Home / Polls / This week's poll: Is atheism a religion?
This week's poll:  Is atheism a religion?

This week's poll: Is atheism a religion?

Critics of atheism like to say that atheism is a religion.

For instance, the anti-evolution Creation Ministries characterizes atheism as a religion.  Following similar thinking, in January 2011, a high school physics and chemistry teacher filed a lawsuit in federal court against the The Blue Mountain School District in the Middle District of Pennsylvania for teaching evolution because he characterized the theory of evolution as the "religion of atheism" which violated Constitutional restrictions on government-sponsored religion.

Although not characterizing atheism as a religion, the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers has been asking that the military accept atheist chaplains so that military personnel without a religious background can get the same counseling services as everyone else.

Atheists take issue with the notion that "atheism is a religion," pointing out that atheism is simply disbelief in gods, not a philosophy or moral code.  It does not have dogma or holy texts.

What is your opinion?

It takes a second or two to vote in our poll, which is obviously not a scientific poll but a survey of our readers' opinions.  Your personal identity will not be revealed by voting.  We appreciate comments explaining your views.

The poll will remain open until 7:00 a.m. Pacific time on Sunday, July 8.  Thanks for voting!

Is atheism a religion?

  • No. (91%, 83 Votes)
  • Yes. (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Not sure. (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 91

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  • BobVedari

    This is such BS. Of COURSE it is a religion. And anyone who says otherwise is asking for special dispensation and a life of double-standards. I don't care HOW you phrase it. It can be a certainty that there is no God. It can be a "certainty" in the disbelief of a god. It is the matter of CERTAINTY – not the object of which you are certain that defines whether you have "faith" in your religion or not. There is ZERO objective evidence one way or another. To believe makes it a religion. To disbelieve makes that a religion too. And for someone who, like me, stops at the question, is there a god?, that's the religion of agnosticism which claims that there is no evidence one way or another, so I simply don't know. Agnostics tend to be honest about this kind of thing. Theists of course take pride in their religion, and are usually quite up front about it. Atheists tend to be liars who couldn't be honest if it put a billion dollars in their bank accounts. It's a religion, and only the most addle minded let them get away with it.

    • Neither theism nor atheism is a religion. They are beliefs which hold nothing more than a statement of whether or not one believes in a deity. However, Taoism, Buddhism, and humanism could be considered religions, even though they are non-theistic. The belief one holds is part of a religion, but not the religion itself.

    • Lore

      Passionate, but I disagree.

      • Lore, For what it's worth…the original meaning of "passion,"…suffering!. Interesting, no?

    • owlafaye

      @BobVedari…see above post concerning Latin root "religio" and you might also ponder the word "worship" which means the state of recognizing the worth.
      We speak English here…atheism is in no sense a religion…by definition of both.

      • BobVedari

        It is a religion in the sense that it affirms something about that for which there is no empirical evidence one way or another. Show me your evidence that God doesn't exist. You can't. The best you can do is say, along with me, that you don't know and might be interested in finding out one day. But you don't know. And if you say you do know, then you are making an affirmative statement based on a leap of faith – even if that is a faith in induction. Belief in something about the origins and nature of the universe for which you have no evidence comprises a religion in my view. BTW – who made you God so you could define what the proper use of language is? You true believers annoy me – no matter what the stripe of your belief. Come on over to the light side and admit you don't know.

        • BobV…for what it's worth, "true believer" is an oxymoron. One may not "believe" something is "true. They're not the same. Either it's a belief or it's true. And right there, confusing beliefs with truth, is why religions, which cannot exist without the "belief" phenomenon, fails us.

