Back on April 11th I made a blog post titled “Is atheism a religion?” That particular post contained a number of analogies to [humorously] affirm that atheism most certainly is not a religion. Ed, a contributor here at Atheist Dave, played the role of devil’s advocate and commented with the following:
Do you and other Atheists hold the belief that god does not exist? Do Atheists in general hold this belief?
3.The body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices.
This is one definition of ‘religion’ in a prominent online dictionary. I posit that religion does not require any aspect whatsoever of the supernatural. Atheism IS a religion. However, it is a purely secular one. More accurately, Atheism is more akin to a cult. It’s a gathering of like-minded individuals with a set standard of beliefs. Do not Atheists have gatherings of like minded individuals at which prominent members of said system of thought give speeches (sermons), in the presence of fellow believers of the movement?
This very blog itself is a tool used to ‘spread the word’. In the strictest definition of the term religion, what is the difference between a Jehovah’s Witness knocking on doors to spread their belief system and an Atheist knocking on doors to spread their own?
Atheism is a religion. It’s just a secular one in which the figure of worship is Logic.
This was my response, which I have decided warrants its own blog post because I love tooting my own horn:
religion, according to Dictionary.com
1. a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
1. b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.
spiritual, according to Dictionary.com
1. Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material.
2. Of, concerned with, or affecting the soul.
3. Of, from, or relating to God; deific.
4. Of or belonging to a church or religion; sacred.
5. Relating to or having the nature of spirits or a spirit; supernatural.
atheism, according to Dictionary.com
1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
religion, according to merriam-webster.com
1a. the state of a religious [person]
1b. (1) the service and wosrhip of God or the supernatural
1b. (2) commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2. a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 (archaic). scrupulous conformity
4. a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
faith, according to merriam-webster.com
1a. allegiance to duty or a person
1b. (1) fidelity to one’s promises
1b. (2) sincerity of intentions
2a. (1) belief and trust in and loyalty to God
2a. (2) belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
2b. (1) firm belief in something for which there is no proof
2b. (2) complete trust
3. something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially: a system of religious beliefs
atheism, according to merriam-webster.com
1 (archaic). ungodliness, wickedness
2a. a disbelief in the existence of a deity
2b. the doctrine that there is no deity
Anybody can take a single definition of a word and twist it to mean whatever they want it to mean. The primary differences between theism and atheism, however, is belief. One is a belief; one is not. Religion is theism. To say atheism is religion is to say atheism is theism. If atheism regarding all gods is a religion, then so would be atheism in regards to every individual god. With that logic, a Christian is atheistic when it comes to the Greek, Norse, and Roman gods. By your definition, a Christian now has four religions (that is not to mention the hundreds of thousands of other gods they don’t believe in).
Religious people adhere to a tenet outlined by their holy book, scripture, or by their religion. A Christian believes this, this, this, and that; whereas a Muslim believes this, that, that, and this. Atheists, unlike members of a cult or religion, have exactly one thing in common. A disbelief (remember, the key word for a religion is belief) in gods. That’s it.
And before saying something like “Well, a disbelief in gods is a belief there are no gods; ergo, religion,” just remember that I also disbelieve in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, the monster under my bed, and Never Never Land. Whoops, looks like I’ve got four more religions!
Your definition above mentions a set of beliefs and practices. What set of beliefs do atheists adhere to? What practices do we do?
Do not Atheists have gatherings of like minded individuals at which prominent members of said system of thought give speeches (sermons), in the presence of fellow believers of the movement?
We do. Just like potential homeowners go to seminars about buying houses, or bibliophiles go to book signings by their favorite authors, who make speeches at the event. Or like students attend class regularly to learn about government, math, or science. Or when thousands of people stand at the foot of the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial and listen to Glenn Beck ramble on about human rights. Or when Holly and I go out of our way to attend concerts put on by our favorite bands and musicians?
Have I told you about the beauty and wonder in Timeshareism? REO Speedwagonism?
what is the difference between a Jehovah’s Witness knocking on doors to spread their belief system and an Atheist knocking on doors to spread their own?
When was the last time an atheist knocked on your door and told you to stop believing in gods? I know it’s never happened to me; yet I have been awoken by Jehovah’s Witnesses. This blog has absolutely nothing to do with going door-to-door to spread the word. This blog is not in-your-face. Like every other site on the internet, it is accessed by choice. Also, there is no threat of punishment for disagreeing with the things said on this blog.
- Is atheism a religion? (atheistdave.wordpress.com)
- Atheism as Religion (anythingbuttheist.blogspot.com)
- Who Defines Atheism? (dontfeedtheanimals.net)
- Apologetical fallacies about atheism (zaknafein81.wordpress.com)
- Why Did Amazon.com Get Rid of the Atheism Section? (friendlyatheist.com)
- What Is Atheism? (visayanatheists.wordpress.com)
- Misguided Quotes (nogodz.wordpress.com)