What is Religion? Does evolution qualify? Atheism?

 

A Torah scroll containing the first five books of the Bible Text highlighted: The first words of Deuteronomy 6.5 Atheists and evolutionists claim they have no religion. But is that true?
A Torah scroll containing the first five books of the Bible
 Text highlighted: The first words of Deuteronomy 6.5

Atheists are fond of saying that they have no religion, because atheism is not a religion. Here’s an example from Twitter.

Likewise, evolutionists claim that evolution is science, a  fact, and certainly not religion. Here, for example, is a video of Richard Dawkins at big think claiming evolution is a fact. But are atheists and evolutionists correct in asserting that their respective beliefs are not religions? That of course depends on the definitions.

Evolutionists are notorious for redefining evolution to suit their needs for the occasion. In other words to keep evolution from being exposed as the total fraud it is, they keep changing the meaning of the word “evolution”; so they wind up claiming you’re not speaking about the same thing; though you’re speaking of the same evolution the discussion started with.  For instance, you may start out with a statement like “molecules to man evolution has never been observed.” They’ll return something like, “Do you know what evolution is? It’s a change in the allele frequency of a gene pool.” These are two different things; two different discussions, and thus  you can never convince them of anything.   Steven Meyer and Mike Keas have documented 6 of the common uses of the term “evolution” that evolutionists switch between.1  There’s a term for that tactic.  It’s the logical fallacy known as equivocation.

Religion is the basic belief system of the person
Atheism likewise comes in various flavors. The strong position, those who categorically state there is no God, (or as they would say gods); the weaker position, those who simply do not believe God exists; and finally those who try to be a little less arrogant and more rational (knowing that  proving a universal negative like “there is no God” is impossible.

Therefore to say there is no God is arrogant), and thus they simply say “I don’t know if God exists” – the agnostic position.

And with Bill O’Reilly out there confusing people with his repeated claims that Christianity is a “philosophy” not a religion,2 Christianity is not without those who are muddying the waters. So can we claim any of these are religions?  Yes, these are all religions and that can be clearly seen once we understand the difference between how a religion is recognized, and how it is expressed by adherents.

Religion and the Establishment Clause

The courts have been a favored weapon of atheists and to a lesser degree evolutionists in the battle to silence Christians while simultaneously getting their Godless theories to be accepted and promoted in government sponsored venues like schools. The typical approach is to use the first amendment’s “establishment clause” against anything that even sounds Christian.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

The clause reads as follows:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”;

The question then becomes, what is an “establishment of religion”? Atheists want to convince you that any mention or reference to Christianity is an “establishment of religion”. Thus a Christmas Tree or a Crèche or a simple “Merry Christmas” are magically transformed into such an “establishment”.  They have no idea what they’re talking about. The founding fathers were well aware of the reasons the pilgrims and others came to America in the first place: to flee religious persecution and to establish a place to live where they could freely practice their religion without some King or state controlled church telling them what to believe or how to practice it. In that context, religion is an organized institution with well defined characteristics that allows it to be recognized.  Historian David Barton describes those characteristics very clearly:

What is an establishment of religion?
It must have a creed, defining what a man must believe;
it must have rites and ordinances, which believers must observe;
it must have ministers of defined qualifications, to teach the doctrines and administer rites;
it must have tests for the submissive and penalties for the non-conformist.
There never was an established religion without all these…3

By that definition, Christianity is clearly a religion (regardless of what Mr. O’Reilly says), and a Christmas tree or Crèche is not. Where do Atheism and Evolution fit in? Atheists and Evolutionists definitely have a creed, complete with revered books that define and expound those creeds.4 And with people like Richard Dawkins (for evolution) and Sam Harris (for Atheism), acting as  a high priests, they both have ministers of sorts. But these clearly are not functioning in the true capacity of a religious official, nor are they within the institutional structure that Barton lays out. So they don’t quite fit the definition. Does that mean that atheism and evolution are not religions? No, not so quick.

