In defense of Anti-Theism

DISCLAIMER

I definitely do not advocate for abuse or violence against religious persons or organizations, whether verbal or otherwise. I am not some Atheist ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘extremist’. I think we all have a responsibility to keep an open mind and settle differences of opinion through amicable discourse.

That being said, Atheism is not a religion, it is barely a philosophy in my eyes. It is simply a position on the existence of God or gods, that says “I do not believe in such.”

However not all atheists are alike. There is a spectrum, that being from agnosticism to atheism to anti-theism. I have observed that atheists are generally reluctant to declare themselves anti-theists and I am curious as to why. Given that I believe that more atrocities and crimes against humanity, today and throughout history can be attributed to religious motivation than any other human idea, construct or endeavor.

I don’t think it’s enough for atheists to simply shake their heads at the religious masses with polite condescension, smile to themselves and be on their way. Not while things like female genital mutilation, vicious exorcisms and ritualistic religious sacrifice continue to thrive in some regions of the world, my own Sub Saharan Africa for example. Shouldn’t such revelations be enough to make us even a little Anti-theistic?

I don’t think atheists should be satisfied with a ‘personal’ and ‘private’ enlightenment, while sticking their heads in the sand about the fact that religion continues to perpetrate horrors even in the modern day.

While I understand that ‘coming out’ atheist is difficult in the first place and that atheists are still in the closet for that very reason (a tragedy on its own), does that mean that those among us who are proudly and admittedly Atheist should do and say nothing against religion?

Religion definitely has no such manners, I have lost count of the number of times I have been assured that I will be ‘prayed for’, assured that ‘I will see the light.’ I have had a handful of ‘interventions’ organized in my name. I have been shunned and dismissed as an ‘agent of evil’ in the worst of cases.

I would very much enjoy an opinion on why atheists generally consider anti-theism to be ‘bad territory’ or ‘extremist’.

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For myself, the “theist” is someone who believes in god. Like the atheist, that’s all it tells me. I don’t know the “god idea :bulb: “ they hold, whether they practice a religion, if they are non-religious, whether they belong to a cult or watch tele-evangelicals…

NOW… am I anti-religion? Hmmm :thinking: definitely anti-cult, and anti-corruption and anti-sheering the sheep (so to speak), anti-theocracies. I’m not anti-bible (or holy book of choice) as there is a value (as with all mythology and history) that brings insight to humans - I just like to bring “their god/s’ personality to the believer’s attention” AND have them evidence their claims.

Beliefs drive decision making and choices (I chose not to eat hot-dogs based on belief) - so challenging beliefs is beneficial to society; however it doesn’t necessarily change “individual minds or opinion”.

Theocratic societies do not operate or open themselves to challenge OR any form of “opposition” and will defend their systems “to the death” (literally and figuratively).

Remember Deut. 13
6 (I)“If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, (J)the wife [c]of your bosom, or your friend (K)who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, 7 of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, 8 you shall (L)not [d]consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; 9 but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to (M)death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God,

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@Whitefire13 please clear up for me because I can’t really tell. Are you an atheist? If so, to what ‘extent’ for lack of a better word? :see_no_evil:

I think it is important not to confuse history and scripture. They are not synonymous. One deals with events that are known to have definitely happened and are not subjective and I know that accounts of history vary from place to place but that is unfortunate because the spirit of history is to get down to the facts of what ACTUALLY happened.

Scripture on the other hand is written with a certain group of people in mind, and though all holy books claim to be historically accurate, they can’t ALL be. The Bible for example has MANY internal contradictions, inaccuracies and inconsistencies, and that is readily demonstrable.

So if people find ‘value’ in scripture it definitely is not the same sort as that to be found in the study of history.

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These are areas that are brought to the world attention through organizations.

Again…depending on your personal circumstances, safety and support - use your “voice” whether it be through forums, YouTube, volunteer work or $$$$

Sorry - full out atheist :sunglasses:. The scriptural reference is in regard to “Theocratic Rule” mindset linked to Abrahamic god worship and how these forms of governments view and treat apostates based on their “religion”.

It’s cautionary as some live with the real threat of death :skull: if they are viewed as “stepping outside of the religious ideals”.

