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Subject: Here I thought that Atheism was an ideology. rss

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Benny
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but then I read this:

Venga2 wrote:
The writer calls atheism an ideology, so obviously he doesn't know shit.


It was addressed in the thread, but I think it deserves its own. What about Atheism makes it non-ideological?
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Chad Ellis
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Re: Here i thought that Atheism was an ideology.
Let me try an analogy.

Suppose there was a group of people who either that Star Trek was real. From their beliefs they derived an ideology, including the Prime Directive and a whole philosophy of politics, economics and human interaction.

Let's say we called them Trekkies. Now, for convenience, we look for a word to describe people who don't share their belief. We call them Atrekkies. Atrekkism isn't an ideology -- it's just nonbelief or disbelief in the claim that Star Trek isn't fictional.

I don't choose this analogy to insult anyone's religious beliefs but rather because I think it illustrates that not believing in X is not an ideology, even if belief in X is an ideology or if believers in X derive an ideology from it.

I'm curious, though...what tenets did you believe applied to this atheist ideology?
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Re: Here i thought that Atheism was an ideology.
Chad_Ellis wrote:
Let me try an analogy.

Suppose there was a group of people who either that Star Trek was real. From their beliefs they derived an ideology, including the Prime Directive and a whole philosophy of politics, economics and human interaction.

Let's say we called them Trekkies. Now, for convenience, we look for a word to describe people who don't share their belief. We call them Atrekkies. Atrekkism isn't an ideology -- it's just nonbelief or disbelief in the claim that Star Trek isn't fictional.

I don't choose this analogy to insult anyone's religious beliefs but rather because I think it illustrates that not believing in X is not an ideology, even if belief in X is an ideology or if believers in X derive an ideology from it.

I'm curious, though...what tenets did you believe applied to this atheist ideology?


But typically in a situation like this wouldn't a person just ignore the Trekkies? I think developing arguments against the Trekkies would immediately make Atrekkism an ideological stand.
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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Atheism isn't an ideology, it is a label that covers a large set of ideologies, just so religious. However to make that a point of contention seems like it's very defensive, since in common language who gives a shit?

Everything is a belief, even a disbelief.
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Benjro wrote:
But typically in a situation like this wouldn't a person just ignore the Trekkies? I think developing arguments against the Trekkies would immediately make Atrekkism an ideological stand.


Ideally, yes.

But if, in Chad's fictional world, the Trekkies were an overwhelming majority, and didn't just believe in Trekkism but also claimed that it was overwhelming supported by the evidence, exclusively true, and anyone who didn't believe in was evil, stupid, willfully evading truth, intellectually dishonest, morally degenerate, etc. -- then the Atrekkies might feel like they need to at least defend their character, and point out that there's at least a few reasons why a reasonable person might not be a Trekkie.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
I'm curious, though...what tenets did you believe applied to this atheist ideology?


Sorry I missed this last bit. Honestly, I haven't put a lot of thought into it. In truth, I wanted this in a separate thread partly to talk about what an ideology is.

I think one assertion of atheism is that the material world is all there is (David may disagree on the semantics, but I think most Atheists believe all religions are wrong, theistic or not). I also think that most think that a scientific understanding of the world is the best (perhaps only true) way to view things.

I'm not saying that Atheism is monolithic, but the Atheists in RSP do seem to have some ideals in common. I could be wrong.
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dysjunct wrote:
Benjro wrote:
But typically in a situation like this wouldn't a person just ignore the Trekkies? I think developing arguments against the Trekkies would immediately make Atrekkism an ideological stand.


Ideally, yes.

But if, in Chad's fictional world, the Trekkies were an overwhelming majority, and didn't just believe in Trekkism but also claimed that it was overwhelming supported by the evidence, exclusively true, and anyone who didn't believe in was evil, stupid, willfully evading truth, intellectually dishonest, morally degenerate, etc. -- then the Atrekkies might feel like they need to at least defend their character, and point out that there's at least a few reasons why a reasonable person might not be a Trekkie.


