Atheism: a religion in its own right

September 3, 2007 at 4:16 am 10 comments

I have had various conversations with with people who conform, more often that not quite radically, to various degrees of atheism. Their views on life and its nuances, mind its activities, emotions and their explanations, compelled me to conclude:


Atheism is a religion.

In my humble opinion, atheism is perhaps structurally the most rigid religion of all. They even implement violent dialectics to convert conventional believers into their belief system. An example of a personal acquaintance: if a research paper in the field of sociology stinks of theosophy, choose a review panel that ensures that it does not get published. What certifies their rigidity, however, is the strict rituals they need to follow throughout their life. The most important code of conduct is to never ever, by even the slightest hint of imagination, doubt your own intellect when you don’t understand the concepts put forth by a conventional religion. As soon as you confront a word that you do not comprehend, call the philosophy absurd, and walk away. The religious leaders of atheism go one step further and encourage the people of their faith not to explore any other way of life.

Atheism has similarities with other older religions too. It is, just like other religions, fragmented into castes and creeds based on their direction and intensity of disbelief. Their rituals and ceremonies differ accordingly. I provide a short list here:

  1. A true Christian-atheist, for instance, follows the ritual of drinking whiskey every Sunday morning.
  2. An honest Muslim-atheist sleeps with his/her feet pointing towards Mecca every night and savours pork dishes, especially where their gastronomical inclinations are publicly viewable.
  3. A hardened Hindu-atheist relishes beef with incredible lust and visits places of worship for their natural beauty only. S/he, of course, makes it a point to urinate/defecate in a holy river (Ganga is a perpetual preference) at least once a year.

Entry filed under: humour, life, lifestyle, perspective, psychology, religion. Tags: , , , .

The ignominy of Paradise Lost

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. anshul  |  September 3, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Reply in italics

    4. A hardened Hindu destroys mosques claiming that they were built atop old temples.

    Quite a few of them were.

    5. A honest Muslim goes suicide bombing somewhere.

    6. A true Christian always believes that the earth is circa 5000 years old.

    Are we done with judging groups by their worst stereotypes? ๐Ÿ™‚

    “I have had various conversations with with people” => I am not judging any group. I am merely stating my reaction to my experiences. Not everybody carries out discussions as calmly or as logically as you do.

    This topic of religion is a complicated one to discuss. I, for one, don’t want to lose any more friends over it. But, I would certainly like to see why you believe in God. It does baffle me.

    No other explanation justifies this world (our society, where innocents die without rhyme or reason is a small part of that world).

    As for this post of yours, the short answer is that I don’t think both religion and atheism mean what you seem to think they mean. I am one of those who believe that choice of words is quite important. Just like “one man one vote” did us a lot of damage, so will wrong use of words like atheism and religion and God.

    Atheism is something I am not serious about …. the tone of this post spells that out. I used religion in its proper meaning, that is why I did not argue about Muslims being suicide bombers ….. the suicide bombers are not Muslims. As for God: devataa in sanskrit means that which oscillates or vibrates. So you may take God to be the manifestation of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. ๐Ÿ™‚

    All you are saying here is that there are certain things common to most atheists. Granted. But that does not a religion make.

  • 2. Janice Thomson  |  September 3, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Anyone who has ever had a glimpse/revelation or gone through the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ and come through the other side would know there is a higher power. Whether one choses to call this “god” or “universal mind” or simply a “Higher Power” is a matter of taste – but the fact remains some force bigger than oneself exists. – though it is nothing like the ‘god’ most believe in today. The yogi who goes within knows this as does the rare man who has had a glimpse. So did the sages of old – but the manner of how this ‘god’ exists is not for public knowledge as it is both incredible and unable to be proven without the knowledge becoming tainted.

    Science has yet to find the GUT theory that puts it all together but they are slowly realizing that just maybe the origin of the universe is NOT the Big Bang Theory though cosmologists firmly believe this to be true.

