Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Why a Non-Stamp Collecting Club Makes Sense

Posted by Michael Dickens on October 28, 2010

It has been said (usually by atheists) that it doesn’t make sense to categorize atheists by their non-religiousness. Then an example is given: “You wouldn’t describe someone as a non-stamp collector.”

Let’s ignore the fact that atheists frequently categorize themselves — even the same people who say it doesn’t make sense to do so. Let’s consider the example of not collecting stamps.

In fact, it can make sense to have a group of people who aren’t something (e.g. religious) or don’t do something (e.g. collect stamps). For example, what about non-meat eaters? It certainly makes sense to describe someone as a non-meat eater, because most people do eat meat so to not do so is an interesting trait. It’s the same with atheism: most people are religious, so to describe someone as non-religious actually tells you something about him.

Describing someone as a non-stamp collector doesn’t make sense, because most people don’t collect stamps. But what if 90% of everyone in the world collected stamps? In that case, being a non-stamp collector would actually be interesting. In such a world, it would make sense to have a club for people who don’t collect stamps.

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5 Responses to “Why a Non-Stamp Collecting Club Makes Sense”

  1. Matt Helm said

    Especially if collecting stamps had more of an effect on life, religion and diet have much more of an effect then collecting stamps. I’m glad I read this article because I didn’t stop to consider this when I first heard of NonStampCollector; but when I think about it, it makes perfect sense to categorize atheists.

  2. LRFLEW said

    It has been said (usually by atheists) that it doesn’t make sense to categorize atheists by their non-religiousness.

    Isn’t atheism the rejection of belief in the existence of deities (gods and god-like entities)? [wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism]

  3. woomobile said

    I think “non stamp collecting” isn’t supposed to be used as a reason not to categorize atheists, the original quote was saying that Atheism isn’t a religion the same way that not stamp collecting isn’t a hobby.

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