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That is the fastest way to offend an atheist. Of course, it is true, but not worth fighting over.
 
Atheists are always downright offended when you point out that religion is a belief without proof, and whether negative or positive, they can't prove the lack of God, heaven, etc. and hence, they are religious. And that beyond that, with how much many atheists I've met preach their beliefs, they can even be considered downright evangelical. ;)
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There are two extremes to every situation. The more memorable the more extreme.
 
i wouldnt say its a religion. but what i would say is that it is a world view and is partially based on faith. cause you cant prove the world started with a big bang as much as you cant prove there is a god. therefore you have to believe something through faith in either scenario.
 
+Mark Lastiwka Possibly, but it's largely a matter of semantics. If I've got some guy unendingly preaching at me about their opinion on the afterlife, I consider them religious, whether they believe in God, no God, or a magic duck.
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Either way we have no solid answer nothing is absolute. That is why I am an agnostic atheist. Any answer given as solid proof or at least astounding evidence is silly. Religious or atheist, you can never be sure, just like science instantly changes when proof or evidence shows like wise on an otherwise solid basis, I will be the same on my agnosticism.
 
+Jake Weisz - Religion is quite literally defined as the service and worship of a God or the supernatural. It's not semantics, it's fact. What you describe, I would define as fanaticism.
 
Atheism is a religion like static is a TV Station with programing.

That aside, I find that religious people have no idea how Burden of Proof works - but there's rarely any point in arguing it, as you'll get about as far as you would arguing with a five year old about the existence of Santa.

The Big Bang is a poor example as we actually have strong evidence that shows it probably happen - much more proof than we have that a God (or Gods) exists.

And please don't try to say that evolution is 'just a theory'. If you say that, you do not understand the proper definition of the word 'theory', and probably don't realize that a number of the scientists who have made some of the biggest leaps in genetic research involving evolution are Christian.

TL;DR: Atheism is not a religion by any proper definition - I could go at length but it isn't worth the effort. Now can we please move on?
 
+Jake Weisz your argument is utter bullshit as it doesn't make any sense. Atheists believe in science whereas religious folk reject science if it contradicts their beliefs. Go troll somewhere else.
 
Belief is the wrong word, though. We accept current fact based on current evidence. If/ when the evidence changes, we adapt/evolve our views.
 
+Ted Murray And... <- declares opinions he disagrees with automatically as trolls. I have little to no respect for you, goodbye. :)

+Mike Medlar But most atheists I see posting here on Google+ are unable to recognize that the vast majority of religious people don't support most of those problems, and aren't part of them. I am a Christian. I support separation of church and state, gay rights, and equality. Unfortunately, fanatical lunatics exist in both religion and atheism, and some people need to stop trying to blame all problems on religion.
 
+Jon Laslow It would shock some to know my belief is based on a combination of my understanding of science (which is pretty good, if I dare say so), and experiential knowledge. I am not a Christian because my parents are, or because I was since I was a kid (I actually was atheist for a long time). Just as many scientists have opposing viewpoints on topics that are currently unproven, so do I.

But this absolutely baffles the crud out of some people. I don't hold anything against atheists except for the ones that try and beat me over the head with it, or assume I'm a troll or stupid for having that view. Nor do I make a particular effort towards converting people, because I think it would be silly to do so.
 
Yay comment spam, but I'm trying to respond to people. :/

+Mark Lastiwka I'm not going to argue word definitions, because I could find five different definitions for the same word. But my point I was trying to convey, is that the things a lot of atheists find irritating about Christians, those same atheists are often guilty of themselves. I assume they just think they're right, which makes it okay for them to be that way, or they don't realize they're doing it at all.

But then again, that's specific people, not atheists as a whole. And I've dealt with some Christians I just cannot stand by any means as well. Basically, I'm saying that every group has crazy fanatical lunatics. It just so happens that all the fanatical lunatics seem to be running the Republican party right now.
 
+Jake Weisz I called you a troll, not your beliefs. I respect people's right to believe what they want. Your first post had no logic to it. Others already made my point.
 
+Jake Weisz Just as I dislike people trying to tell me I'm something I'm not. In this case, religious. :)

It might shock some people to know that some of my best friends are Christian and often for the reasons you described. I think we can both agree that generalizations are bad.
 
+Jon Laslow Yeah, I try to make a point to clearly denote "some", "a lot of", etc. It's tough to police it, and we base our opinions of groups (unconsciously or not), on the ones we notice, which tend to be the loud ones.

+Ted Murray I disagree on the attempt to use word semantics to define atheists as different than other groups of people, and the fact that some people are so heavily insulted by having someone point out how alike you really are. :)
 
+Mike Medlar As a Christian, I believe in evolution. Just thought I'd throw that out there. I don't necessarily see a conflict between the two, and the science behind evolution is sound.

