Atheist Cults

Some argue that atheism is a religion in its own right, as here for example: Certainly there are many atheists who transfer the loyalty and adoration owing to God to lesser, ephemeral things: a story about a spaceship, a man at the lectern waving his arms, or the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is idolatry, and students of the atheist world notice many forms of it, because atheists, who do not believe in God, believe in all manner of other things. Atheists protest, that they are a people without beliefs, not with a set of substitute beliefs, convinced only to assign superior probabilities on the basis of observation, but the human soul abhors a vacuum. We are made to worship, and those who will not worship Him alone who deserves worship, will worship whatever comes to hand, whether ridiculous or sublime. We are the religious animal:

"And on this account there is no animal, as Cicero says, except man, which has any knowledge of God. For he alone is furnished with wisdom, so that he alone understands religion; and this is the chief or only difference between man and the dumb animals. For the other things which appear to be peculiar to man, even if there are not such in the dumb animals, nevertheless may appear to be similar. Speech is peculiar to man; yet even in these there is a certain resemblance to speech. . .Laughter also is peculiar to man; and yet we see certain indications of joy in other animals, when they use passionate gestures with a view to sports, hang down their ears, contract their mouth, smooth their forehead, relax their eyes to sportiveness." (Lactantius, A Treatise on the Anger of God, Chapter 7).

Stamp it out and back it comes. Atheists are people at war with their own nature, or so they start out; but surrender creeps up from behind, coming in unexpected ways from unguarded directions. If religion is defined as worship of a Supreme Being, then atheists are not religious, though neither are many adherents to systems commonly thought of as religions, such as Buddhism and Confucianism. If one starts rather with a market-basket of existing groups commonly classed as religions, a close enquiry into atheist substitutes like Marxism cannot fail to uncover as many similarities as differences; certainly the world-remaking scope of this once-popular mythology is no less ambitious. Taking this empirical approach rather than defining, by fiat, religion in a Christocentric fashion, leaves more difficulty and perplexity in differentiating atheism from religion than the other way around. While there may, in theory, be an atheist whose personal convictions about the world go no further than provisional assent to those ideas not yet disconfirmed by observation, where is he? In practice we find adherents to the robust Wiccan religion of the 'Pale Blue Dot' in place of this hollow shell.

Space alien cults are one especially glaring example. The observer at an atheist conclave might wonder whether he has mistakenly bought a ticket for the Star Trek Convention, because atheists and science fiction fans can look like one and the same people group. While science fiction is passable entertainment if nothing else is available, it makes execrably bad religion, as the atheists have shown us, with offerings such as Raelianism and Scientology.

Savior of the World

Rael Scientology
Cryonics Communism
No True Atheist Common Characteristics
Tu Quoque Buddhism
Ayn Rand Liberalism
Jim Jones Temple of Reason
Astrology Ram Dass
Zeitgeist the Movie


Rael's birth name is Claude Maurice Marcel Vorilhon (AFP, 'Cult leader Rael denied residence in Switzerland,' February 19, 2007). This group attracted attention some years back when they claimed to have cloned a human child, though they provided no proof. Their controversial views include a 'Scratch what Itches' approach to sexuality, a very common atheist view which however becomes controversial when preached too loudly.

The litigious atheist Michael Newdow was named an "Honorary Guide" in this religion, which revolves around aliens and the after-life, common themes in new atheist religions. Rael, who claims to have encountered extra-terrestrials, offers a materialist explanation for prior world religions. Outer-space aliens (the 'Elohim') put us here, they say. There is a 'blessed hope' in this novel religion also, as the aliens are slated to return. The Raelians hope for eternal life through cloning, a difficult project; but here come the outer-space aliens to the rescue:

"Denying the existence of God or the soul, Rael presents as the only hope of immortality a regeneration through science (cloning), and to this end members participate in four annual festivals so that the Elohim can fly overhead and register the Raelians' DNA codes on their machines." (Odd Gods, edited by James R. Lewis, p. 362).

Presumably some method of transferring memories will also be discovered, or else it is little consolation to have all these clones running around. Members are encouraged to explore sexual libertinism and are instructed to send a "letter of apostasy" to any church wherein they may have been baptized.

The atheist religions which trace human origins to outer-space aliens have been accused of plagiarism, because author Erich von Däniken wrote 'Chariots of the Gods' in 1968, and 'prophets' like Rael seem to be copying from him. This atheist sect enjoys a popular following in Europe, believe it or not.

