I just have to make a post here because there are so many things I want to say, and I want it to be in a place where I can reference it for its weak arguments. It's a conversation that ensued after I posted a link to the Atheist Experience ustream channel for this afternoon's show.
...That's really about as far as it needs to go. Although this blog post is directed at my friend Eric, the ideas apply across the board. And this isn't a personal vendetta - Eric and I have a fun history and have had some great times - we do get along. :) But here's what needs to be said.
In retrospect, as a matter of fact, your selected definition of religion doesn't even apply to me.
Atheism in a nutshell:
"There is a god." <--- I don't accept that claim as truth.
That makes me an atheist. And no - I don't claim with 100% certainty that there is NOT a god, but that's not the point because that's not what atheism is. I also don't claim with 100% certainty that there's no such thing as unicorns. The burden of proof isn't on me to disprove something's existence, whether it's unicorns or a god (especially since there are thousands of gods... that'd be a lotta work).
The point is that atheism is simply the rejection of a claim. That's it. There's nothing that I "believe in and follow devotedly" with regard to religious claims.
But what the hell, let's go ahead grant that assertion for the sake of argument, and pretend atheism IS a religion:
"a religion about not believing in religion." There's a fallacy in your reasoning here because you're using two different meanings of the term "religion". It's not ironic. The definition you're applying to me is different than the one I'm rejecting.
And what this all amounts to is... well, nothing. It doesn't matter. Even if it was a religion that could be equated to others around the world, and I was part of it, the point is that MY religion depends solely on reason and evidence, and yours depends on claims without reason and evidence. There's no irony there unless you carefully manipulate the words to make it look that way.
"lack of absolute proof does not disprove." I agree. It would be ignorant to claim with certainty something that couldn't be proven or disproved. See my second paragraph. The point is, not being able to prove a negative doesn't make the positive true. You can't disprove that the Loch-Ness monster doesn't exist, either, but that doesn't mean we should walk around assuming there is a Loch-Ness monster somewhere.
You bring up quantum mechanics, which by the way, has roots in mathematics and physics. It fundamentally breaks off on an atomic level to explore a theoretical realm, but I honestly don't know enough about it to make claims one way or the other.
But again - that's completely irrelevant as to whether or not religion's claims are true. Not to mention - there isn't a worldwide institution of indoctrination based on the unproven hypotheses of quantum mechanics. I don't care if it's true or not because the weight of those claims is nothing compared to religion's. Moving on:
"If hundereds of thousands of people had claimed to see the aliens," *
"The story fit together wth 100% perfection," **
"Noone could disprove it and it was widely believed by the masses" ***
Yeah, it'd be a lot more convincing if that was the story, wouldn't it? Here's the problem, though, and I'm assuming you're making a parallel to the Bible, here.
* Hundreds of thousands of people didn't claim to see the supernatural claims in the Bible. In fact, there's not a single first-hand (contemporary) account of those claims. It's all hearsay. Every single one is a story someone heard and wrote it down - it would have been very easy to put in whatever you wanted. The point is, two-thousand year old anecdotal evidence in the form of text with no firsthand accounts, that has been copied and translated time and time again has the least potential to show if something truly happened. And yeah, we could say the same about a ton of historical events, but we deny they're true if they make claims like zombies walking the streets or magical hands making the planets move.
** There are so many contradictions and inconsitencies in the Bible, it would be ridiculous to try to list them here. Just for a taste... http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html#contradictions
*** I don't care how many people claim that something extraordinary happened. Wiki "Argumentum ad populum." They need demonstrable evidence to show that it happened.
What this all boils down to (ignoring the terrible semantic argument claiming that atheism is a religion) is what you think is sufficient evidence to explain events in our universe. If you see or hear about something that is difficult to understand, it's perfectly okay for the answer to a question to be, "I don't know." If you read a book about a talking rabbit that granted wishes 20,000 years ago and there's nothing other than the book to show that it happened, it's up to your critical thinking skills to determine whether or not it's plausible.