As Politely As Possible: No, I’m Sorry, You Are Not An Atheist

Posted Thursday, 21 December 2006, 7:22 pm | 10 comments

There’s been a ‘resurgence’ of atheism in recent years. You’ll find people who call themselves atheists prattling on and on all over the net. ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’ is a popular meme. Bitching about the creationists (not much argument from me on that score).

The problem is, these people—for the most part—are not atheists. They’re misusing the term. An atheist is someone who doesn’t have God. God isn’t a part of their life. They grill a burger just like anyone else, they sleep like anyone else, they just don’t care about God—it’s not something that matters to them. Atheists are fine by me. You live your life, I’ll live mine. Groovy.

But that’s not what this resurgence is. It’s not atheism, it’s antitheism. Yes, it’s merely three more letters added in there, but it far more accurately describes the current mindset, which is one of being against God. Against the idea of God. In most cases, really hating the notions of God and religion. And I don’t mean ‘hate’ in the sense of "shoot, I hate country music" (words that have passed my lips more than once). I don’t really *hate* country music, I just don’t care for it, so I avoid listening to it. The antitheists HATE God and religion, and they are all too happy to bitch and piss and moan endlessly about how much they hate it, and bitch and piss and moan about how religion is always being "forced upon them". Which is just so much wanking nonsense. Oh sure, there’s lots of ‘religious’ people who won’t stop telling people (who didn’t ask) that they’re going to go to hell if they don’t take Jesus into their heart. Sure, they’re annoying. But gosh, I just don’t answer the door when they knock. I’m not being held down, having my eyelids retracted, and forced to watch "The Ten Commandments" or "The Passion of the Christ" on an endless loop. In this country, my country, the United States, 99.9995% of the time, there’s no ‘force’ involved. Change the damned channel. Don’t open the door. Close the tab on that religious site (how did it get opened i wonder?). Don’t go to the church that’s not  of your choice. We have freedom of religion, and freedom from religion in this country, and it’s so incredibly free, I think people have lost all sense of proportion. Yeah, there’s nitwits who want to force science teachers to teach creationism. I think it’s dumb. Genesis is a myth (not in the idiomatic ‘bad’ sense of one, that is). Stories of how the universe came to be are a part of virtually every culture that’s ever existed. There’s nothing in Genesis that defines a day as 86,400 seconds. Maybe those seven days were "God Days", like measuring a dog’s age – one day being the equivalent of our contemporary billion years. Who knows? Who cares?

One of the most absurd examples of this genuine hatred for God/people who believe in God—while falsely packaging it as simple atheism—is this jackass:

I realize this was for a comedy program. He does a delightful turn at being sarcastic and sardonic, about how he doesn’t care what your religion is, that his only concern – his only concern – is that the Mormons knock on his door early on weekends. So what does he do? I’m reluctant to describe it, it’s so ironically offensive, but….He goes around early on a Saturday and bangs on people’s doors to tell them about atheism and ‘Darwinism’. Ha ha ha. What a clueless twit! So—a certain religious sect—apparently either in Australia or New Zealand, as that seems the source of the clip—annoys people by knocking on their doors early on Saturday. Here in my part of the US, it’s mostly Jehovah’s Witnesses who do this. But—think about it. He’s bothered because Joe Mormon annoys him. So what does he do? He goes and bothers people—people other than Joe Mormon who bothered him—in just the same way that he’s being bothered. In all likelyhood, many of them who aren’t Mormons, and who may have tied-one-on the night before, and who possibly don’t give a shit about Darwin or God. This guy’s frothing vitriol so completely consumes him, he presumes that he’s somehow ‘getting even’ with Joe Mormon by bothering Bob Couldn’t-Give-A-Rat’s-Ass, Where’s-My-Latest-MotorTrend-magazine. Brilliant! How better to show people that you’re not an atheist, you’re an antitheist zealot!  

That one however doesn’t truly do justice to the antitheist mentality.

I’m reluctant to give the guy the free press, but frankly, he’s so disturbingly creepy in his delivery, and so overtly filled with seething hatred for those who aren’t like him, what the heck. Wanna see what a full-blown antitheist is? Watch on:

(Regrettably, the fellow whose video used to be here closed his youtube account, taking his videos with him)

If you think that’s atheism, then you’re badly in need of a dictionary, and a sense of proportion.

Am I an atheist? No. But what you could call me is an atheist-by-proxy. I ‘believe in’ God. But frankly, I’d just as soon pick lint from my navel while watching Mary Tyler Moore Show reruns than give the slightest care for whether or not someone else believes in God. You don’t care about God—you’re an atheist? Rock on my brother! You’re a Catholic who rejects the anglicized mass in preference for the Latin mass? Rock on my sister!

But when you go around denouncing people who believe in God, hating people who believe in God, and in general acting like a self-centered jackass because other people have beliefs different from you—while using a term that very specifically means that you don’t care about God—then I’ll gladly call you on it, and point out that not only are you being an ignorant, self-centered jackass, you’re as much of a charlatan as Robert Tilton—

—only twice as childish and half as funny. And comporting yourself with as much zealotry as those whom you deign to hate so much.

