Thursday, September 3, 2015

A non-believers view of religion

Most of these are Meriam Webster definitions. A couple of definitions are also provided by Wikipedia.

Atheist--one who believes that there is no deity

Agnostic--a person who does not have a definite belief about whether God exists or not

Gnosticism ("having knowledge"), is a modern term categorizing a collection of ancient religions whose adherents shunned the Demiurge– which they viewed as created by – and embraced the spiritual world. (Wikipedia)

Fundamentalism--a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as to Christian life and teaching

Evangelical--of or relating to a Christian sect or group that stresses the authority of the Bible, the importance of believing that Jesus Christ saved you personally from sin or hell, and the preaching of these beliefs to other people.

Deism--a movement or system of thought advocating natural religion, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe .

Theism--belief in the existence of a god or gods; specifically a belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world.

Spirituality--most any kind of meaningful activity. It is often separated from organized religious institutions, as in the phrase "spiritual but not religious". Traditionally, spirituality refers to a process of re-formation of the personality live a life according to divine will, but there is no single, agreed-upon definition of spirituality.

Many people think atheists and agnostics are different. Actually, most atheists are agnostic. Richard Dawkins has even said it would be fine with him if god did exist. Most atheists like Richard Dawkins do not have any special knowledge about the existence of non-existence of god. Therefore, most atheists are, in fact, agnostic They just do not know.

An agnostic, therefore, is someone who lacks special knowledge about something like God or religion. It is the opposite of gnostic.

On the other hand, a gnostic atheist would be positive that god doesn't exist. Few atheists take this position. Most view god as irrelevant or that people who are adamant about gods' existence need to prove it. 

Fundamentalists and Evangelicals are gnostic. There is no doubt in their minds about the existence of god. Many also think the US is a Christian nation and accordingly Americans should be following god's law, whatever that might be. For example, Kim Davis, the Rowan county Kentucky clerk, thinks she is denying marriage licenses to gay couples under the authority of God.

When the nation was founded, many of the founders were deist. They believed in god , but not organized region. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and John Adams were deists.

Franklin may have even been an atheist: One of his famous quotes: 

Light houses are more useful than churches. 

Theists, on the other hand, participate in organized religion. It would be safe to say that most evangelicals and fundamentalists are gnostic theists. They believe god needs to be worshipped in the context of an institution or ritual. 

There is an example of theism in Judaism. Orthodox Jews say the Temple of Solomon needs be rebuilt on the Temple Mount because it is the only place that God can reside on earth. This is considered the holiest place in Judaism,

Of course the Al Aqsa Mosque would have to be destroyed to rebuild the temple. 

There are also people into spirituality who do not show any interest in organized religion, but believe something is out there. People who are into spirituality appear to be the modern version of deists. 

In summary, most atheists are agnostic. And most fundamentalists and evangelicals are gnostic theists. People into spirituality are, for all intents and purposes, deists.

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