Is Atheism a Religion?

Is atheism a religion? This question seems to be of interest to atheists as evidenced in an unscientific Twitter poll I recently ran that generated around 10,000 impressions and 1,500 engagements. 79% of respondents indicated that atheism is not a religion; 10% indicated that atheism is a religion; 5% indicated that they did not know or care whether atheism is a religion and 6% indicated that the poll made them mad. The comments that filled my notifications about the poll highlighted the importance of identifying the correct definition of a religion. Accordingly, I will present several definitions of religion to determine whether atheism should be considered a religion. I will further present reasons why atheists should want to be considered a religion.

Merriam-Webster defines religion in four ways: (1) the state of a religious; the service and worship of God or the supernatural; the commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance; (2) a personal set or institutionalized system of religious beliefs and practices; (3) scrupulous conformity; and (4) a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith. If the first definition is endorsed, atheism would not be a religion. If the second, third, or fourth definitions are endorsed (and if the supernatural requirement is omitted), atheism would be considered a religion. The third definition of “scrupulous conformity” applies to atheists who conform to the notion that there is no God or higher power.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines religion broadly (c.f., Merriam-Webster’s fourth definition) as ultimate ideas about life, purpose, and death. Atheists (excluding those in Buddhist or Jain sects or sects with similar beliefs) place a premium on this life and do not believe in the next (or a higher Godly purpose), so they live their lives accordingly. Their beliefs about life, purpose and death therefore differ from theists’ beliefs.

Because of the EEOC’s broad definition, the EEOC includes atheism among the protected religious groups under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This Act prohibits discrimination in employment against workers or job seekers due to their sincerely held beliefs. Employers cannot make employment decisions that adversely impact people due to their religious beliefs unless the religious beliefs are considered bona fide occupational qualifications. For example, a Baptist church may require a Baptist pastor as a bona fide occupational qualification.

Accordingly, it is to the atheists’ benefit to be defined broadly as a religion, so why do atheists resist being defined as a religion? Firstly, they may resist due to their conception that religion follows Merriam-Webster’s first definition and includes the worship of God or the supernatural. Secondly, they may resist because if atheism is defined as a religion or system of beliefs instead of a “lack of belief” in God, they can’t claim that theists have the burden of proof to provide evidence for the belief in God. In my opinion, it is the second reason that drives many atheists to reject the assertion that atheism is a religion…even though they may reap legal protections, tax benefits, and stronger rights when defined as a religion. In other words, I would advise my atheist friends to consider themselves part of a religion.

Before I close let me note that it is curious that some atheists care more about the burden of proof than their legal rights. Or maybe not. I also care more about God’s justice than ours.

Thank you for your time.

48 Replies to “Is Atheism a Religion?”

  1. Hmm… I may be the wrong person to ask. I am an atheist who studies world religions, I don’t follow one myself but the history behind religion and their foundings are of interest to me.

    I didn’t start out this way as an atheist. For years an attempt to indoctrinate me in a religion dogma brought me to the point that I rejected the teachings. I rejected the claim of a god because there was a lack of evidence. That pretty much sums it up. How does this make me religious?

    Getting back to the first paragraph… because I was often challenged by theists, I felt the need to learn more about various religions so I could defend my position that I reject the god concept. Keep in mind that Atheism in itself is not a religion but it is a rejection of the theists assertions that there is a god. There are however, religions that are atheistic.

    Why would I not want atheism to be considered a religion, because it is not.

    Instead of taking Websters definitions, you are trying to change the definition to define atheism. The EEOC is taking the position that having a religious belief or not having religious beliefs is not a reason to discriminate.

    I’m not sure if you have done so but you may want to take some time to research some debates on “Is Atheism a Religion”. It’s been argued ad nauseam over the years.