Christianity has some nasty history, one of the things I find most ironic, is that while the Vatican's riches largely comes from horribly corrupt popes of the past, the Church, to this day, considers them sacred artifacts. Seems kinda silly to me. And yeah, a lot of terrible things have been done in the name of Christianity, and many other religions. A list too long to place here.

I would argue most of that is done by people who do not understand the words in which they preach. And as you well recognize, those who do truly understand, have made many monumental contributions to our world, both large and small in actual scale, in the name of their faith.
 
Once again Bill confuses Agnosticism with Atheism. He's just as much of a moron as the religious wacko's he's making fun of.
 
+Mike Medlar Well, don't expect my faith to every stop me from poking around every corner. ;) And you know, whether by cosmic accident, or grand design, there is a lot of space out there, and goshdangit we haven't seen much of it yet.
 
A bunch of people arguing and insulting each other over religion on the internet... this HAS to be a first right? It's like Pavlov just rang his bell, the politicians have trained you all well. Keep bickering about your trivial differences so they can subjugate us.
 
I don't talk religion unless it's brought up to me. Once people discover I'm not a believe they generally to to heckle me, to which I reply, "talking snake, man lives in whale, and man splits sea in half." That's usually where the discussion stops.

I don't have a problem with people calling what I believe a religion a long as they keep their religion to themselves.
 
The problem with religion is that people create evidence. For example, Sikhism was started as a cult, where you do not cut your hair, do not shave, and do not kill animals (Hippie much?). And hundreds of years later, people believe that when our 'Guru' was born, light shined above his head and therefore, he was our saviour, our god. His legacy was passed on to nine after him and then to a 1500 page book, which shall now be our 'Guru'. All this because of some tale that village folk weaved in a grossly exaggerated manner.
Also, the problem with that is not that my parents believe this crap. it's that if I say I don't, I'll probably have to work at a McDonald's to put myself through college, and nobody that shares my last name/my mother's last name will ever be in touch with me.
Indian parents really suck when it comes to religion :/
 
I am not a Romney supporter in any way and will not be voting for him but Maher took this too far. You don't joke or mess around with a guys dead gradfather....thats just wrong and out of bounds. Maher should be ashamed of himself....sometimes things are off limits for comedy.
 
+Donald Knobloch , you don't think baptising somebody against their will after they have passed away is just wrong and out of bounds?? I see what Maher did as probably more respectful to the deceased than Romney did!!
 
The video is hilarious :-). How come it has only 100k views?
 
+Jake Weisz So, god could be living on the other side of the universe? But he gets his rocks off by messing with us here? WHAT A DICK!
 
+Jake Weisz The stamp metaphor from +Mike Medlar put it pretty well. As +Mark Lastiwka pointed out, atheists don't worship a god or the supernatural. While Atheism is in fact a belief, like religion, it is not a religion itself. That is what I had issue with. Most Atheists can agree with what Bill said in the video. By you coming on here and basically saying the exact opposite with no logical basis, to me, seemed like trolling. You did flamebait with your comment as you sparked an argument to ensue.
 
+Ted Murray It's a very tiring point I see brought up, you know, "don't call us a religion", and it seems utterly pointless, since it's a word/label/etc. that has barely any relevance on the actual matters at hand, but oh my God atheists get their panties in a bunch about it. When in fact, I really don't see a heck of a lot of difference between atheists and people who believe in other things.
 
+Zack Davis I think you are the one who is confused. Atheism is the opposite of theism, while agnostics sit somewhere in the middle.
 
+Jake Weisz "but oh my God atheists get their panties in a bunch about it." That is what I mean by trolling. I could say that you are the one who got their panties in a bunch because you have been very adamant about Atheism being a religion.
 
+Ted Murray +Zack Davis

You're both confused, I guess. It's a two dimensional continuum. On one axis Atheism-Theism, on the other Agnostic-Gnostic. You can be an agnostic theist or a gnostic atheist or any of the four combinations.
 
+Ted Murray By my definition, it is one. That's how I see it. I view "religion" as the general doctrine, behaviors, and establishment side of one's beliefs. (Much as the church is not our Christian faith itself, and I disagree with many things the church says and does, but I believe in God.) And atheists very much have their own doctrine of common arguments and viewpoints, (such as, the claim that atheism isn't a religion, in fact). A lot of atheists I've spoken to criticize the church for their behavior (which they well should, it's deserved, in my opinion), but then relate the church's behavior to the faith itself. But I'm arguing that that religion side, the church side, is very similar to a lot of atheist behavior as well.
 
