Saturday, June 11, 2016

Is Atheism a Religion?

There is spreading conviction that  atheism is     a kind of religion. The question is by no means trivial and worth examining  whether there is any sense  in calling atheism a religion. An analysis  of  atheism and then  an analysis of religion  will provide a  reasonable answer to the question .
What is Atheism?
Atheism is a belief that  no  transcendent  Divine  reality of any kind  exists. All that exists is matter in a movement  which is responsible for  the whole of knowable  reality. Atheists claim that existence of any kind of  god or  gods cannot be in any way  justified by experience or knowledge  and therefore is  unnecessary deviation of human interest. Some atheists add  that religion is not only  obsolete historically but it is  a positive source of evil because  in the name of god  persecutions  inquisitions , burning people  on stakes or even sacrificing  children to the divinity  are historical facts.  Believing in God  is therefore,  something mankind has to leave behind. The real future of humanity  is guaranteed  by steady progress of science , technology and the conquest  of  cosmos.
What is Religion?
Religion is  a belief that  besides the visible universe  and it’s multiple forms of development  there exists  the real  fundamental , transcendent source and creator of  all  finite beings  and  the existence of this creator  explains  the fundamental questions  of the human mind: Why is there  a universe at all? Why not nothing rather than being?  Who or what  is a man? What should  a man believe, what can he/she know, what should he do with his existence and what is his final destiny. The essence of religion is  it’s power  to answer  the questions  not only    of time but also of eternity. All genuine religion  has  definite answers to  what happens  after  physical death.  The crucial point  in religion is not only  that there must be  some  First Cause , First Mover, and  a Cosmic Mind  but most importantly  that there exist a Personal God and  a God  who  in some form or other  revealed  Himself and His intentions to humans . This is why the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity are  deserving the name religion. Of course,  religion  makes sense  only if  God really exists otherwise it is something  superfluous and  obstacle to the  progress  of  scientifically growing human  family,
                    From the above it is obvious  that atheism cannot be  in any rational way called a religion of any kind. Why?. Because  it is a pure negation of any  personal transcendent  creator or redeemer . Nobody within his/her senses would pray to or worship  subatomic particles , the force of gravity or  the expanding  universe.
         However,  human beings  fabricate  their own  idols that are  pseudo-gods  like progress, patriotism, the reign of , superior race  etc. For those idols, millions upon millions of people die throughout history . There were  self-proclaimed  gods, the Roman Caesars, The Japanese Emperor , father Stalin, the great leader Hitler who promised thousand years  of German domination of the world. Such ideologies  perhaps  could be  in a very  broad sense called religious  , since they demand  again and again a holocaust of millions of human lives. Religion  contains a living relationship between God and humans and in this relationship the position of humans  is creature-hood . Since  all humans are creatures  they    expect some sort of salvation from the   prison of  time , space  suffering  and death. For example,  Christianity  offers  to the believer salvation into eternal life  offered freely  by  God  who became human and  through His salvific actions opened  the perspective and promise of eternal life  which  is  the  complete fulfilment of human  desires  of happiness.
         Atheism  is  the product of  a theory of knowledge  which limits  the capacity of the human mind  only to  the visible measurable and  somehow  discoverable by senses . This limitation of human knowing  must necessarily lead to  some form of skepticism and materialism. Therefore, atheism by no means  can be called religion.
         Atheism does not answer any of the fundamental questions mentioned above. The claim  that science makes God obsolete  has no  scientific  or philosophical   justification. The  crucial question here  is  whether God exists or not because one part of the question can be true . If God exists then any  denial of His existence is  fatal to the meaning of human life and also to the very nature of  human beings. Atheism, therefore,  has  an obligation to justify its position not only from scientific view point but also from the point of men’s existential situation. If all human values and all reality are necessarily vanishing into the past  without any hope for eternity then,of course,   Sartre is right life  and human existence is meaningless and absurd. To come however to such conclusion one has to disregard the nature of the human mind and  it’ arguments on the philosophical and revelation.

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