“Is Atheism A Religion Too?” My Succinct Answer.

A producer for a show I almost got to appear on sent me questions to feel out my positions on issues related to atheism. I am reposting my answers, edited, on the blog.

Agree of disagree: While atheism is the rejection of faith and religion, but in many ways itself has become a religion. It too has a set of beliefs. 

Atheism is not a religion any more than theism by itself amounts to a religion. Just as different theists are adherents of different religions, like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc., and just as some theists reject organized religion altogether, so there are atheists who participate in different religions (like Universalism/Unitarianism, Wicca, Buddhism, Judaism, and some forms of Humanism, etc.) And a great number of atheists have no religion and are outright hostile to religiosity. Finally, a great many atheists, regardless of their place on the spectrum of religiosity to irreligiosity are so disconnected from any formal community or coordination with other atheists that it is completely implausible to impute to them a shared religion with other atheists.

Even to the extent that a majority of atheists might agree on any beliefs, or to the extent to which an anti-supernaturalistic view of the world philosophically might entail certain other philosophical conclusions, none of this amounts to having faith commitments. People can have systems of knowledge and belief claims without those, by themselves, making for a religion. If their beliefs are grounded in attempts to proportion their believing to evidence and if their beliefs are the result of rational scrutiny rather than dogmatic commitments, then these are not “faith-based” or inherently religious. And if their beliefs and knowledge claims are not intertwined with rituals, community, identity, or numerous other aspects of religiosity, then they remain just a philosophy and do not amount to religiosity at all.

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