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Is Atheism a religion?

by

Published: 4 May 2010(GMT+10)

atheist Richard Dawkins

Would Richard Dawkins ever acknowledge that his rabid atheism is actually a religious view?

Atheism is the belief that there is no god. According to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

“Atheism is the position that affirms the non-existence of God. It proposes positive disbelief rather than mere suspension of belief.”1

Buddhism is atheistic in the sense of denying that there is any overarching deity such as the Creator-God of the Bible. Atheism in the western sense excludes Buddhism, and adherents claim that it is not a religion. One Atheist said:

“Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair colour”2

However, atheists make such claims so Atheism can avoid legal imperatives placed on religions in many countries, and can avoid some of the ideological hang-ups people have about “religion”. It also creates a false dichotomy between science (which they claim must be naturalistic and secular) and religion.

Atheism3 will be defined in the contemporary western sense: not just the lack of belief in a god, but the assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, or divine or supernatural beings. Atheists in this sense are metaphysical naturalists, and as will be shown, they DO follow a religion.

Atheism creates a false dichotomy between science (which they claim must be naturalistic and secular) and religion.

Religion is a difficult thing to define. Various definitions have been proposed, many of which emphasize a belief in the supernatural.4 But such definitions break down on closer inspection for several reasons. They fail to deal with religions which worship non-supernatural things in their own right (for example Jainism, which holds that every living thing is sacred because it is alive, or the Mayans who worshiped the sun as a deity in and of itself rather than a deity associated with the sun)5; they fail to include religions such as Confucianism and Taoism which focus almost exclusively on how adherents should live, and the little they do say about supernatural issues such as the existence of an afterlife is very vague; they also don’t deal with religious movements centred around UFOs—which believe that aliens are highly (evolutionarily) advanced (but not supernatural) beings.

A better way to determine whether a worldview is a religion is to look for certain characteristics that religions have in common. The framework set forth by Ninian Smart,6 commonly known as the Seven Dimensions of Religion, is widely accepted by anthropologists and researchers of religion as broadly covering the various aspects of religion, without focusing on things unique to specific religions.

The seven dimensions proposed by Smart are narrative, experiential, social, ethical, doctrinal, ritual and material. Not every religion has every dimension, nor are they all equally important within an individual religion. Smart even argues that the “secularisation” of western society is actually a shift of focus from the doctrinal and ritual to the experiential.

Narrative

Every religion has its stories. Almost all religions have stories explaining where the universe came from and what humanity’s part in it is. Smart calls this Narrative.

Narrative is a particularly important aspect of western Atheism. As the prominent Atheist Richard Dawkins said, referring to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution:

“Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”7

Evolution is an explanation of where everything came from: the cosmos (came out of nothing at the big bang—nothing exploded and became everything); humans evolved from non-human creatures, hence humanity’s place in the cosmos is being just another species of animal. Some have gone so far as to say that humanity is a parasite on earth, and advocate killing up to 90% of humanity.8 There are some who attempt to combine belief in God with belief in evolution, not realizing the foundational nature of evolution’s connection to Atheism.9 The testimony of those who after learning about evolution in “science” reject Christianity should alert church leaders to the incompatibility between evolution and the Gospel.

Experiential

There are two aspects to the experiential dimension. The first is the events experienced before someone founded a religion (for example the Disciples physically saw and touched the bodily resurrected Jesus). It is often asserted that Charles Darwin, after observing evidence from around the world during his voyage on HMS Beagle, developed the theory of evolution. (In reality, he had already learned a version of evolution from his grandfather Erasmus’s book Zoonomia and similar ideas were around at the time).

According to the Humanist Manifesto II, the only meaning in life is what the person gives it.

The second aspect of the experiential dimension concerns the experiences of latter adherents. Many people feel certain emotions when they participate in certain religious ceremonies. Atheists often believe that Atheism is freedom from religion, and some Atheists have reported feeling liberated after converting.10 Karl Marx said that the removal of the illusion of happiness by the removal of religion was a step towards true happiness. Atheistic denial of the divine entails denial of an afterlife. If there is no afterlife,11 then ultimately is no higher purpose in life for Atheists than to be happy. According to the Humanist Manifesto II, the only meaning in life is what the person gives it. In the Humanist Manifesto III, this was changed to finding meaning in relationships. Belief in evolution also causes people to aim for self preservation and to spread their own genes.12

Smart also seems to include “faith” as part of the experiential dimension. The meaning of the word “faith” is often twisted to make it mean things it does not. In Christianity, faith is logical, being defined in Hebrews 11:1 as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This is not blindly believing the impossible (which is how many Atheists define faith), but rather trusting the promises of God, whose past promises have all been fulfilled. I would classify Christian faith as part of the doctrinal dimension rather than experiential. On the other hand, Atheism requires “faith” (using their own definition) that the laws of chemistry, physics and biology were once violated and life arose from non-life via chemical evolution.

