Rebutting "atheism is a faith"
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21-11-2014, 09:49 PM
RE: Rebutting "atheism is a faith"
I would start with the question of what he means by faith and try to pin him down on a meaningful position. Does he believe in his religion because of faith? What does faith mean in that context? Is it believing something without good evidence? Is it believing something with good evidence? What good evidence does he have?

Is faith a good reason to believe something? If someone else has a different faith than you and they are wrong does that strengthen or weaken the argument of believing something based on faith? What is the author trying to achieve by equating atheism with religion? Is it merely to set it up as a clearly false religion because the author has the clearly true religion? If the point is to show atheism is false then this seems like a very round about way of doing it. Couldn't the author come up with a direct argument against atheism?

Currently the logic expressed in their argument seems to be:
1. Science and atheism are the same thing
2. If you accept something as true that means you have faith in it
3. You accept science/atheism as true
4. Therefore, you have faith in science/atheism
5. If someone has faith in a thing then it is a religion
6. Therefore, science/atheism is a religion
7. All religions other than author brand Christianity™ are false
8. author brand Christianity™ is a different religion to science/atheism
9. Therefore, science/atheism is false
Bonus: 10. Therefore, the Internet doesn't work and the moon landing was a hoax
There is plenty to pick apart in that formulation. For example try substituting "brushing your teeth" for atheism above.

On your side of the fence I would go down the route of saying that atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods... or in relation to his form of Christianity it could be defined as the judgement it is more likely that author brand Christianity™ is false than that it is true. The bar for defeating atheism of this type is to convince you that it is more likely that author brand Christianity™ is true than false. That is a completely different argument to be had than "Is atheism a religion".

Also, feel free to point out that Dawkins is not an important figure in your life. That might just blow his little mind.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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22-11-2014, 08:00 AM
RE: Rebutting "atheism is a faith"
Many many thanks to all for the helpful insights and support. It's been most encouraging, particularly for my first post here. I've taken everything on board, and decided that the best response is a clear-headed rebuttal to his arguments. I've tried to avoid introducing new themes. This is what I came up with:-

There is no bluff and it’s no game that I am playing either. Thanks for recognising that I’m not that dull. I’m uncomfortable with the way you’re portraying me in your opening argument. My moral philosophy and life rule is solely that of humanism, not atheism. I’m not bothered if you think this is a cop out, it’s my truth, and I’m free to it. It’s completely true, most of my humanist principles are based on atheism, but I occasionally flirt with agnosticism and pandeism. Why? Because I can. I hate being pigeonholed into a label (although I obviously also love mixed metaphors.) Are all atheists guilty of intellectual arrogance, and scorn? Some of us live very peaceful untroubled lives. I do apologise if you feel I’ve been trolling previously, I would like to think that I’ve created coherent arguments rather than simple flaming.

I think Richard Dawkins is a very learned man, but I find him quite cringeworthy, and often embarrassing. I find the concept of militant atheism quite abhorrent. Atheism and humanism are on the rise across the world (well, Western world at least). Why are the most “happy” countries those that are most secular? Revolution comes from the masses, not from spittle-fuming firebrands at the pulpit (and I mean both religious and non-religious speakers here.) Mercifully, religion will organically fade away eventually by itself as it becomes less and less relevant to the world. Would you feel comfortable if I suggested that you were an adherent to the maxims of Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church? I don’t mind if you are, that’s completely your free choice. I’m just trying to illustrate that it’s not helpful to make blind associations and generalisations.

I actually don’t think that science has done away with the need for religion per se. Religion is a necessary evil. The roots of religion are found in our genetic makeup, and religious belief may improve certain individual’s mental state. I believe that religion is fine for the individual, but not for the whole. I do deplore, that, in certain examples around the world, religion is relied on as the sole philosophy and/or moral code. It’s why I’m a humanist first. Religion has not offered the same degree of relief from suffering, advances in medicine, freedom, artistic expression and many other wonderful human fields that free thinking and science has allowed.

