by deathbytrolley, Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 11:16:16 PM EDT
Everyone is religious. Even atheists. But atheism is not the religion. It can't be because atheism is not a religion.
Regardless of what one's values are - liberal, conservative, secular humanist, libertarian, vegetarian - they all stem from statements about morality and purpose that cannot be empirically validated. They cannot be validated in a manner that is not circular, or that does not depend on another moral claim that itself has not been validated. They are faith claims about the nature of morality.
However, this does not make, say, libertarian socialism indistinguishable from, say, Christianity. Theistic religions do at least two things that secular philosophies do not do. Firstly, they make claims about the physical universe, which they then proceed to not validate; if they had validated them, we would hardly need faith to be a Christian. The second thing that secular philosophies do not do that theistic religions do is, after making a claim about the physical universe, use that physical claim as a foundational basis on which to justify the tenets of an accompanying moral philosophy (e.g., I know that X is right and Y is wrong because God said so).