Some atheists seem to think that, when they are reading science fiction, they are reading the newspaper. They argue against Christianity on grounds that the fictitious aliens who populate this genre of imaginative literature do not believe in Jesus. Like anyone would know. It is odd but true that there is one theistic new religious movement which shares the atheists' fascination with science fiction, and that is Mormonism, which has for a long time been entranced with the people living on other planets: “'We are not the only people that the Lord has created,' LDS church President Joseph Fielding Smith said. 'We have brothers and sisters on other earths. They look like us because they, too, are the children of God and were created in his image, for they are also his offspring.'” (quoted in 'Mormons in Space,' by Kimberly Winston, Religious News Service, July 26, 2017). Reportedly, many of the authors who create this lively branch of fantasy writing are Mormons. Perhaps the atheists are unknowingly imbibing a world-view along with their consumption of science fiction.

It is impossible to avoid noticing a back-door route open between atheism and paganism, and many travellers pass this way:

"The Church of All Worlds has called science fiction 'the new mythology of our age' and an appropriate religious literature. . .Reality is a 'construct,' a product of unspoken beliefs and assumptions that seem unalterable simply because they are never questioned. 'It is from the oppression of overwhelming consensual reality constructs that the mythology of science fiction/fantasy so frees us.'. . .The true function of myth, he said, is not simply to explain the world in some simple form that a 'primitive' can understand, but like art, music, and poetry, to create the world. . .Today, he wrote, we have a rare privilege — to choose consciously the myths we wish to live by and to know 'that the world which is evoked is dependent on the mythic structure of a people and can literally be anything from the oil and bombers and polluton of the Pentagon and Kremlin to the Magic Wood of Galadriel.'" (Drawing Down the Moon, Margot Adler, Kindle location 5543).

The science of science fiction is generally impossible, and the literary quality is usually not great. So why does this become a brand of literature to live by? How does science fiction induce atheists to become pagan polytheists? Those who experience the presence of God feel something like horror at the desolation of a world without Him: "'That he is mine and I am his never leaves me, it is an abiding joy. Without it life would be a blank, a desert, a shoreless, trackless waste.'" (quoted in William James, Varieties of Religious Experience, Lecture III, Kindle location 997). Nature abhors a vacuum, and the vacancy left by the departure of the true and living God will tend to get filled by something or other. But this something or other, taking God's place, is by necessity a false god. Sometimes it is a pretty scroungy and scrabbly one too, as in the outer-space alien cults. A thing of beauty, this false religion is not.


This new religion, founded in the 1950's, is more visible than its small following would indicate owing to its popularity with Hollywood celebrities. It is a multi-level religion; at its lower levels it is a form of quack psychotherapy devised by its founder, science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. The reader who seeks to differentiate between Hubbard' 'therapy' and Sigmund Freud's 'talking cure' according to methodology will seek in vain, because both of these approaches sprang like Athena fully-formed from the head of Zeus. Neither was the result of any research program, of the careful gathering of facts and data sometimes thought to be associated with science. There was a lot of the pot calling the kettle black:

"Few books of the past sixty years — at least few that were so successful — have been as widely derided as Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Within weeks of its publication, a score of physicians and psychologists rushed to point out that there was very little science in it: citing a lack of 'empirical evidence of the sort required for the establishment of scientific generalizations,' the American Psychological Association denounced the practice of Dianetics as dangerous." (Inside Scientology, Janet Reitman, p. 28).

Never mind that there was no more "empirical evidence" in favor of Freudian analysis, not to mention the wildly popular lobotomy surgical procedure, touted by the medical profession of the day as the cure for a wide variety of ills. The only difference between the two approaches is that Sigmund Freud's taste in literature was higher. Both 'healers' worked up an elaborate mythology through introspection, a vivid imagination, and 'clinical experience:' i.e., they were able to convince 'patients' of their outlandish 'explanations' for their condition, and the 'patients' felt relieved that now, at long last, they understood their situation. L. Ron Hubbard was justified to resent that this approach was accepted as legitimate when its practitioners spoke in heavily-accented English, but not otherwise. In the pseudo-scientific field of psychology, employing the very same methodology, you can either be scorned as a quack or revered as one of the seminal thinkers of your century.

Neither 'therapy' can be shown to work in experimental trials. It was partly owing to this inconvenience, and the fact that the U.S. government strictly regulates medical devices and will not allow the marketing of those with no proven efficacy, that convinced Mr. Hubbard to reclassify his life's work as religion. It would however take years of litigation before the IRS concurred that Scientology was anything other than a money-making business. The 'fee-for-service' model of psychotherapy was retained, which strikes a false note with those who have heard, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8).

