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Thread: Atheism vs Anti-theism

  1. #1
    ...uhh Bjorn's Avatar
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    Atheism vs Anti-theism

    * Defined dorkily from Google search, double checked by my handy-dandy Webster

    Atheism: disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.
    Anti-theism: an active opposition to theism of any kind, or an active opposition to specific kinds

    So there we have the decided differences between the two philosophies, but it seems to me that what I sense from the atheists around here is that they seem much more apathetic or even agnostic about their true beliefs. Is there anything that differs in your daily walks? Are there any particular pantheons that bother you more than others? Any particular religions? I know that I personally am much more vocal in my daily life about my dislike for Christians (not exactly Christianity) than I am on here, or anywhere else, really.

    Experiences? Stories? For the brave theists, got any horror stories? Does the very idea of atheism/agnosticism/anti-theism bother you and if so, why? Do you feel personally attacked when someone disagrees with you -- if so, why?
    No one tells the wind which way to blow.

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    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Atheism vs Anti-theism

    I am a hard atheist. To the point I rarely capitalize the A in atheist. One religion does not bother me over another. I find fault in them regardless. AND..I find benefits in them as well. At the end of the long lonely day of a believer (minus the rare extremists) they are just trying to navigate their life. Just like me.
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    Lord Contrarian Denarius's Avatar
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    Re: Atheism vs Anti-theism

    I'm not really bothered by anyone's religion or beliefs exactly, what bothers me is when they use that as a justification to act inappropriately or to excuse their ignorance.

    Really the only things that outright offend me are religiously motivated bigotry and forcing religious beliefs on others.

    People's beliefs tend not to bother me, unless the people go out of their way to bother me with their beliefs. I don't know them, I haven't lived their lives. I believe the things I do because of the life I've lived, I might very well believe the way they do were I in their shoes.

    I think that most people, theist or otherwise, would benefit from thinking about why they believe the things they do. I know I've surprised myself more than a few times doing just that.

    Understanding why you believe the things you do is can be quite helpful when it comes to understanding why other people might believe the things they do.
    Trust is knowing someone or something well enough to have a good idea of their motivations and character, for good or for ill. People often say trust when they mean faith.

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    Sr. Member Cobra's Avatar
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    Re: Atheism vs Anti-theism

    Being a theist of whatever sort,

    Agnosticism does not bother me as long as the person is open minded about all sides. I sort of respect agnosticism because I can see where that person is coming from in their stated label.

    Atheism bothers me only when nihilism comes as a result of it. I think there are actually a few scientific reasons to believe in something more, if not a godlike something. See: theories of consciousness relating to quantum mechanics and DMT studies. I do find it somewhat upsetting when someone completely refuses to even study or consider anything "paranormal" because there have actually been statistically positive results before; see: Dr. Brian Josephson's site at Cambridge.

    Anti-theism bothers me greatly because I feel that they are just as bad as people they oppose, what with forcing their religious opinion. Anti-theists were found to be the most dogmatic group actually. Note that I also dislike it when a religion says that they are the only people who are right. Shinto is not this way.

    I don't feel personally attacked if someone disagrees with me. I feel personally attacked if... well, if I'm personally attacked, by anyone, religious or otherwise.

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    Lord Contrarian Denarius's Avatar
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    Re: Atheism vs Anti-theism

    I'm not really bothered by anyone's religion or beliefs exactly, what bothers me is when they use that as a justification to act inappropriately or to excuse their ignorance.

    Really the only things that outright offend me are religiously motivated bigotry and forcing religious beliefs on others.

    People's beliefs tend not to bother me, unless the people go out of their way to bother me with their beliefs. I don't know them, I haven't lived their lives. I believe the things I do because of the life I've lived, I might very well believe the way they do were I in their shoes.

    I think that most people, theist or otherwise, would benefit from thinking about why they believe the things they do. I know I've surprised myself more than a few times doing just that.

    Understanding why you believe the things that you do can be quite helpful when it comes to understanding why other people might believe the things that they do.
    Trust is knowing someone or something well enough to have a good idea of their motivations and character, for good or for ill. People often say trust when they mean faith.

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Atheism vs Anti-theism

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjorn View Post
    ... For the brave theists, got any horror stories?
    Thankfully, no. lol. My experience with atheists in general is pretty tame... they don't believe in gods and they think I'm deluded. If anything it's a subtle contempt or 'pfft, don't make me laugh' sort of thing, rather than anything overtly anti-theist. The few atheists that I know in real life really just don't care what I do or don't believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjorn View Post
    Does the very idea of atheism/agnosticism/anti-theism bother you and if so, why?
    No. And I really don't see that it should. I am comfortable enough in my beliefs and the reasons behind them that I don't need validation from external sources. I'm very much an 'each to their own' sort of person... I have my beliefs, you have yours. I can't prove you wrong, you can't prove me wrong... and at the end of the day, I really have no desire to. I have much less of an issue with atheism and agnosticism than I do with faiths that proselytize, and even then it's not the faith itself so much as the concept of shoving it down someone else's throat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjorn View Post
    Do you feel personally attacked when someone disagrees with you -- if so, why?
    No. I like disagreement lol. I like discussion. I like debate. To me, there is nothing more boring than a 'discussion' thread where everyone just follows each other going 'oh yeah, I agree' or something like that. BORING! Disagree with me! Challenge me! Make me think about my beliefs and the reasons behind them. Either I'll take what you say on board and adjust my beliefs or I'll decide that it doesn't change anything and keep on believing. Spirituality without discussion and disagreement is blind faith, and I'm really not into that.

