Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Godless Wednesday: Is Atheism A Religion? Hell, No!

The New York Times has an interesting online debate forum based around the question "Is Atheism A Religion?" Of course, my response is "Hell, no!" but I think Penn Jillette, a famous atheism also known as one-half of the comedy duo of Penn & Teller, writes a brilliantly incisive essay in response:
Religion cannot and should not be replaced by atheism. Religion needs to go away and not be replaced by anything. Atheism is not a religion. It’s the absence of religion, and that’s a wonderful thing.
Religion is not morality. Theists ask me, “If there’s no god, what would stop me from raping and killing everyone I want to.” My answer is always: “I, myself, have raped and killed everyone I want to ... and the number for both is zero.” Behaving morally because of a hope of reward or a fear of punishment is not morality. Morality is not bribery or threats. Religion is bribery and threats. Humans have morality. We don’t need religion.
Religion is faith. Faith is belief without evidence. Belief without evidence cannot be shared. Faith is a feeling. Love is also a feeling, but love makes no universal claims. Love is pure. The lover reports on his or her feelings and needs nothing more. Faith claims knowledge of a world we share but without evidence we can share. Feeling love is beautiful. Feeling the earth is 6,000 years old is stupid.
This is simply beautiful writing and does an extremely good job of explaining why I'm perfectly proud to declare myself an atheist.

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