There are many debates related to a degree to which a person can be considered an atheist, while simultaneous being an adherent to a sect of any religion. It is simply unbelief or rejection to believe in the existence of God. This is an attribute that states that there are no deities. The arguments range from historical, social to philosophical aspects. Atheists use empirical evidence as the rational for their beliefs and thinking. In this way, they reject God, who is worshipped by broader community in the world. It is important to note that atheism is a belief that is widely accepted income religions and spiritual belief systems such as Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism and Nepean movements amongst many others. However, atheism conceptions and beliefs vary from religion to religion.
Atheism can take different forms according to the religion involved such as the absence of motivation within religion, exclusion of intellectual pursuit of a practical action within the religion, absence of interest and indifference in religion and unawareness of the concept of a deity. Atheism is also related to morality within religions. As compared to religious people, atheists are dogmatic, racists, prejudiced, less nationalistic, authoritarian and close-minded. According to Atheists, faith has multiple meanings based on different cultures, norms and traditions. In this way, every person has a right to choose what to believe in.
Atheism in Christianity
Christianity is a proselytizing and theistic religion, which ignores atheists or views them with little importance. Christians base their attributes towards atheists on the basis of the word from the bible in Psalms14:1, which states a fool says within his heart that God does not exist. Fools are corrupt, they do abominable works, and none of them does any good. However, this has not limited or stopped the rise of Christian atheists. According to the Harris Interactive research in 2003, most atheists can be found in the old and current Catholic Church. It is important to note that Christianity does not have any approach to atheists in any way. However, this approach can vary significantly from one religion to another (Bloch, 2009). Most Christians view an atheist as disdained religion, religious beliefs` misunderstanding or plain disbelief. This is made explicit by the Catholic Church Catechism, which views atheism as a sin against religious virtues motivated by moral and virtuous considerations. However, the moral and religious shortcomings of Christianity have contributed largely to encouraging atheism.
According to Thomas J. J. Artier, a famous atheist, he does not believe that God does not exist, but he agrees and believes that Christian faith is cosmic. On the other hand, Christianity focuses on the response to a new covenant that was made by God Almighty through his son Jesus Christ. On the other hand, Christians communicate to their God through prayers, rituals and sacrament. Christians obtain salvation through repentance of original sin. Christians worship God who is also human, the New Testament and its purpose and development, transmission of the manuscript, problems related to the transmission of the manuscript, different translation in modern and American English and the evolution of the Hebrew Bible. Atheism realizes that morality is a weak point in Christianity (McLellan, 2010). Atheists argue that free will and morality are weak points and that only science can answer moral problems questions. Atheist messages or teachings, which question religious faith ideas, are not entirely different from Christianity ideas. In this way, atheists do not only attack Christianity but also attack other religions. However, the strong points of their teaching are about failed religion and the questions that remain unanswered by the same.
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Atheists emphasize that Jesus messianic identity is secrecy. They also suggest that the suffering of Jesus was characterized by the fact that Jesus was unable to comprehend or come to terms with the purpose and relevance of his teachings. This simply means that atheists portray Jesus negatively in relation to his sufferings, existence and death on the cross. However, Christianity emphasizes on the ultimate authority and divinity of Jesus Christ. This simply means that Christian religion does not support or agree with the atheist teachings and believes. However, many Christians have fallen prey to these teachings, beliefs, and end up being converted into Atheism (Harris, 2004).
Atheism in Judaism
Judaism is a religion that is founded on Jewish faith principals, and the behavior of Jews is mainly or mostly determined by Judaism adherence. This means that atheists can exist even among the Jewish people. This is evident from the fact that Reconstructionist Judaism does not in any way require a belief on a deity without mentioning the name of the creator. According to the Jewish community first Rabbi, Atheist do not, in fact, deny God, but simply deny the relationship between the image of man and God. This is because they consider images of the same as idols. In this case, some critics have suggested that atheists are a big help to religion because they help to do away with false images and thus bring out the true religion. It is important to note that atheists do not accept this point of view. This simply means that some Jewish atheists completely reject this religion. According to Jewish culture and history, Judaism embraces a belief on a supernatural and not manmade God (Worth, 2012).
It is important to note that Judaism focuses on one God who is the God of Jacob, Isaac and Abraham and the Mosaic covenant. This simply means that Jews participate collectively or as individuals in ethical actions, prayers, rituals and traditions to communicate to the God of Israel. Jewish atheists disagree with the concept of God in a human form. Judaism believes that human beings are not sinful or flawed by sin. Additionally, Jews believe that there should be an occasional renewal of commitment to God’s commandments. Judaism is a religion that is known as Abraham’s religions. People of these religions believe in one God. According to these religions Jesus died through crucifixion. It is clear that Christianity and Judaism share historical aspects, but differ in many other aspects and beliefs. However, atheists do not completely agree with this concept (Hill, 2009).
