As a ex-christian, I fully acknowledge that my language is still fully immersed in religious vocabulary. Words like 'bible' 'holy' 'sacred' 'blasphemy' 'heresy' still paint my conversations, but the problem is, I don't know what words to sub in to get across what I mean when something is considered sacred. To an atheist does that get 'downgraded' to just 'important' or 'crucial' or 'vital' are those words enough to depict the magnitude of what is meant when something is considered 'sacred' ?
Is there a place for a sacred anything in Atheism, or is that word like the word 'divine' it implies something theistic and therefore you're not a real atheist if you consider something like ... say the Cosmos to be sacred. and therefore deserves a capital letter like its a proper noun, acknowledging its sentience and awareness as a living ... thing.
Is it a religious belief to think that the Cosmos is alive and full of energy, to feel and think that on every core of yourself the way some people believe in some sort of anthropomorphic god from a book written by a bunch of men in a desert ..etc. ?
How is the concept of 'sacredness' accepted/viewed in the Atheist / non-theist community, what other words are there to use?' How do non-theistic (formerly theistic) people relate to what is in other venues/communities considered 'divine' ?
I don't know if Buddhism holds anything as sacred, but when I was reading about world religions I saw Tantric Buddhism was the only one that regarded sex as a positive influence.
I often call myself a heathen. Even though it's not correct it serves to irk my fundie family.
Atheisms Sacred Cat 'Ermi'
To an atheist, nothing is sacred. Everything is open to questioning and revision.
Now to the question of how to relate to what other communities consider sacred, it's simple and I think Wheaton's Law sums it up: "Don't be a dick."
In other words, there is a time and a place to debate and debunk and even ridicule, but the religious funeral service for your best friend's dad is probably not it.
Jonathan Haidt uses the term sacred in 'The Righteous Mind' in a psychological sense that does not necessarily involve deities. It is more the way that the person views something.
Sacred is something we view as in need of profound protection from damage or even violation, even if we can't define why, even if their damage does not affect us directly (Antartca, wild Alaska, exotic rainforest environments, rare species, etc). For many, certain pristine natural places are effectively sacred. People seek to protect them even though they themselves would not be directly affected if those places were violated.
At least there you're talking about something concrete, which can be observed, studied and evaluated for its value. Dogma or doctrine which is written in a vacuum and has no objective referent is an entirely different matter. We are told that the bible is sacred and we must believe and respect it, but an examination of its contents reveals that such respect is ultimately unearned.
Even then, I wouldn't label such places as "sacred." The places you use as examples are important, to be sure and worthy of protection, but the word "sacred" has developed such an ill repute in my mind that I am leery of its use in any case.