Fact: I have never understood how someone could think atheism was a religion.
It came up at SMBI once. To begin with, there were several people telling me that atheism was a religion, and I disagreed with them. Slowly more and more people joined the conversation, yet still, no one was on my side.
Once I argued with a pro choice girl, and I didn’t feel like I could make any outstanding points in my favor because I absolutely and completely could not understand how an unborn baby was not a human to her. I had a similar feeling arguing this atheist thing. I couldn’t say exactly the right things, because I just couldn’t understand how they thought atheism was a religion.
Fact: If I was an atheist and some Christian came to me telling me that atheism was a religion, I think I would shake my head in confusion and think, “Christian’s are so lame. I don’t think I want to have anything to do with Christians.”
Finally Zack came into the room, and he agreed with me. Atheism was not a religion. He had listened to some Ray Comfort thing talking about atheists, which led him to this conclusion.
I was relieved, but later I found out that his point really was that atheists don’t exist at all, because everyone, in their heart, believes in God.
I’m not even gonna argue that bit. All I’m gonna say is, I always thought atheism was a word, like monotheism or polytheism, describing how you thought about theos, aka, God. That’s all.
But then yesterday I thought, “I wonder if there is some place where it officially says that atheism is or is not a religion. Like Wikipedia or something.” I mean, no matter how many people say that Christianity is a relationship, not a religion, it’s still officially classified as a religion. So what do people across the board, not necessarily Christian people or atheist people, think atheism is?
I looked up “religion” on Wikipedia. The description of religion they gave in the first few paragraphs, well, you’d have to stretch really really hard to make atheism a religion by those guidelines.
So I googled “Is atheism a religion?” What I found were links and more links to pages where atheists informed people that atheism was most definitely not a religion. Often they gave examples of “stupid” arguments Christians used to prove that atheism was a religion.
I didn’t dig too deeply, but I really didn’t see anything attempting to prove that it was. Honestly, the only real line I’ve ever heard trying to prove that atheism is a religion is, “it’s a belief system.” Which is quickly made to sound ridiculous when an atheist says, “I believe that unicorns do not exist. Is that my religion? It’s my belief system.”
I’m not writing this post in an attempt to say “ha ha I was right all along guys.” I’m trying to say, “why, oh why, do we do this?”
From one simple google search the following conclusions seemed so clear:
- Many Christians say “atheism is not a religion” without doing much in-depth study as to why they think atheism is not a religion. (If there was a lot of in-depth study there would be more of their side showing up in the google search, right?)
- Atheists are shaking their heads in confusion and thinking, “Christian’s are so lame. I don’t think I want to have anything to do with Christians.” (This is the impression I got out of the things I read as a result of the google search)
- Atheists are doing the in-depth study that the Christians didn’t do and writing smart-sounding things about it, making the Christians sort of look like idiots.
Fact: I came to these conclusions out of one google search, where I didn’t read nearly everything that appeared in front of me, just did a quick overview. Thus, my conclusions could possibly be false.
Fact: Maybe it really doesn’t matter whether atheism is or is not a religion, but I do not understand how telling at atheist that atheism is a religion could possibly do the world any good, or lead them any closer to God.