This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
It's just a matter of how you define words. If you define religion as "worldview," then atheism is a religion. On the other hand, you might expect a more useful definition of religion than that.
All's I can say is that sometimes I wish the congregations of Christian churches would show one tenth of the passion and fervor of online atheists (without, of course, all their snarkiness and carpet-chewing temper tantrums).
It is interesting how hard it is to pin down the meaning of the word religion. It does feel a little strange to call atheism a religion as it seems to lack the organization and ritual worship of the ultimate source of the world. However, atheism/naturalism does have beliefs about the cause and purpose of the universe.When an atheist/naturalist says that there are no gods they are saying, whether they realize it or not, that the ultimate source of the world is either an infinite chain of contingent objects or a physical eternal brute fact. This is a belief without proof, as there is no conclusive arguments or evidence that either of these things exist. So, an atheist like Penn is just as guilty of believing things sans proof as any church-goer. Deductive arguments on both sides fail to convince all rational people because they can't eliminate the logical possibility that something, other than what's being argued for, is the ultimate source of the world or aspects of it.
I don't think defining religion as a perspective on ultimate reality is uninteresting or useless.In particular in America one of our guiding concepts is keeping matters of religion free of compulsion. Some people on the atheist side want to engage in what I consider to be compulsion, but this often tries to fly under the radar because on the face of things it isn't religion. But, in the sense that matters for things like the Establishment Clause, atheism is very much a religion. For example, it is hypocritical to use the Establishment Clause argue against the teaching of intelligent design on the grounds that those who advocate it intend to undermine materialism and support religious belief, but not use the Establishment clause to argue against the use of evolution to attack religious belief and promote materialism.
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