    Reply: We, Janice, are like-minded people. My take on religion is this: one has to continually question oneself honestly. It is then that God reveals His nature. If He doesn’t, that would either mean that there is no God, or it could mean that I have been travelling the wrong path, asking the wrong questions. I believe the only reason I don’t know Him is that I have been asking too few questions.

  • 3. anshul  |  September 4, 2007 at 9:12 am

    So you may take God to be the manifestation of Heisenbergโ€™s uncertainty principle. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Done! ๐Ÿ˜› So you are saying that one need not pray to God, right? I mean what can possibly be gained by praying to the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Jest apart, I do agree that you have been asking too few questions and in the wrong direction. I wouldn’t mind believing in God but it’s impossible to ignore all the evidence. The fact that there is not a single shred of an evidence for any kind of a supernatural power is a sound basis for a good scientific belief.

    Reply: If by praying, you mean something other than meditation, then you need not pray to God. When I said I was asking too few questions and in the wrong direction, I was being modest. Don’t take it literally. Let me tell you what I think a prayer is, by correctly stating what is commonly translated from Hindu religious texts as sage. The word in Sanskrit is muni. Muni comes from the root manan.The meaning in Sanskrit of that word is to think with your mind (since thoughts can arise even from impulsive desires, there
    is this seperate word for logical thoughts.). Since muni has always been translated as sage, their work has always been interpreted as what we call today a prayer. But in the light of this new translation,you can pray to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, and any honest physicist should!
    About “evidence”: A theory is formulated and accepted as scientific truth as long as it explains everything consistently. I find too many inconsistencies in human emotions that are not approachable by theories in the field of psychology. I find too many inconsistencies in our social order resulting in unfair distribution of happiness and sorrow. This bias is not explained by science.

    When you start walking a path, choosing it out of the several options, you do start off with faith or instinct. I have put my faith in a tradition that has lasted for thousands of years as against another that is only a few centuries old.


    P.S. There is no point in continuing this argument. I am not going to walk on a different path till I see the end of this one. And I hope you walk to the end of your path as well. Only then can we be considered eligible for this discussion.

  • 4. vbsowmya  |  September 13, 2007 at 1:58 am

    Atheism is a religion – hmm…i too have the same feeling till that level…though i am not quite sure if i agree with other statements …. “hindu atheist, muslim atheist..christian atheist…” – what are they? the names somehow are amusing to me, though.. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply: Well, I have met too many people who neglect and openly disrespect tradition only to prove a point. The point being their atheism. That’s where the several types of atheists come into the picture. Their respective traditions make them different iconoclasts. The reaction to a pattern is defined by the pattern itself. Much like in mathematis, the complement of a set is defined by the set itself.


  • 5. Matt  |  September 27, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    I find it ironic.

    Atheism seems to aim to be a solution to religion. A solution to what they consider ignorant acceptance of a preacher or wise man’s answers to reality and life.

    To me Religion has God, Philosophy has Reality, and Science has Principle.

    They all seem to be speaking about the same thing.

    Atheism isnt an answer to the problem. People who just want an answer will accept whatever their told. This means, just like any other religion, Atheism will gain its own ignorant following.

    However there are more ironies to point out. Atheism states the only true reality is the objective reality. However, they forget this reality stems from the subconscious. For example Gravity is an objective truth yet before its discovery it only existed in our subconscious. We lived day in and day out almost ignorant of its existence because it was not yet brought forward to our conscious mind. Science makes no discovery which doesn’t already exist and active in the universe around us. We merely open our minds to the possibilities and what lies in our subconscious rises to the surface of our conscious.

    Another irony is the foundation for Atheism. The minds which have discovered almost all the Principles which modern Science is based off of, were discovered by people of faith. Pythagoras for instance, the man we owe for geometry, polygons, and the infamous theorem, was a leader of his own religious cult and participated in rituals and divinations which would make most Atheists puke.

    We are all hypocrites, can we get over it already?

    Love the post!

