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Author Topic: Is there a religion for atheists?  (Read 4083 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 30, 2012, 09:22:57 AM »

Quote
Alain de Botton, probably the closest thing Britain has to a celebrity philosopher, has a Big Idea. Religion, he asserts, isn't "true", but its lack of truth is the least interesting thing about it. Instead of indulging in the dogmatic anti-theism associated with the likes of Richard Dawkins or the late Christopher Hitchens, why shouldn't atheists just "enjoy the best bits", as the publicity for his new book Religion For Atheists has it?

Many of us love Christmas carols, after all. Bach's cantatas are more profound and moving than anything written in the cause of atheism. Think of all those wonderful cathedrals, mosques and temples. Religion's power to transport the human spirit, to offer consolation and hope, to create a sense of belonging and inspire ethical conduct is undeniable even if you don't subscribe to the doctrines of a particular belief system. So let's work out precisely what gives religions their strength, "steal" it, bottle it and create a kind of transcendent secular humanism that will speak to people as deeply as religion does. Only without all that embarrassing dogma, not to mention the baggage of misogyny, homophobia, parochialism and intolerance with which most bona fide religions tend to come lumbered.

Atheists have been enjoying the cultural productions stemming from the religions for centuries. That's nothing new.
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 03:20:46 PM »

As we've been discussing somewhat in the philosophy thread, there is already a movement of naturalists/materialists who also consider themselves religious or spiritual. There are similarly titled books as well, for example...



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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 03:27:54 PM »

As we've been discussing somewhat in the philosophy thread, there is already a movement of naturalists/materialists who also consider themselves religious or spiritual. There are similarly titled books as well, for example...




Is he related to Auguste Comte?
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 03:36:19 PM »

yes there is, its called naturalistic pantheism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalistic_pantheism

characteristics of such:


-Reverence, awe, wonder and a feeling of belonging to Nature and the wider Universe.
-Respect and active care for the rights of all humans and other living beings.
-Celebration of our lives in our bodies on this beautiful earth as a joy and a privilege.
-Realism - acceptance that the external world exists independently of human consciousness or perception.
-Strong naturalism - without belief in supernatural realms, afterlives, beings or forces.
-Respect for reason, evidence and the scientific method as our best ways of understanding nature and the   Universe.
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 03:38:25 PM »

Or religious naturalism...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_naturalism

As for Compte, the all-knowing wiki does not know...
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 03:56:39 PM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2012, 06:32:15 PM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.
Some atheists practice Christianity, too. Altizer's The Gospel of Christian Atheism justifies its argument by claiming it as loyalty to Christ: "The first duty of the Christian theologian is loyalty to Christ, and he must strive to open his thinking to the universal presence of Christ, to the presence of Christ in the totality of human experience."
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2012, 06:41:01 PM »

So achieve religion's depth by stealing the externals and trappings without the dogma. Even though the depth comes from the dogma itself and the externals are secondary. Okay...
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2012, 07:10:57 PM »

So achieve religion's depth by stealing the externals and trappings without the dogma. Even though the depth comes from the dogma itself and the externals are secondary. Okay...

I think, at least in the case of Stephen Batchelor, it's more about achieving the depths of a tradition without getting caught up in externals and the trappings of dogma. Not familiar with Altizer, though.
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2012, 07:15:03 PM »

So achieve religion's depth by stealing the externals and trappings without the dogma. Even though the depth comes from the dogma itself and the externals are secondary. Okay...

I think, at least in the case of Stephen Batchelor, it's more like achieving the depths of a tradition without getting caught up in externals and the trappings of dogma.

Idk who that is, but my comment was directed at the atheist quoted in the OP, who said:

Quote
Many of us love Christmas carols, after all. Bach's cantatas are more profound and moving than anything written in the cause of atheism. Think of all those wonderful cathedrals, mosques and temples.
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2012, 07:17:13 PM »

So achieve religion's depth by stealing the externals and trappings without the dogma. Even though the depth comes from the dogma itself and the externals are secondary. Okay...

I think, at least in the case of Stephen Batchelor, it's more like achieving the depths of a tradition without getting caught up in externals and the trappings of dogma.

Idk who that is, but my comment was directed at the atheist quoted in the OP, who said:

Quote
Many of us love Christmas carols, after all. Bach's cantatas are more profound and moving than anything written in the cause of atheism. Think of all those wonderful cathedrals, mosques and temples.

Ahhhh... I see.  Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2012, 07:18:05 PM »

To the title, (even if this doesn't directly relate to the current discussion) Atheism is a religion...
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2012, 07:21:24 PM »

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Many of us love Christmas carols, after all. Bach's cantatas are more profound and moving than anything written in the cause of atheism.
The only thing I've read that comes close is Marx's "opiate of the masses" spiel.
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2012, 07:44:21 PM »

I've heard the term "Christian Atheist" but I don't buy it. To me it would make more sense to call oneself secular humanist at that point.

You know with these atheists dabbling in different types of spirituality it kind of reinforces the fact that there is something innate in all of us, something spiritual, something that cannot be defined by human observation or experimentation.

It's kind of funny because trying to organize atheists together is practically impossible. A good friend of mine went to the Center of Inquiry where Sam Harris was speaking and was telling me how atheists almost came to blows with one another because of disagreements. There is so much infighting in the atheist camp that it thwarts any sort of advancement atheism can make in society. It doesn't help when most atheists have worldviews that are inconsistent and self-refuting.

EDIT: What's with the obsession with atheism lately? Lotsa threads on it...
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2012, 07:52:02 PM »

So achieve religion's depth by stealing the externals and trappings without the dogma. Even though the depth comes from the dogma itself and the externals are secondary. Okay...

Yet again, William cuts through the crap.

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« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2012, 07:54:30 PM »

It doesn't help when most atheists have worldviews that are inconsistent and self-refuting.

So true, but sadly irrelevant to the influence of atheism on mainstream culture in the Anglosphere.

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that Papist is right in his conviction that atheism is simply the product of poor thinking.
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« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2012, 07:55:38 PM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.
Some atheists practice Christianity, too. Altizer's The Gospel of Christian Atheism justifies its argument by claiming it as loyalty to Christ: "The first duty of the Christian theologian is loyalty to Christ, and he must strive to open his thinking to the universal presence of Christ, to the presence of Christ in the totality of human experience."