Come on, antitheists—be proud of what you are! Stop referring to yourselves with that wimpy, non-committal ‘atheist’ label. What are you afraid of, being struck down by God? Show your true colors, so the real atheists don’t have to suffer the additional stigmatization.

Irony of that last intended.

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Comments

kludge said:

He’s not very well spoken. You would think he would at least try a couple of takes to make it have just a pinch of intellect.

Thursday, 28 December 2006, 10:48 am | Permalink

Don said:

That Atheist is fantastic! I couldn’t agree more, especially about the Mormons. My entire family converted to Mormorism when I was in my 20’s,(Thanks Mom). They have to be the dumbest group going and so annoying!  They are completely Anti-reason and creepy Bush supporters, except for Harry Reid. Thanks for an entertaining post.  – Don

Tuesday, 02 January 2007, 3:31 pm | Permalink

Adam said:

Straw-man argument alert: that first video isnt from any antireligious sect who routinely disturbs people on saturday mornings; he’s a comedian who did that once for his comedy show on australian television. I very seriously doubt there are any atheists or antitheists who actually doorknock.
 

Thursday, 04 January 2007, 1:39 am | Permalink

thanks for your comments. however, i see no strawman. i didn’t suggest he was from an antireligious sect, nor that he routinely disturbs people on saturday mornings. my point was that he ranted endlessly about how annoying religious solicitations are, then went about hassling people who weren’t religious solicitors. far better would have been to set up his little camera at the front door, then confront the next mormon who knocked on his door. at least take the right people to task.

it’s equivalent to being annoyed that the bus you’ve been waiting for is an hour late – getting on the bus – then harangueing a passenger on the bus, rather than the driver.

Thursday, 04 January 2007, 10:09 am | Permalink

selftheist said:

“The antitheists HATE God and religion, and they are all too happy to bitch and piss and moan endlessly about how much they hate it, and bitch and piss and moan about how religion is always being “forced upon them”. Which is just so much wanking nonsense.”

DOOD!!! That is so fcuking stooooooopid. Religion is forced on people via LAW! Religions enjoy protection via LAW! Religions get tax breaks via LAW! The word “god” is placed on money, the pledge of allegiance via LAW. That is force. Having xmas as a holiday is force… etc, etc.

If religion were not forced on people, then it would be purely personal and not enforced by law.

Thursday, 04 January 2007, 3:07 pm | Permalink

"religions enjoy protection via LAW!"

how is protection equal to force? employers enjoy protection via law too. as do bicyclists. and even murderers. how are you being forced to do or be or think in any particular way because religions have some legal protections? atheists have legal protections too!

"religions get tax breaks via LAW!"

how are tax breaks equal to force? i get tax breaks for owning a home. i wasn’t forced to own a home. so how do you see that as forcing you to do anything?

"The word ‘god’ is placed on money"

so what? use a credit card. you aren’t being forced to believe in god simply because those words are on a meaningless piece of paper you can exchange for milk or time at the rifle range or a new chair or cable internet service.

"the pledge of allegiance via LAW"

so what? does saying "one nation under god" force you to believe in god? i think not.

you show me where religion is "enforced". you give me an example of someone forced to believe in god, rather than these essentially meaningless complaints.

you aren’t forced to believe in god. you’re just whining.

 

Thursday, 04 January 2007, 3:48 pm | Permalink

kludge said:

Selftheist – You’re going to work yourself up into a thick frothing lather like that. Then you’ll have yourself a heart attack and no one will get the benefit of your insights. I agree with Paul, protection and force are quite different. You’re an anti-religious bigot who believes that any mention of the word “God” is an offense to the ears. Clearly you need to find a quiet place and be alone with your thoughts. If your viewpoint is that fragile you might want to rethink your ideals. If you don’t believe in God, then be happy about your choices and stop trying to proselytize the rest of us to your way of thinking. Oh and remember…Breathe…and watch the spelling on your cursing. You wouldn’t want your comments to look dumb.

Thursday, 04 January 2007, 4:11 pm | Permalink

da_5_id said:

now i’m not saying Selftheist is right. because he isn’t.
and whats worse is he’s ineloquent. i think he’s mad that his group has the common decency to live and let live. while other groups (the knights of colombus) have to put huge amounts of time and effort into slowly changing our government (america) into seeming like a christian one. the word “god” doesn’t offend me. i am offended by little digs and toeholds the christian community pound into government institutions that were meant to be secular. so fifty years later someone who doesn’t know the history can claim that this is a “christian country”. that’s offensive.

Friday, 05 January 2007, 3:31 pm | Permalink

jase said:

—It’s not atheism, it’s antitheism.—

Thank you. I’ve been trying to formulate this in my mind, but you nailed it quite simply. I’ve known several atheiest who were fair-minded and civil people, but what I’ve been seeing on digg wreaks of hatred and fanatacism.

Nice summary. I’ll use it.

Saturday, 13 January 2007, 9:39 pm | Permalink

bubba said:

I had no idea that the Knights of Columbus were so powerful…when my dad was the guy-in-charge or whatever the job is called, I thought all that time spent making pancake breakfast fundraisers at the Church and giving to charity was it.

I had no idea he was intertwined with controlling America…Wow! Way to go dad!

Sunday, 14 January 2007, 6:34 am | Permalink

 

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