Is Atheism a Religion?
As I stated earlier, the Atheists I've had the privilege of crossing paths with not only emphatically deny that a god exists, but also go on to share their "beliefs" (later denying that they have beliefs - but more on that in a minute) about why and how they have "logically" deduced that no god exists. So from my perspective, Atheism would be better thought of as "Anti-Theism" since most Atheists proclaim heavily against there being a god.
This in and of itself is a logical fallacy. It is impossible for us limited human beings to know for a fact that a god does not exist. To know absolutely that a god does not exist one would have to be omniscient. Since no one is omniscient then it stands to reason that there is a chance that a god exists. This then becomes Agnosticism instead of Atheism.
So how can those who follow the idea that there is no god really say that for sure? Well, listen carefully now it's kinda tricky, they MUST take it on FAITH - **GASP** dirty word - that no god exists. Atheism is just a word, but those who promote the idea that there is no god have turned it into the "religion" of Atheism. There is no other explanation for it. It is a nothing more than a belief in a concept. The concept being of course that god does not exist.
This is the premise behind why we here at AtheismsFallacies.com think that Atheism is a religion. The term atheism comes from the Greek word atheos, meaning godless. Atheos is derived from 'a', meaning "without," and 'theos', meaning "deity". Simply put Atheism literally means "no god". But the problem is that Atheists don't leave it at that. They promote the idea and come up with a belief system to try and prove that there is no god. In fact Atheists by their own admission adhere to a set of doctrinal beliefs! You can read more about their doctrinal beliefs by Clicking Here
According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006, Religion is:
- a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe...
- a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects...
- the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
- the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
- thing one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.
According to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition(Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved., © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin) Religion is:
- a cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.
- a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.
I'm not sure how Atheists can read those definitions and say that they aren't religious about their beliefs. Some would argue that those are broad definitions of the word religion. Well, it's a definition none the less. Just because it's broad doesn't mean it isn't a relevant definition.
The same dictionary goes on to define Atheism as:
- The doctrine or belief that there is no God.
- Disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings
Do we not find the very words "DOCTRINE" and "BELIEF" in the definition of Atheism? Of course we do... Why? Because Atheism is a religion!!!
Deny it all you want, the very word AtheISM connotes a religion/belief system.
Of course Atheism isn't like other complex Religious systems... It's just a religion with less complex and less organized structure.
An Atheist's belief system is founded upon one factor: the non-existence of a deity. Everything that an Atheist does believe then is colored by that one belief – thus a system of beliefs. For example: Belief that there is no god must lead to the belief in evolution since it would be impossible to believe in creation if no supreme creator existed. So evolution is part of the Atheism belief system. Thus Atheists believe in the DOCTRINE of Evolution.
Just like a religion that does believe in a god and everything that they believe is colored by that one belief.
Oh and by the way - Atheists proselytize that belief system just like other religions.
To put it more simply, a person's religion is simply the sum total of his/her beliefs about God and the supernatural
. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are the three largest "monotheistic" religions, with belief one God, Creator Of The Universe. Some religions are "polytheistic," with belief in many gods, each with different functions. Atheism is the religion whose belief about God is that there is no God.
A Religion doesn't need all the complexity of Christianity or Islam or other major religion to be a religion. A religion doesn't need to have a church or regular meetings in order to be a religion. Atheists DO have regular meetings, by the way. They just held their 34th Annual Convention in Minneapolis, MN this past March 21–23 2008. They had special speakers, teachers, and collaborators who teach the intricacies and doctrines of the FAITH of Atheism. Click Here
to read more about how the Annual Convention reflects Atheism as a religion.
So, believe it or not Atheism is a religion. This really gets Atheists in a tizzy. They will deny this till they are blue in the face.
Why do Atheists deny that Atheism is a religion? For many reasons, but probably the most significant is that some Atheists, for their own political reasons, assert that Atheism is not a religion but instead is the total absence of religion. This allows them to spread their Atheistic beliefs freely in societies which insist on the separation of church and state "amendment" to the constitution (USA).
But this is like saying that "black", which physicists define as the total absence of color, is not a color. I have a black cat. When people ask me what color my cat is I answer "my cat is black". In other words, the color of my cat is black. In common practice throughout the world, "black" is understood to be a color, despite the technical definition of the physicists. Likewise, "Atheism" is a religion, despite any technical definitions to the contrary. If black is a color, then Atheism is a religion.
So what about Atheism's belief system?
Whenever I talk with an Atheist, he/she invariably tell me that they have no beliefs. They claim that they simply do not believe in a god or higher being.
Well, so much for Atheist logic. It is logically impossible to have no beliefs. If you decide to not believe in something you are in face believing the opposite. Atheists claim emphatically to me all the time that they simply don't have any bliefs. They just don't believe that a god exists. This means that, by default, they DO BELIEVE that there is no God. One can not just not believe. You must believe in something. It is a fact! Click Here
to read more about the "I lack belief in a god" argument.
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