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Is Atheism Like a Religion?

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  • Is Atheism Like a Religion?

    In another thread, someone made the comment that 'atheism is nothing like a religion'.

    I would say, that it isn't just like a religion, but it is a religion. It is a belief in the non existence of God. Or as one text book says, "It (atheism) proposes positive disbelief rather than mere suspension of belief". Atheism is a religion because it asserts its beliefs, rather than just being a lack of belief Atheists sometimes promote their beliefs with evangelical fundamentalism asserting their 'religion' is the only correct one.

    Atheists beliefs often are biased, dogmatic and intolerant. They demand that others follow their religion and get angry sometimes at scientists who aren't secular like themselves. But... isn't science about following the evidence no matter where it leads? Are atheists willing to consider that God created? (Or do they have blind faith in their religion?)

    There are many other similarities between atheism and other religions. They often attend regular meetings having fellowship with like minded believers, discussing ways to share their faith effectively. They attend conferences listening to 'preachers'. And they buy books and magazines discussing their religion. Some atheists like to promote their religion with bumper stickers and t-shirts.

    Atheists even have their missionaries who admit their goal is to convert people. For example Richard Dawkins (some jokingly refer to him as the pope of atheism) says " If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.”

    Another similarity between atheism and other religions is that atheism has been the 'state religion' of several countries. People who did not accept this secular religion were persecuted and sometimes killed. The atheist leaders sometimes tried to destroy all materials that might distract people from atheism ( destroying Bibles, Qur'ans, Buddha shrines etc)

    The USA supreme court was asked to consider if atheism is a religion. After considering the evidence, and various definitions... the ruling was ' atheism is a religion'.

    And, in spite of protests by some atheists...there are other atheists / agnostics who admit their beliefs (evolutionism) are religious. For example
    Michael Ruse wrote:
    Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion -- a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, …- the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today
    Under intense pressure from atheists, Ruse did try back peddle a bit but still says some atheists are religious.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobile..._b_904828.html
    Without Genesis, absolutely nothing makes sense in all of Scripture.

  • #2
    Are you asking atheists if they believe atheism is a religion?

    Or are you asking theists to tell atheists what atheists believe?

    Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

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    • #3
      Atheist Jews are still considered Jews. There are many in Israel that immigrated there legally as "Jews".
      It appears that Jews can have any "lifestyle" they want and believe anything they want.... EXCEPT believe in One Person, who they refer to as "may his name be forgotten".

      Irony?

      I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Isaiah 45:23

      Comment


      • #4
        One definition of a religion is a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith. So it does seem that atheists could qualify as a religion. I know an atheist and he seems to delight in downing Christianity.
        Last edited by Bradley D; June 15th, 2016, 01:34 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 6days View Post
          I would say, that it isn't just like a religion, but it is a religion. It is a belief in the non existence of God.
          And...? Apart from from you obviously not knowing what agnosticism and atheism can mean is this the only Tennant of our 'religion'? Rather low bar you are setting for what counts as a religion.
          Or as one text book says, "It (atheism) proposes positive disbelief rather than mere suspension of belief".
          Oh that nameless textbook... Sure we'll then it must be true.
          Atheism is a religion because it asserts its beliefs, rather than just being a lack of belief Atheists sometimes promote their beliefs with evangelical fundamentalism asserting their 'religion' is the only correct one.
          I wasn't aware that declaring you don't think others know what they are talking about/others sound stupid qualified as a religion...
          Atheists beliefs often are biased, dogmatic and intolerant.
          What beliefs are these? Are they part of the atheist religion and if so where is it codified as such?
          They demand that others follow their religion and get angry sometimes at scientists who aren't secular like themselves. But... isn't science about following the evidence no matter where it leads? Are atheists willing to consider that God created? (Or do they have blind faith in their religion?)
          Says the guy upset that scientists seem to have a conspiratorial bias against his pet ideas.

          They often attend regular meetings having fellowship with like minded believers, discussing ways to share their faith effectively.
          Not actually that common. But regardless by that measure that would make many political, sporting and hobby organisations into religions.