Some pagan mythologies are rather 'icky,' as the reader of Hesiod's Theogony can testify, and atheist Sigmund Freud's offering falls into this genre. Once upon a time these ideas, in spite of persistent failure to find any therapeutic benefit, were acclaimed as 'science.' But as with Auguste Comte's Positivism, the consumer got two for the price of one: science, and religion. Even adherents thought of Freudianism as a new religion: "Max Graf, father of Little Hans, said the atmosphere in Freud's study was that of 'the foundation of a religion.'" (Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, p. 417). It is the insurance companies, not the Inquisition, who have stamped this one out, because it provides no therapeutic benefit and therefore they don't have to pay for it:

It has not escaped the notice even of atheists, that atheism has proved a prolific generator of non-falsifiable, all-encompassing theories of everything: "Only speech gives man the power to dream up religions and gods to animate them. . .and in six extraordinary cases to change history — for centuries — with words alone, without money or political backing. The names of the six are Jesus, Muhammad (whose military power came only after twenty years of preaching), John Calvin, Marx, Freud — and Darwin." (Tom Wolfe, The Kingdom of Speech, Kindle location 1906). L. Ron Hubbard, alas, does not make the list, presumably because his taste in literature and clothing fell short of the standard set by his rivals. One must keep up.

At its higher levels, Scientology is a robust mythology fitting within the alien visitation framework. It takes years of study, and a considerable investment of cash, to rise from ground level to the upper reaches where Scientology gets especially weird:

". . .'The head of the Galactic Confederation (76 planets around larger stars visible from here — founded 95,000,000 years ago, very space opera) solved overpopulation. . .by mass implanting.' This leader, a tyrant named Xenu, set out to capture the trillions who opposed him and deposited them in volcanoes on the prison planet of Teegeeack, otherwise known as Earth. He then eradicated them and all life on the planet with hydrogen bombs, leaving only the thetans, or souls, of the captives — which were then brainwashed, or "implanted," to rid them of their original identifies. Millions of years later, when life began again on Teegeeack, the traumatized thetans attached themselves to human bodies." (Inside Scientology, by Janet Reitman, pp. 99-100.

Where L. Ron Hubbard obtained this information is unclear, though some informants suggest drugs and alcohol played a role. But this protocol: introspection, drug use, and exercise of the imagination,— is also where Sigmund Freud found his material, and to this day he is taken seriously by some people. Life is unfair.

While not denying a Supreme Being, the existence or non-existence of God is mostly irrelevant to pursuit of this path to enlightenment, in a manner similar to Buddhism. Many cradle Scientologists know nothing of God:

"Heaven, though, was a concept Kendra never knew much about. Like the idea of God or the messiah, it belonged to the world of wogs, who Kendra believed were evil at worst, but simply helpless at best, caught in what Hubbard called the 'labyrinth'; only Scientology provided a clear route out of this confused state." (Inside Scientology, Janet Reitman, p. 305.)

Is Scientology atheistic? On the Scientology web-site they say that they do, after all, have a concept of God, though some of their number have not yet heard:


"Most definitely. In Scientology, the concept of God is expressed as the Eighth Dynamic—the urge toward existence as infinity. This is also identified as the Supreme Being. As the Eighth Dynamic, the Scientology concept of God rests at the very apex of universal survival. As L. Ron Hubbard wrote in Science of Survival:

“No culture in the history of the world, save the thoroughly depraved and expiring ones, has failed to affirm the existence of a Supreme Being. It is an empirical observation that men without a strong and lasting faith in a Supreme Being are less capable, less ethical and less valuable to themselves and society....A man without an abiding faith is, by observation alone, more of a thing than a man.”

"Unlike religions with Judeo-Christian origins, the Church of Scientology has no set dogma concerning God that it imposes on its members. As with all its tenets, Scientology does not ask individuals to accept anything on faith alone." ( website).

A. W. Tozer said, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." (A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 9), and this is rather thin gruel. "The urge toward existence as infinity" seems rather vague and impersonal as a definition of God; moreover, they themselves admit they offer "no set dogma" concerning this being or urge. Some 'liberal' Protestants offer similarly vague and pallid ideas concerning a 'Supreme Being,' if any:

While this "Supreme Being" is not a factor on the lower levels of Scientology, once the postulant pays enough and advances far enough, he will, perhaps, discover more information on his own: "Accordingly, only when the Seventh Dynamic (spiritual) is reached in its entirety will one discover and come to a full understanding of the Eighth Dynamic (infinity) and one’s relationship to the Supreme Being." ( website). Will the seeker discover, with Shirley MacLaine, 'I am God,' or will he bow down before the living God? Scientology cannot fairly be described as an atheist cult, only an information-starved non-theistic one. Those who search in this narcissistic new religion for the Bible's vivid, commanding, personal God, are seeking in vain.

