Sometimes Semantics Is Important

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.

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13 thoughts on “Sometimes Semantics Is Important

  1. Wow, just wow. This is really well written and and so well thought out. You nail some of the points I make in my post. I disagree with you in that you don’t identify as an anti-theist, I get the distinction you’re making but I don’t feel it’s appropriate based on the fact this just a result of English, not the ideology. I don’t go after people either, the ideology is what I tackle, however when someone uses their belief to kill and maim I condemn them. They are deluded, sure, but that isn’t the point, the point is that we call out the times when people use religion as weapon. I don’t blame people for falling for the scam that is religion but I do blame them when they use it to justify violent acts or to take violent action themselves. Great post, liked and followed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hank you very much. I do agree that it’s not correct in terms of the English language, but it helps religious people understand what I mean, and it facilitates conversation much better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really love how you explained this.

    It was really funny to come across this post in my feed, because I was just thinking I had a great video idea about “Why I agree with the anti-theists” or “Why the anti-theists have a point” but then I was like, darn it, I need to find another way to put that. XD I don’t know how to say something like “Why the anti-theisms have a point,” though.

    Suggestions? e_e

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just take “the” out of it. Anti-theism is a thought process against an ideology type. This is a thought people have. Not a person in and of themselves. So more along the lines of “why anti-theism has a point”

      Like

  3. I know this is only a coincidence but after replying to your post I opened my emails to look at them and the first thing that came up on yahoo was a story about a couple who had killed their son in “Counselling” session held in their local church where they beat their Son for hours in order to force him to confess previous sins and to then beg forgiveness.
    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/parents-charged-killing-son-church-170813137.html#6doGwef

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another good blog. All too often have I heard that people can only be good if they follow God and that people who do things bad to people do so because they are Evil. WRONG! People do bad things because they can be bad sometimes. You can’t just blame the bad deeds of humans onto some third party presence. I don’t believe in God but, like you, I respect people’s wish to believe in whatever they believe in…as long as they in return respect my choice to not believe.
    The Second World War happened only a few years ago, in the big scheme of things, and yet each country has written its’ own interpretation of events. Obviously we will all see things differently but each country has its’ own idea of when the war started, who killed who and what conflicts actually took place etc. Is is not likely then that the Bible, which is actually a good book in some ways, may be slightly inaccurate? It was written hundreds of years after the facts by people who, they themselves, would have had their own personal motives and drivers to contribute to the book.
    Yet some of these people, some of the same people who will follow this book without question believe that dinosaurs may have existed 9000 years ago. People even deny that the Holocaust even occurred during the Wars.
    How can it be that people are so taken in by these books when actual scientific proof of existence is often ignored or overlooked?
    Yours fraternally and with pragmatic prayers, Ned, High Sage (Third Dan) of the order of the blessed juggling Snarks, complaints department.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. ^.^ Yeah… Dinosaurs on the arc YEC amuses me quite a bit. The Holocaust denial just blows my mind. I think that’s one of the things that the phrase “I can’t even.” Works pretty well for hahaha.
      I don’t know if you are being rhetorical with that question or not, but I think that many people are so taken in because
      A. it’s pounded in their from the time they are little.
      B. Cognitive Dissonance is hard to overcome, especially when it’s paired with the paralyzing fear of eternal soul torture.

      Liked by 1 person

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