Has Atheism Become a Religion?

Richard Dawkins

Karl Marx once said that ‘religion is the opium of the people,’ but have militant atheists overdosed on opium as well?

My father was a self-proclaimed atheist; my mother a die-hard Christian, and when I was younger I remember him telling her that, by the time I turned 40, religion would have become obsolete. I’m 41 now and religion is still very much alive – why that is has nothing to do with this article, but I have started wondering lately whether atheism has actually become a religion in its own right.

While watching re-runs of Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life, a series by someone who could possibly be the equivalent of the Pope to atheists, Richard Dawkins, I realised that, for someone who doesn’t believe in anything, he really has a lot of opinions and spends so much time and energy trying to disprove the existence of something he is sure doesn’t exist.

And then I thought, ‘Well, maybe, he’s trying to get the people off the ‘high’ religion gives them…’ and I looked back to my days at school when I studied Karl Marx – who I then thought was the be all and end all of sense – and, well, albeit Marx was a very intelligent man, he had no concept of human nature. Go back to any period after the homo sapiens came to be – i.e. after which point we became intelligent and philosophical – and you’ll realise, we have always had some sort of religion.

As animals, we have revered everything, starting from the sun to everything its rays hit: trees, springs, books, people, crosses, relics, money, time. So wouldn’t it be natural that the belief that nothing exists beyond the earthly field becomes a religion in itself? Sure, they don’t have places of worship, but they have books they’ve all read; sure they don’t have icons made of gold or wood, but they have icons made of flesh, and to me, that’s still a religion – and do you know what? It’s fine, because even they are human.

Do you agree with Evelyn? Are you an atheist? How did this post make you feel? Let us know!