My friend asked me a question the other day. He said he has observed atheists becoming more and more like a religion so when does it get considered a religion? This was my best reply with the aid of a dictionary.

The simple answer is that atheism WILL NEVER be a religion. Why?

Because atheism is NOT a set of beliefs about cause, nature, and purpose of the universe. Atheism is the observation there is no evidence for gods. That's it. Atheists can also accept evolutionary theory - or not - but atheism does not advocate a set of beliefs in the ways religions do.

Next, since atheists observe there is no evidence for gods (and/or the supernatural) it also cannot be a religion.

Third, there are no atheist rituals or observances. Therefore it cannot be a religion.

Fourth, atheism does not have views about how people should live morally. Instead of looking to supernatural agents for moral instructions atheists use their reason and compassion - however this too is SEPARATE from the observation there is no evidence of any gods.

So once we actually understand the necessary and sufficient conditions for what qualifies as a 'religion' it's pretty easy to see that calling atheism a 'religion' is either wrong or bone-headed (depending upon whether the person understand atheism cannot be a religion but refers to it as one anyway).

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Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on August 3, 2009 at 6:06am
As to those crackos who talk endlessly about the bible being "the word of god" and they challenge you with that, it can be enough to reply:
"It ain't the word of god. It's the word of simple, illiterate, brain-challenged, desert, goat-herders inventing stories to suit themselves."

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