What are your thoughts on this message? Agree or disagree? Is atheism a religion? Why or why not?
UPDATE: February 13
Now that I’ve heard from you and interacted a bit with your answers, here are my thoughts on the message:
I think the message and image is powerful. I agree with the message too. Atheism cannot be meaningfully identified as a religion. This might seem like a no-brainer for some since atheism lacks belief in a deity, but belief in a deity is not a sine qua non of religion. Think of Buddhism, for example.
The best reason for rejecting the claim that atheism is a religion is that atheism is nothing more than the belief that God does not exist. There is no other content to atheism. For something to qualify as a religion, not only does it need a set of beliefs, but it needs to contain positive beliefs. Religions typically involve rituals of some sort, and provide answers to questions about origins, what’s wrong with the world, morality, meaning and purpose, and what the future holds. Atheism does not address any of these elements.
That’s not to say that atheists do not have beliefs about origins, morality, and the future. They most certainly do, and their beliefs about these matters form their worldview – whether it be humanism, materialism, Marxism, etc. While some atheists may embrace one of these worldviews with religious fervor, that doesn’t mean their worldview is religious in nature. The worldviews commonly held by atheists typically do not involve rituals, for example.
And let’s be clear. While atheism may be compared to “off” on a TV, all atheists have a worldview, and that worldview is a channel! As such, the atheist needs to defend his worldview (that excludes God) just as much as the Christian must defend his worldview (that includes God).