Scientologists aspire to lead ethical lives; however, their mean-spirited concept of 'Suppressive Persons' is a black mark against their system. These are people skeptical of Scientology, who would be best unloaded, which is a shame if you happen to be married to one, or their offspring. 'Suppressive Persons' are 'fair game' for any kind of mistreatment; Scientologists would be taking a big step upward to adopt the Golden Rule.

Like Buddhists, Hindus, Jains of the east, and Pythagoras and Plato in the West, they believe in rebirth: the same spirits keep getting recycled: "He [Hubbard] explained that thetans moved from body to body, arriving after the death of one body at a halfway house called an 'implant station' where they were deluged with pictures — 'stills of vacant lots, houses, back-yards' — which served as what Hubbard called a 'forgetter,' erasing the thetan's past life and thus priming it to receive its next body. Some of these stations, Hubbard added, were on Mars." (Inside Scientology, Janet Reitman, p. 49). This popular view, reincarnation, which crops up in New Age mysticism, is fed by the suggestibility of some people, who form vivid mental pictures of a prior life in another epoch, and, if encouraged, can consider these as reminiscences rather than visions, fantasies or imaginings. The math doesn't quite work out on it, though: most of the people who have ever lived on this planet are living now, because the population tends to grow in geometric progression. If everyone on earth now 'remember' having been a scribe in ancient Egypt, how are all seven billion of us going to squeeze in? In the whole wide world at that time there were not seven billion people living, and people's propensity to 'remember' past lives spent in glamor spots rather than herding yaks in Central Asia only intensifies the crush. One distinctive feature of the Scientology belief in past lives is that their 'thetans' travel in swarms, requiring as much exorcism, it would seem, as liberation from the Wheel of Rebirth. Otherwise the system might aptly be described as techno-Buddhism.

Some of Ron Hubbard's speculations track parallel to those of ancient gnosticism, such as the idea of the adept as a fallen exalted being trapped in an alien creation, which may reflect influence from the Aleister Crowley study group to which he once belonged:

"Thetans, Hubbard explained, existed long before the beginning of time and had drifted through the eons, picking up and then discarding physical bodies as if they were temporary shells. Bored, they created the universe. But after a while, they got trapped in that creation. During the lengthy course of their history, which Hubbard called the 'whole track,' they had been implanted, through electric shock, pain, or hypnotic suggestion, with a host of ideas, some positive, like love, and others contradictory or negative — such as the ideas of God, Satan, Jesus Christ, and political or bureaucratic government. Eventually they came to believe themselves to be no more than the bodies they inhabited — Hubbard called them 'theta beings' — and their original power was lost.

"The goal of Scientology, Hubbard said, was to restore that power, which was the purpose of Scientology auditing." (Inside Scientology, Janet Reitman, p. 40.)

Those who have left this rather controlling group can testify how far these aspirations after spiritual power, rivalling what Satan promised to Adam and Eve in the garden, fall short of realization under the nurture of Hubbard's pulp science fiction.



Cryonics is the practice of freezing people after their demise in the hope that someday medical science will find a way to thaw them out, cure whatever ailed them, and get them up and running again. It is practiced by Alcor Life Extension Foundation, the Cryonics Institute, and the American Cryonics Society. Baseball star Ted Williams was frozen upon his death, on the strength of a signed but contested note which read, "JHW, Claudia and Dad all agree to be put into biostasis after we die. This is what we want, to be able to be together in the future, even if it is only a chance." What these seekers are after is this-worldly immortality. Since at present no one knows how to reverse this procedure, it must be considered even on secular grounds a slender hope. Should it turn out, as theistic religions teach, that God has other plans for us upon our demise: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. . ." (Hebrews 9:27), — it will turn out to be a vain hope.