You heard it here first, only belief based on evidence is a valid belief. So by that logic atheists have evidence that there is no deity, either that, or they've just got another belief without a base in evidence, which would frankly just make Bill Maher a hypocrite in the context. ಠ_ಠ

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." -Martin Rees (as made popular by Carl Sagan)
 
+Jake Weisz Even if the behavior of atheists is the same in many regards as a religion (and I don't think it is) that doesn't make it a religion. A religion has structure and common practices. Nobody tells an atheist what to do or how to behave.

And honestly, if you're going to argue semantics of the definition of religion then by my definition, you're a jackass.
 
+Jake Weisz Eh, which church? You keep referring to "church." RC, protestant, unitarian, pastafarian..? "Chuch" is so vague, it doesn't mean anything.

I was raised protestant and even trained in the ministry in college. It was a bad fit for me, so I changed majors. But I kept my faith. Even (primarily?) during my ministry training, though, the "logical" arguments of Christianity lost their appeal. How can one argue that the Bible is true when it is so inconsistent even within itself (2 different versions of creation, 4 very different Gospels that were selected from a much larger group that ultimately got destroyed as "heresy," a host of editing, re-writing, and book selection based on whichever faction was in control at the time...), much less when stacked against other contemporary authors or science. And if the Bible isn't true, how can Christianity be true, in any form? Nevertheless, my experiential learning (i.e. my "personal experience of God" or my "personal relationship with God"--which was a very real, very felt experience, not just words I said) and my social group kept me connected to my faith in the face of the illogical nature of the Bible and Christianity. Eventually I found an alternate, scientific explanation for that feeling of "presence of God" as well as an alternate social group and that was the end of my faith. Even so, I didn't and don't go out proselytizing. And I'm not anti-Christian. It's just that I live in America, specifically within the Bible Belt (and now in a very Catholic region). So I am inundated with some form of Christianity (and many forms of ignorance). If someone approaches me with Christianity or ignorance, I will counter with agnosticism. For the record, I did share this video on my G+. I shared it not to proselytize. I shared it because most of my friends share a similar view as me and because they will appreciate it. Invariable, though, I wonder if one of my Christian friends will feel as if I'm picking on him/her or trying to proselytize... As is often said, you can't make all of the people happy all of the time.
 
+Jake Weisz I think you mean to use the word culture. I well understand the difference between religion and churches. I find it a bit insulting that you are now comparing atheism to a church. You seem to have had some bad encounters with atheists. I've had bad encounters with religious folk (trying to convince me I'm wrong and such or that I'm going to burn in hell) but I don't assume all others of religion are like that. As an atheist I don't like my beliefs to be called a religion, just as you probably don't like your beliefs to be called the ideas of a raving lunatic. I am not trying to be mean or insulting with that comment, merely trying to make a point.
 
+Carl Benson Ted wanted to argue the definition with me, so... um... "he started it". Oh, believe me, George Carlin is practically an atheist prophet. Atheists eat up George Carlin quotes more often than Christian preachers can get an Amen. Whether you're directly told to do things or not, atheists consume directives on how to go out and evangelize the lack of a belief (and their so-claimed lack of a religion) on a regular basis! If Atheists were not being told what do say somewhere, all your arguments wouldn't be so similar they sounded rehearsed.

+Clayton Astroturf Um... I should play with capitalization more, I'm generally referring to the Catholic Church in a lot of regards, and they most certainly have the longest list of deaths to their name. I am not Catholic, myself. I do go to a church that is led by a pastor I feel has a good solid grasp on what we're called as Christians to actually do, though I don't always agree with him.
 
+Ted Murray Oh, I've had bad experiences with Christian folk too, I know the people that you guys are talking about. ;) 'Burn in hell' folks, in my book, have no idea what Jesus Christ was all about. But I still can't see why so many atheists feel so insulted, by being called a religion. And notice, how your simile effectively managed to assign "religion = ideas of a raving lunatic". And you say I'm the one being insulting. It just mystifies me that it's considered so insulting.
 
Atheists, when presented with a logical series of statements, are inclined to believe the new information presented in the logical series. It seems like you're calling logic a religion. It doesn't matter who said the piece of logic for it to be logical. Just because one man is extra charismatic and logical doesn't mean we worship him. If that were the case we'd all have shrines to Spock.
 
+Carl Benson But atheists are trying to equate their belief to fact. You are, right there. Sorry, but I make my decisions based on a logical process. Logic, is an output, based on the input provided. Obviously, I have different input than you do. Doesn't make the logic any less correct. I hate to break it to you, but atheists don't have the corner on logic.
 
