Atheists Who Claimed to Have Religion
One curious case of an “atheist religion” can be found in the work of Auguste Comte. Comte was a 19th-century French philosopher who founded the “Religion of Humanity.” As part of his religion, Comte developed seven sacraments, a priesthood, a calendar with days committed to various “saints,” and a High Priest. Comte’s followers even built “chapels” in both France and Brazil.
In addition to Comte, the agnostic-atheist Dr. Michael Ruse (Professor at Florida State University) counts at least two other atheists as “religious.”
Among atheists I would put Julian Huxley (the older brother of Aldous Huxley) into the religious group. After all, he did write a book called Religion without Revelation. I am inclined to do the same for the Harvard ant specialist and sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson. In his book, On Human Nature, he makes it very clear that he sees evolutionary humanism as a religion substitute. He feels that the need for religion is part of an innate biological heritage and that we must have something.
Michael Ruse, “Is New Atheism A Religion?,” HuffPost, March 22, 2011, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/is-new-atheism-a-religion_b_837758.