The pharaohs of ancient Egypt took a similar approach to personal immortality, believing the careful preservation of the body to be a stepping-stone in that direction. However, unsure of the brain's function, they used to aspirate that organ through the deceased's nose and discard it. One hopes those taking this approach today are not making similar mistakes; some troubling incidents, of unscheduled thawing and the like, have come to light. A more ambitious form of the same desire for this-worldly immortality seeks to make humans hardware-independent:

"A software-based human will be free, therefore, from the constraints of any particular thinking medium. . .However, if we are diligent in maintaining our mind file, keeping current backups, and porting to current formats and mediums, then a form of immortality can be attained, at least for software-based humans. Our mind file–our personality, skills, memories–all of that is lost today when our biological hardware crashes. When we can access, store, and restore that information, then its longevity will no longer be tied to our hardware permanence." (Ray Kurzweil, The Law of Accelerating Returns, March 7, 2001).

Attaining endless life is a traditional goal of religion, not only of universal faiths like Islam and Christianity, but of the old pagan mystery cults. It seems that atheism does not take away the desire, only the one credible path to realization.


Communism was advertised by its founders as science, not religion. But as economic theory it is pseudo-science at best,—its predictive value is low,—and some of its practitioners, as North Korea's Kim Jong Il, have travelled far along the road of the cult of personality. Josef Stalin believed that the Russian people needed a Tsar: "'As he said. . .the people need a Tsar, whom they can worship and for whom they can live and work.'" (Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, by Simon Sebag Montefiore, p. 177). And so town squares were graced with gigantic statues of Stalin, which ended up, not like Ozymandias staring blind at the encroaching sand, but stored in warehouses, the market for gigantic statues of Bolsheviks being somewhat depressed right now. These good atheist folk went about as far as you can go toward reviving the ancient cult of the god-king:

When taxed with atheistic Communism's murderous ways, some atheists see a way out: they reclassify Marxism-Leninism as 'religion.' To be sure, it was never so intended, it was 'science.' It is groundless belief; but Christian are naturally reluctant to define the category 'Religion' as 'groundless belief,' because Christianity is very well-grounded belief. Defining 'religion' is difficult, but one should be cautious about defining the term so as to exclude everything except Abrahamic monotheism. Taking an empirical view, there are no bright lines between atheism itself and religion. In some ways, Bolshevism 'looked like' religion:

"Although it was militantly atheistic, Marxism had a passionately held creed, high ideals, self-sacrifice and clear convictions about the future in common with many religions. Its adherents would gladly die for it, as they would for Islam." (Michael Green, But Don't All Religions Lead to God? p. 20).

Chairman Man as the Sun

When modern atheists reclassify Marxism as 'religion,' they read out of the fold such popular contemporary atheist authors as Christopher Hitchens, who remains an ambivalent devotee of Marxism-Leninism: ". . .I don't think I'd ever change my view that socialism is the best political moment humans have ever come up with." (Atheist Christopher Hitchens, quoted PBS interview, Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism). So where to classify this atheist monstrosity, which once threatened the peace of the world, indeed the survival of mankind, is somewhat of a conundrum. When contemporary atheists excommunicate the Marxists, they lose not only their own history, but also a good chunk of their present-day constituency.

Worship is an essential part of what it means to be human:

"For those worshippers of fragile images, however foolish they may be, inasmuch as they place heavenly things in things which are earthly and corruptible, yet retain something of wisdom, and may be pardoned, because they hold the chief duty of man, if not in reality, yet still in their purpose; since, if not the only, yet certainly the greatest difference between men and the beasts consists in religion." (Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, Book 2, Chapter 3).

The experience of atheistical Marxism shows, that if you drive out worship of the true God with a pitchfork, worship of false gods will filter back in through the windows. Kim Il Sung is a crummy god, nor is the quality of the dynasty improving, but North Koreans cannot live as dumb animals either.

Even though there has never been a Baptist Inquisition, nor do Baptists generally hold views on church and state, and the Christian response to heresy, that could ever conceivably lead to an Inquisition, Baptists who debate with atheists are invariably called to account for the Inquisition, merely because the people who put that on called themselves 'Christians.' Can it be that the fact that the biggest mass murderers this sorrowing world has ever borne with have called themselves 'atheists,' is just one of those things, a random fact of no special significance? It's understandable that once this atheist millenialism exploded into power and began remaking the world, by killing off its inhabitants, people of good will began to back away.

  • “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people."

  • (Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, 1843, at Phrase Finder.)

No True Atheist

Whenever the topic turns to weird atheist cults, atheists strenuously protest, explaining that these people are not atheists. Cults of the type examined here, however, explicitly deny the existence of a Supreme Being. Neither do they endorse the existence of a multiplicity of deities such as is found in Mormonism and Hinduism. Hinduism, the religion of in excess of one billion adherents world-wide, including millions of Americans, is polytheistic in the same sense as was the religion of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Both, at the higher levels, aspired toward philosophical monism, while both, at the popular level, spin off a luxuriant profusion of gods and avatars. These many gods are one only in the same sense that all is one. The practitioner who performed your last medical procedure may have been an defender of this inflated god-census, which survives from distant antiquity.

