The Instigator
Wallstreetatheist
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
debatestrength
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Atheism is not a religion.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
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 4 votes the winner is...
Wallstreetatheist
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/25/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,645 times Debate No: 23843
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (20)
Votes (4)

 

Wallstreetatheist

Pro

Resolution: Atheism is not a religion.

Rules:
(1) Debater must have typing experience and internet access.
(2) Place your arguments and sources inside the debate
(3) Structure the debate in a readable, coherent fashion.
(4) No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
(5) Must insert one witty quote per round.


Rounds:
(1) Acceptance + Internet High Five
(2) Main Argument
(3) Rebuttal to opponent's main argument
(4) Response to rebuttal + closing arguments + voting issues (one paragraph)


"DOGMA: A lie imperiously reiterated and authoritatively injected into the mind of one or more persons who believe they believe what some one else believes." -Ambrose Bierce

"The difference between religions and cults is determined by how much real estate is owned." -Frank Zappa

I accept this debate which I have thusly created and challenge those of rhetorical wizardry to a verbal duel. With my hand elevated and ready for forearm pronation, I slap yours in a ritualistic manner. Good luck to whomever accepts, and may the Gods smile upon you during this debate.

Kittens!
debatestrength

Con

Apparently my opponent prefers wasting rounds by making a bunch of ridiculous rules that he assumes I automatically accept by accepting the debate. I don't. My opponent needs to understand that in order to debate properly, he must form a resolution and clearly define his terms. If he doesn't then what's the purpose of the debate. Religion is a very vague term and clearly my opponent has structured the debate in order for it to be semantical as he failed to define this crucial term. Since he hasn't, I'll teach him a valuable lesson in debate by defining it for him.

Religion: A positive claim about the origin of the universe.

Atheism: A positive claim that the universe originated of its own accord without the help of any supernatural power commonly referred to as God.

This interpretation of religion has been upheld by numerous court cases:

the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled that Wisconsin prison officials violated an inmate's rights because they did not treat atheism as a religion.

"Atheism is [the inmate's] religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being," the Seventh Circuit declared. [1]

Sources:
http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Wallstreetatheist

Pro

Intro and Concerns:
My opponent made some rude statements and unjustified accusations in the first round that neither encouraged healthy debate nor upheld human decency.

"Apparently my opponent prefers wasting rounds by making a bunch of ridiculous rules that he assumes I automatically accept by accepting the debate."
Welcome to DDO, sir. It is customary to begin a debate with a first round of acceptance, rules, clarifications, and greetings. This serves several purposes: 1) refraining from starting argumentation the first round conserves room for longer arguments in later rounds, as space is not used for other purposes; 2) it prevents an opponent from having a much longer period to refute your main argument, as the challenge period is 7 days; 3) it clears up any discrepancies and allows for the setting of parameters in the debate.

"Religion is a very vague term and clearly my opponent has structured the debate in order for it to be semantical as he failed to define this crucial term."
This entire debate rests upon me proving that atheism is not a religion, so naturally my argumentation will take this into utmost consideration. This debate is a philosophical debate on the criteria of religion applying or not applying to atheism. My opponent further commits the tu quoque fallacy by directly using semantics in his definitions to win the debate. More in the next paragraph:

Defintions
My opponent is trying to use definitions to win this debate. This is called semantics, and attempting to win a debate on it usually equals a loss.

"Religion: A positive claim about the origin of the universe."
This definition is not from any known source, has no results in a google search, and does not agree with reason. By this definition, cosmology would be a religion, when we all know it is a science. My case deals with what makes a religion a religion.

"Atheism: A positive claim that the universe originated of its own accord without the help of any supernatural power commonly referred to as God."
This also has no known source, has no results in a google search, and does not agree with reason. Atheism, first off can be either a positive statement of disbelief or a lack of belief in a deity. More on that part later. Furthermore, some atheists claim that the evidence points to a continuous universe and continuous time, others think aliens planted life here on earth, other still think other theories. The point is, atheism is not contingent upon what my opponent claims. It is simply not believing in deities.