    Enjoy your day!
    Dave

    Liked by 4 people

    1. David, I was about to post what you just said, but I would like to add that, since atheism isn’t about mortality, life, or anything other than nonbelief in a god, that atheists are free to find their own ethical and philosophical systems. 🙂

      Excellent counterargument. It’s the same reason I don’t think atheism isn’t a religion.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Here are just a few unsolicited observations and comments.

    First, while I can appreciate the definitions of “religion” offered by Merriam-Webster, your post reeks of an appeal to definition. Topics like the nature of religion aren’t settled by dictionaries and it is why a whole branch of philosophy exists to discuss religion and religious beliefs. Dictionaries are useful but they are a lot like watching a movie in black-and-white: you may get the basic plotline but you are missing the color and nuance.

    Second, it is simply a non-sequitur to posit that because the EEOC’s broad definition of “religion” includes atheism that therefore atheism is a religion. The definition offered by the EEOC includes not simply theistic beliefs but also “moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views.” [1] Since we know that there are moral systems that do not require a belief in a deity, such systems would fall under the purview of the EEOC’s definition of “religion” even though they are not religions.

    Third, you claim that an atheist rejects having atheism defined as a religion because if they did then “they can’t claim that theists have the burden of proof to provide evidence for the belief in God.” This, too, is a non-sequitur and it is based upon a misunderstanding of burden of proof. If an atheist says, “God does not exist,” they have the burden of proof to demonstrate that God does not exist. This is because they have made a claim and claims require support and failure to provide support renders their position worthless. Even if atheism were a religion in the sense you are trying to make it out to be, any theist who says that God exists would still necessarily have the burden of proof when they make their claim.

    It is tempting to brand atheism as a religion in an attempt to level the playing field, so-to-speak, but what it ends up doing is rendering the word “religion” meaningless. We don’t call people who lack superstitious beliefs “superstitious,” do we? Then we should say that people who don’t believe in religious dogma belong to a religion.

    NOTES:

    [1] EEOC Directives Transmittal, “EEOC Compliance Manual,” 7/22/2008, https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/religion.html#_Toc203359487. Accessed 14 May 2018.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “It is tempting to brand atheism as a religion in an attempt to level the playing field, so-to-speak”

      That’s succinct and to the point. Between the cry “Atheism is a religion”, it runs along the same lines that atheists have a “belief” and “faith”.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And even words like “belief” can be murky. In philosophical terms, of course atheists have beliefs. But what most Christians think of as “belief” and what philosophers think of as “belief” are sometimes two different animals.

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      2. I agree. It seems overkill but sometimes I just have to ask “What is your definition of…” (belief, faith, god) because what often happens, two people agree to the terms but later in the debate, the definition changes.

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  3. First using dictionary definitions which are, by necessity, overly broad simplifications shows only the paucity of you thinking. The only portion of that definition that you can apply to atheism is (4) which depends upon a specious use of the word “belief,” implying that a lack of belief is a belief. This is merely legalistic nit picking, equivalent to saying that holding no opinion is of itself an opinion or that silence is speech.

    This legalism leads me to your second point, a fallacious appeal to the authority of the EEOC acceptance of atheism as a protected belief. Surely a more valid way of regarding this protection is as a protection of the right NOT to believe.

    In practice your argument boils down to the usual theistic complaint; that modern atheists are loudly defending their unbelief. This is then linked to the non sequitur that such defense must be the result of the same fanaticism expressed, both in the past and present, by the proselytisers of religion.

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  4. Not believing in something shouldn’t qualify as a religion. I don’t believe, but I don’t assert anything, I don’t join together with other non-believers, and I don’t want to convert anyone. I just don’t believe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you’d agree that atheists have demonstrated a great deal of care about legal rights at the points where Evangelicals are attempting to restrict them. For many, the legal fights are the whole reason ever give god a passing thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Atheists always claim the burden of proof lies with the theists… that they don’t believe there is no god, they only reject the beliefs that gods exist. This is ridiculous on many levels. You ever notice billboards across the country put up by atheists groups?

