just a belief. It defines central ideology, morality, a set of ritual, a place to have social activities ....

Atheism religion can be established to define a set of rituals, ceremonies, and other rationalized activities ...

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 October 2006 12:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15370
Joined  2006-02-14

It certainly isn’t necessary for an atheist to have a religion, however there are atheistic religions—certain forms of Buddhism for instance.

Personally I don’t think that ‘religion’ is the way to go—you note four aspects of traditional religion. Let’s go through them in order.

(1) Ideology: this is just asking for trouble. Where does the ideology come from? If it is simply reasonable and flexible, you don’t need the religious ‘credo’. Religious ideology is usually inflexible because it is irrational. Nobody needs that sort of ideology.

(2) Morality: this is what everyone talks about with religion, and if you read a bit on this site, and read other atheist works like those by Dawkins, Harris, Kurtz, etc., etc. you will see the answer. In short, religious morality is often immoral—the Bible in particular is a horrible moral guide. The fact is we don’t need religion to be moral beings: humans have a biologically inherited capacity for morality. Non religious people, if anything, tend to be more moral than religious people.

(3) Ceremonies: it’s not clear that these are necessary, but they are OTOH basically cultural universals, and people like them in the way that people like celebrations, parties, and having a good time. What’s wrong with having non-religious ceremonies? What’s wrong with celebrating traditional ceremonies in non-religious ways? That way you can have a nice party with family and friends without all the irrational religious elements.

(4) Place: it’s true, having a church as a focal point for a community is very nice. It’s basically like having a big central social hall, and that’s often the way it is actually used. But again, that just says that we as non-religious people should find similar ways to find places to gather, meet and make friends. Some non-religious people find it OK to join Zen, Unitarian or Quaker meetings because these are not too religious in the traditional sense. Others join local museums, art groups, school groups, political groups or other community organizations. And the CFI is growing slowly, and building community centers around the country. They are in the process of raising money in NYC to buy a building, which is a very laudable goal. (If expensive!)

So I think that what is important in religion can either be dispensed with or replicated in non-religious contexts. Atheist religion is unnecessary.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 October 2006 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  15
Joined  2006-09-29

I agree, an atheist religion is unnecessary.

Not to mention that if we had a church, people would probably only go on easter and christmas…. jk.

 Signature 

"But what remains of your original assertion?"

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 October 2006 01:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2006-10-29

I’m speaking in term of organization, not in ideology. The more organize atheism, the more powerful it is. I think atheism would be popular if it can serve as religious alternative. We can see atheistic church as permanent camp that operate in regular basic. It would be a discussion forum, social connection hub, rational and scientific method training camp and atheistic ritual center. It also can be used to organize campaign, evangelize rational “faith” etc ...

Imagine we have atheistic church in every corner of the street. It competes head to head with other religious institutions to gain the mass…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 October 2006 01:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15370
Joined  2006-02-14

Hmmm ... well, to a certain extent this is an issue of semantics: whatever the atheist organization should be called, it isn’t a church. It isn’t a religion. And if you call it “church” people will naturally assume it’s a religion.

If what you mean is simply that atheists should organize with each other, have summer camps, discussion forums and the like, what do you think the CFI is doing? I suggest you check out the range of options at the main website:

Click here .

Not sure about the “atheistic rituals” though. That begins to sound too potentially cultish to me. There has been a lot of discussion about whether and how atheists should observe their own rituals, holidays, etc. ... Tom Flynn has written about this a lot. For more you may want to subscribe to Free Inquiry magazine or check out the Secular Humanist website . (It is part of CFI as well).

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 October 2006 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  4
Joined  2006-10-31

I think I halfway agree with Faithfreedom. I was thinking about this earlier today. My wife is a Christian and as such sometimes goes to church. As I love my wife, I sometimes go with her - even though I have to bite my tongue every time the preacher says the words “Oh kind and merciful god…”

She says she goes because it gives her a place to reflect. She also likes the sense of community it gives - although here in the UK church attendance has fallen so dramatically over the past twenty years that the bulk of the (small) congregations are made up of the elderly.

