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11/29/2006                                                                                       View Comments

Atheism Is Not a Religion

By Pete Blackwell

Some Atheists...assert that Atheism is not a religion but instead is the total absence of religion.... But this is like saying that "black," (which physicists define as the total absence of color) is not a color.... In common practice throughout the world, "black" is understood to be a color, despite the technical definition of the physicists. Likewise, "Atheism" is a religion, despite any technical definitions to the contrary. If black is a color, then Atheism is a religion.

—Rev. Bill McGinnis, "The Religion of Atheism"


You hear it regularly from talking heads like Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter (whose latest 'book', Godless, is subtitled The Church of Liberalism), and you're only going to hear it more now that the War on Christmas™ season is upon us: atheism is a religion just as sure as Christianity is, and all these heathens want to do is foist their religion on the good, god-fearing folk of America.

There's always an undercurrent of defensiveness and desperation in this claim, as if one's own faith is invalidated by the existence of a genuinely different approach to life and the universe. In making their convoluted arguments, people who conflate atheism with religion actually weaken the foundations upon which their own belief is built. Atheism simply cannot be a religion unless that term carries essentially no meaning.

Here's a handy list of qualities shared by almost all religions that atheism lacks:

There Is No God
First things first. Atheists do not believe in a god or gods. This is a tautology, of course, since the term "atheism" itself carries that literal meaning. Some atheists have suggested that the term cedes too much to religious believers and argue for a new coinage that captures what atheists do believe rather than what they don't. The fact that there is no such suitable term is a strong argument against classifying atheism as a religion, as we shall see. The denial of god alone, however, is not sufficient proof that atheism is not a religion, since many belief systems do not believe in god. Some, such as Buddhism, Taoism and Shinto—even Scientology—are properly classified as religions since they meet many of the other criteria listed below.

There Is No Common Belief
[The truth is out there] Contrary to what the O'Reillys and Coulters of the world will tell you, atheists are bound by no common ideology or belief. An atheist is someone who does not believe in god. Period. Beyond that, things get a little murky. There are the dreaded secular humanists, there are logical empiricists, there are existentialists, there are skeptics, nihilists—you name it. Not all atheists believe in evolution or put their 'faith' in science. This is why no one term could positively describe the entirety of atheism. Atheists as a whole are bound by a common disbelief—and nothing else.

There Are No Laws

Most religions feature a set of laws or regulations, ranging from what not to eat for breakfast to who thou shalt and shalt not kill and or covet. In atheism, this is entirely lacking. This is not to say that atheism is amoral (see below), but to note that there exists no universal atheist code of standards, either vague or specific.

There Is No Church or Ritual
It has become fashionable to claim that the Church of Atheism is the editorial board room of the New York Times or the chambers of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but this is nothing more than sophistry based on the supposition that all atheists are cut from the same (non-ecclesiastical) cloth. In fact, this is far from the case. Atheists are everywhere, in all walks of life (watch out!). The idea of an organized church of atheism in which its rituals are practiced by gatherings of (un)believers is a non sequitur.

There Is No Unified Conception of Spirituality

Unlike atheist religions such as Buddhism, non-religious atheism has no spiritual credo. Some atheists may consider themselves 'spiritual', while a great many do not. Some may feel some sort of connection to nature or the universe while others may feel nothing of the sort. In Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud called this the "oceanic feeling", and saw it as the source of the religious impetus. He claimed to have never experienced this feeling himself. Whether or not atheists have experienced this oceanic feeling, it has never coalesced into anything that could be called a religion.

There Is No Scripture
Christianity has the Bible, Islam the Koran; Judaism has the Torah, Hinduism the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Atheism has no scripture or sacred text. Darwin's Origin of the Species, while held in high regard by many atheists, doesn't count. The very fact that scientists are continually building on and even refuting Darwin's claims is proof that his version of the truth is not considered to be inerrant or divinely inspired.

There Is No Priesthood
In addition to having no rituals, atheism has no ritualistic leaders. Unlike virtually every religion known to man, atheism has no anointed hierarchy to lead its 'adherents' closer to the truth. This is not to say that there aren't prominent atheists. There are. But, absent the sacred texts and rituals of religion—not to mention a proper congregation—they do not constitute a priesthood or clergy.

There Is No Tradition
All religions have a tradition and a history. Atheism has many, but no single one that sustains a movement over centuries, as you find in every major world religion.