+Jake Weisz You're mixing atheism with scientific thought. They're entirely separate, the fact that a person does not follow a spiritual belief system and doesn't take "facts" on faith doesn't imply they will take them as truth from experimental methods. They do tend to overlap, but they aren't synonyms.
 
+Jake Weisz I purposely chose something insulting (I was going for extreme) as I was comparing what you were saying to be insulting. It was not directed towards you. I wouldn't have been able to make my point otherwise. Outside of the context of this ongoing discussion I would never say such things to a person of faith. I hope you realize I am not hateful towards people with other beliefs. If that was insulting to you I do apologize. It was not my intent.
 
if atheists really practiced what they preached they'd be nihilists; but most are under the delusion that there really is an objective 'special' and that we're it.
 
+Jake Weisz Thanks for the clarification. I was just curious. Doesn't sound like you're Catholic if you actually disagree with the church leadership. ;) I have to comment, though, on the rest of your statement because I find it particularly fascinating. You said, "I do go to a church that is led by a pastor I feel has a good solid grasp on what we're called as Christians to actually do, though I don't always agree with him." So, if I am to take this literally, you mean that you're not really a Christian but rather a Jake Weiszian? Because aren't you saying that your faith is based on your own ideas (or, specifically, your own feelings) rather than those of a church/religious organization? Quite honestly (and not proselytizing), that is one of my concerns with Christianity (and perhaps other religions, it's just that I'm much more familiar with Christianity, so that's what I'm concerned about in this case). If you can believe whatever you want, who's to say that is true "Christianity?" Thomas Paine addressed this in The Age of Reason--once a "truth" has been revealed by the "divine," it immediately is filtered through humanity and can no longer be deemed a "divine truth" i.e. evidence of God's revelation/existence.
 
+Clayton Astroturf Well, one of my issues with your response there, is that you assume that having my own views on the Bible makes me something other than Christian. Christianity has quite a few branches, which then have their own branches of belief. If you drill right down to it, I would argue that almost every single human being on this earth has a slightly different belief system than everyone else. My personal belief is based on my understanding of the Bible, whether I want it or not. Want is not part of the equation. I base my beliefs on what I read, see, and experience. There are parts of the Bible that are inconvenient, but I don't discard because I wish they weren't so.

For instance, the Bible makes it clear homosexuality is a sin. It's clear cut, black and white. I have to accept that fact, if I believe the Bible to be true. However, I differ from a lot of Christians in how I respond to that. Note that we don't discriminate against people for being liars. We probably lie sometimes ourselves, I know I do. And I often lie for a good reason. But lying for any kind, is defined as a sin. In fact, lying is against the Ten Commandments, which are the most important laws to follow, the most important sins not to commit. Homosexuality doesn't make that list, it's not even one of the "big crimes", if it can't score itself a commandment!

I don't see why we harass and discriminate against GBLT folks, or try to deny them the same human rights we have. I support gay rights, because gay people are people too. Whether they've committed a sin in the definition of the Bible really is irregardless, when you consider that according to the Bible, all humans are sinners. A straight sinner is no better than a gay sinner. I have GBLT friends, I don't really view them as a separate category from my other friends.
 
+Ted Murray But see, you chose something that was specifically, and clearly insulting, whereas I'm asking you how come atheists find the term "religion" so insulting. And I bet you can't do it, without referring to all other religions negatively. I mean, by the very nature of saying that being called a religion is an insult, you denote atheism as being superior to all other beliefs.
 
Actually, +Jake Weisz , I'm not assuming. I'm asking for clarification of your opinion. See, that's the difference between proselytizing and having a conversation between two equal people with potentially valid opinions. :) But, still, I'm confused by this: I would argue that almost every single human being on this earth has a slightly different belief system than everyone else. I think I probably agree with that statement. But, in terms of "saving faith," who's to say which "version" is better? Which is the saving faith, if everyone's is different? If they're all different, who's to say other religions aren't just as valid as Christianity? What is the degree of difference that makes the ultimate difference? Relativism, for a person of faith, seems like a very slippery slope to me.

The rest of your comments I can't even address because I simply don't believe them.
 
I'm surprised people are actually arguing this. Atheism was coined to be the lack of religion. And now... it's a religion? What word is there for not believing in religion/god then?

Dictionary for religion:

1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.


Last I checked, atheists don't have beliefs about the purpose of the universe, or ritual observances, or a set of practices common amongst them all.

The misunderstanding here is that atheism is faith based, because at the end of the day they have no proof one way or another whether god exists. They take it upon faith to believe that there is no god. But having faith does NOT make one religious.

