Does atheism really belong to a religion?
There are still debates on whether atheism belongs to religion as it is based on many contradictions. Atheism is practiced as a religion, fits many religious features and in everyday life sounds like it when atheists answer the question “Are you a Christian/ Buddhist?” - “No, I'm an atheist”. Atheists do evangelize although they prefer not to use this word to describe their attempts to create new converts by “opening people's eyes” to the flaws of other religions. But still, such attempts are based on beliefs in God.
Atheism vs. Religion: things in common
Can you call a shaved head a hairstyle? Many college students study the connection of atheism to religion and can't come to a consensus. There are even colleges for not “mainstream” believers that include atheism as a form of religious diversity. Atheism can be explained by three basic definitions both atheists and believers agree with:
- God doesn't exist;
- The world is the only thing that exists;
- There is nothing existing after death.
Some atheists do accept the existence of some spiritual beings but they deny any notion of God. Meanwhile, religion can be identified as the system of beliefs and practices in an ever-living God ruling the universe. There is even a special organization that decides if this is a religion or not. The primary criteria for them are:
- to be a legal entity;
- to have a specific form and place to worship,
- to have some history;
- not to be believers of any other religion;
- to have its own literature;
- to provide religious services;
- to have special schools.
All of these points are not related to atheism: the only thing these people have in common is not believing in God. However, atheism impacts all aspects of its adherents` lives just like Christianity or any other religion. While some atheists are happy with their beliefs, many of them just like believers have a strong conviction, gather in groups, wear symbolic T-shirts and try to destroy the mainstream beliefs replacing them with “the reality”.
The most common misconception is that religion is based only on beliefs in God and not about God. If the first one was true, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam would technically be the same religion. Although atheists claim that their vision is not a religion that lets them share thoughts in places where other religions are banned, atheism still fits some widely-used scholar religion definitions acting like a religion in practice. So maybe it's time to welcome another player on the stage of different worldviews generally labeled as religions.
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