Now some of them demand military chaplains, making clear that atheism is, indeed, a particular species of religion which demands priests and prophets to mediate the Ultimate to them, re-affirm them in the basic truths of their creed, foster social bonds between them, and do all the sorts of things that a religious community does.
It’s a particularly absurd sort of religion, of course. But a religion it is, nonetheless. And generally, a fundamentalist one, as heralds like Ditchkins demonstrate.
My vote for a summary of their credal formula: “There is no God and Dawkins is his prophet!”
Military atheist chapel sermon theme: “You are a piece of meat conditioned by chance and perhaps an altruism gene over which you have no more control than your eye color to engage in a sophisticated form of primate group aggression behavior. Your fellow primates are, for the most part, engaged in economic activity, leisure, and copulation and are not thinking about you at all. Should you be killed in battle, your meaningless death will not be marked by the universe and the few mammals who do remember you will be dead in a few years too. But don’t think about that because the secular state needs you to continue expressing your altruism gene in order to make the wheels of commerce run smoothly and maintain our economic hegemony as long as possible. Bottom line: You are a sucker–but a useful one–and if you can delude yourself that your sacrifice has meaning in a purely Darwinian world without any higher meaning than “He who passes on the most genes wins” then so much the better for all those who will be passing along their genes while you die.”
Who wouldn’t be attracted to a community founded on that vision of the Universe? What a vision of radical freedom without the tyranny of religion to weigh down the soaring transcendence of the human being unshackled from God!