Is Atheism considered a "religion"? If the worship of a deity is, then in turn, shouldn't the rejection of such a deity also be considered as such? And if so, what exactly are the tenets? 

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Love that phrase also Mindy!

lol Spud, thanks!  I speak so eloquently. ha ha

One could say that atheism is the default human position before adding religion. Take a young child, they have no faith until they are taught to have one. Or the wonderful example Dennis gave about Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. You are not a member of an "A-Santaist" religion if you do not believe in Santa, you merely accept reality for what it is.

In light of this, the obvious answer is that there are no "tenets." Yes, all atheists reject the divine, and most of them embrace some form of scientific naturalism, even that is not universal. There are as many "kinds" of atheists as there are atheists, and I don't know any who would want it any other way.

Chad, that is what I was trying to say.  You said it much better!

I don't know about better. Just more words. :) Sometimes short and pithy gets the point across better.

Thanks Chad, but I couldn't remember the word default and you used it.  Some people on here just write so beautifully, I feel like what I write sounds childish.  I like that you called it "short and pithy." :)  ~ Mindy

So, with the resounding "no" to my question (thank you all SO much by the way), does anyone know what exactly it entails to start one's own "religion" in the US?

I've found various definitions, some including deity worship as a requirement, and others not. I'm wondering what the guidelines are in order to be "recognized" as a religion in this country? Could one "worship" animals for instance (my being vegan)?

Any thoughts?

Aside from granting tax exempt status, which you can just apply for as long as you are not for profit, the US government does not recognize (nor could it recognize under the first amendment) any religion. So if you want to start your own, have at it.

Thank you Chad :)

Let me state first and foremost, that I consider myself Atheist. I am also vegan. That said, what, in your opinion, is meant by "a recognized religion and its tenets"?

Bottom line for me is this: California is in the process of changing the exemption options regarding vaccinations. Those who choose to "opt out" due to personal beliefs will be required to obtain an MD's signature. We do not currently have an MD, nor (aside from a catastrophic situation) ever intend to have one. They have also added an extremely overly religious exemption which does not require an MD's approval. This is the current wording: 

"Religious beliefs: I am a member of a religion which prohibits me from seeking medical advice or treatment from health care practitioners."

I'm not aware of a religion which prohibits one from seeking advice or medical treatment from ANY health care practitioner (this includes midwives, chiropractors, naturopaths, etc.). When I inquired, I was told the religion must be "recognized". My immediate thinking was I'd start my own, which is proving to be a bit more difficult and confusing than expected.

My intention with these questions is not to open a bashing session between pro and anti vaccinators. I'm simply trying to address this issue in the most honest way possible. I do not want to be forced into choosing between poisoning my child and claiming a false religion.

Thanks in advance for any advice :)

With the caveat that I strongly disagree with you regarding whether or not to vaccinate your children, you may be able to argue that your moral objection is on par with a religious objection. You also may ask what the state of California defines as a "recognized" religion and thus catch them in a first amendment issue. If you feel strongly enough about it, it might be better to retain a lawyer who will argue your case.

I know that Atheism is not a religion but it seems that all the trendy religionists are saying it at the moment. Of course, it is nonsense but why not toe the line for the sake of income tax relief ? We Atheists can say to Inland Revenue, 'yes, the religionists are right, we are a religion too' and then claim exemption from taxation for all our institutions and activities.

I think I have a smashing idea.

What do you think ?

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