I have no idea how planes work. But, I have faith that my plane won't fall out of the sky. Flying in a plane is not a religion.
 
Furthermore, there are also degrees of faith. And I would also argue that atheism takes a lesser degree of faith due what we have observed about the universe. Science. It's awesome like that.
 
It has not been said enough that the burden or proof is on the person who makes he claim. Atheists will never disprove god, because you can't disprove a negative. Religions will never prove god exists, but defend god with science when it's convenient to them, or bash/misrepresent the science when it isn't.

The atheist movement is just now fighting back and beginning to look unified because we have rights that we didn't have before. Nonbelievers are the least trusted minority group in America, right up there with child molesters and rapists. History has always been on the side of the oppressed party, and as much as Christians claim to be persecuted and victimized, they're doing pretty well for themselves. Since religious people put us all together as if we were a single religious group, its only fair that we do some nutty shit like Maher did in the video. Like religious people do.

Also, saying that one makes decisions through a logical process and believing in the supernatural should cause some cognitive dissonance in anyone that does try to think logically. Just my few cents...
 
+Jake Weisz I do not see my beliefs as being a religion. You are applying your own definition to the word. I think Koush did a good job of explaining it. It seems to me instead of using the word religion to describe atheism, you should be using the word culture. You could even use the word faith. Like Koush, I put my faith in science.
 
+Jake Weisz You said that you know for sure that homosexuality is a sin. Yet the book of Deuteronomy is filled with other rules that dont seem to apply now. No one in 10 years has been able to give me a good answer to how these seemingly arbitrary decisions were made as to which rules were still ok and which were the "old way" in that book.
 
+Koushik Dutta I would argue that a lesser requirement of faith doesn't make it not a religion. And definition of points 2 and 3, I would definitely use to argue that atheism is a religion. You can't tell me atheists don't generally agree with other atheists about their beliefs.

+Clayton Astroturf Assume was the wrong weird their, or more, the statement including Jake Weiszian assumes, rather than you yourself. The English language is such a great tool, right? :P

Well, I try not to argue which is better. I'm not a judgmental person, because I figure, either we'll die and be judged by someone who has the authority and right to judge us, or we'll die, be dead, and not care anyways. It's also why I don't try to convert people to believing what I believe.
 
+Jake Weisz I didn't say that lesser faith doesn't make something not a religion. I said faith doesn't make something a religion.

Agreeing with someone doesn't make a religion either. We can agree that the sun is hot, that doesn't make a religion.

I'll quote myself, since you didn't actually read it, or chose to mutilate what I said in favor of your argument:

"The misunderstanding here is that atheism is faith based, because at the end of the day they have no proof one way or another whether god exists. They take it upon faith to believe that there is no god. But having faith does NOT make one religious.


I have no idea how planes work. But, I have faith that my plane won't fall out of the sky. Flying in a plane is not a religion."
 
+Koushik Dutta If a religion is a group of people with similar beliefs, which is what I see the definition saying, right there...

+Julio Rivera My point, is that whether or not it's a sin is completely irrelevant to how we should address homosexuality in our lives. "Gays are this, or gays shouldn't be able to do that because homosexuality is a sin", is bad logic, and treating people badly because they're GBLT is not very Christlike either.
 
+Jake Weisz Nice try. The definition is "beliefs and practices". Not just beliefs.

People sharing beliefs is not a religion. Try again.
 
The reason why atheists, skeptics and scientific-minded people agree is that we use the same tools to get to our position: critical thinking, logic, reason and the scientific method. The beautiful thing about +Koushik Dutta 's plane analogy is that a plane will fly whether he believes in or understands it or not. We dont have to fully understand something to know its not god behind it, and agreeing on that does not make us a religion.

Or are political parties religions now too?
 
This just in:
Everyone who believes Tupac is still alive is a member of the same religion.

First annual Tupacian meeting will be at Jake's house, 7PM Sunday. Be there.
 
religion is just a cult that has gained enough "popularity" to become accepted... I say this coming from a 7th day adventist upbringing, but I do believe in a singular God, I just believe that faith has nothing to do with religion, and that religion does more to poison the spiritual relationship many people do or do not have with whatever god(s) they choose to believe in... or not believe in for that matter...
 
+Koushik Dutta I argue that it is, and that you're splitting hairs. And you're still arguing that the terminology shouldn't be applied to you for such a reason, largely because many atheists feel the label insulting, as it lowers them to the same level as the rest of us. Sorry, but I call bull on the whole concept. The whole argument is just another way to attempt to raise atheism above other belief systems. Solely, because... what, it doesn't have common practices?

