I discuss theological ideas fairly often sometimes online, sometimes in person. I always try to keep an open mind.
Via this post made by murnkay, I came to realize a fatal flaw in my approach when dealing with the otherworldly spirituals. I have always seen the whole god/not god thing as an issue of relativism.
For the record, I am not one who snipes at distinct world views to further hamper the development of humankind's thought processes. I see it as paramount to the development of the human brain bubble that we are able, and willing, not only to assume, but completely understand a POV other than your own, particularly one diametrically opposed.
So then, how does one categorize atheism (the camp i currently fall under) as a religion? Semantics and pedantic whining aside, I cannot see how this is so. Clearly, one can try to remove oneself from the popular Western concepts of "a religion" by saying that they preach a spiritual path, and that exempts you from the negative connotations of a “religion”. However, regardless of a spiritual outlook, there are rules to existence, even if the only rule you hold is that there are no rules. The fact that atheists have that one rule - there are no gods, does not put them on the same shelf as folks who are preaching a method of routine and ritual to salvation. So much confusion.
Back to epistemology, and my revelations.
When I play the divine hypothetical, you have to accept the standpoint that if there is a divine creator that made everything, they might be able to exempt themselves from the binding laws of existence. However, no matter what perspective I work from, I always see that divine essence in the hypothetical as part of nature, even if the only part taken was the creation aspect.
I think what the people who would argue atheism as a religion are the same ones who would argue a god outside of the realm of epistemology. I do not believe in concrete truth (though I do respect the statistics of potentiality), so it really doesn’t bug me that you can’t “prove” or “disprove” the whole divine thing. A longstanding joke of mine is in purporting that the Vikings had it right, and JC, Buddha, Gandhi, and Mother Theresa are all sitting in a rather cold hell right now, while Hitler, Stalin, and General Custer cavort with scantily clad Valkyries.
This has caused me to seriously re-examine the arguments I have had with fundamental spiritualists (my insight, not my joke). If they claim their divine source is outside the existence of reality altogether, and therefore not subject to the tenets of epistemology, how then are they to gain any insight as to their pure spiritual path?
Interesting new doors have just opened mentally – I will have to see where they go.
What are your two cents?