Home > Uncategorized > An Atheist’s Perspective: The Religions Question III

An Atheist’s Perspective: The Religions Question III

While I believe that I have exhausted the main reasons that atheism is declared a religion, we now have to wonder why this claim is so strenuously adhered to. Aside from the two particular claims that i have addressed previously the others are relatively minor, and most of them center around the alleged indoctrination of principles that are anti-religion, which in the U.S. means anti-Christian. Because there is a large group of people that want to teach science in science classes, this is received by the fundamentalists and the literalists as being part of an anti-Christian/atheist conspiracy. I however covered this last week.

One of the issues that we can see at the center of this debate is that as religion loses ground, they must feel that something is to blame. Surely their omnipotent deity cannot be wrong about the world as laid down in whatever text the theist believes in, but something is happening. Currently the number of avowed atheists in the country hovers around 5%, which is the highest it has ever been. This number has overtaken Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism by percent in population. I stress “avowed” since typically Americans over represent their religiosity in this country and in many places it is socially anathematizing to declare oneself an atheist (there are seven states in the US, which officially ban atheists from holding office in violation of the Constitution). I’m not claiming that the number is significantly higher but that this is a factor which must be considered when looking at the data. 

So why is it that a disparate group of people who only have one link in common–atheism, is considered a religion? It’s not a federal designation or I wouldn’t pay taxes, and no philosophical designation does the same; so where does it come from? In order to discover this one must look at where the claim originates. The chorus of accusation usually comes from the most religious of the theists. It is curious claim of this group to make because they use it as a slander unaware of how a religious person using he word “religion” as an insult is ironic at best. 

If it were merely their goal to claim that atheists are hypocrites because they have a religion too, that would be one thing: it wouldn’t be any closer to being correct but it would be less wrong. What they are missing is that you can have no religion and still believe in a god, this is what is known as agnosticism. Atheists typically believe that the question is, so far unanswerable; agnostics separate themselves by claiming that there definitely is a god but that it’s qualities are unknowable. They are, at the very least deists who believe that religion is man made but the Divine is a certainty. This group gets utterly ignored because its very existence means that you can believe in a god and yet still think that X sect of Christianity is false, or even that all Christianity is false. To them, this is simply cannot be. 

It’s also worth pointing out their need for an enemy. The more fervent the individual the more and more they seem to believe in a group of people that are seeking to undermine what they feel is the the flimsy string which is holding together morality: their particular branch of their particular religion. As adherence to a particular sect of any religion in the West is trending downward something needs to be blamed and why not an organized militant group of disbelievers that have shunned adherence to two thousand year old mythology stories with no argumentative legitimacy, that have excised religious fables from science, and think sexual preference is no business of the general public? Atheism, as a concept, serves this role relatively well as it always has even unto the days of the Ancient Greek world. 

The trouble is that this is wholly a fiction of their own invention. We are not a unified group, and even if we were how could such a small group control so much when even claiming doubts about religion in general (and Christianity in particular) is essentially a political death sentence? Ask Rand Paul who was forced to dial back his love of Ayn Rand–whom is the libertarian patron saint–an ardent atheist for his Christian roots.* 

To close this series, atheism is not a religion. It is only claimed so by people in search of a villain who are blind to the reality that it is their failure to adapt to the modern world which is causing them to lose people. Not some sinister cabal which does not exist (if it does, can I apply or do they contact me?).

 

*I’m not claiming that Rand Paul is an atheist, but Ayn Rand definitely was as well as her libertarian materialist individualistic point of view. 

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  1. May 10, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Thank you! That was amazing 🙂

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