On last Friday's Real Time With Bill Maher, the "New Rules" segment got it exactly right. Atheism is not a religion. It's the absence of religion.
And finally, New Rule: Until someone claims to see Christopher Hitchens' face in a tree stump, idiots must stop claiming that atheism is a religion.
There's one little difference. Religion is defined as the belief in and worship of a super-human, controlling power. And atheism is…precisely not that.
Got it? Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.
Now…believe it or not, I don't really enjoy talking about religion all the time. In fact, not only is atheism not a religion, it's not even my hobby. And that's the best thing about being an atheist. It requires so little of your time.
But, there is a growing trend in this country that needs to be called out. And that is to label any evidence-based belief a religion. Many conservatives now say that belief in manmade climate change is a religion, and Darwinism is a religion. And of course, atheism, the total lack of religion, is somehow a religion, too, according to the always reliable "Encyclopedia Moronica."
Now, it's a dodge, of course, straight out of the grand intellectual tradition of "I know you are, but what am I?" It's a way of saying, "Hey, we all believe in some sort of faith-based malarkey, so let's call it a push."
No. No, no, no, no. no. It's not fair that people who can't defend their own nonsense get to create a fake, fair-and-balanced argument, the way they do in asserting that evolution and creationism are equally valid.
I'm not saying that atheists are perfect thinkers. Everyone has blind spots. I'm sure there are atheists who think ponytails look good on a man. And pineapple belongs on a pizza. And Ayn Rand was an important thinker. But, when it comes to religion, we're not two sides of the same coin. And you don't get to put your un-reason up on the same shelf with my reason.
Your stuff has to go over there on the shelf with Zeus and Thor and the Kraken. With the stuff that is not evidence-based, stuff that religious people never change their mind about, no matter what happens. That's not atheism.
I'm open to anything for which there's evidence. Show me a god and I will believe in him. If Jesus Christ comes down from the sky during the halftime show of this Sunday's Super Bowl and turns all the nachos into loaves and fishes, well, I'll think two things. First, how dare he interrupt Madonna; she is going to be pissed!
And two, oh, look at that, I was wrong; there he is. My bad. Praise the Lord.
But, that's not going to happen. And, short of that, if you still insist atheism is a religion, then it's only fair that we get to do all the loony stuff that you get to do.
And I'm going to start tonight by un-baptizing Mitt Romney's dead father-in-law. [slide shown of Edward Davies] Yes, in case you didn't hear, it was discovered last week that Edward Davies, Ann Romney's father, an enthusiastically anti-religious scientist who called organized faith "hogwash," was posthumously baptized in the Mormon tradition, 14 months after he died. They tried to do it sooner, but he wouldn't stop spinning in his grave.
So, here then, is history's first un-baptism ceremony right now. [he produces framed photo of Edward Davies] [he puts on wizard’s hat and produces a wand and candle] For the late Edward Davies.
[Lights go out, church music heard] Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of math, gravity, evolution and electricity…to honor Brother Edward, and to send the powers of SEAL Team 666 to rescue him from Planet Kolob so that he may spend eternity with the kind of free-thinkers he chose to hang out with on earth.
So, by the power granted to me by the Blair Witch. Schlemiel, Schlimazel, e pluribus mumbo-jumbo! Expecto-Petronum, Sussudio, Yo Mama…I call upon the Mormon spirits to leave your body the f**k alone!
Brother Edward, in this world, you had to put up with Mitt Romney. You've suffered enough!