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    17 Dec '06 02:31
    It seems that by dictionary definitions this is what I am, along with many other religious people. However, to me it sounds like a contradiction in terms. I think this may be because many people use atheism to mean lack of belief in any religion, rather than lack of belief in God. Any thoughts?
  2. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    17 Dec '06 02:40
    Originally posted by whiterose
    It seems that by dictionary definitions this is what I am, along with many other religious people. However, to me it sounds like a contradiction in terms. I think this may be because many people use atheism to mean lack of belief in any religion, rather than lack of belief in God. Any thoughts?
    So you believe in religion, but not the God that the religion sets out to worship?
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    17 Dec '06 02:46
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    So you believe in religion, but not the God that the religion sets out to worship?
    Not all religions have a god or gods.
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    17 Dec '06 02:47
    Originally posted by Nordlys
    Not all religions have a god or gods.
    Exactly. Hence the dictionary definition of atheist as not believing in God, rather than religion.
  5. The sky
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    17 Dec '06 02:51
    Originally posted by whiterose
    the dictionary definition of atheist as not believing in God
    or a god, or several gods.
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    17 Dec '06 02:56
    So maybe we need a more appropriate term for someone who does not believe in religion.
  7. The sky
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    17 Dec '06 03:02
    Originally posted by whiterose
    So maybe we need a more appropriate term for someone who does not believe in religion.
    Areligious? Or simply not religious?
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    17 Dec '06 03:041 edit
    Originally posted by Nordlys
    Areligious? Or simply not religious?
    Probably better.
    So why do you think people use atheist instead?
    I think it may be because they confuse the word "religion" with the the major world religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, all of which believe in some form of god.
  9. The sky
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    17 Dec '06 03:081 edit
    Originally posted by whiterose
    Probably better.
    So why do you think people use atheist instead?
    Do they? I usually assume that people mean "atheist" (one of the definitions of the word) when they say "atheist", not "not religious". And I usually don't call myself atheistic, but agnostic and not religious (although according to some definitions I would be atheistic, too).
  10. The sky
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    17 Dec '06 03:09
    Originally posted by whiterose
    Probably better.
    So why do you think people use atheist instead?
    I think it may be because they confuse the word "religion" with the the major world religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, all of which believe in some form of god.
    Buddhism is also a major world religion, and not all Buddhists believe in some form of god.
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    17 Dec '06 03:14
    Originally posted by Nordlys
    Do they? I usually assume that people mean "atheist" (one of the definitions of the word) when they say "atheist", not "not religious". And I usually don't call myself atheistic, but agnostic and not religious (although according to some definitions I would be atheistic, too).
    I have seen a lot of people on this sight use "atheist" when intending to mean not religious. I'm not saying that everybody does it, I just think it is a common enough practice for "religious atheist" to sound like a contradiction in terms(and not just to me, as you can see from this thread).
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    17 Dec '06 03:17
    Originally posted by Nordlys
    Buddhism is also a major world religion, and not all Buddhists believe in some form of god.
    I know. They would also be considered religious atheists. Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that those were the only major world religions. Just that they are the ones that many people think of when they think of "religion" and possibly the source of the confusion between "atheists" and "non religious people".
  13. The sky
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    17 Dec '06 03:191 edit
    Originally posted by whiterose
    I have seen a lot of people on this sight use "atheist" when intending to mean not religious. I'm not saying that everybody does it, I just think it is a common enough practice for "religious atheist" to sound like a contradiction in terms(and not just to me, as you can see from this thread).
    You may be right. Another thing I have noticed a lot here is that people very often use "Christian" to mean "Christian fundamentalist". That was quite surprising to me, because the vast majority of Christians I have met outside TFC are not fundamentalists. And some of the fundamentalists may call anyone an atheist who opposes their beliefs (even Christians).

    Edit: And to confuse the issue even more, some of the fundamentalists maintain that they are not religious.
  14. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    17 Dec '06 03:53
    Originally posted by Nordlys
    Not all religions have a god or gods.
    Hmm, yeah, s'pose. Never crossed my mind to think of it that way (in the context of this thread, although, of course, I knew it really).

    Maybe it's calling Buddhism a religion that is really the problem. Buddhism is more of a philosophical construct than a belief in the supernatural, really.
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    17 Dec '06 06:12
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Hmm, yeah, s'pose. Never crossed my mind to think of it that way (in the context of this thread, although, of course, I knew it really).

    Maybe it's calling Buddhism a religion that is really the problem. Buddhism is more of a philosophical construct than a belief in the supernatural, really.
    Well, I suppose I would agree with the Buddhists in that they consider themselves religious because they have faith in something that they cannot prove scientifically, rather than because they have faith in something supernatural. But I suppose the dictionary definition of religion does say "supenatural" so maybe there needs to be a better word for the spiritual beliefs of people like me and the Buddhists.
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