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"In 2009, Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård, along with other non-religious artists, authors and entrepreneurs, wrote an article in Dagens Nyheter stressing the importance of secularity. The group also criticised the UN for its stance on blasphemy laws." --Sholem Stein

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Irreligion, irreligiousness, or nonreligion is an umbrella term which, depending on context, may be understood as referring to atheism, agnosticism, deism, skepticism, freethought, secular humanism, general secularism, or heresy.

Irreligion has at least three related yet distinct meanings:

  • absence of religion (either due to not having information about religion or to not believing in it)
  • hostility to religion
  • behaving in such a way that fails to live up to one's religious tenets

Although people classified as irreligious might not follow any religion, not all are necessarily without belief in the supernatural or in deities; such a person may be a non-religious or non-practicing theist. In particular, those who associate organized religion with negative qualities, but still hold spiritual beliefs, might describe themselves as irreligious.

Kinds of irreligion

  • Atheism is, in its negative form, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. In its positive form, it is the position that there are no deities.
  • Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable.
  • Materialism holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental things and consciousness, are results of material interactions.
  • Secular humanism embraces human reason, ethics, social justice, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the bases of morality and decision making. Secular humanism posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god.
  • Freethought holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or other dogma. In particular, freethought is strongly tied with rejection of traditional religious belief.
  • Post-theism proposes that God belongs to a stage of human development now past.
  • Deism is the position that a god does not interfere directly with the world. It also rejects revelation as a source of religious knowledge with the conclusion that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator of the universe.
  • Agnostic theism is the belief that there is a god or God, but regards the basis of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable.
  • "Spiritual but not religious" takes issue with organized religion as the sole or most valuable means of furthering spiritual growth. In contrast to religion, spirituality has often been associated with the interior life of the individual.
  • Ietsism is an unspecified belief in an undetermined transcendent force.
  • Pandeism holds that the creator deity became the universe (pantheism) and ceased to exist as a separate and conscious entity (deism holding that God does not interfere with the universe after its creation).
  • Pantheism is the belief that all reality is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent god. Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god.
  • Panentheism is the belief that the divine pervades the universe and also extends beyond time and space. Unlike pantheism, which holds that the divine and the universe are identical, panentheism maintains a distinction between the divine and the non-divine and the significance of both.
  • Religious dissenters are those who disagree with certain beliefs of their religion.
  • Ignosticism refutes the importance of determining the existence of God. It claims that knowledge regarding the reality of God is altogether unprofitable.
  • Theological noncognitivism is the argument that religious language – specifically, words such as "God" – are not cognitively meaningful. It is sometimes considered as synonymous with ignosticism.
  • Nontheism is a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of espoused belief in a God or gods. Nontheism has generally been used to describe apathy or silence towards the subject of God and differs from an antithetical, explicit atheism. Nontheism does not necessarily describe atheism or disbelief in God; it has been used as an umbrella term for summarizing various distinct and even mutually exclusive positions.
  • Apatheism is the view that one should be apathetic towards the existence or non-existence of God or any gods. It is more of an attitude rather than a belief, claim or belief system.
  • Antitheism is the opposition to theism. It typically refers to direct opposition to the belief in any deity, considering such belief harmful.
  • Antireligion is opposition to religion of any kind. It can describe opposition to organized religion, religious practices, religious institutions, or specific forms of supernatural worship or practice, whether organized or not.
  • Misotheism is the hatred of God or the gods.
  • Dystheism is the belief that God or a god is not wholly good, and may be evil. Dystheists may be theists or atheists.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Irreligion" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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