The Religion of Atheism

Would love to open a discussion on this, especially to hear thoughts from some of my atheist readers. Debilis has pointed out some key questions:

 

1.Does this make Atheism into a religion, where hitherto Atheists have claimed that it is simply the lack thereof?
2. Does this set forth Atheist ‘beliefs’ as has hitherto been denied as #1? And for atheists, do you share these beliefs?
3. Is an ‘Atheist Church’ more or less helpful to Atheists than other secular or humanist assemblies?

 

Personally, I’m in favor of anything that brings people together for community fellowship and self-reflection, and if this makes it so Atheists are more comfortable doing it, then more power to ya. Though I can’t help but feel that they are merely borrowing practices of religion and simply taking God out of them. The Huffington Post aritcle states that members meditated and group-sang Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back In Anger.” Again there is nothing inherently wrong with doing so (though I would have preferred “Champagne Supernova”), yet an article by another (obviously biased) attendee stated that comedian Sanderson Jones’ “sermon” was more focused on bashing other religions than promoting the Assembly’s stated theme of “New Beginnings.” This seems odd for an assembly that is “radically inclusive,” ” a place of love that is open and accepting,” and “won’t tell you you’re wrong if you do [believe in God].”¹ As an assembly of like-minded people to reflect on their lives and minds, I support this new assembly, but if it devolves into nothing more than scheduled and organized religious bashing, I’d have to whole-heartedly withdraw that support.

Fide Dubitandum

atheistSunday Assembly (more casually known as “The Atheist Church”) has announced a campaign to spread itself into a global movement. The “Atheist Denomination”, as it were.

The criticism has been that these people are “turning atheism into its own sort of religion”. 

Personally, I think the criticism is unfair. The group is simply not religious in anything like a traditional sense of the term. But, I find that there are a number of interesting things about the fact that many (even many atheists) are making this complaint.

How so? Let me run though some thoughts:

1. This Assumes Atheism is a “Thing”

Atheists have recently insisted that atheism is simply a “lack of belief”. I find it odd, then, that they think that atheists gathering to share there (non-religious) beliefs turns atheism into anything. It could be a slip of the pen (or keyboard), but the same thing…

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2 thoughts on “The Religion of Atheism

  1. I can’t really see the point in it. Presently i’m chatting with a number of atheist rabbis. It sounds odd, but to them the rituals of Judaism are what’s most important. That i can understand if there is “cultural identity” tied to it, but for ordinary westerners who’ve jettisoned some inane belief in the gods there’s no reason to meet under a banner unless, of course, its something like TED.

    • Ignoring the implication that atheism=science, I agree. For a group of people to rally around a lack of beliefs is contradictory, so I fear that while they think they are gathering in the name of atheism, it will quickly be replaced by antitheism, as exemplified by Sanderson’s routine, which will simply fuel the fire of religious controversy.

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