Atheism & religions

I saw someone on social media say: “an atheist is someone who sees all religions as bullshit”. He then proceeded to go on a rant about religions.

That may be the case for some who call themselves atheist, but it’s not inherent in atheism at all.

We can have an atheist outlook and still find a great deal of value in religions. We can appreciate that they serve important functions at social and individual levels.

Also, we can turn the table and recognize that atheism itself can function as a kind of religion. If it’s based on the idea that “there is no God”, that’s a belief and something we have to take on faith. It cannot be proven. Some atheists also become zealots and proselytize on behalf of atheism.

Personally, I find value and validity in aspects of atheism, all the main religions, and many spiritual traditions as well.

Atheism tends to highlight the very real problems in religions and how they are sometimes used. Religions can help organize society, give comfort, and have valuable pointers and practices. And most spiritual traditions also have valuable pointers and practices. I have written about all of this in other articles, and most articles here show some of the practical value found in religions and spirituality.

To me, it seems that atheism often is a reaction to something more specific. Atheists often reject a particular image of God, and in particular the image of God as a being – or even more crudely a particular being like an old bearded man or young blue shepherd. They also often react to aspects to how religions tend to function, and how they are used to perpetuate power structures and social injustice. I wholeheartedly agree with both of those. A traditional theistic view of God easily seems a bit naive these days, and religions do have inherent problems.

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