Sure FGM, being a mutilation that has serious medical implications would obviously catch the attention of the WHO.

What about the exorcisms? the ritual sacrifice? and hundreds of others?

Is their message to denounce the religious ideology that gives rise to such practices? I think not. It’s more like “people, dont do it because of this, this and that - medical reasons” to deter people from the practice not to call the religion that bore it completely insane. Those comments only come behind closed doors

Yah - I get you. The “Catholics” have somewhat reined in their practices of exorcism but mostly because of lawsuits and secular authorities.

You get a group that “feel” and feed each other the notion of demon possession and bad spirits and the governing systems are set up to “go along” or “look the other way” …or fucking “forget” what harm it can do physically and mentally (depending on the choice of exorcism) - you get “holy rollers” and “TV personalities” casting out demons in the Lords name …shaking on the floor - acting all fucked up weird.

You can only tend your own garden. Keep your “world” awesome. Don’t worry about your neighbours “weeds” and lack of growth. That’s their problem to figure out (you did) - and when they look across the street and see your flourishing vegetables- they may feel inclined to ask “How and why does your garden flourish?”

Very true. The power that religion can have over people’s lives is abominable, which is all the more reason I take this stance on anti theism

But you see. CHILDREN are involved. Children are indoctrinated in this way before they can intellectually defend themselves, before they can reason, before they even realize that asking a question is a viable way of getting vital information about the world around you.

Are they not so deluded that from their perspective, they have a tourist attraction of a home garden while your soil is so barren it cannot sustain even a weed?

I would lean myself towards “Theistic Accountability”. So, this would include: paying taxes (benefits society); held accountable financially as an organization or group when hiding or encouraging illegal activity (pedophilia and forms of “demon cleansing”) and jail time for offenders; AND government funded organizations/counselling/social services to assist those leaving or recovering from religious indoctrinations.

My guess, just even taxing the buggers would cause a “door is closed” policy - OR increase for a limited time “membership” as some would see it as a further persecution from Satan’s world.

But you see, the problem is that those who would enforce that theistic accountability are generally theists themselves. Naturally that would cast doubt on their ability to be objective and they would NOT want to seem like they are ‘harassing’ their fellow believers would they?. I mean only atheists would want to see religion be held fully accountable in this way, but atheists are not those in power.

I don’t think an atheist will ever be president of the united states

If they believed the same thing. In general, there are so many religions, thousands, and then individual theist belief …they go at each other.

Methodology- a conversation in another thread - is used in sciences… The Scientific Method. Now, within this field “theists” abound - BUT the methodology demands a “setting aside” of ones “faith”. Some theist try to skirt this and set up their “own” laughable “science” facts… but the methodology exposes them and their bias.

I agree…
An open Atheist will not be President of the USA for a looonggggg time - MOST likely with time and generational growth. sigh

BUT that’s not to say they aren’t out there in other countries leading (maybe for “good” maybe for “bad”)…

The non-religious are growing at a rapid rate worldwide. People who may or may not “believe” in a god BUT have had it with any form of organized religion.

I’d be happy to just get more “non-religious” … a step away from institutionalized superstition.

You see only a thinker would find the scientific method valuable outside science itself and I think its safe to say that thinkers are quite rare.

To invoke the scientific method as a way to conduct ourselves in the world of politics and religion would get you completely ignored by commonplace minds. They would dismiss it as a crackpot ‘Ivory Tower’ thing.

Yes they are are people in power that are atheists, but they are there not because the general public embraces atheism in any way, it is because to exclude an otherwise perfectly qualified individual on the grounds of religious belief or lack thereof counts as discrimination, and you know as well as I how people in this ‘P.C’ era will bend over backwards to avoid doing that.

Nonetheless I am glad to see that leaders of powerful nations like the UK have been atheists, thank you I didnt know that. :heart:

We agree on so many things and share a somewhat common background, although very different also.

I like to get to the “person” - fuck the labels. Now I understand labels are somewhat identifying and can “classify”, but people themselves, we are complex - yet simple…a paradox.

I take myself back, mentally 30 years and I was a die-heart Jehovah’s Witness. I am not a different “person” now, in the sense of being less intelligent or kind or motivated by helping others or selfish.

