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Imagine a group that call themselves Goodists. They say that they believe in Goodism which they define as believing in goodness including love and tolerance and all that. But what this group actually does is run around killing people. This is their primary activity. So how would you define Goodism in this case, based on their definition or based on what they actually do? I would define them as murders. I believe in judging people by what they do, not what they say. To me, how a group defines itself is almost irrelevant. What matters is what the group does. In this case Goodists are murderers and Goodism is support of murder.
We have seen this issue before in Liberalism. Liberals define themselves as one thing but are actually something quite different. This is a common strategy for evil groups. Atheism is a branch of liberalism and shares this same strategy. Atheists define atheism as just not believing in God. But what atheists actually do shows this definition to be inaccurate. And many who do not believe in God are not atheists at all.
A good characteristic to define a group is something that members of the group have but non-members don't have. An example is that Christians believe that Jesus was Christ while non-Christians do not believe this. This makes this belief a clear identifier of a Christian and so it is justified to include this in a definition of Christianity.
While it is true that atheists do not believe in God, there are plenty of non-atheists who also don't believe in God. Most Eastern religions don't believe in God as God is described in our Western Bible. This includes Buddhists, Confucianists, Taoists, and others. Atheists will respond that these Eastern religions are in fact atheistic. But members of these religion who are familiar with atheism will not agree with this. And it is certainly more appropriate to ask a Buddhist, for example, if Buddhists are atheist than to ask an atheist this question. Here is a Buddhist answer found in What Buddhists Believe:
The Buddha has condemned godlessness by which He meant the denial of worship and renunciation, the denial of moral and social obligations, and the denial of a religious life. He recognized most emphatically the existence of moral and spiritual values. He acclaimed the supremacy of the moral law. Only in one sense can Buddhism be described as atheistic, namely, in so far as it denies the existence of an eternal omnipotent God or God-head who is the creator and ordainer of the world. The word 'atheism', however, frequently carries a number of disparaging overtones or implications which are in no way applicable to the Buddha's Teaching. Those who use the word 'atheism', often associate it with a materialistic doctrine that knows nothing higher than this world of the senses and the slight happiness it can bestow. Buddhism advocates nothing of that sort.
There is no justification for the branding Buddhist as atheists, nihilists, pagans, heathens or communists just because they do not believe in a Creator God. The Buddhist concept of God is different from that of other religions. Differences in belief do not justify name-calling and slanderous words.
So why do atheists claim that Eastern religions are atheistic? Because atheists want to add legitimacy by classifying other groups as atheists, even though they are not.
What exactly is it that distinguishes atheists from non-atheists? It is hatred of God. Atheists are actually antitheists. And this can be seen from what they do, not how they choose to define themselves. Atheists consistently attack and ridicule religion. A good article on this is WHY DO ATHEISTS RIDICULE CHRISTIANITY?. From this article:
Well-known atheist Christopher Hitchens, for example, says that religion “should be treated with ridicule, hatred, and contempt.”
This reflects the general thinking of atheists.
I know something about atheism having grown up in an atheist family and having been an atheist myself. My views changed gradually. In the beginning I had accepted the atheist (false) definition of atheism. During my transition, I considered myself an atheist who likes the Bible. I expressed this view on atheist forums and was met by extreme hostility and I always ended up being thrown out of these forums. Then I realized that the atheist definition of atheism is a lie and that I was no longer an atheist.
There actually is a perfectly good word for those who simply don't believe in God. This is Nontheism. As wikipedia explains, the word "non-theist" was introduced by George Holyoake in 1852 because:
Mr. [Charles] Southwell has taken an objection to the term Atheism. We are glad he has. We have disused it a long time [...]. We disuse it, because Atheist is a worn-out word. Both the ancients and the moderns have understood by it one without God, and also without morality. Thus the term connotes more than any well-informed and earnest person accepting it ever included in it; that is, the word carries with it associations of immorality, which have been repudiated by the Atheist as seriously as by the Christian. Non-theism is a term less open to the same misunderstanding, as it implies the simple non-acceptance of the Theist's explanation of the origin and government of the world.
So even by 1852, atheism was associated with immorality. Here is an atheist today discussing What's the Difference Between Nontheism & Atheism?. Note the obvious hostility by this atheist to the term "nontheist".
Now we have two words which we can use to clearly identify those who don't believe in God versus those who hate God. Both atheism and Eastern religions like Buddhism are nontheistic. But Eastern religions are definitely not atheistic because they don't hate God.
Where does atheism come from? It comes directly from Christianity as a rebellion against Christian beliefs from former Christians themselves. First faith was weakened by the Enlightenment. But then came the critical emotion rebellion which led to hatred of God. The best explanation of atheism on an emotional level is found in this song:
In essence, the rebellion against God is based on the idea that God has failed to deliver. All of the world's problems are blamed on God. This view comes from ignorance of the Bible. The Bible repeatedly explains that following God's commandments will solve problems but disobeying God's commandments will cause problems. Read Deuteronomy 28 in full. It makes this message loud and clear in language that is impossible to misunderstand. The writers of the above song certainly haven't read the Bible.
Even though atheism began with Christianity, it has spread to other religions. Many Jews are now also atheists. My parents are examples of this. They lived through the Holocaust and blame it on religion. They can't understand how God could have let the Holocaust happen. They blame it on religious conflict. The reason for their misunderstanding is that they never read the Bible. The Bible explains the Holocaust perfectly. In fact a main story of the Bible is the story of an earlier holocaust, namely the fall of Israel to Babylon. This was certainly a holocaust with a similar proportion of death and destruction to the recent Holocaust. The reason for the first holocaust was that Israel had become corrupt. Israel had absorbed the false beliefs of the surrounding cultures and had lost all moral integrity. As a result, Israel was punished. This was in fact a necessary thing because Israel needed to be purified. A corrupt culture should be destroyed and one can hope that the remnant will become good. The Bible says that both the righteous and the wicked were punished in this holocaust and this is inevitable when there is such violence.
I see the recent holocaust as being more or less the same story. Many Jews absorbed and participated in the Liberal culture of Europe. Liberalism is no better than worshipping Baal. The Wiemar Republic was a particularly liberal society which incorporated many Jews. The liberal Jews lost all morality and were/are basically corrupt. The Nazis played the same role that Babylon had played in the earlier holocaust. The main difference between these two holocausts in my mind is that modern Jews have misunderstood the recent holocaust. They portray themselves as victims without accepting any responsibility for their participation in Liberalism. If Jews don't learn the right lesson, then history will repeat itself and there will be more holocausts. I would prefer that that be avoided, but it can only be avoided if Jews shift their focus from studying the Talmud to studying the Bible.
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