Religion, defined

Barton is speaking of how one identifies a religion for legal and constitutional reasons. The concern at hand is how one recognizes the expression of  religion in a person’s life. How to recognize that? By noting the impact, the influence of religion on a person. There will always be an expression of religion, because by definition, that is one of the main defining characteristics. According to Merriam Webster, a religion is:

4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith5

Note usage number 4: “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith”.  Is it possible to hold a belief with “ardor” and “faith” and have no one notice it? In a word, no. Yet this expression accurately describes particularly the new Atheists – who are marked by not only ardor and faith, but also arrogance, zeal and an inability to recognize their faulty reasoning. It also applies to evolutionists as well as traditional atheists (those less arrogant, less certain, and less militant). Thus in terms of everyday expression of a religion – Atheism, Christianity and the practical expression of Evolution all qualify as religions. They’re not all the true religion, but they all qualify as religions nonetheless.

Religion as Invention?

To further the case that religion has nothing to do with the divine (since in their opinion there is no divine being), evolutionists (and perhaps atheists as well) would like you to believe that religion is just another invention of man. As one evolutionary documentary put it, “With farming life comes another leap for mankind, new ways of mourning. and the beginnings of organized religion.”6 But even if this is true, that does not help their contention that they don’t participate in a religion. For if religion is an invention of man, the expression of this invention applies equally to evolutionists and atheists as well, for both have such expressions. Consider prominent  evolutionist Ersnt Mayrs who admits that atheism is a religion:

‘All of the atheists I know are highly religious; it just doesn’t mean believing in the Bible or God.   Religion is the basic belief system of the person. Mankind wants the answers to all unanswerable questions.’7

Notice his confirmation of religion as “the basic belief system of the person”. In passing, note also that that he, an evolutionist, is well acquainted with atheism and atheists. This is because evolution is the fruit of atheism8, so the two go hand and hand. Those who are committed to either are as “ardent” in their faith as any other committed religious believer. That is clearly seen with the emotionalism that is expressed by deeply committed religious people.

Religion and Emotion

Committed believers tend to be emotionally connected to their religion. Atheism and evolution are no exceptions. The only difference is, since most atheists and evolutionists are in denial that they are participating in a religion, it’s the rare one who will acknowledge either their religion or their emotional connection to it. But there are a few. Consider the confession of famed science fiction writer Isaac Asimov:

“I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist,  because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.”9

Most atheists and evolutionists don’t have the courage to admit their emotional connection to their religion, but it’s there, right below the surface, and easily discernable by their reactions to those who challenge their beliefs as the author of Illogical Atheism points out:

“They profess incessantly that what they believe is not a belief, but then react quite suspiciously like religious believers whenever those beliefs are questioned.”10

If you have any doubts that atheists and evolutionists adhere to a religion, are connected to it emotionally, and believe it with  ardor and faith, all you need do to test that,  is speak against it.  Claim that atheism and evolution are false ideologies, false worldviews that are utterly untrue -then stand back and watch. Those without faith and ardor would be indifferent to such statements. For example, nobody really cares if you claim that the Easter bunny is not real and doesn’t exist.  Everyone – atheists, evolutionist and theist alike – all know that already.  No one cares. The bunny is an acknowledged fiction that no one holds as a religion. (And this Christian is happy when people separate the fiction of the Easter bunny from the reality of the resurrection.) It’s only when you make claims that people hold in their hearts as true and genuine do you get strong reactions – as you get when you speak against evolution, or claim there is a God to atheists.

So when you see reactions such as:

– The ad hominen attacks (attacks on your intelligence, education, etc.)
– The ignoring of scientific data while professing to believe the scientific method
– The taking statements out of context
– The use of moral arguments – which are of course inconsistent with an atheistic and evolutionary worldview
– And the ever constant refusing to speak to the point, and instead making irrelevant assertions for which they have no proof

… when you see these things from atheists and evolutionists – you know you’ve spoken against one of their beliefs which they hold close to their hearts – as one holds a religion.

I submit these are not the responses and actions of objective scientific observers. These are the actions of dedicated, ardent, emotionally committed believers in their respective religions. So while they make
long, loud, prolonged and insistent proclamations and protestations that what they believe is not religion, we know the opposite is clearly the case. Cue the bard: methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Religion as Relationship

We’ve spent much time demonstrating that atheists and evolutions follow a religion. But the religion they follow is not the true one. Before leaving this topic, let me spend a moment to define what true religion is.

