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Atheism is a religion

December 10, 2012

Atheism IS a religion. I know that some have made that statement without much evidence. And I know that atheists themselves heatedly deny it. I’ve heard their rejoinders: If atheism is a religion, then not playing baseball is a sport. Or, atheism is to religion what bald is to hair color. Clever. I guess I don’t blame them for denying it, but denying something doesn’t prove it is not there. (I would advise any atheist readers to re-read the previous sentence until BOTH meanings sink in.)
A religion doesn’t have to posit a god who must be identified or worshiped. Some religions are polytheistic (Hinduism, Mormonism), some monotheistic (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), some non-theistic (Buddhism). I’d say the new atheists and their religion are “anti-theistic.” But their atheism is religious nonetheless. Consider this:

They have their own worldview. Materialism (the view that the material world is all there is) is the lens through which atheists view the world. Far from being the open-minded, follow-the-evidence-wherever thinkers they claim to be, they interpret all data ONLY within the very narrow worldview of materialism. They are like a guy wearing dark sunglasses who chides all others for thinking the sun is out.

They have their own orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is a set of beliefs acceptable to a faith community. Just as there are orthodox Christian beliefs, there is an atheist orthodoxy as well. In brief, it is that EVERYTHING can be explained as the product of unintentional, undirected, purposeless evolution. No truth claim is acceptable if it cannot be subjected to scientific scrutiny.

They have their own brand of apostasy. Apostasy is to abandon one’s former religious faith. Antony Flew was for many years one of the world’s most prominent atheists. And then he did the unthinkable: he changed his mind. You can imagine the response of the “open-minded, tolerant” New Atheist movement. Flew was vilified. Richard Dawkins accused Flew of “tergiversation.” It’s a fancy word for apostasy. By their own admission, then, Flew abandoned their “faith.”

They have their own prophets: Nietzsche, Russell, Feuerbach, Lenin, Marx.

They have their own messiah: He is, of course, Charles Darwin. Darwin – in their view – drove the definitive stake through the heart of theism by providing a comprehensive explanation of life that never needs God as a cause or explanation. Daniel Dennett has even written a book seeking to define religious faith itself as merely an evolutionary development.

They have their own preachers and evangelists. And boy, are they “evangelistic.” Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens (Speaking of which, our prayers goes out to Christopher Hitchens in hopes of a speedy recovery for his cancer, we need more time with him Lord) are NOT out to ask that atheism be given respect. They are seeking converts. They are preaching a “gospel” calling for the end of theism.

They have faith. That’s right, faith. They would have you believe the opposite. Their writings ridicule faith, condemn faith. Harris’s book is called The End of Faith. But theirs is a faith-based enterprise. The existence of God cannot be proven or disproven. To deny it takes faith. Evolution has no explanation for why our universe is orderly, predictable, measurable. In fact (atheistic) evolutionary theory has no rational explanation for why there is such a thing as rational explanation. There is no accounting for the things they hope you won’t ask: Why do we have self-awareness? What makes us conscious? From what source is there a universal sense of right and wrong? They just take such unexplained things by … faith.

There are days when evil and suffering are hard to explain, even for the most ardent follower of God. There are questions we cannot answer. There are days when every honest Christian will admit doubt. But we don’t become atheists. It is because our soul JUST KNOWS that God is there. And maybe because atheism is a religion that requires too much untenable faith.

Not only is Atheism a religion, the entire premise is a negative proof fallacy.

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