“I think there is in this country a war on religion. I think there is a desire to establish a religion in America known as secularism.” -Mitt Romney
I’m going to ignore the “war on religion” bit because it’s absurd. If there’s a war on religion, it’s a war to keep religion out of people’s lives who don’t want it there. Religion is the aggressor, not the other way around.
But that’s not the point of this. The point is: stop saying that atheism or secularism is a religion. It’s a lack of a religion. The absence of something is not the same as something. I’ll try to illustrate.
Now, you should understand this at first glance, and it should totally elucidate for you how stupid it is to say atheism is a religion. If you’re lost, I’m here to help.
See, bald people don’t have hair. So, they don’t have a hair color. Baldness is not another kind of hair color; it’s the complete lack of hair in the first place. Hair can’t have a color if it doesn’t exist.
A belief can’t be a religion if that belief doesn’t exist.
Atheism is a lack of belief, just like baldness is a lack of hair.
In reality, atheism doesn’t actually exist. It’s like the space between the earth and the moon. There’s just nothing there. There’s no air. There’s no dirt. There’s nothing. It’s a void.
Bill Maher tried to sum it up this way (link to video):
Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.
Same exact concept. Abstinence isn’t a sex position; it’s the absence of a sex position. If you think abstinence is a sex position, try it out. You’ll probably get bored really quickly. A lack of sex is not the same as having sex.
I like to think of religions as board games. They both have rules, and they both have penalties for breaking those rules, but not all board games are the same. Monopoly and Candyland are both board games. If you want to play those games, you have to play by the rules of the game. Religions are the same. Christianity and Islam both have rules, and there are penalties for breaking those rules. If you want to practice the religion, you have to play by the rules.
But, what if there were no board games? What if I don’t like board games? What if I think they’re evil and a waste of time and make people do silly things like buy Baltic Ave.? So, I say, “Hey. Board games are stupid. I don’t want to play those games. I’m not interested.” And then I walk away from the board games, ignore them, and do something else.
Does that mean I’m playing a board game? Of course not. That’s ludicrous. My refusal to play a board game is not a board game. I’m an a-boardgamist. I took a look at the rules and functions of the games, decided they were dumb, and walked away.
An atheist’s approach to religion is the exact same thing. I walked away from religion just like I walked away from the board games.
Atheism requires NOTHING from a person. There are no rules, no practices, no traditions. Atheism is nothing. It’s a response to a claim. The claim?
I think God exists.
It would be like someone saying:
Hey, I’m playing Chutes and Ladders!
That’s a dumb game. I don’t want to play it or any other board game. Board games are for children. There’s no reason to play them, and I’d like to do other things with my time. Enjoy your game, though.
So, no, Mitt Romney. Secularism is not a religion. Secularism is what you call it when people have outgrown board games.
Here’s a good take on this from a totally random person who checked out this blog. Worth reading. Arkfrontier.com.