There Is No Founder

Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, L. Ron Hubbard—most major religions have a founding figure or prophet. Atheism has no such figure. There are many old-timers like Galileo, for example, who rise to prominence, but none of these atheists 'founded' atheism and none commands the reverence accorded to the founders and patriarchs of the world religions.

There Are No Holidays
Most religions have holy days (still, despite the all-out assault on Christmas). Atheism has no holidays, and no framework to decide when such holidays would be or what they might commemorate. Festivus doesn't count.

There Is No Identifying Clothing

Yarmulkes, robes, veils, turbans, sacred underwear and other holy vestments hold great importance for the majority of religions. Atheism has no dress code, although comfortable shoes are recommended.

There Is No Concept of the Afterlife
Most religions attempt to answer the question of what happens to us when we die. Where do we go to be warmed in the loving embrace of the lord? Where do they go to be horrifically tortured? There's heaven and hell, of course, and reincarnation, nirvana and moksha. Atheists have no concept of the afterlife, except that, most commonly, there isn't one.

There Is No Creation Myth
Now wait just a minute! How is the Big Bang any less of a myth than Genesis? Keeping in mind that not all atheists believe in the Big Bang theory, it's different because it's a scientific postulate that can be tested and the effects of which can be empirically demonstrated. If in the end this theory does not stand up to scientific scrutiny, it will be chucked on the trash heap alongside the bodily humors and the Atkins Diet.

* * * * *

So, atheism shares none of the characteristics common to all belief systems commonly known as religions. Even widely-despised and derided belief systems like Satanism, Wicca, paganism and Presbyterianism are religions by these standards. Atheism is not. Arguing that it is means that faith in god, ritual, community, tradition, spirituality and theology are irrelevant. Religion then becomes an incredibly paltry thing. It is not a source of solace and spiritual wonder; it is not a vehicle for bringing symmetry to the chaos of life and meaning to the void—it's just the act of taking a position on the existence of god. That's it. How pathetic.

Those who would prefer not to do such grievous harm to the meaning of 'religion' have another argument at hand. Atheism may not be a religion, but it is a faith. Because the existence of god can be neither definitively proven nor disproved, atheism merely replaces faith in god with faith in science. While this argument is subtler, it poses no less of a threat to the underpinnings of religious belief.

There is a fundamental difference between faith and atheism that cuts to the essence of what religion is. A scientific-minded atheist believes that science can explain the world and the universe. This does not require that it already has explained everything; only that it can. This is a world view based on hypothesis and evidence. For most religions, on the other hand, faith in the absence of clear evidence is a virtue. Evidence (or at least purported evidence) is not entirely lacking from the religious world, but it is beside the point. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.

Religious faith is a complicated thing. It involves the belief in god, but it goes much further than that. Faith is the trust in god and the acceptance of paradox and contradiction. It revels in the revealed truth and embraces the unknowable. In religious people, it is the umbilical cord to the soul. Science is not anathema to faith; it simply operates on a different plane of thought. Faith is 'belief', but it's not the belief in just anything. To say that atheism is a faith because it stakes claim to a belief is to denigrate all true faith. To have a faith and to hold a belief are two distinct things. All faith is belief, but not all belief is faith.

Another common misperception is that atheists merely put their faith in secular 'gods' and call them by another name. Richard Dawkins is a popular choice, as are Darwin and Carl Sagan. But whether an atheist is drawn to the ideas of these men or to Nietzsche or Frank Costanza, it is not proof of 'faith'. Plenty of people are widely admired, from the aforementioned thinkers to Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman. We sometimes even use religious language and talk about how they are 'idolized' figures. But there is a difference between agreeing with someone or admiring them and having religious faith in them. Without this distinction, the concept of faith is utterly worthless and the designation of 'god' is a meaningless banality. Certainly the religious faithful do not believe this to be the case. But there is no way to hang the mantle of faith on atheism without eviscerating one's own beliefs.

Once it has been established that atheists have neither religion nor faith, it is assumed that they must therefore believe in nothing. Atheism is then synonymous with amorality and chaos. It should be quite obvious that this argument is a fallacy based on a false dichotomy in which all the attributes of religious belief are necessarily absent from non-religious belief.