Please refer this man to CS Lewis's classic three-option choice: Christ was either (1) God in the flesh, (2) a liar, or (3) a madman.
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« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2012, 07:59:32 PM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.

It is true that one can be both an atheist and a Buddhist, but one certainly cannot be both a materialist/empiricist and a Buddhist -- a fact so many white people need to wake up to.
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« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2012, 08:14:24 PM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.
Some atheists practice Christianity, too. Altizer's The Gospel of Christian Atheism justifies its argument by claiming it as loyalty to Christ: "The first duty of the Christian theologian is loyalty to Christ, and he must strive to open his thinking to the universal presence of Christ, to the presence of Christ in the totality of human experience."

Please refer this man to CS Lewis's classic three-option choice: Christ was either (1) God in the flesh, (2) a liar, or (3) a madman.

Why? are you trying to make him laugh?  Grin
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« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2012, 08:42:19 PM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.

It is true that one can be both an atheist and a Buddhist, but one certainly cannot be both a materialist/empiricist and a Buddhist -- a fact so many white people need to wake up to.
One can't be an atheist and a Buddhist. One of the Buddha's titles was "teacher of gods and men".

But I get your point. Cool
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« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2012, 08:56:54 PM »

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that Papist is right in his conviction that atheism is simply the product of poor thinking.
It really is. The other problem to is atheists don't necessarily subscribe to their worldview entirely or follow it's conclusions.
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« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2012, 09:34:19 PM »

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that Papist is right in his conviction that atheism is simply the product of poor thinking.

I think both sides could fall into this category at times...  police
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« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2012, 09:37:20 PM »

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that Papist is right in his conviction that atheism is simply the product of poor thinking.

I think both sides could fall into this category at times...  police
You clearly haven't read enough of pasadi67's posts then
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« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2012, 09:45:38 PM »

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that Papist is right in his conviction that atheism is simply the product of poor thinking.

I think both sides could fall into this category at times...  police
You clearly haven't read enough of pasadi67's posts then

I do not speak of that god among men now that the pasadi has moved on to better things!
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« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2012, 09:49:05 PM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.

It is true that one can be both an atheist and a Buddhist, but one certainly cannot be both a materialist/empiricist and a Buddhist -- a fact so many white people need to wake up to.
One can't be an atheist and a Buddhist. One of the Buddha's titles was "teacher of gods and men".

But I get your point. Cool

Sure one can! A Theravada Buddhist, at least, can and should be an atheist in regards to belief in a sovereign creator God, which is seen as detrimental to the Buddhist path (wrong view).

"From a study of the discourses of the Buddha preserved in the Pali canon, it will be seen that the idea of a personal deity, a creator god conceived to be eternal and omnipotent, is incompatible with the Buddha's teachings. On the other hand, conceptions of an impersonal godhead of any description, such as world-soul, etc., are excluded by the Buddha's teachings on Anatta, non-self or unsubstantiality.

In Buddhist literature, the belief in a creator god (issara-nimmana-vada) is frequently mentioned and rejected, along with other causes wrongly adduced to explain the origin of the world; as, for instance, world-soul, time, nature, etc. God-belief, however, is placed in the same category as those morally destructive wrong views which deny the kammic results of action, assume a fortuitous origin of man and nature, or teach absolute determinism. These views are said to be altogether pernicious, having definite bad results due to their effect on ethical conduct."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/godidea.html

But I guess there are those negligible "lesser gods" and devas that the Buddha acknowledged, so you do have a point...
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« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2012, 09:51:40 PM »

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that Papist is right in his conviction that atheism is simply the product of poor thinking.

I think both sides could fall into this category at times...  police
You clearly haven't read enough of pasadi67's posts then

I do not speak of that god among men now that the pasadi has moved on to better things!
He's bringing back the concorde of Orthodoxy and the Goodyear Blimp.
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« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2012, 10:02:00 PM »

So achieve religion's depth by stealing the externals and trappings without the dogma. Even though the depth comes from the dogma itself and the externals are secondary. Okay...

Yet again, William cuts through the crap.

I've cut through crap before?  Tongue
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« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2012, 12:04:04 AM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.

This is frankly fake Buddhism IMO. Basically pop psychotherapy with an exotic outer wrapping. Without karma and rebirth the Buddha-dharma pretty much falls apart.
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« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2012, 12:30:34 AM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.

This is frankly fake Buddhism IMO. Basically pop psychotherapy with an exotic outer wrapping. Without karma and rebirth the Buddha-dharma pretty much falls apart.

Stephen Batchelor can hardly be accused of promoting mere pop psychology. He spent several years as a monk in both Tibet and Korea, studying under revered masters, and has been a Buddhist and Pali scholar for many more. In both the above-mentioned book and Buddhism Without Beliefs, he makes a pretty good case for practical Buddhism that does not require one to have absolute belief in karma (beyond cause and effect in this life), rebirth, and superstitious beliefs. He has his detractors, especially among the "orthodox" Buddhist crowd, but many consider his Buddhism to be perfectly authentic (if agnostic on the more speculative points).
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« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2012, 12:42:51 AM »

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that Papist is right in his conviction that atheism is simply the product of poor thinking.

I think both sides could fall into this category at times...  police

Indeed, but that criticism of the religious is so often made that it has become rather trite. Papist's maxim is somewhat awesome in that it is not often repeated.
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« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2012, 02:52:17 AM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.

Asteriktos doesn't believe this. I told him I personally ran into atheists like this as well (on myspace a long long time ago). There are also alot of atheists who are materialistic satanists as well as a number of atheists who are into a number of western european neo-paganism.
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« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2012, 08:15:45 AM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.

This is frankly fake Buddhism IMO. Basically pop psychotherapy with an exotic outer wrapping. Without karma and rebirth the Buddha-dharma pretty much falls apart.

Stephen Batchelor can hardly be accused of promoting mere pop psychology. He spent several years as a monk in both Tibet and Korea, studying under revered masters, and has been a Buddhist and Pali scholar for many more. In both the above-mentioned book and Buddhism Without Beliefs, he makes a pretty good case for practical Buddhism that does not require one to have absolute belief in karma (beyond cause and effect in this life), rebirth, and superstitious beliefs. He has his detractors, especially among the "orthodox" Buddhist crowd, but many consider his Buddhism to be perfectly authentic (if agnostic on the more speculative points).

