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View Diary: Being an atheist in America (242 comments)

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  •  You Are Mistaken (4+ / 0-)

    but that's just not true it is a belief system.

    No, I'm sorry, but atheism isn't a belief system. There are atheistic belief systems of course, but atheism itself isn't a belief system. Atheism is the absence of a particular belief — so it's neither a "belief" nor a "system." Even theism, which is a belief, is not a belief "system" (though there are obviously theistic belief systems).

    You say it's an absence of belief in gods, but it could also be described as a belief in the absence of gods.

    That would be "strong" or "explicit" atheism. It's a category of atheism, like polytheism is a category of theism. Even strong atheism, though, is not a belief system.

    if you take the definition and apply it to the way that some atheists advocate for their point of view, it is exactly the same phenomenon - a rigid adherence to principles and intolerance of other views.

    There is no one set of "atheist principles" which an atheist can or must adhere to. There is no set of principles which is common to atheists who are libertarians, Buddhists, communists, Raelians, Scientologists, Religious Humanists, Secular Humanists, Objectivists, Nihilists, Existiantists, etc. Atheism is only the absence of belief in gods.

    •  boy way to split hairs to make your (1+ / 0-)
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      snout

      absolutist point, there. None of what you said above negates this phenomenon, much as you would like it to and which you fail to address.

      however if you take the definition and apply it to the way that some atheists advocate for their point of view, it is exactly the same phenomenon - a rigid adherence to principles and intolerance of other views.

      We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. - Abraham Lincoln

      by Buffalo Girl on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 08:04:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Being Accurate is Not Splitting Hairs (1+ / 0-)
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        lightiris

        boy way to split hairs to make your absolutist point, there.

        How am I "splitting hairs" by defining atheism correctly?

        None of what you said above negates this phenomenon, much as you would like it to and which you fail to address.

        How did I fail to address the phenomenon in question? First, a person who displays rigid adherence to their principles and an intolerance to the views of others may exhibiting "fundamentalism" in some loose sense of the word, but not about their atheism. Why? Because atheism entails no particular principles shared by all atheists.

        Second, I made it very clear that atheists can be arrogant, annoying, intolerant, prejudiced, etc. There was never any debate — at least from me — on that. My position is that such personality flaws are not signs of fundamentalism.

        It's wrong to equate being a fundamentalist with being a jerk.

        There are many non-fundamentalists who are jerks and who behave arrogantly with respect to their beliefs; there are many fundamentalists who are not jerks and who do not behave arrogantly with respect to their beliefs.

        Acting like being a jerk and being a fundamentalist is a form of prejudice against fundamentalism. Why am I, the atheist, the one who has to point this out?

      •  Buffalo Girl (1+ / 0-)
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        lightiris

        apply it to the way that some atheists advocate for their point of view, it is exactly the same phenomenon - a rigid adherence to principles and intolerance of other views.

        I don't think we're splitting hairs here. These are important differences.
        First,
        "Rigid adherence to principles" and "intolerance of other views" are completely orthagonal. Only the first is specifically fundamentalist. But, again, there need to fundamentals. Let's say there are certain tenets—someone who believes all of them is a fundamentalist. Someone who adapts or picks and chooses from the set of tenets is not. Any atheist who has ‘tenets’ has created their own personal belief system. They may be fundamentalist somethings in addition to their not being theists but not fundamentalist atheists.

        Also "Rigid adherence to principles" does not equal "rigid." you can be rigid without being fundamentalist. I can rigidly believe something (like that gravity will work the same way tomorrow as it does today), but that doesn't make me a fundamentalist just because you can't easily convince me otherwise.

        As for the second component – people who are fundamentalist are not necessarily intolerant of you just because you are more moderate in your adherence. Not all fundamentalist Christians, for example, spend time worrying about other’s beliefs. They might believe others are in for a painful afterlife, but they certainly tolerate them.

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