For the last time, Atheism is not a religion

For the last time, Atheism is not a religion

Religious people just don’t get it, do they? They think when we talk about the belief in God we are in fact acknowledging ‘his’ existence, and that our own struggle against the brutalizing influence of religion is itself a kind of faith. It’s enough to make your head want to burst. Especially frustrating are these kind of lazy atheist hit pieces; brave articles that refuse to allow a comment section out of fear that the Internet will rip them a new a-hole.

The latest trashy piece of non-writing is entitled Atheism is a religion, too, a kind of ‘rubber-meets-glue’ trope that has been floating around for quite some time, and shows no sign of letting up.

Atheists are, in fact, some of the most religious people. First, they have a functioning God under whom they are subservient (normally it’s science or rationality, but mainly themselves), and that idea of God informs the way they live and interpret their lives. It informs their biases and determines their values, and governs any sense of morality or ethics they adhere too, or ignore.

I find myself wondering what kind of argument would work on such a confused mind. Should I start by trying to understand if this is an insult or a compliment in their eyes? Isn’t faith a good thing, and if so, why do they ‘accuse’ us of faith if they think that shit is awesome? Should I even bother to explain the difference between a belief supported by evidence and one ‘supported’ by the complete lack of it?

Instead of just ignoring God, or the idea of God, atheist preachers feel somehow compelled to rid the Earth of him; so they argue endlessly that theists can’t prove God exists without confessing that they can’t prove he doesn’t either.

You won’t find a serious atheist who doesn’t wish everyone COULD keep their opinions to themselves, especially when it comes to beliefs about the nature of reality; but the truth is that beliefs – as Sam Harris pointed out – do matter. They influence not just how you see the world and others, but how you treat them as well. When you think the vast majority of the world is doomed to hell-fire, it tends to skew your judgement a little. What I still find fascinating/annoying is just how shocked some religionists are when you tell them their objections on homosexuality, reproductive rights, and women’s role in society is destructive, not just offensive. Aren’t I entitled to my own opinion, they ask? Sure, but only if it means I don’t have to live by it. Such a compromise, however, is not in the cards.

It’s also irritating how religious people have never really understood the idea that anyone making an extraordinary claim is required to provide extraordinary evidence for that claim in the first place. Putting the burden of disproving an idea makes no sense: no one is required to disprove trolls, fairies, or unicorns. They can be dismissed outright even though we can never be 100% sure they don’t exist, because no evidence has ever been presented to prove the idea is true to begin with.

For C.S. Lewis, the iconic British scholar, was himself a convert from the religion of the atheism to the religion of Christianity because, as he later said: “atheism turns out to be too simple.”

The famous Christian philosopher Tertullian made a similar claim; that it was precisely the absurdity of Christianity which led him to believe it must be true. This kind of tortured logic and the desperate need to cling to elaborate myth betrays the poor thinking at work here. Atheism may have seemed too simple for Lewis, but it certainly isn’t a valid argument against it. “Water is wet” may be a simple concept, but it doesn’t mean the physical laws involved aren’t insanely elaborate, complex, and at times, maybe a bit weird. As the mathematician Laplace is said to have answered Napoleon when asked why God was not included in his master work “there is no need for such a hypothesis, Sir.” I echo his statement here.

Comments (9)

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    The Simpsons episode 15 of season 24 has “Let’s Get it On” playing in the background while Ned Flanders flips through the Bible, focusing on phrases such as “semen on the ground”, “breasts are like towers”, “whoremonger”. It’s really great XD

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    Mike Reed

    Well we now know where Drew’s source acquires such magnificent biblical knowledge.

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    I think its amusing how rattled atheists get when the truth is presented to them.

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    Shawn W. Nippard

    I don’t have a belief system like religious folk do! I (like the science community) accept evolution as fact…backed by LOADS OF EVIDENCE…ONGOING DISCOVERIES…SCIENCE LOGIC & RATIONAL SENSIBILITY! I don’t take any of the 4,200 or so religions & around 5,000 gods being worshipped seriously! For me religion (or a belief in a spirit in the sky & a demon residing in the bowels of the earth) is the greatest insult to the intelligence of the human species! No atheism is not…never was…& never will be a religion! What I think religious folk need is serious education on science without the interference of their myth & superstition! (god…satan…heaven…hell…angels…demons)

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    Mike Reed comments that “if atheism was a religion then there would be an atheist church…” Corey Peters started an atheist church in Calgary a few years ago. Why? Maybe, because of his right wing Christian heritage…. maybe because he sees the value in church fellowship. … maybe he’s spiritually seeking. … I went to Bible College with him and sold him my street bike (hi Corey). He’s a great guy. I wonder if Canada Revenue acknowledged you as a religious entity in charitable status. That would be a tad hypocritical if you accepted such status, hey? ? My son can deny me as his father and yet he will always be my son. An ant can think (or can they) that there is no people as I smush one under my big toe. Standing before your almighty Creator someday you will see how that thinking works for you. I thank God for life. I thank God that He loves me even though I am a mess. I thank God that I got to know my friend pastor Corey Peters. I thank God that He will always accept us back with open arms when we come back to Him. We need that don’t we?

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