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What is atheism in America?

Atheists believe there is no God and that the universes and life in general is a result of the Big Bang Theory and evolution. Their religion stresses human responsibility and authority as they strive to live life as “good people.”

 Randall Gorman of Dallas, Texas carries a sign in front of the Supreme Court March 24, 2004 in Washington, DC.
Randall Gorman of Dallas, Texas carries a sign in front of the Supreme Court March 24, 2004 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Mannie Garcia/Getty Images

An atheist believes that heaven is available on earth for all to enjoy if they work together. They do not believe in prayer to help resolve problems although many do agree that a moment of silence is good for self-reflection. They rely solely on inner conviction and emotional strength to meet the challenges of everyday life.

An atheist believes a fulfilling life is possible through self-knowledge coupled with an understanding of other people.

As atheism began to spread as a philosophy in the United States many argued that atheism could not be classified as a religion. In fact many atheist resented being called part of a religious philosophy. They argued that religion needed to have a Superior Being. However that argument when have also challenged Buddhism and other accepted religions.

From a legal standpoint the argument was settled in 2005. The State of Wisconsin was being sued by an inmate that claimed the prison system was not providing him with the freedom to practice his atheism. It was the inmate’s contention that he be able to practice atheism the same as members of other religions were able to practice theirs.

“Atheism is [the inmate's] religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said.

This is part of a series on the cultures of religions excerpted from of Rochester Hills, Mich. It looks at Christian, Muslim, Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism, Sikhism, and Judaism. To view more religions, click here. It is used by their permission.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

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