The pamphlet four Spiritual laws,  written by the late Bill Bright, is “…likely the most widely distributed religious booklet in history, with approximately 2.5 billion printed to date.”11 The pamphlet begins by asking if you’d like to know how to have a personal relationship with God. “Relationship with God” is a common way Christians have of describing what real religion is truly about. It has its roots in scripture – scripture that is among the earliest given to man by God. Every Shabbat (Saturday) both Jewish synagogues and Messianic synagogues12 proclaim the Shema and Veahavta13, which are verbatim statements of Deuteronomy 6.4-5:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God,the LORD is one.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6.4-5

Here  we see that early on God has showed us what religion is. Real religion is having a love relationship with him, the creator of the universe. This relationship is made possible for all people through the shed blood of the Son:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
Heb 10.19-20

True Religion

What is religion? Religion is the manifestation of your beliefs which are held with ardor and faith. Thus in a sense, anything that consumes your life can be regarded as a religion.

What is true religion? True religion is the manifestation of your love relationship with God. That is why when Jesus answers the question, “what is the greatest command?”, he answers with the Shema and the
first line of the Veahavta:

“‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'”
(Mark 12.29b-30)

Thus if your life is consumed with a relationship with God through the way he made through the blood of his son Jesus, you have found the true religion. Anything else, is as the preacher said, “Vanity of vanities.” (Ecclesiastes1.2)

 

Duane Caldwell | posted 5/29/2015 | printer friendly version

`


Notes

1. Here are their 6 meanings of the word identified by Meyer and Keas:

1.Evolution as Change Over Time

2.Evolution as Changes in the frequency  of alleles in a population’s gene pool

3.Evolution as Limited Common Descent

4.Evolution as a Mechanism that Produces Limited Change or Descent with Modification

5.Evolution as Universal Common Descent – the idea all organisms descended from a common ancestor.

6.Evolution as the “Blind Watchmaker” The idea that all organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through an unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on random variations or mutations.

Stephen C. Meyer and Mike Keas, The Meanings of Evolution,
http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?id=305

back

 

2 When O’Reilly invited David Silverman, the president of American Atheists on his show The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly stated that Christianity is a “philosophy” not a religion, and has repeated that claim. View here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PH09hgb7DQ
back

 

3 David Barton The Myth of Separation Aledo, Texas: Wallbuilder Press, 1991, p. 31
back

 

4 Evolutionists of course have Darwin’s Origin of Species; Atheists have The Atheist’s Handbook
back

 

5 The first 3 definitions:

1a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion>

b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural

(2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance

2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

3:  archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness

back

 

6 Mankind, the Story of all of us, Episode “Inventors” Documentary, 2012
Evolution is assumed (and promoted); conclusions are drawn in according with this assumption.
back

 

7 Ersnt Mayrs  referenced from Creation.com  “99 and still fighting God”, Dec 8, 2003
http://creation.com/99-and-still-fighting-god

back

 

8  For a good discussion of how Evolution grows out of atheism, see Calvin Smith, Atheism needs evolution http://creation.com/atheism-needs-evolution
back

 

9 Isaac Asimov cited in Paul Kurtz, ed., An Interview with Isaac Asimov on Science and the Bible,
Free Inquiry, Spring 1982, p.9
referenced from Ken Ammi, Atheism  6/11/2009
back

 

 

10 Bo Jinn – Illogical Atheism, 2013, Kindle version Loc 311
back

 

11 Campus Crusade for Christ (SouthEast) History accessed 5/27/2015 
http://www.campuscrusade.net/history.html

back

 

12 Messianic synagogues are synagogues of Jewish and gentile believers who accept Jesus (Yeshua as they call him) as the Messiah.
back

 

13 Shema, Hebrew for Hear!; Veahavata, Hebrew for “You shall love”; these two words are the first words of Deuteronomy 6.4 and 5 respectively. Quoted above is only the intro to the Veahavata; it continues with further instructions given to properly express the faith.
back

Comments are closed.