    That’s a very bold claim. They must not be atheists, even though they call themselves atheists. They “believe” god does not exist but they will never accept that statement, because that will place them in a faith position. This is a position they HATE, because they try to imply that only theists have faith, and they use reason. I wrote about this here…

    https://standtallforchrist.com/2018/05/07/why-atheists-love-to-play-word-games/

    Here the other aspect of atheism that is predictable… most atheists have a desperate need to be perceived as intellectually superior in every debate. So they will throw words like “non-sequitur” and “posit” around like it’s part of their every day vocabulary. Do you really think any of them talk like that with friends around a dinner table or perhaps they are just trying to impress people?

    Just sayin…. (a phrase I commonly use around friends)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Like moths to a blue flame they come.

    “Religion” and “Faith” are taboo words to atheists and they will never admit to either as part of their worldview, they prefer “reason” although a universe without a creator is as scientifically unreasonable as can be imagined…. mathematically impossible on many levels.

    They will also avoid making the claim that God does not exist, except they make that claim all the time. So they make the claim, then deny that atheist make those claims… confusing right? You ever see the billboards posted all over the country?

    The reason they don’t admit to claiming that God does NOT exist is because they don’t want to bear the burden of proof. So they come up with clever statements like…

    “Atheism is the rejection of theist beliefs”

    Did you get that? It’s not that they hold a belief that there is no god, it’s that they REJECT the beliefs of theists…. but that would mean there can be no atheists, if theists didn’t exist. If there were no claims to reject, then how would they arrive at the conclusion there is no god? It makes no sense. I wrote about this subject more on my blog recently….

    https://standtallforchrist.com/2018/05/07/why-atheists-love-to-play-word-games/

    Another aspect of atheism that is highly predictable… MOST atheists have a desperate desire to be perceived as intellectually superior, especially to theists. So in debates and comments they will use words they never use in normal conversation like “non-sequitur”. It’s obvious when these types of words are used in places where they don’t fit.

    As for me, I am just an average guy, who was once blinded by my atheistic worldview and now see the truth that is Jesus Christ… I do not have a superiority complex, I just stand on the side of truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly, no. By your argument, it is clear you do not stand on the side of truth, but ad nausea ad hominems, sweeping ill-informed generalizations, straw man arguments and a hotchpotch of misological mumblings. The Amateur Exegete gave a thoughtful logical response for which you have no answer but just more high-handed, anecdotal circular spin. Ironically, you succeed more at proving his point than yours. Tragically, but typically, you’re the last one to know it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do you believe there is no god? Do you believe that the universe came into existence uncaused, from nothing and completely at random? Or do you believe in something else, I would love to know.

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      1. Haha, more endless petitio principii. Your childish emotional proposals defy the Laws of Physics, Quantum Field Theory and The Standard Model of Particles. My beliefs and feelings are not relevant.I like to believe my intestinal gas is redolent of baby unicorn breath, and he only problem is when I try to convince others it is so. Besides, you’re looking for fairy tales in an auto mechanics manual. Stick to your Bronze age folderol, science, logic, and reason are way out of your league.

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  8. I marvel at how persistently religionists argue this point. It really sticks in their craw as they project, transfer and come up empty with a ridiculous answer to an inconsequential question. Of course, they think atheism is a religion because they are religious by design and exercise. They are indoctrinated in a mass manufactured ideology, dogma, and set of beliefs that have been forged over thousands of years. They are the human hammer that perceives every problem as a nail. It is the insidious nature of the religious brain virus. They usurp natural and learned scientific cognitive methodologies and replace them with a false epistemology of theology, doctrine, and dogma.

