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16 AUGUST, 2017 (MAINS)



Q1. Can atheism be a religion? Discuss. (2005/60)


Please write the answer in comments section

  • jaish

    The possibility of ‘religion without god’ is dependent upon the definition of religion and the concept of god. The term “Religion” is generally related to some supernatural entity or god in western tradition. Moreover, it is very difficult to adhere to any single definition of religion.
    Flint, Galloway, and Martineau have asserted the presence of ever living god or power beyond man is essential for the religion.
    Atheism is the system which does not believe in the god and also positively assert the non existence of god and any supernatural entity. However, atheism can be regarded as the religion will depend upon the sense we are taking the term religion. Atheism is different from the non-theism. Non-theism only suspends the acceptance of god while it does not criticise Him.
    But there are views which views which assert that atheism can be considered as the religion. Atheism has positive disbelief in god.
    Religion is difficult to define in a single framework. A better way to determine whether a worldview is a religion is to look for certain characteristics that religions have common. In this regard, framework set by Ninian smart commonly known as the seven dimensions of religion is remarkable and widely accepted.
    1) Narrative:-Every religion has its own stories. Almost all religion has stories to explain the emergence of universe and about humanity.
    2) Experiential:- In this, first thing is the events experienced before someone founded a religion and the second aspect of the experiential dimension concerns the experiences of latter adherents . Many people feel certain emotion when they participate in certain religious ceremonies.
    3) Social:- It looks at the hierarchies and power structure present within the religion and it also includes how people get converted to different religions.
    4) Doctrinal:- It is belief and philosophies that develop out of religion. Christian doctrine of trinity, while it is not directly stated in the bible.
    5) Ethics:- Atheism is a mostly relativist religion. Mostly atheist adheres to one ethical system.
    6) Rituals:- It is something which on the surface might appears to be absent from theism but it is also gaining ground in recent times.
    7) Material:- It includes all the physical things created by a religion such as art and buildings and also natural features and places treated as sacred by adherents.

    Atheism often claims that their belief is not a religion. However, contemporary western Atheism unquestionably has six of the seven dimensions of religion and remaining rituals has also started to develop.

    As per the Richard Dworkins religion without god is possible. As per him, religion if properly understood does not require a belief in objective meaning and sense of wonder at the sublime quality of universe.

    Non materialistic Atheism like Jainism and Buddhism is also regarded as the religion on the basis of following;
    It has spiritual aim, scripture, place of worship, welfare of people, liberation path and moral values associated with it.

    As a matter of fact, faith is important in the religion. If someone id adhering to some particular moral values without accepting the god, then one can be regarded as the religious person. But traditionally religion and god is interrelated to each other.