Honestly I’m tired of repeating this, but recently someone asserted that my atheism is religious because I write about it. I also have a programming blog. Does that mean c# is my religion too? This isn’t even an atheism blog or a recovery blog for that matter… it is a blog by a former addict, and I write about whatever I’m passionate about. I write about atheism precisely because of people who impose their religious views on me and my son, and who claim that my atheism is a religion. So my writing may often be a response to sentiments exactly like this claim; that’s apart from the claim itself being a non sequitur. And I write about recovery in the same way, since my skeptical approach to sobriety does not involve being “in recovery”. I haven’t heard anybody claim that not following a 12 step program is another kind of 12 step program.
When I see such claims that atheism is a religion, I wonder how much of it is a combination of these two factors:
- Tu quoque: It’s like a little child pointing the finger and saying “But you are also naughty”. Or a men’s rights activist claiming that women who fight for their equality are oppressing men, or a white bigot claiming that Black Lives Matter is all about oppressing white people.
- A failure to understand what atheism is: Maybe someone who can not imagine not believing in god somehow thinks that atheism is thus an opposing ideology, like a religion that believes the opposite of them. OK, let’s call this what it is… ignorance.
When a child stops believing in Santa, they don’t suddenly start believing that presents are brought to the children worldwide by some alternate Santa. Likewise, atheism isn’t about some “opposite” kind of creationism. We reject the claims that a god created everything, and thus (while I can only speak for myself) reject everything that comes along with it, like creation, an afterlife, Heaven and Hell, and so on. Rejecting a claim does not imply an opposing claim in the same way you don’t believe in some “other” kind of Santa. It really is that simple. People who assert that atheism is a religion need to grow some fucking brain cells.