As a ex-christian, I fully acknowledge that my language is still fully immersed in religious vocabulary. Words like 'bible' 'holy' 'sacred' 'blasphemy' 'heresy' still paint my conversations, but the problem is, I don't know what words to sub in to get across what I mean when something is considered sacred. To an atheist does that get 'downgraded' to just 'important' or 'crucial' or 'vital' are those words enough to depict the magnitude of what is meant when something is considered 'sacred' ?
Is there a place for a sacred anything in Atheism, or is that word like the word 'divine' it implies something theistic and therefore you're not a real atheist if you consider something like ... say the Cosmos to be sacred. and therefore deserves a capital letter like its a proper noun, acknowledging its sentience and awareness as a living ... thing.
Is it a religious belief to think that the Cosmos is alive and full of energy, to feel and think that on every core of yourself the way some people believe in some sort of anthropomorphic god from a book written by a bunch of men in a desert ..etc. ?
How is the concept of 'sacredness' accepted/viewed in the Atheist / non-theist community, what other words are there to use?' How do non-theistic (formerly theistic) people relate to what is in other venues/communities considered 'divine' ?
No such thing as sacred for me. I was taught that sacred was connected with god. No god, no sacred.
Sacred also indicated that what was talked about could not be questioned. I think we can question everything, and should.
Cherished is perhaps a word that could be substituted, but I don't use that word either. I'm a plain and simple guy that doesn't like flowery language. I prefer words like fascinating and beautiful.
The problem with words like "sacred," "holy," and that whole ilk is that they tend to refer to things that the church or the temple or the mosque want left untouched, unexamined and most of all, unanalyzed. The problem is that, once they are looked at with an independent, unbiased point of view, those beliefs, tenets, dogmas and principles which religions hold as "sacred" wind up having more holes in them than a cheese that's been Swissed ... Which Is WHY They Don't Want Them Looked At!
In his Intelligence Squared debate participation of 2009, Stephen Fry noted a time when it was a death-penalty offense to own a bible in English. The reason is obvious: in Latin, the bible is more mysterious, less penetrable, and less accessible. This way, priests schooled in Latin and English can mete out portions of it to the sheep congregation in a controlled fashion, avoiding those portions which may give rise to untoward questions and conversations. This goes on even today, with people allowing their priests to dole out this chapter or that verse but NOT THAT little bit and OH, LORD, DON'T mention THAT ... because, in the final analysis, the bible doesn't make sense ... And They Know It.
Another thing Fry brought up in that debate was one word: "discovery." "Discovery" is a beautiful word, that speaks to curiosity, learning, adventure and growth. Thing is, discovery requires freedom, the ability to question, investigate, and to learn for oneself rather than take a diktat from some authority, whether they're wearing a cassock or not. It wasn't that long ago I read that the late pope, John Paul II, asked that the instant of the Big Bang remain exempt from scientific inquiry, because it was "holy." I hear crap like that and I want to vomit. They want one little sliver (one very IMPORTANT little sliver) of reality left undisturbed for their beliefs to take shelter in ... and no, I don't think for one second we should yield that to them.
I've said this multiple times, but I find that it doesn't just bear repeating, it needs it:
Nothing, nothing, NOTHING should be beyond question, reproach, examination or scrutiny, not theism, not atheism. The second you set something apart, it has the potential to exercise undue influence and indeed tyranny on anyone or everyone Because It Is Not To Be Questioned. We need and deserve the right to be free of such strictures ... and if any principle can be said to be "sacred," that freedom to question is it.
I like the word-pair sacred and profane but in that context I don't use them.
However, I enjoy profaning sacred ideas.
Atheism is simply the belief that there are no gods. There is no proof of existence of any gods. Therefore, there can be nothing "sacred" in atheism because you would have to set it aside as something that avoids all scrutiny and questioning. NO, there is nothing sacred in atheism.
Blasphemy is to "speak badly of" and heresy is to "speak something other than the accepted religious belief." Notice that the word usage here turned this subject to RELIGION pretty quickly. Bible comes from "biblios" and it simply means "book." (In reality over 66 books that we have bound together, and they were not originally written for that purpose.)
Religious people, for example, hold the virgin Mary in high esteem and believe that she remained a "virgin" even after the birth of Jesus. If her hymen was still intact it would prove that Jesus was never born, or not her child. Holding to this belief would show some people of idiotic intelligence.
As for the cosmos seeming alive and full of energy, this is the result of how it works and moves. We are learning more about it all the time, but there is no evidence of a "brain" or anything that even remotely thinks of the human being. WE are not the center of the universe.
Pass some of my words back onto the theist and they instantly call atheism "just another religion" and they go back to their "buybull" to prove it. They don't get it. Most of us are atheists because we found out that the bible proves nothing.
As I understand it, Buddhism is an atheistic belief system. So, as you say, it holds that there are no gods. Does it hold anything as sacred?
Honest question as I'm not a Buddhist.
Thank you for reminding me of that. I had forgotten it was as you described. Too much caffeine, brains ping-ponging inside my skull.