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Falling into the (non) religious trap?

How do we prevent agnosticism/atheism, etc from falling into the trap of becoming organized religion, the religion of no god? With our own leaders Dawkins, Harris. I worry that the urge to have others confirm your world view by creating non religious groups that meet and by reading what famous secular people have written, we are falling into group think mode and not thinking for ourselves

Saud 4 June 30

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I don't recognize "leaders", atheist, agnostic, or any other kind.
I think for myself, and say what I please.

Like-minded people may come together for community, but that doesn't mean we're anything like a religion.

It annoys the fuck out of me when people say we are.

KKGator Level 9 June 30, 2022

@Saud Societies change over time. Cults change over time. Languages change over time. I see no point in worrying about any of that.

There is no bijective mapping between pure mathematics and the world around you.

As the bard Bob Dylan himself said, " Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters"...

@Saud Are you thinking of the Langlands bridge?

@Saud There is no point in worrying what could happen hundreds of years from now.
We'll all be long dead.

If you're that worried about the future, plant a tree. It's one of the only positive acts that anyone can do today.


I have never had an agnostic or atheist come knocking on my door and invite me to a meeting or a gathering, or asking me to start a non-religious denomination. I don't have a leader and just because we like what Dawkins say and agree with some of what he says, doesn't mean he is the leader of any movement. No one convinced me to become an atheist. If you can't think for yourself and figure out that religion and the teaching of it is bull shit then you are just looking for something or someone to follow. Replacing one group think with another. It's self realization and critical thinking. Self awareness and the ability to think for oneself. That is how most of us because atheist and agnostic.


Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. Agnosticism is a lack of knowledge in any gods. Neither of them are a religion. I don't have any atheist leaders, I think for myself.


The assumption that Dawkins and Harris "lead" agnosticism/atheism is unfounded.

I do not feel the need for anybody to confirm my world view - I am perfectly happy to leave others to their own delusion provided that they do not use their mythical god to foist their values and world views onto me.

I think for myself (and I suspect most people on this site do likewise), therefore I am an atheist. To suggest that it is group think is not supported by the evidence.

Well said. My thoughts exactly. 🙂

@Saud Yes, I read what Dawkins writes and I sometimes listen to his speeches. I have no trouble at all in challenging him about some of his ideas, this specifically including the "Dawkins scale" , which scale I regard as being over-simplistic.


IMO Agnostics are naturally skeptical and unable to develop an agreed upon dogma. This skepticism also helps with not failing victim to charismatic leaders. Just an opinion.

Garban Level 8 June 30, 2022

Charismatic leaders may be charismatic, but that in no way inhibits me from thinking for myself.


There is nothing to believe in so there is nothing to organize into a religion.

Betty Level 8 June 30, 2022

Have you not heard of the cathedrals of CERN, LIGO and JWST? 😉

@Saud Science is data, and data is evidence that can be examined and repeated.

@Saud I envy you! Enjoy it. 🙂


I understand your worry on this. Many already claim that atheism is just another religion. We have no rules, no doctrine, and no gods but this does not stop people from making the claim. One man who influenced me was Jerry DeWitt, a former pastor and the first graduate of the Clergy Project. I ran onto some of his You Tube videos and I understand Jerry still runs a secular church because many people seemed to want one. None of that is for me, but Jerry is a remarkable man.


What part of your post has correspondence with reality? I see little fealty to Dawkins or Harris; some respect them, others hate them. If you've spent any time with other non-believers, you know that they are extremely diverse and group-think is not applicable. Can you point to an example of groupthink? Where are you getting these notions?

@Saud Imo, IF o9ne NEEDS to read books regard Atheism, etc, to merely seek a kind of "confirmation" as to their status then, also IMO, they are wasting their brain cells by NOT actual thinking and deciding for themselves in the first place.

