The religion of the New Atheism

356 the religion of the new atheismIn English, the line "The Lady, as I seem, praises too much" quoted from Shakespeare's Hamlet, describing someone who tries to convince others of something that is not true. That phrase comes to mind when I hear of atheists protesting that atheism is a religion. Some atheists support their protest with the following syllogistic comparisons:

  • If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color. Although this may sound almost profound, only one false statement is compared to an inappropriate category. A bald head has nothing to do with a hair color. Certainly, on a bald head no hair color is recognizable, but since atheism is perceptible in several ways, it may very well have a color like other religions, even if it is unique; that's the same with Christianity. In addition, I have never met a bald person who has no hair color. If someone does not have hair on their heads, they can not be portrayed as having no hair color.
  • If atheism is a religion, then health is a disease. As I said, at first glance this may sound like a valid syllogism, but it is no more than ambiguous talk, again about comparing a false statement with an inappropriate category, which is logically wrong. I should mention that studies have shown that belief in God is related not only to believers' improved mental health reports but also to improved physical health compared to non-believers. Indeed, in nearly 350 physical health studies and 850 mental health studies examining religious and mental components, it has been found that religious influences and spirituality are associated with better recovery.
  • If atheism is a religion, abstinence is a sexual posture. Once again, the juxtaposition of two statements proves nothing at all. One can go on with this and put together new nonsensical statements. The presentation of logical errors does not tell us what is actually true.

The Supreme Court of the Supreme Court has ruled in more than one case that atheism should be treated as a religion by law (ie, as a protected belief par with other religions). Atheists believe that there are no gods. In that sense, it is a belief about gods and qualifies it as a religion, much as Buddhism is called a religion.

One distinguishes three religious conceptions about God: monotheistic (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), polytheistic (Hinduism, Mormonism) and non-theistic (Buddhism, Atheism). One could introduce a fourth category for atheism and call it anti-theistic. In an article published in The Christian Post, Mike Dobbins demonstrates how atheism is religious. Here is an excerpt from Atheism as a Religion: An Introduction Dead World's Least Understood Faith: Atheism as a Religion: An Introduction to the Least Understood Belief of the World]:

wkg mb xnumx atheismFor atheists, the letter 'A' is a sacred symbol of atheism. There are three significant 'A' symbols in atheism. An 'A' symbol is surrounded by a circle and was created by 2007 of the Atheist Alliance International. The circle should represent the unity of atheists and unite all other atheistic symbols. They are not
only these symbols that mark atheism. There is an atheistic-religious symbolism known only to insiders or connoisseurs of atheism.

Many atheists made it clear at Christmas 2013 how sacred the 'A' symbol is. In my hometown of Chicago, it is allowed to set up the Hanukkah Menorah (candelabra for the Jewish Festival of Lights) and nativity scene in public places during the festive season. So the atheists demanded that they, too, can set up their religious symbol; In this way, the administration could also avoid giving the impression that it was acting differently with the religions. The Freedom From Religion Foundation chose a scaffold with a huge 'A' symbol, 2,5 meters high, with red neon signs making it visible to everyone. Countless atheists paid homage to their 'A' by making the site a place of pilgrimage. There they took pictures of themselves and the red 'A'. Many of them, I am sure, will keep the photos as a special keepsake. But the big red A was not enough for them. They also insisted that they could present their atheistic faith by putting up a sign reading: "There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is nothing more than a fairy tale and superstition that harden the hearts and enslave the mind. "

The Debunking Atheists Blog [2] contains a helpful list of atheist key-views that clearly show their religious content.

Below is a shortened version of the list:

  • Atheists have their own world view. Materialism (the view that there is only one material world) is the lens through which atheists view the world. Far from being open-minded, only demonstrable facts apply to them; they understand all facts exclusively from a very limited materialistic worldview.
  • Atheists have their own orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is a compilation of normative beliefs that a religious community has adopted. Just as there is a Christian orthodoxy, there is also an atheistic one. In short, everything that exists can be explained as the result of unintentional, uncontrolled and meaningless evolution. Any claim to truth is rejected as long as it does not withstand scientific scrutiny and empirical confirmation.
  • Atheists have their own way of branding apostates (apostates). Apostasy refers to the renunciation of past faith. Antony Flew (1923-2010, English philosopher) was one of the world's most famous atheists for years. Then he did the unthinkable: he changed his mind. You can imagine how the reaction of the "open-minded, tolerant" new atheist movement turned out. Flew was slandered. Richard Dawkins accused Flew of "change of convictions" - a rather unusual name for apostasy. According to their own admission, Flew has turned away from their "faith" [and became a kind of Deist].
  • Atheists have their own prophets: Nietzsche, Russell, Feuerbach, Lenin and Marx.
  • Atheists have their own Messiah: Charles Darwin, who, in their view, has driven the crucial stake through the heart of theism by providing a comprehensive explanation of why life never needs God as its originator or explanation. Daniel Dennett has even written a book about it with the intention of defining the religious faith as merely an evolutionary development.
  • Atheists have their own preachers and evangelists: Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens (they are the four most prominent representatives of the neo-atheist movement).
  • Atheists are believers. Although they mock the faith in their writings (Harris's book is entitled The End of Faith), atheism is a faith-based initiative. Since the existence of God can neither be proved nor refuted, the rejection of God requires faith in one's own scientific faculties of observation and rational thought. In the development of atheism, there is no explanation for the question, "Why is the universe ordered, calculable and measurable?" Atheism has no rational explanation for why there is such a thing as rational thinking in the first place. He has no explanation for questions he hopes not to get asked, such as "Why do we have a sense of self? What causes us to think? Where does the universal sense of right and wrong come from? How can we know for certain that there is no life after death? How can we be sure that nothing exists outside the material world? How do we know that there are only things that are conveniently detectable by our known scientific-empirical methods? Atheists attribute unexplainable things to faith - they suspect things without having a sound rational or empirical foundation.

In contrast to the protests of the atheists, the reality of their confessional system is based on a faith-based initiative with practices and beliefs as well as other religions. It is ironic that atheists, insisting that atheism is not a religion and ranting about other religions, even make big signs in competition with those of other religions.

I hasten to add that some Christians basically make the same mistake when they are referring to other religions (and even other forms of Christianity). As Christians, we should not forget that our faith is not a mere religion that needs to be asserted and defended. Instead, Christianity is at its core a living relationship with the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our vocation as Christians is not to impose another belief system in the world, but to engage in God's ongoing work of reconciliation as His messengers (2, Kor 5,18-21) - proclaiming the good news (Gospel) that people forgive became that they are redeemed and loved by God, who longs for a relationship of trust, hope and love with all people.

I am glad that authentic Christianity is not a religion but a relationship.

Joseph Tkach


pdfThe religion of the New Atheism