The Strong Antitheist

4 Jun 2008

There's a subset of atheism called antitheism. And within that, there's a smaller subset that I'll call strong antitheism, until I can come up with the right name.

Atheists are well-known for their simple motto: "I don't believe in a god or gods."

Antitheists are also atheists (usually, that is; some antitheists may say "I do believe in God and I don't like Him"). The antitheist creed is "I don't believe in a god - and I sure hope there isn't one! He sounds awful!"

Strong antitheists are antitheists who go an extra step: "I don't believe in a god, and I hope there isn't one. But if it turns out there is a God who "takes" people in plane crashes, and quietly watches children die in earthquakes, and inflicts babies with defects to "test the parents' faith", and ordered "His people" to slaughter neighboring peoples... If that Being exists, my only question is: How do we find It and kill It? "

That's the strong antitheism that I embrace. Does it already have a name? If not, what works? Strong antitheism? Militant antitheism? Over-the-top antitheism? : ) Any suggestions?

Comments

Followed you here from PZ's site, and I have only one question...

"I don't believe in a god, and I hope there isn't one. But if it turns out there is a God who "takes" people in plane crashes, and quietly watches children die in earthquakes, and inflicts babies with defects to "test the parents' faith", and ordered "His people" to slaughter neighboring peoples... If that Being exists, my only question is: How do we find It and kill It?"

Can I use this word-for-word as my facebook "religious views"?

defaithed's picture

Sure, I'd be honored. If you can also place a link to this page (or at least this site), that'd be appreciated as well.

I think that changing the phrase from "...find It... kill It..." to "...find Him... kill Him..." makes the statement a little more effective; "Him" resonates more clearly with people. I was just being overly broad in catching everything (Him, Her, It, whatever we're dealing with). Up to you. In any case, thanks for your help in spreading The Word!

It is done.

Sorry, it took so long.

I lost your page and had to find it again by googling myself, of all things.

defaithed's picture

If you get any good responses to that text on your page, please report! It'd be interesting to hear what people say.

I would also very much like to use this phrase word-for-word on my facebook. Only with your permission of course...

defaithed's picture

Sure, please use the phrase on Facebook. If you get any interesting response from people, do tell!

I'm becoming more and more convinced that the irrationality inherent in the religious mindset is incredibly dangerous, to our species and the environment which sustains it.

(I, too, followed you from PZ's site.)

I'll identify as a strong anti-theist. There was an Asimov story which involved a guy dying and being brought before God, upon which he argues that he'll work out how to destroy himself. God tells him that He will just recreate him without that weakness. Guy ponders this for a bit, then tells God that in that case, he'll find out how to destroy Him, instead. God, apparently with a sense of hope and relief, thanks him and leaves him to his task.

I'm not out to kill God, though... the desire to kill something that doesn't exist is meaningless. I'd rather work toward expunging idiotic notions.

defaithed's picture

You've got it exactly: it's meaningless to want to kill (or criticize, or talk to, or worship, etc.) something that doesn't exist.

Regarding the killing, I'm just saying if the religionists turn out to be right...: ) Seriously, if we really found out that some alien sky-mind were playing with and even murdering us, we should be enraged and plotting vengeance!

I beleive it shouldn't technically have to be called anything cause its just basic logic. If you think without being hindered by religious notions, this "God" really is a terrible terrible being and should be promptly shot if he/she/it did exist. Obviously you can't shoot an imaginary being and most of this word is religious, so we do have to have a name. hmmm...id say a militant antitheist would be someone who would want to do something about the problem and a strong antitheist is just what you described.

defaithed's picture

Is it Sam Harris who's against use of the word "atheist", because there should be no need to label a rational "non-superstitionist" position? He makes good points for the case, and it's not easy to dismiss those, but in the end I don't have a problem with labels. If a word is useful in referring to some stance, then let there be a word for it, even if the stance is a perfectly rational one!

In this case, I'll take "strong antitheist". If nothing else, it makes people ask "What's that mean?", and that becomes a good chance to explain. 

Regarding antitheism as it relates to atheism, I believe many antitheists can be defined as not concerning themselves with the existence or nonexistence of God, but simply opposed to the beliefs and religious institutions which actualize themselves on Earth. It seems to me to be equally impossible to prove either God's existence or nonexistence; thus some atheists who believe that God doesn't exist hold as irrational a faith as theists. I define myself as antitheist rather than atheist because of this. It's not God (or lack thereof) that concerns me, it's what happens on Earth because of religious belief.

defaithed's picture

Well said. In debates, one of the goofy yet common things we hear is, "If you atheists don't believe God even exists, why do you bother railing against Him?" The response, which you've no doubt heard (or spoken!) many times, is "We don't rail against a fictional God; we rail against the very real belief in God, and the very real human problems that this belief causes."

Truth be told, I'm happy to rail against both the belief and the nasty God character himself. Disliking God doesn't conflict with believing he doesn't exist; it's no different from booing and hissing Darth Vader. I know Darth is fictional; if he were real, I'd hate him. Simple stuff.

All that said, I'll disagree with the idea that atheists who believe God doesn't exist are as irrational as the theists. True, we can't prove either one, but that doesn't make each one as likely or unlikely as the other. To add the obvious example, the likes of which you've probably heard already: we can't disprove invisible magic unicorns on the far side of Venus. Does that mean that reasonable certainty in their non-existence is irrational? Maybe it does technically, but how about practically

It's not as irrational as you think. It's just an unsubstantiated claim that utterly defies the laws of physics that god exists. Not believing until proof is shown is quite rational.

Of course, it's also very rational to utterly despise the vision that most religions have of god.

This is exactly how I believe.  Religion is a waste of our time and mental capacity.  We have real problems to address and religion only weakens the mind and distracts humanity from living full and rich lives and focusing on global problems at hand.

If you knew the real truth about God, you would never be an atheist or defaithed.

defaithed's picture

If you knew the real truth about Vishnu the Preserver, you would never be a non-Vaishnavist Hindu.

Might I make a suggestion? How about IDIOTIC Antitheist. That would be what I'd call you.

defaithed's picture

Please share the reasons. Are there factually incorrect statements, arguments built on faulty premises, or other errors in content present here? If so, I'd like to correct these, so any pointers are appreciated.

There's no doubt that letting go of religion can be quite intoxicating and liberating. The sense of freedom it gives as very much like the exquisite freedom George Clooney has at the beginning of "Gravity," tooling around in outer space with that incredible view. On the other hand, if this life is all there is, then ultimately we end up like George Clooney at the end of the movie: completely free and untethered, and completely doomed. This doesn't mean that God and heaven exist but it's something worth pondering for those who are interested in the true character of our reality and the meaning, if any, of life. To put it another way, for those who want to trade in religion for antitheism, be careful what you wish for, you might end up getting it.

defaithed's picture

To put it another way, for those who want to trade in religion for antitheism, be careful what you wish for, you might end up getting it.

That's a rather silly thing to say. Unless you fall for some sort of New Agey "wishing creates reality!" schlock, what you wish for has no bearing on what is real. Is the "afterlife" real? Do gods really exist? Do any such gods really (as many believers claim) do horrible things to babies to "test" parents?

The actual answer to every such question is a separate matter from what we do or don't wish the answer to be.

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