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The Contender
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Atheism IS a religion

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/18/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,318 times Debate No: 31411
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (68)
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My argument, is that atheism is a religion, based on the fact that religion is founded on beliefs and morals, and atheists do believe in no god.

-No name calling or insults
-No cursing, let's be mature here.
-A big deal should not be made out of minor spelling/grammar mistakes


My argument that will be fleshed out in subsequent rounds is that atheism is not a religion, because it is merely the philosophical position of a lack of belief in god/s; to qualify as a religion, a belief system requires several characteristics that atheism lacks. I am a deist, but I understand that atheism is not a religion.

I look forward to Pro's main argument. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


Here is why I believe atheism is indeed a religion.

The definition of religion goes as following: "The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods."
The second definition goes as following: "Details of belief as taught or discussed."
Synonyms for this word goes as following: faith--belief--creed--denomination.

Now, what is religion? Although there is a dictionary definition, as stated above, where does religion origin? That is the main thing. There would be NO religion if there was not a belief to back up the practice.
For example, I am a Christian. My belief in God defines my religion, which is Christianity. If I had no belief in God, I would not be a Christian.
Take a Buddhist for example. A Buddhist believes in Buddha. If there was no Buddha, would there be Buddhism, a religion formed in the belief of Buddha?
Now as you're reading this, I know you're going to argue the fact that I am using "gods" as a reasoning for religion, not beliefs. Let us flip the table.
Say one believes in no god (atheism) which is exact opposite of the examples I used above. One says, "There is no god, I am an atheist." That statement is indeed a creed of faith, the faith part being "I, ME MYSELF AND I, BELIEVE IN NO GOD, NO SUPERHUMAN BEING AND I AM SURE OF MY BELIEF." Nearly every religion has a creed of faith and certain beliefs that makes that religion unique.
In the end, BELIEFS, (not gods) define religion. One cannot prove God exists. One cannot prove Buddha exists. Just like one cannot prove that a god DOESN'T exists. What you believe about deities defines your personal beliefs, therefore define your classification.
Now what do I mean by "creed of faith"? My creed of faith is, "I am a Christian, I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins, etc. etc.".
Now, I am a Presbyterian and I know that creeds of faiths differ mildly from denomination to denomination. You don't have to be a Christian or take a creed of faith in a place of worship to have one.
Your creed of faith defines what you believe. The word "creed" simply means "faith". And I'm sure you know what the word "faith" means.

The point I am trying to prove here is that atheists have faith in something. They have faith that there is no God. If they didn't have faith in their belief, that would make it a little unstable, don't you agree? Just because atheists do not worship a god does not make them religion-less. Because, like I said above, religion is founded on beliefs about deity, even if they believe there isn't one.



1. I will take the liberty of filling in my opponent's many assumptions and missing premises to form several coherent arguments for her side.

2. I will then intellectually eviscerate the improved arguments.

3. Finally, I will present my own arguments as to why atheism lacks requisite characteristics to reasonably be clasified a religion.

Deconstructing Opponent's Arguments

RE: Definitional Deductive Syllogisms

Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods

Atheism is a religion
Atheism is a belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods

This is a patently false conclusion: atheism is the lack of belief in god/s [1.], which necessarily entails a lack of worship for god/s.

Religion is details of belief as taught or discussed.
Atheism is a religion
Atheism is details of belief as taught or discussed

This conclusion is more likely, but the first premise still has a fatal problem: being too broad. Under this definition of religion, any normal or absurd belief that is discussed or taught falls under this classification: history, cannibalism, science, witches, epistemology, culinary arts, etc. It fails because it subsumes too much without properly understanding the characteristics that make religion religion in the first place.

RE: Atheism Requires Faith

Atheism requires faith + Atheism has a creed of faith

Religion requires faith + has a creed of faith
Atheism is a religion

This argument relies on the assumption that "there is no objective way to determine whether God does or doesn't exist, and since all propositions are created equal, atheism and theism both require faith." But not all propositions are created equal--the proposition that God or gods exist is unfalsifiable hypothesis (a hypothesis that cannot be disproven), whereas the proposition of atheism is merely a lack of belief in the propostion that 'god/s exist' through a lack of information to test the claim, not caring to test the claim, not understanding the claim, etc--there are a variety of reasons for not believing your claim.

