Is Atheism considered a "religion"? If the worship of a deity is, then in turn, shouldn't the rejection of such a deity also be considered as such? And if so, what exactly are the tenets? 

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As a member in good standing of both groups, I protest!

Fantastic definition booklover. Thank you!

No atheism is not a religion but many Christians try to use this argument try to shore up their own doubts they have about their religion.  First what do you mean by religion?  Religion usually is characterized by belief in a supernatural being that controls everything.  Atheist do not believe in or worship supernatural beings.  I think a more important question for Christians is which of the 40 thousand Christian denominations in the world is the true Christianity since many of them disagree vehemently on scripture and accuse each other of being heretics. 

No, not seeing any evidence of god or gods is not a religion. That is all atheism is, nothing more, nothing less. 

I experienced leaving christianity relatively easy. The totems of Native American cultures fit easily into my world-view because the plants and animals have personalities and messages for me. "Don't touch me, I have spines! or toxins." "Stay away because I bite!" Stuff like that. Too much or too little water, sun, shade, heat, cold, or food makes them healthy or sick. Observing consequences with plants and animals makes an interaction between us more meaningful than some dogma out of a book or from a lectern.  

For me, and this is a personal thing, atheism is being open to everything, including things that I cannot see with a telescope or microscope. What I do has consequences for good or ill. I am conscious of being part of something far greater than myself, that I am not the center of the universe, and I share many common attributes with other living things. When I die I return to atoms, and nothing remains of me except memories others have of me. I am part of evolutionary forces, just like you. 

I do not believe in an a-theistic orthodoxy. I do, however, believe Revolver is a great album.

"Atheism is just what is left when people stop making shit up."

Mindy, this is beautiful! Best answer yet. Can I use this phrase?

Love that phrase also Mindy!

One could say that atheism is the default human position before adding religion. Take a young child, they have no faith until they are taught to have one. Or the wonderful example Dennis gave about Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. You are not a member of an "A-Santaist" religion if you do not believe in Santa, you merely accept reality for what it is.

In light of this, the obvious answer is that there are no "tenets." Yes, all atheists reject the divine, and most of them embrace some form of scientific naturalism, even that is not universal. There are as many "kinds" of atheists as there are atheists, and I don't know any who would want it any other way.

I don't know about better. Just more words. :) Sometimes short and pithy gets the point across better.

So, with the resounding "no" to my question (thank you all SO much by the way), does anyone know what exactly it entails to start one's own "religion" in the US?

I've found various definitions, some including deity worship as a requirement, and others not. I'm wondering what the guidelines are in order to be "recognized" as a religion in this country? Could one "worship" animals for instance (my being vegan)?

Any thoughts?

Aside from granting tax exempt status, which you can just apply for as long as you are not for profit, the US government does not recognize (nor could it recognize under the first amendment) any religion. So if you want to start your own, have at it.

Thank you Chad :)

Let me state first and foremost, that I consider myself Atheist. I am also vegan. That said, what, in your opinion, is meant by "a recognized religion and its tenets"?

Bottom line for me is this: California is in the process of changing the exemption options regarding vaccinations. Those who choose to "opt out" due to personal beliefs will be required to obtain an MD's signature. We do not currently have an MD, nor (aside from a catastrophic situation) ever intend to have one. They have also added an extremely overly religious exemption which does not require an MD's approval. This is the current wording: 

"Religious beliefs: I am a member of a religion which prohibits me from seeking medical advice or treatment from health care practitioners."

I'm not aware of a religion which prohibits one from seeking advice or medical treatment from ANY health care practitioner (this includes midwives, chiropractors, naturopaths, etc.). When I inquired, I was told the religion must be "recognized". My immediate thinking was I'd start my own, which is proving to be a bit more difficult and confusing than expected.

My intention with these questions is not to open a bashing session between pro and anti vaccinators. I'm simply trying to address this issue in the most honest way possible. I do not want to be forced into choosing between poisoning my child and claiming a false religion.

Thanks in advance for any advice :)


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