AIG Says Atheists Are Religious

This one is a real brain-bender. It’s at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

The title is Seven Ways Atheists Are Religious, and the author is Simon Turpin, described as “the executive director and speaker for Answers in Genesis–UK.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Because of the secularization of the Western World, many people today now identify as not religious (“the nones”). In 2016 and 2017, according to some national surveys, 48.5% of people in England and Wales and 72% of people in Scotland say they have no religion! Many of these people identified as atheists. [Egad!] But are atheists not religious? Atheists will tell you they are not religious, but several characteristics identify atheists as religious. In this article, I deal with seven of those characteristics.

Seven is way too many for us to deal with here, especially because Simon covered some of the same ground only a few months ago — see Faith, Creationism, and Oogity Boogity. Anyway, we’ll do what we can. Simon says:

Before we look at seven of the characteristics that identify atheism as a religion, we need to ask the question: “What is religion?” It should be noted that it is particularly difficult to define religion as there is not a universally accepted definition. The Oxford English Dictionary defines religion as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” Under this definition, atheism would not be viewed as religious since the dictionary definition of atheism is “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.”

Then what’s the problem? Simon tells us:

Yet, atheism isn’t just a lack of belief in God (or gods). [Then what is it?] It was not a lack of belief in God that caused atheists to write books such as The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins), or God Is Not Great (Christopher Hitchens). Those books are designed to convince people that theism is false and that atheism is true. The Oxford English Dictionary also defines religion as “a particular system of faith and worship” and “a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.” Under that second definition of religion, atheism is religious. [Huh?] Many atheists (e.g., Richard Dawkins) spend much of their time railing against the Creator they believe doesn’t exist, and they hold their cause with great devotion and faith.

Simon feels that Dawkins is a religious nut-job. His blog post continues, and we have to warn you — this next excerpt can really corrode your brain:

I think that a better way to understand religion is as a system of belief: a person’s ultimate standard for reality — their worldview. Atheists themselves have a worldview based upon certain beliefs, such as the belief that the universe, including life, came about by natural processes. This is a belief based upon faith; blind faith! [Aaaargh!!] It is nothing more than self-imposed worship — a secular religion (cf. Colossians 2:23).

Can you handle any more of this stuff? All right then, let’s read on:

A helpful way to know if a system of thought or worldview is religious is to look at the characteristics that most religions share. In his book Dimensions of the Sacred, the renowned anthropologist Ninian Smart set forth seven of these dimensions to detect whether something is religious:

We’re skipping all of that, but you can click over to AIG and read it if you want to. Here’s another excerpt:

Ultimately, it is the Bible that tells us atheists are religious. [Ah, that settles the matter!] Whether it is through creation or conscience, the knowledge of God is revealed, and sinful men seek to suppress that which is revealed for their own purposes (Romans 1:18–20, 2:15). Atheists are not in a neutral position when it comes to the existence of God. God’s creatures have no right in judging the existence of their Creator. The atheistic worldview ultimately ends up in irrationality because they have sinfully taken the truth about God’s world and convinced themselves that it is not true.

Very persuasive! Here’s more:

The reason that atheists can value and seek to preserve human life comes from the fact that knowledge of God comes to them not only through his creation but from the fact that they are made in his image (Genesis 1:27).

And now we come to the end:

Atheism will be one of the many subjects that we will focus upon at our World Religions & Cults Conference [link omitted] in Oxford later this year. If you live in the UK or Europe, why not think about joining us and learn how to defend the Christian faith and share the gospel message effectively.

That’s probably a reference to what we wrote about recently: Hambo’s Big UK Conference Is Coming. So if you liked Simon’s post, you’ll want to attend the conference and soak up some more.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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19 responses to “AIG Says Atheists Are Religious

  1. Semantics is booooorrriiiinnnngggg. Yyyaaaaaawwwnnn.
    Religion is a synonym of worldview; as an atheist I have a worldview; so I am religious. Great. Why would I use the word religion then? Worldview is good enough for me. A worldview without any god.

    “It is nothing more than self-imposed worship.”
    What or whom do I worship then? OK, Tchaikovsky (though he has composed some lame stuff too – especially his songs) and Rory Gallagher (the same, mutatis mutandis), does that count? If yes, what has their output to do with the fact that I’m convinced our Universe and especially life came about by natural processes only?

    “A helpful way to know if a system of thought or worldview is religious”
    And what, Simmy Simon, qualifies then as a system of thought (or worldview) that’s not religious? Agnosticism? Well, OK, then under your definition of agnosticism I’m not an atheist but an agnost. It’s OK with me – my worldview isn’t affected at all by stupid wordplay like yours.

    “Atheists are not in a neutral position when it comes to the existence of God.”
    Heck no, I never made such a claim. Simmy Simon, my position is crystal clear: your god s***s because he has put sawdust in your head iso brains. The best thing about your god is that it’s merely a product of your poor imagination.

    “God’s creatures have no right in judging the existence of their Creator.”
    More yawning. Your god didn’t create me, Simmy Simon.

    “the fact that they are made in his image”
    Yeah, Simmy Simon, you are made in the image of your (imaginary) god – you both s**k equally badly.

    “If you live in the UK or Europe, why not think about joining us and learn how to defend the Christian faith and share the gospel message effectively.”
    Thank you very much, I like my brains as they are and don’t want to see them turned into sawdust. Plus there is that pesky thing called Brexit. It won’t be a good idea for Dutchies like me to cross the small pond for the time being.

  2. Michael Fugate

    So an article claims 3500 people have attended atheist church services world wide – think about that and let it sink in – 3500 out of 7.7 billion.
    In the UK with 66 million and 50% nonreligious – so 33 million, how many are attending a service weekly? No one. There are more people in the checkout line at Tesco.

