Atheism the RELIGION of don't believe!
To my way of thinking a belief system or religion is a belief held by a singular entity or group. We form groups by association of common traits...Be it Zionism, Buddhism, Archaeology, Philosophy, and so on. Groups each have a unique practice, system or trait that separates them from other groups. Within each group there is some kind of unique commonality. Groups are defined by these unique common traits. There are also groups within larger groups, an example of this could be Religion. Within religion we find many smaller groups, some of these are Protestant Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, or Muslims... but what about Atheists...
Is Atheism a belief system? Is it a Religion?
I'm beginning to believe it is. They have a 'Faith' in the non-existence of God that is very similar to the opposing 'Faith' or belief in the existence of God held by Christians, Muslims, and Jews. In my experience, they all cite the same logic, just from opposite ends. "just look around, the proof is everywhere".
The definition of a Religion:
A religion is any systematic approach to living that involves beliefs about one's origins, one's place in the world, or a responsibility to live and act in the world in particular ways.
From Dictionary.com: re⋅li⋅gion [ri-lij-uhn]
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.
Based on the definitions Yes, Atheism is a Religion.
There are two distinct forms of Atheism.
Passive Atheism, like my daughters, is merely a lack of belief. A lack of belief means that they are not absolutely convinced in either direction, but lean strongly toward the belief that God does not exist. In my experience a passive Atheist would usually respond to a conversation about a supreme being with something like this: "There may be a God, I mean it is possible I suppose, but I find it hard to believe."
Active Atheism, is a stance where a decision has been made. A belief in the impossibility of the existence of a supreme being established and held to with conviction, and actions taken to convert others to the established belief. This form of Atheism is a religion, containing structure and dogma. It is a systematic approach to living that involves beliefs about one's origins, one's place in the world, and a responsibility to live and act in the world in a particular way. An active Atheist usually responds more along the lines of: "There is no Sky Fairy and you're an idiot for believing in Fairy tales. A God concept is a stupid outdated concept that has absolutely no credible evidence to support it. It ranks up there with the beliefs in unicorns and big foot. The only reason anyone would believe in 'the Psychopathic Man living in the sky' is because they are indoctrinated as children, and forced to believe."
***I would like to stress however that the belief that modern Christianity is incorrect in it's many beliefs about the nature of God, as expressed by a multitude of self proclaimed Atheists, is not the same thing as the true Atheist belief that a supreme being of any kind is impossible. Believing that Christianity is incorrect does not make you an Atheist.***
How does Atheism fit into the Puzzle?
The way I see God is that God is Everything/Nothing, God is the coin, Everything and Nothing are the two sides of the coin. Atheists worship the Nothing side of God by doing nothing, by not praying, by not attending services, by not joining in communion with others and with God. They, like all Religions try to convince others that what they believe is true (maybe attempts to 'convert' others to the non-belief might be deemed as a 'sin'?).
Atheism is made a Religion by the Dogma of professing a Belief/Faith in the NON-existence of God. The religious symbols of this Faith are as I previously stated, the 'absence' of all symbols of a God. It is true that Atheists have no written doctrine (i.e. Bibles), but the essence of the religion is the 'absence of' all such things. Also, for the first 300 years of Christianity, neither did the Christians.
The Church of Happenstance...
The Active Atheists are trying very hard to prove that a supreme being of any kind is not only far fetched but utterly impossible. They would like humanity to believe everything is just happenstance, it just is. Active Atheism is organized and actively seeking converts. They work at it tirelessly, as is evidenced in online forums and in the many books and speeches that they produce. Active Atheists are passionately opposed to organized religion, even though they are one themselves. Which many refuse to admit.
Satanists are allied with the Active Atheists, whether they know it or not, because the destruction of God is the Satanic goal. As the old saying goes; the enemy of my enemy is my friend... So some that claim to be merely Atheists, aren't, and believers should be aware of that possibility as well. I am not by any means stating that all Atheists are Satanists, merely that if I were Satan that is another place where I would be. Again and for the record, my own daughter is an atheist, albeit a passive one, and I admit she may be correct in her beliefs, because there is no proof either way.
The church of happenstance is a hard one to sell, because they are in the business of getting us to buy, ~nothing~. The only way they can make ~nothing~ sell is by destroying the competition. Which means destroying the beliefs of anyone that believes in God. Making a belief in God seem silly, juvenile, delusional or something that only an idiot would believe. Which I'm afraid to say the ancient/modern churches are helping them with by refusing to accept change. Even after the logical flaws of long held beliefs are identified for what they are, a means to control people and enforce an authority.
