their own churches with all the attendant zeal of a Pentecostal tent revival. They've even come up with some music - a far cry from when Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers wrote and performed what they called the only song in the Atheist Hymnal - "Atheists Ain't Got No Songs". I find this an interesting development since I just got off a bloody comment thread/flame war over a column I wrote maintaining that atheism fits the criteria for a religion. My atheist readers took umbrage.
I learned some fascinating new ugly names for Christians in the process. The thing is, I looked up the word. Religion, it seems, is a system of beliefs about the universe and how it operates. Usually there's some kind of god involved in the system, but not necessarily. A religion is in some part based on faith.
Christians, Jews and Muslims believe in a God, by faith, trusting that God is sitting up there watching us do whatever it is we're doing and doesn't want to reveal Himself openly for reasons of his own.
Atheists believe there is no god, also by faith, trusting that he's NOT sitting up there watching us do whatever it is we're doing and doesn't want to reveal himself for reasons of his own.
Agnostics haven't a clue either way.
The only advantage I can see that atheists have is that they don't have to worry about capitalizing the personal pronoun when talking about him/Him. They certainly feel called to defend their faith when it is attacked, usually with a vehemence reserved by religionists for blasphemers and cartoonists who draw pictures of Mohammed. Most of the Atheists I know are particularly sensitive about what constitutes an attack on their own belief system and respond with unflagging zealotry in defense of their own position on the state of the universe. These guys are also incredibly quick to decry the same level of enthusiasm among religionists defending their own belief system.
Pot and kettle if you ask me.
Just one man's opinion.
© 2013 by Tom King
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