it's written in Lama Ole Nydahl books that Buddhism can be seen as partly Religion, partly Psychology, partly Philosophy.
it's Buddha Karmapa's words that Buddhism is not a Religion, it's a Science.
i think that different Buddha Dharma Lessons are for different beings, perhaps for different times as well.
i think that in my case, after Religion stage as a Way - there's Science related with the Law of Cause & Effect.
Atheism & Sects.
i think that Atheists are often people who suffer most, lacking support of Religious Communities who help each other mostly, approaching Atheists with too much of caution, treating them worse.
it's my experience that Atheists - i was Atheist during a significial part of my life - become upset with the Religions, see mostly bad sides - this discourages Religious Communities from helping them enough, leaving them feeling alone in a crowd, without support or respect that many need.
it's an experience as of being in a Sect that Separates one from Happiness, in whatever form it might come. i think that many so-called Religious People are Sectarian that way without understanding that they are acting as a Sect that contains someone's Potential, that makes someone helpless & inferior under their ranks.
How to help Atheists?
while i am not sure, i have a few of thoughts coming from my experiences:
- honesty & even harsh truths do help - it's nice to explain Atheists gently that alone they will suffer more, that Religion comes from a word Religare, Latin word for 'Reunion',
- it's worth to tell Atheists that Wise & Compassionate Communities might be great places to seek, that it's worth to be Altruist early - before one starts to feel too old & lonely to seek meaningful Love or company, or even the Meaning of Life,
- it's worth to practice Compassion (Loving Eyes Practice in my case), to see Atheists as living beings full of Potential, instead of someone worse just because they do not go to Church or do not Meditate,
- it's worth to Speak & Act beyond Political Correctness & Hypocrisy - i advise to use even Strong & Painful methods for Advancement - to save the Time & Lives instead of wasting what we have the most precious - our time & our youth,
- it's worth to encourage Altruistic Independence in others, instead of discouraging Atheists from achieving Greatness, instead of telling them that they are too weak or too ill to work, etc.,
- certain people cannot Meditate or go to Church because of many reasons - mental illness is one of these reasons - but people can care, listen to the Wise Teachers, help & practice as they can - at least i am trying to do it that way; when a person does his or her best - do not expect more, do not treat them as inferior, please.