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Definition of Atheist
Posted: 31 August 2013 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 316 ]
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In the news last week. It shows what the Department of Justice and the IRS think the word “Atheist” mean.


Government lawyers say that atheist leaders can be ministers, too, since atheism can function as a religion.

In a brief, the Justice Department argued leaders of an atheist group may qualify for an exemption. Buddhism or Taosim don’t include a belief in God and are considered religions, the government’s lawyers argued, so why not atheism?

The Internal Revenue Service does require, among other things, that a “minister” be seen as a spiritual leader and provide services for a religious organization.

Belief in a deity is not required.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/20/atheist-religion-tax-breaks/2678367/

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Posted: 01 September 2013 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 317 ]
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Lausten - 07 August 2013 02:53 PM

Maintainingg that a belief needs no objective evidence IS injecting a supernatural concept because it defies logic and cannot be supported empirically.

faith
/fāTH/
Noun

1.  Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
2.  Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

Two definitions. I can use the first one with no implication that I am implying anything about the second one. If you wait for empirical data to act on everything, your actions will be severely limited.

That final observation, above, is a critical point for secularists and skeptics to get.

If we don’t have Faith in people, as much as they may disappoint us, we are screwed. For example, you may have been burned in a relationship but if you let that disappointment keep you from forming new relationships, you’ll be lonely and isolated, and you’ll miss many opportunities that come your way but you won’t see them.

If scientists didn’t have Faith that new discoveries were possible, we would have no scientific research. Scientists often do research without a shred of evidence to support any claim that success will follow.

When all seems lost, many people give up. The people who succeed are the ones who plow forward despite the evidence that they won’t succeed.

Acting with this kind of Faith is not hare-brained or anti-intellectual or supernaturalistic or nonsensical. Exactly the opposite, it comes from seeing more layers in the contours of life.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 01 September 2013 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 318 ]
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MikeYohe - 31 August 2013 08:34 PM

In the news last week. It shows what the Department of Justice and the IRS think the word “Atheist” mean.


Government lawyers say that atheist leaders can be ministers, too, since atheism can function as a religion.

In a brief, the Justice Department argued leaders of an atheist group may qualify for an exemption. Buddhism or Taosim don’t include a belief in God and are considered religions, the government’s lawyers argued, so why not atheism?

The Internal Revenue Service does require, among other things, that a “minister” be seen as a spiritual leader and provide services for a religious organization.

Belief in a deity is not required.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/20/atheist-religion-tax-breaks/2678367/

Apparently belief in the “spiritual” is, however.

Lois

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Posted: 01 September 2013 10:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 319 ]
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Lois - 01 September 2013 03:41 PM

Apparently belief in the “spiritual” is, however.

Where do you read that?

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GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

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Posted: 02 September 2013 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 320 ]
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GdB - 01 September 2013 10:43 PM
Lois - 01 September 2013 03:41 PM

Apparently belief in the “spiritual” is, however.

Where do you read that?

“The Internal Revenue Service does require, among other things, that a “minister” be seen as a spiritual leader and provide services for a religious organization.”

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Posted: 02 September 2013 12:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 321 ]
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Lois - 02 September 2013 11:48 AM
GdB - 01 September 2013 10:43 PM
Lois - 01 September 2013 03:41 PM

Apparently belief in the “spiritual” is, however.

Where do you read that?

“The Internal Revenue Service does require, among other things, that a “minister” be seen as a spiritual leader and provide services for a religious organization.”

Lois, first why did you put the word “the” in front of spiritual?  As in “apparently belief in the spiritual is.”
Spiritual in that sentence was used as an adjective. 
Next, spiritual leader can be interpreted many ways.
In fact cheerleaders are spiritual leaders.
Leaders is right in the name, and the whole purpose of a cheerleader is to raise the school spirit or the “spirits” of the Home Team.
Thus-spiritual leaders.
Those atheists in the news article are ridiculous.  They should take the tax-breaks.
After all their insistence that they aren’t “ministers” or “clergy” while true, is taking on a Holier than thou type attitude. Seriously!
If violation of the separation clause is going to take place, like it always has, then atheist orgs should just jump in and get their tax breaks too.
Maybe that will lead to a closer examination of the whole process in the first place. If not, at least the atheists can save a few bucks.
The Federal Court said belief in a deity is NOT required.  What else do you want?

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Posted: 03 September 2013 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 322 ]
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Lois - 02 September 2013 11:48 AM
GdB - 01 September 2013 10:43 PM
Lois - 01 September 2013 03:41 PM

Apparently belief in the “spiritual” is, however.

Where do you read that?

“The Internal Revenue Service does require, among other things, that a “minister” be seen as a spiritual leader and provide services for a religious organization.”