          They attend conferences listening to 'preachers'. And they buy books and magazines discussing their religion. Some atheists like to promote their religion with bumper stickers and t-shirts.
          Again this could be said of politics, sports, hobbies, even fandom of certain brands (apple v Android, dc v marvel, Holden v ford [cars], etc).
          Atheists even have their missionaries who admit their goal is to convert people. For example Richard Dawkins (some jokingly refer to him as the pope of atheism) says " If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.”
          Again this could be said of lots of things. People are always trying to get others to agree with them.
          Another similarity between atheism and other religions is that atheism has been the 'state religion' of several countries.
          Only in so far as the state has banned religion as it offers another means of organisation and control apart from their totalitarian rule. They banned everything that could challenge themand religion wasn't excluded from that list.
          And, in spite of protests by some atheists...there are other atheists / agnostics who admit their beliefs (evolutionism) are religious. For example
          Michael Ruse wrote:
          Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion -- a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, …- the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today
          I dont know who that is but on what grounds does he speak for all atheists? Other than he agrees with you of course (i know that's your normal criteria for arguments from authorities)

          Sent from my SM-N910G using Tapatalk

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 6days View Post
            The USA supreme court was asked to consider if atheism is a religion. After considering the evidence, and various definitions... the ruling was ' atheism is a religion'.
            This is not true. AFAIR, it wasn't the Supreme Court's case, it didn't mention atheism, and it didn't declare anything 'religion' per se, but just for the purposes of the Establishment Clause.

            Unless you have an actual reference for this nonsense, and especially for your 'quote' from the alleged ruling?


            Self appointed representative of the reality based community. [Send complaints to /dev/null.]

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 6days View Post
              I would say, that it isn't just like a religion, but it is a religion. It is a belief in the non existence of God. Or as one text book says, "It (atheism) proposes positive disbelief rather than mere suspension of belief".
              Then by the same token, not believing in good luck charms is also a religion.

              Atheism is a religion because it asserts its beliefs, rather than just being a lack of belief
              What does that mean? It's only a religion if you express it verbally?

              Atheists sometimes promote their beliefs with evangelical fundamentalism asserting their 'religion' is the only correct one.
              Now that I can agree with. There are indeed atheists whom I think of as "evangelical atheists".

              There are many other similarities between atheism and other religions. They often attend regular meetings having fellowship with like minded believers, discussing ways to share their faith effectively. They attend conferences listening to 'preachers'. And they buy books and magazines discussing their religion. Some atheists like to promote their religion with bumper stickers and t-shirts.
              The same can be said for golf.

              And, in spite of protests by some atheists...there are other atheists / agnostics who admit their beliefs (evolutionism) are religious.
              Um....most of the people who are "evolutionists" aren't atheists. So trying to equate evolution with atheism is pretty clueless.
              "The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous." --H.L. Mencken

              Comment


              • #8
                Among many articles available on the internet...

                Atheism and the Law

                Matt Dillahunty

                Atheism and The Law

                While scanning through my normal news feeds and e-mails, I noticed several news reports stating that the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals declared atheism a religion in a recent decision. Atheism's legal status with respect to religion is one that has always prompted much debate. It's also one of the many issues that I feel very strongly about.

                Fearing the worst and hoping for the best, I downloaded the opinion (Kaufman, James v. McCaughtry, Gary) and reviewed it. I'm not a lawyer, but I've spent a great deal of time reviewing Court decisions, especially those which pertain to First Amendment issues. What follows is my assessment of the ruling and some important information about atheism and the law.

                What the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals got right:

                "... whether atheism is a 'religion' for First Amendment purposes is a somewhat different question than whether its adherents believe in a supreme being, or attend regular devotional services, or have a sacred Scripture."

                This is an important point and the Court also made reference to the Supreme Court's opinion that a religion is distinct from a "way of life", even if that way of life is inspired by philosophical beliefs or other secular concerns. Essentially, not every belief or belief system is a religion.

