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This lesson discusses non-theism as an "umbrella term" that covers such disparate religious and non-religious beliefs as naturalism, pantheism, agnosticism, and religious skepticism.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to this tutorial on non-theism. Non-theism is a blanket term for a variety of intellectual and religious movements that might include atheism and agnosticism, as we discussed in another tutorial, but also skepticism. It's important to note that one could be a secular skeptic or one could be a religious skeptic.

So secular skeptics rely on science as a world view. They don't accept claims that cannot be backed up with evidence. But there's also non-theistic religious movements like Buddhism, that don't have a god in the sense that other religions do. So let's just take a little bit of a closer look at Buddhism.

So Buddhist non-theism, God and heaven can entrap believers into craving for another more perfect world. And of course, the whole point of Buddhism is to eliminate desire or craving. So in other words, Buddhists would worry that the second you set up a supernatural realm, I'm going to be stuck down here in the natural world and God is going to be up here in the supernatural world.

Maybe we could just draw a little angel. Right, so just pretend that this angel represents the supernatural world. And never the twain shall meet. I'm going to be constantly craving after this world that I can't obtain and this is going to produce suffering.

So Buddhism is a very practical religion about doing what can be done to alleviate suffering in the here and now. And if God and heaven take me away from that, then let's just get rid of God and heaven. Of course some variants of Buddhism do have gods like in Tibetan Buddhism. And sometimes the Buddha or the Dharma can sound like God. But they are very different notions in Buddhism than they are in other religions.

So we are all different variants of non-theism. Some non-theists might not even really want to put a label on what it is that they believe. But they all share this common and mistrust of concepts of the divine that seem to denigrate the human and posit this unattainable perfect state that human beings can never reach.

Thank you for watching this tutorial on non-theism. We said that non-theism is a blanket or umbrella term that encompasses many different forms of skepticism about God. Non-theism could include atheism, agnosticism, or religious skepticism. And even religions which lack a deity can also be described as examples of non-theism.

We said that Buddhism is an example of a non-theistic religion and that it shares a skepticism about a belief in God. That it denigrates the human and posits a separate supernatural realm which will necessarily be unattainable.

Terms to Know

Any system of belief that either denies the existence of god(s) or does not require the existence of god(s).

Religious Skepticism

The belief that religious claims are doubtful or at least need to be subjected to intense rational scrutiny.