"Religion",in the purest,most relevant definition,is a system of beliefs that one feels is fundamental to existence.In that more honest sense,atheism,evolutionism,humanism,capitalism and socialism are religions,for those who blindly and unquestioningly adhere to their theories,just as the more 'traditional' religions are.
Well, mister bruce goose, I certainly can't adhere to your definition of religion as you wrote it here. And even less to the idea that it would be the most relevant
way to define it.
A good definition would be the one we find on Dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion): a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
There you go. I can not think of any religion or spirituality that does not invoke some supernatural being(s) or influence under one form or another. As well, every religions I know include a "code of conduct" and ritual observances. And I would add a leader, be it the Pope, the King (or Queen) of England, the Dalai Lama, or simply the religious leaders of Islam and Hinduism.
We can't define religions without taking into account their social functions and attributes in the same way we can't define a table without taking into account its function and distinctive attributes.
So, atheism, evolutionism, humanism, capitalism and socialism are not religions by any means. Evolutionism is simply a scientific theory. As was heliocentrism. These theories are bothering some religious fundamentalists, but they are often major advances in the scientific development of mankind.
As for atheism, humanism, capitalism and socialism, they're philosophies and ideologies. As every ideology, they are definitely capable of producing their own fanatics for those, as you rightly say "who blindly and unquestioningly adhere to their theories". That's why freedom of speech is so important, because we need to remain critical of all ideologies, whether they're secular or religious. Unfortunately, nowadays, any criticism of a religion passes for religious intolerance.
As you may have guessed,the Vatican's shameful,guaranteed-to-continue legacy of sexual abuse is not limited to Europe.As a general rule,I've found that sexual abuse of women and children is far more common in religions such as Catholcism,Islam,Mormonism,etc.(haven't done a thorough compare/contrast study)[...]
To be honest, these abuse exist in every society, regardless of their religious culture. At the present moment, women in India are regrouping to fight against sexual harassment and sexism that they face on a daily basis.
If a rapist sees a drug lord's attractive daughter that he desires control over,he'll find someone ELSE to rape--no matter how strong his lust might be--because he fears the consequences of HIS becoming a helpless victim if he gets caught by someone who has the power to enforce brutal vengeance upon him.It's been the testimony of MANY pedophiles that they actually converted to Catholicism with aims on becoming a priest
I agree with you. And it says a lot about their alleged inability to control themselves.
I know some deeply religious people and none of them claim moral superiority. We get on reallly well. Also it cuts both ways the atrocities committed in the name of religion. There have been appalling atrocities committed in the name of atheism in Russia/China. I would never single out crimes by religious people as being worse or better than other crimes.
And yet, about the bolded part, you give an example of such a claim of moral superiority with this woman on the plane.
Also, just to give you a glimpse of the way many believers perceive the atheists, here's an excerpt from a Muslim site:
"Nevertheless, the atheist who denies the existence of Allah and rejects His Messengers and disbelieves in the Last Day, is in a greater state of kufr and his beliefs are more reprehensible than the one who believes in Allah and the Hereafter, but he associates something of His creation with Him. The former is stubborn and arrogant to an extent that can not be imagined or accepted by sound human nature. Such a person would transgress every sacred limit and fall into every sin; his worldview would be distorted to an inconceivable level". Source: http://islamqa.info/en/ref/113901
I have nothing else to add. The text seems clear enough.
When you said "There have been appalling atrocities committed in the name of atheism in Russia/China", those crimes are the results of the implementation of Communism. You should blame the communist dictatorship rather than atheism. And Russian and Chinese citizens were not atheists. Now that communism is collapsing, these people are returning to their beliefs. They were forbidden to believe because their dictators did not want to share their power with religious leaders and influence.