I have read the book and his arguments are specious. It doesn't matter how many years he spent as a monk. There are plenty of other monks, such as the renowned scholar Bhikkhu Bodhi who would agree, "this is not Buddhism." Ironically throughout the book he quotes Tsongkhapa, Nagarjuna, etc.- all men who believed the stuff he is attempting to get rid of. He attempts to argue that karma, rebirth, etc. are just cultural baggage which can be separated from the core teachings of Buddhism. If you actually read the sutras, it becomes immediately clear how important these beliefs are and how critical they are to even the most basic Buddhist teachings. There are no Four Noble Truths without karma and rebirth (though I am aware of the contorted attempt to recast them without karma and rebirth.) Stephen Batchelor has not rid himself of "superstitious beliefs"- his own superstitious faith in materialism is evident throughout his work.
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« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2012, 10:22:37 AM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.

This is frankly fake Buddhism IMO. Basically pop psychotherapy with an exotic outer wrapping. Without karma and rebirth the Buddha-dharma pretty much falls apart.

Stephen Batchelor can hardly be accused of promoting mere pop psychology. He spent several years as a monk in both Tibet and Korea, studying under revered masters, and has been a Buddhist and Pali scholar for many more. In both the above-mentioned book and Buddhism Without Beliefs, he makes a pretty good case for practical Buddhism that does not require one to have absolute belief in karma (beyond cause and effect in this life), rebirth, and superstitious beliefs. He has his detractors, especially among the "orthodox" Buddhist crowd, but many consider his Buddhism to be perfectly authentic (if agnostic on the more speculative points).

I have read the book and his arguments are specious. It doesn't matter how many years he spent as a monk. There are plenty of other monks, such as the renowned scholar Bhikkhu Bodhi who would agree, "this is not Buddhism." Ironically throughout the book he quotes Tsongkhapa, Nagarjuna, etc.- all men who believed the stuff he is attempting to get rid of. He attempts to argue that karma, rebirth, etc. are just cultural baggage which can be separated from the core teachings of Buddhism. If you actually read the sutras, it becomes immediately clear how important these beliefs are and how critical they are to even the most basic Buddhist teachings. There are no Four Noble Truths without karma and rebirth (though I am aware of the contorted attempt to recast them without karma and rebirth.) Stephen Batchelor has not rid himself of "superstitious beliefs"- his own superstitious faith in materialism is evident throughout his work.

Fair enough. And sorry for being presumptuous Smiley. IMO, what he is doing with the buddha-dhamma is exactly what other cultures have done: taken it and adapted it to better fit the culture and the times. From my understanding, the 4NT do not fall apart without a belief in rebirth. They stand alone (although in any traditional form of Buddhism, Right View of the 8FP would require belief in rebirth, I suppose). And in Batchelor's defense, his Buddhism is perhaps no less rigorous or serious than, say, Bhikkhu Bodhi's. His is just "entirely concerned with the demands of this age" (p.240 Confessions). In my opinion, anyone who can sit and watch the movements of his mind for days on end is engaging in something much deeper than popular psychology. Regarding his life-long practice of Buddhism, on the same page he writes: "And if in the end there does turn out to be a heaven or nirvana somewhere else, I can see no better way to prepare for it."

But your opinion is held by many. The countless pages of discussion surrounding his "secular Buddhism" on Buddhist internet forums attest to the fact that people are divided on this issue. I guess it depends what one thinks he or she needs in order to cross the river of suffering on the raft of the buddha-dhamma, or on who is entitled to call him or herself a Buddhist. Many people believe a skeptical or agnostic expression of the buddha-dhamma is just as valid as any other, particularly if it is lived out in practice (e.g. developing wisdom, mindfulness, and compassion, etc.). The fruits of the practice are still real.

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« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2012, 10:39:18 AM »

Buddhism has adapted to many different cultures but its doctrinal core has remained the same. The concepts of karma and rebirth were pretty much as foreign in China (and other East Asian countries) as they are to the West. Nevertheless the Chinese Buddhists accepted these ideas- they didn't toss them aside as Indian cultural baggage.

The Four Noble Truths have to be seriously re-worked without karma- actually they would mean something different. All the discussion on suffering, cause of suffering, and end of suffering relies on karma. The sutras go on and on about the different kinds of karma and the different kinds of rebirth they entail, which such exhaustive, flat-footed detail that a metaphorical interpretation is out of the question.

Belief determines practice. Most Buddhists do not just meditate on their breathing- there is a plethora of devotional practices in Buddhism which assume supernatural beliefs. Vajrayana Buddhism is especially dependent on these beliefs- without them, all the stuff about guru devotion, deity meditation, torma offerings, reincarnate lamas- it all falls apart. If Batchelor is right then all the great Buddhist teachers wasted vast amounts of precious time. Batchelor must be the real Buddha for our age.
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« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2012, 10:43:27 AM »

Buddhism has adapted to many different cultures but its doctrinal core has remained the same. The concepts of karma and rebirth were pretty much as foreign in China (and other East Asian countries) as they are to the West. Nevertheless the Chinese Buddhists accepted these ideas- they didn't toss them aside as Indian cultural baggage.

The Four Noble Truths have to be seriously re-worked without karma- actually they would mean something different. All the discussion on suffering, cause of suffering, and end of suffering relies on karma. The sutras go on and on about the different kinds of karma and the different kinds of rebirth they entail, which such exhaustive, flat-footed detail that a metaphorical interpretation is out of the question.

Belief determines practice. Most Buddhists do not just meditate on their breathing- there is a plethora of devotional practices in Buddhism which assume supernatural beliefs. Vajrayana Buddhism is especially dependent on these beliefs- without them, all the stuff about guru devotion, deity meditation, torma offerings, reincarnate lamas- it all falls apart. If Batchelor is right then all the great Buddhist teachers wasted vast amounts of precious time. Batchelor must be the real Buddha for our age.

I see it much differently than you do. If Batchelor is the real "Buddha of our age", than he is one among very many people who practice Buddhism without holding to supernatural belief.

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« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2012, 10:46:20 AM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.

Asteriktos doesn't believe this. I told him I personally ran into atheists like this as well (on myspace a long long time ago). There are also alot of atheists who are materialistic satanists as well as a number of atheists who are into a number of western european neo-paganism.

