There are a myriad number of dead religions that we don't bother with because they are dead. We simply say we don't believe them, and yet somehow that is supposed to be a belief? How can the statement, "I don't believe you," be considered a belief? In what sense?
Just because you don't believe a proposition doesn't mean the propositions is not true. A dead religion is not unworthy of belief just because no one practices it anymore. The reason why people don't follow dead religions is because they no long believe in it.
If I say I levitated and you do not believe me because I cannot produce the evidence, then what you are saying is that the evidence does not support my claim. You don't have a belief. You have evidence. And the evidence is against that belief. That's the reasoning process. Reason tells you to reject my claim. You have knowledge. You would be saying that it's probable I did not levitate.
The problem with that is just because I don't think the evidence supports such a claim does not mean that the claim is false. You don't have complete knowledge. Here is why this a silly example: what is the consequence of coming to the wrong conclusion about Loftus' claim to levitate? Nothing. What about the claims of Christianity? The state of your soul is at stake. One should be sure - very sure - which ever decision you come to.
That's why atheists are non-believers in the same sense as Christians who do not believe in Zeus. So is not believing in Zeus or Odin or Thor or Baal or Marduk a religion? If so then everyone is religious by default since these religions are basically dead ones. At that point the word "religion" has lost its meaning. Meaningless words cannot refer to anything.
I think what Loftus is missing is that an atheist does not have a nonbelief. An atheist has come to conclusion and lives his/her life in light of that decision. That is a belief about the nature of reality. It is either true or false. What one cannot do is pretend that one is not making a decision as to what to believe behind the decision to reject other people's beliefs. Be honest.
A religion by definition must be about supernatural beings and/or forces. Atheism therefore is not a belief nor a religion. I really don't know how much plainer I can get.
"Religion" is not just about supernatural beings and/or forces. It is a set of beliefs about how reality works. Atheism is a belief that there is no God. The atheist is wrong about that conclusion but it is a conclusion nonetheless. Let's look at something really important: How does a person become a Christian? A person does not become a Christian by being born into a Christian household. The Bible says that everyone is a sinner and unable to come God on our own. See John 6. Hell is default. If God does nothing to regenerate us, hell is where we will end up. Since no one is born a Christian it is silly to think that Christianity rises and falls based on the number of adherents it has. Even if every Christian became apostates, Christianity will still be true.
Debunking Christianity: Once Again, Atheism is Not a Belief Nor a Religion