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David R: This site is SUPPOSED to be for Conservatives and Christians (says so right on the front page). Why are you lumping the One True Faith in with all the false religions? --Fullmetajacket 23:46, 10 March 2007 (EST)

Because for every one Christian who says their faith is the "right" one, there will be one Muslim, one Jew, one Sikh, on Animist, one Hindu, one Buddhist, one Scientologist, etc. to disagree. --Hojimachongtalk 01:17, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

Definition of Religion is inconsistent with dictionary definition. Added and cited. --Dikaiosune 12:13 am (CST) 19 March 2007

As a minor point of information, it seems likely to me that neither a Buddhist nor a Scientologist would describe their knowledge of their respective applied religious philosophies to be a "faith", a "true faith" or even an important "faith" Terryeo 01:23, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
Regardless, the comments of Fullmetajacket were out of line, and may well be sarcastic. --Hojimachongtalk 01:31, 19 March 2007 (EDT)


Actually, I think his spelling was correct. How do we go about handling this dispute? Is there a procedure? Bohdan

I'm assuming that "his" is a reference to Luke314 and that you are alluding to my reversion of his edit with the comment "Spelling was correct".
If so, I'd agree that his spelling was correct, and point out that I never said that it wasn't. What I said was that the previous spelling was correct, implying that there was therefore no need to change it. Can you figure the rest out from there?
Philip J. Rayment 05:08, 22 August 2007 (EDT)


i don't think buddhism can reasonably be described as pantheistic -- it is, for all intents and purposes, non-theistic ... Ungtss 10:26, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

When I categorised that list, I put an edit comment of "please check and correct". Please do. I included it under pantheism because I believe that Hinduism is pantheism, and Buddhism is an offshoot of Hinduism, but for no better reason than that. Philip J. Rayment 10:30, 22 August 2007 (EDT)
Will do, sir -- just started on the talk-page to avoid stomping any unforeseen toes:). Ungtss 11:13, 22 August 2007 (EDT)
I have several pairs of steel-capped boots! :-) Philip J. Rayment 23:39, 22 August 2007 (EDT)
Aussies with steel-capped boots are not to be messed with:). Ungtss 09:37, 23 August 2007 (EDT)
Hmmm, now there's a good example of something being read in the opposite way to what it was meant! Philip J. Rayment 10:50, 23 August 2007 (EDT)
heh heh heh :) ... Dirty lawyers, always twisting words around :) Ungtss 14:13, 23 August 2007 (EDT)

Merrian-Webster and Definitons.[edit]

The previous version focussed mainly on the 4th and last definition in M-W of religion. I added the two main meanings of the word "religion" according to M-W, and reorganized the rest accordingly. Order 04:33, 8 September 2007 (EDT)

Definition and implications[edit]

Going from

Religion refers to a set of core beliefs upon which people base their lives.

I would first suggest to modify this to be a system of beliefs upon which peo

Religion is the system of beliefs regarding morals, afterlife, or the supernatural which strongly influence a person's actions.

From this definition one can exclude atheism as a religion because the beliefs (or disbeliefs) do not come into mind when thinking about a choice. There is no 'WWJD' that goes through an atheist's mind (or 'WWBD', or any other deity/incarnation). The same would be true for agnosticism.

On the flip side, this would make secular humanism and other moral systems candidate as a religion.

Additionally, Satanism as defined in Church of Satan is not a joke nor a parody anymore so than wicca is. The definitions and beliefs described there show a different approach than wicca to natural power and magic, but it is honestly believed by some. --Rutm 11:19, 8 September 2007 (EDT)