Indeed, the Church of Satan is basically a kind of philosophical narcissism/materialism/atheism wearing horns.
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« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2012, 10:57:38 AM »

Buddhism has adapted to many different cultures but its doctrinal core has remained the same. The concepts of karma and rebirth were pretty much as foreign in China (and other East Asian countries) as they are to the West. Nevertheless the Chinese Buddhists accepted these ideas- they didn't toss them aside as Indian cultural baggage.

The Four Noble Truths have to be seriously re-worked without karma- actually they would mean something different. All the discussion on suffering, cause of suffering, and end of suffering relies on karma. The sutras go on and on about the different kinds of karma and the different kinds of rebirth they entail, which such exhaustive, flat-footed detail that a metaphorical interpretation is out of the question.

Belief determines practice. Most Buddhists do not just meditate on their breathing- there is a plethora of devotional practices in Buddhism which assume supernatural beliefs. Vajrayana Buddhism is especially dependent on these beliefs- without them, all the stuff about guru devotion, deity meditation, torma offerings, reincarnate lamas- it all falls apart. If Batchelor is right then all the great Buddhist teachers wasted vast amounts of precious time. Batchelor must be the real Buddha for our age.

I see it much differently than you do. If Batchelor is the real "Buddha of our age", than he is one among very many people who practice Buddhism without holding to supernatural belief.

Buddhism rejects materialism. Once you assume materialism you are not practicing Buddhism but some other philosophy. A key teaching of Buddhism is that the external world itself is a product of mind.

As for "very many", well, these views float mainly around Western self-described Buddhists, who are already a very small part of the population. Around the world Buddhists maintain belief in karma and rebirth.
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« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2012, 10:58:50 AM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.

Asteriktos doesn't believe this. I told him I personally ran into atheists like this as well (on myspace a long long time ago). There are also alot of atheists who are materialistic satanists as well as a number of atheists who are into a number of western european neo-paganism.

Indeed, the Church of Satan is basically a kind of philosophical narcissism/materialism/atheism wearing horns.

As opposed to narcissism/materialism/atheism in lotus posture  Wink
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« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2012, 11:29:12 AM »

Buddhism has adapted to many different cultures but its doctrinal core has remained the same. The concepts of karma and rebirth were pretty much as foreign in China (and other East Asian countries) as they are to the West. Nevertheless the Chinese Buddhists accepted these ideas- they didn't toss them aside as Indian cultural baggage.

The Four Noble Truths have to be seriously re-worked without karma- actually they would mean something different. All the discussion on suffering, cause of suffering, and end of suffering relies on karma. The sutras go on and on about the different kinds of karma and the different kinds of rebirth they entail, which such exhaustive, flat-footed detail that a metaphorical interpretation is out of the question.

Belief determines practice. Most Buddhists do not just meditate on their breathing- there is a plethora of devotional practices in Buddhism which assume supernatural beliefs. Vajrayana Buddhism is especially dependent on these beliefs- without them, all the stuff about guru devotion, deity meditation, torma offerings, reincarnate lamas- it all falls apart. If Batchelor is right then all the great Buddhist teachers wasted vast amounts of precious time. Batchelor must be the real Buddha for our age.

I see it much differently than you do. If Batchelor is the real "Buddha of our age", than he is one among very many people who practice Buddhism without holding to supernatural belief.

Buddhism rejects materialism. Once you assume materialism you are not practicing Buddhism but some other philosophy. A key teaching of Buddhism is that the external world itself is a product of mind.

As for "very many", well, these views float mainly around Western self-described Buddhists, who are already a very small part of the population. Around the world Buddhists maintain belief in karma and rebirth.

Admittedly, Batchelor probably goes a bit far in trying to strip the Buddha from tradition and place him in a western mold.

But in What the Buddhist Taught (page 11) author Walpola Rahula writes that after the Buddha explained kamma to his disciples, he followed with: "O bhikkhus, even if this view, which is so pure and so clear, if you cling to it, if you fondle it, if you treasure it, if you are attached to it, then you do not understand that the teaching is similar to a raft, which is for crossing over, and not for getting hold of." The belief that the Buddha of the Pali suttas is endorsing is a kind of working hypothesis: "Come and see." He encourages doubt, uncertainty, and skepticism regarding the teachings of traditions and the dogmas of "holy men" (in the Kalama Sutta, for instance) and teaches one how to investigate for oneself. Kamma is observable in the here and now, too. Thoughts and actions have repercussions, and one can learn to see this acutely through Buddhist practice without necessarily believing that it will ripple into another life in the future.

I hardly think that rebirth, for instance, must be blindly accepted for one to begin to practice - even seriously practice - Buddhism. Therefore, regarding the OP, I cannot see why an atheist can't call himself a Buddhist and practice Buddhism.

Quote
As for "very many", well, these views float mainly around Western self-described Buddhists, who are already a very small part of the population.

I have spent nearly as much time on Buddhist discussion forums as on here, and I suspect that the portion of the population who approach Buddhism in this way is bigger than you think. Sure, many of them are westerners, and that is because, as I mentioned above, westerners are filtering their understanding of Buddhism through their own understanding. If they seriouisly set out on the path, who knows what they'll discover through practice? And you don't have to call them "Buddhists" if it makes you feel better.  Wink  Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2012, 11:36:57 AM »

Oops, I'm supposed to be looking for a job!

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As opposed to narcissism/materialism/atheism in lotus posture 

 laugh
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« Reply #40 on: January 31, 2012, 01:59:23 PM »

A key teaching of Buddhism is that the external world itself is a product of mind.
Don't let a Theravadan hear you say that. Grin
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« Reply #41 on: January 31, 2012, 02:45:31 PM »

I know several atheists who practice Buddhism, particularly of the Theravada variety. Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, promotes a kind of purely pragmatic, secular Buddhism for people of a more skeptical or atheistic bent.

Asteriktos doesn't believe this.

I don't?  Huh Cool
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« Reply #42 on: February 01, 2012, 02:46:44 AM »

There already is. It is called Naturalism/Materialism.
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« Reply #43 on: February 01, 2012, 08:31:40 AM »

Whether one "blindly" accepts it or not, Buddhism simply doesn't make sense without karma and rebirth.

Re: The Kalama Sutta, Bhikkhu Bodhi does a good job of putting it in its proper context: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bps-essay_09.html
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« Reply #44 on: February 01, 2012, 09:04:33 AM »

Whether one "blindly" accepts it or not, Buddhism simply doesn't make sense without karma and rebirth.