The religion section of The Encyclopedia of Philosophy mentions nine qualifications for religions. The more qualifications out of the nine, the more “religious-like” the belief system is.


Belief in supernatural beings (gods).
Boom, atheism does not fit the criteria of the most basic requirement of religion: belief in supernatural beings. A basic justification for this is the etymology of the word. Atheism comes from the Greek atheos: a- “without” and theos “a god,” meaning “without god/s.” [1][2] Consonantly, both positive atheism (affirming the non-existence of god/s) and negative atheism (lack of belief that god/s exist) do not have belief in supernatural beings. [3] I think this one is pretty much laid to rest, so we’ll move on.

A distinction between sacred and profane objects.
Whereas in Catholic churches water is “holy” and the altar is the place for “sacred offerings,” atheists make no distinction between arbitrary or doctrinal justification for sacred and non-sacred/profane objects. To an atheist, a large, bronze statue of Baal in a sunny park would just be seen as artwork, but to Christians and Jews, the “artwork” would be seen as profane and blasphemous. Then they would complain, start making threats of coercion and legal suits, and the issue would prolong like an open sore. Atheists are free to make their own moral judgments according to a subjective moral compass or objective moral theory to ascertain which objects are morally bad and good, but the important distinction here is that they don’t arbitrarily choose objects as religiously good because they support a desert God or animal spirit. Moving on.

Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.
As we’ve established, atheists don’t have a sacred object like a Pastafarian pasta strainer or a Judaic yarmulke; therefore, they do not have acts that focus on them, because the sacred objects are as non-existent as the gods they are told have “great evidence.” You won’t see an atheist walking a 200 mile jaunt while flagellating his back on holy day. You won’t see an atheist symbolically eating the flesh and blood of another man in some sort of benign cannibalistic ritual, and there is nothing that doctrinally compels him to do so.

A moral code believed to be sanctioned by the gods.
Seeing as though atheism is the lack of belief or disbelief that god/s exist, it is reasonable to conclude that they don’t believe that a moral code exists which is sanctioned by said non-existent god/s. In fact, the moral code presented in religious books resembles more the religious code of ignorant, savage, homophobic, petrified, misogynistic, sadomasochistic, sinister, callous, inane sheep herders than the inspired word of an omnibenevolent creator. The bible sanctions slavery, abortion, animal cruelty, homophobia, genocide, and many other grotesque acts that we deem woefully immoral today. That’s why the moral code of atheism is not that of a particular religion, is not a singular theory, and resembles more of a constellation of ideas about moral action than a particular religion would. Despite this sanctioned moral code, atheists tend to be much more objectively moral human beings: lower crime rates, better marriages, and more accepting of people.

Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual, and which are connected in idea with the gods.
This is a quadruple cluster of wrong. Atheism doesn’t inspire any such religious feelings any more than not believing in Santa Claus would fill you with wonder. However, that does not leave the atheist without room for spiritual experience, which is another discussion. Again, atheists do not believe in god/s, nor do they have sacred objects or rituals surrounding those objects.

Prayer and other forms of communication with gods.
Ask yourself, “what would be the point of praying, if I strongly did not believe an imaginary being existed.” Atheism is the disbelief that god/s exist, so prayer and other forms of communication with the gods is inane. Praying only further detaches one from reality, and develops numerous ad hoc justifications that it still is useful. E.g. a woman prays for god to save her husband who has been injured in a toilet-plunging accident in Guatemala; however, doctors fail to save him, and he passes away. She then says, “It was god’s plan.” If god is going to do his plan regardless of your prayer, then there is no point of praying...

A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein.
Atheism doesn’t have a world view. Anything people want to believe is fine, as long as they don’t believe in gods, they’re still atheists. If atheism did have a world view, then it’s doing an awful job of letting people know, because atheism subsumes an incredibly vast spectrum of people.

This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it.
No world view, so people are free to choose their own paths, purposes, and meanings.

