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Non-Theism

Non-Theism

Author: Sophia Tutorial
Description:

Recognize non-theism as an "umbrella term" that covers disparate religious and non-religious beliefs.

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Tutorial

what's covered
In this lesson, you will look at the concept of non-theism. It’s a broad umbrella term that helps organize other scattered and often unrelated ideas that concern the study of religions, such as non-religious beliefs. They also play a role in religion and religious studies. You will cover:
  1. Non-Religious Beliefs
  2. Non-Theistic Religions


1. Non-Religious Beliefs

In the study of religions, you will come across terms and ideas that avail themselves to many different interpretations. You saw this when looking at theism. It’s not always clear which religions might fit best into this category.

This is true for non-religious beliefs. The belief that there is no God is a non-theistic belief. Atheism is a committed position ascribing to the belief that God doesn’t exist. It can securely be put under non-theism.

term to know

Non-theism
Any system of belief that either denies the existence of god(s) or does not require the existence of god(s).
Agnosticism, on the other hand, is a position that often refers to the idea that the existence of God has never been proven and/or admits of the impossibility of ever knowing for sure about the existence of God. It would also be a non-theistic approach.

Another more formal method of thinking about religious beliefs is religious skepticism. This might be harder to group clearly into one camp or another, theism or non-theism. A religious skeptic would like to subject certain religious beliefs to rational scrutiny, perhaps even his or her own beliefs. So, he or she might be a believer, a faithful adherent of one religion or another.

term to know

Religious Skepticism
The belief that religious claims are doubtful or at least need to be subjected to intense rational scrutiny.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, skepticism employed the tools of reason and science, which really knew no bounds. If there was doubt, it often had to do with the notion that God was personally involved in human lives and individual personal lives. For this reason, many Deists were religious skeptics, questioning and exploring new possibilities with regard to the web of religion and philosophy and socio-political life.


2. Non-Theistic Religions

When it comes to specific religions themselves, there are many that don’t honor or worship a particular deity. Confucianism, Taoism, and many schools of Buddhism are good examples of non-theistic thought, non-theistic religions. They generally fit more clearly into non-theism.

Although it doesn’t have a god who is worshipped in the way a Hindu god is revered and worshipped, Buddhism’s founding principles are nevertheless related to ideas of the non-material and ideas of the sacred. In other words, its focus is on consciousness and the spiritual life that allows for integration of matter and spirit and the possibility of transcendence. For this reason, Buddhism has historically been approached and interpreted from a variety of angles.

summary
Now we can review and summarize. Non-theism is a very broad category, and there are many non-religious beliefs that can be grouped under it. Some schools of thought are agnosticism, atheism, and religious skepticism. There are also many non-theistic religions that can be considered, such as Buddhism.

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia author Ted Fairchild.

Terms to Know
Non-theism

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.