The Others

This post was originally my response to a question in Christianity Through Its Scriptures.
How are those who belong defined or viewed by the ways in which they view or define those who don’t belong?

OthersWithin the Church of England church there seems to be a general acceptance of the ‘other’, whether that be different religions/denominations or no religion, humanists and/or atheist (if there is a difference).

The atheists, by contrast, whilst generally benign, have a significant number of members who accept no view but their own, some being quite aggressive about it.

A quick look at definition , while not explicitly anti Christian or religious, is implicitly so in the wording of their opening statement. They say in the first section of their definition, “and is therefore an atheist or agnostic”. But, since both atheism and religion is a matter of belief, with no absolute proof either way, is this fair?

It goes on to say “makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals”. Isn’t this what Christians do too, albeit that they express it differently?

Another preconception within the non-religious community of the UK seems to be how little the church gives to charity, and is in itself also a charity. Taking the second point first, it might be otherwise stated that it is supported by it’s members, just like the humanist society is, but is conveniently forgotten.

What the CofE gives to other charities, it runs into millions of pounds, but because it is often relatively small amounts here and there to different causes, it does not make news media like major charity initiatives such as Children In Need.

It seems that both the religious and non religious often perceive each other in an equally bad light. Christianity is a religion. At times, the non religious, in particular the humanist/atheist behave like their belief, for that’s what it is, a belief that there is no God, is a religion too.


4 thoughts on “The Others

  1. TheOutAtheist

    Atheism is not belief. There are separate beliefs that lead you to atheism, but when discussing atheism or atheists, unless you’re talking about one specific person or one smaller group, you’re only talking about their lack of belief in a god. However certain atheists do have belief systems and communities that share this system(hence my “unless” in the last sentence). There is no belief system for atheism itself, its JUST a lack of belief. It is NOT a /belief/ that there is no God. Atheism is a title THAT ONLY means we DONT have the belief that there is a god. We don’t. The wording is important. As for /non believers/ wanting a church, everyone wants some form of community. Hence why we break down into smaller groups that do include belief systems. Community is good.

    1. JandWs Post author

      I disagree that atheism is lack of belief. A simple lack of belief in a god is not the same as believing there is not a god. Lack of belief is not a belief system. Believing there is no god, is.

      1. TheOutAtheist

        Atheism is not a belief system. Atheism is a stance on a belief, a negative stance. There is no claim to it. A claim would be “the big bang theory is how the world came to be” that would be a belief, however atheism doesnt describe a belief. Its a title or status that describes our stance on a belief.

      2. JandWs Post author

        There are numerous descriptions of atheism, just as there are numerous descriptions of religion. I chose to define atheism as someone who BELIEVES that there is no god.

        A “stance on a belief” is a politicians type of answer, that can mean anything the user wants it to mean at the time and be interpreted differently later, if it is convenient. There are only three states of belief:

        1. You believe.
        2. You do not believe.
        3. You believe there is not (which is not the same as 2).

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