The Inside Agenda Blog

Can Atheism Be Like a Religion?

by Daniel Kitts Wednesday April 11, 2012

Many of us here at The Agenda are prolific users of the social media site Twitter. We use it to share information about our program, online videos we create, and to generally share ideas and engage with members of the public.

One of the interesting things about Twitter is that you can unexpectedly find yourself in a lengthy conversation with someone. Someone may like or take offense to something you've tweeted, and, before you know it, you're 20 tweets into a back-and-forth with that person.

Such an interaction happened Wednesday afternoon. I tweeted a video clip (above) of an interview we did with Alain de Botton, an atheist who nonetheless believes that religion does contain at least some valuable knowledge and wisdom for all. He even wrote a book about it, Religion for Atheists: A non-believer's guide to the uses of religion. I tweeted this clip, as I do many other clips on a variety of topics and perspectives. It is simply part of what I do as an Agenda producer.

In response to my tweet, this happened:

(Warning: The following contains some coarse language.)

This is not an original conversation. The idea that some modern atheists display a somewhat, um, religious fervour in their belief that religion is a sham has been raised before. But I figured this Twitter conversation was a good opportunity to get The Agenda's viewers thoughts on the question.

Do you think some atheists, including perhaps the one above, become overly fanatical and dogmatic in their rejection of all things religious? And, if so, in that fanaticism do some atheists become, in a sense, what they despise the most?

Or do you agree with the person above? That religion is indisputably bad, and there's nothing dogmatic about expressing that fact?

Religion    Society & Culture