Michael Newdow Proves Atheism Is a Religion

I have argued for years that atheism is a religion.  Generally speaking, religion is:

a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. 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.

~ religion. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved January 27, 2011, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion

Notice how it does not require a superhuman agency, but it “esp.” does.  An atheist would argue that a religion is a set of beliefs about a deity, an atheist does not believe in a deity, and therefore rather than a religion, atheism is “without” religion.  However, I would argue that a belief that no such deity or deities exist is a belief about said deities, and therefore it qualifies as a religion.  Plus, when you consider that “science” has tried to explain away the origins of the universe and even life in absence of a deity, you not only have a set of beliefs, but you have a systematic set of beliefs.

As is often the case, though, whenever someone doesn’t like such logic, just redefine the words.  Atheism then becomes a state without religion rather than a religion (sort of like matter and antimatter?).  The problem with trying to redefine words, though, is that the old definitions have a nagging tendency to stick around for a while.

Like the word “blasphemy”, for instance.  It basically means “cursing or reviling God”, or in the mildest form, “irreverent behavior toward anything held sacred, priceless, etc.”  So, what is irreverent?  What is sacred?  That is, what are they to an atheist?  Can you really blaspheme unless something of a divine nature is being insulted?

“Devout atheists are forced to choose between not using what is often the only available legal tender and committing what they consider blasphemy,” Newdow argued in his petition placed on the court’s docket Tuesday.

~ ReligionNewsBlog, “Supreme Court again is asked to drop ‘In God We Trust’”, retrieved 27 January 2011, emphasis mine.

So, I guess in order to commit blasphemy, atheism must be a religion after all.

0 Comments

  1. Do you also think that "bald" is a hair color and that "not collecting stamps" is a hobby?

  2. Broadly speaking bald is a lack of hair and not collecting stamps is a choice.

    Neither religious persons nor atheists lack a world view about how we got here and both have made their choices to express their beliefs as such.

    Indeed people such as Richard Dawkins are as much a preacher and high priest of Atheism as anyone who believes there is God.

  3. Always, always, challenge assumptions. Ironically, I learned on the news just yesterday that male pattern baldness is caused by invisible hairs.

    So, yes, baldness might really be a hair color.

  4. "Everybody has faith in something. The question is what your faith is in." – Dr. Charles Stanley

  5. So, anyhow, is "not collecting stamps" a hobby?

    A hobby is "an activity pursued in spare time for pleasure or relaxation". IOW, it is not "a main occupation" according to another dictionary.

    So, a hobby requires something to be "pursued", which means it is active. So, therefore, "not collecting stamps" in and of itself is not a hobby.

    But! Actively avoiding stamps could be a hobby. You could build up an elaborate explanation as to how stamps came into being, why they are evil and the sinister motives of those who created them. You could sponsor scientific studies that go to great lengths to show how stamps are unnecessary to explain our existence and then write volumes of books on how the mail system could be better served by eliminating all references to stamps altogether. You could go out and preach on the evils of stamp collecting and call for separation of philately and state. You could then use the legal system to apply pressure to those who still espouse stamp collecting and practice discrimination against those who eschew stamps.

    Now, that might be considered a hobby.

    Everyone worships something, even if it is themselves. Who is the final arbiter of right and wrong? If it isn't God, then it usually is up to "your moral values" – i.e., yourself. That makes you "god" in your life.

    “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

  6. I don't golf so by this logic, I'm an excellent golfer!

  7. No. I never argued that atheism is "an excellent" religion.

  8. There once was an excellent football player. However, he was a terrible sportsman, since he didn't play golf.