Originally posted on rowanwphillips:
This week I have been trying to defend my lack of religious belief against an onslaught from various believers who seem to think it impossible to be without religion. I admit it, I usually start the discussions but it seems that the very concept of religious belief and all it entails are so ingrained in the psyche of some people that they cannot comprehend that non-belief in any divine power means anything other than just that. First you get all the one-liners (if atheism is a religion, abstinence is a sexual position etc) but they don’t really get to the heart of the matter or indeed explain the fundamental differences between belief and non-belief.
I think I need to define what is meant by religion, the dictionary I have to hand describes it as:
- belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny
- any formal or institutionalized expression of such belief: the Christian religion
- the attitude and feeling of one who believes in a transcendent controlling power or powers
- chiefly RC Church the way of life determined by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience entered upon by monks, friars, and nuns: to enter religion
- something of overwhelming importance to a person: football is his religion
- the practice of sacred ritual observances
- sacred rites and ceremonies
Have a look at that list and I think you can discount 1,3,6 & 7 without any discussion, now for the others.