The Instigator
mdc32
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
jcv999
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Atheism is a religion.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
mdc32
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/24/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 619 times Debate No: 63889
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (1)

 

mdc32

Pro

In this debate I will be arguing that atheism is a religion. My opponent, jcv999, will agree to the following rules, definitions, and debate structure.

Rules

- This debate is, partly by nature, partly by my choosing, a semantics debate. Debating the definition of a concept or idea relates to its denotation, but also its connotation. Keep this in mind when voting.
- Ad hominem attacks will not be allowed, as is standard.
- The religion of the myself and my opponent should not be considered, as they have little to do with the debate itself.

Definitions

- Atheism- the doctrine or belief that there is no God; disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings [1].
- Religion- a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects [1].
- God- a supreme being according to some particular conception [1]. (Note: This is not a religious definition of God/god.)

Structure

Round 1: Introduction for Pro, Opening Arguments for Con
Round 2: Opening Arguments for Pro, Rebuttals for Con
Round 3: Rebuttals for Pro, Defense/Conclusion for Con
Round 4: Defense/Conclusion for Pro, FF/empty round for Con

I look forward to a solid debate by both sides.

Sources:

[1] dictionary.com

jcv999

Con

Atheism is not a religion. By definition, a group of people who claim not to believe in any one religion cannot be a religion. According to your definition, atheists do not believe in god(s). The only thing that allows atheists as a whole to be given a common name is the fact that they lack a religious belief to begin with.

Do atheists worship? If so, where and how?

If they do not worship, how can atheism be considered a religion? Even buddhists pray and devote themselves, and they do not believe in a supreme god.

Pro must prove how atheism is a religion even though it lacks many of the important aspects of a religion.
Debate Round No. 1
mdc32

Pro

This round, I will be stating my arguments, as I am not allowed to rebut any of Con's arguments.

Atheism is not anti-religious.
P1) Atheism is a belief that there is no God.
P2) Religion is a set of beliefs practiced by multiple people.
C1) Atheism is a religion.

Nobody can argue that atheists believe that a supreme being is nonexistent, and religion clearly is a common belief of a group of people. Thus, it is rather simple to come to the conclusion that atheism is a religion. I have little else to say about this, as it is pretty hard to address a counter-argument that likely doesn't exist.

Atheism and all religions are mutually exclusive.
One cannot be atheist and Christian at the same time. Likewise, one cannot be atheist and Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or another religion simultaneously. Because of this, one could say that atheism is a religion, because you cannot be a part of both groups at the same time.

Atheism literally means "without God."
The Greek prefix "a-" means "without," like atypical or achromatic. Theos, the Greek root for "god," is clearly evidenced in words such as polytheistic or monotheism. Now, the lack of a god does not discredit the status of a religion. Presence of a god is not required for a religion. In Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, or Buddha, is not a god; however, I doubt many people would argue that Buddhism is not a religion. Similarly, atheism lacks a god or any supreme power in the universe. It can still be a religion, though.

This is a rather short round, as I probably won't have much time tomorrow or Tuesday. However, I believe that my opening points are strong as they stand; I am anxious to rebut Con's points and see his rebuttals of my own.
jcv999

Con

If it is as simple as you say to come to the conclusion that Atheism is a religion, then why isn't this the widely accepted idea? Just because it is the common belief between people is not enough reason to classify it as a religion. If this were true then the Republican party can be defined as a religion. As this is not the case, atheism can be viewed in the same manner. Although it is an idea shared by a large group of people, it is not a religion.

You also state that because it is "mutually exclusive" it must be a religion. If this were the case, then my example of the republican party still holds true. You cannot be officially part of two parties. This is the same idea as only believing in a certain religion.

Atheism is simply the lack of a religious belief. It gives no replacement to a traditional religious belief. Atheism does not have a real set of beliefs, it simply is the idea that religion and God does not exist.
Debate Round No. 2
mdc32

Pro

Rebuttals only this round.

"Atheism is not a religion. By definition, a group of people who claim not to believe in any one religion cannot be a religion."

You were close. Atheists, however, aren't anti-religious. Atheists are against the idea of a god. And by definition (at least the one I have stated), a god is not mandatory for something to be considered a religion.

"The only thing that allows atheists as a whole to be given a common name is the fact that they lack a religious belief to begin with."

The only thing that allows Christians to be given a common name is their belief in the Holy Trinity of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and other general ideas of morality. Of the hundreds and possibly thousands of denominations of Christianity, you would be hard-pressed to find concepts that all of these groups agree with. And like Christianity, atheism has multiple denominations. http://pi.vu... 6 different types of atheists, and there are surely more that aren't mentioned.

"Do atheists worship? If so, where and how?"

No, but by my definition, worshipping is not required for religion.

"If they do not worship, how can atheism be considered a religion? Even buddhists pray and devote themselves, and they do not believe in a supreme god."

Again, worshipping is not essential to religion. I have no example for this, as I don't know each and every religion inside and out, but worship is not crucial to a religion. Also, Buddhists don't pray, at least not in a religious sense (see definition here http://pi.vu...). Their meditation is not based on the presence of a deity.

I have, in my understanding, fulfilled the BoP as it stands and rebutted Con's arguments, however strong they may be.
jcv999

Con

You claim that because there are many different denominations of Atheism, it must be a religion. I believe that this is not true. That is like saying that there are different varieties of bananas; that statement has no meaning as to whether Atheism is a religion.

re·li·gion
noun
    1. the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

I believe that this definition of religion (provided by Google) is more accurate. In general, a religion needs a belief in a supreme being or an ideal. Atheism does not have these ideas and does not fit the definition of religion that I have provided.

