Friday, March 31, 2006

A Schism in Her Realism

From a chat conversation with a friend, who (I am thankful) doesn’t read this blog (or does she? better check the hits log):
Misty: You can’t tell me atheism isn’t a religion. There’s doctrine, faith in that doctrine without scientific proof, and a cause, principle, and system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith. It’s a religion – and so is communism and all the other -isms I can think of.
Never thought of that. So, after taking a few minutes to check my lucky Merriam Webster’s Used Student Dictionary (and the online version) and finding that definition #4 supporting her claim, I replied:
Yearning Heart: This concept that, not just atheism, transcendentalism, and communism, but all other -isms are religion is quite audacious and I would not dispute it; let’s just call it a truism, admire its heroism, and leave it at that. After all, your major was in journalism – who am I to argue as I am one who merely studied dramatism? – and so I suspect that “religion” for you is merely a euphemism. Anyway, it’s time for my jism prayer meeting, so I’ll sign off now.

4 comments:

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figleaf said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
figleaf said...

(Oops! Sorry about the deleted comment.)

I think Misty's problem would comes with the "there's doctrine" part.

She may be correct that there's a subset of all athiests who subscribe to, say, Madeline Murray O'Hare's brand of Atheism. But to say all atheists subscribe to that doctrine would be as incorrect (not to mention as unfair) as pointing to a single church's doctrine (say, the Branch Davidians) and claiming that people of all faiths subscribe to that.

I don't happen to be an athiest but I know enough of them to say, categorically, that they tend to be pretty non-doctrinaire.

I think it's understandably difficult for people who live in categorical frameworks such as (one of the myriad) religious doctrines to imagine that non-believers must have a unifying doctrine of their own. But it's still a mistake to do so.

Oh yeah, and if there's no universally accepted doctrine then the rest of her argument quickly falls apart.

Take care,

figleaf