Is atheist activism a religion? Sometimes believers like to suggest that atheism is a religion, and as such, atheists are religious believers. However I do not think that is true. Atheism, defined as just the position or view that there is no such being as God, is not a religion. In fact, even theism is not necessarily a religion. Some people can believe that God exists, and still not be religious. Holding the belief that God exists or God does not exist, does not make one religious. In fact, even if somebody holds the view that Jesus Christ is God, they are still not necessarily religious. There are plenty of people who believe that but live an entirely secular life. So I do not think that ones’ beliefs or non-beliefs make them religious.
However when we are to analyze their lifestyle, then we begin to see that they really are religious believers. Similarly, just by declaring that one is an atheist, does not make that person religious. Atheism is not a religion in the same way that theism is not a religion. It is just a stance about whether God exists. However, we often see memes or one-liners going around in atheist circles that say something like, “if atheism is a religion, then OFF is a television channel.”
I do not know if that is entirely accurate. After all, do people spend time watching OFF? Does anybody bother to converse about OFF? Does OFF affect anything at all? Are there OFF activists? Atheism, in many ways, is more than merely the negation of theism. It is often the promotion of the negation of theism. That is the aspect of it that seems to be religious. Thus it is not atheism in and of itself that is religious. It is atheist activism that is religious.
There are atheist evangelists. If atheism were comparable to OFF on the television, then it is very curious that there are atheist evangelists. There are people who are trying to persuade others to watch the OFF channel. Why? They argue that there is nothing on anyway. So the American Atheists write on their website, “Through lawsuits, innovative public relations campaigns, and education, we are working to normalize atheism and allow more and more people to set aside religious belief and superstition.” They are literally working to bring people to adopt atheism.
In fact, we see this attitude when we engage in dialogue with pretty much any atheist. Atheists openly admit that they are actively campaigning in their atheism, working in service of their cause, often through mockery and refusing to engage with religious believers in discussion. They write one-liners, create memes, claim to read books, all meant to shove the atheist agenda down the throat of the world. Atheists activism thus seems to transform this view of the world into an organism that maintains organized behavior, and in some places, atheist churches have even sprouted up. Atheist activism has become very difficult to distinguish from fanatical religious behavior.
There have a view of the world that cannot be contradicted. If one was to ask an atheist if they would accept the supernatural, the atheist would reply that, if there was evidence, they would accept it. But out of the other side of their mouth, they would assert that everything in the universe can be explained in naturalistic terms. If that is the case, then they are precluding anything beyond the natural world before even looking at the evidence. This is the view of the atheist. As the introduction to Cosmos: A Space Odyssey says, “The natural world is that there is, ever was, or will be.”
But this is really a naturalistic article of faith that one cannot go beyond the bounds of. If somebody suggests that perhaps God is the cause of some phenomenon, they are immediately accused of invoking God as the mechanism, when really, they are suggesting that God is the transcendent cause through which the mechanism came to be. The scientist who presupposes that there can be no supernatural leaves himself confined, closed, to a possible cause. This seems to lead us to the inevitable conclusion that atheist activism has impaired science, because it severs the scope of possibility.
While it can be tricky to define the word religion, the most frequent definition of a religion is a group that has “a set of variously organized beliefs about the relationship between natural and supernatural aspects of reality, and the role of humans in this relationship.” Metaphysical naturalism is the view that there is no supernatural aspect of reality, and human beings have no role in this relationship, and thus fits neatly into this category. Perhaps it can be held in similar regard with some forms of Buddhism, which are often non-theistic.
They are often close-minded. Religion has a way of confining people, closing the door to honest inquiry and skepticism. We can see that with many of its’ adherents, atheism has done just that. The role of honest skepticism seems to have all but vanished in the modern atheist. He is not so concerned with where the evidence leads, but how he can refute the evidence that the theist has put forth. He defends his presuppositions with the zeal of a religious fanatic.
Atheism can be comforting. Atheism can often serve as a crutch for those who cannot bear reality. If a man squints, he can see the door of death, and he knows that if God exists, on the other side of that door, there is a judgment. God is going to judge the way that he lives. The man does not want that. So he denies that the judge exists, and lives however he wants. Atheism provides the solace only a religion can in response to the fear of death.
Is atheist activism a religion? It has doctrines, such as metaphysical naturalism, materialism, and within some denominations, empiricism. It has churches, devotees, ministers, and evangelists. It firmly restricts against questioning or honest skepticism. It provides comfort for those who fear death. You tell me.
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