There is a facile assumption that morality belongs only to the realm of religion, and the codes of religious law are offered up as proof. Where would we be without the Ten Commandments? Coveting asses, no doubt. But there is plenty of historical and anthropological evidence to suggest that religious morality is simply a reflection of taboos and strictures that have developed over millennia and are intrinsic to all cultures, regardless of religion (or lack thereof).

* * * * *

"All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?"

"Brought peace!"

"What!? Oh... Peace, yes... shut up!"

—Monty Python, The Life of Brian


Once upon a time, Jesus said, "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" I'm pretty sure that's a fancy way of saying, "What, you think your shit doesn't stink?" It's a little snippet of scripture that every atheist should know.

I'm aware that atheists are an embattled minority, far less likely to be elected to the presidency than Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, child molesters and Frenchmen. I know some of the vitriol and condescension of the true believers at Focus on the Family and FOX News is hard to stomach. That doesn't mean you have to return the favor.

One of the biggest selling points for the "atheism is a religion" trope is the common misperception that atheists know that there is no god. Certainly there are some who would say so, just as there are Christians who have no religious doubt whatsoever, but these are not (I hope) majority views. Insistence on the absolute correctness of your position is not a sign of either faith or rationalist purity; it's a sign of hubris and epistemological immodesty.

There's no question that certain religious groups would like to impose their narrow view of the world on everyone. These people need to be opposed at every turn. But this does not mean that religion as a whole should be denigrated or dismissed as irrelevant.

Religion has been central to the history of humanity and there's no reason to believe it won't continue to be. The wisdom of the Greeks and Romans survived the Dark Ages thanks to religion. Gutenberg designed his printing press to reproduce the Bible. Much of the greatest art and architecture in the world was inspired by faith. Religion has been central to movements for social justice, democracy, peace and charity for centuries. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, religion has been the cause of and solution to most of the world's problems.

That is not an endorsement of religion so much as it's an exhortation to intellectual honesty. All atheists are not represented by a jerk who wastes everyone's time with irrelevancies like trying to get "under god" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, just like all religious people are not represented by Ann Coulter or Ted Haggard.

So much of the atheism versus religion debate takes place at the intractable fringes where there are so rarely either hearts or minds to be won. If we can surge past this white noise, however, we may come to a place where differences can be honestly respected and ideas can be exchanged in good faith (if you will).

Despite our differences we must strive for common ground, for that's the only place where we all can live.

What do you think?

39 comments:

jfraysse said...

"So much of the atheism versus religion debate takes place at the intractable fringes where there are so rarely either hearts or minds to be won. If we can surge past this white noise, however, we may come to a place where differences can be honestly respected and ideas can be exchanged in good faith (if you will).

Despite our differences we must strive for common ground, for that's the only place where we all can live."

WM: Excellent posting!

Pete Blackwell - where ever you are: Very well said, indeed! I also liked the parentheticals by of Homer Simpson and Monty Python! Bravo!

CyborgX said...

Black is NOT the absense of color, either. Black is the combination of ALL colors. If you mix all the primary and tertiary colors (if they are of mid to dark tone) you would get black. However, there is no way to mix the color of white. Because it is WHITE that is the absense of all color, thus the idea of white being "clean" (pure).

Try creating the color white out of any other combination of colors. It can't be done. But, you CAN mix all colors to make black.

One would have to be a student of art to know this, I guess, but also one could do this experiment at home with some poster paints.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a bit of an old chestnut but:

If atheism is religion, if bald a hair colour?

If atheism is religion, is not playing pacman (and indeed, not even putting money in the machine) a different way of playing pacman?

If atheism is religion, why do people starve to death? Can't they eat the nothing?

If atheism is religion, how come people who jump off bridges without a bungee cord don't just spring right up again?

If atheism is a religion, does the farmer who keeps potato-blight off his fields still lose his crop to potato-blight?

You get the idea, calling atheism a religion is probably the most facile argument in existance.

SpaceMonk said...

Cyborgx, paints are not the issue.
White is NOT the absence of colour when you are talking the light spectrum.
Try blending all colours of light together - they make a white light. Turn off all light and you have black.

Anyway, if a christian wants to debate whether atheism is a religion I'd just steer the conversation to whether christianity is a 'cult'. They'll probably want to shut up after that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks jfraysse!

Anonymous said...

To beat a dead horse...

