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UPDATE on Religion's professor saying atheism is a religion.

I've been asked so many times for clarification on what my religions professor said. Here's notes from his lectures he sends out. Also, yes, he is a Lutheran minister....and he has essentially ditched our textbook (which I liked) and everything is off of his lectures/notes.

In addition, in our papers we're only allowed to use sources that he has given us in advance so that doesn't allow for any opposing research to be included in our papers. It's not a huge deal, but it's just a tiny bit disappointing.

PiperMckenna 6 Aug 21

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Someone should tell your professor that there is no riturials or prayers no one pins predjuice on anyone for having free thought there is no book of lies to follow and there is certainly no collection plate passed along sex is had with out some documation or a certificate.


When my atheist sons joined the military and were given dog tags, they said, Religion: None.

So did I.


Wow. That actually IS a big deal.
He's actively advocating against critical thinking and seeking out multiple
He's a terrible instructor.

I'm really fretting over this class. I don't know if I should just agree and write whatever he wants me to...I just don't know. There is another atheist in my class, I'm going to see what she does and maybe talk to her some. I just really can't drop

@PiperMckenna You should do whatever you think you need to do.
Good luck.


My advice is don't do that. I had to write a term paper in a sociology class. My view conflicted with the professor's. The paper merited an A. Got a B. No red corrections. Everyone else had red marks. Mine didn't. The only red on mine was a B.

There are 2 choices I see. Fight him now, or stick it up his ass at another time.

I recommend you waiting. Then hit him in the nuts. Maybe contact some larger groups about this. Film the class. Collect ammo.


Does this mean we can found our own tax sheltered atheist “church “? We can all meet to play cards or listen to cool music in our tax free, church?

Funny how the god thing always comes back to money, isn't it?

@HonkyBMcfunky money or power


It is a big deal. I would complain about him not following the textbook or using other research.


He is off his intellectual rocker and uses the most fallacious of reasoning for try to call atheism a religion. There is no set of theological beliefs I adhere to. I do not worship anyone or anything. I am not a member of any congregation.


I think it is a huge deal. He isnt inspiring original thought or freedom. A teacher that wants you to just regurgitate his view is not doing his job and too close minded to teach the subject.


suck it up, gather evidence, and when you are done with the class file a complaint.

You can’t really file a complaint. Well you can but it rarely serves any purpose.
Best way to get him is through his peers in his department.
See my comment below

@darthfaja I wouldnt take the risk. he could absolutely tank her. that's why i would do it after the fact.

He can’t tank her without just reason to do so. If her papers are sound and well written the head of the department should back her up

I like these kinds of fights. 😊


As an educator, I find this appalling. You have the option to complain to the department chair or dean, but depending on the school, it might or might not have any effect. First, not allowing students to research is against the purpose of higher education; students who must use ONLY the sources provided by the instructor are not developing research skills. Second, some schools have been accused of not allowing students free speech--denying students to present refutation and the opinions of the opposition would seem to fall in this category. I teach lit and composition, not religion, and I do not allow students to support argument based on religion; this is not denying them freedom of speech, but The Bible is not a peer-reviewed source nor is it historically accurate. However, they can discuss what religions believe without endorsing the beliefs, i.e. in a paper on homosexuality, they can discuss what Christianity says about the issue, but not use religious beliefs as an argument for why gays should not have rights or why being gay is a "sin."


It's quite easy to see that your teacher is biased. Sadly not only that but he also presents some very misleading information. For instance the Torcaso v Watkins case. The Supreme court did not "classify Secular Humanism as a religion. Maryland at that time required "a declaration of belief in the existence of God" in order for a person to hold "any office of profit or trust in this State". Roy Tocaso was an atheist an refused to do so. The Supreme Court ruled that the requirement violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. It was about freedom from a religious requirement.
This whole "classifying" thing comes from one footnote of one of the judges. Very far from a court ruling.
The 2005 case about the inmate was about him starting an atheist group. Here the question becomes: can you practice atheism as a religion? And the answer is yes, of course. You introduce rituals, a creed, rules etc. to form a religious group based on atheism. But that doesn't make atheism a religion. Theism is not a religion. Christianity is. Mysticism is not a religion. Hinduism is. You see the difference? For a belief to become a religion there needs to be more than just that. Otherwise me believing in Santa Clause is also a religion.

