A while ago I wrote about atheist chaplains and how having them might make people think of atheism as another religion (as suggested here).
Now we read that ‘The United States Department of Education has invited representatives from the atheist community to be part of its upcoming interfaith meeting in Washington, D.C.’
If this seems odd to you, you’re not alone:
Critics of the decision to include atheism at the interfaith event have argued that it is peculiar that those who profess belief in no faith could be included in something about having faith.So the question we’re left with is, Is atheism a religion?
Christine Rousselle, writer at the conservative blog Townhall.com, had a column published Wednesday noting the apparent contradiction.
"Traditionally, an 'interfaith' meeting would mandate that some sort of 'faith' be present by all parties, but that is no longer the case with the Obama administration," wrote Rouselle.
Well, about the only thing atheism lacks from the traditional definition is belief in a supreme being or deity (if you don’t count the ‘self’ as occupying that position), yet, as Judge Robert Bork pointed out, neither do Buddhism or Taoism, and both are considered religions.
Based on repeated uses of the terms ‘nonreligious’ and ‘secular’ in his statement/press release about the event, it seems Jesse Galef, spokesperson for the Secular Student Alliance, wants to make sure no one gets the impression that secularism or nonreligion is in any way, shape, or form ‘religious’.
But there’s an awful lot of belief involved in being an atheist – some might even say it takes a lot of faith to be a non-believer-in-a-supreme-being/deity.