          • BobVedari

            The phrase "true believer" refers to someone who believes something without questioning its veracity. Re Buddhism, while I might agree that it's unlike most other religions, the fact that Buddhists have all the paraphernalia of a religion, including "sacred" books, rituals, etc., many (most?) Buddhists *act* as though it's a religion. Certainly the less enlightened among them seem little different than the less enlightened of most any ideology. Certainly Buddhists are not immune from the warlike nature of most other humans, and they coalesce around their "beliefs," "orientations," or whatever you might want to call them. Similarly, atheists form groups, and while I'm guessing most of them don't have rituals, their intellectual underpinnings are no better than those of anyone else who ASSERTS that they have the answer about the origin of things and/or the nature of God or the Gods, etc. Agnostics simply stop at the question level, admit that they don't know and would be interested in knowing if some way existed to know. So far as I know, no way exists. But heck, I'm just a guy – nothing special. What the hell do I know?

            • BobV…You write…"The phrase "true believer" refers to someone who believes something without questioning its veracity." I say, not very smart! I also counter by saying anyone claiming to be a "true believer" is arrogantly making themselves a superior theist… a "better believer." IOW, self-righteous. As far as Buddhism being "unlike most other religions" (your words) the fact that Buddha said we're all potential Buddhas and to think for themselves, takes the religion label off. OTOH, I think Jesus was telling us the same thing; that we're all potential Gods. Only we don't recognize it in ourselves. And the damned (literally) fools killed him for that. Taking no responsibility for their own lives, believers would rather "believe" in some old guy in the sky. DR. Phil would ask, "How's that workin' for ya?" Thanks

              • BobVedari

                Hey Donny – interesting discussion – thanks. I agree that true believers tend to be arrogant and self-righteous. How could they be any other way? They *know* the truth of things (accurate or not). Ask a Bible Thumper how he knows and he'll say the Bible tells him so. Ask him how he knows the Bible is accurate, and he'll say "faith" (belief) or circularly, that the Bible tells him so. I've had this kind of discussion with both types of true believers – who end up telling me I'm going to Hell. 🙂 But TBs are not limited to religion. You have global warming proponents and opponents both acting much the same way – as if they actually know something when all the data that LAYPEOPLE have is that the science is IFFY at best – what with the various scandals about the so-called scientists involved. So you can have "religious" behavior in secular areas, too. Orthodoxy in anything tends to be less rooted in evidence and more rooted in the comfort one feels in the belief system. And even the people "who take responsibility for their own lives" are not immune. I've had discussions with Objectivists (people who espouse affection for Ayn Rand and her philosophy) who share the exact same fervor for the "Objectivism" as any TB anywhere else. Like I said, it gets old pretty fast.

                • BobV…I appreciate your input. And IMO, you are actually demonstrating the sworn enemy of religious dogma…thinking for yourself. To me when religious belief is the order of the day, there is no creative thinking and the truth is nowhere to be found…that's literal btw, NOW/HERE. Interesting? Donny

                • BobVedari

                  I appreciate your kind words. It has been an interesting discussion.

    • Deborah_B

      I completely understand what you are saying about agnosticism, Bob, but I am having trouble understanding your religion argument that, paraphrased, says "to believe makes it a religion; to not believe makes it a religion." Are labor unions, which "believe" that their workers deserve various rights religions?

      There are many people who I know who are theistic but are spiritual, choosing not to have anything to do with religion. Spirituality and religion are two very different things, so I don't see how believing in deities defines one or the other. Religion has sets of rules, sacred texts, worship and rituals. They generally involve an authority structure. It is because of the abuse of authority that many are choosing to leave organized religion, even though they remain believers or are spiritual.

      I doubt that the Deists who write here or visit consider Deism to be "a religion," as they find revealed texts and some of the illogical behavior of religion to be repugnant.

      • I agree, spirituality and religion are two different things. One can be an atheist, yet be spiritual with nature, music, art, vegetarianism, or other things. Being a spiritual person is not exclusive to religion and/or a belief in a deity.

    • s_richard

      If, as you say, belief and disbelief are a matter of certainty, then describing agnosticism as a religion is incorrect. Wouldn't the question, 'is there a god?' indicate a lack of certainty? Then, based on your definition, agnosticism is not a religion, yet you call it that. Take your pick, but you can't have both.