The afterlife is a very important and fundamental belief in Judaism. The Jews believe that the creation of God is enough to testify the afterlife of the souls. The Jews believe that the soul of men is actually a part of God’s essence. And that God created the first man from dust, and from the ground. God then blew into man`s nostrils and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2: 7, Jewish Bible). The eternal soul or afterlife according to the Jewish beliefs is as real as the thumb. They believe that in the world to come people will experience reality eternally and find ultimate justice in another dimension (Selmanovic, 2009). The Jews believe that the afterlife is what a person experiences after death because after death comes judgment. In this case, the next world is called the world of truth because individuals have to fact the truth about their life’s before death. Heaven, according to the Jews, is a place after death, where the soul will experience great pleasure and joy. This simply means that Judaism traditions do not perceive death as the end of human life, but believe that there is an afterlife (Duke, 2012). However, Judaism teachings on afterlife are very mild and thus leave a lot of room for speculation and personal opinions. However, the Jews do not agree with atheists. In this case, Atheists have used their beliefs on a divine God as opposed to a man-made God make their points.
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Atheism in Islam
In the Muslim religion, atheists are referred to as Kafir, which means a person who hides or covers. According to the Muslim religion, atheists are responsible for blasphemous connotations and the Islam community disconnection. The Quran, which is the holy book of the Muslims, states clearly that these are the exact people, who first believed, but went back to unbelief. In this way, prophets who strive hard against the unbelievers will have a place in Hell. Hell is an evil refuge. According to Islam religion, evil people swear that they have said nothing evil. What is worse is that they swear by God’s name. This, according to this religion, is indeed uttered blasphemy, which is not acceptable in Islam (Fishkoff, 2011). The evil people, who in this case, are the atheists meditated and plot things, which are not acceptable. However, Muslims believe that the best thing for atheists is to repent. On the other hand, if they do not repent and continue with what they are doing, then they will be punished by God. The Islamic version of punishment includes a grievous penalty in the Hereafter. They also believe that if God punishes them, nothing in this world will be able to protect them. (Quran, sura 9). For fear of retribution, most atheists commonly conceal their beliefs in Muslim countries.
The Quran, which is the Muslims Holy book, helps them to promote humility and chastity and thus is a shield to protect Muslims against themselves. They believe that during the fasting period they also abstain from lustful thoughts, indecent speech, falsehood and many other evils. This simply means that fasting helps to control many different impulses and thus develop decent and good behavior. Muslims also believe that they must never fall short of performing any duty or tending to their commitments, thus they strive to attain and apply virtuous characteristics (Legenhausen, 2008). During the month of Ramadan, Muslims exercise patients, control their anger, show mercy to other people, show generosity to others and try to show compassion. In this way, they uphold good characters and moral habits. Most atheists question the Muslim beliefs and traditions such as fasting. According to Islam beliefs and traditions, fasting inculcates many different emotions such as solidarity and fraternity. The Muslims believe that these feelings allow them to experience and feel what their homeless brothers all over the world are experiencing and feeling. This tradition and belief teach Muslims self control and patience. Islamists can only be exempted from obligatory fasting if there is a serious illness involved, if the person is in transit and may miss certain days of the fast, during a woman’s menstrual period, if a woman has just given birth, if a woman is pregnant, if a woman is breast feeding and if a person is mentally ill. The book of life, which is known as the Quran, was sent by God to guide people and show them a clear way to salvation. In this case, the Quran states that anyone, who witnesses this, must mean it from their heart and not doubt it. Fasting, according to Muslims, is a way of witnessing and showing commitment to the Islam religion. In this case, Muslims must complete the fasting days and thank God for guiding them through the fasts (Quran, 2: 183 – 185).
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On the other hand, Judaism observes fasting traditions by abstaining completely from food and liquids. This tradition is observed by Jews for six days in a year. In the Judaism traditions fasting is not permitted during the Shabbat. The most important fasting day in the Jewish year is the Yom Kippur, which is considered the holy day. Fasting on this day clearly shows that an individual has completely complied with and participated in a full religious service. The major fasts in Judaism are the Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av. These fasts are observed for two days, while minor fasts are observed for a day. Afterlife has also played an important part and role in Islam teachings and beliefs. For example, the Muslim terrorists believe that, after a suicide mission, they will ascend to heaven. According to the Muslim faith, death is the end of the physical life and the righteous will see God’s visions after death, while the wicked will see hell’s visions after death. Muslims believe that the afterlife in heaven is jannat, while after life in hell is jahannam and that each person will be responsible for the kind of judgment he/she will receive. The judgments, according to Muslims, will be based on the people’s deed and intentions before death (Bernard, 1995).
