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Tags atheism , court decisions , religion

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Old 22nd August 2005, 07:18 AM   #1
Richard G
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Court rules atheism a religion

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/ar...TICLE_ID=45874
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Old 22nd August 2005, 07:32 AM   #2
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Re: Court rules atheism a religion

Quote:
hi long time no see

this would appear to be the appeal to authority logical fallacy
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Old 22nd August 2005, 07:33 AM   #3
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Re: Court rules atheism a religion

I see, so your point is that American law has a rather ridiculous view of what religion is.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 07:56 AM   #4
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According to Dictionary.com, atheism could be considered a religion (see definition 4). But then so could just about anything, and one could easily belong to multiple religions. In fact, I'm not sure what the difference is between "religion" and "hobby" according to that definition. Does that mean that people worship model trains and postage stamps?

Quote:
re·li·gion Audio pronunciation of "religion" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (r-ljn)
n.

1.
  1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
  2. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.
-Bri
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Old 22nd August 2005, 08:01 AM   #5
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Surely the proper ruling would have been that atheism and religion are both philosophies exploring the metaphysical nature of existence, and such philosophies are protected under the First Amendment. "Religion", in the context of the Bill of Rights, doesn't mean "philosophy of existence with a god or gods", it refers to a broader system of beliefs, which could include gods or not.

But I guess I'll never make the Supreme Court with that kind of crazy thinking.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 08:25 AM   #6
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Atheism is not an outlook on life; it cannot be considered a "religion" in any meaningful sense of the term. If a large number of people were foolish enough to believe in the existence of pixies, then we would have a term for those of us who do not believe in pixies. Thank God such a word is unnessary. Too bad the same cannot be said for atheism.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 08:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cain
Atheism is not an outlook on life; it cannot be considered a "religion" in any meaningful sense of the term.
Define "religion", then.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 08:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cain
Atheism is not an outlook on life; it cannot be considered a "religion" in any meaningful sense of the term. If a large number of people were foolish enough to believe in the existence of pixies, then we would have a term for those of us who do not believe in pixies. Thank God such a word is unnessary. Too bad the same cannot be said for atheism.
That's why I prefer "non-believer."

AS
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Old 22nd August 2005, 08:32 AM   #9
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I don't see this as particularly silly, given the context. In the context of religous discrimination, if you don't treat atheism as a 'religion', it means it's the only unprotected viewpoint. The court seems to have ruled that in this context, atheism should be protected to the same extent true 'religious' beliefs are, and in this context it needs to be treated equally to how you'd treat other religions.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 08:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by AmateurScientist
That's why I prefer "non-believer."

AS
The trouble with that is, it doesn't refer to what you don't believe in. At least if you are labelled 'atheist', people are likely to make the (generally) correct assumption that you are rejecting religion.

I find it a little too close to the 'unbeliever' accusation used by some theists to mean 'heathen'. But perhaps that's just me
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Old 22nd August 2005, 08:53 AM   #11
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Making sense of atheism

Many terms are grossly misused and abused in public discourse ("capitalism" and "socialism" spring to mind).

I have had a long-standing problem with "atheism" and "agnosticism", mostly because "atheism" sounds oh-so-evil, and agnostics, generally speaking, arrogantly and mistakenly position themselves as holding on to some sort of rational middle-ground.

This is not intended as an exhaustive posting. First, I note the common distinction between "strong" atheism and "weak" (or "negative") atheism. The former holds on to some sort of explicit and unnecessary -- not to mention absurd -- belief that the non-existence of God can be proven. The latter simply holds that there is no reason to believe in any god of any kind. Some of these weak atheists, perhaps even a majority, may believe the evidence supporting a god or gods is so flimsy that one's lack of belief in a deity is on par with one's lack of belief in pink unicorns, dragons, and other mythological three-headed beasts (as in the case of Christian lore).

The distinction between these types of atheism is completely lost on the public. It doesn't help when Internet sophisticates begin championing agnosticism, which they confuse with weak atheism. Agnosticism, properly understood and situated, is in fact a BRANCH of atheism in that agnostics *lack a belief in a god or gods*. Their further idiosyncratic epistemological claims are not substantive in terms of taking sides in the public discussion.

As predicted the "Bright" proposal was a complete failure. It requires too much explanation and it seems to immediately confirm atheist stereotypes ("oh, you're so arrogant"). Reducing the term atheism to its bare parts 'a' -- meaning lacking -- "theism" -- which relates to god(s) -- is too difficult for the public to follow. I therefore label myself a "non-theist".