Humanism is not a creed that is practiced. It’s the default status for a human being before religion is inferred, adopted etc. Humanists are perfectly moral without any need for religion. I’ve recently changed my stance when asked “what is my religion.” I now reply/respond humanist. It’s not because I believe that humanism is a religion, and I doubt that Jason Holder does either. It’s solely to do with getting a fair suck of the saveloy in moral debates. From that article, “But while some Humanists may chafe at being called a “religion,” others feel that the larger pursuit of equal rights trumps legal classifications.” I completely agree. I don’t actually care if you wish to call my moral philosophy and life stance a religion or not. It’s irrelevant, it makes no day to day difference to my life and to those I love. I’ll go by the Wikipedia definition of religion: “A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that are intended to explain the meaning of life and/or to explain the origin of life or the Universe.” If you wish to apply that to humanism, then fine, no beef here. I’m quite happily ambiguous over labeling humanism as a religion.

Following on from that definition, no I don’t necessarily think that religions require god or gods. Raëlism, Kopimism and Unitarian Universalism are all examples of religions that don’t require gods. Therefore, I don’t believe that “religion ipso facto requires a divine personage.” There is no requirement for atheism to scientifically prove or disprove the existence of god (or gods) at all. The burden of proof is on the theist.
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22-11-2014, 08:09 AM
RE: Rebutting "atheism is a faith"
(21-11-2014 08:29 AM)Stuffed_Assumption_Meringue Wrote:  The OP has been addressed admirably. Succinct. Accurate. Simple.

This impressive pile of bullshit doesn't warrant an in depth dressing down but I can't sleep and I feel like stretching my insult muscles.

.
.

Nope. No idea where he's coming from.

Demonstrate that he's worthy of the title now that he's calmed down a bit.

Cangarwbach: Good luck.

Many many thanks to Stuffed Assumption Meringue for the vehemence and bruised indignation that I don't possess. (Love the term insult muscles)
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22-11-2014, 08:10 AM
RE: Rebutting "atheism is a faith"
(21-11-2014 09:49 PM)Hafnof Wrote:  I would start with the question of what he means by faith and try to pin him down on a meaningful position. Does he believe in his religion because of faith? What does faith mean in that context? Is it believing something without good evidence? Is it believing something with good evidence? What good evidence does he have?

Is faith a good reason to believe something? If someone else has a different faith than you and they are wrong does that strengthen or weaken the argument of believing something based on faith? What is the author trying to achieve by equating atheism with religion? Is it merely to set it up as a clearly false religion because the author has the clearly true religion? If the point is to show atheism is false then this seems like a very round about way of doing it. Couldn't the author come up with a direct argument against atheism?

Currently the logic expressed in their argument seems to be:
1. Science and atheism are the same thing
2. If you accept something as true that means you have faith in it
3. You accept science/atheism as true
4. Therefore, you have faith in science/atheism
5. If someone has faith in a thing then it is a religion
6. Therefore, science/atheism is a religion
7. All religions other than author brand Christianity™ are false
8. author brand Christianity™ is a different religion to science/atheism
9. Therefore, science/atheism is false
Bonus: 10. Therefore, the Internet doesn't work and the moon landing was a hoax
There is plenty to pick apart in that formulation. For example try substituting "brushing your teeth" for atheism above.

On your side of the fence I would go down the route of saying that atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods... or in relation to his form of Christianity it could be defined as the judgement it is more likely that author brand Christianity™ is false than that it is true. The bar for defeating atheism of this type is to convince you that it is more likely that author brand Christianity™ is true than false. That is a completely different argument to be had than "Is atheism a religion".

Also, feel free to point out that Dawkins is not an important figure in your life. That might just blow his little mind.

Hafnof, this is absolute poetry. Many thanks for the calm measured response. I've replied in my own way for now, but may lean on your gentle, fact and logic based answer in future.
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