Atheism as Religion

Atheism as Religion - Adam Lawrence Final Paper...

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Adam Lawrence Final Paper Anthropology of Religion March 19, 2008 Atheism as Religion and Spirituality Atheism, the fundamental principle of denying the existence of a god CITATION Ric06 \p 225 \l 1033 , is often thought of being devoid of religion . When atheists are asked what religion they follow, they often reply, “atheism,” I believe that this is not a mere coincidence or simply an easy way around a sometimes difficult religion . Atheists much like theists have religion and spirituality. The difference is that there religion is not centered around a divine being (or beings) . I will articulate within this paper, a short history of atheism, the meaning of atheism, the religion of atheism (including notable atheists), and the spirituality of atheism . It is my belief that atheism provides a foundation for understanding and interpreting life . Many make the argument that religion provides a moral framework for living in a civilized society and in the absence of religion people would be immoral, this is also wrong, atheism has a framework of morality that helps to govern the actions of its practitioners . Atheism is defined as both a religious theory and an intellectual theory . Atheism literally means “a” without and “theism” meaning god, so it means without god (Encarta) . Atheism can trace its’ root back to the origins of modern western CITATION Ric06 \p 225 \l 1033
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philosophy . Through the writings of Plato it is possible to surmise that Socrates was a non-believer. From there it is possible to trace atheism through the middle age philosophies of skepticism and naturalism . These two ideas invoke notions of the agonistic (doubt about the existence god) belief . It is furthermore important to distinguish atheism from pantheism—the idea that the universe and god are one in the same and therefore cannot be separated (Stanford University) . Defining exactly what atheism is as a complex process . Everyone who is non religious tends to have a slightly different definition of what atheism is. The classification of atheists is something that remains a bit of a challenge today . Fortunately, John Reid wrote a handy text, The Anatomy of atheism this text is design solely to help classify atheists . Reid believes that atheism can be classified into three different religious subsets as well as two intellectual groups . The different subsets of atheists are grouped according to non belief (or belief in atheism) level . The first level is the Practical atheist this is a person who may participate in ecclesiastical religion but fails to believe in it . He may think of himself as a believer, a religious man, and may even adhere verbally to certain religious [Godly] principles, or be counted a member of some denomination . He may, in fact, be a catholic in juridical and theological sense, but he is, nevertheless, an atheist because for him God has no real meaning . God simply does not enter into his daily considerations and concerns.
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This note was uploaded on 05/29/2008 for the course ANTH 120 taught by Professor Phinney during the Winter '07 term at Seattle University.

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Atheism as Religion - Adam Lawrence Final Paper...

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