Doffing My Hat
Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away [okay, about five years ago on Usenet] we were having one of the periodic yelling matches on the question: Is Atheism a Religion?
I maintained that a religion needs a book of ancient lore, some form of ritual, at least one special place, a recognizable form of architecture, and funny hats. You can't have a good religion unless you do something that people not in the religion would consider a bit odd.
Many of the Protestant sects have eschewed hats recently, but those who started them had weird head gear.
My position was: anything with a total philosophy that fits on a post-it note, and which lacks any other of the forms cannot be adjudged a religion, no matter how obnoxious certain people who call themselves atheists might seem to theists. This statement does not include religions which take no position on gods, but which have all of the other traits, like Buddhism.
PZ Myers has an interesting post on the American Street
: Planet of the Hats
, which looks at societies from his individual viewpoint. [requires a sense of humor]