So, because a belief system doesn't have a daily ritual, it's not a religion? What if I believe in a religion that doesn't involve any rituals or 'practices'. Does that make it not a religion? You're trying to abuse semantics here.
 
but bill maher is a complete asshat, and I will disagree with just about anything he says on principle, he's just a well paid troll and nothing more, his opinion carries no weight with anything that actually matters... a corporate goon to his core, despite anything he says...
 
+Jake Weisz I don't think its lowering anyone. It is simply the word that means "not religious". But you religious folks won't even give them that.
 
+Jake Weisz , hmm, personally I'm not so big on having my eternity determined by such arbitrary decision-making by a deity. But, I suppose the ancients were in no better position than that in their pantheism and they managed to survive long enough to produce us. So maybe it's not so bad.
 
+Julio Rivera I'm a scientifically-minded skeptic, and I'm a Christian. In Koush's words, "Try again." Atheism isn't a logic, it's a belief system that extends beyond logic. Agnosticism would be closer to pure logic, simply saying, I don't know, because I can't prove it. Atheism takes it to saying there isn't God, and you don't know that.
 
+Julio Rivera Also, the Republican party might be it's own religion now. I don't know. I'd love for them to declare themselves a religion and stop being confused with us Christians over here. ;D
 
Oh, and now I have to stop procrastinating and go paint my new place. >.< Bye Google+, I love you and will miss you until I get back to the interwebs. So... won't be here to rebut arguments anymore. :(
 
+Benjammin Martin Do you realize your comment actually makes you a troll? Or was that an attempt at sarcasm? It's hard to tell sometimes with just written word.
 
+Jake Weisz Agnostic atheism: that's not believing in a god but in the end, knowing that you don't ultimately know for sure. If proof of god surfaced, I'd change my mind. Anything that is proven can change my mind. The difference between us is that you accept your religion as a belief without proof, so you may be a skeptic, but it ends at religion. My skepticism does not have exceptions. You're misrepresenting what atheism is, but it doesn't help your point. Agnostic atheism is the closest to pure logic, and I'm there.
 
I love the new I believe in evolution Christians. There is just no logic to it. You can't say I believe in all this magic over here but not that magic that has been scientifically disproven. By the way I think people get atheistism wrong sometimes. We don't believe that there is no possibility that there is a god, we just don't think there's even a reason to think that there might be one. To say it is impossible that there is a god would be as short sighted as religious people are. There's the same amount of evidence there's a purple alien unicorn invisible monster over my shoulder as there is any god out there. Then you top it off with rib bones, boats that saved every single species of animal, virgin pregnancies, etc. That's how you become an atheist, most agnostics are atheists and don't know it, the rest of the agnostics are still afraid of hell and taking a stand.
 
I think the words being used in the arguments here are a huge part of the problem.

Religion is not the opposite of atheism... and neither is theism. The 'a' prefix means without, so atheism literally means without theism, or the lack of belief in any deities. A term that is growing in popularity these days is antitheism, which by definition would be someone opposed to or against theism, as the 'anti' prefix means opposed to or against. An atheist can't be evangelical because they they have nothing to evangelize... they don't have a belief, they have a lack of belief. Any person that argues the position of there not being any deities is an antitheist, not an atheist.

Note that the word agnostic, meaning someone who believes that the existence and nature of a deity or 'ultimate cause' is unknowable, and that we as humans can only have a limited knowledge of such based on our experiences. This does not fit into the anti/a/theism definitions, as it is neither a lack of belief nor a belief/disbelief in one or more deities.

So... believe in one or more deities? You're a theist. Believe there is no such thing as deities? You're an antitheist. Don't fit into either of the above? You're an atheist. Notice the difference between disbelief and lack of belief? Good.

Now that that's cleared up, we can take a look at what a religion is and how it relates the above terms. Unfortunately this word is poorly defined, so this is a difficult thing to do. Some define religion as a set of beliefs and maybe practices, generally pertaining to the cause and nature of the universe, typically shared by a set of people. Wikipedia defines religion as "a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values". I think these definitions intentionally leave a lot of room for interpretation and personal feeling on the subject. It seems to me that based on the strict definitions of theism, agnosticism, atheism, and antitheism, that all could be or not be part of a religion, depending on how exactly you interpret the word religion. Except for atheism. And the reason I say that is because all definitions of religion that I can find mention beliefs, which is exactly what atheism is not.

Alright, that's plenty from me for now, feel free to nitpick as you will internet. I'll check back later to see what you all think.
 
+Josh Bee , what a family does after someones death is their choice and its none of yours or mine or Bill Mahers business. I don't care what Bill believes or doesn't believe but poking fun at a family for how they decided to part with the loss of a loved one is totally uncalled for and not funny at all.
 
