Atheism is not ‘religion’

by Cameron Boster, University student

I would like to point out an error that columnist Eric Best made in his response to the Minnesota AtheistsâÄô billboards in Minneapolis. In his column, he claimed that the billboards were part of a new wave of âÄúreligiousâÄù advertisement. However, atheism is not a âÄúreligion,âÄù and it is extremely important that people understand the distinction between the two views.

A religious belief is one that at some point relies on one or several claims that require absolute faith to accept. Absolute faith is required because there is absolutely no evidence to support them.

A component of atheism is the view that every claim needs to be supported by rigorous experimentation and thorough observation. Because religious claims cannot stand up to these processes, atheists do not accept them.

Atheism is not a âÄúreligionâÄù; in no way does it make faith-based claims. The belief that there is no god does not require faith, just as the belief that there is no Bigfoot requires no faith. It is important that atheists are not misrepresented as a âÄúreligiousâÄù group âÄî that label undermines what atheists are trying to accomplish.

The Minnesota Atheists are only pointing out that the majority of parents fail to allow their children to reach an age at which they are rational before they expose them to religious claims. They are right in suggesting that a rational mind would resist indoctrination, because a rational mind resists combining fantasy with observed reality.