Re: The Kalama Sutta, Bhikkhu Bodhi does a good job of putting it in its proper context: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bps-essay_09.html

We could do this for a very long time! In fact, I get the feeling we've been down this road before...
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« Reply #45 on: February 01, 2012, 01:41:51 PM »

Whether one "blindly" accepts it or not, Buddhism simply doesn't make sense without karma and rebirth.

Re: The Kalama Sutta, Bhikkhu Bodhi does a good job of putting it in its proper context: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bps-essay_09.html
One could believe in these things as intrinsic aspects of reality rather than anything divinely instituted. You can be a Buddhist and an atheist, just not a naturalist.
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« Reply #46 on: February 20, 2012, 02:54:02 AM »

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The decline of religion in the West has brought a decline in community spirit. Could the secular world draw useful lessons from religious life? Alain de Botton offers new ways to find shared meaning.
....
Religion serves two central needs that secular society has not been able to meet with any particular skill: first, the need to live together in harmonious communities, despite our deeply-rooted selfish and violent impulses; second, the need to cope with the pain that arises from professional failure, troubled relationships, the death of loved ones and our own decay and demise.

Religions are a repository of occasionally ingenious concepts for trying to assuage some of the most persistent and unattended ills of secular life. They merit our attention for their sheer conceptual ambition and for changing the world in a way that few secular institutions ever have. They have managed to combine theories about ethics and metaphysics with practical involvement in education, fashion, politics, travel, hostelry, initiation ceremonies, publishing, art and architecture—a range of interests whose scope puts to shame the achievements of even the greatest secular movements and innovators.
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« Reply #47 on: February 20, 2012, 02:08:12 PM »

I saw this:

Alain de Botton

And then I could see nothing but the interior of my orbit for the next 20 minutes.
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« Reply #48 on: February 20, 2012, 02:49:22 PM »

the atheists had a meeting place nearby for a while.  the other day I noticed their sign was painted over.

maybe having a meeting place was too close to acknowledging they are a religion.
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« Reply #49 on: March 02, 2012, 02:51:46 PM »

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In a world beset by fundamentalists of believing and secular varieties, it must be possible to balance a rejection of religious faith with a selective reverence for religious rituals and concepts. The error of modern atheism has been to overlook how many sides of the faiths remain relevant even after their central tenets have been dismissed. Once we cease to feel that we must either prostrate ourselves before them or denigrate them, we are free to discover religions as a repository of occasionally ingenious concepts with which we can try to assuage a few of the most persistent and unattended ills of secular life.

Here are five:

[#1]Education
Religions are supremely effective at education, because they know that we forget everything. They are based around rehearsal, repetition, oratory and calendars. They create appointments for us to re-encounter the most significant ideas. Every day has a spiritual agenda. In the secular world, we think you can send someone to school or university for a few years and it will then stick with you for forty years. It won't. Our minds are like sieves, yet we unfairly associate repetition with being stifled. The Jewish or Catholic calendars are masterpieces of synchronisation: every day brings us back round to some important idea. You might need to repeat important truths 4 or 8 times a day....
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« Reply #50 on: March 02, 2012, 03:46:06 PM »

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« Reply #51 on: March 02, 2012, 03:49:24 PM »

Participating in these rituals is rather silly, whether you believe the dogma behind them or not. But anything that helps slowly bring people away from religion and faith and moves them towards secularism and reason is a step in the right direction for our society. No one is forcing this path upon people, but it's good that we're making it as easy as possible to follow.
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« Reply #52 on: March 02, 2012, 05:31:33 PM »

Participating in these rituals is rather silly, whether you believe the dogma behind them or not. But anything that helps slowly bring people away from religion and faith and moves them towards secularism and reason is a step in the right direction for our society. No one is forcing this path upon people, but it's good that we're making it as easy as possible to follow.
Anything that brings people away from the fairytales of atheism is a good thing.
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« Reply #53 on: March 15, 2012, 07:55:27 PM »

Participating in these rituals is rather silly, whether you believe the dogma behind them or not. But anything that helps slowly bring people away from religion and faith and moves them towards secularism and reason is a step in the right direction for our society. No one is forcing this path upon people, but it's good that we're making it as easy as possible to follow.
Anything that brings people away from the fairytales of atheism is a good thing.

Good brings of thing anything a that is people the from away fairytales atheism thing.
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« Reply #54 on: March 16, 2012, 07:38:32 PM »

I've always thought that Atheism takes far more faith than Christianity.

PP
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« Reply #55 on: March 16, 2012, 09:35:17 PM »

I've always thought that Atheism takes far more faith than Christianity.

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You've always thought that? Or just for about 3 years now, since it became popular to say?  Wink
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« Reply #56 on: March 16, 2012, 10:10:55 PM »

I've always thought that Atheism takes far more faith than Christianity.

PP
Yep. Because it does take more faith to not believe God exists.
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« Reply #57 on: March 19, 2012, 10:55:03 AM »

I've always thought that Atheism takes far more faith than Christianity.

PP

You've always thought that? Or just for about 3 years now, since it became popular to say?  Wink
Since I was first introduced to Atheism as a kid. It never made sense to me, nor does it now. Did I create that phrase? No. But I've always thought it.

PP
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« Reply #58 on: March 19, 2012, 10:58:44 AM »

I've always thought that Atheism takes far more faith than Christianity.

PP

You've always thought that? Or just for about 3 years now, since it became popular to say?  Wink
Since I was first introduced to Atheism as a kid. It never made sense to me, nor does it now. Did I create that phrase? No. But I've always thought it.

PP

I don't know if atheism "makes sense"  but for me it has been a lingering suspicion as long as I've been a Christian. The "atheism takes more faith..." argument rings hollow to me and probably anyone who really struggles with atheism.
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« Reply #59 on: March 19, 2012, 11:01:06 AM »

Quote
I don't know if atheism "makes sense"  but for me it has been a lingering suspicion as long as I've been a Christian. The "atheism takes more faith..." argument rings hollow to me and probably anyone who really struggles with atheism
I understand that. I think that it really is because atheism is pushed everywhere on all fronts, you cant help but to consider it at least a little.

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« Reply #60 on: March 19, 2012, 11:04:31 AM »

You do realize atheism is like not popular. You only hear of them, because they one of the few groups who can give Christians a run for their money for being so mouthy about their "beliefs". Usually, because they are recovering Christians.