But at least in RSP that isn't where it ends. I grant that Christians (oh shit...I mean Trekkies) can do all the things that you said, but the Atheists return in kind (and maybe it is just my perspective, but really more than in kind). They want to prove Christians wrong, and that is more than not believing in what Christians say. That seems ideological to me.
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Benjro wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
I'm curious, though...what tenets did you believe applied to this atheist ideology?


Sorry I missed this last bit. Honestly, I haven't put a lot of thought into it. In truth, I wanted this in a separate thread partly to talk about what an ideology is.

I think one assertion of atheism is that the material world is all there is (David may disagree on the semantics, but I think most Atheists believe all religions are wrong, theistic or not). I also think that most think that a scientific understanding of the world is the best (perhaps only true) way to view things.

I'm not saying that Atheism is monolithic, but the Atheists in RSP do seem to have some ideals in common. I could be wrong.


Atheism is believing there is no god. Atheists can beleive in other non-material things, like ghosts. Many don't, but that is not the point. And no, Atheism isn't an idelogy. It can form one belief in an ideology- for example Communist idelogy usually includes atheism, but it isn't an idelogy in itself.
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Benjro wrote:
I think one assertion of atheism is that the material world is all there is (David may disagree on the semantics, but I think most Atheists believe all religions are wrong, theistic or not). I also think that most think that a scientific understanding of the world is the best (perhaps only true) way to view things.

I'm not saying that Atheism is monolithic, but the Atheists in RSP do seem to have some ideals in common. I could be wrong.


Ah. Here's the confusion: You're conflating Atheism ("there are no gods," or "I have no believe in gods") with Metaphysical Naturalism ("the supernatural does not exist").

All metaphysical naturalists are atheists, but not all atheists are metaphysical naturalists.

Jainism, for example, is a religion with supernatural features (souls, karma, reincarnation) but it is atheistic because it does not have gods. Same with some interpretations of Buddhism.

Here in the West, it has been common for atheism to be considered the same as secular humanism or other naturalistic philosophies, but as our society has become less autocentric, the existence of supernaturalist atheisms has caused many atheists in the west to be more careful about defining and delineating exactly what they believe.

Hope that helps,
Kevin
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dysjunct wrote:
Benjro wrote:
I think one assertion of atheism is that the material world is all there is (David may disagree on the semantics, but I think most Atheists believe all religions are wrong, theistic or not). I also think that most think that a scientific understanding of the world is the best (perhaps only true) way to view things.

I'm not saying that Atheism is monolithic, but the Atheists in RSP do seem to have some ideals in common. I could be wrong.


Ah. Here's the confusion: You're conflating Atheism ("there are no gods," or "I have no believe in gods") with Metaphysical Naturalism ("the supernatural does not exist").

All metaphysical naturalists are atheists, but not all atheists are metaphysical naturalists.

Jainism, for example, is a religion with supernatural features (souls, karma, reincarnation) but it is atheistic because it does not have gods. Same with some interpretations of Buddhism.

Here in the West, it has been common for atheism to be considered the same as secular humanism or other naturalistic philosophies, but as our society has become less autocentric, the existence of supernaturalist atheisms has caused many atheists in the west to be more careful about defining and delineating exactly what they believe.

Hope that helps,
Kevin


Fair enough...I think that is my confusion. Still, I think that most Atheists mean more than Atheist when they say they are Atheist. Would you agree with that?
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Well, probably, at least if you're talking with people, like us, who come from a culture that up until a century ago wasn't really aware that there was any difference between atheism, and rejection of all religion. Ultimately I think it's mostly for historical reasons, and due to sloppiness with language.

Another factor is probably the regrettable culture war dialogue from both sides, where the lines are drawn between [rational hard-nosed science types|evil godless perverts] vs. [God's holy chosen|delusional bigots].

Luckily we here in the haven that is RSP do not have to buy into common misconceptions and can take the time to use language more carefully.

Fun trivia: early Christians were called "atheists" by Romans because of their refusal to worship Roman gods.

