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Red herring.  Is the alleged broad definition of "magic" common use or neologism?  Your response seems to support the latter.

The definition of magic is the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces. That is exactly what religious believers believe their god is doing when they imagine it uses its power to answer their prayers or perform miracles. Calling it magic isn’t a red herring or a neologism—it’s calling a spade a spade. Calling it “God’s power” or a “miracle” is euphemism on the part of religious believers. It’s substituting another word for one considered to be too blunt when referring to something embarrassing. Religious believers certainly should be embarrassed to believe such childish nonsense.

But of course.  Your monsters are different, right?

Actually, I don’t believe in any of those monsters at that link, do you? Oh yes, I see you do. You believe in a god and a particularly monstrous god at that—one that’s killed millions. Atheists don’t believe in monsters like your god. The majority of people in the world believe in some god or other. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. Therefore atheism is different from the usual.

Each theology has its own apologetics.  These are reasoned arguments intended to justify that religion's theology, and often are designed to lead a person to the basis for that theology.  Were atheists to engage in apologetics, they would start with a claim like yours above, defend it against follow-up questions from the outsider ("On what basis do you claim it is reasonable and justifiable?"  "Well x, y, and z, therefore it is both reasonable and justfiable!"), and finally connect it to the basis of atheism ("Thus, it is both reasonable and justifiable to reject deities.")  However, atheists don't practice apologetics, since atheism is not a religion, and therefore this is yet another example of how atheism's monsters are different.

What arrant nonsense. It is the lack of a shred of solid evidence or a single sound argument to support religious beliefs that makes it reasonable and rational to reject them. It isn’t reasonable or rational to believe something that has no solid evidence or sound arguments supporting it. Anyone who believes there is a god is simply gullible.

I don't think I'd have to try very hard to convince you that this hypothetical group exists in the US, and in very large numbers.  Currently, that group largely follows the dominant, traditional religious view: Christianity.  If atheism were to become dominant, I suspect that at least some of these bandwagoners would deconvert after a long, thoughtful examination of reality tv shows and teenage pop music.  If that happens, they'll be just as loud, just as stupid, just as prejudiced, and just as embarrassing to whichever view they support.  You're welcome to inherit them.

You seem to be postulating that religion is just some passing fad soon to be overtaken by the trendier atheism. I don’t see religion disappearing or even waning significantly any time soon. As long as there are ignorant, insecure and gullible people in the world, there will be religious beliefs. Religion is also self-perpetuating. Parents instil their insecurities into their children and indoctrinate them with their religious beliefs at an early age, before they’ve had a chance to develop emotional maturity and critical thinking skills.

I don’t think it’s as easy to deconvert people as you seem to think. We don’t see masses of people losing their religious beliefs. Those who do lose their religious beliefs appear to be those who aren’t particularly insecure and who acquire critical thinking skills, either through higher education or their own efforts.

However, the statements, "atheism is not a religion" and "atheism is a religion" are not grammatically equivalent.  In fact, they are actually grammatical opposites.  So your comparison between my comments on how I don't call atheism a religion and the sentence structure I used in reference to atheism's beliefs (or lack thereof) does not apply.

What on Earth are you on about? You said, “atheism is just another belief”. Then, after that ludicrous statement, you tried to claim that you don’t apply labels that aren’t really accurate—another ridiculous statement.

If you're seriously interested in the definition of prayer, Wikipedia has an entire page on it.  If you're more interested in your made-up definition, then it's probably a waste of your time for you to look it up.

According to the Wikipedia entry, prayer is “an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity, an object of worship, or a spiritual entity through deliberate communication.” In other words, it’s wishful thinking. To give us an idea of what prayer is used for, why don’t you tell us what you pray for, Mooby? Some Christians pray for such trivial things as an excuse not to take their daughter to a Batman movie. Are you that shallow or do you make more noble requests for things such as world peace or the elimination of all diseases? After all, the Bible claims that whatever you ask for in prayer you will receive, doesn’t it? Oh, wait, I just read Mark 11:24 more closely and it actually says that if you believe you’ve received it, it’s yours. That sounds like wishful thinking again.
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Brakeman great post! January 15, 2013, 06:43:13 AM