Atheism, like religion, is an act of faith: evidence for the existence of God may be entirely anecdotal, but evidence for His absence is even more tenuous.
Oy, oy, oy – will that stupid trope never die? It ought to – it is so lame. Yeah right, atheism is an act of faith, and not collecting stamps is a hobby, and not playing squash is a sport, and not eating lentils is vegetarianism, and not taking a train is travel.
I don’t know if you listed to that Radio One series of philosophical chats, but one of the funnier moments was on the last one, when a Christian philosopher – a philosopher who is also a Christian, not a philosopher of Christianity – said just that – ‘atheism is a religion’ – and Stephen Law gave a protracted whine of indignation. I’m laughing again thinking of it. “I hate it when people say that,” he said tearfully.
But really – why do people keep saying that? Why don’t they realize how absurd it is, and stop? They don’t consider themselves believers in the ‘religion’ of atheism for not believing in Poseidon, or Loki, or the angel Moroni. So why do they say it of people who don’t subscribe to their own particular religion? Especially grown-up people, philosophers, people who write articles in the Guardian. Because they get away with it, no doubt, but that’s a crap reason. As the guy said, ‘Have you no shame?’