Atheism versus Secular Materialism

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Does Atheism = A Secular Materialilstic Worldview?

Yes, it is a necessary conclusion of Atheism.
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No, Atheism does not conclude anything, it's simply a disbelieve in any gods.
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Other. (please explain in your post)
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Total votes: 8

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Divine Insight
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Atheism versus Secular Materialism

Post #1

Post by Divine Insight »

After watching a few videos and debates concerning accusations made by theists that atheism is actually a "religion" I've been inspired to post the following questions to "atheists".

First off, if you are an atheist do you also happen to believe in a purely materialistic reality?

And if so, do you make a distinction between your atheism and your belief in a purely materialist reality? Or do you see this as simply being a necessary result of your "atheistic worldview"?

The reason I ask is because some of the theists who argue that atheism is a "religion" seem to actually be suggesting that many atheists are actually "preaching" secular materialism as a evidence-based worldview. Whilst the theists are proclaiming that this is actually as much of a "faith-based" world view as anything else.

So I'm curious how atheists typically view this difference between atheism (i.e. simply not believing in any gods) versus a firm acceptance of a secular materialistic worldview (i.e. actually believing that secular materialism is the truth of reality)

Is there a sound argument that to merely not believe in any gods automatically reduces to believing in a purely secular materialistic world?

And if so, doesn't that make atheism more than just a disbelief in gods, but actually makes it a philosophy that is basically stating with some conviction that reality is indeed nothing other than a purely secular materialistic reality?

And if so, then doesn't this make "atheism" an actual philosophy of "pure secular materialism"? (i.e. a religion of pure secular materialism)

In other words, doesn't this make "atheism" basically a philosophy that is ultimately claiming to basically know the truth of reality?

I'm just curious how atheists will respond to these questions.

Thank you.
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Re: Atheism versus Secular Materialism

Post #2

Post by Zzyzx »

.
I respond as a Non-Theist, not an Atheist.

Neither Atheists nor Non-Theists are bound by definitions or labels supplied or insisted upon by Theists. The latter are free to believe in "gods" and others are free to NOT believe. Simple, but not comprehensible to many.

As a Non-Theist, I focus upon the Real World without concern for the imaginary, hypothetical, conjectural, proposed, philosophical, etc. I do not apply the term "secular materialism" to my thoughts and attitudes.

That others wish to wax philosophical and ponder the origin of the universe or beginning of life, etc does not obligate me to join their speculations or accept their opinions.

Many Theists seem to have great difficulty accepting "I do not believe your god tales" and somehow warp non-belief into a "religion" (perhaps because they are engrossed in their own worship practices and preferences).
.
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ANY of the thousands of "gods" proposed, imagined, worshiped, loved, feared, and/or fought over by humans MAY exist -- awaiting verifiable evidence

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Re: Atheism versus Secular Materialism

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Post by Divine Insight »

Zzyzx wrote: As a Non-Theist, I focus upon the Real World without concern for the imaginary, hypothetical, conjectural, proposed, philosophical, etc. I do not apply the term "secular materialism" to my thoughts and attitudes.
What exactly do you mean by the term "Real World" if you don't have a philosophy concerning what that term refers to?

Wouldn't it be more appropriate to simply say something like, "I only focus on things I can directly experience via my physical senses"? Rather than claiming to focus on a concept of a "Real World" that you seem to be unwilling to define specifically?
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Re: Atheism versus Secular Materialism

Post #4

Post by Molly »

Divine Insight wrote: After watching a few videos and debates concerning accusations made by theists that atheism is actually a "religion" I've been inspired to post the following questions to "atheists".

First off, if you are an atheist do you also happen to believe in a purely materialistic reality?

And if so, do you make a distinction between your atheism and your belief in a purely materialist reality? Or do you see this as simply being a necessary result of your "atheistic worldview"?
I personally am both an atheist and a naturalist. These are two separate things. Some atheists believe in supernatural things (ghosts, faeries, etc), and some do not. Atheism just means that the person does not believe in god. That's it. Any other belief system or ethical system is separate. That is why so many atheists also call themselves humanists - that would be their philosophical and ethical belief system.

That said, many atheists are also naturalists and humanists because that usually follows when a non-believer researches philosophy and science. The materialistic world is all that is needed to explain the world, therefore there is no need to add supernatural phenomenon.

Theists cannot be materialists definitionally; materialists therefore must be atheists. However, not all atheists are materialists. Apples are a kind of fruit, but not all fruits are apples.
The reason I ask is because some of the theists who argue that atheism is a "religion" seem to actually be suggesting that many atheists are actually "preaching" secular materialism as a evidence-based worldview. Whilst the theists are proclaiming that this is actually as much of a "faith-based" world view as anything else.