    To be honest I find it really sad the number of people who take disagreement personally, or who feel that a disagreement is automatically snarky or scary. Granted, there are a lot of people who don't know how to disagree amicably, but there are also a lot of people who do, and who do so regularly. Once you bring ego and emotion into it then it's a lost argument... but if you go into it with the attitude of using this disagreement to learn and grow, then it can only be a good thing.

  7. #7
    Time Lord Apostle Malflick's Avatar
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    Re: Atheism vs Anti-theism

    I have some pretty intense horror stories on this topic. Not sure I want to get into them right now, cause ugh.

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    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: Atheism vs Anti-theism

    got any horror stories?
    Not really - although I do spend a fair bit of time in gaming communities, which are very atheistic, so it kind of sucks not being able to refer to something which is such a huge part of my life. Not only that, but even the parts of my practice and lifestyle which are fairly mainstream get derided if they come up, even though they're perfectly valid from a scientific point of view. Meditation is a good example - I get a lot of 'hurr, why would you sit there and do nothing, it's just silly new age nonsense' if I mention it, despite the fact that there's actually extensive scientific evidence of the benefits of meditation, putting aside the spiritual aspect entirely.

    Does the very idea of atheism/agnosticism/anti-theism bother you and if so, why?
    Not at all, I was a hardcore atheist of the Dawkins/Hitchens reading, 'burn the churches!' variety up until a few years ago, and I would still hold that worldview if it weren't for certain experiences I'd had, so I entirely understand it. I do, however, find it a little sad - no matter how much people might protest otherwise, I think the majority do find the complete rejection of spiritual ideas and practices a little depressing, which becomes evident when you spend any amount of time in atheistic communities. Science is great, but it just isn't a replacement for spirituality.

    Do you feel personally attacked when someone disagrees with you -- if so, why?
    Not at all, as long as they don't use the issue as a cover for personal attacks or disparaging remarks - as I said, I used to hold those views myself, and still would if circumstances were different, so it's hard to take them personally.

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Atheism vs Anti-theism

    I have a problem when one's beliefs cause one to live an ineffective, wasted life.

    I have a problem when people use their religion as an excuse for doing things that they can not justify using only human decency as a criieria.

    I have a problem when people use junk from old, vague, poorly written books from antiquity to justify mistreatment of living humans.

    In short, I have a problem when people justify heinous acts via their "religion" - actions that can not be justified in any other way.

    Aside from that, I have no problem with other people's beliefs. They aren't mine, but who care? Mine aren't theirs either.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

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  10. #10
    Magnificent Bastard ThorsSon's Avatar
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    Re: Atheism vs Anti-theism

    In line with Medusa's comment, I am a "hard atheist." I, in honesty, go a step further than disbelief in god/gods... I believe that there is/are no god/gods (the distinction is subtle, I know... but I do not simply lack the opinion that god(s) exist(s). I hold the opinion that no god(s) exist(s)).

    In some ways, I fall into the anti-theism mentality, at least mentally. For the most part, I keep my mouth shut and live-and-let-live... but, in my mind, I think that religion and belief in the supernatural has done more harm than good.

    Monotheism has provided strong support (intentionally or unintentionally) to sexism, racism, castigation, tyranny and genocide (to name a few).
    Belief in the supernatural (divine intervention/prayer/magic/etc) has led people to death when they (or, worse, their parents) forgo medical treatment in favor of faith healing (prayer, spells, magic potions, exorcism, etc).
    Belief in the supernatural has led people to be misled by psychics, rather than consulting actual counselors.
    Creationism has led to the idea that there is no reason to worry about the environment, because "man was set to rule over creation" and, why bother trying to preserve something that God is just going to burn soon anyway?
    Psychics have led police to believe that kidnap victims were dead... only to find out later that the person was still alive, being tortured, with no one looking for them, because the psychic said that they were dead.
    Catholicism perpetuates the AIDS epidemic in Africa by preaching against contraception.
    etc and so on.

    There are many crimes against humanity that religion visits upon us...

    I am mostly silent about my anti-theism, because I know that most religious people are good people... BUT... religion (and magical thinking, in general), is largely behind most human atrocities.

    I am also silent, in part, because I know that human atrocities would happen, anyway... because human nature is human nature, with or without religion... but, then again, human nature is what gave us religion.
    "Don't ever miss a good opportunity to shut up." - Harvey Davis "Gramps"

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