Monday, July 19, 2010
Rational Response of the Week- July 19, 2010
This week’s rational response will tackle another common theist accusation.
That atheism is a religion.
This is patently wrong, and on more than one level.
It fails as an argument first, and as truth second.
As an argument it is used to discredit atheists from taking a neutral position on theism. It is the “But you are the same as us” argument.
Not a very convincing statement, as it almost appears to concede the harms of religion but disallows you to comment on them, because of your investment in another religion (Atheism).
Not useful to either side really as it doesn’t address the issues, it only throws out straw-man arguments to distract from them.
It accuses us of dogmatic behaviour so as to excuse their own.
So it fails because it refuses to address the concerns head on.
The second level is the level of truth in the accusation.
Is atheism a religion?
Free Online Dictionary/Dictionary.com -Religion; (def) A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
In order to be considered a religion you have to have three things;
Can anyone name anything that all atheists have in common?
Is there anything that would preclude an atheist from identifying himself as an atheist other than his rejection of the theist claim?
I would love to claim that all atheists believe in the power of science, but that isn’t true.
There is even a group called atheists against evolution.
Or that atheists all “worship” reason and skepticism.
But, this would be a false claim. Many atheists fall prey to such snake oil sales tactics of homeopaths and other false “holistic” medicines.
Or even that all atheists eschew dogmatic thinking, because as much as I would love this to be true, it simply isn’t. Nationalism has brought dogma into many an atheist’s life.
You don’t even need to believe there is no god to be an atheist (although the evidence would certainly suggest this).
All you have to be is unconvinced.
Atheism is a religion?
There is no atheistic dogma, no doctrine that we must observe, no common belief system, and no institutionalized “atheist” morality.
In fact I would challenge you to find a single common thread between us other than our universal dismissal and unconvinced attitude towards your god claim.
Well lets consider that one settled then.