    I cant believe your on my blogroll but not my reader! How did that happen? Well you are now. Keep it up! Im loving it!

    Reply: This is the answer I was looking for from every reader of this post. I approached it via sarcasm to give off some of my irritation. The analogy of gravity is the perfect analogy for this argument. I also respect and adhere to your notion of God, Philosophy and Science.
    God is the name I give to the universal truth. It is this quest for truth that made man formulate religion in the first place.
    Science is the process of discovering that truth.
    Philosophy is the debate that a searcher must encounter and then vanquish in this quest for truth/science/God.


  • 6. brahnamin  |  September 27, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    i think you are mistaking atheists for atheism

    many people make the same mistake with christians and other faiths whose belief system is well published and whose believers live well outside that published belief – putting those religions down because the people involved in them don’t seem to live up to the ideal

    i am not an atheist

    (i am only pointing this out because you seemed to mistake me for one over @ my own blog)

    but where you see similarities between atheism and religion i could make the same corollaries between, say, the public school system and religion or between our political system and religion.

    calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color -don hirschberg

    i don’t expect much of an answer from you judging by your reply to the previous poster (in fact i very much expect you will alter or delete my comment).

    to say his *gravity* argument is the perfect argument is bunk. he basically said gravity didn’t exist in reality until we *discovered* it. that is like saying god didn’t exist before moses penned his famous five.

    his next point, that most scientific discoveries were made by men of faith, neatly ignores the fact that the world was drenched in *faith* for countless centuries and that the wholesale rejection of those faiths is a fairly recent phenomena.

    so of course *most* of the discoveries would come from men of faith. there were few men of any other kind throughout the centuries when those discoveries occur.

    i do agree with matt that atheism will not provide *the* answer. it probably won’t even provide *an* answer.

    what i disagree with is that it is attempting to do so.

    yes, i know there are plenty of knuckleheaded atheists out there with an agenda and the attitude to guarantee that agenda will never enjoy great success.

    but to call atheism a religion is sad self-comfortism @ best.

    it is a flaw of modern thinking that a thing must be classified and labeled before we can be comfortable with it.

    Reply: In this post, I called atheism a religion because I find a certain stink of blind faith in the word “religion”, and the same stink I have found in many atheists who claim not to believe in any God without probing within themselves for an honest answer. Ther person above did not say that gravity did not exist. He merely draws a comparison between two situations. One: gravity always existed, but nobody actually felt it consciously before Newton. Two: God exists, we are simply not ‘Newton enough’ to discover that presence.
    This post was a take on the knuckleheads that you mention. I am a believer myself, but I respect people who choose another belief. I must mention here that my notion of a true-religion (as opposed to what the blind-faith-religion I mention earlier) is something that allows for all kinds of belief. I am a believer because I have imbibed such a religion. Honest nihilism is as much a religion as any other. (It was accepted as chaarbaak darshan within Hinduism.


  • 7. evergreen leaves « j u g g l i n g C a t s  |  September 27, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    […] went to check out his blog and found a post on there atheism: a religion in its own right that was along similar lines to what we got into over […]

  • 8. ignoramus  |  October 14, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    religion <- faith.
    atheism as faith and atheism as hypothesis; atheists are two types. first is religion indeed.

    Reply: ๐Ÿ™‚ I think you got the point I am trying to make here! And I brim and grin with joy! ๐Ÿ™‚


  • 9. jerome  |  October 23, 2007 at 11:44 am

    what about agnostics ?

    Reply: Well ….. a short answer would be unfair to the sect as a whole. But, all in all, I think of an agnostic as a person who will eventually choose between God and no-God. An agnost (I understand that an s/he is a person who questions the existence of God, but can neither confirm nor reject the notion) is in the state of travelling. Agnosticism is a question. Its answer is either acceptance or rejection of God.


  • 10. Tenacious Blog Reader  |  October 30, 2007 at 6:01 am

    A lot of what people have said on this page is absurd ad doesn’t make sense. You should really at least make an effort to understand


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