Dawkins is an outstanding author with many subtle stories and insights into the details of evolution. Similarly, Hitchens provides exceptional historical and social analysis. If you haven't read any of their books, it's more likely that you aren't inclined to read books. Similarly, I'm betting that you do indeed avoid non-religious groups, but that's your own behavior of avoiding socializing. Socializing performs the functions of putting yourself out there and opening up your views to criticism and challenge. That's not a risk-free activity. Not having done it means you have no basis to say what it's like, or who those people are. Whatever criticism you have appears to be imaginary. That you make such criticism without basis suggests you may need counseling for psychological issues.

@Saud I am non-religious because I can and do think for myself. You are sensing the atmosphere that always obtains whenever any group of like-minded people come together.

@racocn8 You are right on the money here, again. He's either spent so much time alone that he is out of touch with the community or he is a believer in sheep's clothing. It's like he is trying to dissuade nonbelievers from organizing, misrepresenting atheism as having leaders and failing to acknowledge that atheism can't be a religion because there is no subject of worship. I get so tired of these infiltrators.

@Saud The only thing atheists have in common is that they don't believe in God. Atheism has no leaders. Atheism can not by definition be a religion.

Every premise upon which you base your question is faulty which is exactly how believers pose questions about atheism, out of ignorance and disdain. I smell a rat.

@Saud Thank you. I hope you've received some reassurance about your concern. We get such a hard time here from religious people and even conservative atheists that I suppose I have become a bit jaded. I concede that my assessments are not always accurate and if I have been unduly harsh with you, I apologize. Please consider yourself welcomed to this forum, I hope you will find some enjoyment from it.

@Saud No worries, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Just be yourself, that's the most important part. This forum is somewhat unique in that most of us are older so each of us has something different to contribute. We don't always agree but usually we can disagree respectfully. It doesn't work for everyone but it might for you.

@Saud FYI, I was an Atheist LONG,LONG BEFORE books regarding it were even written by those of whom you are thinking.
Imo, MOST people DO NOT need a book or books to decide for them as whether or not they are Believers or Atheists, that decision is made by them in the minds using their OWN brains and logic, etc, etc.


I totally disagree. Know what I mean?

Radical! (grin)


I tend to think that SHOULD you do a little more research for yourself you may well find that,
a) Atheism and Atheists have no belief nor need for the psychological crutch called God, Jesus, Allah, etc, etc, or the religions to which they pertain.
after we do NOT get labeled as " godless Heathens, Pagans, Devils pawn, etc, etc," for nothing,
b) you will, IF you research better and more closely, find that Atheists are the THINKERS, most often the truly DEEP thinkers who, for the most part accept NOTHING as FACT but rather prefer to delve into it themselves and make up their own minds, UNLIKE the Believers who are more than happy and contented to merely sit back and be spoon-fed by a Preacher of Religion as what they MUST believe and what they MUST NEVER believe.
So, before you make your judgment, walk in the shoes on an Atheist and LEARN all about us first.

@Saud 20 years hey, just a newbie imo, been an Atheist since I was about 8 or 9 years old.

@Saud Funny that since I remember discussing and debating LONG before the Internet was even dreamed of.

@Triphid Same. I've been arguing and debating all my life.

@Saud So, and I may be thinking the wrong way here, but I sense that you are somehow implying that since I am of an age older than yours then my knowledge, etc, etc, is far less and extensive than is yours?
Jeez Louise, are you aware of how absolutely dismissive and arrogant that may well sound by any chance?

@Saud So, and this is my opinion btw, your disbelief in God/Allah grew mainly from merely borrowing the ideas etc, of others that you read about rather than doing as many of we, the older class of Atheists did by enquiring, learning and actually THINKING for ourselves SANS such aids as computers, etc, etc. much the same way as did Da Vinci, Galileo, Pasteur, Curie, etc, etc, dis because they too had NO electronic devices to act as their thinking brains, just the REAL living brain itself?


@Saud, you think and you half are. When you also feel, you will be whole.

I read your bio.


I am unaware that Atheists or Agnostics have "leaders". I was an Atheist long before I was aware that either Dawkins or Harris even existed.


Welcome to AgnosticDotCom.