Here's what wiki says they number on our continent:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism#North_America
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« Reply #61 on: March 19, 2012, 11:22:05 AM »

Im not talking about popularity, but its thrown about in the various media outlets (and advertisements and such) all the time. Bashing those of faith or promoting it in the classroom, it is pushed all the time.

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« Reply #62 on: March 19, 2012, 12:55:26 PM »

Participating in these rituals is rather silly, whether you believe the dogma behind them or not.

Nope.  Going through the motions without understanding them or why you believe in them is rather silly.  Going through the motions, while at the same time disbelieving them is the behavior of a dumb-dumb.  A cafeteria religion will make little sense because people will always choose the easy way out.  But when life throws you a curve ball, then what?  You see, words have meaning.  To divorce them from their context is to give them an unintended meaning.  Though starting point may be the same, if your map is faulty, we will end up in two very different locations. 

But anything that helps slowly bring people away from religion and faith and moves them towards secularism and reason is a step in the right direction for our society.

'The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."' Psalm 14:1

'But God has chosen the foolish things in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things in the world to shame the mighty.' 1 Corinthians 1:27

No one is forcing this path upon people, but it's good that we're making it as easy as possible to follow.

Those who are making "it" easy are only cooperating with Satan.  Some knowingly, some unknowingly.  Woe to them at the dread judgment of Christ.


 To answer the OP "Is there a religion for atheists?"  Yes.  Christianity.  Christ died for everyone.
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« Reply #63 on: March 19, 2012, 02:54:30 PM »

Im not talking about popularity, but its thrown about in the various media outlets (and advertisements and such) all the time. Bashing those of faith or promoting it in the classroom, it is pushed all the time.

PP

Nonsense.

It is thrown around because reactionary Christians get excited about it.

If atheism didn't exist, Christians would have to invent it.
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« Reply #64 on: March 20, 2012, 10:43:41 AM »

Im not talking about popularity, but its thrown about in the various media outlets (and advertisements and such) all the time. Bashing those of faith or promoting it in the classroom, it is pushed all the time.

PP

Nonsense.

It is thrown around because reactionary Christians get excited about it.

If atheism didn't exist, Christians would have to invent it.
You're free to believe its nonsense I suppose.

PP
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« Reply #65 on: March 20, 2012, 03:59:05 PM »

Im not talking about popularity, but its thrown about in the various media outlets (and advertisements and such) all the time. Bashing those of faith or promoting it in the classroom, it is pushed all the time.

PP

Nonsense.

It is thrown around because reactionary Christians get excited about it.

If atheism didn't exist, Christians would have to invent it.
I'm a Christian, and I don't feel the need to be reactionary towards Christianity. But, I will say that I do believe that atheism is the philosophy of a foolish teenage boy.
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« Reply #66 on: March 20, 2012, 04:19:34 PM »

But, I will say that I do believe that atheism is the philosophy of a foolish teenage boy.

Every time someone says something like that it makes me want to further myself from Christianity. I think part of it is just wanting to support the underdog/minority. Part of it is my general tendency to combat silly ideas. And I suppose part of me thinks "If they really believe that, what else might they be wrong about?"  Oh course, rationally, none of these are good reasons to reject Christianity. Still, my emotions do take over sometimes.
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« Reply #67 on: March 20, 2012, 09:32:14 PM »

But, I will say that I do believe that atheism is the philosophy of a foolish teenage boy.

Every time someone says something like that it makes me want to further myself from Christianity. I think part of it is just wanting to support the underdog/minority. Part of it is my general tendency to combat silly ideas. And I suppose part of me thinks "If they really believe that, what else might they be wrong about?"  Oh course, rationally, none of these are good reasons to reject Christianity. Still, my emotions do take over sometimes.

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« Reply #68 on: March 21, 2012, 07:47:09 PM »

Participating in these rituals is rather silly, whether you believe the dogma behind them or not.

Nope.  Going through the motions without understanding them or why you believe in them is rather silly.  Going through the motions, while at the same time disbelieving them is the behavior of a dumb-dumb.  A cafeteria religion will make little sense because people will always choose the easy way out.  But when life throws you a curve ball, then what?  You see, words have meaning.  To divorce them from their context is to give them an unintended meaning.  Though starting point may be the same, if your map is faulty, we will end up in two very different locations.  

Except that the motions were developed in the cultural context of the Imperial Roman courts. The vestments and ceremonies are derived from that experience. So by performing these ritual in 21st century America they're already way out of context, regardless of the meaning, intended or otherwise. Which is fine, they're very nice and beautiful rituals, but to argue that they're being taken out of context because someone doesn't accept a certain point of academic theology is like worrying about the carbon emissions of the Enola Gay.

Quote
But anything that helps slowly bring people away from religion and faith and moves them towards secularism and reason is a step in the right direction for our society.

'The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."' Psalm 14:1

'But God has chosen the foolish things in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things in the world to shame the mighty.' 1 Corinthians 1:27

No one is forcing this path upon people, but it's good that we're making it as easy as possible to follow.

Those who are making "it" easy are only cooperating with Satan.  Some knowingly, some unknowingly.  Woe to them at the dread judgment of Christ.


 To answer the OP "Is there a religion for atheists?"  Yes.  Christianity.  Christ died for everyone.


I know, I'm going to hell...but I'm ok with that. Quite frankly, you guys haven't yet sold me on the idea that heaven is all that great. Streets of gold and pearly gates? Really, that's the best an omnipotent deity could come up with? Wink
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« Reply #69 on: March 21, 2012, 07:55:01 PM »

I know, I'm going to hell...but I'm ok with that. Quite frankly, you guys haven't yet sold me on the idea that heaven is all that great. Streets of gold and pearly gates? Really, that's the best an omnipotent deity could come up with? Wink
Stop pretending you didn't used to be a Christian knowledgeable about theosis.  Wink
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« Reply #70 on: March 21, 2012, 07:57:06 PM »

I know, I'm going to hell...but I'm ok with that. Quite frankly, you guys haven't yet sold me on the idea that heaven is all that great. Streets of gold and pearly gates? Really, that's the best an omnipotent deity could come up with? Wink

Dude that is just for the unrefined masses with imaginations outstripped by an Ikea catalog. For we of rarefied taste, well, once I get a note from your Bishop that you are in good standing, I'll let you know what is in store.

