My thought behind the thought that Athiesm might be kind of a religion

Many atheists are offended by the opinion that atheism is a belief system just as religion is a belief system.

“No, I don’t have beliefs. I don’t believe in God, therefore I don’t have a belief. Duh.” I hear this general argument sometimes.

“If atheism is a religion, then abstinence is a sex position” is an analogy by a famous person, but I forget who. Google it.

The only thing more terrifying than a self-righteous ideology is the denial of that ideology. “This is not how I think, this is how it is.” “We aren’t having a disagreement; I am right and you are wrong.” “Well no, I can’t, like, physically prove it to you, but you can’t prove yourself right, either.” “You’re illogical, so I’m right.”

I don’t believe it is disagreement that causes wars, or different opinions that cause violence; it is the way people react to these differences that causes the problems.

How I see it:

“I don’t believe in God” = “I believe there is no god”

That isn’t lacking a belief, it’s having a negative belief.

“I don’t believe in Bigfoot”= “I believe there is no Bigfoot”

I have a belief. I believe there is no Bigfoot. Now, if I’ve never heard of Bigfoot, then I wouldn’t have a belief about Bigfoot. How can you believe in something if you’ve never heard of it? But, once I’ve heard of Bigfoot, heard what people say about Bigfoot, and decide that I believe Bigfoot isn’t real, then I have a belief.

My boyfriend kind of believes in Bigfoot. Obviously, I think he is ridiculous, but he thinks I’m ridiculous, too. We see the same evidence, same shows, hear the same stories, but we have different, equally thought-out conclusions. I  accept that my “non-belief” is actually  just as much a belief as his. Neither one of us is right because neither one of us knows.

Now the question is: Well what’s a religion?

I’ll start by saying this: I believe there is a difference between religion and organized religion. Otherwise, there would be no point of the term “organized religion.”

Examples of organized religion: Christianity, Buddhism, Catholicism, Pastafarianism (albeit a rare religion)

What are these things? Essentially, they are sets of beliefs that guide a person’s way of living. Christianity isn’t a bible, Christianity isn’t going to church. Christianity is what you believe and how that guides your decisions.

So, do atheists have beliefs? Yes. They believe that God isn’t real.

Does this belief determine the way the person lives? Yes. They have sets of morals based on his or her own interpretations of morals, values, etc. They probably don’t go to church on Sunday or spin the dreidel during Hanukkah.  Many atheists probably have similar ideas about the beginning of the universe and life; most could probably come to some sort of general agreement about where life comes from, how the earth was created, etc.

So who cares? Why does it matter?

It doesn’t, really. My main concern is why people are so afraid to admit they have belief systems. This applies to people of any religious affiliation. I feel it is incredibly dangerous that some people cannot accept that his or her way of thinking is merely his or her belief, just as every other person’s way of thinking is based on a set of beliefs. There are some things we can never know. Get over it.

Love you, bye!

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. NotAScientist
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 18:05:51

    The problem is that you are throwing around the words ‘belief’ and ‘belief system’ interchangeably, when they don’t in fact mean the same thing.


    • Andrea
      Mar 01, 2012 @ 18:28:32

      I apologize for not being clear.
      In reference to this, a belief would be “god is not real,” and a belief system would be the aforementioned consequences (not going to church, believing in big bang theory, etc.).
      A belief system is a system of beliefs. Is that differentiated to your liking?


      • NotAScientist
        Mar 01, 2012 @ 18:32:05

        It is, but you can’t get a belief system out of a single belief. There are dozens if not hundreds of belief systems that single beliefs can be compatible with.

      • Andrea
        Mar 01, 2012 @ 18:54:25

        You don’t think people form entire systems on one belief? A belief in God never shapes the rest of a person’s beliefs? A person doesn’t decide that homosexuality, open relationships, murder, and lust are all wrong because of the one belief that the bible is true?

        Even if I am misusing the terms “belief” and “belief system,” I’m not sure I understand why exactly it’s a problem for you. Could you elaborate on how it delegitimizes my theory?

  2. NotAScientist
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 19:05:18

    “You don’t think people form entire systems on one belief?”

    No, I don’t.

    Here’s your one belief: God exists.

    Okay…so where do you go from there? I don’t know.

    What kind of god is it? Does he wear horns and carry a hammer? Does he have a beard and walk on water? Does he appear as a burning bush and destroy cities?

    Just believing in god is not enough. You need more beliefs to make your system.

    Even ‘the bible is true’ is more than one belief…it’s a pile of beliefs.

    Atheism, on the other hand, is one belief. (At the most.) And you can’t get anywhere else unless you have other beliefs.


    • Andrea
      Mar 01, 2012 @ 19:32:29

      I’m not suggesting that people should base entire belief systems on one belief (I’m not a big fan of “should”), I’m simply saying that it happens. We’ll have to disagree here, because I feel confident that people do base their entire belief systems on one belief.

      This by no means assumes that all people who believe a particular thing necessarily have the same belief systems, that’s absurd.