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dysjunct wrote:
Well, probably, at least if you're talking with people, like us, who come from a culture that up until a century ago wasn't really aware that there was any difference between atheism, and rejection of all religion. Ultimately I think it's mostly for historical reasons, and due to sloppiness with language.

Another factor is probably the regrettable culture war dialogue from both sides, where the lines are drawn between [rational hard-nosed science types|evil godless perverts] vs. [God's holy chosen|delusional bigots].

Luckily we here in the haven that is RSP do not have to buy into common misconceptions and can take the time to use language more carefully.

Fun trivia: early Christians were called "atheists" by Romans because of their refusal to worship Roman gods.



Kevin,

I don't always agree with you, but you are one of the most helpful people here. Thanks for the help. I, at least, am appeased.
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There seems to be many atheistic iconoclasts who wish to remove any and all religious displays and replace them with nothing. That seems very ideological to me. Now if atheists had missionairies I would argue that they were a religion, but they don't seem to be seeking converts as much as they're trying to prove that their worldview is superior. The absolute view that all religion is bad makes most athiests intolerant. Agnostics are great though.
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Cavedog_pdx wrote:
There seems to be many atheistic iconoclasts who wish to remove any and all religious displays and replace them with nothing.


All of these people are atheists. Not all atheists are these people.

Quote:
but they don't seem to be seeking converts as much as they're trying to prove that their worldview is superior


This is the definition of missionaries.

Quote:
The absolute view that all religion is bad makes most athiests intolerant.


Read some early Bertrand Russel, or even some of Douglas Adams' opinions on it. Again, this is true for some atheists, but not all.

Atheism is just one aspect taken up by many different ideologies, it is not a defining feature (though to many an important one).
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A public service reminder:

People are individuals. Grouping them alienates them from you as individuals.
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Cavedog_pdx wrote:
The absolute view that all religion is bad makes most athiests intolerant.


I disagree on two counts:

1. I don't think it's at all clear that most atheists hold an absolute view that all religion is bad.

2. It's possible to believe that something is bad and still fully tolerate those who disagree.
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The specific form of atheism (not mentioned in the OP, but it was in the link of the OP of the original thread), is the 'New' Atheism of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

Quote:
Perhaps the best critique of this ideology is provided in the recently published 'The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens', by Vox Day.


http://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/label-atheism-a-th...

Haven't read this book, so I'm not sure what Day has to say. But I DO think that Dawkins and Harris are arguing a lot more (and have a bigger system of thought that they are trying to present) than the 'pure' atheism that Chad is defending.

If we go with Chad's definition of atheism, I would agree that its not enough in and of itself to be an ideology.

Dawkins and Harris' arguments, more generally, on the other hand, most certainly ARE an attempt to create an alternative 'atheist' ideology in competition with 'Theism'.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
If we go with Chad's definition of atheism, I would agree that its not enough in and of itself to be an ideology.


I think if we're not using my definition -- which is simply non-theism -- then we should use a different word. It's like arguing over what unattractive means and saying, "Well, Chad says it's things that are not attractive but Joe and Steve use it to mean evil and colored either red or purple as well."

There are plenty of worldviews and ideologies that have atheism as a component. That doesn't make atheism a worldview or an ideology.
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Koldfoot wrote:
For the heck of it, I thought I'd post the definition of ideology.

From Dictionary.com

1. the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.

2. such a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation.


3.Philosophy.
a. the study of the nature and origin of ideas.
b. a system that derives ideas exclusively from sensation.

4. theorizing of a visionary or impractical nature.


One and two would be the relevant ones to this discussion.


I'd note that ideology refers to ideas that guide a large group with similar beliefs. Beliefs are more personal in nature.


I think that definitions 1 + 2 are on the right track, but incomplete.

They don't discuss the 'mechanism' by which a system of thought 'guides' action- and what makes that different from other forms of 'knowledge'.

Under those definitions, Logic would be ideology- in that it is a system of thought that provides rules that people use to get new ideas about the world, as individuals, groups, or social institutions.

