Atheism in Off Topic
I love blog posts about religion. I love hearing people proclaim from the digital rooftops how they've found Jesus, backing up their faith with arguments based entirely on emotion. I love hearing people foam at the mouth over how terribly evil all religion is. I don't much care what you believe, just so long as it places arbitrary restrictions on other people, you're closed-minded, and are dishonest in your beliefs. You see,
I'm a blog reader.
Its certainly still a belief, yes; its the belief that you must have material/physical/scientific evidence of something in order to adhere to whatever that 'it' happens to be.
Call it the belief of requiring absolute proof, or scientific proof, depending on your spin. Most commonly this is referred to as science as a religion.
A claim infers/requires arguments, a belief does not. This is the key difference between a claim and a belief.
I am free to believe whatever I want, but if I claim something, I do so in an attempt to argue towards a specific position. I can believe that there is a God, but if I want to claim that there is a God then I must have arguments in favor of that.
Atheism certainly celebrates the non-existance of a deity. That is, in every sense, similar to a religion that celebrates the existance of a deity. It goes both ways.
There are many ways to look at what a religion is. I consider a system of beliefs that are all-or-nothing a religion.
This makes atheism a religion
since if you believe there is no deity then there are a series of follow-up beliefs which you must also have: The world wasn't created by a God
humans do not have a soul, etc. etc.
Which is fair enough. But uniting under an Atheism banner is no different than uniting under a Christian
or Scientology banner (Except if you unite under a Scientology banner, they give you free rides on the world-ending laser-shooting squid). So when people make a claim that begins with, 'I'm an Atheist' and don't elaborate, then that is a religious claim.
And something like, 'I have no need to prove that X doesn't exist, to make my point' is just that. It's basically saying:
Some would argue that being certain about God, or some god, or something omnipotent (pick your poison) not existing is in and of itself a belief system.
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by the way, iain, you should probably also clear the air on any interesting sexual fetishes. you know, just in case
Its pretty ignorant to think you know something, when you are unable to prove it. Like a student in Algebra, who can spit out the quadratic formula, and says he knows it - Yet it unable to derive it or use it in any unique manner.
Let me clear something up. Atheist means, generally, not a belief in the lack of a god but rather the lack of a belief in a god. The two sound a lot alike but have totally different meanings.
The thing is, in terms of intellectual fulfillment, atheism will only get you so far. One can only sit in insistence of "there definitely is no God" for so long before they emerge as merely a reflection of ignorance on the opposite end of the spectrum of the very "there definitely is a God" they are opposing.
In other words, whether you choose to be certain there is a God or certain there is not a God, it will require you are beholden to a stubborn idea not well-grounded in reality. Being free of such an idea uncages the mind and allows it interpret the data of our senses without the interference of belief or disbelief (which is merely a belief to the contrary).
Though to live snubbing our emotions would seem to better enable us as more logical individuals, in truth we were not created as wholly logical creatures, our emotional aspects are every bit a product of untold billions of years of evolution, and to snub that is to remain incomplete in such a way as to repel the ladies. Robots may produce excellent computations, but who wants to get romantically entangled with one?
For what it's worth, Iain, alcohol consumed in moderation is linked with many health benefits. Here is a very short paper (if you could even call it that) I wrote for a nutrition class regarding the benefits of alcohol, sourced with several journals and studies.