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

Is Atheism a religion?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/13/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 552 times Debate No: 105007
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




I think it is a religion since you are believing in a god (nothing). You have really no practices, except for arguing.


No, atheism is not a religion. This is because it isn't the way you describe it that atheism has a god which is "nothing" but atheism is per definition to don't belief in any god. Therefore it has nothing that could be deified. It doesn't even claim that there isn't one, but rather that non of the offered arguments the theists provide are not compelling.

As a religion is the service and worship of God or the supernatural, atheism doesn't to that description.
Atheism merely describes the state of lack of a belief.
Debate Round No. 1


Atheism can be defined in different ways, but for purposes of this piece, I will be using the term "atheism" to refer to standard western atheism"that is, to the view that rejects the existence of God or the gods, that there is no afterlife, and that the material universe is all that is real. I will use the term "religion" as follows: Something is a religion if it has a position on the divine and/or the afterlife. Atheism's position on the afterlife is that there is no afterlife, when you die, you die.


Now your definition for atheism can be comprehended in the absence of the supernatural. Whether the belief, that the material universe is all that is real, should be part of the definition I doubt (Just referring to the question of consciousness, where it can't be said, that all atheist agree that it is material).

Your definition of religion is not really common, because if you just say that everything having a position on the divine or the afterlife is a religion, you would for example have to say that medical science is a religion, which has the position, that your brain isn't working and therefore your consciousness leaves as you die, which would directly oppose religions.
More commonly it is according to the oxford dictionary "The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods" or "A particular system of faith and worship."

Now let me assess that a little further and go over some points something should have, according to Ninian Smart, in order to be called a religion.

First all religions possess some kind of a religious narrative. No such stories of concepts exist for atheism. There is no book or text, which would explain what atheism is or what it teaches or some text that would be considered by all or most atheist as revealing concerning atheism.

Secondly atheism has no rituals such as prayer, which would show either an affiliation with atheism or a belief in "something atheistic". You have stated yourself that there are no such practices, but excluded "arguing". Arguing isn't a ritual atheists do in order to be atheist. While many (not all) value the importance of debates, about all in the western world does so in a similar way.

Thirdly there is no such thing as a atheistic experience. while the lack of religious oppression is in some cases a real experience, it can't be sad that it is due to being atheist, but rather not being religious any more (the actual definition of atheism).

Fourthly there isn't a doctrine any atheist has to follow to be an atheist. As soon as a person has no religious belief the person is by definition atheistic. While you could say that you have to not belief in god, which could be described as a doctrine, this really has no meaning, as it just categorises a group of people with a certain attribute.

There is no moral dimension. That can be seen by the vast difference in opinion concerning morals. While some think that there is a moral grounding in well-being or in a social contract, there are some that think there isn't one at all. This is absolutely different to all religions, which ground there morality either in a sacred text or in god.

The last two are first institutionalization (not in all religions), which atheism obviously doesn't have, and secondly the material dimension describing any buildings or sacred objects. This can't be found for atheism at all, as there are no "atheistic churches" for gathering or something of that kind.

As atheism doesn't fulfill any of the criteria (also not the common definition) and also is first and foremost a very diverse group, which you couldn't subsume under more than that they reject the supernatural, atheism can't be called a religion.
Debate Round No. 2


First off, once you say, and believe that you have no religion, you are now considered "no religion" Which I presume is Atheism. You if your an atheist you deny that there is a god.


Sadly I do neither understand what you mean (for example "considered 'no religion'" ???) nor what it has to do with the question whether atheism is a religion.

I have shown why atheism isn't a religion. therefore I would like to conclude with the analogy, that to describe atheism as a religion is the same as describing "not golfing" as hobby.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by missmedic 11 months ago
Belief is not a choice, but the Christian believe it is, because only if we can be held morally responsible for our beliefs can disbelief be treated as a sin. It isn't possible to defend the idea of atheists going to hell unless they can be held morally accountable for their atheism.

The Christian god has to many descriptive failings, contradictions and limiting attributes to be believed a god. I'm an atheist not because I don't believe in God but because I don't believe the people who do. The more you know the less you believe.............................
Posted by canis 11 months ago
I do not "believe" that the earth or the moon are flat.. And the moon is made of cheese.. Call it religion...
Posted by Debating_Horse 11 months ago
Go tfroitz1!
Posted by SimonSmasher 11 months ago
This is so dumb, atheism is the rejection of religion! Literally the definition of atheism is having no religious beliefs. Just because a group of people believe Tom Cruise is the best actor, doesn't make that a religion!! How does no religion = religion!??
Posted by TsianinaA133 11 months ago
Of course Atheism is a religion! A religion is a group of people sharing the same belief.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by BryanMullinsNOCHRISTMAS2 10 months ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con by default!
Vote Placed by zmikecuber 11 months ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro argues from some really weird definitions of religion, but doesn't provide any sources or reasons to accept that definition. Con points this out, and demonstrates that atheism is a rejection of belief in God, and that in the colloquial sense, religion is the belief in some sort of supernatural deities. As such, Con wins arguments.