Monday, 27 December 2010

Atheism, even The New Atheism, is NOT a Religion.

Regarding the claim that fanatical atheism is a religion, that's just bad usage of english/abuse of english. Religion requires more than fanaticism; they're not synonyms.... Religion also requires a belief in a superior non-physical power (God/Karma/Tao), which is attributed with meting out cosmic justice, creating the cosmos, intervening in the cosmos, plus the having of rituals and sacraments, sacred texts, places of common worship, priests, a mythos, unquestioning faith. Using the word "Religion" to describe, for example, sports fanaticism, is really just a _metaphor_. Taking the meaning of religion seriously in attributing religiosity to sports fanaticism is as silly as taking it seriously when you say that "such and such politician is a snake". We know perfectly well that politicians are not literally _squamata_ even though they share many characteristics in common (deceptiveness, soulless eyes, etc). _All_ the required characterstics have to be present. So, atheism has in common with religion only fanaticism - and that is true only of Dawkins' New Atheism; it's not true of say, David Hume. Atheism, even the New Atheism, does not have a belief in a superior power, nor any sacraments, sacred texts, places of common worship, mythos, faith, etc. A priest is someone who promulgates the practices and mythos of a religion; so, since Atheism has none of those, Dawkins doesn't count as a priest. He's merely an advocate of the scientific method, or at best a fanatic about the scientific method. So let's not abuse English like the Baptists do, please.

Most importantly, there's nothing in atheism that requires faith; its precise point is that it requires you to take NOTHING on faith. This ridiculous claim - that atheism is a faith - is made by the devout in their ignorant discussions of atheism, and it completely misunderstands the point. They think that being excited about a point of view constitutes a religion, because in their dim minds, there's nothing required more than being excited and clapping ones hands.

I realise that simpletons that follow the world's religions do tend to take everything literally, and I am sure they also literally believe that Jesus existed, Santa exists, toothfairies exist, etc., but you know, not everyone takes everything literally. So please stop saying that atheism is a religion: it's not. It lacks sufficient properties to be a religion. 

It seems to me that the argument that "atheism is also a religion" is a postmodernist or sociologist argument. It argues that the New Atheism is a religion because it functions like a religion because it:

a) has favoured texts, such as Origin of Species and The God Delusion (Bible)
b) has chief advocates, such as Dawkins, Harris et al (Pope)
c) brings people together with a common belief and purpose (Church)
d) attacks opposing beliefs (Persecutes)

That's all very well, but even then, the New Atheism is a closer analogue with political movements. For all that, you may as well claim that Communism is a religion or the French Revolution is a religion, because all the above are true of Communism and the French Revolution.

Let's not muck with English. New Atheism just isn't a religion. It's a sociological movement, like suffragettism, the hippie movement, communism, fascism, democracy, egalitarianism, etc etc.

What we're really witnessing with the New Atheism is a backlash against the final abuses of religion. We're in the throes of a new Reformation. Just as the Islamic world has gone thru a Reformation and split into Sunni/Shiite, like the West split Catholic/Protestant, we're now entering the new phase where the conflict is Belief/Nonbelief. And if Marx is right, a new result of the competition between antithesis and thesis, will be a new synthesis.

What that new synthesis will be, who knows? Maybe esoterica? Maybe pantheism?

watch out for predatory journals

Consider the 'Journal of Business and Economics.' This journal does not appear on the DHET accredited journals list (http://libguide...