    As Alan Watts observed: “Christianity has been expounded by an orthodox hierarchy which has consistently degraded the myth to a science and a history… The living God has become the abstract God and cannot
    deliver his creatures from the disease with which he himself is afflicted… For when myth is confused it ceases to apply to man’s inner life… The tragedy of Christian history is that it is a consistent failure to draw the life
    from the Christian myth and unlock its wisdom… A myth is only “revelation” so long as it is a message from heaven- that is, from the timeless and non-historical world- expressing not what was true once, but what is true always. Thus
    the incarnation is without effect or significance for human beings living today if it is mere history; it is ‘salvic truth’ only if it is perennial, a revelation of a timeless event going on within man always.”

    To prove this we might well ask where are the soaring hymns and magnificent cathedrals of modern devotion? They don’t exist anymore. Instead, they congregate in football stadiums to the tune of hackneyed and hapless Country Western has-beens, syrupy lyrics, cheap guitars, and carnival hucksters. If they were truly drawing from the wellspring of myth, as Thomas Mann writes in Joseph and His Brothers: “Very deep is the well of the past. Should we not call it bottomless? The deeper we sound. The further down into the lower world of the past we probe and press, the more do we find that the earliest foundations of humanity, its history, and culture, reveal themselves unfathomable.”

    No, instead they wither away and waste their time coming up with stupid answers to stupid questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You could spend more time “marveling” at your own worldview (my assumption is atheism – correct me if I’m wrong) that cannot stand on its own and requires the use of other worldviews (namely Christianity) to remain logically consistent.

    You could spend more time “marveling” at a universe that science now knows had a beginning, and if true a first cause. From nothing, nothing comes, yet we are to believe out of nothing came everything without a prime mover. Even though the delicate state in which our Universe is held together is mathematically impossible.

    I don’t have enough faith to believe in that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Keith.

      Have you ever had an open conversation with an atheist, asking them what atheism is? Chances are you could learn a lot more by being more proactive.

      Unlike Christianity, Atheism is not a worldview, as it only answers the question, “Do i believe in at least one god?” It is a position of nonbelief. Atheists define their own beliefs and ethical system, and do not need any religious system to determine them, since they do not need to subscribe to divine command theory.

      On the universe, science does not know what preceded the universe, but we know there was a big bang. Nothing about the big bang theory states that the matter in the universe did not exist in some way or form prior to the big bang, and when physicists refer to the beginning of the universe, they mean of our current configuration. Please study the Big Bang theory thoroughly before you use it to claim it as “creation.”

      Ever wondered why the only people advocating ex nihilo creation are Creationists? Its because astrophysicists understand the Big Bang theory, whereas, creationists do not.

      The first cause argument is as old as time. Humans sesrch for answers, but, without hard evidence for one, they make a plausible sounding explanation up, hence the many gods of history. Your god is just the current incarnation of the first cause argument that stuck due to fire and sword.

      Nevertheless, I do believe the big bang has a cause. Where I disagree is that this is that this cause is a WHO and not a WHAT. We have no good reason to assume the cause of the big bang is a sentient spirit who loves a species of primate on a tiny speck of dust floating on a sunbeam on the far side of a spiral galaxy, since nothing about our physical world indicates this. It takes faith to believe the cause of the big bang had a sense of agency.

      And enough with the fine tuning arguments. How many universes are we able to compare to each other? We only have one that we can experience, therefore the probability that this sould be the universe we live in is 1. Without other universes evident, we have no reasons to assume the laws of nature would not produce a universe like ours after another big bang.

      It’s like you never studied the other side of your arguments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rob you are playing word games and using semantics as most all atheists do.

        Just like the billboard states there is no God! That statement is a belief. Period.

        The Big Bang Theory is the theory that all space time and matter began at a single point in time. That definition requires that matter did not exist previously. Again word games.

        You can say it enough of the fine-tuning arguments because you know how mathematically impossible it is that we are having this conversation right now in this very universe.

        With mathematical impossibilities around every corner being fulfilled by the bear University exist in we do not need another Universe to compare it to. We simply need Brilliant Minds who can conceive of such an possibilities and luckily for us we have them.

