email@example.com.Mi.US (Scott Reynolds):
>NETOPRWA@NCSUVM.BITNET (Wayne Aiken) writes:
>>Incorrect. Atheism, by definition, is the absence of religion.
>Please state your references. I'll show you mine, from Webster's New World
>a the ism n. [God.
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary:
athe-ism : 1. a disbelief in the existence of deity. 2. the doctrine
that there is no god.
That's a shade closer to what I meant. I recognize, however, that a
dictionary is as much a reflection of common usage as it is an
authoritative reference. Most dictionaries are written by theists.
>>who like to use a fast and loose definition of "religion".
>See above, and look in your dictionary.
re-li-gion. 1a. the service and worship of god or the supernatural.
(2) commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance. b: the
state of a religious 2. a personal
set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and
(this constitutes, IMHO, what most people mean when they say "religion")
3. scrupulous conformity. 4. a cause, principle, or system of beliefs
held to with ardor and faith.
I concede then, that there is a valid definition of "religion" which
could describe completely secular principles. This is somewhat
circular, though, as that common-usage definition is in my opinion based
on a mistaken notion of "religious" qualities (1st def.)
>>When a person
>>says they adhere to a religion, that usually means something definite.
>We can argue semantics endlessly but it won't get us anywhere. Atheism
>in itself is not a religion; IMHO there is no human being alive that
>doesn't worship _something_, though. It's part of our nature.
wor-ship: 1. Title for British officials 2. reverence offered a divine
being. 3. a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual.
4. extravagent respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of
What you say is only true under definition (4). I choose my words
carefully, because of the semantic ambiguity inherent in language. When
I use a term, I invariably imply the most common and obvious meaning of
the term, unless I say otherwise or it is clear from context. People
may value or "worship"(4) things in their lives, but that in no way
way implies that this "worship" is equivalent to religious worship(2,3).
Likewise, atheism is precisely an absence or non-acceptance of religion,
using the most common and accepted definition of "religion". (1,2 above)
This is what I meant by "fast and loose definitions"; that people use
one possible definition (often the most obscure) of an action to imply
that this action also has characteristics of the other definitions.
>>Atheists don't accept or care
>about god, heaven, hell, prayer, souls, angels, devils, afterlives, sin,
>>or any of the other concepts that are singularly "religious" in nature.
>You seem to be confusing "religious" and "spiritual" here.
Not in the obvious meaning of those terms, which I use by default.
>Religion is something that comes from the minds of men......
At least we agree on this.
> ......... I am saying though that the minute that the love of
>money turns into worship of money-- an intense love that controls almost
>every action of an individual -- then it becomes a religion. It can and
By worship(4), "love of money turns into worship of money" is redundant.
Even so, such "worship" is only applicable to religion(4). This still
does not in any way imply that such "worship" is equivalent to "religion"
in the commonly accepted sense. Insofar as this is a forum about
religion in the (1,2) definitions, what you imply is an abuse of
>It's worth noting that prayers aren't required for a religion, either.
>If you have no need for gods, who would you pray to?
Semantics again. Religion(1,2) != religion(3,4), which is why I use the
word "religion" in a very specific way, to avoid confusion. Since I am
an atheist (!religion(1,2)) then I do not "pray" to anything at all, in
the corresponding definition of "pray", nor do any other religious terms
(in the religious definitions) have any relevance. Capishe?
Wayne Aiken firstname.lastname@example.org "I don't believe
PO Box 30904 email@example.com you WON'T!!"
Raleigh, NC 27622 StarFleet BBS --"Bob"
(919) 782-8171 (919) 782-3095