How Religious Can Atheists Be?

Atheists Being Religious


Well, if you're an atheist, you don't believe in God. So, you're not religious in that sense. But I know so many atheists who lost their faith in God or, you know, gave up their faith in God, but they still miss certain aspects of their religious faith. 

I remember Julia Sweeney, who used to be a Catholic, -- actress and comedian -- she said that she was raised Catholic and then she became an atheist, but she still missed the masses and she still missed the singing. 

And I know a lot of Christians who miss the worship songs and they miss being part of that community. And certainly, there are a lot of secular Jews who love the rituals of Judaism and it's part of their culture. 

And certainly, that goes for just about everybody who left a faith. There are aspects of that faith you really love and you really miss. 

And there's a lot you don't, too, but there's a lot of ways to embrace those religious rituals, those things that bonded you with other people without necessarily believing in God. 

So, one of the things you're starting to see now and you're going to see in the future is this question of whether you can even have something like an atheist church. 

And what that means is, you know, can you gather with atheists, sing songs that celebrate life? Can you listen to a sermon that probably functions more like a TED talk? 

Can you gather with people and have that bonding community that looks and feels like a church, but has nothing to do with God? There was a ruckus in the media. 

Well, in some aspects of media, in 2013, because there was a guy who posted an article saying he's an atheist who loves to pray. 

And that was weird because like, well, who are you praying to? And he even said, "I know it's a placebo, but it makes me feel better when I talk out, you know, some of the thoughts I have in my head." 

"Even though no one's listening, and I know that it makes me feel better to pray." And that's kind of this vestigial thing that he has with his religion that he loves to pray because it made him feel better. 

And now he knows no one's listening, but he still likes to do it. So, I think it is possible to be an atheist who still holds on to certain aspects of religion. 

The only thing I hope is that you understand that you don't need religion to do good things. You don't need religion to live a peaceful harmonious lovely life. 

You don't have to believe in God to do any of that stuff. And there is something powerful about being part of a ritual that so many people before you have taken part in, that people around you are still doing to this day. 

So, the people who want to do that sort of thing, I mean, I may not understand it and I may not even want to participate myself, but I understand the appeal that certain aspects of religion can have and I think it's not a contradiction for you as an atheist to still want to do some of those things.



Originally published by Hemant Mehta on the Atheist Voice. Published on Fadewblogs by Dave Martin.

Disclaimer: This article is published on Fadewblogs with the permission of the author.

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