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28 February 2013

Noneism (or Nonery?)

I've been meaning to comment on this for a while. I think there is great irony that some atheists are trying to generate solidarity among themselves. It is a sign of the continued dominance of religion in our culture that atheists feel pressured to organize in a way that is reminiscent of the very institutions against which they define themselves. Scholars have been arguing for quite some time about whether Atheism meets a functional definition of religion (i.e. religion is defined by what it does, namely helping to solidify groups by reifying identity [belonging] through ritual [behavioral] affirmation of shared beliefs). It's like a bunch of anarchists organizing a political party. By operating within the dictates of the system, those who argue against the system unwittingly support the very system that they are against. If I were a functionalist, I'd send the atheists a thank-you letter.

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