Ran across this post where a theist talks us through why atheism isn’t a religion.
The first paragraph was fairly boring so I’m going to skip it. You can read it in its entirety if you choose by following the link.
I’m going to start in the second paragraph:
A few atheists have made a half-hearted go of trying to worship science. And if that had any lasting power, Sunday services might include playing a clip from Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. But the would-be science worshippers haven’t gotten that far, and it is highly doubtful they ever will.
Well, yeah, because worshiping science would be ridiculous. Do you think it would answer your prayers or hear you in some way? Would you build a shrine to it and burn incense?
Science is a method of observation and study. You’re not going to worship that.
They then move on to humanism.
Secular Humanism is sometimes brought up as something like a religious substitute, but so far it only appears to be a name, a logo, some manifestos no one cares about
Haha. There are quite a few of them. I think they’re a little more than a logo and stuff. I think humanists might be interested in humanist material so by default, I think some people care.
But then they demonstrate they don’t understand what humanism is in the least:
First, because it’s too amorphous to worship—as Chesterton noted, a god composed of seven billion persons neither dividing the substance nor confounding the persons is hard to believe in. The other reason is that worshipping humanity involves worshipping Hitler and Stalin and Mao and so forth.
What the fuck?
Humanism isn’t worshiping people. Humanism is this:
Humanism, with regard in particular to the belief that humanity is capable of morality and self-fulfillment without belief in God.
Come on, mate. If you’re going to write a post, at least use a dictionary or look up what humanism is before making shit up.
And I know that some people will say that atheists worship themselves—I suspect because almost all atheists define morality as nothing more than a personal preference
How would someone worship themselves, exactly?
Yeah. Morality is just a whim to us. We don’t think about ethics at all. We never consider the feelings of others or the harm our actions might do. We just toddle around breaking things, and doing whatever the hell we please.
And in any event, it is inherently impossible to worship oneself. Worshipping something is recognizing something as above oneself, and it is not possible to place oneself above oneself.
Finally! You’re beginning to make sense. Go on.
I think the physical metaphor suffices: if you are kneeling, you can’t look up and see your own feet. You might be able to see an image of yourself in a mirror, but that is not the same, and whatever fascination it might have is still not worship.
Jesus. You’ve really thought this through. Good on you, mate.
Did you try it? Because I just did and you’re absolutely right. But what if I kneel and look backwards through my legs? I can see my butt and a part of my face. Can I worship that?
It doesn’t matter whether you define atheism as a positive denial or a passive lack; either way atheism gives you absolutely no way to be in a right relationship to anything above you, because it doesn’t believe in anything above you.
My ceiling is above me right now.
Oh, we’re talking about above me as in something better or more powerful than me. Well, there are lots of things that fit that description. The sun is more powerful, for example, but I’m not sure why you have to believe in a god-thing to appreciate that.
Religious people know very well that other human beings are dangerous; there is no way in this world to get rid of temptation and sin. But religion gives the possibility of overcoming the collapsing in upon ourselves for which atheism gives no escape.
Human beings are dangerous. Religion hasn’t done a good job of ‘overcoming the collapsing’ though. In many cases, it lends itself to that destruction and makes it easier to justify it. It also insists that it’s right, inoculates itself to criticism and asks humanity to take bad ideas from thousands of years ago and pretend they’re okay now.
Individual atheists almost invariably hold unprovable dogmas with a blind certainty that makes the average Christian look like a skeptic.
Can you name some?
Atheism is not a religion, which is a great pity because atheists would be far better off if it was.
I agree with your conclusion. Atheism is indeed not a religion.
However, I disagree that we’d be better off. Personally, I feel better off being able to think for myself, rather than strap myself to a thousand (or more) year old mythology that comes dripping with dogmas that are clearly wrong, and often dangerous.
I do think we’re getting somewhere though. Spread the word my dear man. Shout it from the rooftops so other religious people can hear you.
Atheism is not a religion!