Counterexample: I tell you there is a giant anus that hovers over me and will swallow me if I don't behave. You proceed to ask for evidence, but I say that there is no evidence for the existence of the giant hovering anus, it requires faith. Is your disbelief in the giant anus hovering above my head grounded on faith? No, because it's absurd to shift the burden of proof from the person making the claim that something paranormal exists to the person who simply does not believe the claim for any number of reasons. I have the burden of proof to demonstrate the claim; you don't have the burden of proof to negate the claim, one you may not even be aware of. "Extraodinary claims require extraodinary evidence." -Carl Sagan. The evidence for naturalism (which subsumes atheism) surrounds us and can be understood through science. The lack of evidence for God/s is adequate support for the position of atheism, the lack of belief in God/s, a position that doesn't move past the available strong argument and evidence--thus, not requiring faith. Religion and theism move past the realm of strong argument and evidence into the realm of extraodinary paranormal claims with insufficient evidence, the belief in which requires faith.

Propositions consistent with strong evidence and argument do not require faith
Atheism is consistent with the strong evidence and argument that god/s do not exist
Atheism does not require faith
Religion requires faith
Atheism is not a religion

Establishing Con Case

The religion section of The Encyclopedia of Philosophy mentions nine qualifications for religions. The more qualifications out of the nine, the more “religious-like” the belief system is.

Belief in supernatural beings (gods).

Boom, atheism does not fit the criteria of the most basic requirement of religion: belief in supernatural beings. A basic justification for this is the etymology of the word. Atheism comes from the Greek atheos: a- “without” and theos “a god,” meaning “without god/s.” [2.]

A distinction between sacred and profane objects.

Whereas in Catholic churches water is “holy” and the altar is the place for “sacred offerings,” atheists make no distinction between arbitrary or doctrinal justification for sacred and non-sacred/profane objects. To an atheist, a large, bronze statue of Baal in a sunny park would just be seen as artwork, but to Christians and Jews, the “artwork” would be seen as profane and blasphemous.

Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.

As we’ve established, atheists don’t have a sacred object like a Pastafarian pasta strainer or a Judaic yarmulke; therefore, they do not have acts that focus on them, because the sacred objects are as non-existent as the gods they are told have “great evidence.” You won’t see an atheist walking a 200 mile jaunt while flagellating his back on holy day. You won’t see an atheist symbolically eating the flesh and blood of another man in some sort of benign cannibalistic ritual, and there is nothing that doctrinally compels him to do so.

A moral code believed to be sanctioned by the gods.

Seeing as though atheism is the lack of belief or disbelief that god/s exist, it is reasonable to conclude that they don’t believe that a moral code exists which is sanctioned by said non-existent god/s.

Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual, and which are connected in idea with the gods.

This is a quadruple cluster of wrong. Atheism doesn’t inspire any such religious feelings any more than not believing in Santa Claus would fill you with wonder. However, that does not leave the atheist without room for spiritual experience, which is another discussion. Again, atheists do not believe in god/s, nor do they have sacred objects or rituals surrounding those objects.

Prayer and other forms of communication with gods.

Ask yourself, “what would be the point of praying, if I strongly did not believe an imaginary being existed.” Atheism is the disbelief that god/s exist, so prayer and other forms of communication with the gods is inane.

A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein.

Atheism doesn’t have a world view. Anything people want to believe is fine, as long as they don’t believe in gods, they’re still atheists. If atheism did have a world view, then it’s doing an awful job of letting people know, because atheism subsumes an incredibly vast spectrum of people.

This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it.

No world view, so people are free to choose their own paths, purposes, and meanings.

A more or less total organization of one's life based on the world view.

You are totally free as an atheist to organize your life in any manner you see fit.

A social group bound together by the above.

