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December 20, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Atheism as Belief System and Worldview–My Critique of Atheism as Non-Belief

Diversity Does Not Undermine Worldview Labels:
Republicans and Democrats do not have one way of viewing things, but they can be said to have a belief system that fits under the category of Republican or Democrat.

Also, you can specify the type or category of their personal political beliefs (for instance if they that they are moderate Republican or moderate Democrat–or Democrat on social issues and Republican on economic ones).

Personality and individuality serve to make most world views diverse. They have related belief systems which they believe in, subscribe to, follow, and/or advocate. No two Christian believers are alike. They have different histories. They have different identities. They have different perspectives on various doctrines and the relative importances of those doctrines. They still will likely exhibit emphasis on key personal and doctrinal issues, probably resonate with their reading, experience, and faith-tradition.

The mere fact that “atheist” is an acceptable category or nomenclature suggests there is sufficient similarity with respect to self-identification.

A caveat about atheism & atheists. Much of the worldview exists at the sub-crulture level–not necessarily at an overall unifying level.
The mere fact of communication & share understandings & shared readings & the nature of movements means that atheism is a belief system even if different than other belief systems.

Here are 7 Questions Which Help Unpack its Belief-ness & Ideology at the Personal and/or Sub-culture Level:
Got science? (Are you pro-science?)
Got a definition of science? Got a definition of non-science?
What constitutes truth?
What constituters reality?
What constitutes rationality, reason or logic?
What about other forms of truth, proof, evidence, and data?
How do you compare ideas?

What makes one an atheist?
Does saying one is an atheist make one an atheist?
Or does an identity or thinking pattern or behavior make one an atheist?
Or both?

Why are you an atheist?
This is the meat and potatoes of belief. This is where the rubber truly meets the road in terms of belief.

How did you arrive at your atheism? What syllogisms did you use?

What authors do you read and trust?

Why speak? Why advocate? Why not an agnostic?
Why do atheists write books? Have conferences? Share experiences?
What is the substance of those exchanges.
Communication of ideas–particularly ideas which constitute patterns like the memes in a particular group tend to indicate a similarity of belief.

And Four More Reasons:
The ability to talk meaningfully about sub-groups of atheists and chart them:
1) Outline/Categorize
2) 2 x 2 matrix
3) Boolean diagram
4) Or something more like Darwins breakdown of the species
Suggests that belief is at play.

Two atheists can have conversations about their similarities and differences to other people in the group (as well as in their sub-group). I would suggest the new atheists & humanists might be the most distinct.

You could probably chart other characteristics of atheists which point to larger similarities in the cultures and sub-cultures.

Moreover from an fMRI perspective….ideas and ideologies are at play.

Counter-Example: Anarchism
Anarchism is still a political belief system. Anarchists disagree on the particular brands and sub-ideologies and ideas the espouse, but they are still united in their anarchism. Its something ants anti- and breaks things down, but it still has the same burden of proof as other political systems and is a political belief system.

What is a Belief? What is a Belief System?
The other view of atheism as non-belief, doesn’t take into account that atheism is all three of the following
1) a way of thinking
2) worldview
3) advocacy
And all 3 of the above make it a belief system.

Christianity is certainly a set a core beliefs…that has sub-beliefs. To take issues with those beliefs….also requires beliefs (or assumptions, which are functionally the same thing).

All of the above (and below) prove that the analogies and metaphors relied on which assume atheism is not a belief or belief system (or worldview or ideology)–are turned on their heads. There’s no evidence to support those characterizations.

I would also suggest taking a look at some of these arguments:
Nathan Ketsdever’s answer to Atheism: Is there something in common to atheists other than just a lack of belief in God?
More on atheism as a set of belief systems
List of posts dealing with atheism as a belief system

Checking Your Logical Assumptions:
I think this video which speaks to the issue of scientism helps frame the debate in such a way that the domain of science is correctly understood more clearly. Other ways of knowing are considered correctly useful for our survival, leadership, and innovation which progresses society.

[insert William Lane Craig video on What is Scientism?”

Proverbs 4:23
New International Version (NIV)

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

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