7 5

Religion and philosophy

Why is every religion philosophy, but not every philosophy religion?

Nobody ever died because they argued the teachings of Nietzsche compared to that of Schopenhauer.

Meanwhile the debate of whose God’s dick is bigger or interpretation at many points in history ends up with mass graves.

Vipyr82 7 Mar 11

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


Can make a strong connection between Nietzsche and fascism. There's a reason his nickname is 'Nietzsche the Nazi' . Tens of millions died because of that.

Not that I want to be an apologist for Neitzsche, as he was at least mildly anti-semitic (as were most Germans of his time) but he died long before Nazism came into existence. The Nazi propaganda machine under Joseph Goebbels loved to take Nietzsche quotes out-of-context, especially his Ubermensch quotes, to support their anti-semticism and Aryan superiority claims.

@Heraclitus Not completely out of context. He advocated anti-egalitarianism, against democracy, the need for 'supermen' to rise above mediocrity and rule over the herd that is the rest of us, the glorification of war and warriors and making sure women know that there place is to push out more babies so there can be more warriors: sounds pretty fascistic to me.

@kmdskit3 I certainly understand your distaste, if not disgust, for such concepts, which I share, but consider for accuracy's sake the following:

  1. This has little to do with the historical governmental definition of fascism (or Nazism for that matter) which originated in 1915 with Fascist Revolutionary Party (Partito Fascista Rivoluzionario or PFR), which was more to the point to which I was referring. Your use of the word "fascistic" is really the modern insult definition that comes mostly from the evils of Nazism. A simple semantic evolution has occurred with the word "communist". I have heard more people called a communist than I can count. None were called a communist because they were a communist. Indeed, some were called a communist simply because they stood up for Free Speech.
  2. Most of the accusations thrown at Neitzche come from his most popular book, The Will to Power. There is just one thing wrong with this, namely, Nietzsche did not write the Will to Power. It was written by his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche and Peter Gast after his death in an apparent attempt to make money off his name.
  3. Nietzsche's concept of the Ubermensch, as distinct from the later Nazi concept of the Ubermensch, had nothing to do with Aryan superiority but was directly related the vacuum of values created by the metaphorical Death of God which threatened a descent into crushing nihilism that Nietzche sought to prevent. (To paraphrase: "God is dead. We have killed him. The churches are his tomb."
  4. The Nazi notion of the master race also spawned the idea of "inferior humans" (Untermenschen) which could be dominated and enslaved. But this term does not originate with Nietzsche. Nietzsche himself was critical of both antisemitism and German nationalism. In his final years, Nietzsche began to believe that he was, in fact, Polish, not German, and was quoted as saying, "I am a pure-blooded Polish nobleman, without a single drop of bad blood, certainly not German blood".In defiance of these doctrines, he claimed that he and Germany were great only because of "Polish blood in their veins", and that he would be "having all anti-semites shot" as an answer to his stance on antisemitism. It was Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche who actually first played a part in manipulating her brother's words to accommodate the worldview of herself and her husband, Bernhard Förster, a prominent German nationalist and anti-semite. In order to support his beliefs, he set up the Deutscher Volksverein (German People's League) in 1881 with Max Liebermann von Sonnenberg.
    So, do you really think someone called for all anti-semites to be shot is worthy of being labeled a fascist or a Nazi? Really?
  5. There are most certainly things one might criticise Nietzche for, but they should be the things he actually believed in, or at least, the things he actually said or wrote, not the distorted editings of history.
  6. Because of the distorted history that we have inherited from the trauma of WWII, the true writings of Nietzsche are seldom taught anymore, let alone appreciated. Sad.

I don't know that I'd say religions are philosophy, but more of an organization of people surrounding a philosophy and/or idea. Case in point, I joined the Dudist priesthood after my buddy told me he couldn't find anyone willing to perform a wedding ceremony for him and his boyfriend. The philosophy of Dudism is to abide. Basicly a modern take on Taoism. While all Dudists abide, not everyone who abides is a Dudist.

