"Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

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Aaron Blumer's picture


I would love to know what they think "hardens hearts" means. They don't seem to know where that phrase came from or what the "heart" is.... and that they are making a religious statement by even talking about the "heart."

Rev Karl's picture

"Atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist." (wikipedia)

If Atheists do not believe in God (Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning "without god"), is Atheism a religion?

Can it be defended as a religion to be represented in a display which includes the symbols and representations of other religions?

(I don't know: I'm asking.)

Rev Karl's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hapax_legomenon ]Hapax legomenon in Ephesians 2:12, "that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God (ἄθεος) in the world."

The source for the parenthetical definition is a wikipedia page on Atheism, and the Greek word was cited as the etymolocigal source of the term "atheism". I speak a little French, I know a few phrases in Spanish, Poruguese, German, and a few ASL signs, but I don't have any working background in Greek at all.

I guess that just goes to show the value (or lack of value) of wiki as a source. Smile

So let's leave the spurious definition out. The question is still: If atheists do not believe in God, is atheism a religion? Can atheists ask for representation as a religion in a display which presents symbols representing the faith of other religions?

Jim's picture

What's "a religion"?

My simple way of looking at this is that there is

  1. Truth: sourced in Divine revelation
  2. Everything else: the chaos of idolatry and the vain imaginations of the mind

    I would put "atheism" in category # 2

Rev Karl's picture

Bro. Peet,

As to your analysis above, you get no argument from me. When I am asked, I tell people that Bible believing born again Christians have a direct relationship with a Person: Jesus Christ. Religion is a list of things to do/not to do in an attemp to make onself worthy of going to Heaven.

I am not asking the question based on hermeneutics. I am not asking a question based on Scriptural Doctrine. I am not asking a question based on theology.

I am asking,

  • based on the Constitution of the United States,
  • state and local laws,
  • established policy,

if atheists do not believe in God, do they have standing in our government or our courts to ask to be included in a presentation of "religious" symbols relating to any particular holiday celebrated in, and under the jurisdiction of, the United States of America?

Jim's picture

The "Religion of the US"

Not speaking "legally". But I have to laugh that most state and national parks will have some sort of instructional material (displays, plaques, narratives) that promote atheist evolutionism. An example would be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinosaur_National_Monument ]Dinosaur National Monumen t. A very cool place (actually a very hot place in the Summer time)

I don't actually care if nativity scenes, 10 commandments or crosses are displayed on public lands.

As an aside, there is a prominent private park at the entrance to Branson MO that has a large 10 commandments' display.


Conclusion: The "religion" of the US is Deism at best and atheism at worse

Susan R's picture


if I remember correctly is that religion is a sincere belief in God, or a belief in something/someone that is the equivalent of 'God' in the lives of others. It doesn't have to be a belief in any deity to be considered 'religious'. But I think in the minds of most people, 'religion' involves a belief in a deity of some kind, as well as some kind of system in support of that belief.

This year’s Nativity scene is surrounded by a Santa Claus, reindeer, a Christmas tree, snowman, and Hanukkah and Kwanza symbols.

Missing- a partridge in a pear tree and a kitchen sink.

Jim's picture

Hey Karl ... nice of you to so formally call me "Bro Peet" but most folk just call me Jim Smile

I view atheism as a religion of sorts. It is not neutral about God. It makes a foolish presumption about God.

Rev Karl's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
Hey Karl ... nice of you to so formally call me "Bro Peet" but most folk just call me Jim Smile

Just a matter of respect. Something my Yankee Mom taught me since I was knee-high to a puddleduck. Smile

Jim Peet wrote:
I view atheism as a religion of sorts. It is not neutral about God. It makes a foolish presumption about God.

It doesn't make any sense to me. After all, when "religion" ballons up in my undersized brain (an IBM 286AT processor in an Intel® Core™ i3 world), I associate it with a system of beliefs: not a system of unbeliefs. But, with no problem at all, I defer to your analysis.

Time for me to pack up my gear and hike on back to the house. I'm really going to miss the smell of the campfire. Thank you for sharpening me today.

Andrew K.'s picture

I don't think there can be any all-encompassing definition of a religion, because inevitably certain religions get excluded -- particularly Eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Daoism, for example. There's even debate as to whether Confucianism can be understood as a religion.

As I recall, philosophers generally use a "family resemblance" principle to identify religions as such, using such markers as rituals, shared beliefs, etc.

If that be the case, then I think we could say that atheism is becoming a religion, since in the last few years it has been adding a number of these accoutrements common to religion (e.g. the dogmatic belief that Jesus never existed, Atheist Sunday School, the Secular Bible, etc.).


Aaron Blumer's picture


Whether atheism is a religion or not is an important question. They try to have it both ways. When they're attacking "religion" they typically present their belief system as alternative to religion. When they want something like religious liberty, then it's a religion that should have a place along side other religious expressions.

But it really is a religion. "There is no God" is a belief about God. It's a religious statement.
Even "I'm not sure if there is a God or not" is a religious statement.
All humans are religious, and any system of beliefs for answering the ultimate questions (why do we exist, how did we get here, what are we, etc.) is a religion.

Rev Karl's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
All humans are religious, and any system of beliefs for answering the ultimate questions (why do we exist, how did we get here, what are we, etc.) is a religion.

OK. Does religion = faith?

I have been hearing from the pulpit for decades, "Brand X" is a *RELIGION*, whereas Bible Christianity is a *FAITH*.

Once again, in my IBM 80286 PC AT mind, "religion" equates to a list of things you do (or don't do), practiced repeatedly (religiously) in order to make oneself worthy of attaining a place in Heaven.

Many of the members of this blog have eloquently expressed their low opinion of a brand of Christianity which adheres to a list of do's and don'ts.

I know that, in the eyes of the law, and in the eyes of the World, Bible Christianity is a religion. But for the purposes of our ministries in our congregations, is Bible Christianity a faith, or a religion?

Jim's picture

We've heard the "aphorism": Christianity is a relationship .... not a religion.

Well hold that thought:

  • Paul called Judaism "religion": "“My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion (θρησκεία) I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers." (Acts 26:4-6)
  • James uses the same word: "But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious (θρησκός), and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion (θρησκεία) is useless. Pure and undefiled religion (θρησκεία) before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." James 1:25-27
Jim's picture

This was voted on in the UK as the best religious joke ever. Do you agree?

“Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!”
He said, “Nobody loves me.”
I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
He said, “A Christian.”
I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, “Me, too! What franchise?”
He said, “Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.” “

Source: http://dribex.tumblr.com/post/13839418108/the-best-religious-joke-ever