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Atheism as Religion

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Maverick667, May 9, 2007.

  1. King Flevance

    King Flevance Deity

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    That is probably because I don't study atheism because I see it as bogus misconceptions. (Just a fact in my perspective) Atheism means you don't believe in a God. How you promote your ideals on the subject has nothing to do with it. You are either an atheist or you are not. You may consider yourself an atheist and have morales, you may not have morals. That is all relative and un-related. Someone can claim to be a christian and not truly be one. There is no faith involved in atheism unless you have faith in other atheists to prove the "non-existance" of a God. That is the only place faith could actually surface. Or faith in yourself to do it, which from my perspective is rather arrogant and seems to be a heavy burden of the sin of pride more than faith.

    How so? Can you tell me a religious act that an atheist would perform? Saying prayers wouldn't be of any use to an atheist. Based off this post:

    Studying would then be your version of a religious act. But that is ludicrous. Sorry, if that sounds aggressive but that is not religious, it is scholarly. Only another atheist would consider academics "religious". This is precisely why the world has made two words for academics and religion and classified them in 2 entirely seperate groups.
     
  2. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Emperor

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    What i mean by faith is something like : "confidence in the fact that there is no god". And yes, you do need faith, because there can be no proof.

    As for your question, regarding religious acts an atheist would perform :

    Religion :
    -attending a mass and listening to the priest's speech
    Athiesm :
    - attending a conference on atheism and listening to the speaker's speech

    Religion :
    - spreading the word door to door
    Atheism :
    - spreading the word by writing books, appearing on talk shows, writing articles, etc.

    Religion :
    - praying to ask for good health, good fortune, etc.
    Atheism :
    - realizing that one's health, fortune, etc. are not given by powers beyond ourselves, and setting to achieve them through concrete actions

    Religion :
    - protests, rallys, demands to the government, lobbying
    Atheism :
    - protests, rallys, demands to the government, lobbying

    I could go on.

    You really should check out the link i provided. You can't dismiss something unless you've made the effort to understand it. Just as it would be improper for someone to dismiss Christianity without having made an effort to understand what it's about, the principles behind it, etc., so it would for any other religion and indeed, for atheism.
     
  3. flyingchicken

    flyingchicken Deity

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    This is getting confusing, because of the duality of the meaning of "religion." Is it simply "belief and faith in something" or more specifically "belief and faith in something supernatural?"

    Define! :D
     
  4. Rancid Sushi

    Rancid Sushi Last year's catch

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    Atheism is a religion in which people worship themselves. Everyone has a god.
     
  5. mjs0

    mjs0 The 4th X

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    I am an atheist, but I do not believe atheism belongs in the game as an 'eighth religion'. I'll try to explain why...

    First a question can you name one successful classical or medieval civilization that was atheist, i.e. had, in effect, no state religion?

    I cannot think of one and I suspect the reason is this...religion in all its forms was an understandable response to life in ancient times, a necessary evil if you will. Knowledge was limited, and science was in its infancy and could at that time explain very little of the natural world so it was natural to look for supernatural causes. Religion started out as nothing more than that...a search for truth in a confusing world, unfortunately many religions especially once organized quickly grew to become the tools of the ruling elite, used to justify wars, taxes and the hardships of life amongst the plebs (Divine Right anyone?).
    Throughout history religion has had a profound effect on civilizations, on their ethical codes, on their rise and fall, and on their relations with other civilizations...For example,
    • State religions did confer certain 'advantages' (control, motivation, zealotry,...) to a civilization and its leaders and the religious civics reflect this.
    • State religions did cause conflict between civilizations and the diplomatic penalties for incompatible faiths reflect this.
    • State religions have throughout history been part of the cultural heritage of civilizations and the culture points gained from religious buildings and wonders reflect this.
    Until recently atheism could claim none of this. Only in relatively modern times has atheism been a viable alternative as science has gradually found ways to explain many of the apparently miraculous aspects of the natural world. This does not mean atheism is in any way inferior to theism, it just was not a useful worldview for the pre-modern human with limited knowledge. In fact the recent (last 500 years) rise of atheism is simply the understandable response to the increased ability of science to explain what previously was unexplainable, and the retreat of many religions as certain dogma were refuted. It is also a natural consequence of the increase in the educated, (especially those taught to reason and apply the scientific method) and the increase in spare time afforded to many by the conveniences of the modern world. Of course, not all scientists are atheists and not all atheists are scientists but the intersection of the two is a far far larger set of people than mere chance would suggest.

