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Arguments for Atheism - Living without religion, with a clear conscience
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ARGUMENTS AGAINST ATHEISM - ATHEISM IS JUST ANOTHER RELIGION

The Argument | The Refutation

The Argument Back to Top

Some would argue that atheism is itself a religion, with clearly defined rules, eschatology and a philosophy of life. It has its leaders and preachers and it has its faithful believers. Like any other religion, atheism is ultimately a matter of faith.

The Refutation Back to Top

This appears to be an argument by people so caught up in their own religion that they cannot imagine any person living without religion of some sort. In fact, atheism fulfills none of the properties generally held to characterize religion.
We who are atheists are also a-fairyists, a-teapotists, and a-unicornists, but we don't have to bother saying so.
- Richard Dawkins (2002)

Atheism involves no belief, no dogma, no faith: it is simply the absence of theism. It does not involve any kind of worship, rituals, faith, prayers, etc, and it has no spiritual leader and no sacred text. Although individual atheists have philosophies by which they live (whether they be based on secular humanism, objectivism, Buddhism, etc), there is no clearly defined philosophy common to all (or even most) atheists.

In fact, perhaps the only thing on which atheists would agree is the wrongheadedness of the single main characteristic of a religion: a belief in supernatural beings or gods.

If an individual does not believe in astrology, for example, such disbelief would not be held to constitute a religion (anastrology?). Alternatively, we could ask: “Does 'not collecting stamps' constitute a hobby?”. Or, in Mark Schnitzius’ phrase (often attributed to Don Hirschberg): “If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color”.

Religious belief requires a leap of faith because it postulates the existence of entities that we have no good evidence to believe exist. Atheism, on the other hand, does not require faith because it involves believing in nothing beyond that which we have evidence for and experience of.

 
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