I'm guessing this has been discussed before but i got into a debate with a religious (christian) friend of mine.  It started with "Well, atheists don't believe in anything" and ended with him saying Atheism is just another false religion (like Hinduism in his mind).  I really couldn't debate one way or another whether Atheism was a religion or not.  Thoughts?

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On this point, I don't think atheism is a religion but I'd agree that atheists can practice some religions and have behaved consistently in regards to not believing in gods.

Religion generally believes in a supernatural power. Religion tells people that god knows all the deeds of human beings and all their thoughts and god rewards those who obey his  commands and punishes those who do not do so. In other words, a religion imposes a code of irrational behaviour. Atheism does not impose anythig on anybody.  A religion says that its own beliefs and practices are correct and any contrary beliefs are incorrect.  Religion thus promotes intolerance. Many differences between thee two can be cited but it may suffice to say that atheism is as opposite to religion as any two things can be. It believes in humanism and is not in intolerant.


Humanism does NOT equal atheism. Humanism IS religion like, in the same sense as Buddhism. It has a set of rules, its adulations (in this case Humanity) and belief systems which may or may not be rational. Humanism attempts to impose its Westernised WASPy, although godless, worldview onto the public face of atheists. So please, do not make them one and the same, just because you happen to use both terms to describe yourself, they are not. There are plenty of atheists who do not believe in Humanism.

You seem to have some mistaken ideas about Buddhism and humanism. Buddhism is not just about ahimsa and atheism. Buddhism advocates prayers and rituals, it advocates renouncing worldly pleasures in exchange of heavenly pleasures, belives in soul and reincarnation. Humanism does not posses even a single attribute of a religion. Atheism is not eternal. As G.K.Chestern said, there would be no atheists when there would be no god. In a sense, the whole humanity is going to be atheist some day but humanism will be needed as long as humanity exists on this planet.

One of the purpose why man created religion was to install a social order by means of fear. When atheism will remove the fear, it will be the responsibility of atheists to provide a basis for a new social order. We certainly can not leave a vaccum and abandon responsibility. Humanism will certainly be one factor for a new social order. You need humanism whether you are a theist or an atheist. If there are any atheists who do not believe in humanity, they need to change themselves.


Wow, speak of dogmatic! Non Humanist believing atheists need to change?!?!? Creepy!

Humanism is but a leftover paradigm of last century. Humans have been believing in Humanity since humans have existed... serving humans' benefits to the detriment of all others. In fact, it's highly time we became a little more sceptical of ourselves. When one wields such powers to change our environment and to enslave as humans do, it is high time we stopped our navel gazing.

Atheism has TNT666 making and imposing rules; humanism does not.


??? That makes no sense!

Atheists have no manifesto, no agenda, Humanism does. Atheists have no rules per se, only those atheists which care to join particular doctrines preach "rules".


"Atheists have no manifesto, no agenda, Humanism does."

The point is, your comparing humanism with religion. Please compare the manifesto and agenda of religion with those of humanism. All atheists seem to be ignorant about this! And one question: Are you an atheist?

Madhukar Kulkarni.


POI: Capital H... for Humanism.

I am a third generation atheist, as opposed to a new atheist. So our family has been atheist since the end 19th century. Humanism is a set of doctrines and values which are only partially more rational than conventional theistic religions, which is why I place Humanism alongside Buddhism. The Humanist manifesto is founded on the same basic values as Christianity, very much similar to the new testament, which reflects the Christian sources of Humanism. The very recent penchant for secular Humanism is basically the same set of values minus the celestial god component and has only come about in the past half century.

Gods are but inventions of humanity, they were created in our own image, so adulating gods is no different than adulating humanity.


"Humanism is but a leftover paradigm of last century"

"Humanism is a set of doctrines and values which are only partially more rational than conventional theistic religions, which is why I place Humanism alongside Buddhism."

I am sorry to say that all you say above can not be accepted without sufficient explaination. You are saying that values of humanism are only partially more rational than religion. You must explain such sweeping statements more elaborately.This is going to be of interest to all atheists as all of us believe in humanism. If humanism is only a 'leftover' then it should have been reject by almost all humanity. This is certainly not so.

"Gods are but inventions of humanity, they were created in our own image, so adulating gods is no different than adulating humanity."

This is another statement of your's that is obviously untrue. You seem to be drawings parallels between god and humans plainly on the basis of appearance! What about Egyptian and Hindu gods that are not in human image? Is it alright to adulate them? There are plenty of human inventions other than god. And then you talk of three generations! Atheists are supposed to be rational people who do not make sweeping statements without proof.

Madhukar Kulkarni.











You may want to read up on the history of Humanism, and the manifestos, all three of them, to understand the 'genesis' of Humanism. As for gods, I have yet to see any gods of human invention which do not at least at 90% not resemble humans, so what if they have dog/elephant noses/ears and whatever other combination, they're still human in general design. Frankly Madhukar, you seem like a few other atheists I've met here, you threw away one dogma just to hop into another. Hey it's your right to be a Humanist, I'm not going to criticise you on your choice... It just annoys me to see labels applied equally that are in fact independent as you inferred in your first response (Humanist=atheist) some Humanists are atheist, some are not, some atheists are Humanists, some are not. They are entirely separate definitions.

TNT666! You call humanism a religion or a dogma but your your anger seems to be directed towards gods looking like humans. No one doubts that they have been created by humans and that is why we too dislike them, but humanism is far, far removed from these gods. Please, forget the gods for a moment, they are not at all an issue in our present discussion. There is no relation between any kind of gods and humanism. Humanism is just noyhing but COMPASSION towards all living things. What is wrong with this? How does this get related to gods? If you have anything against humanism, you must be able also to say what is your alternative to this. 

TNT666, please leave aside your notions for some time and make full effort to see why those 'that you have met here' think well of humanism.  Another thing I want to make clear very specifically is that I neither believe nor have said that humanism= atheism. There is no mathematical relation between the two!You see, every atheist is a rational thinking person and we all, including you, must have some clear view, not only of present but of the future too. You owe it to your atheist friends that you should make a sympathatic effort to understand their thoughts that they have formulated after great deliberations. 

I only hope that this time your reply will be accurately to the point, if what you say is not to appear as cynicism.

One doubt. If you say that you are a third generation atheist, have yo simply inherited atheism, like religion? No offence meant.

Madhukar Kulkarni.


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