The three major monotheistic religions, all three linked historically, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, insist upon a god-count of one. Neither belief is taught by sects like the Raelians or by Scientology. How can they be rationally classified, except as atheist? Their concern with science fiction themes is only a normal atheist pre-occupation taken to the next level. Yet the fact that they address concerns conventionally described as religious, such as an after-life, suggests their classification as religion. It is understood that the atheists don't want them; who does?:

Common Characteristics

These new religions hold some points in common. Several of them dispense with Christian personal sexual morality and preach a more libertine, hedonistic approach to life. This view is popular with atheists of all stripes, and thus the often-heard slogan, 'You Can be Good without God,' must be interpreted, 'You Can be Good without God, but not too Good.'

Tu Quoque

If willing at all to take responsibility for atrocities associated with these God-denying sects (they usually are not), atheists point the finger right back at Christians:

We have all inherited a common sin nature from Adam, and all are in need of a Savior. Certainly all of us, encountering confutation, may become frustrated and even resort to the argumentum ad baculum; certainly professing Christians have done so in the past, though in so doing violating the Lord's express commands. The atheist contention, that religious folk only are subject to this temptation, while they themselves are not, is disproven by daily observation and the weight of history:


Buddhism itself offers no consistent teaching regarding the existence, or non-existence, of any deity. It co-exists peaceably with polytheism in the form of Japanese Shintoism and Chinese folk religion. Some Buddhists are self-described atheists. Atheist author Sam Harris describes Buddhist mystics as "spiritual geniuses" (quote from Sam Harris debate with William Lane Craig), putting in the shade their benighted and ignorant Christian competition. In his earlier works Sam Harris also praises the profuse polytheism of the Hindus and the Jains; but this drew so much ridicule that he was forced to draw back.

The problem is this: the Eastern religions which this author champions are wildly irrational; no one human being could ever make sense of the Hindu pantheon, whereas the three monotheistic religions produce works of 'Systematic Theology' in a calm and orderly way. Author Sam Harris, however, claimed that his criterion was rationality. The evident contradiction in an author who claims to judge according to a criterion of reason celebrating wildly irrational mythologies like the Wheel of Rebirth excited so much laughter than he was forced to make hostile noises in the direction of Buddhism.

This life-denying ideology assigns no positive value to this world nor the things done here. It seeks escape from the Wheel of Rebirth: extinction for the sentient conscious being, re-absorption into some vast who-knows-what, the end of the road for personal identity, the last entry into the biography of any constant, single entity. So the intent of this spiritual quest is to obliterate human life, which the Bible counts as good. It seeks to quiet, smother and silence the internal mental monologue which is an integral part of what it means to be human. If it is desirable when Buddhism succeeds in extinguishing a mind, is it also good when pre-frontal lobotomy accomplishes the same goal? Buddhism is not a fellow-traveller with Christianity, even though some Catholic mystics such as Thomas Merton thought that it was.

Ayn Rand

Whether this political and economic theorist should be described as a cult leader is open to question; atheist Murray Rothbard, who belonged to her group for a while, did so describe her. Though the heroes of her books were independent thinkers, she expected those around her to agree with everything she said. Her concerns were altogether secular and this-worldly, but those who subscribe to these views, which have been surprisingly influential in making our deregulated world, hold to them with great tenacity and resistance to disconfirmation by experience:

What is Wrong with Communism
What is to be Done?
Who Created God?
Love Thy Neighbor
Get Out of My Lifeboat
On Strike
Know Thine Enemy


It might seem rude to refer to some liberal Protestants as atheists. . .but for the fact that the shoe does seem to fit in a few cases. If people talk about 'God,' but define that word to mean something impossibly vague, dandelion spores drifting across the face of the moon, even as a human thought or emotion or aspiration, then it is not apparent why these unmeaning speakers should be classed as 'theists.'

It might interest atheists to see how closely their ideas conform to those of the unfaithful remnant camped out amidst the ruins of declining churches:

Is Bishop Spong an Atheist?

