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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Atheism == Ø?

Found an excellent comment at the JREF Archives. An anonymous submitter writes:
I saw a quote I like, to rebuke the assertion that atheism is just another religion:
"Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby"
It reminds me of something a friend said to me recently: [approx]
Religions are like a set of beliefs, so atheism is just an empty set, but it's still a belief system so it's fundamentally no better.
I guess I can see why atheism seems hypocritical from that point of view, but it seems like an excuse to be dismissive rather than a genuine observation. Consider an analogous [hypothetical] argument:
Faith-healing and medical science are both ways to heal people, so neither approach to healing is fundamentally better.
My point is that if two ideas are related then, well, they're related, and reducing things to the point where they have something in common is not a meaningful observation.

Deep down I'm sure Christians don't equate their religion with Scientology on any meaningful level—they probably view Scientology as a fraud, like most people do; well, atheists tend to look at all religion in a similar light, so who's being hypocritical?

Update: Turns out Majikthise has a related post.


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