How can Atheism become Anti-Theism?
Because my conviction that religion and the belief in a god predispose people to do bad things, I now think that I should take my atheism into an "evangelical" role. I have become an Anti-theist and I'm here to convert you to my non-belief.
I have begun challenging people who proffer religion as an 'liniment' to mans' woes. I may ask what god has done for them and then explain why god seems to me, so evil. I will cite examples like the Boxing Day Tsunami or the anthrax virus or cancer and ask the religious follower why they choose to follow a god that would wantonly kill or allow the death of innocent people (yes innocent, since many people who died from these natural occurrences were/are children).
Usually people will cherry-pick their responses, and select the good incidents in their life and ignore any bad that has happened to them or in the world. Additionally, I hear two very common responses: "god is punishing us for bad behavior " or “god works in mysterious ways.” I usually ask why would you believe in something so evil that he (since most gods are male) would punish you for my bad behavior? Why would god kill so many tens of thousands of people because America tolerates homosexuality?.
Then of course, I always have the omniscient v. omnipotent v, omnipresent argument that goes something like: If god is "all-knowing" then why didn't he warn someone, especially a government, of the impending flood, earthquake, tsunami, tornado or send scientists the cure for Downs Syndrome? If god is "all powerful" then why didn't he stop the cancer, small-pox, volcano? If god is everywhere, then he is also in these natural disasters too, right? How can a good god create or allow such nasty events and why? Therefore he is not all knowing, or all-powerful or everywhere. If a god could be omniscient/omnipotent/omnipresent and chose NOT to act to help or indeed created the disaster or affliction, isn't that the definition of evil?
If their response is "god works in mysterious ways", I usually respond stating that there is no mystery to hurricanes, earthquakes, botulism, dysentery. These are natural events that wreak havoc on humankind and we understand them very well, thanks to scientific endeavors. So, again, why would god do such evil?
I will then parry my religious friends' argument, if they're still talking to me, with:
Religion sets us humans up to accept what would otherwise be unacceptable. Why would surrendering common sense and thwarting in-depth questions be a good thing? Religion does just that. Religion teaches people to follow without question; to falsely believe that their particular religion is the one and only, or more commonly, that we are all children of the same god, regardless to what branch of belief we belong. Religion allows complacence. In extreme cases of fundamentalism, religious leaders reward believers, and sometimes families, for abhorrent behavior. I suppose it could be argued that the person is crazy, but religious teaching enables, even accepts, recruitment and creates an environment that fosters radicalism. Complacency among the 'flock' then sublimely encourages this type of extremism. And, it is proliferating. Religion creates weak minds, and weak minds with weapons is a very dangerous combination. Why encourage and support such a bad institution, such misguided acceptance and tolerance??
At some point in our conversation my religious opponent usually realizes that I have lost all my marbles and finds some reason to disengage from our conversation. Occasionally I disengage first because the conversation becomes a never ending circular argument and I realize this person cannot hear my words or analyze my ideas. I may try debating them again in the future.
I am beginning to create a 'soul saved' count. So far I haven't converted any religious person to my completely obvious understanding about how dangerous it is to believe in a god or follow a religion, but I will keep trying, keep planting seeds of doubt. I realize no single discussion or argument/debate will change anyone's mind. Hopefully over time, my conversation, along with others may convert those people in whom the seed is implanted and encourage the tree of knowledge to grow within them.
If you have taken atheism to the level of anti-theism, then share with me your experience.