So what changed for me was the level of evidence I found to be acceptable. Slowly, over time and questioning and experiencing, I got to a place where “what should be or ought to be” didn’t exist. All that exists is “what is”. Some people “get there” quicker, go further, question more and others are satisfied or busy or comfortable and don’t like change.

For me, a label such as “anti-theism” conjures two main thoughts:

  1. That there is a god to be “against” instead of the way the “god idea” is enacted upon by groups of humans; and
  2. “Anti” indicates against which congers “fight, war, remove”.

The first cannot be demonstrably evidenced (however low evidence standards are used by believers), so my approach is to allow a theist to prove their claim. That alone can get the person to thinking :thinking: outside their box and evidence standard. OR it may not - people hold all sorts of weird beliefs.

The second is not my preference for my own peace-of-mind. Not to say it wouldn’t “work”, but perhaps only on a superficial level. I value peace and my time and what another does, doesn’t really effect me (until it does) AND then I’ll get my two cents in. I’ve seen the “war on terrorism” and “war on drugs” and “alcohol prohibition” and “anti-abortion” and etc etc etc

“Anti” anything, in my experience, doesn’t work. Education, experience, sharing points of view - these do, over time - small groups with goals to make a difference, these help.

I agree that ‘anti-theism’ implies that there is a ‘god’ to be against. In my context it is definitely a misnomer that could potentially undermine my arguments so thanks for pointing that out. ‘anti-religion’ would be more appropriate.

I don’t know, I mean atheism is growing while religion as a whole is failing albeit very slowly. I don’t think I will live to see a world in which religion is an antiquated and outmoded idea, even though thats where its heading, and that bothers me. It bothers me that what seems patently obvious to you and me completely flies over the heads of billions of people.

Simply ‘letting them be wrong’ is just not enough for me when I see these terrible things religion does to people. I just can’t let it go.

If simply believing in god, praying and reading their holy books privately is all they did, the world would be fine. But no, their children must believe it too, they need to band together to impose their views on how people live their lives and how important choices are made in the world.

Its disgraceful

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“Theism”, or anything connected to that word deals with the god question. And based on my observations, proving a god is equally ridiculous as disproving a god. Since a god cannot be proven either way, I sincerely keep my mind open, despite my conviction that the odds are insurmountable.

I doubt it, but there may be a god.

As far as religion, IMO it is an institution. It was born from fear and ignorance, and still resides there. Religion may have been beneficial to early man’s communities, but in today’s world it is less than redundant, it is useless and a harmful burden to society.

Some say religion still does good things. I agree, but with or without religion good people would still do good things, such as assist those in need and feed the starving.

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I feel this way about “money” - but unfortunately “humanity” isn’t there yet… it sucks :confused:

Like I said to @Whitefire13

Anti-religion is what I mean.

I also struggled once with the fact that you cannot disprove god, then I realized that the very idea of god was created to be unfalsifiable.

Why ‘should’ there be a god in the very first place? Because the human brain wants to see patterns of agency everywhere. The human mind demands an explanation to everything it sees, and will invent one if one is not forthcoming in an obvious way.

That is why with science being as advanced as it is today with empirical explanations of natural phenomena, it would be impossible to create a new faith-based religion that would garner any significant following today, because what observations would one even base it on?

Religion began because people wanted answers, and science was not yet there to provide them.

So, really, if you think about it, there is no god to falsify because the very phenomena that urged man to hold some deity responsible for what they saw, now have purely scientific explanations!

Consider Russell’s teapot.

Should I hold that god is even worth falsifying just because its an idea that is so very common?

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If a claim is made, past present or future, no matter how popular it ends up being, being even agnostic about it is unjustifiable, ESPECIALLY if it is made without evidence. Why do ancient greek and roman gods DEFINITELY not exist yet the best we can do with the Abrahamic God is ‘very strong doubt?’.

I mean if you cannot totally refute god just because its existence is ‘unfalsifiable’ then logically you should be agnostic about ALL gods. Every single one of them because EVERYTHING supernatural is by its very nature, unfalsifiable.

As Hitch put it:

“That which is asserted without evidence can just as well be dismissed without evidence.”