Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

Is Atheism A Religion?

What do you think?

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October 17, 2008 - Posted by | Poll | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Depends. In legal terms, in the U.S., the constitution guarantees in the first amendment that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,…”

    The intent, it seems clear to me, and more importantly to the courts so far, is (among other limits) that the government should not be in the business of coercing people to believe things. In that sense, atheism is a protected form of “free exercise thereof.”

    But, as religion is often defined, e.g:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+religion&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=

    is not a good fit for atheism as most people who call themselves atheists would define atheism.

    That is, most atheists do not claim to be able to prove that no gods exist, they only claim that there is no evidence supporting the claim that gods do exist, just as there is no evidence of teapots orbiting Saturn, or fairies at the bottom of the garden. So, in that respect, atheism is just the lack of believe in deities, similar to the lack of belief in fairies or teapots orbiting saturn, and so doesn’t appear to fit with many traditional definitions of atheism.

    So, it depends. What do you mean by “religion?”

    If one’s aim is to get atheists to say that atheism is not a religion, and then try to assert, “aha! then it is not protected by the first amendment!”, well, (fortunately) the courts as of yet have not been that incredibly stupid, and such semantic arguments don’t hold up.

    Comment by scaryreasoner | October 17, 2008


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