Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Religion is a kind of atheism.

If atheism is a religion, then religion is a form of atheism.
Bill Maher and other outspoken critics of organized religion are often met with the argument that atheism is itself a kind of religion. The implication seems to be that even atheists are religious, so therefore no one is really an atheist, so atheists are hypocrites because they say they’re against religion but they really have their own religion.

Okay. Let’s say that’s true for the moment. Let’s say atheism really is its own religion.
If so, that means we could just as easily say that every religion is a form of atheism. Religious people can’t be against atheism too much, because every religion has atheism as part of it. True believers are themselves atheists.

Look at it logically. Mathematically, even. If you count up all the gods people worship and count each one as one god, then every Christian, Jewish, and Muslim true believer is more than 99% atheist. Here’s why:

Almost every religion, and certainly every monotheistic one like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, says that there are people out there in the world who worship false gods. A dedicated monotheist looks at other religions in the world and says “that god doesn’t exist,” “those people are crazy to think that false god will answer their prayers,” “those people are deluded into worshipping something that doesn’t exist,” “this religion over here is just silly superstition,” etc.  

If there’s only one true god, then all those others don’t exist. So, when they look at all the religions on the planet and all the gods that people worship all over the world, true believers say that 99.99% of those gods simply don’t exist. They’ve eliminated the possibility of thousands of gods and left only one.

That’s just one step away from total atheism. An atheist just takes the argument one tiny step further. Atheists just round up from “99.99% false” to “100% false.” Really, Christians and atheists are arguing over a fraction of a percentage point. Christians deny the existence of 999 gods, while I question the existence of 1000.

If you were really strongly against atheism, you would become a polytheist or a universalist. That way you could at least have numbers on your side.

It's really not in any religion's best interest to say that atheism is a religion. If atheism is a religion and atheism is wrong, then that means an entire religion could be wrong. Okay, so what religious people are saying is that an entire religion could be made up of delusional people. Agreed.

And, if atheism is a religion, then atheism deserves protection under freedom of religion. If it's okay to teach religious values in public schools, and atheism is a religion, then it's okay to teach atheistic values in public schools.

Just simple, basic logic, no faith required.


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