Why "Atheism is a Relgion," Reason One
Well, the two are both "beliefs," right? They're equal but different "opinions," correct? Therefore, that's one example of how "atheists have their own belief system," right? Therefore, we atheists not being stupid is as much of a "religious practice" as Pat Robertson's ritual of not thinking is a form of science, right? Not bringing God into the earthquake makes the science of plate tectonics a religion, just as not bringing God into the classroom "makes the science of evolution" a violation of the separation of church and state, isn't that right, people?
Do I have that down pat, Michael Ruse?
UPDATED: Well, we'll see what happens - I asked a Muslim online who also asserted that "atheism is a religion" if women walking around naked was a form of hijab.
Here's a turnabout - and oddly enough, I've thought this, too: a review of the Creation Museum pronounces it "soulless."
I spent a lot of time in the Eden picnic area, trying to wrest some sort of spiritual buzz, a sense of the majesty and the mystery, but it’s conspicuously absent. Literally beaten to death. This is Ripley’s Believe-It. It is irredeemably kitsch. In fact, it may be the biggest collection of kitsch in God’s entire world. This is the profound represented by the banal, a divine irony. (The penchant for kitsch is something that gay men and born-again Christians share.) This tacky, risible, and rational tableau defies belief, beggars faith. Compare it to the creation story in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, Masaccio’s expulsion from Eden, or any of the thousands of flickering images, icons, and installations based on faith rather than literalist realism. It truly makes you wonder, Is all this righteous ire, all this money, all this Pentecostal flame-throwing the best they can come up with? This cheap county-fair sideshow—this is their best shot? It may be more replete with proof than a Soviet show trial, but this creation is bereft of any soul.
I once, in a film review, called a tediously religion-thumping (if not Bible-banging) film "faithless." (A kid's mother gets killed by an errant baseball, and all this annoyingly righteous little twit can say is, "There are no accidents" and "I am God's instrument"? Are you kidding me? The protagonist cares more about the mother's death than her own child does? What a pompous little brat! The film became one distasteful justification of her death after another from that point on.) This is what really pisses me off: that those who engage in the knee-jerk argument that "atheism is a religion" do not address the essential nihilism - the lack of wonder, the hankering after certainties - in what is often called "faith."
I have no delusion that science, or life, is going to hand me many certainties. (Remember, I'm studying statistics.) Does it not occur to these folks that the more they pound the "atheism as a religion" gavel too hard, the more they make atheism sound like one of the few, or perhaps the only, "religion" that does not molest children en mass, or condemn victims for their misfortunes, or set fire to churches/mosques/temples, or rake in the kind of dough that televangelists regularly do? With apologies to Nietzsche, supposing atheism is the only "religion" that actually fulfills religion's ostensible goals of uniting humanity in peace, what then? Is that an argument that anti-atheists really want to [unwittingly] make?