  • Bob, try talking to atheists. Atheism simply means one is not a theist. I'm not a theist; I'm an atheist. This does NOT imply any degree of certainty; if you are going to insist that all atheists who aren't 100% certain are really agnostics, I'm going to insist the same for all the flavors of theists out there, and suddenly, 99% of the world is agnostic. Which makes the label useless.

    I'm an atheist. The only way I can NOT be an atheist is to start believing in the existence of at least one god. I'm also an agnostic, since the two terms are orthogonal, not mutually exclusive.

    Atheism isn't a religion just as theism isn't a religion. Theism is a tenet of most religions, but you can be a theist and not belong to a religion. Atheism is a tenet of a very few religions (such a Raelianism, and Michael Newdow's F.A.C.T.), but atheism itself is not a religion. You can also be an atheist and be a member of various religions that don't require belief in a god to be considered a member of that religion (Jewish, some Buddhists, UUs, etc).

    In many legal situations, atheism should be treated as if it were a religion, just as corporations are people. As in, no, not really, but in cases X, Y, and Z the law is applied as if it is true.

    • BobVedari

      Apologies – just saw your response now. The way you are discussing atheism is NOT congruent with the way atheists act in the public square. There is a positive set of beliefs that atheists espouse, e.g., that there is no God. That is every bit as much a belief as the opposite or the related, "there are many Gods." I ask you – how the heck do you KNOW? Atheists try to get the public square to be devoid of all things religious. What grounds do they assert? Mainly that they find the religious beliefs of others offensive to their beliefs. Why should an atheist's beliefs be honored any more or less than a theist's or a polytheist's beliefs? Personally, I think this whole effort to define what is appropriate in the public square to be childish at best. Why not have a public square open to all. Have a manger scene. Have a Macabee scene. Have a Buddha under a tree scene (or whatever Buddhists deem appropriate). Atheists could have some kind of symbol like the sun and a double helix and call it SolarDNA day. Muslims could have whatever floats their boat. Agnostics like me could put up a big blue and yellow question mark. Make it a party and everyone gets to play.

      • Deborah_B

        I think the public square issue gets to be a bit much, too — but taxpayers should not have to be paying for the displays you're talking about. There are more serious issues with respect to church/state than Christmas trees and question marks.

        • BobVedari

          In many cases, the religious groups involved have been more than willing to pay a rental fee for the space. The issue is rarely about money. The issue is almost always about religion.

  • skater60

    I found this on Wikipedia:
    "According to the philologist Max Müller, the root of the English word "religion", the Latin religio, was originally used to mean only "reverence for God or the gods, careful pondering of divine things, piety" (which Cicero further derived to mean "diligence")."

    The article goes on to say that the word can have broader meanings as well. So, could someone consider Atheism a religion? Sure, why not? Tax exempt status the same as other "religions"? Sure, why not?

    I'm not of the Atheist persuasion because the reasoning seems faulty and makes no sense. Why do I say that? Here's why: if I can't "objectively" prove something exists in no way means that it does not or cannot exist. And if that's what's meant by the term "Atheism" then no one having a reasonably logical mind could subscribe to it. Am I missing something?

    I see all religions, including Atheism, as "best guesses". The only wiggle room is personal experience. If one claims to have had personal experience as in http://www.near-death.com then, all things being equal, why shouldn't those experiences be accepted as true? Especially since some of those experiences are related by atheists!

