Atheism is an ideology
Some apologists claim that atheism as a ideology.
- "For a great many atheists, atheism does not merely signify “lack of belief” but is itself a kind of positive worldview, one that “includes numerous beliefs about the world and what is in it,” to quote the atheist philosopher Julian Baggini. [...He] agrees with the historian of religions James Thrower, who considers modern atheism to be “a self-contained belief system” – one predicated on a series of propositions about the nature of reality, the source of human morality, the foundation of societal ethics, the question of free will, and so on."
- "What I find is that unless an atheist has worked very hard on it, you can usually predict what their views are going to be on a range of subjects and you can often pick out their voting patterns. It's all statistical variations but the trend is undeniable. [...] It is an intellectual position and it does color how you view the world. [...] If you are an atheist, that is going to affect every single thing about your personality, and its going to be same if you're religious too."
An atheist is defined as a person who does not believe in the existence of any gods. Atheism doesn't refer to having other beliefs, so calling atheism an ideology is usually a mistaken use of terminology.
From Zuckerman's scientific literature review, atheists are markedly "less nationalistic, less prejudiced, less anti-Semitic, less racist, less dogmatic, less ethnocentric, less close-minded, and less authoritarian" and more politically independent than religious believers. Atheists are less likely to support right wing political parties and are generally more liberal/progressive. Atheists are more supportive of gender equality and accepting of homosexuality. Zuckerman suggests this implies that atheists may have a superior sense of social justice than the religious. Atheists and more secular nations generally are less likely to support the use of corporal punishment on children and place more emphasis on independent thinking in children. However, scientific studies have often focused on a few cultures and have not studied it in a cross cultural way.
It is a trivial observation to say that some beliefs are correlated with others. This can be due to cultural factors, like certain groups having certain experiences in common, rather than being part of an ideology. We need to be remember that correlation does not entail causation. Belief in the existence of kangaroos is correlated with the belief in the existence of Australia but that doesn't make either an ideology.
However, correlations between beliefs often don't hold across cultures or time periods. Atheists hold a diverse range of views, particularly when atheists from around the world are considered. The beliefs held by the New atheism movement, which are sometimes called an ideology, are in a tiny minority when considered globally. Atheism also doesn't have automatic associations with economic or political theories, as ideologies usually do.
Babies are atheists since they don't have any religious beliefs. They can't be said to hold an ideology either.
Say we assume that atheism is an ideology? That doesn't imply anything in particular.
It is more plausible that antireligion, specifically in the United States, is an ideology.
- 5 uncomfortable facts atheists need to hear
- Reza Aslan, Sam Harris and "New Atheists" aren't new, aren't even atheists, Salon, November 21, 2014
- My Talk w/ Max Kolbe/Escaping Atheism - Is Atheism an Ideology?, 24 Nov 2017
- Phil Zuckerman, Atheism, Secularity, and Well-Being: How the Findings of Social Science Counter Negative Stereotypes and Assumptions, Sociology Compass 3/6 (2009): 949–971, 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2009.00247.x