Yesterday, I was in my car listening to the radio when I caught the end of a segment from the Thom Hartmann program. Since it was New Year’s Day and all, the show was running segments from earlier in the year and this particular segment featured the host, Thom Hartmann, claiming that atheism is a religion.
Hartmann is a popular radio talk show host on the left of the political spectrum. It always surprises me that people like him would take aim at atheism considering that most atheists tend to vote Democrat and are usually much more progressive than most of our religious friends. I get why Fox News and Republican talking heads would attack atheists. We generally disagree with them on most issues and fundamentalist Christians are their target audience. But for liberal talk show hosts to make ridiculous claims like this directed toward atheists seems silly, counter-productive, and flat out not correct.
Atheism isn’t a religion. While some religions are atheistic (Buddhism, The Society of Ethical Culture, etc.), atheism in and of itself is not a religion. It is simply a lack of belief in deities.
When religious believers make such ridiculous claims, they are basically saying, “I am rubber and you are glue and whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” To put it another way, they are saying, “I know you are, but what am I?” These attempts at false equivalency are childish, stupid, and inaccurate. Dear Thom, atheism is not a religion any more than off is a radio station.
Unfortunately, people actually listen to what Hartmann has to say and so I went to Twitter to educate him about how atheism is not a religion. I also went on his website and found quite an interesting conversation on the topic in the message boards. I have been arguing with “liberal Christians” on there. My final question to those claiming atheism is a religion is a question of clarification. Is the claim that everyone MUST have a religion or is it possible to not have a religion? If it is possible to not have a religion, what would “not having a religion” look like? I submit that it would look like atheism.