Pigments, inks and dyes have entirely different properties when mixing for color than what light does.

With light, black is not a mixture of colors but absence of light to the eye. When light reaches an object it can be absorbed, partially absorbed/reflected (refracted), or completely reflected. We see an item as white when all the light has been reflected back to our eyes. We see black when all the light has been absorbed into an object. We see colors when only a portion of light has been reflected back to our eyes. The primary colors for light are red, green, and blue. When combined they make white light not black.

hugh said...

I was with you, Mr Blackwell, unitl you took that gratuitous swipe at those who would remove "under God" from the Pledge. Perhaps it's a fine distinction, but I see a difference between atheists and those who honor and defend the secular nature of the US Consitution. I THINK I am an atheist, but I know I still live in a secular nation, whose articles of citizenship (for example, unofficially, the Pledge) should not incorporate a religious test.

Anonymous said...

Now that's a horse of a different color.

freedy said...

Some claim that "anything can become a religion",..I don't khow about that.

Anonymous said...

"Some claim that "anything can become a religion",..I don't know about that."

Who else is thinking "Cult of the flying spaghetti monster"?

The above statement is probably true in a way, you only need to take one look at scientology or mormonism to see how a religion can be based of a bad sci-fi or fantasy story respectively.

Quite how you'd go about turning lack of belief in the supernatural into what would be conventionally regarded as a religion i'm not sure. Of course you could always follow the ideas of materialism or humanism "religiously" but then the term would have no deeper meaning besides linguistic conventions and in the end to do so would mean that you were no longer a materialist/humanist because you wouldn't be looking at all the available data with an open mind.

Nah, "you can turn anything into a religion but atheism" is probably as far as that quote extends, otherwise your just getting silly.

Praise the flying spaghetti monster you meatball-less spaghetti heathens!

Anonymous said...

I wrote this in response to a very similar complaint to Hugh's that was voiced in response to this post on my personal blog. I quote not to be brusque, but because I'm at work. My swipe wasn't gratuitous, I don't think. Just a garden-variety swipe.

"Newdow [the aforementioned ‘jerk’] gives a bad name to atheists and feeds right into the O'Reillyian/Coulterian argument. They conflate his 'crusades' with atheism in general. He's like Michael Moore is to the left: he may be right some of the time, but he hurts his own side.

I don't really believe that "under god" in the Pledge or "in god we trust" on our money is a real church/state issue. It's basically irrelevant. My biggest issue is that "under god" badly fouls up the rhythm of the original poem.

Just like right-wingers intent on banning flag burning, Newdow is engaged in a largely symbolic struggle that has little to no bearing on the actual lives of actual people.

The risk is that when an actual church/state issue comes up (like say, banning abortion or gay marriage on religious grounds), the FOXies and Friends will call on the Newdow example as proof that people who agitate for church/state separation are loony whackjob fringe characters who hate the Pledge of Allegiance and, therefore, America."

So, I don't disagree with the battle necessarily. But, if there's any wisdom to choosing your battles, I'd say this isn't the one. It's a tactical rather than theoretical quibble.

Dave said...

If atheism is a religion, then the opposite must be true... theism must be a religion. Theism is in and of itself not a religion. Religions may be classified as theism, but theism is not a religion.

If you replace the words atheist/atheism with theist/theism in the article above, with a few exceptions the article will still be accurate.

Leonard said...

No matter what we believe, we are all part of Ubbo-Sathla. I take solace from that.

I was spawned from Him and I will return to Him, and the same goes for all other life forms on this planet, from humans and dolphins and lions and octopi and slime moulds and fungi and geraniums and bacteria and cyanabacteria.. from the highest mountain and the single-celled spores that float in the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere to the lightless crevasses at the bottom of the ocean and deep, deep below the deepest cave... All is Ubbo-Sathla.

All the Muslims and all the Christians and all the Farsi and all the Hindus and all the Asatru and all the Jews and all the Jains and Baha´i, Daoists, Shintoists, Satanists, animists, shamanists and a-theists...
All will eventually join the Source.

Anonymous said...

Praise Ubbo-Sathla! all were born of him and all shall return to him! He is the alpha and the omega! In short folks; He's uber-skeletor from the he-man movie!

(p.s. I seriously hope the previous poster was making that up and that there isn't really a cult of ubbo-sathla...though I wouldn't be supprised in the least)

Anonymous said...

