Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Is Atheism A Religion?

I'm a bit wary of Christians who say that Atheism is a religion, but to give them their due, a lot of atheists aren't helping the case against the claim.


All faiths have a symbol to represent them. Christians have the cross or the fish, Jews have the star of David, and so on.
Atheists inspired by their dedication to 'science' have come up with a few of their own badges.

You'll notice that most of them look a bit like atoms, which are bit like the poster child for science. Shoving an 'A' into an atom just cements the atheist relationship with scientific discovery and thought.

It's maybe a bit arrogant to assume that atheists have the only claim to science. Considering facts like Joseph J. Thomson, the founder of atomic physics was a devout Christian. Or that Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution inspires the atheist fish, was a Christian for most of his life. Or Isaac Newton, Galileo, or even modern day leaders of science like Francis Collins were also Christian.

So, as atheists have a number of symbols to choose from, it's only natural that they would want to display their faith for all to see.

Or if clothing and accessories aren't enough, why not permanently seal the deal and have the symbol of your belief inked?

And they say atheism is just "a lack of belief"... Sure...


Do I need to go further than this point? Atheists have churches now, They meet up on Sundays and share their faith and learn how they can use it to make the world a better place. Come on!

 One of these is called the Sunday Assembly founded by Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans.

I mean, of course it's fine for communities and societies to get together for good reasons. Any excuse. But this atheist only cult type thing is madness. The reason Christians have churches, Jews have synagogues, and Muslims have mosques is because each believe different things so they can't really share a roof to hear about them. If the atheist church is all about community building, it should just be a community building for everyone and atheism shouldn't come into it.
The Sunday Assembly do say that they welcome believers, but as I say, why in that case make such a big deal about the atheism? Why not just have community get-togethers?

Apart from the obvious churches like the Sunday Assembly you also have the madness that is the Richard Dawkins Foundation For Reason and Science. Again suggesting that atheism has the only rights to reason and science!
It invites its reasonable guests to become members for the reasonable price of $85 a month. Then he has the cheek to complain about church offering plates...


Atheists love their slogans. Especially ones that are really dumb, make little sense, and don't take much energy to remember.

How does a default lack of belief wind up with a slogan?


Judaism brought us the Ten Commandments, which basically carry over to Christianity. Atheists like to spoof them to give the world what they think would be a better set of ten rules to live by.

Comedy magician Penn Jillette offered a pretty good list:

  1. The highest ideals are human intelligence, creativity and love. Respect these above all.
  2. Do not put things or even ideas above other human beings. (Let's scream at each other about Kindle versus iPad, solar versus nuclear, Republican versus Libertarian, Garth Brooks versus Sun Ra— but when your house is on fire, I'll be there to help.)
  3. Say what you mean, even when talking to yourself. (What used to be an oath to god is now quite simply respecting yourself.)
  4. Put aside some time to rest and think. (If you're religious, that might be the Sabbath; if you're a Vegas magician, that'll be the day with the lowest grosses.)
  5. Be there for your family. Love your parents, your partner, and your children. (Love is deeper than honor, and parents matter, but so do spouse and children.)
  6. Respect and protect all human life. (Many believe that "Thou shalt not kill" only refers to people in the same tribe. I say it's all human life.)
  7. Keep your promises. (If you can't be sexually exclusive to your spouse, don't make that deal.)
  8. Don't steal. (This includes magic tricks and jokes — you know who you are!)
  9. Don't lie. (You know, unless you're doing magic tricks and it's part of your job. Does that make it OK for politicians, too?)
  10. Don't waste too much time wishing, hoping, and being envious.
Richard Dawkins chimed in with his in his book 'The God Delusion' (which was universally panned by real philosophers. Hopefully this list will clue you in to one or two reasons why):
  1. Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.
  2. In all things, strive to cause no harm.
  3. Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.
  4. Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.
  5. Live life with a sense of joy and wonder.
  6. Always seek to be learning something new.
  7. Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.
  8. Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.
  9. Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
  10. Question everything.
The equally philosophically handicapped Christopher Hitchens made an attempt too:

  1. Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or their color.
  2. Do not ever even think of using people as private property, or as owned, or as slaves.
  3. Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.
  4. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
  5. Do not condemn people for their inborn nature - why would God create so many homosexuals only in order to torture and destroy them?
  6. Be aware that you, too, are an animal, and dependent on the web of nature. Try and think and act accordingly.
  7. Do not imagine that you can escape judgement if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife.
  8. Turn off that fucking cell phone - you can have no idea how unimportant your call is to us.
  9. Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions. And terrible sexual repressions.
  10. Be willing to renounce any god or any faith if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above.
And Bertrand Russell tried his hand at it too, worryingly leaving out anything about murder or theft and such:
  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.


All good religions need a monument or two to symbolise their worship.
How about this one from the American Atheists society?

It comes with bonus mantras!

At this stage, it really does make you think at least some atheists see it as a full on religion. At the very least, they can't fall back on the 'lack of belief' stuff. They're in deep here.
Go ahead. Believe in it. Celebrate it. But don't then have a go at other people for doing the same with their beliefs!

The main worrying thing about this monument in particular is that a lot of the text on it is very anti-religion, particularly anti-Judeo-Christian. While a Christian monument would probably have a message like "look how great my God is, I love him and I want the world to know", reading between the lines of the atheist monument it says "Religious people are dumb. They believe dumb things. I am so great. You should be like me." It's a mindset I'd rather avoid.

It's not the only one either:

And they want more.

Prophets and Preachers

The Jews had Moses, Christians have Jesus, and Muslims had Muhammad. Now atheism sounds its trumpets to the tunes of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett, the Four Horsemen of New Atheism (although arguably Lawrence Krauss has recently stepped into Hitchen's shoes (R.I.P)).
Others have waved the banner in the past: Antony Flew (who became a deist *chortle*), Bertrand Russell, and Nietzche to name a few. There's always a celeb or two for the atheists to rally behind calling out the latest "clever" catchphrase that sums up their position but offers little to know intellectual worth.

Considering it's advertised as 'a lack of belief' it's amazing that so many go to the effort of evangelising for it.

And in these times of modern technology, atheists even have their own televangelists!

Militant Fundies

The dark side of any religion. The ones that haven't quite got the message right but shout the loudest about it. The ones who are so set in their ways and don't mind getting aggressive about making other people see things like they do.
You'll find them on pretty much any internet message board where religion is discussed, anywhere a religious person tries to express their opinion on something important, anywhere a militant fundie from another faith does something ungodly.

It's not a surprise really. What with high priest Dawkins saying things like:
So when I meet somebody who claims to be religious, my first impulse is: “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you until you tell me do you really believe — for example, if they say they are Catholic — do you really believe that when a priest blesses a wafer it turns into the body of Christ? Are you seriously telling me you believe that? Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood? Mock them! Ridicule them! In public! Don’t fall for the convention that we’re all too polite to talk about religion.
What happened to the RD Commandment Number 3?: Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.

I still wouldn't call atheism a religion, but there are definitely a lot of them who treat it like one. Maybe I should too.