Do you see an actual difference between a religion and an ideology?

Granted, a religious ideology is usually based around some kind of 'holy' teachings that originate with a 'deity'. Beyond that, however, is there any real difference with how a religion affects the world - politics, culture, public debate, individual participation in the group, freedom of thought and speech, etc?

For me, I see Communism as a religion and not representative of atheism at all. It may, technically, be atheistic in that is not centered around a deity, per se. But it does deify the party and use techniques to enforce the 'will of the state' that were perfected centuries ago by the Catholic Church. The word 'propaganda' was, literally coined by the Church.

Personally, when it comes to individual beliefs - I am a staunch pluralist. I think that is a perfectly reasonable stand. As with atheism, pluralism barely merits the 'ism' - in fact, it is somewhat 'anti-ismic.'

Nevertheless, I am strongly against the stifling group think that all ideologies foster, by definition. In many cases, I feel that most of the more successful ideologies have proven to be dangerously detrimental to human progress and the health of the planet itself.

Therefore, I am insulted when people refer to anyone as an 'atheist leader'. This perpetuates the false notion that there is an atheist 'movement' that conforms to some common ideology and can be 'led' solely based on a single common factor of non-belief.

For example, in some ways, I think Hitchens is brilliant and in others - a pure jackass. I share his atheism, his vocal disapproval of the 'poison' of religion. But the nature of his support of the Iraq war is bullshit. Interestingly, I think he is probably much more anti-ismic than many of his 'followers.'

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You got it Howard! Kindred spirits indeed.
Nevertheless, I am strongly against the stifling group think that all ideologies foster, by definition.

Part and parcel of the "social" construct aspect. Without the herd mentality, what would society actually be? Oddly humorous, when viewed through that particular prism.

This perpetuates the false notion that there is an atheist 'movement' that conforms to some common ideology and can be 'led' solely based on a single common factor of non-belief.

Disagree. Here, all over this site, you will repeatedly see attempts at homogenously delineating atheism; "esoterics", "aesthetics" "spirituality". Yet for all the rhetoric, the push to get a "common voice", "movement" "visibility" "making atheist group X a household name" "coming out" ... all the mantra of stereotypical group behavior.

How stereotypes arise; a particular social grouping is either tacitly or forcibly set apart from the herd, by means of, (in the case with our family of hominids), ideology and rhetoric that lacks the centrist appeal of the herd's majority opinion. Then that fabulous little organic discriminating machine gets busy with finding myriad ways to make real those divisions; labelling.

History never repeats.
In methods? No, Ideologies such as fascism, and communism, and Religion all use the same semi-brainwashing methods to attain their goals.

... but the one difference which keeps the two definitions separate is, one thinks they're hearing god, and the other thinks it IS god.

The human notion of gods seems to be the root cause of many of our issues.
Idealogy without any supporting evidence to back it up, Oh......I know where Ive heard that before, all these people who rant about climate change.
Climate change has become the new religion for the generation that doesn't understand anything it isnt spoon fed by television.
Are you waiting for the eco-freaks to start bombing factories and stuff? I know I am. I think the idea of climate change that is currently galvanizing the world around a common theme of preservation is a good thing whether it is true or not. The Truth will eventually be known by way of constant scientific scrutiny. That's how the Truth works these days right? Climate change is a theory. Just like dark matter and evolution. We will figure it out one day. Besides, I don't buy into every idea that gets run past me but I do buy energy saving light bulbs. I got a better light bulb out of this new religion. No harm in Climate Change Theory so far.
Uhuhn - cause there are so many cases of 'eco-freaks' bombing things. You sound like a conspiracy nut to me.
I certainly agree that any dogmatic belief can be very very dangerous...religious or not.
Religions are based on something that is by definition unprovable. Ideologies are based on concepts. When ideologies don't work, eventually people realize that they don't work and move on. Except that some will say it wasn't the "true" version of the ideology (communism, for example), which makes it kind of like religion.
Hmmm - this is a very reasonable distinction. However, to my point, many ideologies act like religions in that they tend to deliberately blind themselves to the legitimacy of other ways of thinking. Look at the vast numbers of lower middle class and poor Americans, for example, who are 'outraged' at health care reform that would, in all likelihood, improve their lives. The same people cry out against taxing a very small minority of people who are more wealthy than they will ever be. And it is all done in a 'free society' through the use of mind-numbing catch phrases and mass-media propaganda that plays on their cultural ignorance, commonplace bigotry, and generalized fears and anxieties.

The other thing I have noticed - the religious are the most easily led to some of these other forms of ideology - even when the 'secondary' ideology is diametrically opposed to the core tenets of their religion.




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