Social

The social dimension of religion looks at the hierarchies and power structures present within the religion, such the Hindu caste system. In missionary religions, it also includes how people get converted and how missionaries go about their work.

Contemporary Atheism has been fueled largely by authors promoting their Atheistic beliefs. In the preface to The God Delusion, Dawkins says,

“If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.”

Dawkins is saying he hopes that his book converts “religious” people to his worldview – exactly what a missionary of any religion hopes to do.

Communist countries often made the state religion Atheism, often to the point of persecuting (other) religions.13 This followed from Karl Marx’ statement:

“It [religion] is the opiate of the masses. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.”14

Marxists saw the removal of religion as a step toward true happiness for the common people, although in practice this did not occur, and contemporary critics see Marxism itself as a religion15. (I would contend that Marxism is a sect of a larger religion: Atheism).

Many scientists are high up on the social hierarchy of Atheism because their research enhances their understanding of the world. Particularly honoured are those scientists who write extensively about evolution. Because of this, many scientists include a little about evolution in their research papers, even when there is little or no relevance (one recent example concerns research into the chameleon’s catapult tongue and suction cap; see Created, not evolved)

Atheism is also taught to children in many schools in science classes as evolution. As atheistic philosopher Michael Ruse admits, “evolution is a religion”, and it could be considered the narrative dimension of Atheism. Thus teaching evolution is teaching Atheism. Several Atheists even support teaching lies, as long as the end result is more children believing evolution.16

Doctrinal

Doctrines are the beliefs and philosophies that develop out of a religion (not necessarily being specifically stated in the religious narratives, etc). For example, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, while not directly stated in the Bible, is logically derived from it.

Contemporary Atheism gained popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries, after the “enlightenment”. In 1933, some prominent Atheist philosophers realised the effects the lack of a belief in a god would have on the morals of society and wrote what they believed would be a suitable set of beliefs and goals for a secular society in the 20th century. In doing so, they formed the branch of Atheism known as Secular Humanism. By and large, Atheists believe and adhere to the things written in the Humanist Manifesto, even if they don’t know the specifics of the document. After all, many Atheists do want to do what is good.

The doctrines, ethics and goals outlined in the Humanist Manifesto, while being atheistic and accepting evolution as true, are opposite of what would be expected if they were solely derived from the evolutionary narrative. This is because Humanism also makes the assumption that humans are basically good.

In 1973 however, the Humanist Manifesto was updated because of the atrocities that humans inflicted upon other humans during the intervening years (specifically mentioned are Nazism and communist police states).

Ethical

Atheism is a morally relativist religion. Most Atheists adhere to one ethical system or another, but in Atheism there is ultimately no foundation for morality, as atheists Dawkins and Provine admit. Many systems of ethics have been proposed; utilitarianism is probably the most popular one.

Some people have taken a further step by creating ethical systems based on the evolutionary narrative and the principle of “survival of the fittest”. People who have lived by such principles include the perpetrators of the Columbine Massacre, the Jokela School Shooting in Finland, and on a much larger scale, the Nazis.

Most people (Atheist or not) inherently know that systems that lead to such atrocities must be wrong, but Atheists cannot give a logical reason for why it is wrong. This contradiction was highlighted by Dawkins when he said “I’m a passionate Darwinian when it comes to science, when it comes to explaining the world, but I’m a passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to morality and politics.” It was also graphically shown when two evolutionists wrote a book claiming that rape is an evolutionary mechanism to spread male genes—and see how one of them squirmed to justify why he agreed that rape is objectively wrong under his philosophy.

A world governed purely by Atheistic, evolutionary ethics has been shown by history to be a horrible place to live. Most Atheists recognise this and choose to live by the ethical systems of other religions instead, or at the very least, live by the laws enforced by the government.