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« Reply #71 on: March 21, 2012, 07:57:51 PM »

But, I will say that I do believe that atheism is the philosophy of a foolish teenage boy.

Every time someone says something like that it makes me want to further myself from Christianity. I think part of it is just wanting to support the underdog/minority. Part of it is my general tendency to combat silly ideas. And I suppose part of me thinks "If they really believe that, what else might they be wrong about?"  Oh course, rationally, none of these are good reasons to reject Christianity. Still, my emotions do take over sometimes.
I'm sorry that you feel this way emotionally. I really am. But, this is my intellectual conviction. I understand that there are people like you who genuinely struggle with faith, and I can respect that. However, most of the atheists that I have come across, who believe that there is no rational foundation for belief in God... well these people don't even have the most rudimentary understanding of philosophy. I'm not saying that I am an expert by any means, but these people usually rage against some silly straw man of their own making.
My conviction on this point was recently solidified when I read part of Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion. He demonstrates that he doesn't even begin to understand the arguments put forward by Aquinas. For example, he thinks the Fourth Way is the design argument, which it most certainly is not. Or, when he discusses the Fifth way, he doesn't realize that when Aquinas talks about what is "most perfect, most good, most true, etc." he is citing the transcendentals, which in Aquinas' theology, are synonymous with being.  It's fine if he wants to criticize Aquinas' thought, but he should try and understand that thought first.
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« Reply #72 on: March 21, 2012, 08:01:10 PM »

But, I will say that I do believe that atheism is the philosophy of a foolish teenage boy.

Every time someone says something like that it makes me want to further myself from Christianity. I think part of it is just wanting to support the underdog/minority. Part of it is my general tendency to combat silly ideas. And I suppose part of me thinks "If they really believe that, what else might they be wrong about?"  Oh course, rationally, none of these are good reasons to reject Christianity. Still, my emotions do take over sometimes.
I'm sorry that you feel this way emotionally. I really am. But, this is my intellectual conviction. I understand that there are people like you who genuinely struggle with faith, and I can respect that. However, most of the atheists that I have come across, who believe that there is no rational foundation for belief in God... well these people don't even have the most rudimentary understanding of philosophy. I'm not saying that I am an expert by any means, but these people usually rage against some silly straw man of their own making.

There is not a rational foundation for the belief in the Christian God.

Thank God!

What is a "rudimentary understanding of philosophy"? Most people understand it well enough to treat it appropriately: ignore it.


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« Reply #73 on: March 21, 2012, 08:04:08 PM »

But, I will say that I do believe that atheism is the philosophy of a foolish teenage boy.

Every time someone says something like that it makes me want to further myself from Christianity. I think part of it is just wanting to support the underdog/minority. Part of it is my general tendency to combat silly ideas. And I suppose part of me thinks "If they really believe that, what else might they be wrong about?"  Oh course, rationally, none of these are good reasons to reject Christianity. Still, my emotions do take over sometimes.
I'm sorry that you feel this way emotionally. I really am. But, this is my intellectual conviction. I understand that there are people like you who genuinely struggle with faith, and I can respect that. However, most of the atheists that I have come across, who believe that there is no rational foundation for belief in God... well these people don't even have the most rudimentary understanding of philosophy. I'm not saying that I am an expert by any means, but these people usually rage against some silly straw man of their own making.

There is not a rational foundation for the belief in the Christian God.

Thank God!

What is a "rudimentary understanding of philosophy"? Most people understand it well enough to treat it appropriately: ignore it.



Read my point above. I modified my post.
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« Reply #74 on: November 10, 2012, 10:51:57 PM »

Why would atheists go to church?

Wouldn't that be like someone going to a movie theater, staring at a blank screen for an hour, and then going home?

Not at all, says the Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, who this fall started a special service for non-theists at All Souls Unitarian Church.
....
Lavanhar said the new 8:30 a.m. non-theist service has drawn as many as 280 people and averages between 100 and 200.

On a recent Sunday, the service had no invocation to God, no congregational hymns, no Scripture reading, no prayer and no benediction. Instead of opening with "This is the day the Lord has made," it opened with, "This is a day not of our own making."

"Just the word 'God' turns a lot of people off," Lavanhar said.
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« Reply #75 on: November 11, 2012, 03:48:32 AM »

I think the issue is that deep down atheists DO desire the comfort, direction and emotional support that religions generally attempt to offer, except, they don't want to have to put in the work and conform to the precepts of religion because it seems silly to them. They want the greatness but they want to ignore the uncomfortable aspects. I personally think that atheism as we know it is on the verge of collapsing; more and more atheists seem to be discovering that their desperate attempts at 'spirituality' without 'religion' are failing or seem incomplete. I think it is only a matter of time before we see large masses of atheists returning back to conventional religion.
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« Reply #76 on: January 08, 2013, 08:58:49 PM »

Stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans will bring together a godless congregation in the Nave in St Paul’s Road, Canonbury for services – with wedding ceremonies and funerals for non-believers even on the cards.

News of the church, which will meet on the first Sunday of every month starting with a service on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6, comes after the census results revealed last week that nearly one in three residents are atheists.
....
“We thought it would be a shame not to enjoy the good stuff about religion, like the sense of community, just because of a theological disagreement,” said Mr Jones, who recently became the first person to sell out the Sydney Opera House by personally selling all tickets by hand.
....
But the Rev Saviour Grech, Catholic parish priest of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church in Amwell Street, Finsbury, said: “How can you be an atheist and worship in a church? Surely it’s a contradiction of terms. Who will they be singing to?

“It is important to debate and engage with atheists but for them to establish a church like any other religious denomination is going too far. I’m cautious about it.”
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« Reply #77 on: January 08, 2013, 10:47:55 PM »

Yes, it's called "atheism" and they adhere to it's false teachings.
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« Reply #78 on: January 08, 2013, 10:59:09 PM »

Yes, it's called "atheism" and they adhere to it's false teachings.

Lol, always to the point Smiley

Can atheism really have teachings I mean what's there to teach? A human is no different then a chair or a clock at a reduced level, ya can't really teach a chair or a clock anything, right?
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« Reply #79 on: January 08, 2013, 11:23:16 PM »

I've never come across an atheist who said anything like that, Ashman618.  They are sentient Human Beings, not mindless inanimate objects. There actually are some thoughtful atheists, not just the sort like Dr. Dawkins who is pretty "fundamentalist" in his philosophy one might say.