Heh, you'd probably be better off basing your beliefs on the cthulhu mythos than the bible, it contains fewer contradictions and at least while it's deities are immensely evil they don't try to call themselves good.

Warnepiece said...

CTHULHU FHTAGN! ph’nglui mglw’nath Cthulhu R’lyeh wagh’nagi fhtagni!

In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.

I believe.

Leonard said...

Phn´glui Mglw´nafh Cthulhu R´lyeh Wgah-Nagl Fthagn.

What you said was "In his insurance policy (ph’nglui) in R´lyeh, purple (mglw’nath) Cthulhu does the dishes (fthagni) dressed as a Scotsman (wagh’nagi).

And Cthulhu came to Earth to recover the key and secret stored inside Ubbo-Sathla by (what we describe as) the Elder Gods.
That´s why a space god is interested in human beings - we all carry inside us a fragment of the secret.

Warnepiece said...

Then it's true...the stars are right!

The Elder Gods will rise and eat us all.

CTHULHU FHTAGN!

Anonymous said...

My faith in Christ is not a religion but a relationship.
You are all so extremly smart and are too intellectual for simple faith in a God who inspite of your selfs still loves you and would love to have a close relationship with you.

Wes said...

>>My faith in Christ is not a religion but a relationship.

No, it's not. You CANNOT have a relationship with something who's existence is dubious. Don't be silly. Your relationship with this christ guy is no more logical than my relationship with Santa Claus.

>>You are all so extremly smart and are too intellectual for simple faith in a God who inspite of your selfs still loves you and would love to have a close relationship with you.

Soooo, we're too smart for GOD? That's worse than being silly. That's just plain stupid. You've just told us that you have to be Unintellectual and STUPID to believe in god! Thanks for that! Couldn't have said it better myself!! -Wes.

Anonymous said...

My faith in Christ is not a religion but a relationship.

So are you two engaged, are you having sex, when is the christ child due?

Anonymous said...

Think about this. I takes alot of faith to believe in nothing. Because if you are correct in your faith then i have wasted my life chasing a fantasy. but if your wrong you have wasted the only life you have to except Christ and unfortunately according to my faith Heaven and Hell are real and your destination depends completely on your belief in or unbelief in Jesus Christ.

Wes said...

>>
Think about this. I takes a lot of faith to believe in nothing. Because if you are correct in your faith then i have wasted my life chasing a fantasy. but if your wrong you have wasted the only life you have to except Christ and unfortunately according to my faith Heaven and Hell are real and your destination depends completely on your belief in or unbelief in Jesus Christ.
>>
It "takes a lot of faith to believe in nothing"?? Whaaat?? How the heck can you believe in nothing?? You have to have *something* before you can base a belief on it!! You CAN'T believe in *nothing* because NOTHING is not a *something* that can be believed in!! There's nothing there!!! I don't *BELIEVE* in nothing, you dolt! None of us do! We hold a position of neutrality - we hold NO BELIEFS; not in *nothing*, or in any unprovable *somethings*, like your *something* for example!! Heck - it's safe to say that I have zero beliefs in any regard!! Arrgh! How the hell can it take *more* faith to have a LACK OF BELIEF that is does to believe something so patently ridiculous like christianity?? You CAN'T be serious! Haha!

Choose some new material, please? You're another broken record. And Pascal's Wager is a rotten tactic to use when trying to rationalize your unreasonable and illogical 'faith' by the way. Go get a *something* that is real... -Wes.

Anonymous said...

Wes,
You speak of my illogical fath. If you look from a logical point of view, being neutral is a comfortable way to ignore that life exist becouse of some out side source, wether you persscribe to evolution or intellijent design.
One day your knee will bow and you will confess Jesus christ as Lord. And you will be haunted for all of eternity by your unbelief you had this side of the grave.

Benny said...

according to my faith (what you were indoctrinated to believe) Heaven and Hell are real and your destination depends completely on your belief in or unbelief in Jesus Christ.

So the section of the brain that holds beliefs, (indoctrination) (the size of a peanut) will be determined by God whom will be sent to heaven or hell?

Are you serious???

Benny said...

Who told you about heaven or hell or Jesus?

another person!!!

you were indoctrinated to believe

Astreja said...