Ritual

Ritual is the only dimension which on the surface might appear to be absent from the religion of Atheism. In some religions, rituals have meanings attached to them, such as Passover commemorating the Israelites’ escape from Egypt. Because Atheism is a relatively recent movement, it doesn’t have much of a history to commemorate. In other religions, rituals such as sacrifices and dances are done to appease the gods or the spirits. Because Atheism denies the existence of gods and spirits, it doesn’t have the second type of ritual either. Many Atheists do practice “secular rituals” such as their birthday celebrations, or the ‘ritual holidays’ of other religions such as the Christmas and Easter public holidays of Christianity, but this is usually to simply maintain the tradition of a public holiday, and the original meaning of the celebrations are rejected. It’s noteworthy that in recent years, the atheists’ public commemoration of the anniversary of Darwin’s birth each February (and even of the publication of his Origin of Species in November), along with calls for the general public to do the same, is rapidly becoming something of an annual ritual, even in some “churches”. One might even say that this modern Atheistic commemoration is being ‘celebrated’ with greater fervour and passion than many longstanding religious rituals.

Material

While Atheism by its nature of denying the divine can’t have objects that represent the divine (such as icons or idols), nature is treated as sacred by some Atheists in and of itself.

The material dimension of religion, says Smart, includes all the physical things created by a religion such as art and buildings, and also natural features and places treated as sacred by adherents. While Atheism by its nature of denying the divine can’t have objects that represent the divine (such as icons or idols), nature is treated as sacred by some Atheists in and of itself.

There are two extremes in the range of ideas held by Atheists on the ‘material’:

  • natural resources are here to be exploited because of “survival of the fittest” and humans are obviously the fittest species; or
  • we should respect all of nature, particularly living things because to kill them is tantamount to murdering a cousin. This second view essentially holds that all life is ‘sacred’.

Both ideas can be derived from the evolutionary narrative, but views tending towards the second idea are more prevalent than the views tending towards the first. But as G.K. Chesterton said a century ago:

“Darwinism can be used to back up two mad moralities, but it cannot be used to back up a single sane one. The kinship and competition of all living creatures can be used as a reason for being insanely cruel or insanely sentimental; but not for a healthy love of animals. … The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”

An Atheist’s view of the material dimension is strongly influenced by their view of the ethical dimension.

Conclusion

Atheists often claim that their belief is not a religion. This allows them to propagate their beliefs in settings where other religions are banned, but this should not be so.

Contemporary Western Atheism unquestionably has six of the seven dimensions of religion set forth by Smart, and the remaining dimension, ritual, has also started to develop. Thus it’s fallacious to assert, “Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair colour”. Perhaps a better analogy would be calling a shaved head a “hairstyle”. Other than the denial of the divine, there is little difference between Atheism and other worldviews typically labelled as religions.

The dichotomy that Atheists try to create between science and religion is false. The conflict is between interpretations of science coming from different religious worldviews.

Atheism shouldn’t be taught or enforced in settings where other religions are banned and shouldn’t be favoured by laws which imply a religiously neutral government.

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References

  1. Rowe, WL. ”Atheism”, in Craig. E Routledge, Ed., Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, New York, 1998. Return to text.
  2. Don Hirschberg, viewed on 6 October 2008, http://Atheisme.free.fr/Quotes/Atheist.htm. Return to text.
  3. In this article, Atheism is deliberately written with an upper case “A” as an indicator of what it has become. Return to text.
  4. For example Cline, A., 30, October, 2009 What is Religion? Viewed on 15, March, 2010. http://atheism.about.com/od/religiondefinition/a/definition.htm Return to text.
  5. It should be noted that this example isn’t saying that Mayans didn’t have other deities. Return to text.
  6. Smart, N., 1996. Dimensions of the sacred: an anatomy of the world’s beliefs. HarperCollins, London. Return to text.
  7. Dawkins, R., 1986. The Blind Watchmaker. Penguin Books, London. Return to text.
  8. Pianka, E. 3 March, 2006, Dr. “Doom” Pianka Speaks Recorded audio. Transcript Retrieved on 6th October 2008, from http://www.pearceyreport.com/archives/2006/04/transcript_dr_d.php; see also Doomsday Glee: An astonishing lecture makes sense if you understand the evolutionary framework; <creation.com/pianka>. Return to text.
  9. Anderson, D., 2009. Creation or evolution: choose wisely! <creation.com/review-creation-or-evolution-david-anderson> Return to text.
  10. Colbeck, R. 8, December, 2006. Book answers atheists’ prayers. Viewed on 5, October 2008. http://richarddawkins.net/article,399,Book-answers-the-Atheists-prayers,Robert-Colbeck. Return to text.
  11. Provine, WB. 1994. Origins Research 16(1), p.9. Return to text.
  12. Dawkins, R., 2006. The Selfish Gene. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Return to text.
  13. Sinishta, G., 1976. The Fulfilled Promise: A Documentary Account of Religious Persecution in Albania. Albanian Catholic Information Center, Santa Clara. Return to text.
  14. O’Malley, J. (ed), 1970. Marx’s Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Return to text.
  15. Ref. 6, pp262–269 Return to text.
  16. Zivkovic, B. (aka ‘Coturnix’). 25 August 2008. Why teaching evolution is dangerous, viewed 7 October 2008, http://scienceblogs.com/clock/2008/08/why_teaching_evolution_is_dang.php. See also Evolutionist: it’s OK to deceive students to believe evolution; <creation.com/deceive>. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
Ross A., Australia, 4 May 2010