As none of the above were achieved through reasoning to be applied to atheism, a social group is not bound by any of the preceding qualifications.


If Atheism is a religion...
then bald is a hair color.
then health is a disease.
then abstinence is a form of sex.
then unemployment is a career.

I look forward to my opponent's rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 2


oint in "Definitional Deductive Syllogisms", I totally agree. I, on the other hand, am not contrasting my argument by this dictionary definition. Like I stated in the previous argument, religion is not merely beliefs in a spiritual god, but likes of opinion about a spiritual god. I will come back to this point later in my rebuttal.

Atheists do worship (if I can use that loosely) something or someone. No one can be worship-less state of mind. If an atheist has made no personal commitment to a spiritual god, this question arises: Who do they worship/adore/deify/idolize? If it isn't a god, then who? The question is simple. Themselves. Of course I'm not saying atheists have a personal shrine in which they sacrifice animals and worship themselves. No way, that would be ludicrous.

My argument of self-worship/adoration/idolization goes back to the subtle attitude (that we all have somewhat) called humanism. And in no way am I calling the practice of humanism a religion. Even I, as a religious person, have some humanistic views. But what is humanism exactly? According to Wikipedia, "Humanism is a group of philosophies and ethical perspectives which emphasize the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers individual thought and evidence (rationalism, empiricism), over established doctrine or faith (fideism)."

Now think about that. What kind of attitude would that cause in the mindset and values of a person? Something like this.

"Oh, I don't need faith. I don't need religion. We have modern advancements, there is no god. I am a rational human being capable of making my own decisions; I don't need any moral code given by the gods. As long as I obey the law, I'll be fine. Because in the end, with no god to call my own, I can decide what's best for me. Me, myself, and I only."

What kind of attitude is presented here? Even if you lack this exact thought process as presented above, does it mean you lack the type of attitude this brings? No, of course not.

"Oh I don't need faith. I don't need religion." He has made a declaration that he is totally fine with being god-less, with living for himself.
"I am a rational human being capable of making my own decisions; I don't need any moral code (referring to a religious moral code)". What he is saying is that HE HIMSELF knows what's best for him, not any god. Because NO god can tell him what to do with his life.
"I can only decide what's best for me." Of course you know I am referring to anything he finds fit, nothing illegal like murder, rape, etc.

That entire statement screamed one thing: I am my own god and I don't need a spiritual being to tell me what to do.

Yes, he may not have a shrine entitled to himself out of physical worship but having a shrine, church, synagogue etc. isn't necessary for worship. I don't have to go to church every Sunday to worship God. It is what's in my heart, not what I display openly.


on your counterexample, like I explained to several members in the comments, you cannot use an example of some imaginary creature or something from the figment of your imagination. This is a debate about deities.

Yeah, if I believe in Santa Claus, that doesn't make him real. I, myself personally, believe in God. That doesn't make him real. An atheist believes in no god; that doesn't make him nonexistent. Get what I'm saying?

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". -Carl Sagan. I like this quote. But I am not here to convince anyone God exists. I fail to read an article or meet an individual who can prove both the Christian's and the atheist's claims. No one. But just because it has failed to be possible to prove that my God exists, doesn't make me any less of a Christian or makes my religion any less prominent.


"Atheism does not require faith." I beg to differ. Atheism does indeed require faith. Atheists believe in no god, no god at all. If they didn't have faith in their belief, wouldn't that appear to be a tad hypocritical? Or maybe that's why many atheists change their religion/beliefs numerous times.


I found the "Establishing Con Case" of your argument quite interesting. And do you know what I did? I looked up numerous religions, beliefs, etc. and found several accepted religions that did not meet all the qualifications of this little "test" if we can call it that.

For example, the religion of Scientology does not have a stable belief in supernatural beings (gods). And like I argued before, the dictionary definition of what religion is (most likely written by non-religious people) is quite different from what religion ACTUALLY is (being a religious person myself). If I didn't go into detail about this, let me explain.

What I believe about God (that he exists, that he loves me, etc.) fuels my Christianity. It's not necessarily what God you believe IN. That's not how religion starts. Yes maybe primitive religions, but not modern ones.