    Religion in the game is all about this influence on the rise and fall of civilizations, atheism quite simply has no claim to such an influence (or even the potential for such influences) during the period of the game in which religion can be a major factor. One could argue that atheism should produce a scientific bonus, but since none of the other religions are differentiated in this way it is tough to see atheism getting special treatment. Secularism is another thing, and that is, and should be, covered by civics.

    Some personal opinions that are not Civ related so I'll hide them...
    Spoiler :
    Other atheists can and will disagree with these opinions, but its not like all the theists can agree on much either!

    With my personal brand of atheism I can acknowledge the 'benefits' of religion to some early civilizations but at the same time I feel religion is an anachronism in the modern world. Atheism is not just another religion...the very word atheism is the opposite of theism, all theism, not just one or two religions, all of them. Atheism is the ugly stepchild because it has come late to the party, religion has dominated the world for a long time and so the debate tends to be framed in theistic terms, which is why atheism tends to get lumped in by many as a religion.

    It is interesting that atheists are normally portrayed as lacking something...lacking belief and lacking faith being the most common. This is actually a very unfortunate (I could even choose to be offended) way of defining us. It leads to those with a theist worlddview assuming that atheists have simply 'lost their way' and so we are often asked 'when did you become an atheist?' which is a rediculous question, rather like asking someone who may never have smoked 'When did you become a non-smoker?'. Belief is not something you are born with but rather something you have to grow into, hopefully out of considered personal observation and choice, but more usually simply because of what you are taught when you are an impressionable child.

    As others have said many atheists do believe in something...
    Some believe their purpose is to counter the spread of religion and 'convert' people to atheism, these radical atheists are a branch of atheism just as there are many branches of most religions. Many atheists also believe that since this is the only life we get (because they see no credible evidence to the contrary) it is therefore right to treasure it, to respect the lives of others, avoiding bloodshed and to work to make it the best life possible for the most number of people.
    Consequently, most of the atheists that I have met are typically more pacifist (no higher being calling them to battle, and telling them how wrong it is at the same time?!?), less judgemental and more tolerant than my friends that are theists.

    Anyway, back to Civ, another concept which I believe many people mistakenly think of as atheism is secularism. Secularism is important in the modern age and is represented to some extent by the Free Religion civic though I believe there are actually two forms of secular society.
    The first one is represented by the Free Religion civic, and reflects very well the intentions of, for example, the founding fathers of the US in setting up a secular society that tolerates rather than either encouraging or excluding religions.
    The second would be a secular society that actively attempts to suppress religion such as the warped form of communism attempted in the former Soviet Union this is actually one thing that is missing from the game in my opinion. It is not atheism, it is a mandated secular society, perhaps we could call it fundamentalist secularism.
     
  6. bds

    bds Warlord

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    This is a idiotic agruement thats been done to death on this forum before.

    Athiesm is already in the game listed as no-state religion, no matter what civ you play as it starts as a athiest civ and every city that gets founded in game is founded as a athiest city, religions dont come latter. Just because there is no common symbol for needed to represent the fact that the city is in fact athiest doesnt mean that it isnt, and doesnt mean that there isnt athiest living there when your civ has adopted a state religion... after all you can have more than one religion per city.

    Regardless of who you are now in this world, religious or non-religious you were born athiest... i doubt there is anybody in this world that can sincerly claim that they were born with the belief of god, and never had to ask somebody who/what god is.

    It seems to me the only real reason why this arguement is going is because athiest are upset that their 'religion' provides no happyness bonuses. And it shouldn't IMO, as the happyness bonus is due to the fact that religion allows many people to be content with their life in a situation where without it they wouldn't be, and a aspect of many religion's is that suicide means eternal damnation... where as suicide to a true athiest should mean nothing if they're in a situation where their life means nothing.

    Not to mention the fact that, the civic 'free religion' already provides a scientific boost to athiest civ's. And there is absolutely no reason why athiest should gain a benifit from a theocracy, or organised religion.

    However i strongy agree that athiesm is severly unrepresent in the game, my proposed changes would be:
    • Allow no-state religion civs to benifit from pacifism, there's no logical reason why they shouldn't be aloud to.
    • Add new civic, Religious Intollerance
      > provides negative diplomacy modifier to all civ's with a state religion, & positive modifier to all civ's with no-state religion
      > +10% science in all cities
      > +10% commerce in all cities
      > -1happyness per religion in city
      > +1 happyness per library/university
      > +2 experience per unit built.
      > no trade routes with religious civs
      > -1/10th population in all cities due to religious genecide.
    It seems a bit overpowered, but the negative effects it has on diplomacy should balance it out. Should be available with machinery... or around that period sometime.

