The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum (Archive Board)
July 09, 2020, 12:37:40 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: This is our Read Only Archive Board (closed to posting July 2011). Join our new vBulletin board!
 
  Portal   Forum   Help Rules Search Chat (Mux) Articles Login Register   *

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 09, 2020, 12:37:40 am

Login with username, password and session length
Donate!
The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.
TC Staff
Important Information about this Archive Board
This message board is The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum's SMF Archive Board. It is closed to new memberships and to posting, but there are over 250,000 messages here that you can still search and read -- many full of interesting and useful information. (This board was open from February 2007 through June 2011).

Our new vBulletin discussion board is located at http://www.ecauldron.com/forum/ -- if you would like to participate in discussions like those you see here, please visit our new vBulletin message board, register an account and join in our discussions. We hope you will find the information in this message archive useful and will consider joining us on our new board.
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 6   Go Down
  Add bookmark  |  Print  
Author Topic: Atheism: A religion?  (Read 17562 times)
treekisser
Adept Member
*****
Last Login:July 30, 2011, 05:18:30 pm
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Religion: Bajoran
Posts: 1200


Blog entries (0)



Ignore
« Reply #21: January 11, 2009, 06:17:23 pm »

I suppose the question is "what in the various differences is substantive, and why should it be considered a meaningful point of differentiation between these things (e.g. atheism, capitalism) and a religion?".

This would require a definition of religion, which is the tricky bit.  Cheesy

I'm inclined towards a Wittgensteinian attitude towards definitions in general, and religion is no exception. I do think there are both substantive and structural markers of a religion -- substantive markers include, for example, theism of some sort, devotionalism, an idea of some sort of right conduct in life, etc. while structural markers include, for example, holy texts, places of worship, a clerical institution, etc. Hence Theravada Buddhism in general would qualify as a religion despite being relatively atheistic, because it ticks many other definitional boxes.

There are both substantive and structural differences between religion (in general) and capitalism and atheism (in general). (I note in general because, following a Wittgensteinian attitude to definitions means that it's possible to conceive of belief systems on the cusp of each category, such as a religion that prioritises capitalist acquisition as a means to salvation.)

A substantive difference between capitalism and religion would be, for example, an exclusively materialistic focus in the former compared to the metaphysical emphasis of the latter. This substantive difference reflects itself in structural differences, so that capitalism has places of commerce but religion has places of worship, for example. (This example also highlights how both are interlinked; it's primarily because of substantive differences that we can tell places of commerce apart from places of worship.)

Similarly, while structurally you could say atheism and religion were similar in having 'congregations' or 'temples' or 'a position on the existence of a god', it's generally a metaphor that's only sustainable as long as you ignore substantive differences. The big one being that, while it's true atheism and most religions share something in common in having a position on the existence of god, this structural similarity shouldn't obscure the substantive difference that those positions are often diametric opposites. And of course, atheism in general not only lacks but often directly opposes other substantive markers of religion such as devotionalism.

To this you could object that atheist 'congregations' and 'temples' have functional similarities to a religious congregation or temple, e.g. being a place to meet people of like mind about religion, psychologically bolster belief in a doctrine, etc. But this again dismisses the substantive differences, namely that atheists of like mind will still be quite unlike religious believers, or that the doctrine in atheism is opposed to the doctrine in most religions, etc.

Is there a reason to emphasise the substantive differences between religion and capitalism/atheism, or that the substantive differences should influence the way we look at any structural or functional similarities? Yes, I think so, and the reason is that religion, capitalism, and atheism are belief systems. Beliefs are primarily distinguished by their content or substance, so ultimately differentiating belief systems rests more on substantive rather than other kinds of analysis. If we were looking at different kinds of living room furniture, for example, a functional analysis might be more dominant, simply because the way you tell chairs and tables apart is seldom by the substance they're made of, but what they're used for.

Of course, YMMV.  Wink

EDIT: P.S. I don't have any real grounding in these matters so I have no idea what a philosopher of religion, for example, would say. Just my two cents.
Logged

'Whatever such a mind sees is a flower, and whatever such a mind dreams of is the moon.' - Basho

Welcome, Guest!
You will need to register and/or login to participate in our discussions.

Read our Rules and Policies and the Quoting Guidelines.

Help Fund Our Server? Donate to Lyricfox's Cancer Fund?

Tags:
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 6   Go Up
  Add bookmark  |  Print  
 
Jump to:  
  Portal   Forum   Help Rules Search Chat (Mux) Articles Login Register   *

* Share this topic...
In a forum
(BBCode)
In a site/blog
(HTML)


Related Topics
Subject Started by Replies Views Last post
Defining Atheism and Atheist Beliefs « 1 2 »
Philosophy and Metaphysics
Journey 15 5800 Last post December 28, 2007, 05:37:18 am
by Star
Is this atheism? « 1 2 »
Paganism For Beginners
Selegna 18 5094 Last post January 31, 2009, 06:48:57 pm
by BGMarc
Nature reverence and Atheism? « 1 2 »
Paganism For Beginners
Ryan 18 6618 Last post October 17, 2009, 04:15:22 pm
by desval3
Atheism does not exist or atheism redefined « 1 2 ... 26 27 »
Philosophy and Metaphysics
Lykos 397 49865 Last post October 22, 2009, 06:08:46 pm
by Darkhawk
Atheism and witchcraft
Miscellaneous Magical Discussions
Collinsky 10 11495 Last post December 12, 2010, 12:27:10 pm
by Benvarry
EU Cookie Notice: This site uses cookies. By using this site you consent to their use.


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines
TinyPortal v0.9.8 © Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.042 seconds with 36 queries.