Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Church of the Atheist

I stated in an earlier post that I really don't think one can seriously call atheism a religion. I argued that religion in the most common definition requires the worship of a higher power or governor of the universe (AKA god). Atheism rejects this notion. At best, atheism is a philosophy. Passion about an idea isn't a religion -- but can be described as religious. But again, not in the sense that Christianity is a religion.

I still stick to that idea.

I'm still planning to meet with a group of local atheist for my first time. I'm a little nervous and curious as to what I'll witness.

I have found someone to share this with that respects my emerging non-belief. But, I got an odd comment about my plans:

Isn't this meeting the same as going to church? I mean, you're meeting to encourage each other. Christians do the same thing when they meet for church.


Church certainly has a social structure to it. And the more active and enjoyable the social atmosphere of a church, the more motivated the members tend to be.

But, church isn't just a social club. Church isn't only a place for Christians to mingle and share ideas. Besides, not all churches participate in allowing members to become close-nit so that they become comfortable sharing ideas and emotions with each other. When all else fails, church is supposed to be the hub of worship towards God for that group of believers who meet together. The sacred rites of Christians are performed -- Eucharist (Communion), baptism, worship and praise, repentance, reconciliation and so forth.

I'm sure none of that will be going on at a meeting of atheists who have come together to share their views. Just because the group is atheist doesn't mean they will all agree on everything.

But, there is a solace when you know you aren't alone.

I know that church provides that, too, for believers. But that similarity still doesn't make atheism a religion -- even if they meet to share their, er, non-belief.
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