                The legal definition of religion, with regard to the First Amendment, may be very different from the layperson's definition. The First Amendment, in order to be effective in protecting all beliefs must guarantee the freedom to hold no religious belief. This is fairly straightforward, especially if you consider - for example - that a Christian may be considered an atheist with respect to every religion except Christianity.

                "Without venturing too far into the realm of the philosophical, we have suggested in the past that when a person sincerely holds beliefs dealing with issues of 'ultimate concern' that for her occupy a 'place parallel to that filled by . . . God in traditionally religious persons,' those beliefs represent her religion."

                "We have already indicated that atheism may be considered, in this specialized sense, a religion. See*Reed v. Great Lakes Cos., 330 F.3d 931, 934 (7th Cir. 2003) ('If we think of religion as taking a position on divinity, then atheism is indeed a form of religion.')"

                This is, essentially, the basis for their decision. They have, in the past, considered atheism to be a religion in the specialized sense that atheism, like theism, specifically addresses the concept of god for the individual. This definition is an attempt to address the implied protections guaranteed by the First Amendment.

                "The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a 'religion' for purposes of the First Amendment on numerous occasions"

                They referred to another Supreme Court decision (Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985)), where the court said:

                "At one time it was thought that this right [referring to the right to choose one’s own creed] merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Islam or Judaism. But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all."

                As we've seen, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals hasn't declared atheism to be a religion as the layperson might usually define it, they simply acknowledged that atheism hold equal standing with religions with regard to the First Amendment. I can live with that. That doesn't mean the Court got everything correct...

                What the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals got wrong:

                "Atheism is, among other things, a school of thought that takes a position on religion, the existence and importance of a supreme being, and a code of ethics."

                What "code of ethics"? No such code exists. Atheism is a single answer to the general question, "Do you believe in a God/god/gods?" For atheists, the answer is no. For theists the answer is yes. Apart from a position on the concept of God, there are no tenets, dogma, creed or code associated with atheism.

                If the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals was presented with an atheist code of ethics, I'd love to see it. If they had no such document, they are irresponsible to mention it in a decision. If their opinion in this case was significantly based on this "code of ethics", their decision should be reviewed without regard to any such code.

                I mentioned above that one of the reasons that the court ruled atheism a religion was that, like theism, it addresses the concept of god. However, theism isn't a religion. Like atheism, theism is a single position on the question of the existence of God/god/gods.

                Under each of these categories are a number of belief systems, which may be classified as religion. Theism includes Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Hinduism etc. Atheism doesn't necessarily have subcategories, though many Buddhists and Secular Humanists are, generally, atheists.

                Be More Specific:

                The ruling we've been discussing was with regard to a prisoner (James J. Kaufman) who claimed that his First Amendment rights were violated when the warden refused to allow him to form a group of inmates to study and discuss atheism. Specifically, he cited the Free Exercise clause and the Establishment clause. The court, recognizing that the defendant "utterly failed" to demonstrate that his freedom to exercise his beliefs had been infringed, shot down the Free Exercise claim - and rightly so.

                Despite the Court's reference to an atheist "code of ethics", it should be noted that atheism has only one requirement which would qualify under the Free Exercise clause - disbelief. Atheism isn't a religion in the conventional sense and there are no rituals associated with it. In order to violate an atheist's right to freely exercise their beliefs, you'd have to be able to reprogram someone's mind.

                In a nutshell, Mr. Kaufman was just as free to exercise his lack of belief alone in his cell. As a prisoner he isn't necessarily afforded all of the other rights guaranteed to citizens of the United States. The right to speak freely and peaceably assemble, which atheists might choose to exercise, don't always apply to a prisoner.

                The Court also considered his claim with regard to the Establishment Clause - a subject of much controversy in recent years. The Supreme Court and Circuit Courts have established a set of precedents with regard to the Establishment Clause, in an attempt to curtail religious favoritism. The "Lemon" test (Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971)) is a three-pronged test which the Courts have used on many occasions.