Dietl Level 7 Aug 21, 2019

you might want to see how the Supreme Court defines religion as I have posted above

@lerlo I see no definition in your post. Only that atheism should be treated like a religion for legal purposes.

@Dietl wouldn't want you to have to read the whole opinion yourself, but it's there

@lerlo So, what is it now? An opinion or an official definition by the Supreme Court? And why can't you just quote the definition for me here? It's not in your post as you suggested in your first reply to me.

@Dietl "Without venturing too far into the realm of the philosophical, we have suggested in the past that when a person sincerely holds beliefs dealing with issues of "ultimate concern" that for her occupy a "place parallel to that filled by . . . God in traditionally religious persons," those beliefs represent her religion. Fleischfresser v. Dirs. of Sch. Dist. 200, 15 F.3d 680, 688 n. 5 (7th Cir.1994)..."We have already indicated that atheism may be considered, in this specialized sense, a religion."

See it's really easy, you take the citation of the case, search it and read the case

@lerlo Okay, there is the quote you wanted me to check out. What is it you are trying to argue exactly?


Maybe its a case of semantics. Humanism is based on evidence and facts. Religions are faith based.

The federal government gave Humanism status as a religion for tax purposes and as a belief system alternative to faith based systems.


Sounds to me like you've struck yet another of those Bible-Thumping Dictator type Professors.
I ran up against a few of them when I started studying for my ThD through a PUBLIC University, not through a Seminary, they went as far as registering protests with the Dean of the University because I had openly declared that I was an Atheist, fortunately the Dean dismissed ALL their protests completely and firmly told them that the ENTIRE was to be taught as per the prescribed curriculum and that the curriculum IS open to ONE and ALL WITHOUT exception/bias,etc, etc.
Now I proudly hold a Doctorate in Theology and Comparative Modern Religions, presented to me, personally, by the Dean himself.


I prefer to fight fire with fire.. "So if atheism is a religion, what is wrong with that?" and then.. " Atheism is a religion of compassion, humanism, naturalism, science, and equality. All attributes opposite to most traditional theistic nonsense"


He’s clearly an idiot...


I am reminded of Bill Mahar's response to a similar claim. He said that atheism is as much a religion as abstinence is a sex position.

...and not collecting stamps is a hobby.


“In addition, in our papers we're only allowed to use sources that he has given us in advance so that doesn't allow for any opposing research to be included in our papers. It's not a huge deal, but it's just a tiny bit disappointing.”

So much for academic integrity and honesty. Hiding from ideas that are different... well, that’s Trumpian. Isn’t it?


I agree with those saying this is indeed a big deal. Unless you’re at a Christian college in which case that’s your misfortune, I would complain about the quality of education I was getting and want my money back for the class at the very least. Paying someone to waste my time ain’t on my syllabus, nor my docket of “shit to do this year.”


I hope you aren’t paying this professor to spoon feed you horse shit.


"It's not a huge deal" <-- Yes it is, not allowing opposing views in research papers does all of the students a disservice and is not teaching them. Your professor is not teaching you he is trying to indoctrinate you and this should be brought to the school officials. You are not paying for classes to be indoctrinated, you are paying for classes to be taught the material specific to that class. His arguments have counters and he is not allowing you to research them.

He is doing you and your fellow students a disservice and should not be teaching.


He quotes the case law out of context. The court did not hold that "atheism" was a religion, but simply that "atheism" is protected under the law prohibiting discrimination based on religion, because it is a REJECTION of a religion, and it also must be protected.

