September 30, 2006




Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

"Military veterans are entitled to have their headstones engraved by the government with a symbol of their religion. Families of the deceased may choose from emblems representing a variety of 18 Christian churches, a number of Buddhist sects, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism and atheism (represented by an atom with an A inside) — 38 religious symbols in all."

When did atheism become a religion? Isn't it the ne plus ultra of repudiation of religious belief?

JohnF said...



vbspurs said...

atheism (represented by an atom with an A inside)

WTF? When was this decided?


George said...

God gets
the nod.

But Wicca
gets snickers.

(With apologies to Ogden Nash.)

Bruce Hayden said...

At first, I was wondering whether there was an actual Case or Controversy, but I think there probably is - there are real veterans who believe in this and there was one who was buried w/o an emblem because of this policy.

I know it sounds silly to the rest of us, but why not offer this to them?

You have to draw the line somewhere, so maybe the answer is at a certain level of membership. Also, is it an actual religion?

I am reminded of a former friend of mine whose father's grave had a Texas A&M symbol if you have lived in Texas, you know that Aggiehood is akin to a religion, but most of us wouldn't want our government paying for that sort of thing.

But the Wiccans do take their religion seriously, and it is their religion, little different, except in membership numbers, from other organized religions that do get their own symbols.

Revenant said...

It seems reasonable to allow the mark on gravestones.

Although I can never shake the feeling that pagans chose their religion primarily to annoy other people.

Troy said...

dave -- it takes just as much faith to disbelieve as it does to believe. Atheism disavows a god -- it's still a religious belief system (or rather systems).

And good to see you 'round here again Victoria!

Revenant said...

Atheism disavows a god -- it's still a religious belief system (or rather systems).

First of all, one belief cannot be a "belief system". Belief systems, by definition, involve multiple beliefs.

Secondly, there's no rational reason to consider "I do not believe in gods" to be any more of a religion than "I do not believe in Martians" is.

Thirdly, if believing in a god requires faith, how can NOT believing in that god require faith?

Finally, it is unclear why you would think that not believing in any gods requires as much faith as believing in one god AND having an extensive belief system relating to what that one god wants you to do AND believing in a variety of related mythology AND believing that all of the other infinite variety of possible gods DON'T exist.

So in short, the idea that atheism is a religion that makes heavy demands on faith is just plain silly. It doesn't require any faith at all -- merely a LACK of faith in the existance of things there's no reason to believe exist.

Mickey said...