I've recently had a lively debate with a deist who asserted that atheism is a religeon as it has set tennents and creeds that are followed i.e. the tendancy to adhear to certain "dogma" such as skeptism and so on..
Now I've heard this flacid arguement more times than I'd like, but this particuler individual pruposed that not only is atheism a religeon that the whole of philosophy is by definition a religeon in that it follows set guidelines put forth. He went onto to assert political philosophies are as well. That is what got me thinking...Is a religeon a commonly held set of beleifs shared by a group as proposed by a figure head(s)?
this got my brain scratching...so I'm interested to hear what you think
I think the deist thinks too much about this. You might as well say that science is a religion and groan about that for a while. I've described atheism as a movement that tries to lessen the hegemony of religion in our lives, and give ourselves more breathing space to learn, grow, enrich ourselves, and just out-and-out enjoy the freedom of being in charge of our own lives. Religion has pretty architecture and lovely music, and is good for herding the human sheep into a small building (have you ever wondered what that says about Jesus that he thinks so little of his followers to call them sheep?), but is the most egregious constraint on humankind's growth and future. I think you can't call atheism a religion any more than you can call feminism a religion, although I'm sure a lot of Rush Limbaugh fanatics have done so.
I did some research on the question in preparing to write an article on it. I found there are two groups who disagree on atheism being a religion. The religious overwhelmingly think atheism IS a religion. Atheists think it IS NOT a religion.
The reasons the religious give for atheism being a religion are poorly thought out and poorly argued. Most of the reasons I can categorize as projection. They just can't understand how atheists can "believe in nothing" and feel that non-belief in god(s) must be just like their belief in a deity. Some even argue that atheists must be following a charismatic leader like cult members or adhering to a rigid dogma.
The atheists have no trouble putting forward good arguments for atheism not being a religion. Most argue that atheism bears no resemblance to a religion and recognize the wide variety of beliefs both inside and outside of their atheism.