I don't know the Church of Satan that much, but it struck me simple as an anti-church, with "anti" in its adolescent meaning. If it is an actual religion, feel free to move it to monotheism, or what ever category seems most suitable. But I wouldn't put it it there if it is just a joke which is taken too seriously by people outside of this cult, say their parents, because it refers to satanism. In that case they would have achieved their goal of upsetting their parents. Order 22:11, 8 September 2007 (EDT)
I took a brief look at the official Church of Satan website. It is as much a religion as a Motorhead fan club, or the Hells Angles. Even the CP article sates that it has nothing to do with actual Satanism. Even it it is not funny it should be classified, if at all as parody. Order 22:19, 8 September 2007 (EDT)
I'm inclined to think that "morals, afterlife, or the supernatural" restricts the meaning too much, although I'm not sure. What does "core beliefs" cover that are not covered in those?
Even by your definition, you can't exclude Atheism, because Atheism has a belief about the supernatural (that it doesn't exist), and their choices are based on this. If they think that there is no God to Whom they are answerable, they will make different choices than a Christian who believes that there is a God to Whom they are answerable. And of course the same applies for agnosticism. In fact, it is this point that makes agnosticism so similar to Atheism—the fact that their respective beliefs (no God vs. not knowing if there's a God) generally have the same outcome—that God is not a factor in their decisions.
Philip J. Rayment 14:21, 8 September 2007 (EDT)
The word religion has a few different meanings. And most definitions in MW refer to beliefs in the divine and the supernatural. And only one definition refers to the broader meaning as a set of core beliefs. That is a useful distinction, and we should make it too. There is a difference between the Roman Catholic Church, and a bunch of person who have no belief and don't quite care, as many agnostics or "no-religion" people do. And in the article, and I tried to do this, I tried to make the distinction between actual religions, like the once included ARDA overview, and philosophies and systems of beliefs such as secular humanism. Order 22:11, 8 September 2007 (EDT)
Personally I'm not a big fan of the broad brush stroke used to paint the religion picture. By the definitions given, being pro-abortion could be considered to be a religion. I feel, personally, we should have stuck to the primary definition. Religion should have something to do with belief in God (gods) or the supernatural. Learn together 15:18, 10 September 2007 (EDT)
The question of disbelief in the supernatural for an atheist does not enter his or her mind when making a choice. There is no WWJD thought that happens to an atheist, and thus that disbelief does not strongly influence his or her thoughts - there is no "because I am an atheist, the right thing to do is this." If the person is a secular humanist, then there is something - but not all atheists are secular humanists. Thus, with this definition, atheism and agnosticism are not religions while Buddhism (being debated elsewhere as a philosophy or not) is. --Rutm 15:32, 10 September 2007 (EDT)
I've been a Christian for over 40 years, and I virtually never have a "WWJD thought". It's simply not something that I consciously do, but nevertheless, my decisions are based on my worldview that is based on the Bible. Similarly, atheists will not consciously think, "what is right for an atheist", but nevertheless, just as with a Christian, his decisions are going to be based on his atheistic worldview. Is an atheist going to think, "I better not tell a lie, because God will be know that I've lied"? Of course not—as an atheist he's not going to think that way. He's not going to think that way because he is an atheist. That is, his atheism affects his thinking, just as surely as the Bible will affect a Christian's thinking. Atheism is a "core belief" upon which an Atheist bases his life. Thus Atheism is a religion, by that definition. Philip J. Rayment 23:33, 10 September 2007 (EDT)
Just like there are no people who are just "theists" and nothing else, there are no "atheists" that are only atheists. Christians don't base their actions, explicitly or implicitly, on the assumption that there exist "a god", but on their belief in a "particular God", the holy trinity. Likewise, no atheists bases his actions merely on the belief that there is no god. Some base their actions on the notion of a social contract, some on humanism, others on hedonism, existentialism, nihilism, scientism, or their own home brew of philosophy. This is also a reason why it is problematic to label "atheism" as a religion, because other than their disbelief, they have very little in common. Order 23:45, 10 September 2007 (EDT)
I agree with you. Learn together 01:48, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
I don't. I agree that Atheism is not "a religion" in the sense that theism is not "a religion"; both are categories, if you like, of religious beliefs. But just as theism is a category of religions, so is atheism. But see a following post of mine, below.
Sure, I base my actions on my particular views about Who God is. And Atheists will base their actions on their particular views. But the fact remains that those views are views about the non-existence of God. As such, their actions are based on their Atheistic beliefs just as mine are based on my theistic beliefs.
Philip J. Rayment 08:46, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
so you'd argue that theism isn't a religion either but rather a tenet of several religions? Interesting ... Would you call secular humanism a religion? Ungtss 00:18, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
I agree with Order. Atheism is lack of religion, not religion. Secular humanism, likewise, is a philosophy that operates outside of religion. When we blur the distinction, religion, or what it means to have a religion, becomes watered down as to be any closely held belief from which someone derives a worldview. So Communism becomes a religion, Freudian psychology becomes a religion, etc. I believe any definition of religion that allows that is missing the mark. Learn together 01:48, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
In what way is it "missing the mark"? One problem with your argument is that it seems to assume that "religion" is, in and of itself, something good. But to the extent that each religion disagrees with each other, there can be at most only one "good" (i.e. correct) religion. So each incorrect "religion" is no better, and arguably worse (Revelation 3:16 ), than atheism.
Furthermore, by defining Atheism as not being a religious view, Atheists can have their views taught in American schools where "religion" is not allowed. How's that for favoured treatment?! Define everyone else's view—but not your own—as "religion", then disallow "religion" from being taught in schools! Brilliant!
Philip J. Rayment 08:46, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
You could call secular humanism a religion. I'd feel it is a bit of a stretch, but they do have core beliefs, and are not too far from Buddhism, which is typically called religion. But that why we should distinguish between "real" religions, and "philosophies of life" that you might call "religion". Atheism isn't even a philosophy of life. And a real religion is typically more than just a philosophy of life. Order 02:16, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
But again, it comes back to the definitions. The fact is that there are several definitions of the word. It's also a fact that Atheism is not a religion according to one or more of those definitions. But I don't agree that it's a fact that Atheism does not fit any of the definitions. So I maintain that Atheism is a religious view by at least one of those definitions.
And the point of all this? Atheists frequently lump all "religions" together (i.e. anything other than atheism or its variants) as somehow "different" to Atheism. Yet, as I explained above, both are core beliefs on which our actions are based. Atheism is not qualitatively "better" than religion simply because it's atheistic, yet that's the way they very frequently seem to argue. The very argument here, that theists base their actions on their particular theistic beliefs whilst atheists don't, is a case in point.
Philip J. Rayment 08:46, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
Just because some lump everything together, doesn't mean that we have to do it. Sure you could call atheism and agnosticism religion, under a very broad definition. And a core belief doesn't make a religion, although the word 'religious' is sometimes used to refer to groups with a core belief. The member of a Harley Davidson have to core belief that Harleys are the best motorbikes, Steeler fans believe that the Steelers are maybe not the best but the greatest team, environmentalists base their actions on the belief that the earth warms up, and weight watchers have the core belief that you should eat three servings of fruit a day. But an actual religion is more than that, and ideally matches a few of the definitions, not just one if we stretch the definition. It is a good start to distinguish between the different kind the use of the word "religion" and "religious". Order 19:48, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
And just because some don't count atheistic views as religions doesn't mean that we have to go along with that. If a core belief doesn't make a religion, what does? And why? Some bikies might believe that Harleys are the best motorbikes, but how does that count as a "core belief"? The same applies to most of the other examples. Environmentalists don't base their actions on the belief that the Earth warms up, but on the belief that the environment is more important that mankind. (Before global warming was an issue, there were still environmentalists.) And I've seen environmentalist beliefs referred to as a religion. Yes, true religion is more than those superficial examples that you gave, which is why the definition refers to "core beliefs" and not just "beliefs". Philip J. Rayment 09:50, 16 September 2007 (EDT)

Atheism a religion?[edit]

You have called atheism a religion in this article. It is almost like calling health a disease or baldness a hair colour.

I am non religious, which I consider to be free from any religious affiliation. Do you consider this to be a religion?

thanks --Maayan 11:43, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

Do your beliefs fit any of the definitions? I note that you criticise the claim, but don't actually explain how the rationale is wrong. Philip J. Rayment 22:26, 13 April 2008 (EDT)
The article has classified atheism among non-theistic religions and philosophies. Read the headline next time. And as for "calling health a disease," I'd say that somebody has that backwards.--TerryHTalk 10:44, 12 June 2008 (EDT)