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Should the 'faith and religion' section of EB be re-branded tas 'belief systems'

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#1 EsmeLennox

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:38 AM

I believe it should, because apparently you aren't allowed to post anything to do with atheism in this sub-forum, yet atheists do not have a 'protected' forum of their own but must resort to the general boards, or so I have just been told by a moderator after my posts were deleted from a thread because they weren't supportive of the 'faith and religion' section as they expressed an alternative viewpoint.

I would argue that atheism is just as valid a belief system as Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism or Islam etc. and if it's good enough for religious groups to have a protected sub-forum for discussion then so should atheists. Or at the very least faith and religion needs to be expanded to cover all belief systems.

Edited by Jemstar, 16 December 2012 - 10:40 AM.

#2 Expelliarmus

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:40 AM

I never saw atheism as a belief system, more as an absence of belief in deity. I would be interested to hear in what way atheism is a belief system.

Edited by howdo, 16 December 2012 - 10:41 AM.

#3 BadCat

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:46 AM

I don't consider atheism a belief system and nor would I want to see an atheist section.

However unless you were very rude I think it's disgusting that you were turfed out of the religion section.  An alternative viewpoint, respectfully delivered, is not inappropriate.

Edited by BadCat, 16 December 2012 - 10:47 AM.

#4 EsmeLennox

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:47 AM

You could argue Howdo that the belief of the absence of a deity, and faith in humanity is a belief system. Perhaps I should use the term 'secular humanist'. I realise that there is debate as to whether atheism is a belief system at all, however, I find it grossly unfair that atheists (or indeed secular humanists) cannot express an alternative viewpoint on that sub-forum yet cannot have sub-forum of their own. There is an inequity there that really rubs me the wrong way.

Do you have another suggestion for a name for the sub-forum that encompasses all viewpoints on the subject?

#5 Sif

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:48 AM

It seems to me that a lot of atheists are as zealous about their belief that there is no god or superior power to humans as any other religious group. Belief systems works for me. Also because Buddhism is primarily a philosophy, not a faith or religion.

#6 EsmeLennox

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:49 AM


Edited by Jemstar, 16 December 2012 - 10:49 AM.

#7 B.feral3

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:51 AM

I read your post in the other thread before it was deleted and I completely agree with you.

#8 EsmeLennox

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:53 AM

I am not generally a zealot at all about my viewpoint, but I am very annoyed at the suggestion that you cannot have a viewpoint or express an opinion in that sub-forum if it doesn't fit with the dominant paradigm of that sub-forum.

#9 RealityBites

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:55 AM

Agreed. This is a public forum and disagreement should be allowed. This shouldn't be a safe place for zealots.

#10 RichardParker

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:55 AM

I think atheism is a belief system, but most atheists don't seem to share that view.

I think the belief in god or not gets discussed on EB fairly openly and fairly.  The point of the Faith and Religion thread is to allow people with faith to talk about it without every thread turning into an atheist/theist debate.  Sometimes you just want to know what to wear to a baptism without having to justify your entire faith and defend the church's history.

I don't know what your post was, OP, but I just looked at that thread and it seemed like the OP was just asking a simple question and then got lectures for supposedly shoving her religion down her sister's throat. Yet the OP was quite clear about the fact that she never did that, nor wanted to.  

#11 BadCat

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:55 AM

I should add that the reason I see no need for an atheist section is that atheists don't tend to ask questions in the context of their (non) belief in the same way that religious people do.  It is common for religious folk to ask how one reconciles such and such an event with their faith.  It is almost unheard of for an atheist to ask how to reconcile an event with their atheism.

I hope that makes sense.  It does in my head.

#12 Expelliarmus

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:56 AM

I probably got stuck on One aspect just then Tounge1.gif

I just read the thread and don't think that an atheist viewpoint was unwarranted. I didn'y read what you posted, but am disappointed that it was removed due to not being about faith.

Of course it's about faith. There's another side to everything and atheism is part of the discourse around faith IMO. Lack of faith is still part of faith. I think it absolutely belongs in that forum and am disappointed it was removed.

#13 RealityBites

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:57 AM

My post got deleted too  rolleyes.gif

*insert witty Dawkins quote re 'tolerance' here.

Edited by RealityBites, 16 December 2012 - 10:58 AM.

#14 EsmeLennox

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:00 AM

BadCat it does make sense yes, and generally I would agree. But I have been flat out told that atheism is not up for discussion in that sub-forum, which brings me to the point Howdo made about it being about faith.

#15 RichardParker

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:02 AM

QUOTE (Jemstar @ 16/12/2012, 11:53 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am not generally a zealot at all about my viewpoint, but I am very annoyed at the suggestion that you cannot have a viewpoint or express an opinion in that sub-forum if it doesn't fit with the dominant paradigm of that sub-forum.

There's a whole protected forum for non-vaxers.