To 'Nonny at 9:22 and 9:43 p.m.: Didn't you get the memo? Pascal's Wager is only a "good bet" if there's only one possible god out there.

Over the recorded history of humanity as we know it, thousands of gods have been worshipped. Some have much scarier Hells than the one portrayed in the Bible. What are you doing to safeguard your hypothetical immortal soul against, say, Allah?

And don't give us that "false gods" crap, either. Until you present actual physical proof that your god exists, it exists only in your imagination.

Anonymous said...

>> you were indoctrinated to believe

I choose to believe inspite of the indoctrination I have been exposed to. Just as many have chosen to not believe inspite of the indoctrination they have been exposed to. Belief is a choice, it is not an unvolintary (penut) mind set brought on by indoctrination. It is a choice, and that chioce like it or not was given by God. The very complex nature of the earth speaks to the existance of God.

Wes said...

>>Wes,
You speak of my illogical fath. If you look from a logical point of view, being neutral is a comfortable way to ignore that life exist becouse of some out side source,

Please elaborate on how being neutral is akin to 'ignoring that life exist becouse of some out side sourse". What am I ignoring? What is so blatantly obvious to me that I am deciding to 'ignore'?

>>
One day your knee will bow and you will confess Jesus christ as Lord.

That's got to be the fifteenth million time we have heard that tired old stupid phrase, no doubt taken verbatim from your *holy book*. I choose to ignore your automaton godbot responses; they are not worth consideration.

>>And you will be haunted for all of eternity by your unbelief you had this side of the grave.

Well, that's only what you believe, my friend. And, again, you have nothing to back your statement. You haven't a single shred of proof to support your silly threats. So, blah, blah, blah. -Wes.


>>

Anonymous said...

I have cast pearls before swine.
-Anonymous Christian-

Benny said...

By your own admission!

I choose to believe inspite of the indoctrination I have been exposed to. exactly!


Quit casting your swine feces before pearls!!!

Astreja said...

Anonymous @ 10:23 p.m.:

"It is a choice, and that chioce like it or not was given by God."

???

Alrighty then! If your god is the one that's setting us up to not believe, then *it* can be the one that goes to hell.

On a related note, has anyone ever prayed in Jesus' name for Christianity to be destroyed?

Wes said...

>>
I have cast pearls before swine.
-Anonymous Christian-
>>

No, you didn't. You took a crap and forgot to wipe. Dumbass drive-by fundy. -Wes.

J. C. Samuelson said...

"One day your knee will bow and you will confess Jesus christ as Lord. And you will be haunted for all of eternity by your unbelief you had this side of the grave."

Well then, if it's up to Jesus, what are you doing here? If your only purpose was to come here and reinforce the idea of hell in the vain hope that someone would be fearful enough to return to the faith, then I suggest you need to find another hobby.

Just sayin'...

Wes said...

They don't get it, J.C. - these guys will never get it. It's like dealing with the mentally challenged. So much in fact, I treat them as such, because other than feeling bad for them, what else can you do? -Wes.

Warnepiece said...

I don’t know whether the anonymous posters realize it (Probably not, they don’t seem to be the sharpest tools in the shed) but what they are in essence saying is that god only wants jackasses in heaven with him.

Leonard said...

Dear Anonymous (who could not be bothered to think up a name)...

Does it not strike you as odd that smart people do not believe in your god, while the less intellectually gifted are strongly attracted by the dubious benefits of your faith?

Also: your passive-aggressive tactics of "If I am wrong, I am OK anyway, but if you are wrong, God will punish you!" and "Belief and/or unbelief are not determined by biochemistry but by choice" reflect a very stunted, ignorant mind. Were you, in fact, educated? If so, how?
Have you ever applied critical thought to the things you believe?
If not, why not?

imaginary sky daddy said...

If there is a god of the buybull or other gods, they haven't revealed themselves. And it's a damn good thing that they haven't, because no one would have a single chance of heaven, because of what the "good book" expects of people. That's perfection and is impossible.
And whether there's an afterlife or not, no one has the answers, and no one ever will living in there bodies.

Just Me said...

The way I see it, neither theism nor atheism are religions. They only relate to one given belief, that in god. However, specific theistic belief systems(like Christianity or Islam) are religions, just the same as specific atheistic belief systems (such as secular humanism or Buddhism)

I'm not quite sure were one of no faith at all, such as scientism would stand.