Atheists (both types) I believe are necessary, like the opposing team at a ball game, to spur believers into an examination of truth, and of scientific evidence and belief in the unprovable. They are creations of God and Loved by God just as much as any believer. They are simply the Yin to our Yang.
Atheism has been made popular in recent times by the failure of the ancient/modern churches to keep up with humanities growth in understanding. The ancient/modern churches have become a symbol of Fascism rather than of love and understanding. This makes them the best tool for the propagation of the Atheist Religion. All they have to do is point out the killings that religious terrorists commit and the path of believing in happenstance becomes much more appealing, and even seems to be more logical and loving. Which in truth it isn't, nature and the beautiful and artistic design that nature is, is to me too complex and too highly organized to be merely happenstance. The physical laws of nature, the complexities of mathematics, the interactions of physics, the existence of DNA, and above all the human emotions all point me in the direction of belief in an intelligence of design and an intelligent designer. The fact that almost everything in nature is organized in a Pyramidal design speaks volumes to me of a blueprint and a purposefully carried out plan.
Science is not a tool that can be used to dis-prove the existence of God, though Active Atheists have tried to use it as such a tool. Science is simply the discovery of HOW God created everything, and the correlation between the many creations of God.
Me and My Imaginary Friend
Some of us don't need the comfort of a benign supreme being, my daughter included. I however find much comfort in the existence of a benign being that is better than me. I understand that it is possible that God is nothing more than "My Imaginary Friend". A make-believe being, invented in my mind.
It is entirely possible that the chain of events that led to my birth on the planet we call Earth, is just that, a chain of events. The Atheists have just as much Faith in their beliefs as those that profess a belief in God. It is just that the Atheist Faith is that of the impossibility of the existence of God.
Again by MY logic:
If we exist, and a germ or microbe exists, and we are a greater life-form than these germs or microbes...
Then either we are the ultimate form of life and thereby, God, or something else is greater than us.
The ultimate form of life has to be by definition, God. However, God does not have to be what "they" say God is. Atheists may or may not believe we are the most highly developed form of life, which I believe is the definition of the word God. The organized religions have attached a much bigger and more defined meaning to the word God. The ancient/modern religions have defined God as an "unlimited" being. The Atheists believe that there is no such thing as an "unlimited" being.
***I have a hard time believing that God is an unlimited being because that would mean that the concept of impossibility could not exist, and without the existence of "impossible" it's opposite, "possible" could not exist either, and it obviously does. (but if the only impossibility was finding anything God could not do... that would make God unlimited and impossible would indeed exist...???) I keep having the paradox of "could God build a wall so high God could not jump over it" run through my mind...but that paradox only works if God is a man, with human limits??? ...If the wall were infinity high, which means never ending...then God would be eternally jumping the wall but unable to ever surpass it because it would be ever growing... so yes God could theoretically build a wall that God would have the ability to both jump over and not jump over, because the wall would have to have a top limit in order to be jumped and an infinitely tall wall would not have that needed limit...???***
Which leaves me at- either case may be true, and unfortunately, there is no way for us/me to prove the point either way. That does not mean that someday we won't find the proof that we are missing today. But my point is that the existence of God, the "best", the supreme being, the most highly evolved and powerful life-form in existence is to me highly possible and further more very likely.
An absence of proof, of the existence of God, is not proof that God Does NOT exist. It merely means we don't know, and cannot prove it either way. As the ancient/modern religions say, "it comes down to faith". Right now there is a 50/50 chance for either side of the issue to be right. Your point of view, whichever that is, may be right.
Yelling at the opposing team may make you feel better, but it only hinders us in the long run. Advancing knowledge and understanding is the only thing that will ever lead to a conclusion to this argument. If you truly believe, as I do, that there is a supreme being, then don't hinder progress. Progress in all areas is the path to discovery. The path to the proof of our beliefs, or theirs, either way I would prefer the truth because I have always preferred a hard truth to an easy lie. Besides, only someone that truly believes they are wrong, deep down inside, would hinder the discovery of the truth. Only those that somehow know that the stance they have taken is incorrect would be afraid of all the facts becoming common knowledge. I have no fear of the truth, because I believe.
The more I ponder this issue, the more I discover that I am unable to fairly represent the views of Atheists, because I truly and profoundly believe in God. I do respect your right to believe differently than I do and I hope it brings you peace and good things, but I am comforted by the existence of God, my possibly imaginary, benign and almost?-unlimited friend.