If Atheism is a Religion…

Critics of atheism, usually conservative Christians, assert that atheism is a religious belief. It is somewhat bizarre that people, who so strongly cherish the sanctity of their own beliefs, should characterize something so alien to them, as atheism is, as being a religion. – RationalWiki.org

Is Atheism a Philosophy, Religion or a Belief System? Answer: None of the above.Atheist Scarlet Letter

Atheism is not a religion. Neither is atheism a belief or a philosophy. Atheism is merely the word that describes the absence of a belief in a deity (god or gods). An atheist is a person who does not believe in a deity (god or gods). This is difficult for many people to understand.

This concept of “lack of belief in a god” is difficult for many people to understand. For people of faith, the concept of someone not having a religion is unimaginable. Everyone believes in something, right? Non-belief must therefore be a belief.To make it easier for people to understand,

To make it easier for people to understand, atheists have developed a set of clever analogies to demonstrate the point.

Analogies that can be used to explain the lack of belief are:

  • If atheism is a religion, not collecting stamps is a hobby.
  • If atheism is a religion, then pedestrians should be ticketed for driving their cars under the speed limit.
  • If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color.
  • If atheism is a religion, then death is a way of life.
  • If atheism is a religion, then “nowhere” is a place.
  • If atheism is a religion, then being dead is being alive.
  • If atheism is a religion, then silence is a language.
  • If atheism is a religion, then not drinking alcohol is alcoholism.
  • If atheism is a religion, then doing drugs is an addiction.
  • If atheism is a religion, then “off” is a television channel.
  • If atheism is a religion, then health is a disease.
  • If atheism is a religion, then abstinence is a sex position.
  • If atheism is a religion, then disinterest in cats equals zoophilia.
  • If atheism is a religion, then silence is a volume.
  • If atheism is a religion, then not playing football is a sport.

The suffix has more than one meaning.

The freedictionary.com defines the suffix, “ism,” as “an unspecified doctrine, system, or practice”. Often words that describe philosophical, religious or political belief systems often end with the “ism” suffix. Some examples of belief systems that use the “ism” suffix are hedonism, humanism, fatalism, fundamentalism, Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, liberalism, communism, and socialism.

Unfortunately, atheism ends in the suffix “ism”. Does this mean that atheism is also a philosophical or religious belief system? No, it does not. The suffix “ism” also means “state, condition, attribute, or quality” or an action, process, or result” or abehavior or quality”. Such words would include puerilism, pauperism, mechanism, senilism, colloquialism, heroism, criticism, cubism, or metabolism.

Senilism is defined as, “premature old age.” Cubism is a nonobjective school of painting and sculpture. Colloquialism is a word or phrase appropriate to conversation and other informal situations.

The meaning of the word atheism is also very clear. There is not a god. There are no gods. Atheism is the lack or absence of belief in the existence of a god or gods. The lack of belief is not a belief.

I am an atheist. I am godless.

RICHARD DAWKINS

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