I think it's the tribalism inherent in religion that leads to the kind of conflicts you are referring to. If a tribe develops around a philosophy it becomes a religion. If it comes in contact with another tribe that is different you get conflict. It's easier for two people to agree to disagree than two tribes.


I think the difference is that no one is as invested in Schopenhauer for example, as in Jesus. Schopenhauer will not burn you in hell for rejecting his ideas. He doesn't demand that you attend meetings about his ideas at least once a week, sponsored by an organization that wants 10% of your income and wants you beholden to it and invested in it in a hundred other ways.

If you admit to yourself that Schopenhauer is wrong, in whole or in part, probably no one will ever know but yourself. But if you admit to yourself that the Abrahamic god is imaginary then your lack of enthusiasm for the substantial effort of keeping up appearances will eventually out you in a society where belief is the majority and highly favored position.

And as Bart Ehrman argues in his book, The Triumph of Christianity, Christianity's intolerant monotheistic exclusivity had a lot to do with its success. For thousands of years, you could be a polytheist and accept new gods without a problem. Once you became a monotheistic Christian, you had to denounce all other gods and religions. This gradually caused the death of polytheistic paganism in the Roman Empire. Also, in most of Europe, it was traditional to pay homage to the god of the tribe that defeated you in battle, but this did not mean that you gave up your old gods. Gauls and Vikings often began worshipping Jesus as just another god of many when they were defeated by a Christian army. It was only later that they were "convinced" by Christians to give up their old gods.


That's their fucked up attitide-my god is better than your god.


The prerequisite of a religion is a god or gods. There are thousands of religious philosophies since each religious sect (denomination, if you prefer) represents another "philosphy".

Not true. There are plenty of atheistic religions in the world. They just tend to be less aggressive.

@MadFawks Being an agnostic I'll let you argue that point with your fellow atheists. Perhaps poll them to see who agree.

While atheistic satanists, pastafarians, dudeists, etc have churches even some of them would debate with you. I'm a dudeist but I don't worship the mythical Lebowski. I'm not particularly fond of bowling either.

I do agree with you, in that dogmatic atheists treat science as a diety...infallible, immutable, yada, yada. You'll see me speak out against their (your?) evangelicals often.

Still, I would easily expand my definition of "religion" to that of "dogma" in that anyone who "has all the answers" is delusional.

@MadFawks on checking definitions I'll stick with the separation in that, by standard acceptable definitions, a religion requires worship while a dogma doesn't.

1 - the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
2 - a particular system of faith and worship. - Google Dictionary

That may be the Google definition, but I'd argue that it is not a particularly accurate definition. When I say athistic religions, I'm not talking exclusively about the anti-theistic ones such as Pastafarian or the Satanic Temple. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god or gods. As I understand it, many Buddist and Wiccan traditions don't require a belief any any specific deity, but I dout anyone would make the claim that they are not religions. Even the Church of the Latter-Day Dude (which I am also a member of) while recognized as an official religion, does not require the belief in a deity. As you yourself pointed out. I would also argue that while Dudism has a core philosophy, it is not particularly dogmatic. If anything I would call it the antithesis of dogma.

Also, at no point in my comment (or ever that I can recall) did I say anything about dogmatic atheists treating science as a diety. It certainly and unfortunately does happen, and in my opinion shows a gross lack of understanding of science. But to insinuate that first, it is any kind of a norm amongst dogmatic atheists is a over generalization and second that I agree with the generalization is a straw man fallacy.

I feel like alot of this comes from miscommunication. My initial argument boils down to the fact that given that there are a significant number of officially recognized religions that do not require a belief in a deity, your definition of religion requiring a deity is flawed.

@MadFawks the most commonly held definition is "flawed". oook...thanks for letting me know exactly the mentality of whom I'm dealing with.

While I understand your definition I'll keep mine. I personally don't apply the term religion to mock religions (as most people don't) simply because they are not the same, for the very same reason I wouldn't call its members theists.