I would like a place to go on Sunday mornings with my family. I’d like to hear a “sermon” on a topic that would inspire me to think. I’d like to meet like-minded people on a regular basis. Would I like to sing? Well I don’t have much of a voice, but my wife sings in the choir so she’d certainly like to. Is there any great secular music? I don’t know.

I’d hate anything happy-clappy and I’m very doubtful about rituals of any kind - I agree with you Doug on that one - too cultish.

 Signature 

Paul

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 October 2006 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15370
Joined  2006-02-14
[quote author=“Englishpaul”]I would like a place to go on Sunday mornings with my family. I’d like to hear a “sermon” on a topic that would inspire me to think. I’d like to meet like-minded people on a regular basis. Would I like to sing? Well I don’t have much of a voice, but my wife sings in the choir so she’d certainly like to. Is there any great secular music? I don’t know.

Yes, you do raise some interesting issues, Englishpaul. On the one hand, as I noted earlier, there are non-religious locations in many towns and cities where one can go for sermons of a sort: schools, museums, libraries, concert halls, literary discussion groups, and so on. These can be really quite marvellous in their own right; they needn’t be done by a specifically ‘atheist’ organization to be exactly what you are looking for.

As well, the CFI is attempting to fund non-religious centers in cities around the US for similar sorts of talks and meetings.

I am not sure I would want events to be on concurrent Sunday mornings, for example, because then the very fact of going becomes itself a sort of ritual, and one begins to look around oneself for who is showing up and who is coming infrequently, etc., and then we get into cultishness again. But I shouldn’t think there would be any problem with talks and discussions every few days or weeks, for those who were interested. And clearly this would also leave open the opportunity for members to suggest the sorts of events they might like to take part in, like singing for example.

But I for one begin to get antsy when it seems we are creating competition for the Unitarian Universalists or the Society for Ethical Culture or the Quakers or the Zen Buddhists. For those who feel they need a church-like atmosphere to practice their form of atheism, there are quasi-religions that already do a quite decent job at it.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 October 2006 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

Is there any great secular music?

Besides Lennon’s Imagine and God, I’ve always considered Vangelis’s music somehow ‘secular’ (?); his music usually relates to secular topics. I am not sure if Vangelis himself is an atheist, but he has written music like Apocalypse des animaux (soundtrack album for a series of early-seventies documentaries with the same name, made by Frdric Rossif about the animal kingdom), Mythodea: Music for the NASA Mission, 2001 Mars Odyssey, etc. His music is also included in Sagan’s Cosmos, I am not sure if this was originally written for the series though.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 October 2006 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  4
Joined  2006-10-31

Yes it does have a secular sort of feel to it, doesn’t it?  But - as far as I can remember - no voices.

 Signature 

Paul

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 October 2006 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

But - as far as I can remember - no voices.

So just add some words to Vangelis’s music yourself. For example:

On the Beagel late at night,
Darwin became our first ‘Bright’,...

Or something like that. LOL

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 October 2006 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

I’m going to have to get in on these threads more quickly.  If I wait a while, dougsmith says just about everything I was going to say, and he says it better.  LOL

A group of people near me formed a Unitarian fellowship in the ‘50s.  When they wanted to make it more organized they had choices of whether to call it a community, society, church, etc.  In those days, there was a real concern that they wouldn’t be allowed tax-exempt status if they were just a non-profit organization so they gritted their teeth and called it a church. This was probably a mistake.  Then the Universalists (a Christian denomination that was politically liberal and loaded with real estate) wanted to combine with the Unitarians.  The Unitarians were seduced by the money and merged. 

In the ‘60s and ‘70s I enjoyed the company of about 40% atheists, 40% agnostics and 20% miscellaneous theologically liberal people.  Unfortunately, the Universalist mafia has taken over and the organization has become another liberal religous sect that’s quasi-Christian.  The old atheists have either drifted away or died off and been replaced with “spiritual” people who don’t mind “worshipping”.