This article is a typical example of you’re complete failure to understand atheism or science. The entire CMI website and team produce nothing but propaganda which this is a clear example of. The CMI website, I understand, is supposed to be providing a scientific explanation of creation, yet it has failed to provide one solitary unbiased piece of evidence. All the website is good for is hypocrisy and propaganda.

Jonathan Sarfati responds

This criticism is a typical example of the fact-free attacks we often receive from atheists. And if you can find such a thing as an “unbiased piece of evidence”, you must preserve it for posterity ;) See for example Evolution & creation, science & religion, facts & bias.

Chandrasekaran M., Australia, 5 May 2010

Hello Daniel,

Yes I agree that atheism is a religion especially when atheists assert that comos came out of nothing at the big bang. To me this is an example of blind faith. As you have mentioned, it has many sects like humanism, secularism, evolution science.

Atheists never portray atheism as religion. For example David Attenborough in one of the nature documentary said that every religion had a creation story and all of them could not correct at the same time because of contradictions. But he failed to mention that evolution story is atheist’ creation story.

There is also a contradiction in what they are trying to find ‘god’ particles by colliding particles at high energy to simulate condition just after the big bang and yet the big band was not due to any collision.

I find that atheism has succeeded in protecting derivative evolution science by biased peer-review fire-wall in research circles. The derivative evolution science is similar to derivative financial securities in the sense that some financial institutions certified that the sub-prime financial securities were safe and everyone assumed the securities were safe resulting in global financial crash.

The author responds

Thank you Chandrasekaran. Your note about Atheism protecting “evolution science by biased peer-review fire-wall” is spot on.

Daniel

Stephen G., United Kingdom, 12 April 2011

In response to Chandrasekaran M.: Evolution is not a creation story, it is an adaption story. It is a hypothesis that attempts to explain the development of life forms rather than the creation of life.

CMI responds

Dear Stephen

“Evolution” can be a slippery term—not helped by evolutionists who periodically seek to limit its meaning to suit their purposes at the time, yet happily ‘bait-and-switch’ between the limited and broader definitions when the evolutionary paradigm is being questioned. (See Defining terms.) But trying to redefine the terms in an effort to win the debate against creationists can’t work because evolution is intended as a replacement for creation. Evolutionists’ own words make that clear, e.g. Sir Julian Huxley: “The earth was not created: it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it …”

Of course, given the dearth of evidence for cosmic/chemical evolution, it’s understandable that many modern evolutionists are eager to try to divorce the origin-of-matter and origin-of-life problems from their defence of evolutionary theory. But their fellow evolutionist Gordy Slack rebukes them for that:

“I think it is disingenuous to argue that the origin of life is irrelevant to evolution. It is no less relevant than the Big Bang is to physics or cosmology. Evolution should be able to explain, in theory at least, all the way back to the very first organism that could replicate itself through biological or chemical processes. And to understand that organism fully, we would simply have to know what came before it. And right now we are nowhere close.”

Stephen, if ‘evolution’ means simply an ‘adaptation story’ as you have claimed, then why do atheists/evolutionists go to such contortions to defend the indefensible?—see ‘Evolution in action or Evolution inaction’? If evolution is merely an adaptation story, then by that definition CMI scientists are all evolutionists, because we recognize that God created organisms with the ability to adapt. But adaptation of a given type of organism does not explain the origin of that organism or the origin of the many different basic types of organism.