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      2. Dear Keith, I’d be less concerned with my education and style and more concerned with your own appalling lack of substance. By your own admission, your typos and poorly-evolved thumbs are the least of your problems.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yikes, well, like I said, you have a lot more problems to worry about than promoting archaic 6th-century beliefs formed before the harnessing of the horse.

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  10. I’m sure you’re a hale fellow well-met and I encourage your attempt to defend your faith. Keep on doing so. Hopefully, you’ll either improve or exhaust from the effort. Defending the indefensible is tiresome work. Who knows it may lead to a new vigorous weight loss program with your name on it. BTW if Mom is your theologian as well as your Personal Physician I’d consider getting a second opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Talk about my momma again son and Ill show you how we Ohio boys handle things…. not like you sissies in California.

      LOL I’m just kiddin, I love ya like Jesus.
      But seriously, leave my moms alone.

      Totally not serious. Peace be with you.

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  11. With mathematical impossibilities around every corner being fulfilled by the bear University exist in we do not need another Universe to compare it to. We simply need Brilliant Minds who can conceive of such an possibilities and luckily for us we have them.

    Keith,
    Do you understand that semantics is the first step of any conversation? Unless we agree on what words mean, it is useless to talk to one another. That being said, the subject of theism (belief in god) is a yes or no proposition. If you say “yes, I believe,” then you’re a theist. If you say “no, i do not believe,” then you’re an atheist. Therefore. Nonbelievers are atheists by the very definition of the word. While some atheists say there is no god, and are well justified in saying so (since saying there is no loch ness monster nor tooth fairy does not require universal knowledge, just a failure of demonstration of existence by the claimants), I would rather not hedge my bets in a universe where Thor is as equally likely to exist as is Yahweh. There are many reasons an atheist can be an atheist, but they ALL have just one thing in common… We do not believe in any gods.

    And nothing about the big bang theory says there was “nothing” before the big bang. In fact, our astrophysicists, like Lawrence Krauss, state that in order to create the singularity of infinitely dense mass that exploded into our universe, there must have been quantum levels of energy, not nothingness, in the first place. Therefore the big bang is not an example of ex nihilo creation, unlike John 1:2.

    And no, you can’t tell me anyone KNOWS how improbable it is that the universe led this way, because we dont have another universe to compare this one to, nor are we required to believe in the existence of another universe before it is proven, as that makes for crap science.

    Once again, i agree there are causes. Where atheists disagree is that the cause is an entity proposed by all the religions (gods).

    Also, impossible things never happen, but improbable things still do. Until you can show why the existence of reality is truly impossible, which you can’t, since we are living in it right now, then you cannot successfully use the existence of reality itself as a probability argument.

    In either case, how would you go about demonstrating that the Christian god is the actual origin of the universe?

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  12. Another interesting reason for atheism:
    The fact that youre resorting to probability based arguments like the finetuning argument gives away how false the biblical god is.
    The bible gives constant examples of people who didnt even search for hard evidence of Yahweh and he showed up to them. So why cant an omniscient omnipotent god who knows what it would take to convince me of his existence to the point of knowledge not do so, even less so after being a Christian for 27 years? It makes no sense whatsoever.

    You can believe in anythijg but it doesnt make it right. To prove. A weighty claim, like “There are universe pissing fairies” you need equally weighty evidence to balance it. Where is that evidence? Dont you think that if that evidence was readily available to all, that everyone wouldnt just believe…they would KNOW?

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    1. “Dont you think that if that evidence was readily available to all, that everyone wouldnt just believe…they would KNOW?”

      Out of the roughly 109 Billion people that have ever lived what percent confessed a belief or experience with God in some way? Maybe 95%? More? Evidence is available to all, but you have the right to deny whatever you like.

      “And nothing about the big bang theory says there was “nothing” before the big bang. In fact, our astrophysicists, like Lawrence Krauss, state that in order to create the singularity of infinitely dense mass that exploded into our universe, there must have been quantum levels of energy, not nothingness, in the first place. Therefore the big bang is not an example of ex nihilo creation, unlike John 1:2”

      Do you see how you just made a statement of fact? About something you cannot possibly know and you cite Lawrence Krauss as the end all be all in the realm of unknowable things???? This is what Atheists do, they claim that theists should stop making ridiculous claims and then go on to make ridiculous claims.