    @mjs0
    IMO your wrong, civ's hostile to ANY form of organised religion are responsible for more deaths than any religions. linky linky.
     
  7. mjs0

    mjs0 The 4th X

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    What?!?!?
    Where in my post did I make any such comparison.
    All I did was point out that state religions during classical and medieval times, (when there were no atheist civs!) gave civilizations several advantages as well as diplomatic challenges, and that these were already well modeled by the game.
    What has your comment got to do with mine?

    Sigh...but since that link (yet another dodgy attempt to equate communists and atheists) deserves a reply here is a link to several reasoned articles rather than a cartoon with an unsubstantiated number pulled out of thin air. http://atheism.about.com/od/isathei...sts_are_More_Violent_than_Religion_Theism.htm
     
  8. bds

    bds Warlord

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    You claimed that athiestm did not have no diplmomatic penalties or be the cause of conflict during those times.

    And the link was just for something funny to watch, probley not the best idea to put it in when everyones being all serious.

    And no it wasnt, religious genecide has nothing to do with communist, and has been around far longer.
     
  9. dalessi12

    dalessi12 Chieftain

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    LOL. So true.
     
  10. mjs0

    mjs0 The 4th X

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    Yes I did...my point being that all significant civs in that era had actual or defacto state religions resulting in the advantages and disadvantages modeled in the game...but I would be willing to be proved wrong if anyone can give me an example of a significant atheist civ in those times.
    I have to admit I still don't understand exactly what you are saying I am wrong about and what your comment about who killed the most people is addressing.
    Unfortunately especially on such touchy subjects one person's funny is another person's distasteful. If it was intended as humour I will treat it as such and laugh. My response was purely because I thought you were attempting to make a serious point with it.
    My comment was on your link which used a picture of Karl Marx to represent the atheists.
     
  11. bds

    bds Warlord

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    Im just trying to say that atheistism is resposible for its fair share of conflict in the past and should be adequately represented in game. I read about a few places considered atheist a while back, cannot rember their names, a history buff should be able to think of a few. But its somewhat vague when you look it up because confucianists/daoists/buddhist get clasified as athiest yet are represented as religions in game, which is good but just makes the difference more grey. So I suppose if you consider them theist even althought they didnt believe in a god, than there is no athiest nation's.

    Im never serious about anything... it doesnt come off too well on forums unfortuanately. IMO no matter what you do in life you die in the end, so no point taking it too seriously, right?

    Yeah, i didnt even know who he was.
     
  12. bds

    bds Warlord

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    Oh yeah, and hasnt japan always been atheist? unless i suppose you consider syncretism a religion, in civ terms they would be running 'free religion' civic now days... but during the rule of tokugawa, he was intollerant of religions and outsiders.
     
  13. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    The AD system was worked out by Dionysius Exiguus in the sixth century. It counts from Jesus' circumcision, not his birth. The BC system was worked out by Dionysius Petavius in the seventeenth century.

    The point of BCE/BC is to remove a statement of religious affiliation from the date. Most people don't consider Jesus to be "the Lord", so it's a bit daft to call him that every time you say the date.

    Atheism is neither a religion nor the absence of religion. There are religions that are basically atheist, such as Theravada Buddhism; there are also people who believe in God but who are not religious. The idea that religion=theism and atheism=irreligion is a western hangup. If you want an example of a religious act that an atheist could do, just think of all the things Buddhists do: chanting, meditating, etc. You can have liturgy without theism.

    I don't know why this argument keeps coming up on these fora. I suppose it's just hard for westerners in general to separate the categories of theism and atheism from those of religion and irreligion, because they overlap so much in the Abrahamic religions. But they are not the same thing.

    Japan is traditionally Shinto, which is not atheist (because it involves supernatural spirits) but you wouldn't really call it theist either. The theist/atheist dichotomy just doesn't apply to Asian thought systems. Look at Hinduism.

    And there are infinitely better "prophets" of atheism than Richard Dawkins. But don't get me started on him.
     
  14. magfo

    magfo Chieftain

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    As I see it:

    Many of the arguments here are along the lines of "atheism hasn't played a role, so it shouldn't be included". Still, Civ includes a lot of "future" technologies. Atheism is one such thing. It's only just now starting to become large. That it is a recent phenomena doesn't disqualify it from the world of Civ - at least not in my book.