It's not that you can't express an opposing opinion there. We have heaps of participants in that sub-forum of different kinds of faith or beliefs and generally we get on fairly brilliantly.  Wiccans, Catholics, Buddhists, Protestants etc- its never usually an issue although we still manage to have robust debates.  Atheists participate too.  

Most of us are more than happy to engage on the more general 'why do you have faith at all when god allows bad things to happen' discussions in the General Section.  But it's nice to be able to have more in-depth discussions about specific aspects of your faith with people who also 'get' faith, without having to feel like you've got to start at the beginning and justify why a belief in an omnipotent being is not unreasonable.

#16 niggles

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:02 AM

Maybe you could view those posts as being removed as being off topic rather than being removed because they presented an alternative viewpoint?

There was a re-shaping and re-naming of those boards some years ago after a bit of consultation. I think it's a contentious area that will probably need regular shuffling to try and suit the needs of the people who use them as time moves on. When they were changed, as I remember, there were regular threads about paranormal activities, psychic practices and various spiritual belief systems. These days The Crystal Ball section - which is new since then - is quiet as can be.

#17 BadCat

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:03 AM

I think it is wrong to disallow atheist viewpoints in that section.  Nobody else on EB has a section where only approved people can post as far as I know (except perhaps the trading room but that's different).

Edited by BadCat, 16 December 2012 - 11:05 AM.

#18 niggles

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:04 AM

QUOTE (Jemstar @ 16/12/2012, 09:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
BadCat it does make sense yes, and generally I would agree. But I have been flat out told that atheism is not up for discussion in that sub-forum, which brings me to the point Howdo made about it being about faith.

That's an interesting rule. Is it posted somewhere?

#19 EsmeLennox

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:06 AM

No it is not a rule as far as I am aware, but it is what I have been told this morning via PM.

And Niggles what I said was not off topic at all, nor was what the other members whose posts have been deleted also. I will concede that I used the word 'bullsh*t' in my post (not directed at the OP or as an attack but as an example of what someone might be thinking in response to being talked to about religion) and would absolutely cop that using that word was a breach of the rules and it would be reasonable for that to be moderated.

Anyway, this thread is not really about that one specific incident, it is about being told that atheists can't discuss atheism under the 'faith and religion' forum and whether or not that is fair, and should the definition of that particular sub-forum be broadened to encompass a wider variety of viewpoints surrounding faith.

Perhaps if I stop using the word atheist and use the term secular humanist it would be different?

Edited by Jemstar, 16 December 2012 - 11:11 AM.

#20 Cherubs

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:10 AM

I read your post and I also agree that your post was valid, it was after all asking how to handle an atheist family member.  I have a very strong belief system (not Christian), it is strong enough to withstand opposition, even at it worst. If people want a voice they have to respect that other are also entitled to a voice, especially on a diverse public forum. While I do not respect rude or nasty replies, an answer to a question from your perspective as an atheist deserves equal respect.

#21 Imaginary friend

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:10 AM

some forums are just for questions/ discussions from a certain point of view - the support for non vaccinations section is the same, you are not allowed to post pro vaccination posts.

I am a christian although  I rarely post in Spirituality section but  I would not object to an atheism section - as long as atheists/ religious folk posted with respect and courtesy in all threads, it shouldnt be a problem though.

I didnt read the removed posts but saying things like 'religious people fill a void with imaginary friends' (a comment still in there) borders on non respect/courtesy to me.

#22 RichardParker

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:11 AM

QUOTE (BadCat @ 16/12/2012, 12:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it is wrong to disallow atheist viewpoints in that section.  Nobody else on EB has a section where only approved people can post as far as I know (except perhaps the trading room but that's different).

There's no approval system for being allowed to post there.  Atheists can and have posted there before without issue, and that should continue.  I think it was just the way it was moderated this morning, making it about atheism when it was really, as niggles said, just off topic.  The OP didn't need posters berating her for being a religious zealot to her atheist sister, because her OP was quite clear that that wasn't what was happening.  She was more wanting advice for how to deal with her sister who didnt respect her religious beliefs.  

There were a few posts prior to the one this thread is about from atheists which weren't removed.

Edited by *Greenbag*, 16 December 2012 - 11:12 AM.

#23 FiveAus

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:11 AM

It's interesting that atheism and lack of belief can be discussed by the believers in that forum. But can't be discussed by the non-believers, apparently.

#24 EsmeLennox

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:13 AM

To be fair Greenbag, no one berated the OP at all.

And yes, given that the are other threads about atheism in that sub-forum what I has been told this morning seems rather inconsistent.

Edited by Jemstar, 16 December 2012 - 11:14 AM.

#25 Starrydawn

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:17 AM

I don't think we atheists need a forum. I don't think it's a belief system. We just don't believe in god. There's no other set of rules we all follow or anything.

Edited by Chedasha, 16 December 2012 - 11:17 AM.

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