      “While some atheists say there is no god, and are well justified in saying so (since saying there is no loch ness monster nor tooth fairy does not require universal knowledge, just a failure of demonstration of existence by the claimants)”

      YOU ARE justified just as long as you agree your are stating a belief and making a truth claim about the universe. Don’t dodge your responsibility, if you want to make claims, stand behind them like a man. I would not recommend stating as a fact there is no such thing as a Loch Ness monster, that just sounds absurd, how could you possibly know that? We certainly have a lot of evidence of something.

      “And no, you can’t tell me anyone KNOWS how improbable it is that the universe led this way, because we dont have another universe to compare this one to, nor are we required to believe in the existence of another universe before it is proven, as that makes for crap science.”

      Why does mathematical probability have to cease to exist because we cannot detect another universe??? WHAT are you talking about? We can form ALL sorts of mathematical theories based on our current universe. We don’t need another, that’s just silly.

      Ill leave you with a quote from Fred Hoyle (who coined the phrase Big Bang, yet didn’t believe in it… stating it was pseudoscience that resembled arguments for a creator).

      “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”
      –Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle

      “Fred Hoyle and I differ on lots of questions, but on this we agree: a common sense and satisfying interpretation of our world suggests the designing hand of a superintelligence.”
      –Former Harvard University Research Professor of Astronomy and the History of Science Owen Gingerich, who is now the senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Gingerich is here reflecting on Fred Hoyle’s above comment.

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  13. Keith, you’re aware that the argumentum ad populum youre using is in fact a problem for Abrahamic religions, since it seems none of the three agree on the nature of your god, and those people who you claim for your god never believed in your god. There are at least 4300 different religions (adherents.com) currently, not counting the ones that previously existed, and monotheism shows up late in human history, only 3 millenia ago in Egypt under Akhenaten. As per today, 1.3 billion (Christianity) is still less than 1.5 billion (Islam), but each claims they “know” their version of the one god, and with each monotheistic religion being mutually exclusive, by the numbers game, you are wrong about your god. Your argument is crap.

    Well, that’s funny. We have never seen creation ex nihilo, but we have witnessed at CERN quantum fluctuations leading to reorganization of matter from energy. So it is very likely that the singularity didnt come from nothing, the creationist stance, but that there was something before the big bang. And you should agree, because you yourself quoted “From nothing, nothing comes.”

    I agree. Atheists who say there is no god should admit they hold a belief, but what you missed about my statement was the truth that stating there is no loch ness monster, no tooth fairy, and no easter bunny are justified because those who defined them are the claimants who failed to prove the existence of these creatures.

    And, let’s make this practical by making it a categorical imperative. Let’s make it a rule that says “Always believe any claim until said claim is disproven.” Well, this puts you in a horrible position. So, since we haven’t yet disproven the existence of Yahweh just like we havent yet disproven the existence of Saravati, Shiva, and the boogeyman, should you then live your life in simultaneous contrition and fear of all of these? No, my friend, the reasonable position is doubt.

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  14. About probability… What is the error when referring to the fine tuning argument? Probability is only effective when it is relevant to the conclusion. If the conclusion that “the universe is fine tuned for human life” is not supported, then the syllogism is invalid.

    And indeed it is invalid. To determine that our universe could have had variables instead of the constants, we lust first find another universe where such dials have beem turned. Without presenting the existence of such a universe, or even an area in our universe where constants are no longer constant, we have no justification to believe such philosophical arguments are based in reality, because they are not. Thus, they do not belong as arguments to justify a reality-based evidential proposition. You see, actual science is based off of evidence, amd until proven, hypotheses are unjustified.

