Atheist Dogma?

YEE.tifA certain Tyler Null on Twitter likes to bang on about ‘atheist dogma’, thereby demonstrating that he has no understanding of the terms ‘atheist’, ‘dogma’ or perhaps both and is just being dishonest. It seems peculiar that a religious person should be so against dogma as dogma is very much a part of religion. Still, he seems to have a bee in his bonnet about it.

Lets correct him.

Atheism is:

“Either the lack of belief that there exists a god, or the belief that there exists none.” Most broadly it is simply the personal statement “I do not believe in god/s.”

Dogma is:

1. A

n official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church. Synonyms: doctrine,teachings, set of beliefs, philosophy.

2. A specific tenet or doctrine authoritatively laid down, as by a church: the dogma of the Assumption; the recently defined dogma of papal infallibility. Synonyms: tenet, canon, law. 

3. Prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group: the difficulty of resisting political dogma.

4. A settled or established opinion, belief, or principle: the classic dogma of objectivity in scientific observation.Synonyms: conviction, certainty.

Well then…

Does Atheism fit any of these definitions?

Atheism is not a system. Atheism is not a set of principles. Atheism has no tenets. Atheism does not necessarily exclude faith, even though it tends to. Atheism says nothing in and of itself about morality, behaviour etc. It does not fit number 1.

Atheism is, again, not a tenet or a doctrine. It is not laid down through authority. It does not fit number 2.

Atheism is, again, not a doctrine, it is not held to be unquestionably true (almost all atheists would change their mind if evidence for a god turned up).

The fourth definition is, in my opinion, so lose as to be universally applicable to anything and everything and therefore useless within this context. The meaning of religious dogma is pretty clear and the attempt here is to set up an equivalence that doesn’t exist. ‘Ner ner, you’re just as bad as we are.’

What the Heck?

The things Tyler talks about are arguments often used in support of atheism or opinions broadly held by left/liberal people. He’s conflating all of these together in one big lump. Why? Idiocy or malice.


3 responses to “Atheist Dogma?

  1. You’re right about the definition of dogma and it’s application here- however atheism is no conceptual vacuum, or rather, no ‘atheists’ are in a conceptual vacuum. It would be better just to change the term- what should we change it to?

    • Atheism is just that lack of belief in god. Other things are other things which may or may not be found in conjunction with atheism while not being atheism per se. Call each thing what it is without conflating them! 🙂

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