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.

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I don't know if it was my atheist position, or other traits.  But I was harassed out of a 10 year job. I always performed, I met all measures, was never late, never called in sick, never argued, never turned down a task, there were no complaints against me, and I always met all official and most unofficial expectations.  My ideas were taken by others for improvements.  But a management group and my work group were rife with malicious gossip against me, discrimination in assignments, isolation, and backstabbing.  And other harassment.  They made the "trump card" of complaining to upper management that I looked unhappy and might "Go Postal".  (Lone male in a female work group - that "going postal" stereotype was the last straw).  Not to go into detail, but I finally documented the harassment, demanded and got a transfer, and started over - with continued excellent performance and laborious rebuild of my reputation and career.  The American workplace can be brutal.  Not everyone can afford to start over, and not everyone has the chance.  

It's great to be militant.  Maybe when I retire..  :)  But to be an unemployed militant atheist is not a good example or strong position to be starting from.  I greatly respect the people who are verbal and expressive in their skepticism, critical thinking, and atheism.  But it's not an option for me.  

Meanwhile I'll keep the piece of petrified wood on my desk and the ginkgo leaves under the blotter that remind me of life's ancient and ongoing presence on earth and that there are some other critical thinkers around.

Sentient Biped,

I wish you were on MY team! It sounds that you are being realistic and cautious in the corporate world. I look forward to hearing more about your encounters as you move to the 'leisure life' of retirement. Good luck and keep on being you!

BY THE WAY!  This Mitt Romney for President thing is a BOOOON for conversations about who is CRAZY!

here is a sweet YouTube link: meet the mormons .  

Twice today, (after knowing they weren't mormon) I was able to DECIMATE Romney's religion.  2 Catholic sisters, and one Jehova's Wintness, with how dam crazy Mormonism is.

John, love the YouTuve vid. I hope some of this makes it into a great anti-Romney political commercial!

I agree that having polite conversation with reasoned responses and examples makes our point to those who are willing to listen. Some believers may just need those words of rationality to help them form a logical leap toward non-belief, even if it doesn't happen right away.

I am a polite and usually gentle person. I am diplomatic and kind in my approach to most anyone, most of the time. Occasionally however, I have run across people who are intent on attacking my non-belief and, I think it is ok to become angry. I can be angry and still argue my point; sometimes that will shake people enough that they may hear. At the very least, they will understand that I am not one to try to 'save' or convert and that I will fight strongly for that which I believe strongly.

My disdain for religion and, more importantly, keeping religion out of our government, schools, and healthcare keeps me fighting against these supernatural beliefs and sanctimonious arrogance.

Heated arguments, while maintaining rationality, is essential in combating this insidious encroachment of religion into our society. I encourage more debate and argument as long as civility is maintained. This is America and public debate is allowed. It is a founding principal of our country. I welcome it, encourage it, and foster it. We need to take a stand against the integration of religion into our daily lives.

Sometimes this stand will make people upset, even angry. But, this is a fight against ignorance and dogma. I view America's current issues with religion as similar to the civil rights battles of the 60's and 70's. It took many years, decades of protest and even violence to get our government (government!) to recognize the value of this fight. While we non-believers may not suffer the same as blacks, we are, without a doubt, being affected adversely by the subtle and sometimes blatant disregard for reality.

All of your points make sense.

My points are pretty much anathema.

What I am saying is that congeniality trumps reason (please don't shoot me) especially when you are dealing with an unreasonable person.

You're probably thinking my strategy won't influence many people -- I agree with you on that.

But, for what it's worth, it keeps me from grinding my teeth at night.

Your approach is just as necessary as mine.

Best of luck, Eric.


I agree with you. I may sound strident in my words here, but most of the time I am congenial when discussing topics of religion v. atheism. I'm not picking a fight, but sometimes the fight comes to me.

Thanks for the reply!

Sir, you hit the ball out of the park.  But surely you know that logical arguments are of no avail in debating with someone who has only dogma to rely on?  And surely you know that we are all hard-wired to believe and that the 20% of Americans who do not appear insane to the 80% who do, giving in to their primitivity?  And surely you know that another 50% of them doubt but go on going to church to socialize.  (In this latter regard, I once pointed out to my believing Episcopalean mother that she let the cat out of the bag when she told of having a post-service chat on the front church steps with a federal judge only to have same rudely interrupted by a wealthy parishioner who happened to be an attorney with business before the court.  Jesus forgot to tackle such iniquities when he threw the money changers out of the temple.)  If you argue evolution to them, they will call it theory as if they were unaware that the thing that keeps their feet on the ground, gravity, is but a theory, too.  If you point to your gut, assuming you are male and aging, and complain of an enlarged prostate as evidence of Ignorant Design, they will say if man were perfect he'd be God.  And that is the only truth you will get from them, for, you see, Man is the only God there is.  That is, only Man has the potential for being God.  With Nietzsche, I say religion is the only thing between man and real godhood.

The book, The End of Faith (, by Sam Harris makes a great plea to end religious moderatism, to end religious tolerance   BECAUSE... being tolerant allows the fundamentalist to exist, and in this day of weapons of mass destruction -We're about to find out what happens when extremists get their hands on them.

So "live and let live" wont fly anymore -unless they could pull the religion out of government.  We should say something, and we should look down our noses at them.

You say

...being tolerant allows the fundamentalist to exist, and in this day of weapons of mass destruction -We're about to find out what happens when extremists get their hands on them.

This seems to imply that fundamentalists are extremists, prone to acts of terror. Isn't this a sweeping condemnation of a large class of people for acts of a tiny minority? I never liked it when all Atheists were condemned for the acts of a few nasty Atheists. Somehow tolerance for people, apart from their belief, seems to be lost, too. I'd rather look down my nose at fundamentalism, not at the people whose minds are trapped by it.

I could not agree with your statement more Ruth. Sweeping generalizations are never factual.

It's true that I'm making a poor representation of Mr. Harris's point in his book.  Let me clarify. 

Our goal of being Moderate in this country, being tolerant of ANY and ALL religious beliefs, makes it impossible to say anything about anyone.  Which in turn allows the fundamentalist to run rampant. Which in turn allows extremist to exist and proliferate. That in itself is PERFECTLY FINE, religious freedom is fine.  ...except now they have the power to kill a whooole lot of people.  

There is no better time than THIS SECOND to push back, to say "you're crazy, you're not thinking, and your going to hurt someone". I don't think we need another 20 or so clinics blown up, or a city for that matter before we pull back on the reigns and say Whooooa!

An Extremist IS a Fundamentalist (with a plan).

I agree with religious freedom.  The book makes the argument pretty plain. The audio book version is pretty nice too. 




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