    Not mention who died and left Richard Dawkins as the atheist pope?

    And how did Christianity become the only religion – if Simon read any Ninian Smart he would know Prof. Smart advocated for religious diversity and not Christianity.

  3. chris schilling

    Seven Ways Apologetics Resembles Masturbation:

    1) Self-pleasure — if you’re an apologist.

    2) Self-abuse which causes mental illness — according to the Victorians and atheists.

    3) “It’s sex with someone I love” — either Woody Allen or Ken Ham said this.

    4) …………..(Can’t think of anything).

    5) Like prayer, best done in private.

    6) All apologists are experts at it, having had lots of practice.

    7) Both end with exhortations to God, whether you’re a believer or not.

  4. Michael Fugate

    “Simon Turpin has a B.A in Theology and Inter-cultural Studies from All Nations Bible College UK (2010) and works full-time for an Evangelical Church in St. Albans. Previous to his studies Simon spent a year as part of a missions team working in North America, India and Germany sharing the gospel. Through his time in the church in England and overseas he saw the increasing need to use the creation message to share not only the truth of the Bible, but the full story of the message of redemption through our Creator and Saviour Jesus.”

  5. It seems to me SC, that someone who bears a curious resemblance to you once alerted his readers to the undisputed fact that all creationists see any issue as being related to religion. But you said it better. Wonder where that post is back there?

  6. “If all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

    Once you’ve widened the definition of “religion” to mean practically any set of beliefs, it’s all religion. This is just playing with words. But all Turpin’s got is a religion.

    True, “religion” is difficult to define. But the OED defines terms first strictly – which is the definition used in academic debate – and then successively in their various looser, more colloquial and metaphorical usages. So, if we are to use the OED as an authority for what the word “religion” means – and I have no objection to that – we should be using its first definition: “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.”

    As Turpin concedes, according to that definition, atheism is not a religion, period. But that will never do. He has to redefine it in terms more amenable to his purpose, so “religion” becomes “a system of belief: a person’s ultimate standard for reality — their worldview”. Never mind that anything from socialism to hedonism, from science fiction fandom to work ethic, from altruism to racism, becomes a religion, under that definition. It allows Turpin more room for manoeuvre, which is all he’s interested in.

    And never mind that this particular manoeuvre is utterly dishonest, a kind of verbal pea-and-thimble game. Having defined “religion” in a manner that is practically a tabula rasa, he proceeds as though it were defined in completely different terms, by his own religion, only he produces that from his sleeve, as it were. Atheism is a religion because the Bible says it is! The segue from “religion is anything” to “religion is what Paul said it is” is simply breathtaking. But the gasp is one of outrage.

    As SC remarks, this stuff can really corrode your brain. Indignation, downright fury at such transparent mendacity has that effect. Brain corrosion, certainly. Even this response is really “the spirit of the stair”. It took me some minutes of spluttering and cursing before I was in a state to make it.

    And that is failure. That is defeat. Goebbels was right. The big lie works. Gish was right. Move too fast for them, and they’ll never catch up. It works.

    Must do better. There’s nothing else for it. Get better, or get out. It’s as simple as that.

  7. och will, what you’re thinking of is probably here: The Ten Laws of Creationism.

  8. Dave Luckett correctly notes:

    Goebbels was right. The big lie works.


  9. Better even than a big lie is constant lying. The one difficulty with lying is the need to remember what one said. But if one does not have a need to be consistent, just plain lying works. If it turns out not to be helpful, one can always say something else.

  10. Was “parroting things Ken Ham has said” a condition of his employment at AIG? Or maybe Ken wrote that for him and just put his name on it?

    Either way, these people lose more of my respect everyday. And it’s already a pretty low reservoir.

  11. Much prefer “supernatural” to “superhuman”. If not supernatural then a god of natural material would be in a constant state of transforming. Religion is believing in a supernatural entity with Santa Claus like power. He sees you when you are sleeping and knows when you are awake. He knows if you have been bad or good. I have more faith in Santa Claus than gods as he gave me a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun in the early ’50s.

  12. A wise person wrote:

    Seven Ways Apologetics Resembles Masturbation

    From what I’ve been told, years and years ago, many people have said, I don’t know, could be true, maybe not, we’ll see but

    God and Farrah Fawcett are never seen in the same place at the same time. Just sayin’ .

  13. Michael Fugate

    Here is what will happen if the GOP controls education and privatizes it –
    Christian schools will get public money to teach creationism…

  14. Michael Fugate, Louisiana enacted the Louisiana Science Education Act (the Discoveroids’ model act) when that state’s legislature was controlled by Democrats.

  15. Thing that gets me about Turpin and others who say atheism is a religion, is they imply that being a religion disqualifies it from serious consideration. I mean, nobody ever comes out says directly, “Science is merely a religion,” but the implication is clear. I wonder if true believers realize how implying that we should not take religious beliefs seriously undercuts the beliefs they want us all to take seriously.

  16. @Retired Prof
    There are some, for example Jack Chick in “Big Daddy”, who say that Christianity is not a religion. I’m not sure what their point is.

  17. chris schilling

    @Retired Prof
    All religions are equal, but some are more equal than others?

  18. IIRC, the whole “atheism is a religion” approach is slight of hand to try and put it on the same ground as xianity, so that they can to STOP the teaching of evolution as a “religious world view”, similar to the ruling on I.D.

  19. @RetiredP: “Thing that gets me …..”
    If I understand the silly logic correctly it’s something like “atheists reject religion, atheism is a religion hence atheists should reject their own beliefs” plus “we christians think religion a good thing, christianity is a religion hence we christians believe something good.”

    @Kosh: several christians who accept evolution also claim that atheism is a religion.