    Also, one thing that Civ really really misses is secularism. There can be state AND religion, not just state religion. (USA was strongly founded on secularist thoughts, this is a sadly forgotten thing)

    It would be fun to see that incorporated in Civ, religions having their own life, sometimes forcing you to do things you don't like because the people demands it.

    And yes, there's another thing that Civ misses - mostly because it would make it too heretical in USA - and that is the negative sides of religion. Someone here said that atheism really shouldn't give a boost to science. Huh? Can there be a larger negative force acting on science than religion? I don't think so.

    A scientist sees something strange and asks "How does that work?" and continues to investigate. Later he comes down with the theory of gravity.

    A religious man sees something strange and asks "Why did god do that?" and goes home to pray. Later he does the same thing again.


    Yes, silly analogy, but you get the drift. It's no coincidence that religious belief is dropping and that science is stronger than ever. The risk of being burnt at the stakes for claiming that the earth isn't the centre of the universe is slightly less these days.
     
  15. LDeska

    LDeska LDeska

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    Small joke about atheism as a civic - from the history of my own country - Poland, where we had atheism as a civic when we were occupied by Red Army 1944-1989.

    So looking at that period atheism as a civic in Civilization should:
    1. Cause that Great Prophet to emerge (John Paul II) but he goes abroad :D (to Vatican)
    2. Free trade unions supported by Church are formed
    3. Trade unions causes strikes in your cities (let's say +5 :( per each religion existing in city)
    4. Strikes causes your legal civic to switch to Hereditary Rule (Martial Law in Poland 1981-1983)
    5. Massive unhappiness causes your religion civic to switch to Free Religion (1989)

    Just a joke with a historical background ;)
     
  16. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

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    atheism is inherently boring.
     
  17. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

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    You know, I don't think you've ever read history and found the religious beliefs UNIFORMLY HELD BY ANYONE WHO WAS WORTH MENTIONING IN MATHEMATICS. Anyone that claims manifest atheism has a greater scientific impact choose to ignore the history of scientists who were through and through theists.

    theism and science arent mutually exclusive if you're clever.
     
  18. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    On the contrary, it was the rationalist theism of the late Middle Ages which fostered the notion that the universe is fundamentally rational and comprehensible; modern science was basically a creation of this worldview. You can trace it back to figures such as Agobard of Lyon or indeed Augustine of Hippo himself. Anyone who thinks that religious people instinctively react to natural phenomena only by wondering what God's purpose is need to learn about the achievements of Jesuits such as Athanasius Kircher in the seventeenth century, to name just one example. It is only in very modern times that science has thrown off religion to become a completely independent discipline, and only in even more recent times than that that people have started seeing the two as somehow opposed to each other.

    However, this is really OT. There are surely enough threads in OT to take this sort of argument to.
     
  19. mjs0

    mjs0 The 4th X

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    You are absolutely correct that much important science was done by religious figures throughout history. Unfortunately, pointing at the scientific contributions of theists and claiming that proves religion does not inhibit scientific progress is a little one-sided, who is to say many of these discoveries could not have happened sooner, indeed there are examples where this is clearly the case.

    The issue (that often gets exaggerated by atheists and minimized by theists) is when the scientific investigation is at odds with religious dogma. This is the issue that faced Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Brahe and others working within the confines of the Christian religion during the 16th and 17th centuries. They could see from observation that the universe contradicted dogma but had to be very careful what they said.

    Copernicus held off publication of his work until after his death, Osiander added a preface that headed off criticism by stating that the work was not intended to represent reality, Tycho Brahe, by all accounts a brilliant observational astronomer, wasted that brilliance attempting to reconcile observation with dogma in the form of the Tychonic (not many have heard of this today) system of the heavens. In 1616 the catholic church intervened in the argument declaring the heliocentric model wrong and contrary to scripture. Galileo was tried for heresy and forced to recount his valid scientific views on the basis of dogma.

    In this and many other areas theists have resisted scientific progress...the cycle continues today with the 'debate' over creationism and evolution.

    In Civ, this is represented quite well by first the science output of monasteries, which is lost when scientific method appears and then the science boost of free religion which represents a dogma-free environment that encourages science even when religious views may be contradicted.
     
  20. Swedishguy

    Swedishguy Deity

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    Civs with no state religion are, shall we say, pagans. Nothing to do with Atheism.
     

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