Monday, July 19, 2010

Rational Response of the Week- July 19, 2010

This week’s rational response will tackle another common theist accusation.

That atheism is a religion.

This is patently wrong, and on more than one level.

It fails as an argument first, and as truth second.

As an argument it is used to discredit atheists from taking a neutral position on theism. It is the “But you are the same as us” argument.

Not a very convincing statement, as it almost appears to concede the harms of religion but disallows you to comment on them, because of your investment in another religion (Atheism).

Not useful to either side really as it doesn’t address the issues, it only throws out straw-man arguments to distract from them.
It accuses us of dogmatic behaviour so as to excuse their own.

So it fails because it refuses to address the concerns head on.

The second level is the level of truth in the accusation.

Is atheism a religion?
Free Online Dictionary/ -Religion; (def) A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.

In order to be considered a religion you have to have three things;

Common Dogma
Common Doctrine
Common Practices

Can anyone name anything that all atheists have in common?

Is there anything that would preclude an atheist from identifying himself as an atheist other than his rejection of the theist claim?



I would love to claim that all atheists believe in the power of science, but that isn’t true.
There is even a group called atheists against evolution.

Or that atheists all “worship” reason and skepticism.

But, this would be a false claim. Many atheists fall prey to such snake oil sales tactics of homeopaths and other false “holistic” medicines.

Or even that all atheists eschew dogmatic thinking, because as much as I would love this to be true, it simply isn’t. Nationalism has brought dogma into many an atheist’s life.

You don’t even need to believe there is no god to be an atheist (although the evidence would certainly suggest this).

All you have to be is unconvinced.

Atheism is a religion?


There is no atheistic dogma, no doctrine that we must observe, no common belief system, and no institutionalized “atheist” morality.

In fact I would challenge you to find a single common thread between us other than our universal dismissal and unconvinced attitude towards your god claim.



Well lets consider that one settled then.


  1. I concur, atheism is a belief, and it specifically is a lack of belief in divine institution.

  2. I assume that you mean "atheism is NOT a belief" based on the rest of your statement.

  3. Well it's not a belief in the sense of religion, but in my opinion, at least for me, atheism is a personal belief, and I mean it in that sense. But yes, I agree with you essentielly :P

  4. Atheism is a religion just like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  5. William, you miss the point entirely. Atheism is explicitly not a belief. Atheists don't "believe" there is no god, they simply do not believe there is a god (or have not been provided sufficient evidence to believe in god). Replace Atheism with the phrase "lack of belief in god" and saying something like "lack of belief in god is a belief" doesn't make sense. Is not collecting stamps a hobby?

  6. If you are an atheist you should not be troubled with what others think, or don't think, about YOUR
    lack of belief in what isn't.

  7. Atheism is not a religion, you are right; however, it is just as bad as religion in the large scheme of things.

    The extremists of the two sides (theist and atheist) are the representatives of the sides. Your (the atheist) extremists are douche bags, along with the religious fanatics.

    Pick the right side, IMO. Choose nothingness;

  8. @Talasan - How can atheism be "just as bad" as religion? That, by definition, is impossible considering the fundamental truth that atheism is not a religion (for all the reasons outlined above).

    The piece you wrote is nonsense, as pointed out in the comments. You're making the classic mistake of looking for patterns and labels where none exist; because there are people who believe in God, you automatically assume those who don't occupy an equal and opposite position. It is a fallacy of serious consequence and probably suggests you need to read a little more on the subject.

  9. @william...Can you tell me what "atheism" believes then?

    All you need to be an atheist is not lack belief in a god. That is it.

  10. To me, an atheist doesn't believe in a god. To be an atheist is to not believe in the religious train of thought. But an atheist does not believe in the religious train of thought because he or she believe in facts. Operating under the assumption that the atheists in question aren't atheists because mommy and daddy were uber-religious and they're just being rebellious teens, then I would say atheists believe in proven fact, as well as provable facts, along with physical evidence of the above mentioned facts. It doesn't however imply a religious overtone at all, in the same sense that a Capitalist doesn't believe in capitalism in a religious sense, it's just a belief that capitalism is more effective.

  11. You don't "believe" in facts, you accept them. belief belies a judgment call based on uncertainty. Fact does not.

    I guess at this point it is obvious that we are agreeing but discussing semantics.

    You don't need to even accept facts to be an atheist. All you have to do is just not accept the theists claim.

    That's it.