From: perryc@wheelie.Sun.COM (Perry Cross)
Subject: Re: Atheism as religion (was Wake Up...)
Taoism is a belief system with no supreme being, so I think a few Chinese
>might take exception to your opinion. What about Confucists? I think
>the problem is that your opinions are based on what you know, not on
>what is. You do not need a supreme being to have a religion, and when
>you don't, its atheistic. To put this very simply for you and the
>rest of our net bigots, just because you have no conception of religion
>without G-d, dosen't mean these religions don't exist. I hate to keep
>beating this horse, but I can't let such ethnocentric comments go
The problem is that simple theism, or belief in some deity, is a sufficient
but not necessary condition for something to be considered a "religion".
In my opinion, the difference between theistic or non-theistic religions and
atheism is the way they view the relationship between thought and matter.
As an atheist, I am also a materialist; that is, I consider thought to be a
function of matter. The religious view seems to be that the two are
independent of each other. Thus, the christian has a "soul" that exists after
the body is gone, and the buddhist seeks knowledge or some cosmic connection
through meditation and chanting. (I admit my knowledge of Buddhism is
woefully little, but from what I've seen, this meditation is very non-think
as opposed to real, introspective thinking) The connection seems to be that
in all religions, thought (or soul) is held to be some non-corporeal entity
that exists and has influence independently of the body. Most of them have
some kind of super-thought, of which this independent thought is a part, but
not all religions anthropomorphize it into a conscious god.
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