While perusing the pages of Twitter, I came across an individual who was rather adamant that not only is atheism a religion, but christianity is NOT. Now, I’ve heard the “atheism is a religion” line and that one no longer surprises me, but claiming that christianity is not a religion is new to me and completely baffling. When probed further, they were unable to offer any defensible position. Their rational went like this: “Christianity is not a religion for the same reasons that atheism is a religion.”  Is this something specific to this one nut-job, or is it the latest  christian ploy? Anyone else encounter this level of delusion?

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Some Christians claim that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with Christ. They see religion as a ritualistic thing which gets in the way of this personal relationship? They tend to be extreme protestants and creationists. I suppose your oddball could see his/her christianity as a relationship and atheism as a dogma?

You are absolutely right, Helen. When I was a fundamentalist, I can remember my pastor repeatedly preaching that christianity was "a relationship, not a religion" for the reason you gave.

It never occurred to me to ask, "which christanity?".

Sounds like a dead-end conversation Rick - I generally don't waste my time trying to argue with nutjobs. Give me someone who'll say, "I believe this because...." and if I have a different point of view, I may present it - but without a reason, it's like a house on a cul-de-sac of a one-way street.

pax vobiscum,

It may be because many of these groups are members of smaller cults so they have a sense of being “special”. They have their own rules and ceremonies that are unique to them. This isolates them from mainstream religion and endows them with a feeling of being “one of the chosen few”.

They are taught that Atheism is so wrong and sinful that those who “practice” Atheism are, because they don’t have a relationship with Jesus, unable to live moral or meaningful lives. We are viewed as a group with specific aims of curtailing their freedom to practice their faith. They understand Atheism to be on the rise worldwide and are warning each other to be vigilant against it. This gives rise to the (false) assumption that Atheism is a movement in the sense that religion is one and is therefore a religion.

I have argued this point will many Christians over the years. They all profess to having a personal relationship with Jesus and feel so blessed to have it. I debate with various different groups and all of them have said that Atheism is a religion without the slightest sense of irony.

My Jehovah Witness callers have stopped calling. I always give them credit for the efforts they made trying to “save me”. After many months I finally planted enough doubt in their minds that 2 members left. Now my house number is in their black book and they completely ignore me. It is because these cults foster the idea of “Us versus Them” that they believe Atheism is a religion.

Atheism is not a religion because it only really means a lack of belief in god to one degree or another. A person can be an atheist and still believe in dragons and mole people. but there are groups of atheists who have created atheistic religions of sorts, like secular humanism, universal Unitarianism, or atheistic Buddhism. On the other hand Christianity is not necessarily always a religion either. Catholicism is a religion, it is a christian religion, but if one is a christian (I.e believes Jesus to be the son of god) that does not necessarily make them a catholic or part of any other organization. I feel like that is what makes a religion, it is not a story, or a concept, or a set of standards, but a live, functioning organization.   

Fantastic!  That made my day.

Atheism is a religion, just like bald is a hair colour.

When people insist on using their own definitions for words that have explicitly different meanings to everyone else, you can't have a rational debate. It would be like debating an alien. Until you can speak a common language, you can't communicate.

Atheism is of course not a religion, but for some people, including me, it takes the place of religion.  A belief that there is no God is fundamental to my spiritual belief system. 

And atheism is still a belief about God.  We give a shit enough about the issue to do all "this".  I contend that nearly everyone takes some position or other about the existence of God or gods, even if for most non-religious people it takes the form of some vague nebulous quasi-religious homespun theory.  

The person on Twitter is entitled to his or her opinion like everyone else.  Did they give any actual reasons for believing this?  

I can understand that to some Christians, their beliefs in God and Jesus are far too fundamental and part of their biological beings to be called a mere "religion". 

Simon - I think possibly "obsession" is the word you may be looking for --

pax vobiscum,

This is often a manifestation of being so wrapped up in their belief in a deity that they simply cannot imagine not having such a belief.

Dig a little deeper and you will likely find this person thinks you worship something in secret or are doing so subconsciously or something like that.  Or at the very least that you are unwittingly serving satan.


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