What you believe about a deity fuels your religion. What I choose to believe about God is the reason why I am a Christian. A lukewarm belief IN God would never be enough.
Atheists have this same viewpoint. Atheists have this opinion ABOUT god, which is how religion starts. Religion starts in a belief ABOUT a deity, and the other details come AFTER.

Let us go through the remainder of your list.

A distinction between sacred and profane objects. This is a matter of opinion backed by moral reasoning. This can be the same with atheists or anyone. A feminist can find a picture of an aborted baby outside of an abortion center offensive while a Christian can be fully for it. Of course this isn't sacred, but it is a matter of opinion. A statute of Baal would be nothing but artwork to me, although I am a Christian. Matter of opinion.

Ritual acts focused on sacred objects. Sure, I could see how this could be a solid argument. Although Scientologists have rituals, I fail to find a sacred object.

A moral code believed to be sanctioned by the gods. Moral codes used in religious practices (in most of them, not all) were usually man-made moral codes, usually used in the controlling and induction of "holy fear" in an individual.

A world view or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein. Atheists, as all other humans, have a world view. Saying that they do not shows them as robots almost, just living the moment. No matter if they have no god, they have a moral code and world view. Saying a human doesn't is a little irrational.

To close my argument, atheism should be considered a religion because it is a solid opinion about god(s), which is how most religions start. Atheism should also be considered a religion because it does indeed require faith. I have faith in the chair I am sitting in as I type this debate. I have faith that this chair will hold me and will not crumble under my weight. Atheists have faith in their belief on no god.

On that note, I hope I summed up everything in my argument and it was understandable and clear as a new penny. I have enjoyed this debate greatly.


Wallstreetatheist forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
68 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SitaraPorDios 4 years ago
atheism is not a religion just like theism, deism, and agnosticism is not a religion. Atheists just believe that there is no God. That is it.
Posted by devient.genie 5 years ago
makdoom, mockery is what you deserve, your beliefs are childish, you believe in flying horses :)

You believe in an all powerful misogynist, your religion is filth, you are a brainwashed moron.

Get over it, there are no sky daddys, you have no evidence, just a book of filth :)
Posted by Smithereens 5 years ago
WSA, you argue as if you were doing it irl, LD debating style. But imo, it looks weird online. And pro, I know you are new around here, but the mimicry cuts it to the extreme don't you think?
Posted by makhdoom5 5 years ago
Posted by makhdoom5 5 years ago
one of our prophet saww companion said.

what good he said.
when knowledge increases the talks become less.

and see at your self devient.genie i think may be your typing speed is good or you don have any task other than commenting on DDO.
or loosing debate.
Posted by makhdoom5 5 years ago
indeed the devient need to be shut.
even your attitude is childish.
i have spent my life doing debates.
you peoples are quite educated. to debate with Muslim having wrong believe is way much more difficult.
but you remind be those stupid professor i debate who don't let me talk.
but i start talking and rebutting there argument. they start mockery.
but loll
they were not doing with me but with themselves later proved.
Posted by devient.genie 5 years ago

"if you want the debates would not end during your whole life"

Translation: I dont care how much logic, reason and evidence you expose me too, I will always believe in a flying horse story about a sexist :)
Posted by devient.genie 5 years ago
makdoom, Operation Expose a Muslim will take place next week when we debate.

This weekend I wont have time, but Monday we'll go ahead and wrestle with ya :)

The taliban is a bunch of uneducated morons, evidence is in the misogyny and violence..duh :)

muslims are just violent christians, youre all a bunch of deluded clowns splitting hairs on the name of your sky daddy :)

Kids these days :)
Posted by makhdoom5 5 years ago
do you want to debate on Taliban than come.
dont say any thing with out evidence.
Posted by makhdoom5 5 years ago
yes indeed.
every dirt and that don't make sense we must not focus.
come in debate.
i will see you there.
here on comment we don't have room to argue or rebut.
No votes have been placed for this debate.