Seattle Atheists is not a religion

Are “Atheism” or “humanism” religions? While it may serve a useful stepping stone for the faithful to shed themselves of religion I think it’s incorrect to call secular humanism “spirituality” or “religion” or claim that it requires faith to value it’s principals. Calling Atheism a religion is just silly.

philosophy != religion

I had to answer the question ~”isn’t Seattle Atheists like a religion?” at the University District Street Fair so many times. There are numerous Freethinkers (including some who I hope are reading this) who are afraid to support SA because they think it’s like a religion. It’s not. It’s an educational organization. The various ways that SA states ~”there is no evidence of woo woo” isn’t even philosophical, much less religious, it’s stating the obvious. Promoting Secular Government, Freedom of Religion for Atheists, and tolerance of Atheism is very philosophical but it’s hardly dogmatic and SA does it through education, not conversion.

SA is not a religion. SA will not fulfill your “spiritual” needs (there’s no such thing). SA is not trying to convert people to Atheism. SA might fulfill some of your social needs and make the world a better place but SA needs your support to achieve it’s mission (stated above and detailed in the constitution:
http://www.seattleatheists.org/documents/Seattle_Atheist_Constitution_and_Bylaws\.pdf). So please don’t let fear of joining an organization stop you from from promoting your values. Don’t let an irrational fear that you might accidentally foist your values on others prevent you for fighting for a government and a society that will not tolerate the insertion of dogma into science and law. Inaction serves only the goals of those who would happily force their religious values on all of us regardless of the results.

The easiest way to support SA is to become a member and/or make a donation but even more than that SA needs volunteers. At this point I believe everyone on the SA board is employed full time and none of them are payed for the work they do for SA. You can join online (http://www.seattleatheists.org/become_a_member.shtml) or you can attend meetings to find out more about volunteering (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SeattleAtheists/cal you don’t have to be a member to attend meetings).

Let me speak on the matter of the religiosity and definition of Atheism from a personal perspective for a moment.

I could easily call myself a skeptical agnostic, a freethinker, a secular humanist; I am those things. By the unstated definitions in the recent article by AFP on the Society for Ethical Culture’s non-religious Temple for the faithful non-theists (http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5i9PAMO3EINjl18myLwaB5cJox4CA) I could even call myself “spiritual but not religious” or a “religious non-theist”. If I ever do call myself one of the latter two please slap me. I have plenty of ethics, plenty of philosophical ideas, and desire to do nice things for others and desire to be part of social groups, just like everyone else. These things do not resemble or require anything remotely similar to faith or spirituality, and certainly not religion or a belief in god. Sometimes I even come up with crazy off-the-wall hypothesis that appear to be impossible to prove or disprove. That’s entirely rational and scientific. What isn’t rational is taking the leap of faith from *having* an idea to *believing* the idea simply because I had it without proving it. I don’t do that. Outside of religion most people don’t do that.

I don’t have proof that god doesn’t exist. I may never have proof that god doesn’t exist. But I have surveyed the intellectual landscape and found that no one has any credible evidence that he does. I have surveyed my peers and respected educators and all that have looked for credible evidence of the supernatural have come to the same conclusion. I am an Atheist, just like half the rest of the people on this planet, by any other name, and I’m not afraid to say so and I am not afraid of being proven wrong. In fact, I would love to be proven wrong. That would be amazing. But I’m not holding my breath.

My Atheism is not based on my upbringing, it’s not based on dogma, it’s not based on rebellion, and it is definitely not based on a desire for religious belonging. It is a simple observation of the state of evidence for the paranormal: there is none.

Tags:

About Jeff