Kapanalig Sa Wala - Literally, one who also have faith in nothing, is a play on words and wasn't really intended to mean something. It was made in jest to call the atheist camp when I was still actively debating god in one of the demised public forums out there. I think walang pananalig (faithless) would have proven to be more precise but I think the intended humor will be lost.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Atheism is a religion in the guise of science?

Somebody commented in the Darwin Day 2009 post about me supposedly as "really zealous in being a member of the religion called "atheism" in the guise of science" and that he would just pray that blah blah blah. Here is another example of somebody who just doesn't get it. I replied to him that "atheism is not a religion nor is science" and that "everybody, including theists appreciate science." He wants to see atheists who happens to love science as having a religion called science which is actually atheism. At first I thought he was being funny but he was not. He was just being irrational. He has deceived himself with mixing obviously different things. If he can just do an honest inquiry into this reasoning anomaly, he can surely find out what is religion and what is science and what their basic differences are. Religion oftentimes, and this is specially true to the Christian religion with which he is subscribed to, will ignore science if that is what's needed in order to keep its truths. Science on the other hand is concerned about reality and how it operates, (and if I may add just to be in context) REGARDLESS of religious truths. Scientific truths are not absolute and may one day be overturned by new discoveries. They operate quite differently when it comes to finding out the truth. For example, many truths in Christianity usually come from some near absolute if not absolute source of authority like the pope or the bible while truths in science doesn't hold such authorities to high esteem. What is important in science is that these hypotheses be testable/verifiable and falsifiable. So it may be that this indifference of science to religious truths is at the bottom of his assertion? And then there is the atheism being a religion. Well as they said, only if being bald is called a hairstyle. This so very cliche now: atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Although there are religions that are atheistic in that they don't have gods (so I heard but I myself don't know), if by religion he meant believing in something, and making this object of belief an object of worship, then atheism having no belief on gods obviously doesn't have anything to function as an object of worship. So he must be saying that instead of god, I believe in science, and am a devout believer of it to the point of worship? Now, "devout" is a religious word that has no place in science and I think this gives him away. He may be wishing that atheists in general must believe in something in place of their gods, in my case I am devout about atheism or science, only to reassure himself that we, despite of the opposing position about god, are actually in the same boat. That atheists are religionists too. No, sir. Thank you. My atheism is about being free from your religion (of Christianity). I don't wish to replace it with another crap.


Danny Boy, FCD said...

I recognize the argument. Ask him to provide a definition of religion. I'd bet that he'll make it too broad that it could accept atheism, but it would also accept stamp collecting, bowling, or American Idol as religions. That's the M.O. for these "atheism is a religion" crowd.

Also, it seems like a defeatist argument that it does not actually refute atheism but merely makes it equal to other religions. It's an unacknowledged concession on their part.

KapanaligSaWala said...

Hi Danny, you are spot on. I visited the guy's site and yes his definition has 2 senses. He used a broader definition to fit in evolution into his argument. Under his definition, even my addiction to 80s music becomes a religion.


fountainhead said...

I just want to comment with regards your statement" atheism is not religion nor is science"

To me, both religion and science founded on philosophy. In words, the foundation of science is philosphy. The same with religion, the foundation is philosophy. Now, how about atheism. Where does atheism founded? What is the foundation of atheism? Since as you stated that it is not religion or science, then what is it? What is the philosophyt behind atheism.

To me, the foundation of science is the philosophy of reason (objectivism). While religion the philosophical foundation is faith.

Now what to you is the foundation of atheism?

KapanaligSaWala said...

I more complete sentence is:

"atheism is not religion
nor is science a religion"

The context is that somebody asserted that atheism is actually science itself and further, that it's a religion by definition. I had to separate first atheism and science because they are not one and the same. (Only somebody being ignorant can say such a thing.) I need not explain why science is not a religion. Now on atheism, it's not a religion but the absence of religion.

As for your question on the foundation of atheism, to put it in one word, it should be non-faith. I don't think that's a philosophy in itself but if you are looking for a philosophical justification of atheism, please check some excellent books on atheism such as George Smith's Atheism: The Case Against God. Or to put it in my own word in the simplest term I can come up with, it's holding religious faith or revelation to a limited number of people are insufficient grounds to believe in the existence of god/gods.

Anonymous said...

I was just writing on some of the erroneous statements I hear in regards to atheism, that it is like a religion is a big one. Once I have it boiled down, it usually amounts to "if you organize in an atheist group, that is like a religion". I just point out that organization is not particularly religion, as in knitting circles, punk rock bands, etc...

Aizabella^ said...

My humble opinion...

Technically a religion has elements of "God", "Worship", "Followers" and an organized church. But with Atheism, it is a GODLESS belief. So an Atheist is not worshiping any divinity. Hence, Atheism is NOT a religion cause it lacks the elements of God, worship, and organized church. Laws, and facts based on science are used as tools to explain why God doesn't exist. But that does NOT mean that Atheists worship Science. Atheists have other bases to assert the non-existence of an all powerful God. Like Theories of Evil, Morality, Logic etc. Though there are beliefs that can be considered Atheistic like Buddhism... if you take Buddhism as a "Philosophy" or a way of life,and NOT a religion, then it's Atheistic. Cos they don't worship God. (Though there are various types of Buddhism that may worship Gautama Buddha).

Have a nice day!

KapanaligSaWala said...

hi sunnyskeptic, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Aizabela, you should explore the idea that atheism is the lack of belief rather than it's a godless belief. it offers new vista on the true nature of atheism. thanks for dropping by.