"Title VII does forbid an employer, unless it is a religious organization, ... which Great Lakes is not, to discriminate against an employee on the basis of the employee's religion. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e–2😇(1). And for these purposes, as assumed by the parties, as strongly intimated in EEOC v. Townley Engineering & Mfg. Co., 859 F.2d 610, 613–14 n. 5 (9th Cir.198🤓, and Young v. Southwestern Savings & Loan Ass'n, 509 F.2d 140, 142 (5th Cir.1975), and as supported by analogy to cases under the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment, County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, 492 U.S. 573, 589–90, 109 S.Ct. 3086, 106 L.Ed.2d 472 (1989); Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 52–53, 105 S.Ct. 2479, 86 L.Ed.2d 29 (1985); Books v. City of Elkhart, 235 F.3d 292, 307 (7th Cir.2000) Warner v. Orange County Dep't of Probation, 173 F.3d 120, 120–22 (2d Cir.1999)—cases which hold that religious freedom includes the freedom to reject religion—“religion” includes antipathy to religion. And so an atheist (which Reed may or may not be) cannot be fired because his employer dislikes atheists. If we think of religion as taking a position on divinity, then atheism is indeed a form of religion.

Reed v. Great Lakes Companies, Inc., 330 F.3d 931, 933–34 (7th Cir. 2003).

The law protects people from persecutions based on religion. If the religious discriminates atheists because of their LACK of religion, it is still a persecution based on religion. It is this simple and logical analysis that your prof is misusing to argue that atheism is a religion.

If all organized belief system is a religion, then every set of ideas is a religion, and if everything is a religion, then nothing is a religion.

Humanism and Atheism are not one and the same thing.

actually the court DID hold that atheism is a religion as I quoted above

@lerlo The exact quote is "If we think of religion as taking a position on divinity, THEN atheism is indeed a form of religion." But that is not what religion actually means. It is a rhetorical device the court used to make a point. The court didn't HOLD that atheism is a religion. It can be called a dictum at best.

@AtheistReader perhaps you didn't read the same case I did but it says atheism is equivalent to religion. That's not dicta, because that's what the case is about and in order for the court to rule as a did, it had to make that holding


Need the barf emoji back please.


"In addition, in our papers we're only allowed to use sources that he has given us in advance so that doesn't allow for any opposing research to be included in our papers. It's not a huge deal, but it's just a tiny bit disappointing."

OMFG! For real??

If he's so fearful of a contradictory opinion that he prohibits them in your research then please tell your professor that Sgt. Spanky says he's a pussy because that's really pathetic of him.

I'm really hoping the class gets better....or I may have to give him your message. haha

@PiperMckenna Any educator worth a damn will be open to the critical examination of any topic under discussion from all sides. If this guy just wants to create an echo chamber of his own views then what value is there in taking his class? Is it a pre-req or something?

Yeah, I would seriously bring this up with his superiors or school administrators. To put limits on what you can use for research seriously undermines the education you are supposed to receive and for which you are paying!

I agree with you, but the only thing I can think of is that teachers will only accept cites from .org or .gov websites I think, and official journals etc. It might be deeper than that with this guy though. He sounds like a very biased piss poor teacher.


College is meant for you to learn how to learn about different views and gain information. How the fuck can he just tell you what sources to use?


I think some religious people are so stupid that they claim you can make a "god" out of your car or your wife. I have even heard sermons on it. The common mistake is that you must be worshiping something. My question is why do you have to worship anything? Why does everybody have to "serve" somebody? (Sorry, Dylan.) 🙂

It’s just like any time Jordan Peterson talks about religion. He says that atheists don’t exist merely because he can’t imagine not believing in something and dances around it when pressed on the issue.
Also, isn’t it ironic that religious nuts try to straw-man science by making it a religion?




It's more of a hypothesis, methinks. Annnnd, it's been over TWO THOUSAND YEARS, and we're still waiting for some quantifiable and reproducible proof...just sayin'.

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