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.
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