Atheism as a religion

I had additional thoughts about feedback provided on whether atheism is a religion.

Usually when someone paints atheism as a religion, it's transparently an attempt to make atheism seem hypocritical. "You're bashing on us for having beliefs, but you have beliefs too! Hypocrite!"

The word isn't the problem. It's not the thing that's objectionable by itself. It's some of the constituent parts.

As a comparison, I don't see proselytism as being intrinsically bad. My problem with "proselytism" is not that someone is trying to persuade me about something. My problem is that, what they're trying to talk me into, is incorrect. That's the problem. The moment the person switches to persuading something that is correct, my objection disappears (as long as you aren't being too pestering about it).

Similarly, my problem with religion is not that there's a group of people with common beliefs. My problem with most religions is that,

  • They're factually incorrect.
  • They operate despite rationality, evidence and observable reality.
  • They're constantly trying to push and force factually incorrect concepts and ideas into schools, legislation and society around them.
  • They tend to be socially regressive and oppressive (if not worse).

If the thing you've slapped "religion" onto don't do these things, I don't ultimately care whether the R-word is applied. Hint: atheism doesn't apply to the above. On almost all points, it's not even trying. Part of the confusion is that many people see not-explicitly pushing religion as being atheistic, as opposed the neutral secularism that benefits everyone, religious or not.

If you're going to accuse atheists of being hypocritical, it helps to adopt the definitions they're using, otherwise, you can't even make that logical connection. The general concepts of religion include, that we're talking about:

  • A central set of practices and tenets. Atheism has none.
  • A set of beliefs that supernatural things are real (spirits, souls, gods, etc). Atheism has none.
  • One or more holy books or scriptures. Atheism has none. Atheism has no "holy" anything.

It's debatable wither the atheistic versions of Buddhism are a religion, let alone simply rejecting all of the god/gods nonsense. To stretch, distort and mutilate the concepts of these words, ultimately renders the definition of "religion" unrecognizable, unrecognized and irrelevant. We joke about how the definition is often warped to the point that baseball is now a religion... but that's just shows the degree of manipulation people are willing to go through, to try to score some kind of argumentative point.