Jim Jones

This psychopathic 'pastor' presided over one of the largest mass suicides in human history. From his earliest youth he sympathized with Soviet communism:

All through the 1941-1945 I instinctively identified with the Soviets. The Soviets are what turned me on. In the snow, when I was ten or eleven, I’d always be a Soviet soldier. I’d get my gun, an old shot gun, no longer workable, and I’d be rushing through, defending Russia from invasion. That would be my play. I was nine or ten years old when the war started. I identified strongly with the Soviets. Stalingrad became my ideal. I knew more about what was going on than my folks. The Battle of Stalingrad became intensely important to me. When the Soviets were under siege, it was intensely personal to me. That’s where my interest in the Soviet Union started. So that led to Communism. . .By the time I got to Richmond, the last year of high school, I was a Communist." (Jim Jones, Oral History, An Untitled Collection of Reminiscences).

He 'infiltrated' the church: "So on down the road, I became even more alienated by that event. I decided, how can I demonstrate my Marxism? The thought was, infiltrate the church." (Reverend Jim Jones, Jonestown Audiotape Primary Project, Q 134, The Jonestown Institute). This Stalinist pastor, who sometimes called himself an "atheist," led his people to perdition:

It might seem out of place to classify Rev. Jim Jones with atheist cults, but this is a man who used to shake his fist at the sky and holler, "If there is a God in the sky, I say, F**CK YOU." (Rev. Jim Jones, quoted p. 56, 'Our Father Who Art in Hell,' by James Reston, Jr.). He certainly wasn't your conventional theist. And if anyone thinks it daring to use the 'a' word of him, he used it first: "I was an atheist even then, and at that funeral parlor they held me up to look at her, and when I got down, I was bitter." (Jim Jones, An Untitled Collection of Reminiscences, at Jonestown Project).

The Temple of Reason

The French Revolution did not find it possible to answer the people's cry for bread, but instead they gave them two brand, spanking new religions, both state-sponsored, both persecuting, one of which was atheistic, the other theistic. The first, whose apostle was Hebert, claimed the lineage of Voltaire and denied the existence of any Supreme Being. The second, whose apostle was Robespierre, claimed the lineage of Jean Jacques Rousseau and acknowledged some vague sort of Supreme Being somewhere, though no one really knew very much about him. About the only thing the two new sects could agree upon was their shared hatred of Christianity; they hated each other almost as much, and so Robespierre sent Hebert to the guillotine.

The cynical French atheists thought that Catholicism gained its hold on the popular imagination through its ceremonies, processions, fancy clothes, odd hats, and rich decor, and so they gave the people all those things, with an atheist twist, and hot air balloons besides. Did the Christians have holy days? They had holy days, too:

"By an unprecedented revolution they established an entirely new era; they changed the divisions of the year, the names of the months and days; they substituted a republican for the Christian calendar, the decade for the week, and fixed the day of rest not on the sabbath, but on the tenth day. The new era dated from the 22nd of September, 1792, the epoch of the foundation of the republic. There were twelve equal months of thirty days, which began on the 22nd of September. . .The surplus five days were placed at the end of the year; they received the name of Sans-culottides, and were consecrated, the first, to the festival of genius; the second, to that of labor; the third, to that of actions; the fourth, to that of rewards; the fifth, to that of opinion. The constitution of 1793 led to the establishment of the republican calendar, and the republican calendar to the abolition of Christian worship. We shall soon see the commune and the committee of public safety each proposing a religion of its own; the commune, the worship of reason; the committee of public safety, the worship of the Supreme Being." (F.A.M. Mignet, History of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1814, Chapter VIII).

The did not succeed in abolishing Christianity, though they killed an awful lot of people trying.


It might be objected that the ancient pagan superstition that the planets are 'cosmocrators,' world governors, could never find adherents among such scientific folk as the atheists, yet I have known more than a few self-proclaimed atheists who studied their horoscope religiously. Speaking generally, atheism isn't no religion, it's just bad religion. Other forms of divination such as casting Tarot cards also find atheist practitioners. 'New Age' spiritual practices can be surprisingly popular amongst the atheist crowd. Popular atheist author Sam Harris might be taken as a good example; this former disciple of Eastern holy men still writes longingly about reincarnation. At least, this affinity would be surprising if the atheists were the people they say they are:

If you define atheism as the athiests prefer to define it,— as it if had something to do with 'reason,'— then it is impossible to understand how it is so porous on the side toward paganism. Yet porous it certainly is:

"Later she found out about the Church of the Eternal Source and established the cult of Neith at her home in West Wareham, Masachusetts. 'I finally discovered who I was and what my job on earth was — to be a servant and priestess of Neith.' Only after this, she said, did she really begin to live.