    • Skater…I really appreciate your thoughtful input. And so allow me to comment on the main misleading and misused religious item, the "belief" phenomenon.
      Almost never in the debate on religion does anyone ever point out the crucial difference between "belief" and truth. And because organized religions cannot exist without "beliefs" and superstitions, all separate religious systems must collide and does.
      To me, the "truth" or God (interchangable) the religious seek, can as Jesus pointed out, be found only "within." And so as to paraphrase the brilliant philosopher, Ken Wilber, he says…"To believe that God is within, is to miss the point entirely."
      Only with the courage to think for onesself (certainly not a popular notion with religions) can anyone ever find Universal peace.
      Donny (Life Coach)

      • skater60

        Why thanks Donny!
        Religion is a commodity. Religion starts as Truth which is shared. A few people down the road and Truth becomes enhanced and bottled. The original Truth is still in the bottle but now there's lots of crap in there with it to "enhance" it, to make it more appealing to us plain folks. It has become junk food for the soul – just like the aisles and aisles of goodies in a grocery store. "NEW! IMPROVED! NOW WITH INCENSE! – OAK PEWS! – TWICE AS MANY SERMONS!" But that Truth still abides. Truth is Truth no matter where you receive it, when you receive it or who you receive it from. The enhancements are what you have to watch out for. And speaking of enhancements:

        "The kingdom of heaven is within you." (Luke chapter 17, line 21) is a very odd, mysterious thing to say to somebody. I recommend:
        http://www.near-death.com to see if anything resonates in these personal accounts with what Jesus was expressing. I almost skipped that site because of "enhancements", but Truth is where you find it, unfortunately.

        • Skater (I hope you receive this)…I just wanted to respond that personally, I don't find Jesus' remark "The Kingdom of God is within" as odd at all. To many Christians especially, I'm sure it does seem odd, quite misunderstood and mostly dismissed. For me, and after many years a seeker of god, it means that God is found within myself…and in everyone else. But most people, Christians especially, choose to ignore the pronouncement and continue to search for the mythical "god in the sky." Frankly, I think (not believe) that that was the most important message Jesus had to give. Further more…to "believe" it, is to miss the point entirely. Accepting (again, not believing) that God is within me, is one of the major breakthroughs of my long 80 year life. The question of where God can be found has been answered. However, that possibility is far too simple for the already dogma indoctrinated. And yet I do not require, nor do I ask anyone's agreement. Again, needing anyone's belief or agreement would be to miss the point entirely. Donny

          • skater60

            Hello Donny, here's my take: the main message of Jesus was "Follow me". What did He mean by that? What He meant by that was practicing compassion, understanding and forgiveness – Love, in other words. The "kingdom of Heaven is within" means those virtues are what is needed, the oxygen as it were, of the larger version of Life that follows this one . "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect" is what He is advising and/or demanding. In other words, don't come to the Big Party with a bad attitude toward others or yourself because you won't fit in and will try to exclude yourself (square peg in round hole). His whole life and message was directed at an afterlife, the Main Event, the Big Party "in the Sky". The man who was lowered through the roof thought the main thing was to get to walk again – beep! – wrong! The main thing was to have him and listeners accept the fact that "your sins are forgiven" – without asking! This was something the man, and others within earshot, needed to grasp and understand – there is no judgement of you. Your "Heavenly Father" is not a judge. It is only you people who judge yourselves and each other. And oh, by the way, "Now get up and walk."

            ::Taken from sermon #134219a "A message to the Frickin' Doubters."

            80, eh? Well I'm 72 so don't slam the door….

            • Skater…Here's a relative response…(which also includes the virtue of doubting)…
              The Buddha On Belief!
              Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
              Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. " ~ The Buddha (circa 500 BC)

              Years ago one of my mentors suggested I "consider doing violence to my belief system." With much personal doubt and confusion, finally I realized what he meant. And that's exactly what I did…but with one proviso. And that was learning to think for myself. Resulting in freedom from the burden of believing. That was (and is) the reward.

              • skater60

                "But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason…", etc. So if one can't arrive at God thru Reason (observation and analysis) then forget about it? Well, that's one plan. The Buddha seems to have been a very wise person – emphasis on "seems". My best response to TB is to offer that Reason cannot cross this bridge. There is nothing reasonable about God as far as I can tell, the concept itself surpasses reason by definition. As St. Paul writes somewhere in one of his letters "Eye has not seen and ear has not heard…". But wait! According to TB, that's too old to be true, right? And besides, they were all just fictional characters! Right? Thomas Aquinas tried the observation-logic-analysis trick. He chucked it all in the end as "just so much straw". Beliefs matter not a whit, and what one is able to prove ends up in Aquinas' pile of straw. Why can't everything be like…. obvious! Waaaah! And now a voice in my head is saying "It will be."

                • Skater…You wrote: Why can't everything be like…. obvious! Waaaah! And now a voice in my head is saying "It will be." I say that's why the myth of Genesis is so powerfully descriptive of what it takes to be human….as opposed to life in Paradise. IMO, the myth of Adam & Eve tells us clearly that to be human, Paradise (perfection) cannot be tolerated. Excuse the over simplification but isn't perfection (finding the perfect Go) what we strive for?

                • skater60

                  I don't see Paradise/Heaven as "perfection" in the sense of it's a finish line we cross. We strive for happy and happier, there is no "happiest".

                  My thinking is that Paradise/Heaven is place of happiness & joy IN MOTION where it is possible to increase your level of happiness & joy forever. You will never arrive at "happiest" because there are no limits. That is a most astounding thing – no limits. Paradise/Heaven/Happiness is not a "reward" and, for that matter, Hell is not a "punishment". Both are available to you any time you want. Just like here.

                  Genesis' Adam and Eve? It's a phoney-baloney story and sets us at odds with God. We have never been at odds with God. It is impossible to BE at odds with God. This is not like an Olympics where you have winners and losers. With God there are no losers.

                  Life, including the "afterlife", is like a tall building. It's so tall you can't see the top. The lobby is filled with interesting and fun things and maybe some not-so-fun things. You take the elevator to the second floor. Things are more interesting here, with some of your favorites. A friend walks up to you and says "Isn't this fun! But, man, you should see the Third floor! Into the elevator you go. And this goes on forever. The Great Building of Life Has No Top Floor (sounds like a Monty Python skit).

                  Something along those lines, I suspect, is what's going on.

                • Skater, Again I appreciate your thoughtfulness. However you wrote…"Genesis' Adam and Eve? It's a phoney-baloney story and sets us at odds with God. We have never been at odds with God. It is impossible to BE at odds with God." Frankly I don't know about being at odds with God, but the Adam & Eve myth is a wonderful (full of wonder) metaphor for learning what our lives today are all about including who God is for us. As a long time professional life coach, I've found that mythology, as the brilliant late master, Joseph Campbell pointed out, that many times myth (as opposed to fairy tales) is truer than truth. And now in my profession, I use mythology more than I ever thought I would. As far as the bible is concerned, taking it literally is foolish. However, there are some stories, excellent metaphors which can be applied to our lives today.

                • So you use metaphor that blames the woman for all of today's ill. How nice of you. *rolleyes* I think the Taoist and Buddhist stories are better than the Xians ones, if one must use a metaphorical mythical story. I also fail to see anything wonderful about Biblical mythology. I don't think I'd have you as a life coach for very long. I only used a life coach once. She is a friend of mine and still is a friend of mine, despite not agreeing with her. All I've read about and seen from life coaches I've not been impressed with, but if you can find something that impresses me that would be great.

                • Mriana…
                  M…So you use metaphor that blames the woman for all of today's ill. D…Where on earth did you get that idea? I have no idea what you're talking about!!!!
                  M…I don't think I'd have you as a life coach for very long.
                  D…Why the need to get personal? That's ignorant and direspectful.

                  M…All I've read about and seen from life coaches I've not been impressed with, but if you can find something that impresses me that would be great. D…You want to be impressed? Fine! How about this…this is the last post you'll get from me! Impressed now?


                • skater60


                • skater60

                  Many times myth is truer than truth? Wait, wait…that would mean a myth about something is true, but the truth about the same thing is false? LOL! That cookie won't bake. If that was Campbell's shtick (and as I recall it sorta was) then he doesn't get to play in this court anymore, he has to go play in the kiddee's court.
                  Folks say "bible" as if it was a single book. It's not a single book, but a conglomeration of separate books. Parts are poetry, parts are legalisms, parts are prophecies, parts are history and parts are not. It's a tricky thing to read "the bible". Genesis is not to be put on the same plane as Paul and his letters, for example.

                • Skater…You said,"Many times myth is truer than truth? Wait, wait…that would mean a myth about something is true, but the truth about the same thing is false?" LOL!
                  So are you explaining truth?

                  Also…"That cookie won't bake. If that was Campbell's shtick (and as I recall it sorta was), etc?"
                  And now mocking Joseph Campbell? I guess you're entitled.

                • skater60

                  Yep, I was mocking Joseph Campbell. "myth is truer than truth" ??? Makes no sense at all and deserves a mock or two.

                • Mocking a world acclaimed educator, huh? They're all wrong and you're right? Is that the game? But I can understand your position. So you know the "truth," huh?" (big grin)

                • skater60

                  No, no. They're not ALL wrong, just the ones I point out. Line 'em all up maybe alphabetically and I'll go down the list and check 'em off. On a brighter note: I don't "know" what's true, I only suspect what's true. Lacking a face-to-face with the All-Loving then it's just a crap shoot, 50-50 odds, but folks would flock to casinos given those odds. I should write a book! Naaaah, too much work.

                • "I don't "know" what's true, I only suspect what's true."

  • Atheism is not a religion, it is a "belief" or rather non-belief, just as theism is a belief. Humanism is a philosophy and way of life that states what one does believe, but not necessarily a religion.

    • Mriana…Your comment about Atheism being "a belief or rather non-belief" (your words) only points out what I keep saying, that the majority of religious believers (theists) thoughtlessly confuse "belief" with truth.
      The confusion, as the late Zen Master Alan Watts brilliantly points out is, "While there's nothing inherently wrong with believing, the problem is we believe in belief." And so the truth is nowhere to be found…literally! NOW/HERE!
      Consequently, we murder, not for truth, but for what we believe.

      • Now why would I murder someone for what they believe? That doesn't make any sense to me, esp when life is so precious and this is the only one we get. It doesn't matter what one believes, the fact is we don't get another chance at life no matter what we believe or do not believe and that is a statement that even my Christian mother believes too. Even she agrees that there are no second chances and we must live this one to the best of our abilities. The only difference between her and myself is that she believes there is a god that forgives us for our mistakes, esp if we apologize to him. To her, it doesn't matter if we apologize to others (it does to me though), as long as she apologizes to her god.

        • Mriana…You-Me
          M…Now why would I murder someone for what they believe?
          D…You may not but that's what happening all over the world.

          M…That doesn't make any sense to me, esp when life is so precious and this is the only one we get. D…It may not be SENSIBLE to you Mriana, but it makes perfect sense when some misguided people believe their God demands infidels be killed.
          M…. It doesn't matter what one believes, the fact is we don't get another chance at life no matter what we believe or do not believe D…Try telling that to the radical Islamists who openly claim to kill "infidels" who don't "believe" in Muhammad. And that we only get one chance at life isn't a fact at all…it is a belief. And don't "believe" me either.

          The Buddha on belief:

          Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
          Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. " ~ The Buddha (circa 500 BC)


          • BobVedari

            Simple question: If you found out that the truth was that there really was in fact, no God, would you in your next breath do something akin to the Colorado shooter? Would you begin to cheat on your spouse, get into rackateering, commit fraud in your business, pull wings off of flies, dump toxic waste on your neighbor's lawn? I'd bet most who read these words, no matter how intensely you believe that there is a God – if you found out for a fact that there wasn't – you would still remain, as you are, good people. And for the atheists: if you suddenly found out that there was in fact a God and that S/He/It/They (I think that covers everything) was of the fire and brimstone Christian variety, would your behavior change dramatically other than maybe going to Church and being a bit more respectful of "the Word" so that you wouldn't burn in hellfire for eternity (Hitler could only torture you till you died. A fire and brimstone God could torture you in ways that would make Hitler salivate.) I think how we treat each other is much more a socialization and conviviality process than a religious one.

            • In answer to your first two questions, no I would not and I don't believe there is a god. It would still be wrong to do the things you mentioned rather was a god or not. As for finding out there was a Brimstone Xian type deity, no, I would not bow down to such an abusive deity. Hell seems better than that and warmer too. Besides, I've already been through hell, here on earth and nothing, in my mind, could be worse than that. However, not all Xians worship such a deity either. Some worship a father figure type deity and other worship some other form of loving type deity. However these are all just human concepts of a deity and if there is a god, no human concept or words could describe it accurately. It is much like describing the Tao to even attempt to describe a possible deity. In other words, any and all human concepts of a deity do not actually exists, except in the minds of humans and if a god does exist, no human could describe it. To describe it is to not describe it at all, whatever it is.

              • BobVedari

                Right – that's exactly what I would expect from a civilized person. Ethics doesn't or shouldn't depend on philosophical beliefs about the Origin of things or whether there's a Creator(s) or not. I've never understood the linkage because whenever I've asked my question, to a person, the answer has been that they would not suddenly murder, steal, commit assaults, etc. The linkage is perceived, but false.

            • BobV….You wrote "Simple question: If you found out that the truth was that there really was in fact, no God, would you in your next breath do something akin to the Colorado shooter?" D…The "truth?" Sorry Bob, I don't see any "truth" in that question at all. Purely hypothetical. B…"burn in hellfire for eternity…Hitler, etc?"
              D…I've considered rhetoric and hypothesis like that for many years. And it doesn't work for me. I don't fear the future…including death.

              • BobVedari

                Your response is PRECISELY why I consider atheism just another religion. You OUGHT to be able to discuss hypotheticals. That you don't want to speaks volumes.

                • BobV…Oh I'm able to discuss hypothesis or any other subject all right. But to me hypothesizing leads us (me) in infinite directions with unending resolve. And so I'm not interested. Secondly, if my passing on a subject speaks "volumes about me" (your words)," that turns a friendly exchange of opinions, personal. And for sure I'm not interested in dignifying that either. Exchanging of ideas…of subjective/objective opinions, fine! Personal judgments…forget it.

                • BobVedari

                  So – you need to reread the original question I asked to which you responded. I didn't say that God's existence WAS the truth. I asked, if you somehow found out that God did exist… you can't respond with "there's no truth" because I didn't assert there was truth there. I said IF. (I also asked theists and polytheists and whateverists the same question going the other way.) What I asked was very simple, but let me rephrase the question: are your ethics tied to your views about the origins of the universe and the presence or absence of a Creator? If it turned out that your ideas about the origins of the universe were mistaken, as matters of fact, would you suddenly start doing things toward your neighbors differently?

                • Bob…"If"doesn't move me. What's possible does. I won't debate truth with you or with anyone else. With all the bible babble out of the way I follow Jesus' lead; "God (truth) is within me," And so I know what's true for me. And if I attempt to "explain" what's true for me, the truth is no longer true. OTOH, if you need to get personal, which it seems to be happening, this interesting exchange, will end. Donny

                • I follow Gene Roddenberry and the closest thing to this scenario is the Borg, except Gaia never did a thing. Only the Enterprise crew saved Earth.

                • BobVedari

                  @Donny – That you're taking this as a personal attack seems very odd to me. I'm not asking anything other than a very simple question, though perhaps I couched it in a way you consider annoying (I hate the word "offensive"). So once more: does your ethics in any way depend on the existence or absence of one or more Gods, cosmic muffins, etc.? And if it does not, then why should you or any other atheist give a rip about what anyone else believes? Why is it that so many atheists have such a bee in their bonnets about religion? I just don't get it. I see this as a very simple query. If you see it as something else, that's in your mind – not mine.

                • BobV….I don't view your reactions as an "attack" (your words). It's just that you're getting personal. Frankly the present conversation goes beyond your "simple query." Your comment about "not responding tells something about me" is personal….and unacceptable. If you want to opinionate about religion, the bible, God or Jesus…fine! But your newest general comment about "Atheists have such a bee in their bonnet" gets personal and judgmental.

                • BobVedari

                  you've self-selected to make it personal to you. But whatever – let's just end it as this is going nowhere.

                • BobV….I agree to end. However, to the contrary. This exchange did lead somewhere….nowhere. You understand paradox?

          • Donny, see my response to Bob below, esp the part about human concepts, the Tao, and a possible deity. That also fits in response to you too, esp your Buddha quote.

  • We appreciate votes! 🙂

  • No. It is the absence of religion.

  • Isaac J Harris

    I have to say that, to me, this seems pretty biased. I don't see any arguments presented from atheist who disagree that atheism is a religion, like myself, except those made in the comments by others. I don't know if that was the intention or if it was an oversight, but this is the sort of thing makes atheists throw up their hands and walk away. I really don't think that people who believe atheism is a religion understand anything about atheism, or they have such a broad definition of religion that it should include almost any topic, like math or history. I don't expect you to cut out arguments that favor atheism being a religion, but I don't think any attempt to represent our side has been made here at all. That seems like it does more to simply reinforce the idea that atheism is a religion rather than merely asking for input from readers. Here's something that might help, at least a little
    http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/ath/blathm_rel_religion.htm. Actually, this might be necessary as well

    • Deborah_B

      We usually don't write huge dissertations with every poll, as the polls are comment-driven. We did provide links as to why atheism is not a religion.

  • skater60

    Is Atheism a religion? No. Is Theism a religion? No. Atheism is a 'best guess' that no deity exists. Theism is a 'best guess' that a deity does exist. Both 'best guesses' seem to be irrelevant. What one does about their 'best guess' is what's important and that's what we know as 'religion'.

  • IMO, before anyone can label Atheism, or call any other group a "religion," it's crucial to understand what the term "religion" means or implies. To me the term "religion" (religio) means to connect, reconnect or belong to a particular group with similar beliefs or agreements pertaining to the existence or non-existence of a god.
    That said, and as a non-"believer," still I THINK Jesus had it perfectly correct when he (supposedly) answered the question…"Where is the Kingdom of God?" He said, "Within." So after years of pondering, I think Jesus' claim makes the most sense…in that within us ALL, is the God we seek. And so I celebrate my, and your Divinity.
    Donny Rothbardt (Life Coach)

  • Or, there is no god, no plan, no design. It could be the truth! Just because you think that you would find it very unsatisfying, should you find out that there is only the natural world (of the senses, and logic, etc) with no purpose, laws, or creator (beyong what we think of as nature), in no way means that you actually would be dis-satisfied. And, even if you are, so what? Some people may be dissatisfied that there is no perpetual motion. That in no way implies that therefore, perpetual motion must exist. Same for god! Some body here said that the best we can hope for here is a "best guess". I've thought that for years!

  • Michael

    Definition of religion: A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

    Atheism is the lack of beliefs concerning these things, does not involve practicing devotion or ritual, and contains no code governing the way we should act as human beings.

  • If "evolution" is the religion of atheists and thus teaching it violates the Constitutional restrictions on a government-sponsored religion; "Capitalism" is the religion of conservatives and thus must similarly be banned for the same Constitutional reasons.

  • There's only one reason Theists like to call Atheism a religion. They know it's not. It's just that they know it gets under our skin and they'll always get a rouse from us when they do.

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