So I'm curious how atheists typically view this difference between atheism (i.e. simply not believing in any gods) versus a firm acceptance of a secular materialistic worldview (i.e. actually believing that secular materialism is the truth of reality)
Atheism is not a religion, it's just a lack of belief in a god. We are not preaching a materialist view of a world, we are arguing against every specific beliefs which contradict scientific facts about the world. This is highlighted by who we tend to debate with and who we ignore. Most atheists don't care about deism, pantheism, Taoism, and philosophical Buddhism (not the religious Buddhism - that can have some problems). These faiths are not materialistic, but they also are not infringing upon our politics, justifying abuse, causing interfaith wars, limiting out education, and other humanistic crimes. We only tend to debate with people who use or have the potential to use their beliefs to impact the lives of others. If we were preaching we would want to convert people to our side. We don't care what they believe so long as they either keep it to themselves and/or it is harmless to society.

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Re: Atheism versus Secular Materialism

Post #5

Post by Molly »

Divine Insight wrote: After watching a few videos and debates concerning accusations made by theists that atheism is actually a "religion" I've been inspired to post the following questions to "atheists".

First off, if you are an atheist do you also happen to believe in a purely materialistic reality?

And if so, do you make a distinction between your atheism and your belief in a purely materialist reality? Or do you see this as simply being a necessary result of your "atheistic worldview"?
I personally am both an atheist and a naturalist. These are two separate things. Some atheists believe in supernatural things (ghosts, faeries, etc), and some do not. Atheism just means that the person does not believe in god. That's it. Any other belief system or ethical system is separate. That is why so many atheists also call themselves humanists - that would be their philosophical and ethical belief system.

That said, many atheists are also naturalists and humanists because that usually follows when a non-believer researches philosophy and science. The materialistic world is all that is needed to explain the world, therefore there is no need to add supernatural phenomenon.

Theists cannot be materialists definitionally; materialists therefore must be atheists. However, not all atheists are materialists. Apples are a kind of fruit, but not all fruits are apples.
The reason I ask is because some of the theists who argue that atheism is a "religion" seem to actually be suggesting that many atheists are actually "preaching" secular materialism as a evidence-based worldview. Whilst the theists are proclaiming that this is actually as much of a "faith-based" world view as anything else.

So I'm curious how atheists typically view this difference between atheism (i.e. simply not believing in any gods) versus a firm acceptance of a secular materialistic worldview (i.e. actually believing that secular materialism is the truth of reality)
Atheism is not a religion, it's just a lack of belief in a god. We are not preaching a materialist view of a world, we are arguing against every specific beliefs which contradict scientific facts about the world. This is highlighted by who we tend to debate with and who we ignore. Most atheists don't care about deism, pantheism, Taoism, and philosophical Buddhism (not the religious Buddhism - that can have some problems). These faiths are not materialistic, but they also are not infringing upon our politics, justifying abuse, causing interfaith wars, limiting out education, and other humanistic crimes. We only tend to debate with people who use or have the potential to use their beliefs to impact the lives of others. If we were preaching we would want to convert people to our side. We don't care what they believe so long as they either keep it to themselves and/or it is harmless to society.

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Re: Atheism versus Secular Materialism

Post #6

Post by Molly »

Divine Insight wrote: After watching a few videos and debates concerning accusations made by theists that atheism is actually a "religion" I've been inspired to post the following questions to "atheists".

First off, if you are an atheist do you also happen to believe in a purely materialistic reality?

And if so, do you make a distinction between your atheism and your belief in a purely materialist reality? Or do you see this as simply being a necessary result of your "atheistic worldview"?
I personally am both an atheist and a naturalist. These are two separate things. Some atheists believe in supernatural things (ghosts, faeries, etc), and some do not. Atheism just means that the person does not believe in god. That's it. Any other belief system or ethical system is separate. That is why so many atheists also call themselves humanists - that would be their philosophical and ethical belief system.

That said, many atheists are also naturalists and humanists because that usually follows when a non-believer researches philosophy and science. The materialistic world is all that is needed to explain the world, therefore there is no need to add supernatural phenomenon.

Theists cannot be materialists definitionally; materialists therefore must be atheists. However, not all atheists are materialists. Apples are a kind of fruit, but not all fruits are apples.
The reason I ask is because some of the theists who argue that atheism is a "religion" seem to actually be suggesting that many atheists are actually "preaching" secular materialism as a evidence-based worldview. Whilst the theists are proclaiming that this is actually as much of a "faith-based" world view as anything else.

So I'm curious how atheists typically view this difference between atheism (i.e. simply not believing in any gods) versus a firm acceptance of a secular materialistic worldview (i.e. actually believing that secular materialism is the truth of reality)
Atheism is not a religion, it's just a lack of belief in a god. We are not preaching a materialist view of a world, we are arguing against every specific beliefs which contradict scientific facts about the world. This is highlighted by who we tend to debate with and who we ignore. Most atheists don't care about deism, pantheism, Taoism, and philosophical Buddhism (not the religious Buddhism - that can have some problems). These faiths are not materialistic, but they also are not infringing upon our politics, justifying abuse, causing interfaith wars, limiting out education, and other humanistic crimes. We only tend to debate with people who use or have the potential to use their beliefs to impact the lives of others. If we were preaching we would want to convert people to our side. We don't care what they believe so long as they either keep it to themselves and/or it is harmless to society.