If Atheism were to be considered religion, then the definition of a religion would become too broad. In this case, many things that would not have been considered to be remotely a religion, would fit the definition and therefore become religions. My example of a political party fits this point, as well.
Debate Round No. 3
mdc32

Pro

I am only allowed to defend my arguments that Con rebutted in Round 2. I will not comment on Con's position and argument in Round 3, as he does not have the opportunity to do so himself.

"...why isn't this the widely accepted idea?"
I don't exactly know. I think it is based on the idea that atheists are anti-religious, which I have shown that they are not. Atheists are often perceived as anti-religious God-haters, when, in reality, they believe there is no god. Atheists are not malicious, by definition at least, and our society seems to think that they are.

"Just because it is the common belief between people is not enough reason to classify it as a religion."
You either misread or misinterpreted my definition and support of it. The definition I list clearly states that religious beliefs must be fundamental. If this is left out, then anything can be considered a religion, such as the belief that you will live to see tomorrow, as one smart commenter has pointed out. Your Republican party is, for the most part, invalid. People who vote Republican do not "believe" in their political party. They may, however, believe that their candidate will be the most beneficial of all those presented; however, this too is not fundamental.

"You also state that because it is 'mutually exclusive' it must be a religion."
Yes. I do. And I still stand by this point in its entirety, as your example of the republican party is completely invalid this time. This might have been an error on my part in explaining, but my logic was that atheism and religion are mutually exclusive with each other. You cannot be atheist and Christian at the same time; however, you can be atheist and Republican, or atheist and a Democrat, or atheist and a supporter of the Green Party for all I care. If there were an organization where it was morally or logically wrong to be part of both this organization and the Republican party, then I would consider it a political party. Again, this may have been a mistake on my part. If so, sorry for the inconvenience.

"It gives no replacement to a traditional religious belief."
I know this isn't a part of your rebuttals and it's only part of your closing statement, but I would still like to mention it. Atheism does, in every sense, replace religious beliefs. Christians believe in God; atheists offer the belief that God doesn't exist in return.

Most of my arguments still stand. Atheism is not against common religions, it is mutually exclusive in relation to religions, and it means, quite literally, "without god."

Atheism, as I have shown, is a religion. I have fulfilled my BoP, and attempted, rather successfully, to rebut all of Con's arguments. Con might have refuted my rebuttals in his most recent argument (I haven't read it), but I believe my arguments were strong enough.

Thanks for a good debate, Con. I'm glad to see at least someone is interested in this topic, and you held your side of the debate well.
jcv999

Con

As decreed by the debate structure, I am required to have an empty round.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by CorieMike 2 years ago
CorieMike
Oh and did I say relative, I meant to say subjective lol Just learnt the difference, thought they were synonymous for a second..
Posted by CorieMike 2 years ago
CorieMike
Also, if you were to state there are practices that are generally agreed upon, you would need to cite good sources for that survey information. Not debating you, just trying to see if ur view makes the most sense through healthy dialogue. We could wait for Con to respond lol sorry abt that
Posted by CorieMike 2 years ago
CorieMike
Also, your argument fails because it does include implicit atheism (http://en.wikipedia.org...), seeing that it cannot be shared beliefs if it isnt a conscious rejection of the claim there is a God. Also, ur definition states beliefs and practices, not beliefs and/or practices which means practices must be involved to be included for atheism to be religious. I think it's clearly obvious that not all atheists practice the same things :)
Posted by CorieMike 2 years ago
CorieMike
Also, please define what is irreligion and explain how can atheism be exclusive to that definition. That seems like a fundamental difference to distinguish
Posted by CorieMike 2 years ago
CorieMike
No I never said it was trivial. Please show me where I conflated that. You said it was trivial. Im asking why did you say belief in tomorrow is trivial? It's a simple question which you haven't answered and hence, have not explained why it isn't relative.
Posted by mdc32 2 years ago
mdc32
@CorieMike
Belief in tomorrow is a trivial belief; you said this yourself. Trivial and fundamental are practically antonyms, and fundamental is one of the key words in the definition of religion.
Posted by CorieMike 2 years ago
CorieMike
I meant to say tht definition isnt traditionally held by many*
Posted by CorieMike 2 years ago
CorieMike
Okay @mdc32 i will have to agree with you. Under that definition atheism is a religion. However, that definition is held by many. There are conflicting definitions of that word. I still dont see why u say belief in tomorrow is unimportant? Explain
Posted by mdc32 2 years ago
mdc32
@CorieMike What other site would you recommend for sources? Dictionary.com is pretty well-renowned. And what is trivial isn't relative all, as it is not fundamental like the definition requires. Fundamental and important are synonymous with each other, and trivial is unimportant by definition.
Posted by CorieMike 2 years ago
CorieMike
I dont believe dictionary.com is reliable. Where did they get their sources? Also what is trivial is relative.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Zanomi3 2 years ago
Zanomi3
mdc32jcv999Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Tough debate to vote on... For me, it truly came down to the semantics side of things. Pro, stating the definitions in round one, was able to stand by these definitions and prove his side. Con would have been right, yet according to the definitions provided in round one, I give my vote to Pro for arguments. Everything else was evenly matched.