I had a friend introduce me as anti-theist. Now, I don’t mind other people introducing me as just about any way as a non-believer. I’m an open atheist, proudly humanist, and I absolutely do not like religion and have serious problems with it, but…
I am not anti-theist.
Here’s where we get into semantics. I’ll gladly own the title of anti-theism. I’m definitely “one of…. those atheists”. I’m in the new atheism crowd and I’m damn loud about it, but I think there’s a really important difference between anti (against) theist (person with religious beliefs) and theism (the religious belief itself). I’m not against any person, and I want to help as many people as I can, regardless of what they believe. If your beliefs don’t hurt anyone, I couldn’t care less about what they were.
I’m more than welcome to leave you to your prayers of the 3 day old underwear gods for all I care. If it floats your boat and helps you be a good person, then great, get your drawer sniffing prayers on man!
I am against religions in and of themselves. The amount of harm caused by religion so greatly outweighs the good, and it is so easy to utilize religion and it’s threats of things we will never see, such as the after life and the soul, make it very easy to control people, and do terrible things. The Crusades, the Third Reich, ISIS and most other really shitty groups and people have a heavy religious background.
It’s easy to pull people wherever you want to pull them if you threaten their eternal existence. Sell the poison then withhold the cure. It really is an ingenious plan.
I believe that people, well, most people, are inherently good, and they don’t want to do wrong by their fellow humans. Religion does not, which is sad, and I think it is perpetuates the negativity that it burdens people with from the start.
Steven Weinberg stated it very well when he said:
“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”
Religion is a tool. It’s multi-faceted and can be used for a multitude of purposes, but it is an exceptionally good weapon. There’s always some sort of us vs. them mental that religion stokes the fires of better than just about anything else. Be it black, Jew, atheist, scientists, Muslims, Christians, and if you want to dig into the Bible, just about every other ethnic group that wasn’t God’s chosen people were killed, and at one point the entire worlds gets wiped of the… well… face of the planet, and people think this story is not an inherently bad or totally fucked up thing!
If it was any other book, it would be a really messed up part of the book, but that, like so many other atrocities gets written away, because God / Allah / YHWH either did it, or commanded it. These same people that would be and are absolutely devastated when a natural disaster or shitty human strikes and leaves a wake of bodies in it’s/their path.
The Bible is what I know the best, and so it tends to be what I harp on the most, but there are many, many similarities in the Torah and the Bible and the Quran. They have many of the nearly exact same stories, many of the same characters, and many allegories with the same ending sentiments.
All of these things have one major thing in common (other than the God of Abraham). They all strike the fear of God in you through the dangling of your eternal soul over the pit of eternal suffering. This makes people do some crazy shit. I refuse to believe that every one of the Nazi’s were horrible people. I refuse to believe that every Crusader was a vile jerkoff. There’s no way that every ISIS and KKK enthusiast are just inherently shitty people.
The ideas that they follow / followed, doing what they do to appease their God, I think that is what makes these people believe and do terrible things. There are probably some inherently nasty people within any of those groups, just like with any other, but religion really gives them something to exploit. It makes it easy for charismatic, evil people to take the reins of unsuspecting victims to do their bidding.
At the end of the day, I don’t care what you believe, Fraternal Order of the Eternal Unicorn, check. Flying Spaghetti Monster, check. Disciple of Zeus check, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, it absolutely does not matter, if you are a decent human being, if you are doing everything you can to help everyone you can, regardless of if you “get it” or not, then I don’t care. I’m not anti-theist. I’m not against you.
Your religions, and the fear and hate and destruction that they have brought to the world I am against, and I always will be. I’m glad it’s brought you personal peace, but is it worth the deaths of the millions of people that it has killed? At the end of the day, is some extra personal solace from something that you will never be able to prove or disprove worth the destruction that it has wrought and continues to terrorize the world with?
I respect people, not ideas. Ideologies are not people, religions are ideologies. If I attack religion, I’m not attacking the person. I’m attacking the belief, which I’m liable to do for just about anything that is not scientifically sound. Religions doesn’t, and shouldn’t get a free pass from that. Everything else can be discussed in both positive and negative lights, but you touch negatively on religion and people lose their mind. Well, these conversations need to happen, and I’m sorry if they make you uncomfortable, but please, remember:
My fight with religion has nothing to do with you.
You, human reading my post. I love you, I love your potential, have a beautiful day, and make the world more beautiful through your actions.