Is Atheism A Religion?

by Shlomoh
December 8, 2014

In response to the question IS ATHEISM A RELIGION posted on Socrates Cafe Meetup Group on 12-4-14

Both religionists and non believers are passionate about their point of view. That's a major problem in both camps. But how can it be otherwise for a strong believer. The strength of their passion makes up for their complete lack of evidence. It is human nature to believe in a Protector and it has been so since the first chimp became afraid of lightning and thunder.  The sky is the locus of many unsupported beliefs. We look up at the gods the same way we looked up to our parents when we were small.

The essence of religions, as we understand the word and the concept, is faith. Faith is a belief in something for which there is no evidence.  In modern times, we believe in things for which there is evidence and that is how we became technologically advanced. We actually demand evidence in our daily lives. We are all from Missouri although not from Ferguson. We want people to "show me."

I am a nonTheist. I don't say there is no god. I say I don't believe in any, especially not the One described in our scripture commonly referred to as the Bible. That is not only because there is no evidence for such but also becuse that deity demands unacceptable things from us.
However, if a day comes on which some evidence is found that is empirical that a deity exists, I will have to believe it in the same way I believe in gravity or the speed of light.

Is atheism a religion? No. It lacks the essentials of religion - namely, an infallible clergy, a standard catecihsm, and rituals. It does share one thing with religion, a passionate antipathy towards non-empiricist infidels.  If there were an atheist Hell, most of the world's population would be there because most of the world's population, and perhaps that of America the most, need a protector and an eternal Santa Clause.

As for me, I do not wish religion to disappear because we humans need its rituals, holidays, and beautiful prose and poetry. We also need community with which to identify as ritual beings.
I do not want to see Channuka, Christmas, New Years, Purim, Easter, Passover disappear.
I don't want to see ritual or liturgy disappear. I love going to synagogue to be with those of my ethnic-faith community. I am probably one of many religious non-believers. So my nontheism is not a religion for me.

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