The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Atheism is a Religion

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 563 times Debate No: 83908
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Religion n.
the belief in and/or worship of an ultimate power, especially a God or gods.

Atheism, the belief that there is no God or gods, does not exclude the belief in an ultimate power. Different atheists believe in different ultimate powers from fate to chance to themselves. It is impossible to ascribe to atheism without ascribing to an ultimate power in the same way that it is impossible to ascribe to any religion without accepting its ultimate power or God. Because Atheism requires a belief in an ultimate power, Atheism is a religion.


The following definitions, from the Oxford Dictionary of American English, will be used:
atheism (n)
Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.
religion (n)
The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
worship (n)
The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.
chance (n)
A possibility of something happening.
ultimate (adj)
Being or happening at the end of a process; final.

Pro posits that all atheists ascribe to an ultimate power; this is patently false. The basis of Pro's argument is a non sequitur. No ultimate power is accepted by "all" atheists. The supposed ultimate powers of chance and the person themselves, as posited by Pro, are each not final in any way, but may each be affected by the other and outside factors.

Atheists share only a disbelief in a god. By definition, atheism is not a religion, as no belief in or love of a deity occurs.
Debate Round No. 1


Con claims that because Atheism requires a "disbelief in a god" it is not a religion. Lacking belief in deity, however, does not exclude Atheism from religion. Buddhism, a religion, also lacks a deity. Buddhists are not Theists. They share the same "disbelief in a god" that Atheists do. Con's claim that this shared disbelief excludes Atheists from religion can not be true as long any religion has the same attribute.

Because Con's central claim is false, his entire argument is invalid and my original must stand as it cannot be refuted by an untrue statement.


Again, Pro bases their entire argument on a non sequitur, this time the claim that Buddhism is an atheistic religion, and consequently atheism must be a religion.
Pro completely ignores that by the definitions both of us provided as bases for argumentation, Buddhism is atheistic, and therefore falls outside of the category of "religion" as defined and agreed upon by both arguing parties.
In other words, Pro contradicts themselves by positing (Rd. 1) that a religion requires belief in a deity and then presenting an example of an "atheistic religion".

Also notice that Pro attempts to posit that the religion Buddhism shares attributes with atheism, thus invalidating the exclusion of atheists from religion. I have taken the burden of proving and shown that Buddhism is in fact not a religion. Pro did not meet the burden of proof or demonstrate that it is.

Pro's rebuttal is invalid on the grounds that it's based on the flawed assertion that Buddhism is a religion, so my argument stands.
Debate Round No. 2


Con has made the claim that I have contradicted myself by stating first that religion requires a deity and then that Buddhism was a religion which lacks a deity. At no point have I claimed or accepted the claim that religion requires a deity. Also, none of the definitions of religion presented here require that any religion accept a deity.

religion n.
the belief in and/or worship of an ultimate power, especially a God or gods.

religion n.
The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

Buddhism is a religion because it requires a belief in a dharma. This dharma is an ultimate/superhuman controlling power within the universe.

Con claims that Buddhism is not a religion. The definition of religion presented earlier by Con categorizes Buddhism as a religion. In a ridiculous attempt to contradict me by saying that Buddhism is not a religion, Con has contradicted himself.

His arguments are therefore invalid.


The belief in the Karma and Dharma is Hinduistic. Buddhism and the concept of the Dharma are *not* necessarily mutually inclusive. The universal tenets of Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the cycle of reincarnation - interestingly enough believed to be *not* controlled by a deity. Buddhism also believes in and worships no deity.
Thus, Buddhism can be firmly established as a philosophy rather than religion.

In their rabid pursuit of the Buddhism argument, Pro has neglected several points:
Pro initially begs the question with the atheism-religion comparison.
Pro never at all defended their main argument, the claim that atheism *requires* a belief in an ultimate power.
Pro never addressed their non sequitur that Buddhism was an atheistic "religion" so consequently atheism must be one as well.

Thank you for an exciting and worthy debate. I shall look forward to the end of the voting session and the reveal of the winner.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by ichbinPhoenix 2 years ago
Not gonna vote, Death23?
Posted by Death23 2 years ago
Con wins.
Posted by jelman48 2 years ago
Thank you. I look forward to an excellent conclusion.
Posted by ichbinPhoenix 2 years ago
This has been a pleasant debate, jelman48. I look forward to seeing what you bring out in the final round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This debate took an odd turn, with both parties instead arguing for whether or not Buddhism deserves the title of religion or not. While this argument at the beginning could've held some relevance to the resolution, neither party bothers to explain this much. This argument was always irrelevant to the resolution, and will not be weighted in this vote. I am casting my vote to Con because Pro never fulfilled their BOP. At the beginning they stated that "different atheists believe in different ultimate powers." As Con pointed out in the final round, they [Pro] never proved this, or showed how it was relevant to the resolution. Pro makes the unreasonable jump that since the definition of atheism doesn't exclude a belief in an ultimate power, it *requires* one. This connection was never explained or proved, therefore the BOP was unfulfilled, and the win goes to Con.