My non-theism probably fits perfectly with most definitions of "weak atheism" but doesn't carry all the baggage, or require subtle distinctions to separate myself from splinter groups.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 09:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bri
According to Dictionary.com, atheism could be considered a religion (see definition 4). But then so could just about anything, and one could easily belong to multiple religions. In fact, I'm not sure what the difference is between "religion" and "hobby" according to that definition. Does that mean that people worship model trains and postage stamps?
They worship Elvis don't they?
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Old 22nd August 2005, 09:15 AM   #13
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I also call myself a nontheist instead of an atheist for exactly the same reasons that Cain described above.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 09:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cain
Thank God such a word is unnessary. Too bad the same cannot be said for atheism.
Interesting choice of words.

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Old 22nd August 2005, 09:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by bmillsap
I don't see this as particularly silly, given the context. In the context of religous discrimination, if you don't treat atheism as a 'religion', it means it's the only unprotected viewpoint. The court seems to have ruled that in this context, atheism should be protected to the same extent true 'religious' beliefs are, and in this context it needs to be treated equally to how you'd treat other religions.
We're getting closer. Since it is a viewpoint and, entails the word belief.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 09:22 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by bmillsap
I don't see this as particularly silly, given the context. In the context of religous discrimination, if you don't treat atheism as a 'religion', it means it's the only unprotected viewpoint. The court seems to have ruled that in this context, atheism should be protected to the same extent true 'religious' beliefs are, and in this context it needs to be treated equally to how you'd treat other religions.
Perhaps the word "religion" in the law should be changed to "belief" or "viewpoint" rather than redefining "atheism."

-Bri
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Old 22nd August 2005, 09:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by bmillsap
I don't see this as particularly silly, given the context. In the context of religous discrimination, if you don't treat atheism as a 'religion', it means it's the only unprotected viewpoint. The court seems to have ruled that in this context, atheism should be protected to the same extent true 'religious' beliefs are, and in this context it needs to be treated equally to how you'd treat other religions.
Quite so. The law is an ass, but it's good to have.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 09:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by AmateurScientist
That's why I prefer "non-believer."

AS
So, I could be a "non-believer" in all but the one True God ... which, is Atheism. Or, at least to the extent that this is what "floats my boat" and makes my little world spin around.

Oh, in case anybody didn't know, the god of light and reason was Apollo.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 09:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by tkingdoll
The trouble with that is, it doesn't refer to what you don't believe in. At least if you are labelled 'atheist', people are likely to make the (generally) correct assumption that you are rejecting religion.
No, you are merely rejecting the most common notions of religion.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 09:57 AM   #20
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Speaking from a non-USA perspective, this doesn’t seem too far out of line with the way the European Court of Human Rights interprets religious freedom. The protection offered by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of thought, conscience and religion – and the freedom to choose, change, observe, manifest and teach one’s beliefs) has been held to extend to atheism.

Here in the UK, we also have continuing legal difficulties with defining what is, or is not, a “religion”. As an example of what I mean, the following “definition” of religion is offered in recent legislation prohibiting workplace discrimination on grounds of “religion or belief":

“In these Regulations, "religion or belief" means any religion, religious belief, or similar philosophical belief.”

The regulatory guidance states that

"This does not include any philosophical or political belief, unless that belief is similar ro a religious belief"

Hhhm. Clear, everyone??

The government’s guidance further states:

“Given the wide variety of different faiths and beliefs in this country, we have reached the view that we should not attempt to define “religion or belief” and that it would be better to leave it to the courts to resolve definitional issues as they arise.”

A wonderful piece of legislative buck-passing!
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Old 22nd August 2005, 10:32 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nohm_Sane
I also call myself a nontheist instead of an atheist for exactly the same reasons that Cain described above.
I think even "-theist" might be stretching it when it comes to getting the average person to understand. When it comes up, I just say I'm not religious (or sometimes superstitious, if I want to rile them up ).

Jeremy
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Old 22nd August 2005, 11:10 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Iacchus
No, you are merely rejecting the most common notions of religion.
OK, let me rephrase that then:

At least if I am labelled 'atheist', people are likely to make the (generally) correct assumption that I am rejecting religion.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 11:22 AM   #23
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Can anyone actually come up with a case number or anything similar for this? The only references I found to the case were on worldnetdaily and christianunderground.com.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 11:35 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by tkingdoll
OK, let me rephrase that then:

At least if I am labelled 'atheist', people are likely to make the (generally) correct assumption that I am rejecting religion.
So, do Atheists have faith in their "lack of belief" in God?
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Old 22nd August 2005, 12:14 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Iacchus
So, do Atheists have faith in their "lack of belief" in God?
You may have missed my point. I rephrased my original statement so it referred only to me and not to atheists in general, as I realised it may have looked like I was representing others.