+Donald Knobloch What about the fact that the family dishonored his beliefs in the first place? This country still has the right to free speech. I thought what Bill did was very funny and called for. In Bill's own way he was honoring the man. If my family did that to me after I died I would hope that someone would show respect for my beliefs just as Bill did.
 
+Donald Knobloch That's ironic as all hell. Respect what a family does after someone's death? What about respecting what the man believed in life? As their family, baptizing someone who did not believe in that religion while alive is the most disrespectful thing you can do. It's trampling on a man's memory and legacy. Bill Maher did more to respect this man's life than his own family.
 
+Ted Murray do you realize that your comment calling +Benjammin Martin a troll makes you a troll?

yes, i'm being sarcastic. pointing out the fact that someone is a troll does not make you a troll. implying that it does, however, might.
 
I'll just say some of the greatest scientific minds in history believed in God or a higher power. Einstein and Newton come to mind. But it really doesn't matter. We have free will and none of us are in a position to judge each other. We just have to look at the evidence and make a decision for ourselves. Nothing wrong with trying to enlighten others to our evidence based understanding if they want it... but certainly no one should have it crammed down their throat or have there beliefs mocked. That's just uncivilized:)
 
Anyone bringing Einstein into this must first read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Albert_Einstein

If we have free will, then we are in a position to judge each other. That's what it means to have free will. When you look at the evidence, and your decision is against the evidence, then what's the point of looking at the evidence. Christianity is based on being a "fisherman of men," so preaching and "shoving it down our throats" is to some extent necessary, unfortunately. Hence the crusades...

If religion were a personal choice, like believing in astrology, no one would be on anyone's case about it. When public policy and law is based around fairy tales, people like me will have something to say about it. We may even mock it. If you believe, then just chill and rest assured that we're going to hell and you're going to heaven. If your belief is based on something real, you should embrace science as something that will someday prove god. Yet people of faith routinely feel as if their beliefs are in danger of being proven wrong. It's almost as if they're afraid of something.
 
Noted not very smart/funny guy says something. ok.
 
I believe we spend an awful lot of time worrying about others beliefs and trying to defend to others our own.

Simple look back through history shows us that every civilization since the beginning of time was destroyed by natural disaster or religious differences.

I assume we are doomed to repeat the pattern.
 
No religion = no religious intolerance or differences.
 
+Patrick Conwell Wait, let me get this straight. You didn't read the comments, and you're going to modify an uninspired and unintelligent George Carlin quote (which has already been stated three or four times in this conversation) and you expect me to take you seriously, and believe you're intelligent? O.o With all due respect (not much), read comments or shut your face.
 
+Julio Rivera If no religion = no religious intolerance, then atheists are definitely religious. Do you know how many people I come across in a week, who are unable to functionally converse with those of faith? I've met some extremely intolerant atheists.
 
+Jake Weisz you have the meaning of the word religion itself confused, so there will be no arguing with you. The fact that there are intolerant atheists is due to the existence of religion. Remove all the atheists and you're still stuck with all the other religions, and that leads to wars, death and destruction, just like it has before. Atheists didn't kill people that refused to convert. That is a fact you do not address, and instead focus on semantics and misrepresentation. Cool story.
 
+Julio Rivera I'm just going off your definition there, if no religion = no religious intolerance, I argue that it's impossible for atheism to be "not religion". You can't blame the behavior of atheists on Christianity. That's wonderfully Butterfly Effect, but then the I accuse that the only reason Christians have killed people, is because atheists exist. So there, there's your logic. Cool story.
 
+jason crumbley Your god is a god of the gaps based on that description. You have evidence for the big bang and nothing for god yet believe in god and claim it's absurd to believe in the one for which we have evidence for. The irony...
 
+Chris Dewis I don't see anything that disputes the Big Bang Theory in the Bible. It's also not a science textbook. As far as why it needs a cause... things generally don't spontaneously happen in physics.
 
+Chris Dewis You make it seem like I haven't read it. Sorry, there's no conflict here.
 
+Chris Dewis Also, I would argue anything in science that "just happens" is something we "just don't understand well enough yet".
 
+Jake Weisz That's the worst argument from ignorance ever. Christians were killing people who had other religions because they did not want to convert. Are you saying that's ok? Are you saying it's ok to kill atheists? Either way, you should read what the history of your religion before you embarrass yourself on the internet.At this point, at best you seem like a troll, and a dangerous person at worst.
 
+Julio Rivera I agree, it's the worst argument ever. ... It's your argument. I literally used your logic to show you how dumb you sounded. Congratulations!
 
