The Electric Commentary

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Is Atheism a Religion?

I don't think so. But I think the federal court of appeals that held that atheist inmates at a Wisconsin prison have the right to meet as a study group, citing the U.S. Supreme Court's recognition of atheism as equivalent to a religion, made the right choice. Really, atheism isn't a religion. Religion is about belief in the supernatural. Atheism is the absence of such belief. What I think decisions like this point out is that perhaps religion shouldn't get so many perks. Why should prison inmates be able to meet to talk about god, but not be able to meet to talk about atheism or philosophy or sport or for a book club?


  • There are people who don't believe in (a) supreme being(s) who still believe in religion. At least, I have heard that certain Jewish and Unitarian houses of worship make room for people who consider themselves atheists.

    By Blogger dhodge, at 11:21 AM  

  • I think there are some sects of atheism that are a lot like religion, for instance they have some kind of code that they follow and that outlines their lack of beliefs in such a way that they are beliefs.

    By Anonymous Phil, at 9:16 AM  

  • Religion does not have to be supernatural:

    A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

    Reading the punditry of the day, it is clear to me that there is little difference between a political ideaology and a religious one. Their respective devotees have varying levels of adherence to the party line and there is a large tendency in the most fervent followers to suspend all skepticism and rational thought during the most inappropriate times.

    By Anonymous Rashid Muhammad, at 10:16 AM  

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