Monday, June 27, 2011

Atheism the religion?

Whenever I read any comment threads in which non-religious folks and religious folks are debating (to put it very nicely), it seems that eventually a religious person will come right out and declare atheism a religion.  I am not sure where this confusion comes from.  It may be that people who come from religious backgrounds do not have the experience required to understand a life without religion of some sort.  It maybe that some religious group out there is pushing this idea in order to frighten, confuse, or otherwise influence people. Or maybe some group is pushing this idea because it is what they really believe.

But none of that is important.  It is not important for one important reason.  Atheism is not a religion.  I repeat, atheism is not a religion.  Look, I didn't even capitalize it.  To illustrate this point, I have prepared a simple analogy.  Theism is a belief in a god or gods.  Atheism is the belief that there are no gods.  If you have a house, and I do not have a house, we are not different kinds of homeowners.  If you play baseball and I do not, we are not different kinds of baseball players.  But wait it gets better!  Not only is atheism not a religion, theism isn't a religion either!  Now a theist is probably a million time more likely to be religious, but that does mean that every person that believes in at least one god also belongs to a religion.

So, not only are people who claim atheism to be a religion confusing two very different things, but are by accident creating not one, but two religions (theism and atheism) where none exist.  Please say it with me now: atheism is not a religion.

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