Almost all atheists claim that, because (supposedly) there is no God, their own worldview is not a religion. Many of them would argue that they have a “nonbelief.”
One of the definitions of religion in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, however, is this: “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”
Atheism certainly fits that definition, and many of its adherents are quite zealous about their faith system.
Atheists have an active belief system with views concerning origins (that the universe and life arose by natural processes); no life after death; the existence of God; how to behave while alive; and so much more. Honest atheists will admit their worldview is a faith. Atheism is a religion!
One candid atheist wrote, “My attitude is not based on science, but rather on faith . . . . The absence of a Creator, the non-existence of God is my childhood faith, my adult belief, unshakable and holy.”1
This secular (anti-God) religion of atheism is growing. Atheism is all around us in various forms. It is practiced (and funded) by almost all government schools. In essence atheism has become the religion of the state, and it pervades the media, courts, museums, textbooks, the internet, science journals, and influences many people you encounter.
About 90% of children from our church homes attend government schools. Your kids and grandkids have likely been adversely influenced by this religion . . . and they may not have even realized it.
Actually, however, there are no true atheists—just those who claim to be. The all-knowing God of the Bible informs us that He has made it evident to all people that He exists, but that unbelievers try to suppress that knowledge (Romans 1:18).
While atheism is a blind faith, its followers will still cry out, “We are not part of a religion!” Why do they plead this? First, if atheism were identified as a religion, atheists fear that their views might get kicked out of public places, like government-run schools. Second, these secularists will be less likely to be able to deceive children into thinking that their teachings (supposedly “neutral”) are not in conflict with the religious beliefs of students.
Secular humanistic religions—like evolution, atheism, and agnosticism—are part and parcel of the same belief system. These worldviews have free reign with tax-supported dollars not only in America but also in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and many other countries. It’s ironic that under the rallying cry of “let’s keep religion out” of the public arena, secularists have kicked Christianity out of the classroom and have replaced it with another religion: the religion of naturalism, which is atheism.
There is a simple way to test our claim that a worldview is not “nonreligious.” If atheism really isn’t religious, then why do atheists strongly oppose religious claims? Their approach is illogical!
Does the atheistic view of origins (big bang, millions of years, and evolution—each involving supposed natural processes2) oppose the religious view of special creation by God in six days? Yes. Therefore, secular views of origins are religious.
Anyone who claims that they are not religious and then makes judgments about religious topics . . . has made a religious statement.
Anyone who claims that they are not religious and then makes judgments about religious topics (e.g., the deity of Christ, the existence of God, the morality regarding adultery, the truthfulness of the Bible, and so on) has made a religious statement. Though they may “claim” to be irreligious, they reveal that they are indeed religious when they attempt to refute another religious view.
Does atheism oppose the religious claim that God exists? Again, yes. Thus, atheism is religious. Popular atheist John Dunphy, writing for a secular magazine, admitted:
I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being.
These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool day care or large state university.
The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.3
When it is financially beneficial or otherwise helpful to their cause, atheists want to receive the benefits allowed for groups that are widely seen as religious. For example, atheist and other secular groups are eligible to receive tax benefits that other religious groups get. In addition, secular and atheist chaplains function within the military. These atheists want to have their cake and eat it too. The atheist worldview is religious because its adherents behave in religious ways.
Ultimately the battle is between two religions: God’s true religion and man’s false religion.
Atheists believe they cease to exist when they die. Why then do they even bother to oppose Christians and aggressively work to impose their religion on the culture if all is futile anyway?
The atheists’ battle against Christianity clearly illustrates the spiritual struggle raging around us, pointed out by the Apostle Paul:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
The third and final volume of AiG’s World Religions and Cults series of books deals with secular and atheistic religions. It’s a powerful resource for laymen and Christian leaders as they engage in the spiritual battle of our age. We encourage you to obtain this powerful new volume. Also, plan to attend our World Religions Conference in July 2017.