Spoiler alert:  No.

Ok, next time someone says atheism is a religion, here’s a good response from Susan Jacoby (Strange Gods, 2017):

“As an adult, I came to regard ‘losing’ my faith as an experience that had much in common with the end of a bad love affair:  first came a certain sense of regret for the loss of a familiar presence, then relief at liberation from a relationship that had required me to behave in a fashion at odds with my deepest instincts about what constitutes a good and honorable life.  Sincere religious faith is both a relationship and a love affair.  That is one of the many reasons atheism is not a religion.

Another reason is the undeniable intellectual relationship between atheism and science. The most specious and most frequently cited argument against atheism is that it is ‘just another religion,’ because science is its divinity.  The argument is rooted in a basic misunderstanding of the scientific method … .

Nor is atheism a religion on an institutional or communal level … [which is] one of its greatest disadvantages in what Americans call the religious marketplace.”

7 thoughts

  1. Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position. I don’t think we in the west know enough about all the other gods to dismiss them outright. We know the Christian god is no threat, but is it ok to fear the ones we don’t know? That’s is usually the backbone of fear..ignorance.

  2. The difficulty is separating what other’s believe and tell you from your own course and path. You can’t judge the bible by followers. We can’t judge Christianity by Christians. In all beliefs, there are those that don’t follow the one who brought the beliefs forward. From what I understand, Christianity is a relationship between you and God, through His Son. That’s your venture. **This relief some people speak of might be release from pressure by those who don’t actually follow real Christianity, but dogma. It might also be what was happening in the garden with Adam and Eve, for they looked to be gods themselves rather than follow the one True God.

    1. I don’t find it difficult to separate what others believe from my own path. And, yes, I think we can judge the bible by its purported “followers.” If we can’t judge a religion by those who claim a religion, what’s the point of religion? Who can say what “real Christianity” is? I’m not sure I see the connection with the Eden story. But, thanks for the comment.

      1. That’s the difficulty. From all I’ve read, with every religion, there are those who distort the original person who others followed. Human beings, being what we are, there are many that misinterpret and continue in that or this religions’ name. If I like Bhudism, I read the words of Buddha himself, not what the followers say. **What Chrisitianity is, as best I can share in a few words, is God made humanity, free to choose. However, finding that humans would not resist the temptation to think themselves god, for we see humans want to know everything for themselves, they sinned by separating themselves from God in their disbelief. All humans do this in one form or another. Jesus Christ came, in the flesh, as man, to show all of us one person who never sinned, never thought to make himself god, always following and listening to His Father.

  3. That’s a rather strange description. Who determines who is “misinterpreting”? Jesus “never thought to make himself god”? The whole history of Christianism is based on that. Do we have the original words of Jesus, any more than the original words of Buddha, Moses, Muhammad? Maybe not. So, we have to guess, then see how his “followers” live out his “message.” We may discover that many people who do not believe in Jesus as god live his basic message the same or even better than his purported followers.

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