> I would add that one can also be religious and an atheist. religion does
> not have to mean god or any 'other being' or external 'higher power.'
Sure. Zen Buddhism is atheistic and religious. My (Jewish) sister married a Spanish ZB from a very Catholic family. While visiting her mother in law-to-be's sister in Spain, sher had the following conversation.
Maria said, I hear that Jews don't believe in God. (They don't know muich from Jews in Spain, haven't since 1492.)
My sister replied, Oh no, Jews believe in God. It's Zen Buddhists who don't believe in God.
Maria looked in shock and horror at her newphew. He shrugged. It's true, auntie, he said.
My sister continued. Jews believe in God, she said, they just don't believe in Jesus.
Maria was even more shocked. They don't believe in Jesus Christ?! Well (and this last was a statement, not a question), at least they believe in the Virgin Mary!
My own daughter. at age 3 1/2, reduced a Christian classmate at daycare to tears by announcing loudly that "Jesus is just a story, like Zeus." My then-four year old son and his girlfriend, who (the girlfriend) was attending a Catholic daycare at the time, used to have these theolgical discussion. God's in his heaven, she would say. Is not, Joel would reply. Is too, Merle would sais. Is not Is too.
Joel then caused a good deal of upset at his daycare this year by breaking the news to his classmates that Santa Claus is really their parents.