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The Myth of Religious Neutrality

  1. Aug 7, 2010 #1
    "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    So, I've come across a person who's made this statement: "Every single human is religious. I reject the myth of religious neutrality. The shared commonality of all belief systems are that they all rely on axiomatic assumptions that can't be proven."

    I'm having trouble with the "axiomatic assumptions" part. Isn't an axiom something that is self-evident, therefore, an axiom doesn't need to be proven?

    So, in general, doesn't the fact that most, if not all, religions have a holy book, show that this belief is non-axiomatic? Because one has been given "proof" for the validity of whatever religion?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2010
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  3. Aug 7, 2010 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    I saw God.

    Do you believe me or not. It is a choice.

    The distinction is that scientific evidence is only one form of evidence. Other forms of evidence cannot be logically excluded a priori, or, for one, we couldn't have a justice system. So to limit one's beliefs to only those supported by science, is a philosophical choice.
     
  4. Aug 7, 2010 #3

    Evo

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    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    Just because someone has an opinion doesn't mean their opinion is right.

    I'm afraid that citing any specfic religion's beliefs violates our guidelines.
     
  5. Aug 7, 2010 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    But there is a logically correct answer.
     
  6. Aug 7, 2010 #5

    Borek

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    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    I guess atheism is a religion then?
     
  7. Aug 7, 2010 #6
    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    Yes, I agree. I just don't understand how a belief, that is not self-evident -- I don't believe that the existence of any specific God is self-evident -- can be considered axiomatic.

    I've only really had experienced axioms briefly in my intro linear algebra course, and these were always facts that didn't require proof and were clearly obvious. So, maybe I just don't understand what an axiom is.
     
  8. Aug 7, 2010 #7
    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    Ironically enough, he's made that exact same point -- that atheism is a religion.

    His reasoning, as far as I can remember, was that atheism relies on the axiomatic assumption that there is no God(s).
     
  9. Aug 7, 2010 #8

    Evo

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    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    You understand correctly. If he actually said "The shared commonality of all belief systems are that they all rely on axiomatic assumptions that can't be proven.", it's word salad, with "repeated redundancies". :tongue2:

    I believe Borek was pointing out the common misunderstanding that many religious people have about atheists, they can't comprehend that atheists lack belief.
     
  10. Aug 7, 2010 #9

    turbo

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    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    I can't even bother to be an atheist. Giving even that level of credence to the notion of a divine being (negative though it may be) is beyond me. Agnosticism would be foreign to religious people, too, but it is different from atheism.
     
  11. Aug 7, 2010 #10
    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    I think you need to tell us what it means to be religious. Is it only someone that belongs to an established religion and believes that its members, scriptures, and their particular interpretation separate them from the rest of humanity and favors them in the eyes of a deity(ies)? Does it include someone who considers themselves spiritual but does not follow any traditional religion and instead views all of nature in a special kind of awe and wonder? I've heard the latter referred to as religious also, even though they don't believe in the deity(ies) mentioned in scriptures..
     
  12. Aug 7, 2010 #11
    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    I agree that both your former and latter descriptions of a religious person are valid.

    I just want to make it clear, this is not my argument, but the argument made by my friend.
     
  13. Aug 7, 2010 #12
    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    It would make more sense to say the opposite. Everyone has the capability of not believing in a god, since even if you believe in a god, there are lots of others that you don't believe in.
     
  14. Aug 7, 2010 #13

    lisab

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    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    Perfect! I, too, am a devoted non-seeker.

    Nice :approve:.
     
  15. Aug 7, 2010 #14
    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    This is a pretty standard logical fallacy. All religions rely on axiomatic assumptions, therefore all axiomatic assumptions are religion.
     
  16. Aug 8, 2010 #15
    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    An axiom in traditional logic is not something proven, it is self-evident and its truth is assumed. Traditional religions and their scriptures are full of axioms (the things revealed by God to prophets, etc.). We could start a list of religious axioms here and go on and on for a long time. Traditional religions are passed on orally and learned from man, they are not something that is inherent in our genetics. If there is anything inherent (like with the so-called "God gene"), it would be more about a psychological sense of spirituality (e.g., an awe of nature and existence) than about a specific belief in a deity(ies)

    Axiom - In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths. In mathematics, the term axiom is used in two related but distinguishable senses: 'logical axioms' and 'non-logical axioms'. In both senses, an axiom is any mathematical statement that serves as a starting point from which other statements are logically derived. http://www.tutorvista.com/bow/axioms-and-postulates"
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  17. Aug 8, 2010 #16

    Gokul43201

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    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    I agree that the statement: "The shared commonality of all axiomatic systems is that they all rely on axiomatic assumptions that can't be proven." (slightly modified from your acquaintance's statement)

    However, just because two system share one aspect in common, does not make them equivalent. For instance, only one of the two primary systems of discussion here has time-and-time-again demonstrated the ability to predict the outcomes of a wide range of natural and man-made events. This predictive capability is one of the distinguishing differences between science and religion.

    This is a false definition of atheism.
     
  18. Aug 8, 2010 #17
    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    I'd certainly agree with this person that all people hold to certain axiomatic assumptions. Whether you'd call these assumptions "religions," however, is another matter. In general, for something to be a religious doctrine, it's got to fundamentally affect the way someone lives. If someone doesn't believe in God, I wouldn't necessarily call that a religious belief (I do think that militant atheists can be termed religious, but that's a whole other discussion).

    It seems to me that even axioms can be up for debate. Consider Euclid's last axiom, the one about two lines that intersect a third line at non-right angles meeting at some point. For centuries people believed it was true, and then somebody rejected that axiom and wound up with curvelinear geometries. This, however, doesn't invalidate Euclidean geometry. Thus, I wouldn't say that someone can hold to an assumption even if everyone else in the world doesn't share it.

    It does get messy when you get into specific religious doctrines. It wouldn't make sense for someone to refer to their religious text as axiomatic. That person would essentially be saying that the text has no correspondence to reality, and that the text must simply be assumed true. I think that most religious people believe that their respective texts are historically and/or philosophically true based on some evidence.
     
  19. Aug 8, 2010 #18
    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    To truly disbelief something, you need true faith that it doesn't exist. If you accept there's no way to prove something absolutely, such as God's existence, you would be agnostic. If you have true faith that something isn't provable one way or the other, isn't that a form of religious faith? If you didn't truly believe anything you said or thought, even regular everyday things like whether you like ketchup or not, I think you would cease to function as an organism. I think arguments over religion come down to the level of metaphysics people want to engage in. Some people prefer to limit all their beliefs to things that are physically evident and others prefer to explore issues that aren't directly regulated by physical materiality. It always comes back to whether you can believe with absolute faith that something someone else believes in is 100% false. That is more difficult than you would expect; hence more that 50% of the money transfers in the economy.
     
  20. Aug 8, 2010 #19

    Evo

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    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    Atheist do not have faith that there is no diety/dieties. They simply do not believe to begin with. Why can't religious people understand this? You can stand in front of me and rattle off names of creatures you make up, that doesn't mean i have to go through some belief process to reject them. I simply reject them as not existing. No beliefs.
     
  21. Aug 8, 2010 #20

    drizzle

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    Re: "The Myth of Religious Neutrality"

    Exactly [which by the way is wrong to say, going to the extreme doesn't prove/show/assure your favour to your religion], but saying "Every single human is following a certain religion" That I would agree on.
    Yes, IMO. What is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion" [Broken]after all


     
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