      I see “the bible is true” as one belief that leads to individual beliefs (gay is wrong (because the bible is true), birth control is wrong (because the bible is true), etc. etc.) Again, we’ll have to disagree.

      As for people who believe there is no god:
      One belief: There is no God
      Another belief that logically follows: therefore the earth was not created by God
      Another belief that logically follows: therefore it must have been created by some other natural forces
      Another belief that logically follows: therefore people who believe otherwise are incorrect.

      If a person doesn’t base a belief system on a belief, then what do you suggest they base their beliefs on? The more theories to which we are exposed, the more we learn, eh?


  3. tnmusicman
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 19:24:01

    Actually,you sum it up very accuratly. I look at it as you do,essentially. What I find a bit angering,if not appauling, is that back in 1962 (I believe ) secular humanism ( which would encompass atheism ) was deemed a “religion”. Now,atheists will usually bark till the cows come home that they are in fact NOT a religion. Here comes the angering part. Secular humanism is a religion for free exercise clause purposes but it is not a religion for establishment clause purposes!!
    A teacher can talk about his religion for an entire period as long as his religion is secular humanism, but he can NOT talk about his religion if it’s Christianity. Heck,Christians can’t discuss their beliefs among other Christians (even if it’s during lunch period) because someone that’s not a Christian might over-hear the conversation and get all red in the face about it. Geez,if it bothered me that much I would get up and move!! This is what’s going on at our schools nowdays. Now,don’t get me wrong. If schools want to teach evolution and humanism then fine but at least teach it alongside Christianity and other mainstream “religions”.
    Needless to say the atheists talk out of both sides of their mouth on the whole “religion” issue. When they want the benefits then they suckle at the proverbial religious teet but don’t dare call atheism a religion in casual conversation for fear of offending the giant spaghetti monster!!


    • Andrea
      Mar 01, 2012 @ 19:39:31

      You may be pleasantly surprised at what Ohio’s State Standards require students to learn. I am a substitute teacher, and in a 6th grade Social Studies class they are learning about Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and a number of religious traditions in ancient civilizations. Fortunately, it’s a small school in a tightly-knit community so religious talk isn’t too much trouble. I’ve talked to students about why I say “goodness” and “gosh” instead of “God,” and I’ve talked to some about their atheism and how that translates in their lives (one kid was condemning homosexuality, but claimed to be atheist, so we talked about why he felt that way–obviously not because the bible says so). Although the conversation ended when he realized he was running out of reasons, it was a great opportunity for self-reflection. It’s unfortunate that this can’t happen more often.
      Thanks for the feedback!


  4. the warrioress
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 07:30:19

    You make a lot of sense in this post… I sure hope more atheists read it.


  5. tnmusicman
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 01:41:08

    I look forward to more blogs ( especially on spiritual issues ).


  6. Deskeptor
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 03:46:49

    For me, agnosticism is the absence of religion, not atheism. Atheism tells me what is true, and I am unable to test their claim(s) with the scientific method. Religious people tell me what is true, and I am unable to test their claims with the scientific method either. So to me, they are both religions. God Infinity-ism and God Empty-set-ism. I think both groups push inerrant agendas too much. I do not buy either agenda. I am a skeptic.

    I would rather say that I do not know, and turn that whole mode of discourse off. Instead, I seek to understand what is natural, and not pretend that I know the boundaries of what is natural either. I am a skeptic of me, as well.


    • Andrea
      Mar 03, 2012 @ 12:43:18

      Thanks so much for your feedback! I love the idea of being “a skeptic of me, as well.” It’s dangerous that some people only require their own approval to feel undoubtedly correct. Some people also condemn skepticism and consider it ignorance or or weak-minded. I’m glad there are people like you in the world who aren’t self-righteous who can say “I don’t know!”


  7. Trackback: Think a little more « Devil`s Words
  8. Rusty Southwick
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 05:05:42

    Atheists are afraid of lending any credence at all to religious belief, and so they want to try to distance themselves as far as possible in the structure of perspective itself, attempting to redefine the very idea of what a belief is, as if it were somehow a weakness to hold a view on something. This is nothing more than mental calisthenics, which is also a sign of desperation. No matter how you parse the idea, beliefs, opinions, views, faith, ideology, interpretation, analysis… it all comes down to the same thing. Some are just fancy ways of dressing up one’s position to make it seem better than it is. Never having a real substantive argument on why the idea of God is necessarily any worse than theirs, atheists eventually painted themselves into an existential corner over the past half century, and so now their only defense is to conveniently call the process of believing invalid, as if they were magically above the fray of opining that besets so many unlearned in humanity. To see their house of cards fall is pure theater. They both make their argument and tear it down in one grand gesture. No, this doesn’t prove that there is a God, but the lack of satisfactory argumentation on their part keeps the notion at the forefront of serious seeking of the truth, something they’ve already decided to forgo by dismissing all theology as a priori nonsensical.


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