Monday, 16 February 2009

Anti-atheism and anti-theism

I am a naturalist which is both a more positive and fuller worldview than just being an atheist - since atheism alone is both not a worldview (and so could not be positive or negative in that regard) and is not mutually exclusive with supernaturalism.

Now atheism just means a lack of belief in god(s) and knowing this you cannot even infer that such a person is against the god(s) or their supporters. Someone who is could be called an anti-theist - someone who is against gods but since they think that the gods do not exist are more likely to be specifically against the supporters of such beliefs - the theists. Now, there are of course some atheists who are anti-theist, I am not one of them and there are many like me. Indeed there must be far more atheists than anti-theists, the latter being a very small sub-set of the former. The reason is that the large majority of atheists most likely think gods are plain irrelevant (if they ever think about the gods) and don't bother with any type of debates with theists, let alone dwell in forums or on blogs - considering such projects to be irrelevant too. Now out of the remaining vocal or active atheists who may or may not call themselves atheists - such as myself who prefers the label naturalist - many also are not anti-theist.

So when a theist finds out someone is an atheist, they cannot automatically assume that person is an anti-theist, it would be prejudice to think they are and bigotry to condemn any atheist for anti-theism just because they are an atheist. Ironically the justifications for rejecting anti-theism made by theists are usually to do with freedom of expression including the freedom from fear of expression and concern over prejudice and bigotry against theists. Well if these are the honest concerns of a theist, then they should practice what the preach and not apply a double standard by being prejudiced and bigoted themselves and so supporting suppression of expression. This they certainly do by deliberately conflating atheists with anti-theists. It is a double standard to think that theists can do this and anti-theists cannot and there is no justification for such a double standard - on either side.

However this of course only applies to theists who do do this and against atheists who are not anti-theists, however I have observed that this is far more common than anti-theism. Indeed more atheists might be encouraged to become anti-theist because of such bigoted and prejudice anti-atheist attitudes and actions. So when any theist calls or treats any atheist - without any supporting evidence - as an anti-theist, as, for example, they would in any assertion labelling "all atheists..." with some anti-atheist position, then they need to be condemned - but not for being a theist or a believer - but for promoting bigotry and prejudice and anyone who does condemn them for this reason is not an anti-theist. Similarly whenever any atheist (not just anti-theist) applies equivalent labels over all theists, then they too need to be condemned - for also promoting prejudice and bigotry.

To fight a double standard one has to focus equally on both sides, otherwise all one has is a tuning argument over which version of the double standard to use. I am reminding everybody that I do not think the principle of reciprocity justifies being bigoted in response to bigotry - that is a battle over parameters in a double standard, when it is better eliminate the double standard entirely.


Anonymous said...

FaithlessGod, I have one minor quibble - this sentence in your post, "This they certainly do by deliberately confusing atheists with anti-theists" should really be:
"This they certainly do by deliberately conflating atheists with anti-theists", because if it is deliberate on theists' part, it would hardly be confusion, now would it? :)

- Radi

faithlessgod said...


Like your comment and updated the post accordingly. If that is the only quibble with this post I am pleased, but still wonder that surely I have made more egregious errors?

Izzy said...

I, in fact, hate all atheists. Thanks for helping me identify my belief system as being "anti-athesitic."