    As far as Hoyle, i could care less what he thinks, as he never said it was a being, even less your chosen deity.

    Research professor and astrophysicist to the rescue, I guess. Perhaps you misunderstood what i was saying when i paraphrased Krauss. The argument does not obtain weight because Krauss pointed it out, but because we have evidence and experienced quantum fluctuations first hand. We do not, I emphasize, have incidents of creation ex nihilo, yet that is exactly what John 1:2 implies.

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  15. I’ve noticed something uncanny. There are a bunch of former atheists, turned Christian… and usually their background story points to their wife or girlfriend being Christian. In some cases, the family was technically Christian but did not practice. When they started being a practicing Christian… they looked upon their former life as being “atheist”

    I hear a ton of people tell me all the time “I use to be atheist”, lol

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  16. I think atheists in general suffer from a condition you could call the limited time syndrome. Even if evolution is true, it doesn’t mean that nature does not allow for us to live longer in some other form. Consider the time frame in which nature operates. Is 80 years not incredibly short?

    Compare the smallest particle we know of with the Planck length. There is a vast region of existence that most probably contain particles we don’t know anything about yet.

    What if the Bible just gives us bits and pieces.

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    1. Interesting argument from ignorance, Carl. Just because we dont know what sits in a given space doesnt mean there IS something there. Right? A closed box could contain a unicorn or anything else claimed… Or nothing at all. We have no way of knowing until we open the box. Every other claim is based on assumptions. The same applies to gods in alternate dimensions or “outside the universe.” The time to believe a claim is when there is an equal weight of evidence, but how does one prove a CERTAIN thing exists outside of our perception, even more so what it thinks about us or wants or doesnt want us to do when we are naked.

      By atheists, you really mean everyone. We all are limited in our capacities for grasping actuality, but we cannot. Nothing has the capacity for omniscience nor omnipresence, so we are all limited.

      Unfortunately, “what if”s have no bearing on “what has been” and “what is.”

      For “what has been”, we have artifacts and recorded history, which together span at least 10,000 years of modern human existence.

      And for “what is,” we have the scientific method, based heavily on the priniciple of evidentialism, the single most reliable way of mapping our reality to actuality.

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  17. Beliefs are factive: to believe is to take to be true. It would be absurd, as the analytic philosopher G E Moore observed in the 1940s, to say: ‘It is raining, but I don’t believe that it is raining.’ Beliefs aspire to truth – but they do not entail it. Beliefs can be false, unwarranted by evidence or reasoned consideration. They can also be morally repugnant. Among likely candidates: beliefs that are sexist, racist or homophobic; the belief that proper upbringing of a child requires ‘breaking the will’ and severe corporal punishment; the belief that the elderly should routinely be euthanized; the belief that ‘ethnic cleansing’ is a political solution, and so on. If we find these morally wrong, we condemn not only the potential acts that spring from such beliefs, but the content of the belief itself, the act of believing it, and thus the believer.

    You don’t have a right to believe whatever you want to – https://aeon.co/ideas/you-dont-have-a-right-to-believe-whatever-you-want-to via @aeonmag

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  18. The EEOC protects people based on stuff that doesn’t matter to the workplace. It doesn’t matter if you have a religious belief or not, as long as you can perform the job. I’ll admit, if that is their definition, that it’s rather misleading. But I guess they had to stick it in somewhere.

    None of the definitions of religion match atheism. There are no tenets, there is no conformity, and there are no required beliefs. The definition of atheism is very simple: no belief in a god or gods. That’s it. Everything else that follows (i.e. accepting evolution or science, humanism, watching so-and-so on YouTube, understanding or debating about logic, etc) is not atheism. Those are possible alternatives to religion for some atheists, but it’s not required.

    For example, I don’t believe in Santa Claus. This tells you nothing at all about what I believe. The same goes with atheism. If you want to know what an atheist believes, you MUST ask, because atheism tells you nothing of what they believe, what they value or what groups they join.

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