The Quran tells and speaks of terrible events that will be experienced as the end of the world come, and that crossing of the Sarat Bridge, a place where the fire of hell burns, will decide their final fate. Paradise is, however, a peaceful and blissful place. The Quran explains that those who believe, as opposed to atheists, will be guarded against all evil and will only be allowed to experience joy brightness. Additionally, those who believe are promised a good reward. This is because of the patience they have shown while on earth (Staff, 2012). The Quran also states that those who believe shall enjoy life in the present times and after life. It also states that they will be adorned with beautiful garments and bracelets of gold and silver. Lastly, the Quran states that those who believe will drink the pure drink of God. This will be to thank them for their commitment and efforts to the same. (Quran, surah 76: 11 – 22,).
Atheism in Indian Religions
In Indian religions, atheism is accepted and recognized. These religions include Buddhism and Hinduism. These religions accept the fact that an atheist has a very difficult time trying to understand and follow matters related to spirituality. In this case, the Hindu philosophy proposes many fundamental issues related to the notion of God and the rejection of the same. According to these fundamental notions, there is ground to believe that there is an existence of a higher being (Dimitrov, 2012). In this case, the proposal suggests and proposes the cosmos understanding through dualistic attributes, which include a spiritual attribute and a physical coexistence of the same. In this case, they believe in the existence of creation, meaning that there exists a creator, and that moral imperatives are from a divine being, therefore, it should be attributed to the universe and that all creatures and human being are responsible for their actions. However, Buddhists accept and believe in the existence of an authoritative deity. From the western point of view, this concept is biased (Overdorf, 2011).
Atheism in the Catholic Church
The Catholic Church sees atheism as an intrusions and violation of virtue of religion. This is in relation to moral and virtuous considerations. The doctrine of the Catholic Church opposes atheism. According to Richard Dawkins, an atheist preaches extreme moral crusades that affect many lives in Europe, but they do not act or follow the same thing they preach. It is important to note that atheism in the Catholic Church is created by error of a few Catholics that did not believe in the existence of God. In this case, it creates theoretical and speculative atheism, which is based on different assertions related to the existence of God. These assertions however are against the Catholic Church dictionary (Fulwiler, 2011). These reference scriptures include a scripture that suggests that it is not possible to escape the hand of God. This is because the wicked people, who did not believe in God, will be scourged by the strength of God, persecuted by hail, rain, and strong waters. They will also be consumed by eternal fire. (Wisdom, 16:15-16) This is because God did not send his Son to this world to judge the world, but to save the world. In this case, every person who believes in Him will not be judged but those who do not believe in Him are already being judged (Bloch 2009). Those who believe will not be judged because they believe that God sent his son to save the world (John, 3:17-18), and to those who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with the angels of his power: In a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall suffer eternal punishment in the destruction, and witness the same from the Lord, which includes the glory of his power” (Thes, 1:7-9).
The Catholic Church teaches the denouncement of the atheism trend, which is increasing at an alarming rate. According to POPE PIUS XI, many things may look as one of the greatest evils, but the root of all evil is misrepresenting the truth, in order to use it as an instrument of dispute. In this way, every part of the Catholic religion is important, and should, therefore, not be prohibited in social life and family as an important part of traditions and ancient superstitions; private, and public atheism is lifted up and exalted in a way that makes the laws of God and God abolished from doctrine, and in this case morals lack a good foundation (Aguilar, 2009). Encyclical Programs are responsible for fighting Atheistic Propagandas all over the World (By Pope Pius XII, 1950). This simply means that the Catholic Church greatly denounces atheism and discourages the same. According to the Pope, atheism is out to destroy and negatively affect Christian civilization. In this case, the Pope insists that the catholic faith should stand proud, fearless, alert and firm on the truth in order to triumph against atheism and other false doctrines. In other words, atheism, according to the Catholic Church, is a monstrous error that should be corrected before it gets out of hand. The Catholic Church insists that even in the absence of religion, church teachings and scriptures is enough to oppose atheism. However, religious indifference within the Catholic Church has inevitably led to atheism being so wide spread (Vost, 2010).
It is important to note that atheists believe that the Catholic Church no longer has meaning to people in the context of contemporary religion and theology. According to Altizer, an atheist, faith cannot be identified unless it has a ritual or traditional form. According to Artier, religions, including the Catholic Church, are responsible for moving the world further from the truth. Catholic atheists believe in Catholic norms, rituals, traditions and culture, but reject the existence of God (Harris, 2004).
Atheists believe that atheism contains a philosophy by which to live. However, these philosophies do not clearly define the inherent aspects of the same. All religions have clear doctrines, cultures, traditions and norms, as opposed to atheism that is based on the imperfections of these religions. In other words, critics have criticized atheists for looking for loopholes and weak points in religions in order to make their point. However, other religions support atheism and attribute for the same.