Philip R., United Kingdom, 14 February 2012

Dear Daniel,

I fully agree with the ideas expressed in your article, and I believe that the only difference between atheism and religions such as Christianity is that the prior is purely destructive. It is simply one explanation for our existance against another; neither of which can truely be considered fact. Atheism claims to be based on fact rather than faith, but fact in itself is often a faith. It was previously 'proven' that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light, yet this is now been invalidated.

Although personally I am not religious, I do not feel the need to openly condemn those who are, and it is because of this that the atheist band-wagon did not appeal to me as a suitable way of traveling through life. Prominent figures such as Dawkins and Hitchens preached in the same way as priests, but it was, and is still, the unecessory agression in which they do so that makes their sermons seem an attack on a harmless child.

Chris N., United States, 15 March 2012

I think you nailed it. It boils down to this. Theists have theology and atheists have atheology. Lol. Don't worry that word WILL make it to a dictionary someday.

T. T., United Kingdom, 22 March 2012

Atheism simply means the non belief in the existence of deities that is it.

So attributing social, doctrinal, ethical, ritual and material factors to all atheists because an atheist happened to act or display some of these is like saying all French people wear berets all the time because you saw one French person wear one.

The only thing that you need to do to be an atheist is not believe in deities, you could not believe in evolution or science and still be an atheist.

Peter A., Australia, 30 March 2012

The following claim,

For example, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, while not directly stated in the Bible, is logically derived from it.

is debatable, and the various passages that are used by believers to support this doctrine are, at the very least, open to interpretation.

There is, however, a great deal of evidence within the New Testament that seems to contradict the possibility of Trinitarian doctrine being true, an example of this evidence being Matthew 19:17 (“Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God”). If one interprets this, and other such passages, literally, and if one makes the assumption that the Gospels are accurate historical records of real people and events, then there can be no doubt that Jesus Christ did not see Himself as being equal to God.

Jonathan Sarfati responds

Actually, there is loads of evidence that the Trinity doctrine is a logical deduction from the teachings of Scripture. Please see the articles under God Questions and Answers, as well as Who really is the God of Genesis? including the responses to critics at the bottom.

About that passage, let's use the parallel passage in Mark 10:17 ff. that makes your case best:

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

That passage you cite is asking a question: why is a man calling Jesus good if he were only a man? Jesus is asking him to consider the implications of the casual compliment he gave. Also, note his other question: “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer to that is actually given in Joel 2:32:

And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

I.e. calling upon the name of Jehovah God will save. Note that Paul applies this to Jesus in Romans 10:9–13, which logically entails that Paul was affirming Christ's full deity:

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

So Jesus was actually giving the man a chance to confess Him as Jehovah. Since the man didn’t, all that was left was an attempt at works salvation, by keeping all the commandments. Of course, this is impossible for any non-divine descendant of Adam, since no one has kept the law perfectly (Romans 3:23). Even breaking one law is enough to condemn (James 2:10). And the point for this man is that he made an idol of his wealth, breaking the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3)

Kenneth S., Belgium, 31 March 2012

Atheism is not a religion just like health is not a disease.

Jonathan Sarfati responds

More likely, as amply shown in this article: atheism is a non-theistic religion while Christianity is a theistic religion, just as disease is a bad physical condition while healthy is a good physical condition.

robert B., United States, 1 June 2012

what fatuous twaddle. according to webster religion is 'the service or worship of god or the supernatural'. atheism is defined as 'a disbelief in a deity'. any reasonably literate person should be able to understand that. so, clearly and literally atheism is NOT a religion. regrettably, you are not allowed to make up your own definitions simply because you wish to make an ill-informed point. you wish to re-introduce ancient myth to the science classroom. you will fail, but i admire your chutzpah.

Jhonny Q., Oman, 11 June 2012

Its just deductive logic, atheism is a religion and its followers are a fanatic lot. Reptiles like dawkins talk about facts but take everything on faith themselves. A scientist who vigorously tries to propagate their own view and steps into the metaphysical realm leaving the physical realm behind, themselves must have a metaphysical reason for doing so. Its not That they don't have faith in the existence of God, they are against God.

Sammi S., United States, 17 June 2012

Atheism in and of itself is not a religion. Period. It is not a belief in anything. It is the absence of belief in anything of a supernatural nature. There are some religions that, absent a deity as part of their tradition, are considered atheistic; however, they, too, subscribe to belief in some sort of supernatural element.