Tja… That is a perfect example of you chiming in on a word which is meant differently. You react as a bull on the red cloth on what you think that ‘spiritual’ means, and not what the author of that sentence meant with it. Reading it in context makes perfectly clear what the author wants to say.

VYAZMA is right. (At least in his first three sentences…)

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Posted: 03 September 2013 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 323 ]
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My thinking.
This is a very dangerous ruling by the IRS and Justice Department in the form of commercializing religion.
Think about Santa Clause for example. Maybe Santa could be seen as a spiritual leader of the children, like a minister he tells them to be good. There are many Santa books written giving examples of how to be good. If so then the department stores are promoting a religion at Christmas time.

Anyway, the real point I wanted to make here was there is this group of Atheists going after the churches in the tax courts. And can you imagine their surprise at the ruling. Just trying to make my point that Atheist are having a hard time viewing the word “Atheists” in the same context or views as the rest of the world. And I bet most of the Atheists here are thinking the brief ruling is all screwed up.

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Posted: 03 September 2013 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 324 ]
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VYAZMA - 02 September 2013 12:19 PM
Lois - 02 September 2013 11:48 AM
GdB - 01 September 2013 10:43 PM
Lois - 01 September 2013 03:41 PM

Apparently belief in the “spiritual” is, however.

Where do you read that?

“The Internal Revenue Service does require, among other things, that a “minister” be seen as a spiritual leader and provide services for a religious organization.”

Lois, first why did you put the word “the” in front of spiritual?  As in “apparently belief in the spiritual is.”
Spiritual in that sentence was used as an adjective. 
Next, spiritual leader can be interpreted many ways.
In fact cheerleaders are spiritual leaders.
Leaders is right in the name, and the whole purpose of a cheerleader is to raise the school spirit or the “spirits” of the Home Team.
Thus-spiritual leaders.
Those atheists in the news article are ridiculous.  They should take the tax-breaks.
After all their insistence that they aren’t “ministers” or “clergy” while true, is taking on a Holier than thou type attitude. Seriously!
If violation of the separation clause is going to take place, like it always has, then atheist orgs should just jump in and get their tax breaks too.
Maybe that will lead to a closer examination of the whole process in the first place. If not, at least the atheists can save a few bucks.
The Federal Court said belief in a deity is NOT required.  What else do you want?


I want something that can’t be so easily misinterpreted.

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Posted: 03 September 2013 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 325 ]
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Lois-I want something that can’t be so easily misinterpreted.

Well for example, you’ll never have to worry because you most likely won’t use the word spiritual.
And even though I almost never use the word either, I don’t care if it gets contextually misinterpreted because I don’t care if people think I might be religious.
In fact after years of watching the shock on lot’s of people’s faces after discovering that I don’t believe in any gods and I know we rot in the ground after death,
I’ve realized that most people: strangers and loose acquaintances, most likely think that you and I are religious.  Just by default. And association.

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Posted: 03 September 2013 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 326 ]
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Does the IRS define the term?

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 03 September 2013 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 327 ]
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PLaClair - 03 September 2013 02:21 PM

Does the IRS define the term?

No. I doubt it.  The Federal Court defined “church and minister” loosely I’m sure.
I haven’t read the briefs, but apparently from the USA Today article they determined that the church didn’t need to worship a deity either.
Because buddhists or taoists don’t worship deities.  So I’m assuming that buddhist temples for example must get tax exemptions.

None of this matters anyways PlaClair.  On a few levels…
1. The IRS thing was a sidebar used to try and nail down semantics.
2. That court ruling can be challenged in the future and be taken in any direction.
3. The ironic thing was that the atheists didn’t want the tax exemption, because they didn’t want to be labeled as a church.
Because then they would loose the semantical argument that was raised in No.1 above here.

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Posted: 03 September 2013 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 328 ]
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IMO, the underlying principle the court used is the non-profit status of an registered organization which is not engaged in commerce.

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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

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Posted: 03 September 2013 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 329 ]
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Write4U - 03 September 2013 03:23 PM

IMO, the underlying principle the court used is the non-profit status of an registered organization which is not engaged in commerce.

Maybe.  There’s not much we can gather from a USA Today blurb.

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Posted: 03 September 2013 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 330 ]
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It would be unusual for a governmental body such as the IRS, and the tax courts, to make a tax-relevant category contingent on something like spiritual leadership without in some fashion defining the term.

This memorandum suggests that a minister is a spiritual leader if his congregation so considers him. From what I can glean from this, the courts that have passed on the question do not seem to have been considering secular organizations but instead were wrestling with the parameters of spiritual leadership within theistic churches. There’s not much meat on these bones. http://www.norcal.org/webfiles/Memo #12 - Who Is a Minister for Tax Purposes.pdf

However, you may be right. This discussion topic is the third item to appear on a Google search of “IRS definition spiritual leader.”

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