Christians like to claim atheism is a religion. It’s their way of saying, ‘look – atheists are as daft as we are. They believe in bullshit just like we do, except, of course, they’re wrong and we’re right.’ You can see them saying just this here and here and here.
But atheism isn’t a religion, any more than not collecting stamps is a hobby, as Penn Jillette puts it. It isn’t a religion because it is the absence of belief – primarily in a god, but also in any other kind of supernatural being. The atheist knows there are no saviours, angels, devils, demons, ethereal saints or eternal prophets, and no heaven and hell to house them either. Atheism is devoid of any sort of worship of imagined supernatural beings; nor does it address them, commune with them or otherwise revere them. It does not recognise the authority of ‘holy’ books nor that of self-appointed spiritual authorities, including popes, pastors, preachers, imams, mullahs and rabbis. It doesn’t regard anything as sacred, including its own experts; neither Darwin nor the so-called New Atheists are above criticism. (Try that with those who think they represent God’s Truth™!)
Where religionists build their belief systems on the insubstantial foundation of faith, atheists accept nothing on trust. Instead, they look for evidence to support their knowledge and value reason, not dogma – things that are anathema to religion.
Given, then, that atheism is the antithesis of religion and that atheists don’t do what religion demands, it is intellectual dishonesty to insist that atheism is a religion. Those who do so are false witnesses; mistaken at best, liars for sure.