Is atheism actually a religion?
This is a question that has often been debated over the years, seemingly without either side actually reaching a resolution that satisfies the other. Even the dictionary definitions differ over the exact meaning of the word religion, with some suggesting that it is a set of beliefs, values and practices and others determining religion as having its base in the superhuman elements of nature and creation, in other words with a ‘God’ or super-being as its figurehead.
Atheism is a religion if taken within the following context
Believers of the atheist message hold a belief that the human body and soul do not exist beyond the period of time that we physically spend on this earth; therefore we need to make the most of our time here. Believers of other religions, such as Christianity and Islam are based upon faith in a ‘God,’ which has as its central theme that after our demise we go onto a better life elsewhere as long as we have tried to live a good life while on earth. Therefore, atheism, like other religions, has a core belief.
The core beliefs
Another issue that aligns atheism with the religion concept is that its core beliefs, as with others, are based upon facts that have not, and to date cannot be upheld or disproved by scientific substantiation. For example, just as there is no scientific evidence to support the fact that there is an afterlife, so the same is true in terms of confirming that death is the end of the human mind and soul, which is what atheists believe.
Furthermore, atheism can be deemed as a religion by the fact that those who embrace this concept base their beliefs upon the trust of an idea or statement that does not have to be proven to them as individuals. Atheists, like Christians and other religious followers, can be said to have faith that their beliefs are valid, irrespective of the views that others might hold about their particular concept.
Finally, in some respects, it can be said that atheism does share the idea of a figurehead that has superior power compared with those that human beings possess. Although in this particular instance that superpower is seldom likened to an individual being, as the ‘God’ who is the focus of other religions might be, it is still all-powerful. For atheists, this power has defined a nature, being the environment within which we live and the natural cycle of that life over which we have no control.
Based upon the content of the above discussions it is therefore considered hard to argue that atheism is not actually a religion.