I cannot answer your question as I do not know what atheists do or do not think, but speaking for myself only, my lack of belief in God is precisely that, an absence.

If you would define what you mean by 'faith', I can tell you whether or not that applies to my lack of belief in God.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 12:17 PM   #26
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Secular humanism has been considered by law to be a religion since 1961.


Quote:
"Up is down, and atheism, the antithesis of religion, is religion," said Fahling.
LOL, I almost feel sorry for them.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 12:28 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by tkingdoll
You may have missed my point. I rephrased my original statement so it referred only to me and not to atheists in general, as I realised it may have looked like I was representing others.

I cannot answer your question as I do not know what atheists do or do not think, but speaking for myself only, my lack of belief in God is precisely that, an absence.

If you would define what you mean by 'faith', I can tell you whether or not that applies to my lack of belief in God.
The thing is, if God does exist which, according to "most" Atheists has yet to be proven, one way or the other, what else is there to rely upon, except faith? In other words, unless you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that God does "not" exist, it must become an article of faith.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 12:40 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kopji
Secular humanism has been considered by law to be a religion since 1961.

Quote:
"Up is down, and atheism, the antithesis of religion, is religion," said Fahling.
LOL, I almost feel sorry for them.
Provided of course that true objectivity is possible ... which it's not.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 03:15 PM   #29
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If a corporation can be a "person in law", atheism can be a "religion in law".
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Old 22nd August 2005, 04:11 PM   #30
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And along that line of thinking, the tomato is a vegetable, and so is ketchup.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 06:11 PM   #31
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Re: Court rules atheism a religion

Quote:
Observations:
1. Despite some assertion that the above indicates "appeal-to-authority"-logical-fallacy. It happened. It was judged and recorded in law and thus in history that "Atheism is a Religion".

2. Until another court rulings conclude with a "Atheism is NOT a Religion", this case shall be an often cited evidence to conclude that "Atheism is Religion".

3. The dictionary meaning and definition of "Religion" will change.I figured this judgement shall be a key reference to dictionary maker.

4. After a while, Religion will be considered faith.
People who assert that "Religion must worship a God" will be seen ignorance fools. Who blind themselves from an authoritive court rulings. If they continue to assert that "Religion must worship God", they will be accused of playing with semantics.

5. White can become Black.
In this case, Atheism became religion.

There is no logic, there is no right or wrong, no good or evil,
just power and those who seek it.

Sad but true. Truth hurts.
To be able to see the "cruelty" of truth hurts the most.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 06:33 PM   #32
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The line of argument I'm most afraid of is this:

1. The government should not promote religion
2. Atheism is a religion
3. By refusing to invoke religion, the government promotes atheism -- thereby promoting religion anyway.
4. Since the government cannot avoid promoting a religion, it might as well be the most popular one. Let's vote on an official religion!
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Old 22nd August 2005, 06:34 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by c4ts
And along that line of thinking, the tomato is a vegetable, and so is ketchup.
Actually, there was a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the 1920s or 30s that tomatoes are fruits. I don't care to find the cite at the moment.

AS
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Old 22nd August 2005, 06:44 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by c4ts
And along that line of thinking, the tomato is a vegetable, and so is ketchup.
Coffee is made of beans, that makes coffee a vegetable too.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 06:52 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by AmateurScientist
Actually, there was a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the 1920s or 30s that tomatoes are fruits. I don't care to find the cite at the moment.

AS
I agree...and only have my studies in landscaping many years ago where that was a bonus question, I too forget where to find the reference.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 06:53 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by AmateurScientist
Actually, there was a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the 1920s or 30s that tomatoes are fruits. I don't care to find the cite at the moment.

AS
It's funny how people need 'Supreme Court rulings' before they'll believe obvious things.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 07:16 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by AmateurScientist
Actually, there was a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the 1920s or 30s that tomatoes are fruits. I don't care to find the cite at the moment.

AS
It was overturned in the Regan era, I think, so that ketchup could count as a vegetable served to kids at public schools.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 07:55 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by Taffer
It's funny how people need 'Supreme Court rulings' before they'll believe obvious things.
The actual case was before 1900, and the official finding was that a tomato is a vegetable. This was done to protect tomato growers because there were no tarrifs in imported fruits, but there were terrifs in imported vegetables.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 09:50 PM   #39
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I think an atheist organization should try and milk this by claiming tax exemption status on the basis that they are a religion.
Me thinks that atheism won't be considered a religion for very long after that.
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Old 22nd August 2005, 10:32 PM   #40
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Shoot. I was hoping for tax-exempt status just for doing nothing.
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