+Jake Weisz Follow this logic. I'm gonna dumb it down for you. The bible says 1. Light was created before light sources. 2. The light can be literal light or figurative light, so 3. Either the bible is wrong or it's not supposed to be taken literally. 4. If it cannot be taken literally, it can't be historical in nature and therefore loses much of its significance.
 
Koush, good job with the topic. You got a lot of people talking before the religious troll popped in. The discourse was interesting for a bit. Good night everyone.
 
+Julio Rivera What part of "It's. Not. A. Science. Textbook." is confusing to you?

Thought experiment, dumbed down to preschool level for you:

1. God is real. (Just for this experiment, bear with me.)
2. God is going to pass down the knowledge people need to know to live in a just and right manner, along with some helpful gardening advice and some such.
3. These people barely know how to knock two rocks together to get fire (slight exaggeration).

Do you expect God to include a rough primer of quantum physics and the Cretaceous Era, or do you figure he's probably just going to say "Hey look, I made everything. And it was Good"? Common sense, people. You can get as sciencey as you want, but it's useless if you shove science so far up your rear end, that common logic escapes you.
 
+Chris Dewis Is not the whole point of science to tack down a definite cause? Even probability in most cases involves actual factors that cause it to occur, wind currents or something else environmental. In most cases, probability isn't. That's why scientists have to do experiments in as much of a controlled environment as possible. And when you can do that, there's very little probability left in the equation. I would be surprised if science wasn't at some point able to effectively disprove chance.

I think it's revealing that the atheists, who claim to be all logic and science, can accept that "some things just happen". Sounds like you have your own little faith in that right there to me.
 
+Patrick Conwell Yes, but you said something dumb. If you're going to say something dumb and not read... you're trolling. You had no point, you regurgitated the words of a comedian. Your statement actually contained no logical arguments whatsoever. You literally were opening your mouth, but nothing was coming out. How can I address your point, when you didn't make one?

+Chris Dewis Yes, let's accept our current understanding as final. We cannot possibly be wrong, and we certainly understand everything. I would argue that the statement that a theory or interpretation should be considered final to be a ludicrous slap in the face of science.
 
+Chris Dewis I have never one discounted the possibility I am wrong, but you seem to casually. I really can't have a meaningful discussion with someone so far in denial that it hurts. You're literally defending the right to say, there's nothing that makes this work, it just is, and defending it like a theory that gravity just makes things fall down, and there's nothing else to it.
 
I do disagree with Jeake Weisz's idea, but I must say that the behaviour displayed by some who out of nowhere just attacked him, shows me that in practice he may be right. Like many of you, I don't believe that atheism is a religion; though in my case is solely because it doesn't believe in a God or anything of the sort. That said, some Atheist act very much like the religious sheep they oppose so much.

You have your average religious zealot quoting Bible passages he does not fully understand, you have your average Atheist quoting equations/theories that they don't fully understand. Your average religious zealot listens to a Pastor, Minister, etc; you're average Atheist will gladly agree with whatever a scientist says. Now granted the scientist has to offer proof of his claims, but as I said most don't even understand the proof he's offering (sort of seems like blindly having faith in someone a bit). That said, atheism is not a religion.

I think most of us understand what the other is saying (in this particular argument), but it seems that nobody wants to acknowledge the valid points in the other's argument. If Jake's argument is that Atheist can be just as annoying, ignorant, prejudiced as any Bible thumper, then how could I not agree?

Science tries to make sense out of the things that happened/happen/will happen, but some think that science's objective is to disprove faith... which is so beyond wrong, or you possibly couldn't have people like George Lemaitre who proposed the theory that would later be called, in ridicule I might add, "The Big Bang"' nor could you have people like Angelo Secchi who was one of the earliest (if not the earliest) to say that the Sun was simply a star. Basically, all Atheist aren't scientists, and all scientists aren't Atheist. It's worth noting that Lemaitre's idea was generally dismissed, and most thought it was ridiculous (even Einstein, who wasn't an atheist by the way). Thanks to Hubble that all changed, but the point is that we shouldn't be too adamant about defending our views; our reality is truly wonderful and strange and I highly doubt any of us should be so arroganat as to pretend we "get it".

The other day I read (actually, might have seen it on tv) of some guy who devised an experiment where a little plank lie peace of metal was vibrating and not vibrating.... at the same time;I mean, seriously how weird is that? Granted I can't quite wrap my head around the concept, but how cool is that? 
 
If you wanted a heated argument discuss politics, religion or football :-)
 
OMG g+ is a terrible place to have a conversation. Even LiveJournal has threaded comments.

tl;dr
 
Speaking of REASON Bill, how'd those buildings explode from the top down on 9/11?
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