Atheists and Theist often share a similar sly language trick. They both redefine “religion” to meet their needs. Discovering those needs is far more interesting than wasting time in definition debates. However, avoiding the stumbling block of language is difficult.
A Theist wants their religion to be unique. They want their god to be the only god — their doctrines to be the only true beliefs. So, they want to say that their religion is not really a religion. They feel this keeps them from looking generic, uninteresting and as parochial as all other religion believers.
A religion-hating Atheist sees the injustices, the deceptions, the prejudices and perverse politics in religions and hates them. “Religion” is the word in which these atheist package their hate. When challenged with their overgeneralization about religions by pointing out religions practiced by real people that don’t contain any of the repulsive things they associate with the word “religion”, these atheists often just deny that such practices are really “religions”. You see, they are committed to hating the word “religion”.
“Religion” for many atheists and theists alike is a stumbling block to deep understanding. The word likewise trips up others: panentheists, scholars, non-theists, skeptics and more. For in the end, they all have feelings about the word “religion”.
Language is both our greatest friend and most cunning enemy. In my next post, I will make a simple suggestion to avoid this.