Atheism is not a religion
12 December 1995 -- Draft
"The Lord is your shepherd" -- obviously Jesus came to the wrong
I consider myself an atheist and have heard many times -- from theists
-- that my religion is therefore atheism. This has always struck me as
perverse, a cheapening of whatever religion means by trying to draw
everyone into its fold. The Greek root of 'atheism' simply 'a-'
'theism', the prefix being the alpha privative, or negative. An atheist
is not a theist, not someone who affirms a belief in the existence of
god. Some atheists -- "strong" atheists by one scheme -- do attempt to
affirm on philosophical or logical grounds that God does not or cannot
exists, and theists are right in charging that those people are applying
as much faith as themselves, as one cannot prove a negative of
existence, particularly of the supernatural sort. But I am a "weak"
atheist: I assume that God does not exist since the hypothesis seems
improbable and I have seen no evidence to support it. The same argument
could be made of green penguins at the North Pole, invisible pink
unicorns, or the omnipotence of Colleen.
I can almost imagine a definition of religion which could apply to
everyone. It would be on the border of being universally broad itself,
but it could be the 'ligio', one's axioms or postulates, the binding
between one's removed intelligence and reality. But in this case my
religion would hardly be atheism, which is my simply statement of how I
perceive reality, mentioned and labeled only because there are so many
theists running around in sharp contrast, and hardly the core of who I
am. But I would caution people to be careful before trying to classify
me, with such strong materialist, atomist and invidualist tendencies,
and a feeling that my ethics are best justified by predatory etiquette,
as religious. Isn't the phrase "godless heathen" supposed to apply to
Back to me.