"Harold Moss was one of those most instrumental in founding the church. One could sasy that CES began in fun, as a series of Egyptian costume parties originating with a group of students known as the Chesley Donovan Science Fantasy Foundation (CD). The group was formed in 1953, when Harold Moss was in high school in California. A CES pamphlet described the Chesley Donovan Foundation as 'an elitist science fiction club and atheist organization.' Its members 'quoted Thomas Paine and Willy Ley and Robert Heinlein, read horror comics, wore military helmets with meat cleavers implanted in them to social functions and school, and used 'normal,' 'average,' and 'Christian' as swear words.'" (Drawing Down the Moon, Margot Adler, page 324).

How did we make the transition from an "atheist organization" to worshipping Neith, a pagan non-entity revered by the ancient Egyptians? And make the transition they certainly did. Perhaps atheism is understood more productively as hostility toward the living God, rather than as commitment to rationality. 'Christian' was, to them, a 'swear word' all along, and so continued to be. But Nature abhors a vacuum, and they ended up pagan religionists. Ancient Egyptian paganism is not noted for its rationality.

Ram Dass

Ram Dass is a good example of the kind of trouble you get into when you take atheists for spiritual guides. He was a psychology professor at Harvard when he and Timothy Leary decided that drugs were the true key to enlightenment:

"The man who would become a serene, smiling forerunner of the New Age movement and who played a leading role in bringing Eastern spirituality to the West grew up as Richard Alpert in a Jewish family in Newton, Massachusetts. He considered himself an atheist, and after graduating from Tufts University and earning a Ph.D. from Stanford University, was an up-and-coming psychology professor and researcher at Harvard University in the early 1960s. . .In his first psychedelic experience, 'the rug crawled and the picture smiled, all of which delighted me,' Ram Dass wrote in Be Here Now." ('Ram Dass, Harward professor who became a psychedelic drug pioneer and spiritual leader, dies aged 88,' Reuters and Jack Newman for Mailonline, December 23, 2019, Daily Mail).

They say that the organism that causes toxoplasmosis in cats and other creatures, even in humans with compromised immune systems, has the devilish ability to make its hosts serve its interests, not their own. When it infects rats, it makes them fearless. The rat, who normally will skitter away and hide from the cat, strolls insouciently before it. The motivation for such strange behavior is that the disease organism would rather inhabit a cat than a rat, needing this end-of-the-line host to complete its life cycle. And so the disease, toxoplasmosis, makes its living host into a patsy, a mark, a puppet, serving its own interests rather than the self-interest of the host, namely the host's own survival.

Drugs seem a little like that, even though they are inert chemical substances with no concept of self interest. Still, they turn the living, human host into a zombie which shuffles out onto the street with no thought in mind but to get more drugs, even if resorting to burglarly or worse is the only way to accomplish this goal. Can one imagine even a cult which tried to promote this living death as enlightenment? Well, it existed back in the 1960s, and Ram Dass was one of its originators and promoters. Later, after encountering the august figure of the Maharaj-ji, he turned into a more traditional Hindu-style guru, de-emphasizing the 'better living through chemistry' angle. Perhaps some rumor reached his addled brain of all the human misery he and his colleagues had caused through their incredibly bad, atheistic even, advice.

Zeitgeist the Movie

How gullible are atheists? Try this on for size: Jesus, who never mentioned having any interest in the topic of astrology, was in fact (though He did not exist) an astrological cut-out. One might wonder why, if Jesus is an astrological cut-out, no notice is taken of astrology in the New Testament, but never mind. One might have expected the astrological 'Jesus' to say, 'You people really need to study astrology,' but atheists can do without any evidence supporting their assertions. This movie also delves into the skullduggery associated with taking the U.S. off the gold standard, and other conspiratorial themes. Lyndon LaRouche is quoted as an authority:

With the atheists, religion is a take-it-or-leave-it type of deal. It's either all good or all bad.  Would it be helpful to be a bit more discerning? Is 'religion' all one undifferentiated lump, all the same thing, homogeneous throughout, or does that one word encompass both heaven and hell?:

Baal Worship The Thugs
The Idol Juggernaut Crocodile Gods
Apollonius of Tyana Mary Baker Eddy
Aztec Religion False Messiahs
Wall of Separation Polygamy
I am God The Kabbalah
Dionysus Madame H. P. Blavatsky
Jim Jones of Jonestown Church of the Creator
Cargo CultsLiberalism
Atheism Children of God
Pied Piper Southern Baptists
Solar Temple Heaven's Gate
Astrology The Circumcelliones
Nation of Islam Bishop Talbert Swan