Author Topic: According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.  (Read 158 times)

Red_Cloud

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According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.
The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviors, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences. [From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia]

My question is:- Can the Atheist believe in ghosts, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, astrological readings, palm readings, the crystal ball, etc., and still call himself/herself an atheist?
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Tank

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In my experience atheism is a lack of belief in god. However that lack of belief is usually underpinned by a strong sense of scepticism. It is that scepticism that causes the atheism not the other way around. Any person of a sceptical nature is going to doubt claims for which there is no hard evidence. Sceptics generally do not "believe in ghosts, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, astrological readings, palm readings, the crystal ball, etc." and are often atheists too.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
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Icarus

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Most of we skeptics have a mind set that requires solid evidence that is capable of supporting extraordinary claims.  We have so little evidence to support claims of a christian God, Allah,  ghosts, infallibility of the pope, or other pies in the sky that we have no need or desire to believe. 

There must be some reasons for entertaining a strong belief.  In the case of Christianity, for example, Its' development and perpetration was in large part the work of the likes of leaders such as Emperor Constantine i or Augustas.   The mass adoption and enforcement of a prescribed religion was a useful peacekeeping mechanism for the Roman Hierarchy.  The boundaries of Rome were enormous and required much gold to finance the Roman armies that kept the far reaching tribes from mischief.  Save the gold.  To unite all those souls with a belief that they would be condemned to hell if they did not behave, was an effective tool.

Mahayanna  Buddhisms response was to create a god, a savior, and a heaven. Most people wanted to achieve nirvana but they wanted comfort in the here and now, along with the prospect of paradise to come.  Siddhartha Gautama, the man, became Buddha the trinitarian god.  He had to die so that he could be reborn as the Buddha.  Sounds like he might have been a craven hustler or a deranged nut case to me.  It did work out well enough to provide some ethereal comfort for the believers. 

 






Dark Lightning

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Most of we skeptics have a mind set that requires solid evidence that is capable of supporting extraordinary claims.  We have so little evidence to support claims of a christian God, Allah,  ghosts, infallibility of the pope, or other pies in the sky that we have no need or desire to believe. 

There must be some reasons for entertaining a strong belief.  In the case of Christianity, for example, Its' development and perpetration was in large part the work of the likes of leaders such as Emperor Constantine i or Augustas.   The mass adoption and enforcement of a prescribed religion was a useful peacekeeping mechanism for the Roman Hierarchy.  The boundaries of Rome were enormous and required much gold to finance the Roman armies that kept the far reaching tribes from mischief.  Save the gold.  To unite all those souls with a belief that they would be condemned to hell if they did not behave, was an effective tool.

Mahayanna  Buddhisms response was to create a god, a savior, and a heaven. Most people wanted to achieve nirvana but they wanted comfort in the here and now, along with the prospect of paradise to come.  Siddhartha Gautama, the man, became Buddha the trinitarian god.  He had to die so that he could be reborn as the Buddha.  Sounds like he might have been a craven hustler or a deranged nut case to me.  It did work out well enough to provide some ethereal comfort for the believers.

"Infallibility of the pope".  ::) If one has a few moments to spare, one ought to read the history of the papacy. The RCC can't hide that history, but the hi-jinks played by past popes somehow passes by scrutiny by people in the church. I know that I knew nothing about it when I was a church-goer. The gravitas granted to religion is disgusting. Inquisition, Crusades, pillaging children, and let's not forget that (in)famous land-grab where priests who did marry were forced to divest themselves of their wives and children (who then, often as not, lived destitute lives) and their property, which, of course, devolved to church possession.

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My question is:- Can the Atheist believe in ghosts, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, astrological readings, palm readings, the crystal ball, etc., and still call himself/herself an atheist?

Yes. None of these beliefs necessitate a belief in a deity or deities, and there are atheists who indulge a belief in one or more of the questionable ideas you list. Just as I dismiss those who attempt to claim that atheism must or should include a particular approach to social justice (there are atheists who are stoutly pro or con in that regard), I cannot agree with those who wish to expand the meaning of the word to include a lack of belief in various mystical or New Age concepts that do not include a god or gods.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken