[quote="Bwana"][quote="xxxxlbear"]Ok, out comes the dictionary again
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.[/quote]
Atheists hold a belief that there is/are no supreme being(s). So there's the Atheist belief. The practice, well I could get nasty but I'll stick to "attempting to suppress opposing beliefs in others*".
No they don't. Most dictionaries list the [i]primary[/i] definition of atheism as "a disbelief in God or gods". Disbelief is not the same thing as denial. If you tell me that you're wearing a yellow shirt and I say "I don't believe you", that is disbelief. I'm not making any claim of my own - I'm simply doubting the truth of your statement. If, on the other hand, you tell me you're wearing a yellow shirt and I say "No you're not", that is denial.
Basic atheism is, as I've already said, and as many dictionaries confirm, simply an absence of belief in gods. It ought to be obvious to anyone over the age of six that you can't found a religion on [i]absence of belief[/i]. The whole notion is utterly absurd.
There are atheists who argue against the existence of god. But since when has denying the existence of something constituted a religion? Denying the existence of god is no more a religion than denying the existence of Thor, the Easter Bunny or Bigfoot.
As for your bizarre claim that atheists are trying to "oppress" people, feel free to provide some examples. But before you do, please take the time to read the following from Austin Cline's atheism blog. I hope it will give you pause to reconsider your position.
"There's nothing about religious theism that would cause a person to imagine that they are being persecuted, but it is something common to Christians. Christianity has taught from the very beginning that adherents would be persecuted for their faith, and the assumption that this is what must happen continues through today, even among Christians who are well-off and suffer from no oppression. In such cases they have to manufacture sources of persecution, and atheists are usually high on the list.
This myth is an expression of just such an attitude: atheists are accused of "interfering" with theists' (usually meaning just Christians') "expression of their faith" (their ability to express what they believe and/or to proselytize) and the "tools of their faith" (the means by which belief is expressed or encouraged). This simply isn't true. Atheists don't try to stop activities such as church services, people saying grace over meals, Catholics taking communion, Muslims praying towards Mecca, etc. Atheists don't try to interfere with theists' expression of faith or the tools of faith — at least insofar as the tools don't include the organs of the state.
Both atheists and theists do work to prevent the government from singling out any one religion or any particular religious beliefs for endorsement, promotion, or any other special treatment (positive or negative). There is a huge difference between a private individual expressing their faith and an officer of the state expressing personal religious beliefs while acting in their official capacity. A person praying over a meal in their home or while standing on a street corner is not the same as an officer of the state trying to insert a personal prayer into the official business of the government. Stopping the latter is not the same as interfering with the former — and both atheists and theists have a strong interest in ensuring that the latter doesn't occur.
This is not a "bad habit." It is not fair for the government of all the people to single out any particular religious beliefs, doctrines, dogmas, practices, or scriptures of just some people for special favoritism, whether in the form of endorsement, encouragement, or financial support. This isn't about the excision of religion from the face of society because preventing the government from giving special privileges or treatment to one religion isn't any sort of excision. People's religion will remain just as it has been — there are no religions that cease to exist when they cease being privileged.
It's bizarre, frankly, for religious theists to imply that their religion would be suppressed or excised in any fashion if the government is prevented from privileging them. It's almost as if they fear that their religion will disappear without government favoritism and that people won't join or remain entirely of their own accord. I believe this signals a significant lack of confidence in one's religion.
This myth is readily accompanied by a claim that "honest" atheists should be willing to just leave theists be in their expressions of religion. Apparently, an atheist isn't being honest with themselves if they insist that atheism itself is just disbelief in gods but then turns around and argues against state-supported religion or against religion generally. It's almost as if such theists cannot conceive of how the two are ultimately separate issues, unable to imagine that theists might also argue against state-supported religion or religion generally.
I suppose that there are reasons for this because for some theists, everything they believe and do proceeds from their religion. Such theists may not be able to understand how others aren't basically the same. What we have in such cases is thus a failure of imagination: they don't understand that atheists as well as other theists don't base everything they believe and do on their position regarding gods. That's the generous interpretation, at any rate.
A less generous interpretation might be that such theists don't want to deal with atheists as they really are — a diverse lot with very diverse belief systems and diverse reasons for doing what they do. If atheists are to be treated as scapegoats, it's easier to just lump them altogether and pretend that they all follow a "religion" called atheism. Who has time to address all the different arguments and positions offered by atheists who are Secular Humanists, Objectivists, Buddhists, Raelians, and so forth? That takes work and requires trying to understand people who are different."