Atheism is the lack of a religion. However, some people define religion so broadly, that it can include just about any belief system, even atheism. Atheists prefer a conventional definition of religion, as actually practiced by billions of people globally – i.e. a belief in a supernatural creator that is free to intervene personally in the universe.
A second component of religion is where (part of) you survives death in some form of afterlife.
The more narrowly one defines religion, the less followers it will have. God can mean all things to all people, and the use (and misuse) of the term has produced much confusion.
Clearly, atheists deny the existence of a supernatural Creator as there is simply no evidence (and plenty of evidence to the contrary), so atheism is not religion.
Another way to define religion is to say that it consists of a (1) cosmology that explains origins and (2) an absolute moral code.
While these two aspects are inextricably interwoven in the traditional monotheistic Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), many pre-agricultural tribes around the world do not have their cosmology myths linked to their moral codes of behaviour.
So religion can manifest itself in many forms. Despite this, atheism is clearly not a religion, as it is an absence in belief in Supreme Beings, supernatural events and a soul that survives death, or any combination of the above.
Posted: June 1st 2007
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