Science has replaced God as a religion for many people.
Where people no longer believe in God, they believe in Science.
They direct their faith away from one belief system to another.
The long-abandoned belief systems of converts to Agnsoticism and Atheism cannot avoid their adherence to a new Religion.
Agnostics and Atheists may think that they have stopped believing. They have not.
Yes. They have stopped believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Boogey Man, Mother Mary, Jesus Christ the Messiah, and God, but their thirst to seek certainty and understanding of the world and life has simply found satisfaction elsewhere. Faith and belief in Science.
Before being convinced of this argument, we first need to agree that religion is largely about having Faith. We need to agree that Faith, a blind belief in something without any verifiable evidence, is key to Religion. Religion requires Faith before developing further into a spiritual relationship with an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent creator and abiding by his/her/its rules in order to live well in this life and guarantee immortality.
Before all of this lovely stuff, you first need to develop your ability to believe, your ability to replace understanding, knowledge, evidence, validity and contingent and necessary truth with Faith. You need to oppose all reason and instinct that would otherwise warn you before deciding on whether something is true or real. You need to abandon yourself to a blind guess.
This behaviour, of guessing, of believing, of having faith, is exactly what describes the activity of adherents to Science (adherents who don't understand the science, but believe in its authority).
What do people in general do when they approach science? They either understand it or they don't. If they don't understand it, they have a choice whether to accept what the scientists say or reject them. When they accept what the scientists say, they are having Faith in Science, just as the Catholic Christian has Faith in God.
Let's look at how most of us believe, have faith, in Science:
Who of us actually knows that the Earth is a globe? How many of us have seen it from space? Then you have faith that it is a globe. You don't actually know, so you believe it is, based on what experts have told you.
Who actually knows that they have a pituitary gland in the middle of their brain and that it secretes a number of hormones that travel to different organs and through complex chemical reactions, make them perform certain functions? Who knows this happens? But you believe it anyway.
Who actually knows that their bodies are composed of atoms, themselves composed of protons, neutrons and electrons, the latter carrying a negative electric charge, which generates a magnetic field under motion. Who doubts this, yet who knows themselves?
Who knew that the moon's gravitational field was the cause of the ocean tides going in and out before science told them? Who doubts it? Who believes it?
Most people who visit their GP will have faith in what the GP tells them is wrong with them. Most parents vaccinate their children with pure faith in mainstream medical advice. GPs are not scientists, but are still the implementors, the practitioners, of science: that is, of scientific knowledge discovered by scientific method. We believe in them to help us when we are ill or when we're trying to get our bodies to do stuff, because they have an access to science that we don't. We need to have faith in their expertise.
Anything a GP tells you is derived from two lists. One is a list of symptoms. The other is a list of corresponding treatments. Experience tells the GP which treatment works with which symptom, but Science tells the GP why and what caused the symptoms, and why the treatment works or doesn't. We non-medically trained patients put our trust, our faith, our belief in them.
The patient may seek second opinions, but so do the religious when they seek counsel from other Priests/Pastors/Imams/Rabbis on a serious matter.
Science and Religion both have similar command structures that provide different levels of authority by which to provide the faithful with further comfort in holding their faith. If you don't like what your science teacher/Pastor says, you can refer to the latest peer-reviewed literature and periodicals: both Science and Religion have these publications.
Religion has a hierarchy of clergy, with experts, panels, counsellors and authoritative bodies at the top who decide on matters unresolved below them. Science also has a hierarchy of scientists, with experts, panels and authoritative bodies at the top. The faithful can appeal to each level for more certainty in holding a particular subject in their faith.
Religions and Sciences both refer to authoritative books written by their founders and added to with further writings by their most expert successors.
Moses, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John... and later Joseph Smith and Sayyid Qutb...
Aristotle, Ptolemy, Isaac, Galileo and Copernicus... and later Darwin and Hawkings...
All of them wrote the founding and then developing literature of their systems of understanding the world.
All of them have their own majority group of blind followers who believe, accept, have faith in, all that they read and yet don't understand. The difference is, Religion had had more followers. Until recently.
Three hundred years ago, the Enlightenment, with all its amazing discoveries and applications, started a movement, a following, that became so popular that most kids today think Easter is about bunny rabbits laying chocolate eggs and Christmas is when you get presents from under a tree.
Belief in God-based religion gets knocked down after every scientific break-through or discovery. There just isn't enough physical reality. It's all spiritual and invisible. Science-based religion can show its believers some powerfully real tricks. As Bertrand Russell once said, "We were told that Faith could move mountains, but nobody believed it; we are now told that the atomic bomb can move mountains, and everybody believes it."
To continue, believers in science over God are still believers and should recognise that they are just as religious.
When scientists tell us that the stars are distant suns, who doubts them? When scientists tell us the function of all our internal organs, who questions them? When scientists show us how to bring people back to life and stop people dying with medical science, who does not believe them? When scientists show us how everything in the world we see works, and how we can use the planet and the sun to make our lives better, who believes they do not really know? Yet, how do we know they are telling the truth? How do we know they are right? Unless we are scientists ourselves or we have an equal understanding explained to us through science, we must only believe them, we must only have faith in what they say to be true.
So, believers in Science are Religous. Science is their God. Agnostics are really Gnostic. Atheists are really Theists.
They think they don't believe in God, but they believe in Science. Anyone who has come to believe in Science shares a lot of with those who have what it means to be religious. There's not a lot of difference between them and any Christian, Ba'hai, Muslim or Hindu.
Whether people believe in God or in Science, they are all people of Faith.