Notice to Commenters. De-baptism ceremony at AA Convention.

Notice to Commenters, Know-it-Alls, Crazies, etc.:

I did not write the article that follows.  It was, as clearly set forth, written by Kyle Cupp, who is described further at the end of the article.

It is found here:

The article is quoted by me for the purpose of criticism, education, and satire. I put it here so you can see it, which is more likely than if you were just given the above link.

In no way do I claim it to be my own work.

If any Experts on Everything think this is plagiarism or copyright violation, please tell me how so I can make amends and corrections.

My response to the article is clear.  Atheists do have rituals.  Want to see one such?

Attend the de-baptism scheduled for the day following the Rally for Reason at 8:00 pm. at the American Atheists Convention.



Religion for Atheists

by Kyle Cupp on March 20, 2012


Ned Resnikoff challenges the supposedly easy path of superficially translating religious ritual and practice into forms that an atheist might find acceptable and beneficial:

A fully developed theology is born out of conflict and dialogue: dialogue with tradition, intuition, philosophy, the hard and soft sciences, and the critiques of other denominations and religions (not to mention atheists). The idea that you can just skip the whole dialogue and get straight to establishing rituals that conform to your own vague pre-existing sentiments is frankly bizarre.

Doing so, says Ned, “would have atheists export some of organized religion’s worst diseases: bland and indistinct ‘spirituality,’ the thoughtless reenactment of ritual for its own sake, and the smug certainty of chronic incuriosity.”  Instead, if atheists have an interest in reforming and putting religious rituals to their own purpose, they would be wise to build a theological foundation and seriously engage “with moral philosophy, epistemology, and even — perhaps especially — the theology of real-life theists.”

This is exactly right.

A religion is irreducible to a set of tenets and practices, meaning that you can’t treat it like a cafeteria without corrupting the whole.  This goes for traditional religions and for secularized religious rituals.  Why? Because religion is a way of being-in-the-world.  The intelligibility of a its parts emerges only within the framework of the religion’s whole logos and mythos. The liturgy of the Eucharist, for example, makes sense only when understood in the contexts of biblical interpretation, Christology, ecclesiology, Old and New Testament narrative, theology of prayer, sacramental theology, the goals Christian life, etc.

Any religious ritual that’s worth a damn needs a theological (logical and mythological) foundation, developed over time and situated within society and the larger world.  Without this, you may have some nice clothing for a “spiritual” journey, but you won’t have a new or improved sense of direction or a cause to take a first step.

Tagged as: Atheism, Logos, Mythos, Religion, Ritual


Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a contributor to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. says

    Hi there! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I will send this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Eric R says

    For the life of me I cant imagine why Athiests would want to create a religion around Atheism. True, the literal definition of Atheist in no way precludes an atheology (of sorts) being built around it but that doesnt mean one should be.

    However the quoted post has a few items I disagree with.

    A religion is irreducible to a set of tenets and practices, meaning that you can’t treat it like a cafeteria without corrupting the whole…

    This statement couldnt be more false, it sure seems like believers have been treating every religion one can think of like a cafeteria with no discernable negative effect for centuries. Religions are nothing if not cafeteria’s from which followers can pick and choose those elements they like and ignore the rest,in fact the ability to “pick and choose” parts of a religion to follow is probably what has allowed religion to continue to thrive. Surely Christianity would be harder to defend if followers regularly killed disobediant children. Deuteronomy 21:18-21

    Because religion is a way of being-in-the-world.

    Someone explain to me what the hell “being-in-the-world” even means? Because it strikes me as some sort of new-age pseudospiritual-woo-like statement with no actual meaning.

    >Religion is a way of being-in-the-world but being areligious is not?
    >If one picks and chooses tenets of a religion to follow then that religion no longer is a way of being-in-the-world?

    How the hell does that work?

    Personally I am not in the least bit interested in some contrived theology built around not believing in Gods, in fact isnt atheist theology an oxymoron to begin with?

    Theology from theos “god” + -logos “treating of”

    I would be curious to see what sort of rituals would be proposed for an Atheist religion, including the de-baptising thumb-nosing at mormons.

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