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’.