Posted in In my humble opinion..., Writing Prompts

Fandango’s Provocative Question #163- Semantics

There are so many tangents this question can produce. It’s taken me a long time to work out my thoughts toward the briefest and least complex answer to the exact question.
There’s a whole intellectual course of study on “semantics”. Our human ability for language, as remarkable as it is, has its own ‘minefields’. There are cultural divides when it comes to understanding each other, as well as many nuances in defining our most human complex concepts. I simply cannot keep up with modern efforts at redefining once widely held understandings!
Here’s my thought process on the question (It is thoroughly a scientific method examination of the language not a judgement on the concepts we’re using.)
A previous discussion I had with our friend Fandango, produced an interesting difference in our understanding of this language. As many emotionally charged topics do, I think that we each jumped back and forth from the meaning of words into the endless quagmire of the meaning of a higher Truth. A darn dangerous leap for sure! I don’t think either of us claimed we were ‘correct’ and left the discussion on the understanding that we were simply “talking past each other”.
Do you believe that atheism is a set of religious beliefs or is a religion in any sense? If so, why? If not, why not? Or, do you have no opinion on the matter or just don’t care one way or the other?
My answer is: Yes, it’s a religious belief and I’m not sure whether it could be called a ‘religion’. Atheism’s ‘believers’ (Making a definitive conclusion on an unprovable concept is a belief.) certainly ‘take on’ some of the qualities of religious people (certainty, easily offended by disapproval, somewhat organized) but it doesn’t really have tangible tenants. So, I’ll claim unsure on that.
As for my opinion that atheism is a ‘religious belief’? It comes down to my understanding that it’s a position, belief, or claim within (and regarding) the topic of religion. That, in my world, is a ‘religious belief’.
The example I used to explain a similar dynamic was the concept of politics. One simply cannot have an opinion on politics that isn’t-by default- a ‘political opinion/belief’. An apolitical person, with no opinion on politics, is the opposite of one who is political. In the same way, an agnostic person (who doesn’t want to enter into a religious discussion) is the true opposite of holding a ‘religious belief’.
It seems an unpleasant, unfriendly, conclusion made only according to my understanding of the semantics because an atheist basically wants to be anything but religious. Saying that technically-when applying the rules of language- their position is a ‘religious’ one, obviously would inspire push back and reaction. No offense is intended. It’s only an opinion with reasons. 😉
One of my statements during the discussion that inspired this wonderful question bears repeating… “No one has the power to offend or change you, if you don’t give it to them.”


I love a well told story. If it makes me laugh, all the better.

9 thoughts on “Fandango’s Provocative Question #163- Semantics

  1. “ atheist basically wants to be anything but religious.” An atheist doesn’t want to be anything but religious. You’re making a big leap. An atheist doesn’t ”want” anything. I can’t say it enough that atheism is nothing more than a rejection of the existence of God. It is not a rejection of those who do believe in God or the religion they have chosen to pursue their beliefs.

    1. You speak for them all again. I’ll ask around, if you don’t mind.
      As for my comment. I would have better phrased it as, “By many definitions, atheists don’t want to be associated with religion. Sensitive much?

      1. Feel free to ask around. I was using the common definition of atheists, but I speak only for myself. And if atheists don’t want to be associated with religion, that’s only because most religions are built around the belief in a supernatural deity, which, by definition, atheists reject.

      2. And while you accuse me of making broad generalizations about a whole group of people, your statement that started this whole thing: “Atheism is the religious belief held by those who don’t believe in religion,” is about as gross of a generalization about a group of people as anything I’ve ever heard.

      3. Sorry but your logic is too illogical for me. I think you just like the ‘sound’ of your own voice. But that’s just an opinion. I’ve dealt with kids long enough to know when to stop explaining. You mean well but IMHO you have a high opinion of your own ability to make rational arguments. Some people find you almost as impressive as you find yourself. Talk to them. They care. 😁

  2. Sorry if my logic astounds you. And, if you don’t care what I think, maybe you should just stop commenting. We’d probably both be better off that way.

    1. Self-control is in order not retreat. Unless you’re uncomfortable with diverse views? I won’t acknowledge your volumous pursuits from now on and keep my answers simple. 😁

      1. I am very comfortable with diverse issues and in expressing my views, perspectives, thoughts, and opinions. I know that not everyone shares my perspectives, but few are as rude as you are in the way you disparage me, my logic, and in the way you insist on telling me what my problem is. So if you choose to refuse to acknowledge my “volumous [sic] pursuits” (whatever that means), I certainly won’t lose any sleep over that.

Tell me something good...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s