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Re: Atheism versus Secular Materialism

Post #7

Post by Divine Insight »

Molly wrote: I personally am both an atheist and a naturalist.
How exactly do you define "Naturalism"?

Also unless you claim to have a complete picture of nature then how could you even say that something might be "unnatural" or "supernatural"? How could you know that those things aren't "natural" if you don't have a complete picture of nature yourself?
Molly wrote: Atheism is not a religion, it's just a lack of belief in a god. We are not preaching a materialist view of a world, we are arguing against every specific beliefs which contradict scientific facts about the world.
Why worry about scientific facts? What do science facts have to do with atheism?

Do you think science somehow suggests that there can be no spiritual essence to reality? Do you think that science supports an atheistic worldview?
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Re: Atheism versus Secular Materialism

Post #8

Post by Molly »

First of all, sorry for the multiple posts. I think it must have happened when I pressed the back button. I apologize and will avoid that. My bad.
Divine Insight wrote: How exactly do you define "Naturalism"?
I define it by the accepted definition for philosophical naturalism. I'm not a philosopher, so I do not feel comfortable characterizing myself as anything more specific than a general naturalist. I think that is sufficient, though, for this conversation.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/naturalism/
Also unless you claim to have a complete picture of nature then how could you even say that something might be "unnatural" or "supernatural"? How could you know that those things aren't "natural" if you don't have a complete picture of nature yourself?
The assumption is that reality can be defined through our senses (and by comparing our senses to those of others in order to negate cognitive biases/sensory problems/etc). This can further be extrapolated to the concrete world (all objects within the universe which can be (or with assistance of sensory enhancers like microscopes, etc) observed through our senses). While our image of nature is not 100% complete, it is much more extensive than most lay people assume. In addition, no one has come up with a concrete or even theoretical way for a non material thing/energy/person/etc to interact with the material world. Even if non-material things existed, they can't interact with us in any way - so it is not really a concern.

According to this world view, many things currently assumed to be supernatural actually have naturalistic causes that have not yet been discovered/fully understood. "Religious experiences" can now be triggered in a lab by stimulating certain parts of the brain. etc

Why worry about scientific facts? What do science facts have to do with atheism?
]

Scientific facts have nothing to do with atheism. I mean, there is a correlation that atheists tend to value science more, and scientists are much more likely to be some form of a non-believer/spiritualist than members of a traditional abrahamic religion.

Everyone should "worry" (be interested?) in scientific facts because this is the best and most objective way humans can learn about the world around us.
Do you think science somehow suggests that there can be no spiritual essence to reality? Do you think that science supports an atheistic worldview?
Yes. Yes.

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Re: Atheism versus Secular Materialism

Post #9

Post by Divine Insight »

Molly wrote: The assumption is that reality can be defined through our senses
If that's your assumption then it make sense that you would draw the conclusions that you draw. But it seems to me that this is already in violation of what science has revealed to us. Science has revealed to us that there exist many things in reality that are simply not available to our senses at all. So why would you make the assumption that reality can be defined through our senses? That's an unscientific assumption right there.
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Re: Atheism versus Secular Materialism

Post #10

Post by wiploc »

Divine Insight wrote: First off, if you are an atheist do you also happen to believe in a purely materialistic reality?
Maybe. I guess probably so. I'm definitely an atheist, even a strong atheist (I believe that gods don't exist), but I haven't much considered the other issue.


And if so, do you make a distinction between your atheism and your belief in a purely materialist reality? Or do you see this as simply being a necessary result of your "atheistic worldview"?
It is not a necessary result. There are plenty of atheists who believe in ghosts and whatnot. Look at Buddhists; most of them are atheists who believe in souls and reincarnation.

Anyone claiming that all atheists are materialists is, at best, engaging in reckless disregard of the obvious.


The reason I ask is because some of the theists who argue that atheism is a "religion" seem to actually be suggesting that many atheists are actually "preaching" secular materialism as a evidence-based worldview.
It wouldn't surprise me if some of us do. But the salient point is that you can be an atheist without agreeing with those atheists.


Whilst the theists are proclaiming that this is actually as much of a "faith-based" world view as anything else.
Don't let that move get by you. When they're down to claiming that they can hold unsupportable beliefs if we do, point out to them that they are conceding that there is no logical reason to be a theist.


So I'm curious how atheists typically view this difference between atheism (i.e. simply not believing in any gods)
Bingo.


versus a firm acceptance of a secular materialistic worldview (i.e. actually believing that secular materialism is the truth of reality)
That part is optional. In the same way that believing in baptism by immersion is not necessary to being a Christian, believing in materialism in not necessary to being an atheist.


Is there a sound argument that to merely not believe in any gods automatically reduces to believing in a purely secular materialistic world?
No. There aren't to sides to this. Many atheists are non-materialists. This fact disposes of this topic.

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