I don’t think it’s preventable.

Many deny it’s possible, but for others, it has already happened. We are a tribal species. We can make a tribal identity around anything…

…or nothing.

skado Level 9 June 30, 2022

If there is money to be made out of it then someone will try. I won't be a part of it.


I don't see that as all that much of a problem. There aren't exactly fanatic atheist who kill others, start wars or who want to suppress an entire class/group of people in the name of atheism.


And this is happening where?
I hadn't heard our major donations have somewhere built a mega-"church" or Mecca where this happens?
IMO word salad.


I don’t equate Atheists/Agnostics meeting in groups to discuss and share their thoughts as remotely the same as religious groups/churches. Yes, we have people who many of us respect for their views, Dawkins, Harris, but I certainly don’t worship them and prostrate myself to them. I know many christians who do this with their church leaders, thinking their leaders have some spiritual connection to their god. I believe most Atheists/Agnostics understand they won’t be excommunicated for disagreeing with others on some views. 😉


What trap? Not believing something does not even suggest a separate belief.


Some will, some won't. That is reality.


Your opinion is noted.


Maybe you think too much.


If secularism is evidence-based, and dedicated to free thinking and open discussion, and always shining a light on hypocrisy, as I think it generally is, then there should no problem. The traits mentioned above make make secularism self-correcting. Sure, mistakes will be made, but things will also get back on track.


Does Boolean logic aver atheism or agnosticism?

@Saud It is a nonsense question, as it fails semantic analysis. It is as meaningless as the statement "Colourless green ideas sleep furiously.".

@Saud The question is still a nonsense as it seeks to mix two incompatible realms: mathematics and knowledge of reality.

Have you encountered Karl Popper's idea of falsifiability?

@Saud I read Karl Popper's book "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" many years ago. His reasoning is that science makes progress when theories and hypotheses are demonstrated as being false. If a claim is incapable of being demonstrated as being false, then the claim is unfalsifiable, and as such it is not scientific. Perhaps the most famous case of a falsifiable claim is Newton's Laws of Motion. While those laws were repeatedly tested and confirmed by observation, they were ultimately falsified by the Michel-Morley experiment which then led to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity.

There is also the widespread misconception that anything is science can ever be proved. Putting it bluntly, there is no such thing as proof in science (though there is proof in mathematics, printing and liquor - think of 120% proof whiskey). All science ever has in that regard is a collection of ideas and equations that amount to the best description of reality as we know it at the time. The ideas that match repeatable observations eventually become theories (in the scientific sense - see the Theory of General Relativity by way of example) but many people mistake the vernacular theory meaning guess or hunch as meaning the same thing as a scientific theory. Perhaps the most famous (or notorious, depending on your point of view) example of this is Christina Wilkinson of Oswaldtwistle who claimed “Evolution is not a fact. That’s why it’s called a theory! There’s more evidence that the Bible is true.”

It is worthwhile observing that all claims of all gods are unfalsifiable, because none of those claims can be demonstrated as being false.

@Saud Your "So, I argue that is why agnosticism is the best way to approach God." falls into the trap of circular reasoning, as it assumes the existence of the said God.

I have for decades made the trivially falsifiable claim that nobody has ever produced any falsifiable evidence to support the existence claim of any god in the last 5,000 years. My claim is trivially falsifiable by design. I am still waiting.

@Saud Um, I did not say science didn’t make progress until Einstein improved on Newton. Proving that things do not work is an essential part of science - think of phlogiston in that context.

@Saud Sleep well. 🙂

@anglophone @Saud great exchange gentleman! I wish I could stay up past 8:30 to have engaged.😉 My 2 cents:

Niels Bohr Quote:
“It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how Nature is. Physics concerns what we say about Nature.”

My interpretation of Bohr: Our mathematical models of nature are not intended to be explanations on how nature “ works”. Our formulas are our way of stating what we can say in our limited vocabulary.


By critical thinking.


I think any group that grows over dominate to a level of centreism become corrupt and cause more harm than good.

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