The following is a response to a point the Chaplain raised. She felt the Reason Rally was comparable to those old Billy Graham revivals and thus, a religious event with attendees having what looked to her as a religious experience.
I think you’ve enter the “atheism is a religion” fallacy.
This Saturday you’ll have two crowds descending on Philly, one to see the Flyers and the other to see Bruce Springsteen. Both will get energized by being around similarly minded people. Both will hoot and holler together. Both will likely be wearing paraphernalia associated with who they’re going to see and may be buying more there. Many from both crowds will be bringing their children to expose them to what they’re seeing. Many from both sides will be tailgating before and perhaps after the events. Now I ask, is Bruce Springsteen comparable to the Flyers? Are they the same?
“Atheism” is a convenient catch-all for a variety of topics where ultimately the religious, or some comparably faith-based believers are the antagonists. Anti-vacs, anti-evolution and science, anti-sex education, anti-abortion, anti-equality for gays and women, and so on. Do they really have anything to do with atheism? No. Nothing has anything to do with atheism other than the god question, however all that shit and more is caused by, or justified by the belief that a god exists who hates all that science and butt sex so atheism (I’d prefer critical thinking) becomes the cause or at least the battering ram many people need to get behind to smash the foundation of these dangerous and un-constitutional actions by believers. And yes, I do feel people need to get together to oppose these muddle-headed initiatives and certainly no political party will as both are guilty to at least pandering to the faithers if not supporting and championing faith-based nonsense themselves.
Does passion equate to religion? Does gathering en mass with like minded people make you religious or the group a religion? Is supporting a cause a religious action? I’d have to say no to all of those questions.
Now with that said, I wouldn’t attend a Reason Rally because one, I’m crazy busy and two, I hate crowds and all that’s associated with crowds. However, I do attend industry conventions because it’s an opportunity to hear and perhaps meet top people in my field. I suppose for some who went to the Rally, that was an appealing reason for them to go, but it’s not for me. I did attend a small event a few years ago at Penn where PZ Meyers gave a talk, but if it was going to be held in an auditorium I probably wouldn’t have gone. To each their own which, ultimately, is one of those “atheist” sentiments which has nothing to do with atheism but is generally held by atheists it seems and is a sentiment worth rallying behind.