                The Lemon Test:

                "A government policy or practice violates the Establishment Clause if (1) it has no secular purpose, (2) its primary effect advances or inhibits religion, or (3) it fosters an excessive entanglement with religion."

                The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, referring to some of their previous decisions, stated:

                "The Establishment Clause also prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another without a legitimate secular reason."

                "('[T]he First Amendment does not allow a state to make it easier for adherents of one faith to practice their religion than for adherents of another faith to practice their religion, unless there is a secular justification for the difference in treatment.'); Berger v. Rensselaer Cent. Sch. Corp., 982 F.2d 1160, 1168-69 (7th Cir. 1993)"

                Despite the controversy, this is just good law. It protects everyone equally, ensuring that favoritism is not afforded to any one set of beliefs at the expense of another - even if one group is a majority.

                The Court, in this case, properly recognized that Mr. Kaufman's right to form a group with people who shared similar beliefs was a protected right. Unless the prison system had excluded all gatherings with regard to religion, prohibiting a group of atheists to gather is a violation of the Establishment Clause.

                As we've seen, and despite the "shock" headlines to the contrary, they didn't declare that atheism was a religion, they declared that atheism was afforded equal protection with religions under the Establishment Clause.

                In the end, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law and ensured that Religious Freedom is a concept that applies to everyone equally. Apart from the reference to an atheist "code of ethics", I don't think anyone could reasonably ask for a better decision.

                http://www.atheist-community.org/lib...ead.php?id=742


                Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk
                "The more scientifically literate, intellectually honest and objectively skeptical a person is, the more likely they are to disbelieve in anything supernatural, including god."

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                • #9
                  Yes, IMHO, Atheism is akin to a religion whose god is called "The Big Bang."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by beameup View Post
                    Atheist Jews are still considered Jews. There are many in Israel that immigrated there legally as "Jews". It appears that Jews can have any "lifestyle" they want and believe anything they want.... EXCEPT believe in One Person, who they refer to as "may his name be forgotten".

                    Irony?
                    Nationally, Israel is formed by "Hillonim" and "Datiim" Jews. Non religious and religious ones. Among the non-religious ones are the atheists. Although Atheism is considered a pagan religion, that's the only instance that though being an atheist, a Jew is allowed to uphold his Jewish identity.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by annabenedetti View Post
                      Are you asking atheists if they believe atheism is a religion?

                      Or are you asking theists to tell atheists what atheists believe?
                      Religiously, atheists believe in the "Big Bang" though some are dropping that theory.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ben Masada View Post
                        Yes, IMHO, Atheism is akin to a religion whose god is called "The Big Bang."
                        Then why do so many theists also believe in the big bang?
                        "The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous." --H.L. Mencken

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                        • #13
                          Atheism is a "religion " the way not collecting stamps is a hobby , the way "off" is a channel on television , and they way just sitting there doing nothing is a sport .

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                          • #14
                            I have come across atheists who treat science very much like a theist treats their religion. As both believe that their beliefs define reality for everyone, and they both ignore the fact that their beliefs do not define reality for anyone, but themselves.

                            Whether or not we refer to this self-centered view on the part of atheists as a "religion" is rather a silly argument to pose. Who really cares, after all? Most of the rest of us can see that this kind of myopic bias on the part of theists AND atheists is just selfishness and naiveté. And we can all see that pointing it out to them is going to be a waste of time. Because they're both too addicted to their own delusional self-righteousness to hear or accept anyone else's point of view.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The Horn View Post
                              Atheism is a "religion " the way not collecting stamps is a hobby , the way "off" is a channel on television , and they way just sitting there doing nothing is a sport .
                              Not at all the same. There are no clubs, magazines, conferences, websites etc dedicated to people who don't collect stamps. You don't have books telling people how to defend their habit of not collecting stamps.
                              IOW.... Your comparison is silly.
                              Without Genesis, absolutely nothing makes sense in all of Scripture.

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