I would love to see many local CFI fellowships be established because there is a real void for free-thinkers.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 November 2006 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  126
Joined  2006-08-28

[quote author=“dougsmith”]It certainly isn’t necessary for an atheist to have a religion, however there are atheistic religions—certain forms of Buddhism for instance.

Personally I don’t think that ‘religion’ is the way to go—you note four aspects of traditional religion. Let’s go through them in order.

(1) Ideology: this is just asking for trouble. Where does the ideology come from? If it is simply reasonable and flexible, you don’t need the religious ‘credo’. Religious ideology is usually inflexible because it is irrational. Nobody needs that sort of ideology.

(2) Morality: this is what everyone talks about with religion, and if you read a bit on this site, and read other atheist works like those by Dawkins, Harris, Kurtz, etc., etc. you will see the answer. In short, religious morality is often immoral—the Bible in particular is a horrible moral guide. The fact is we don’t need religion to be moral beings: humans have a biologically inherited capacity for morality. Non religious people, if anything, tend to be more moral than religious people.

(3) Ceremonies: it’s not clear that these are necessary, but they are OTOH basically cultural universals, and people like them in the way that people like celebrations, parties, and having a good time. What’s wrong with having non-religious ceremonies? What’s wrong with celebrating traditional ceremonies in non-religious ways? That way you can have a nice party with family and friends without all the irrational religious elements.

(4) Place: it’s true, having a church as a focal point for a community is very nice. It’s basically like having a big central social hall, and that’s often the way it is actually used. But again, that just says that we as non-religious people should find similar ways to find places to gather, meet and make friends. Some non-religious people find it OK to join Zen, Unitarian or Quaker meetings because these are not too religious in the traditional sense. Others join local museums, art groups, school groups, political groups or other community organizations. And the CFI is growing slowly, and building community centers around the country. They are in the process of raising money in NYC to buy a building, which is a very laudable goal. (If expensive!)

So I think that what is important in religion can either be dispensed with or replicated in non-religious contexts. Atheist religion is unnecessary.

What about symbols as a traditional aspect? I was curious about one for Humanists and came across the “Happy Humanist” symbol.  I’m also curious about Stoicism. I don’t think there’s an “official” symbol but at DT Strain’s Philosophy blog he created one.

I wear a pendant of my favorite baseball team’s logo around my neck all the time. Someone actually thought it was some sort of religious symbol.  (Even essayist Louis Phillips calls baseball “our true religion”. ) But, I digress.

Do Atheist wear some kind of symbol?

 Signature 

Fiction is fun, but facts are fundamental.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 November 2006 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

Do Atheist wear some kind of symbol?

I like the Darwin Fish . I am not sure if I would actually put it on my car, but I think it’s rather clever.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2006 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  48
Joined  2006-07-07

I like the Darwin Fish.

And of course the answer to that which is the xoixay fish fish eating the darwin fish.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2006 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  241
Joined  2006-07-17

Re: Atheism Religion ?

[quote author=“faithfreedom”]Can an atheist have his own religion ? Is it necessary to have one ?

My 2c:

Religion served human society more than just a belief. It defines central ideology, morality, a set of ritual, a place to have social activities ....

Atheism religion can be established to define a set of rituals, ceremonies, and other rationalized activities ...

They tried this, it was called Communism….

 Signature 

http://www.rationalrevolution.net

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2006 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

We really have to recognize differences in word categories.

Theologies -  Christianity, Judiasm, Hinduism, Islam, etc.

Political systems -  democracy, republic, oligarchy, dictatorship, monarchy, etc.

Economic systems -  communism, socialism, capitalism, etc.

Communism as it functioned in a few Catholic convents in the 17th century was definitely NOT atheistic.  The Soviet system was set up to be both communist and atheist.  However, one does not connote the other.  The problem is that most of us have been brainwashed by phrases like “Godless Communism” into seeing communism and atheism as synonymous from the excesses that unfettered capitalism can have.

While we like to consider the United States a democracy, we are really a republic since we choose representatives to vote for us rather than all voting on every issue.  And, separately, we are a capitalistic society with some minor socialistic controls to protect the citizens.

Occam

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1