But by hijacking the "No Religion" box they are double dipping, as members of their congregation should be marking "Atheism" in the "Other" box according to the ABS, the government body conducting the census.
Most people think atheists just don't believe anything, that they have no faith and therefore are not religious. But they have a full belief system just like other religions do, and they have a strong faith in what they believe. They differ from most in that instead of believing that God exists they believe he doesn't exist. Many atheists are extremely fervent in their fight against the God they insist doesn't exist. Atheism is still a belief. According to philosopher Blaise Pascal, Atheism has more serious consequences for its adherents if they are wrong about God than if they were right. Those consequences are immediate and eternal.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary describes religion as: "4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.""Using this definition, many atheists would certainly be categorized as religious, particularly the so-called “New Atheists” like Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher. It would be better to consider them anti-theists (“against God”) or misotheists (“haters of God”). These men and others like them spend much of their time railing against the Creator they say doesn’t even exist. Strangely enough, these misotheists seem to be more obsessed with God than most Christians. They most certainly hold to their cause and beliefs with ardor and faith."1 Atheists certainly have a belief system.
They have a belief in the origins of the universe and humanity: They believe everything just came out of nothing. This "nothing" exploded in a "big bang" and then "everything" just appeared, including intelligent life. Now, I may be the least intelligent of this intelligent life but to my mind, when you blow something up it destroys it does not create order. You blow up a building you get rubble, not the other way around.
They have a belief in why we are here: No reason. No purpose. No meaning. We are just here. This leads to a very cold-hearted, self-centered, immediate-gratification focused worldview, and one I would suggest is behind the most destructive wars, economic failures, political ideologies and movements in human history.
They have a belief in where we go when we die: Nowhere. It is about as hope-less as you can get.
If they get the numbers on census night this contributes to Australia becoming more of a society made in their image. In the context of the rainbow attack on traditional marriage, family, children, and on freedoms of speech, religion and conscience it would just provide more ammunition to the increasingly anti-Christian parliament to avoid a plebiscite and just have compromised and intimidated politicians decide on their attempt to destroy marriage and family.
Below is some interesting material on the census religion question:
Census – religion question
2.1 The ABS says atheism IS a religion – and the religion question is about ‘identifying’ with a religion
The Australian Bureau of Statistics describes its interpretation of the ‘religion’ question on the census. The ‘Religion question’ is about people ‘identifying’ with a religion. Many people ‘identify’ with Christianity even though they are not regular churchgoers.
The ABS Census Help site actually DEFINES ATHEISM AS A RELIGION! So the campaign by the atheists to get people to mark ‘NO RELIGION’ is very misleading.
This is what the ABS says:
“People who have non-theistic religious beliefs or other life philosophies should write their response in the 'Other (please specify)' box. Examples of non-religious beliefs include Humanism, Agnosticism, Atheism and Rationalism.
If a person identifies with no religion at all, mark the 'No religion' box.”
Source – here under ‘Cultural Background’ (scroll to the bottom for ‘Religion’).
2.2 Paul Murray – atheist/agnostic criticises the Atheists ‘No Religion’ campaign
Paul Murray had a VERY interesting 6 minute comment on Sky News. He says that, as an atheist (or agnostic) he would choose the ‘No Religion’ box. But he exposes and criticises as 'dishonest' the campaign being run by the Atheist Foundation – like not attending church etc… He says ‘Don’t fall for it!’
WATCH Paul Murray’s video – click here.
2.3 The ‘Yes Religion’ website – to counter the atheist ‘NO Religion’ campaign
A group has set up a website to counter the atheists’ campaign. The website, http://yesreligion.org.au/, urges people to think carefully about the question – discussing the ‘not attending church’ and ‘not part of a denomination’ and other arguments, and encouraging people to choose a religion if they ‘identify’ with it.
2.4 Michael Jensen – article on the ‘Census Religion question’
Michael Jensen, an Anglican minister from Sydney, has an interesting article in the SMH, criticising the atheists’ campaign…
Article: On census night, don't discount your religious identity, Michael Jensen, SMH, 2/8/2016.
Next Tuesday night (9 August) is 2016 Census night – where we are required by law to answer all sorts of questions to help governments make decisions about such things as public transport, housing, education and hospitals.
There has been little controversy – until now. This year, the religion question – and its implications for the funding of school chaplains and faith-based charities, as well as tax-exempt status for churches – is all important.
The religion question is the only one that is not compulsory. It lists six Christian denominations and three non-Christian religions, with a space for “other” – but this year for the first time, “No religion” is the first option.
That was the result of a quiet campaign by the Atheist Foundation of Australia three years ago. They hope that putting “No religion” at the top before any other option, they would win the “donkey vote” – and ultimately force governments to end any subsidy or recognition for the huge amount of public good done by faith-based community organisations.
They have also mounted an advertising campaign in supermarket car parks and elsewhere, urging people to mark the “No religion” box.
The problem is compounded by the fact that many non-denominational Christians mark “No religion” because they have faith in Christ, but don’t belong to a particular denomination. To them, “religion” means “denomination”.
What can we do?
· Make sure we answer the religion question – by marking one of the six boxes for Christian denominations, or writing “Christian” or something similar in the space provided for “other” religion.
· Send this email to other friends and family, encouraging them to do the same.
· Pray – that the atheist campaign will fail.