Many atheists make the claim that religion is superstition. One could find many exaples, but the one that I saw most recently and that ticked me off is this one from the CADRE blog:
Blogger David B. Ellis said...
More rationally-inclined people sometimes underestimate just how deep-seated superstition is in the rest of their species.
2/26/2009 02:01:00 PM
I can't wait to see the definition he offers. Ten to one it will be recursive, something like "superstition is believing God or gods." We see an example of that kind of circular reasoning in the definitions below.
Here are Web definitions:
an irrational belief arising from ignorance or fearMy belief in God arises neither form ignorance nor from fear. I was a very carefully informed atheist who had spent three summers researching to disprove the bible, and will put my education up against anyone's any time. The presence that I felt when God first revaled himself to me was not a presence of fear. I have felt "afraid" per se in relation to God; although I fequirelntly feel a sense of awe.
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn - Definition in context
superstition: Definition from Answers.com
superstition n. An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.
www.answers.com/topic/superstition - 126k - Cached - Similar pages -
A good epistemologist could argue that about any causal relationship
superstition - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Definition of superstition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary with audio pronunciations, thesaurus, Word of the Day, and word games.
www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/superstition - 34k - Cached - Similar pages -
- Main Entry:
- Middle English supersticion, from Anglo-French, from Latin superstition-, superstitio, from superstit-, superstes standing over (as witness or survivor), from super- + stare to stand — more at stand
- 13th century1 a: a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b: an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition2: a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary
As I've already demonstrated my belief in God is not based upon ignorance. To argue that belief in God is ignorance in and of itself the atheist must present that argument proves conclusively there is no God. My belief is not based upon the unknown since I claim to have intimate first hand knowledge (pheneomenoloigcally apprehended).
It might appear to the unwary that this definition says that belief in God is superstition. It does NOT say that! It says "abject" attitude of mind toward.... But iti s alsoa circular definition. This is usual for Webster's to be so lax. but look at it it says
what is the defintion of "superstition?" It is "...abject frame of mind resulting from...superstition."
Defining the word wtih the word.
superstition - definition of superstition
Definition of superstition - An irrational belief - ie, one held in spite of evidence to the contrary - usually involving supernatural forces and associated ...I have made 42 arguments for the existence of God and written several essays about why we don't need arguments. They are all quite good, none of them invole irrationality but demonstrate that belief is rationally warranted.
urbanlegends.about.com/od/glossary/g/superstition.htm - 20k - Cached - Similar pages -
the clause "usually involving supernatural" is nothing more than propaganda and depends upon how one defines supernatural. I have proved on Doxa that Supernatural is empirical validiated, if we use the original and ture meaning of the term.
Defining supersition as "belief in the supernatural" then using the definition of superstition to prove that belief in supernatural is irrational because it's superstitious is merely circular reasoning.
Definition of Superstition
I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature ...The same kind of recursive and circular statement I just got through exposing. What makes it superstitious? Because it's religion. What makes religion superstition? Because it' superstition.
www.brainyquote.com/words/su/superstition226408.html - 14k - Cached - Similar pages -
Why do we find so many circular definitions where the word is defined by the word, and religious belief is declared to be something that is derived itself from a criticism of the word used to define it. Religion is superstition, what is superstition?It's belief in religion. Why do we find this state of affairs even in a major dictionary like Webster's? In fact Noah Webster was a devoted Christian so he would not have defined belief in God as superstition per se. I think it's becasue the topic is tainted by the "superstitions" of the enlightenment.
The fault really lies with Newton and Boyle, Christians who were not trying to disprove Christianity but to demonstrate the veracity of their faith through science.They helped to create the attitude of the latter enlightenment that things of the supernatural were superstitious and anti-science. They did this in rebellion against the philosophy of scholasticism.(Willey, Basil. The Eighteenth Century Background: Studies On the Idea of Nature In the Thought of the Period. New York: Columbia University Press, 1941. But it was not because they had made any scientific advances that proved it. They did it purely out of propaganda because they wanted to identify science with their version of the faith. The first step was to identify Newton's physics with science as the only valid model for scientific thought. To do that they had to unseat competing models such as the Cartesian and the Leibnitzian models, or Plenism. They also had to replace the chemical model with the mechanical model. Boyle did all of that by creating his own protocols for scientific experiments and then propagandizing about how scientific he was. This a fascinating story which can be read in Leviathan and the Air Pump by Shappin and Shaffer.(Shapin, Steven and Simon Schaffer. Leviathan And The Air Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life. Princeton University Press, 1985).
Having accomplished that task they then went on to publicize Newton's ideas from the pulpit. Historian Margarete Jacob demonstrates in her ground breaking work The Newtonians that had it not been for the band of rationalist English churchmen known as "The Latitudinarians" Newton's physics might have remained obscure and unknown for fifty years longer, and he may have never been defied to the extent tha the was by English society.Jacob, Margaret C. The Newtonians and the English Revolution: 1689-1720. Ithica New York: Cornell University Press, 1976). The French Philosophes rebelling against the monarchy and the church that supported it on the eve of the French revolution just cast the net bigger and encompass Christian belief of all kinds since that took in the widest possible camp that might be sympathetic to the monarchy.
The birth of modern atheism involved LaPLace and his attempts to draw the circle D'Holbach to its widest possible extent and include even the Philosphe's with their deistic principles outside the circle. The taint took hold and religion was lumped in with superstition, magic, belief in ghost and witches and so forth, at least in the minds of atheists, but not in the minds of the greatest thinkers of age. Although was lost in the taint was very crucial:
(1) A proper understanding of the Sueprnatural, which was pillaged and distorted in order to defame any version of it. The watered down silly version took hold in the public mind as the true nature of supernaturalism.
(2) Scholastic philosophy in so far as it hedged upon the true understanding of the superantural was lumped in with the false understanding of it.
(3) Personal experince or what they used to call "experimental truth" (which was actually phenomenological or experintial) was identified with unreason, with irrational emotionaism and thus with superstition.
The upshot of all of this is that "superstition" is nothing more than a buzz word which atheists use in a propagandist way (complete with circular reasoning and all). Atheists apply their own superstition (fear,ignorance, disconnected logic) in charging religion with being superstitious point blank. The charge is nothing more than a hold over of propaganda from a former age the particulars of which are no longer understood.