“Some people I know who are atheists will say they wish they could believe it. Some people I know who are former believers say they wish they could have their old faith back; they miss it. I don’t understand this at all. I think it’s an excellent thing that there’s no reason to believe in the absurd propositions I admittedly, rather briefly, rehearsed to you.
The main reason for this, I think, is that it is a totalitarian belief. It is the wish to be a slave. It is the desire that there be an unalterable, unchallengeable tyrannical authority, who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep. Who can subject you — who MUST indeed subject you — to a total surveillance, around the clock, every waking and sleeping minute of your life — I say of your life; before you’re born, and even worse (and where the real fun begins), after you’re dead. A celestial North Korea. Who wants this to be true? Who but a slave desires such a ghastly fate?
I’ve been to North Korea. It has a dead man as its president. Kim Jong-il is only the head of the party and head of the army; he’s not head of the government or the state. That office belongs to his deceased father, Kim Il-sung. It’s a necrocracy, a thanatocracy — it’s one short of the Trinity, I might add. The son is the reincarnation of the father. It is the most revolting, and utter, and absolute, and heartless tyranny the human species has ever evolved.
But at LEAST you can fucking DIE and leave North Korea. Does the Qur’an or the Bible offer you that liberty? No! No, the tyranny, the misery, the utter ownership of your entire personality, the smashing of your individuality, only begins at the point of death. This is evil; this is a wicked preachment.” – Christopher Hitchens
I know it may seem that my most recent posts have been quite negative, and I don’t mean to be that person, but hopefully this will be the last post for a while that dwells on negative things. I’ve wanted to write about anti-theism for quite some time now and the topic seems to be coming up a lot more recently so I figure this is as good a time as any to voice my thoughts on the matter. Am I an anti-theist? Well, as with many other things that depends on how you define the term. If you define it as loathing all religious people, “denying god”, or a desire to suppress religious views or expressions – no I am not an anti-theist, as none of those positions make sense to me. Despite the content of some of my more recent writings, I have no ill will toward those who have harmed me in the past, I am no longer an “angry atheist”, nor did I deconvert due to negative life experiences. I do, however, find the practices of many religions harmful and disgusting. So, if you choose to define anti-theism as the position that religion does more harm than good, then yes, I am an anti-theist. As I have said in another post, I will always identify as an atheist first and as anti-theist second because I think that being an “out” atheist is far more important than picking secondary labels that confuse people or have the potential to divide people that would otherwise get along. Allow me present a very simple case as to why religion does more harm than good.
- PURITY CULTURE
I was largely raised as a southern Baptist which is a denomination of Christianity that leans heavily towards the creationism, hellfire and brimstone, “you are worthless without God” kind of stuff in the Bible. One part of this is something called purity culture. Those outside of the bible belt of the United States may be unfamiliar with this but essentially it is an emphasis that your worth as human being largely depends on whether you have had sex outside of marriage. This culture is particularly harmful to young women as it tells them that their worth is completely contingent on whether they have had sex or not. You can find many common metaphors online aimed at young women that compare women that have sex before marriage to chewed gum or used tape. As a boy at the age of 12 or 13 I made a promise to the church and my family that I would remain abstinent until marriage in a churchwide event where practically the entire youth group got together to make these promises with everyone dressed up. Both boys and girls got “promise rings” as a physical reminder that we made a promise before God to not have sex before marriage. How is any child of that age supposed to understand what they were promising? This sort of thing completely disgusts me now but was completely normal to me at the time. In fact, many kids have this mentality that “if I have sex before marriage, I’m no longer worth anything” or even the “sex is bad” mindset so engrained in their mind that it has the potential to completely ruin their future relationships and marriages. Just look at any ex-Christian forum and you can find plenty of evidence that this brainwashing is harmful. Sometimes this mindset is so engrained that even after marriage, people feel guilt having sex with their spouse! This “purity culture” completely infuriates and disgusts me.
- RELIGIOUS TRAUMA SYNDROME
Religious Trauma Syndrome is a new diagnosis that has been developed by Dr. Marlene Winell Ph.D. This diagnosis affects those who have left religion and has very similar symptoms to PTSD or C-PTSD. When someone leaves a religion that completely dominated how they viewed the world, it can traumatize them in a similar way that abuse can. Religious teachings that suppress critical thought, suppress normal child development socially or otherwise, focus on an external locus of control (aka God is in control, not me), as well as (often) physical or emotional abuse (whoever spares the rod hates their child – Proverbs 13:24), can cause severe trauma to the individual. This trauma can have a huge impact when the individual leaves the religion such as poor critical thinking, depression, anxiety, anger, loneliness, lack of self-worth, social awkwardness, or feelings of alienation. I encourage everyone to research RTS and understand the harm religion can do.
- TERRORISM/VIOLENT EXTREMISM
See the featured photo for this post. I honestly don’t think I should even need to list any sources or examples for this one. Many religions like to claim that they are “religions of peace” and yet their fundamentalists almost always turn to violence. Of course, violence is part of the human condition and even if religion were removed entirely from the equation, there would still be violent people. However, religion often plays a role of encouraging or propagating harmful dogma and ideologies that lead to violence. Islam has the Taliban, ISIS, Boko Haram and the like. Christianity has the crusades, modern abortion clinic bombers, and mass shooters. Hinduism propagates the caste system and even religions that most people would consider peaceful such as Buddhism has its violent extremists. Even religious folk can’t disagree when I say that religion plays a role in violent extremism. I don’t think I need to say any more on this topic.
While there are many more examples, I think this post is probably long enough as it is. I’ll leave some additional videos and such if you wish to look into the topic further. Let me know what you think and as always, question everything.