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« Reply #80 on: January 08, 2013, 11:30:49 PM »

I've never come across an atheist who said anything like that, Ashman618.  They are sentient Human Beings, not mindless inanimate objects. There actually are some thoughtful atheists, not just the sort like Dr. Dawkins who is pretty "fundamentalist" in his philosophy one might say.



Im sure your right sorry I live a very boring life and the only admitted atheist I ever spoke with said that the human being is no different then a "cardboard cutout" lol, I don't know much about what atheists truly believe.
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« Reply #81 on: January 08, 2013, 11:40:29 PM »

I've never come across an atheist who said anything like that, Ashman618.  They are sentient Human Beings, not mindless inanimate objects. There actually are some thoughtful atheists, not just the sort like Dr. Dawkins who is pretty "fundamentalist" in his philosophy one might say.



Im sure your right sorry I live a very boring life and the only admitted atheist I ever spoke with said that the human being is no different then a "cardboard cutout" lol, I don't know much about what atheists truly believe.

no different than a cardboard cutout.... ooookaay.  I suspect that would get some agnostics and atheists banging their foreheads on the keyboard.  No disrespect to your acquaintance but that's a pretty self-defeating remark.  All the cardboard I've seen doesn't talk just for starters.   Wink

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« Reply #82 on: January 09, 2013, 12:11:49 AM »

A true religion for Atheists is Satanism.

Satanists don't worship the fallen angel, but use the "story" as an example of how they want to live.

They follow their own will above God, which basically makes them Gods unto themselves.  This is exactly what Lucifer did in Isaiah 14.


The co-founder of the modern Church of Satan, Anton Levey said "The purest form of Satanism is true Atheism".
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« Reply #83 on: January 09, 2013, 11:02:51 AM »

Probably the most prevalent religious expression of popular atheism today is what might be called "Saganism." The current pope of Saganism appears to be Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Saganism basically consists of making awe-filled statements about the vastness of the cosmos and yet how the cosmos is within us, how we are made of "star stuff," etc. Basically, it exploits our latent awe of the stars and all that is heavenly to inject some sense of wonder into an otherwise dreary materialist cosmology.



The problem is, this wonder depends on some sense of hierarchy between the stars and the "earthly." If we seriously accept materialism, it really makes no difference whether we're made of "star stuff" or poo.
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« Reply #84 on: January 09, 2013, 01:03:22 PM »

Probably the most prevalent religious expression of popular atheism today is what might be called "Saganism." The current pope of Saganism appears to be Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Saganism basically consists of making awe-filled statements about the vastness of the cosmos and yet how the cosmos is within us, how we are made of "star stuff," etc. Basically, it exploits our latent awe of the stars and all that is heavenly to inject some sense of wonder into an otherwise dreary materialist cosmology.



The problem is, this wonder depends on some sense of hierarchy between the stars and the "earthly." If we seriously accept materialism, it really makes no difference whether we're made of "star stuff" or poo.
The problem with your statement is that Tyson is not an atheist, but rather agnostic. He's said this himself, he doesn't care if there is a God, he doesn't care if there isn't a God, and he doesn't purport to know if there is or isn't a God.

Dawkins is an atheist, Tyson is an agnostic.
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« Reply #85 on: January 09, 2013, 01:07:57 PM »

It's really rather irrelevant whether Tyson is technically an atheist or not (Carl Sagan was an agnostic too). The fact is that this this "star stuff" religious idiom is a favorite of pop atheists today. Also, whether one formally denies the existence of God or not, a materialist cosmology is for our purposes inherently atheistic.
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« Reply #86 on: January 09, 2013, 01:13:47 PM »

It's really rather irrelevant whether Tyson is technically an atheist or not (Carl Sagan was an agnostic too). The fact is that this this "star stuff" religious idiom is a favorite of pop atheists today. Also, whether one formally denies the existence of God or not, a materialist cosmology is for our purposes inherently atheistic.

I would say, to answer the question of the OP, Atheism is already a religion. What you're saying is true, but can be said about so many other things because atheism itself is a religion.

I don't think you're addressing the validity or true of Tyson's statement, but rather just about its use amongst modern atheists and thus making it a religious ideology.

It certainly can be taken in a religious context, but it is the truth, as is many things we know because of science. Some atheists have taken these truths and turned them into somewhat religious ideas, but it doesn't change that they are still true.

A friend of mine is a self-proclaimed atheist, and has described to me that for him, hiking and being in nature, and hanging off a cliff/rock 200 feet in the air is a spiritual experience for him. He doesn't see the need for a God. I believe that atheism is a religion already, and so they don't need a religion. For them, their gods, their faith, their spirituality takes on a form slightly different than other religions, but nevertheless, still exist.

The difference between most religions and atheism, is that atheism keeps the religious or spiritual ideas and feelings, but attribute them to different sources. Religion doesn't equal a belief in God, even though some religions include belief in God.
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« Reply #87 on: January 09, 2013, 01:22:14 PM »

Jainism? My high school textbook of religion claimed it to be an atheistic religion.
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« Reply #88 on: January 09, 2013, 01:29:57 PM »

If I recall correctly, Jainism accepts the existence of gods, but rejects the idea of a creator deity. I also get the impression that the gods are not very important.
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« Reply #89 on: February 03, 2014, 09:03:53 PM »

If I recall correctly, Jainism accepts the existence of gods, but rejects the idea of a creator deity. I also get the impression that the gods are not very important.
Among Jain English-speakers, the world 'god'/'God' is often used as synonymous with 'Arihant' and 'Siddha'. An Arihant is someone in a physical body who will not be reincarnated; he or she still has some karmas attached to  his or her soul, thus, the physical body. An Arihant, at death, becomes totally free from karmas, and becomes a Siddha, a totally bodiless and liberated soul. There are numberless Siddhas at the present moment. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, a Siddha cannot directly help persons on earth, except as examples and inspirations. An Arihant, though, can still actively help. Praying to a Siddha doesn't affect the Siddha (though it may be a positive experience for oneself). Whether everyone is eventually headed to become an Arihant and then a Siddha, is an open question among Jains. Some say yes. Some say no.
Logged

If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
Tags: atheism religious atheism 
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