The key to the question is, what makes systems of thought different, other than the subject? Why is Aquinas (reasoned Faith) different from Jerry Falwell (Uncritical acceptance of the Bible)? Why is Sam Harris (systematic, militant anti-religion) different from Michael Shermer (questioning of basic concepts as oppossed to destruction thereof?) Why is Science (conclusions based upon theoretical models that are supported by some degree of observational and mathematical premises) different from Fascism? (a critical examination of the nature of Will- and the individual's relationship to the People/State and the Leader thereof?)

Any definition has to take into account the 'mechanism' by which these ideas guide action.

Darilian
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Darilian wrote:
If we go with Chad's definition of atheism, I would agree that its not enough in and of itself to be an ideology.


I think if we're not using my definition -- which is simply non-theism -- then we should use a different word. It's like arguing over what unattractive means and saying, "Well, Chad says it's things that are not attractive but Joe and Steve use it to mean evil and colored either red or purple as well."

There are plenty of worldviews and ideologies that have atheism as a component. That doesn't make atheism a worldview or an ideology.


I was only pointing out to Benjro that the letter writer had a pretty specific trio of people in mind when he talked of atheism being an ideology.

Using a different word is pointless, if we don't even have a definition of what ideology IS, however!

(Well, other than mine, of course. But I'm taking a new tack on this.)

*Image of Darilian casting out a fly lure into the pond of RSP, trying to get someone to play his little intellectual games.....* *LOL*

Darilian
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Koldfoot wrote:
I'd note that ideology refers to a body of ideas. Beliefs are more personal in nature.


A body of ideas are made up of people who hold them. Beliefs and ideas are all tied together, which is why quozl's point is 100% true. Labels are convenient and we need them, but getting semantic about them is nonsense because nothing is equal to anything else, most especially belief systems.
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Food for thought:

My cat - doesn't believe in any gods - is she an atheist? Does she prescribe to any ideology?

A newborn baby - doesn't believe in any gods either - same questions

Myself (an atheist - at least I think so ) - same questions

I would say all three are atheist and the first two do not belong to any ideology - it would seem silly to suggest so. For myself, there are certainly ideologies that influence me, but just by the fact that I don't believe in any supernatural powers doesn't imply that there is a specific ideology that I am a part of. Hope I'm making sense
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bjhendricks wrote:
Food for thought:

My cat - doesn't believe in any gods - is she an atheist? Does she prescribe to any ideology?

A newborn baby - doesn't believe in any gods either - same questions

Myself (an atheist - at least I think so ) - same questions

I would say all three are atheist and the first two do not belong to any ideology - it would seem silly to suggest so. For myself, there are certainly ideologies that influence me, but just by the fact that I don't believe in any supernatural powers doesn't imply that there is a specific ideology that I am a part of. Hope I'm making sense


I think this is interesting because your cat is definitionally Atheistic, but I would never call your cat an Atheist. In fact, I generally don't call a person an Atheist unless the self-identify as one. The term Atheist may not be ideological but I think the people that use it to identify themselves are making an ideological statement.
 
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
There are plenty of worldviews and ideologies that have atheism as a component. That doesn't make atheism a worldview or an ideology.



If theism is an ideology and atheism is non-theism but not an ideology - does that mean we should take communism/capitalism/liberalism/etc as an ideology but anarchy as a non-ideology?

I don't think GAWD will see it that way. nor do I think any political pundit views anarchy as a non-ideology.

The chief advantage of proclaiming atheism as a non-ideology is that it makes it impervious to criticism - which is nice when your not-quite-an-ideology is conflicted against a clearly-seen-as-an-ideology perspective. You can't prove or disprove a nothingness.

Don't try to use logic to criticize this post because it was written with an alogical understanding. What is alogicalism - its simply non-believe in your logic. Eat your heart out Mr. Spock.

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There are many anarchist ideologies but anarchism isn't an ideology, just like Chad said about atheism.
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