LaVey satanists, for example, are atheists and therefore satanism to them (at least those I've discussed it with) is a philosophy. I've met several and never heard one refer to it as a religion.

Still, if it works for you just make sure you're clear with whom you're discussing it.

And yes, by definition a dogmatic atheist is closed minded. I never, however, insinuated they were more than a minority among atheists...though this site seems to draw them like flies.

@DangerDave I'm not sure were this malice is coming from. I'm not saying you are flawed, just that your definition is. This post is in part asking for a clear, accurate definition of religion. What mentality are you referring to? If I come off as pretentious, I apologize. I tend to use big words when debating as they more clearly and accurately articulate my position. That's just how I've learned to debate.

You're fine to keep your definition of religion, just know that it is inaccurate and could cause farther misunderstandings down the line. I don't use either the term religion or theist to mock. The whole point of my comment was out of respect for established religions that didn't fit your definition. As for theist, a theist is simply one who believes in a god or gods. It is literally just the antonym of atheist. (Or more accurately, atheist is the antonym to theist) I've never in my life heard of anyone taking offence to that phrase. Of it is offence I'll gladly stop using it. It's just a useful descriptive word.

If LaVey Satanists don't view thier group/organization/shared philosophy as a religion, that's fine. Not every group or organisation that shares a philosophy is. Some are school, hospital, governments, businesses, etc. But that doesn't invalidate those deityless groups that do.

I'll fully agree that dogmatic atheists are by definition close minded. I'm not saying that you implied that the majority of atheists are dogmatic, but that dogmatic atheists view science as a deity. There are plenty of dogmatic atheists who are anti-vac, or deny climate change, or (and this one makes no sense to me) think the world is flat. That's where the over generalization comes in.

@MadFawks your mentality is that of the dogmatic atheist: "I'm right, you're wrong". That's abundantly clear in your determination the most common use of a word, its very definition, is flawed.

Likewise I realize I could, and have been, called an atheist by one simple definition of not believing in a deity. I refuse that title for several reasons, not only because one definition holds that an atheist knows no deities exist, an assertion they cannot possibly make. These people are other dogmatic atheists and no, not all atheists are so rigid in thinking as to ever be considered dogmatic.

dog·mat·ic adjective
inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true. - Google Dictionary

This rigidity of thinking is what I seek to avoid, as I avoid debating...especially people with such rigid thinking.

On that, we have nothing left to say. Enjoy being a dogmatic atheist. It must feel good to know everything, especially when you have the power to determine dictionary definitions are "flawed".

@DangerDave ... Ok... I don't think I'm right out of any sense of pride. You've made an appeal to authority. I've provided evidence against that, so you've moved on to an ad hominid attack. My whole argument has been that your definition (and if that is the common definition, so be it) doesn't fit the common use and so is flawed. If you can provide an adequate argument (preferably evidence based) supporting your definition, I'll gladly change mine. But an appeal to authority is fallacious. There are plenty of sources online explaining why, but basically it boils down to just because the Pope, an authority on God, says God exists, doesn't mean God exists.

Also, atheism isn't a claim to knowadge. That's the agnostic/gnostic spectrum. Atheism/theism is entirely tied to belief. If you can say "I don't know if there is a god, but I believe there is" (agnostic theism) you can also say "I don't know if there is a god, but I don't believe there is" (agnostic atheism).

I'd be fine to let bygones be bygones if you'd just chill on the character assault.

@MadFawks you've proved nothing but your own differing definitions of accepted terms, declaring the accepted meanings "not true" (your words and, in context, very insulting).

Anyway, what part of "this is over" did you not understand? Last word can be yours...I know its a "requirement" for you to feel "right" so take them.


Because philosophy is a broader term.


Every religion wishes it was philosophy because philosophy is a step above religion. Philosophy, although not science, asks a lot of deep unanswered questions about the cosmos and religion wants a part of it to remain relevant. That's my take anyways.

Philosophy in its most basic terms are a set of truths and decisions based on lines of thought. Religion tends to veer toward subservience whereas philosophy is a much more open forum.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:35453
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.