Is Atheism a Religion?

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.”

Categories: AtheismTags: , , , , ,


  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. Right, Jim, heard that one before. Good to have Jacoby’s reasonable voice out there, and ours too.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Let each person find their own way. Life is filled with people of all types and thinking. In America, each person can decide for themselves.

  6. I have pondered upon these questions. In the bible, concerning the translations I’ve read (King James, Revised English Bible, Parallel Bible, and more), there does seem to be some contradictions, which to me, indicates differences in translations. Yes, it would be nice to read and understand, in the context it was written, the original words of scripture, but also to talk with the people of the time. Regarding Jesus being God, I haven’t read that. I understand He is the Son of God, and that I understand/believe. We have to be careful to hear, listen, and read, but not allow others to do the interpretations for us. That’s between you and God. If you rely on people, you will get as many interpretations as there are people. As I understand, the message is very simple. God, through His Son, created all that exists in the material world (But also our souls). He created humans with the ability to choose, which is the only way for us to love Him in return. The first pair chose to become gods in their own eyes, which is not possible, so sin resided in them, and through their line, passed to all of us. The bible explains this, but to those who choose to trust in God and His Son, they are freed from a life of sin. Perhaps this is over time or all at once, I don’t know. But the bible never said Jesus is God as I read. He’s God’s Son. And he continually relies on His Father, listening to Him as a good son would, praying to His Father.

  7. To each his own. Blogs are public, open to all.

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