Jonathan Sarfati responds

This must ignore the documentation in the article that atheism is an active belief that there is no god. See also Atheism is more rational?

C. C., United States, 19 June 2012

How idiotic. I'm an atheist and a Buddhist. No, they are not mutually exclusive in the West. Richard Dawkins is not the Jesus Christ of atheism, he's not a savior and he doesn't speak for anyone but himself. I couldn't give a flying fig what he believes. I don't believe in god. I don't claim anything beyond that. Atheism is not a religion. It is simply a lack of belief in god.

Steven S., United States, 25 June 2012

As an atheist I don't view Atheism as a religion, at least not in the traditional sense. However, I do see how one can view Atheism as a religion due to many religions having atheisitc sects. Atheism is mainly the rejection of divine and supernatural tenets associated with religion. For example; Christian Atheists reject the notion of a personal creator god and the divinity of Jesus, some even believe god once existed but has literally died. Christian Atheists follow the example set forth by Jesus to be a good caring person. So i wouldn't say Atheism is a religion. It is more like a philosophy that can have spiritual attributes depending on the individual atheist.

V. G., United States, 15 July 2012

Thank You Daniel for very informative article.

Atheism is a Religion, indeed.

Disbelief in anything simply does not exist in its pure form.

It is always paired with an equal amount of beliefs in something else of the opposite nature.

In this sense an Atheist is no less a faith filled Believer than let’s say a devoted Christian.

They both are securely connected to the past.

The Story of Creation versus The Big Bang and Evolution Theories.

Their present lives here on Earth are driven by faith: Believe in God or believe in yourself.

Even the Afterlife in both cases is taken care of:

One awaits to go to Heaven while the other one really hopes to reach the state of oblivion

as a culmination of His/Her faith.

Atheism is not separable from other Religions—they all have the same purpose—to comfort the Souls of Followers, to give them Future and Hope. Not sure if Atheism serves its purpose well … .

John H., United States, 15 August 2012

Atheism is the antithesis of reason, the denial of cause. Reality has a cause, life has a cause and the fundamental constants that make every thing possible have a cause. Those who can not see the signature of the intelligent Being that made the World suffer greatly. Without faith one can not know God's Love.

Richard B., United Kingdom, 13 September 2012

You may be (should be?) interested to note that the opening remarks and quotation on this article gives a misleading impression of the source material. Section 1 of the article in Routledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy states:

"Another meaning of ‘atheism’ is simply nonbelief in the existence of God, rather than positive belief in the nonexistence of God."

David Catchpoole responds

Ah, trying to win the debate by redefining the terms? Sorry, doesn't work. (At least, presuming one is trying to be rational about it. :-))

T C., United States, 30 September 2012

Excellent article. I've learned much from it.

I've always considered atheism a religion simply from looking at the roots of the word religion itself. (Re)(Ligere) - to bind together again.

I consider religion to be anything that satisfies the human need to understand life in a unified and wholistic fashion. Religion explains the world in some fashion. Atheists are quite convinced based on their belief system.

Yirmeyahu Y., United States, 8 November 2012

Ma Shlomka!? ['How's it going?', in Hebrew] I enjoy reading the comments posted on this blog and other blogs like it. Especially the ones written by atheists. It amazes me how inconsistent they are when trying to rebut the author. They use circular reasoning, bait and switch tactics, and the 'pot calling the kettle black' routine. I myself used to believe in evolution until I went for higher education and I noticed problems in the theories that were largely ignored. In college, students are asked not to question the theories per se, but to accept them as fact none the less. Heaven forbid a student reject and question the FACT that Darwin may have been wrong. Evidence is thrown out if it doesn't support theories that have already been accepted, even if the evidence is overwhelmingly compelling. This is a double standard that I am sick of. However, if you attempt to change theories to match the evidence at hand, you are branded a heretic and nobody trusts you, or will even listen to you again. This sounds precisely like the Catholicism that was practiced in medieval Europe. I have a new theory for psychology; Riddick's Syndrome. They believe in God but they hate him obscenely. I think this is the root of all of atheism.

Tim L., United States, 2 January 2013

Very well put. With be using it in arguments.

Jose O., United States, 28 January 2013

According to Academia, religion is the human perception of the Nature of the Universe. The atheists’ perception of the Nature of the Universe excludes God, gods or the supernatural. Nonetheless, Atheism is the atheists’ perception and is therefore their religion. :)

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