A more or less total organization of one's life based on the world view.
You are totally free as an atheist to organize your life in any manner you see fit.

A social group bound together by the above.
As none of the above were achieved through reasoning to be applied to atheism, a social group is not bound by any of the preceding qualifications.
debatestrength

Con

debatestrength forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Wallstreetatheist

Pro

It seems my opponent has forfeited, so I'll use this round to reinforce my case. I extend all of my arguments.



If Atheism is a religion...
then bald is a hair color.

then health is a disease.
then pedestrians should be ticketed for driving their cars too far under the speed limit.
then what's the opposite of religion and what would you call someone who has no religion?
then bears are still Catholic, and the Pope still craps in the woods.
then cremation is a fashion statement and 0 is a quantity.
then absence is presence and you can never be lonely for anyone ever again because they are always with you.
then does that mean Christians have 2 religions since they also don't believe in all of the other gods?
then transparent is a color.
then abstinence is a form of sex.
then the Taliban is a Goodwill Organization
then a blank DVD is a movie and a blank word document is an essay (try telling that to a teacher).
then being a nonsmoker is a smoking habit.
then unemployment is a career.
[4]


Summary
Atheists don’t have imaginary friends, so they don’t build places to worship to appease them; they don’t create objects to appease their imaginary friends, nor do they create elaborate rituals with those objects that serve absolutely no function. Atheism is not a religion, it’s just an identification of people who do not have imaginary friends.


Sources
[1] http://www.etymonline.com...
[2] http://www.etymonline.com...
[3] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[4] http://atheism.about.com...;
debatestrength

Con

debatestrength forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Wallstreetatheist

Pro

Extend my arguments.
Vote Pro.
debatestrength

Con

debatestrength forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
I don't see how this could possibly be a philosophical debate. This is pretty simply either true or false, depending on how you define religion.
Posted by waterskier 4 years ago
waterskier
i wish I was in this debate
religion-The belief in and worship of a personal God or gods.

atheism-The theory or belief that God does not exist

if an atheist is someone who believes that god does not exist, and religion is The belief in and worship of a personal God or gods, then how can atheism be a religion?
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
Thank you for coming around. Let's make this debate a good one!
Posted by debatestrength 4 years ago
debatestrength
It would be a philosophical debate if it involve philosophy and not semantics.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
It worries me that you think that this debate revolves around semantics. It's a philosophical debate.
Posted by debatestrength 4 years ago
debatestrength
Sort of what happens when you make a debate that revolves around semantics and then don't define anything. Next time just leave your R1 at: Please accept this debate and we'll randomly decide at R3 what the debate is about.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
My, you're a feisty one! Well, we will see if your arguments are any good despite the incredibly abusive definitions.
Posted by debatestrength 4 years ago
debatestrength
Also I'm counting your last two comments as trolling/flaming by insinuating that my site-wide image is impacted by my ability to mindlessly accept your own poorly scripted R1 and accompanying rules.
Posted by debatestrength 4 years ago
debatestrength
Lol I didn't see a section in your R1 on where your rules are applicable. It seems your debating skills rival your ability to obey your own rules.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
Rule number 2 applies to when people post full arguments or sources outside the debate in google docs/other pages and try to get credit for it in the debate. You sure are making a great image for yourself on this site :)
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
WallstreetatheistdebatestrengthTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 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:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for Pro's general tone in the introductory round, as well as for the multiple forfeits. Arguments go to Pro for Con's lack of a response and therefore concession of their validity.
Vote Placed by TheOrator 4 years ago
TheOrator
WallstreetatheistdebatestrengthTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Reasons: Conduct: Pro listed specific rules to abide by. On this site, when someone lists rules, accepting the debate means accepting the rules. Arguments: Con never negated Sources: Pro backed his entire case up with valid sources while Con couldn't find any for his non-semantical definitions :P
Vote Placed by bossyburrito 4 years ago
bossyburrito
WallstreetatheistdebatestrengthTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Kittens!!!!!
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
WallstreetatheistdebatestrengthTied
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: VBBBBBBBBB