I don't know how to feel about this but...

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AreYouOffended's picture
I don't know how to feel about this but...

First I would like to make a short introduction.

My name is Michael, I am 33 (later this month) and I have identified as an atheist for just over 8 years. Before that I was raised as an evangelical Christian which is what my entire family identifies as. For the longest time things were good between my family and friends, that is until I came out as an atheist and libertarian.

While things were definitely strained between us in the beginning, now they have had time to know their hostility towards me will not make me see their way is the right way. Even though we have come to what I would call somewhat of an understanding they still like to cross that line that will always end with hurt feelings and anger...Especially when it comes to my stepdaughter who is only 6 years old. Anyway...

As much as it hurts for my family to not respect my wishes it literally infuriates me to hear how hateful and bigoted most religious people are towards anyone who doesn't think how they do. In my experience most religious people would much rather cause my family and I harm than tolerate us. Because of these constant interactions I shamefully have come to the realization that I am beginning to hate most if not all things that have to do with religion and the people who practice it.

Of course there are the few who you wouldn't even be able to tell are religious and the more accepting one's but that seems to be like 1 in a 1000. Would this make me an anti theist? If so how do most of you interact with these people and not let them get under your skin? I am generally a guy who is non confrontational and try to see the good in everyone but lately it has become harder to keep my composure with these kinds of people...

Thanks for hearing me out and I look forward to getting to know you all.

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watchman's picture
@ AYO …

@ AYO …

Im afraid I can be of little help to you …..being a" Brit" we don't experience such "hard line" ,full on antipathy from that many people .

However , there have been occasions over the years ….. and what I try to do is to keep my temper...… use the anger to drive my researches..... come up with many and varied ways to disprove their beliefs …. but never use them first.... hold your fire until the appropriate moment...… then let them have them all ...and all at once.....

Use your anger..... never let your anger use you...… keep your temper..... it makes you more rational ….. it allows you to argue more effectively and most important of all …. it annoys the hell out of them.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
As an Aussie we don't have

As an Aussie we don't have that problem with Evangelical churches so much...they don't much like the hilarity that ensues when they start spouting. Sadly our Prime Minister is a tongue speaking Pentecostalist so no doubt things will change if he gets his way over religion.

As Watchman counselled, let them make their points, keep your temper, wait...and wait a bit more then blast them all at once from the non historical magic jesus to condoning all those horrible things in the bible...and don't forget the racist jesus, that always gets them blowing like an angry Vesuvius...above all...have fun with them. They are mentally undeveloped after all...like children, but armed with knives and rocks.

Cognostic's picture

Hi! Welcome to the AR. In many cases I am in complete agreement with your assessment of the good Christian folk out there who will talk behind your back, insult you, condemn you, and quite frankly be viciously nasty to anyone who does not agree with their Godly religious views. When they do harm to me or friends of mine, I feel quite justified in my hate of them and their religion. I would certainly classify myself as an anti-theist. I view religion as the greatest con game / lie on the planet today.

With that said, your question was "Are you more of an anti-theist?" At this point I would like to sway you away from "black or white" logic. I am an atheist and that encompass the anti-theist position. There are times when I adopt the atheist position and times when I adopt the anti-theist position. Remember, the anti-theist generally has a burden of proof unless he is simply being an angry asshole. (Sometimes angry asshole works depending on your goal.) Every now and then we get some (Generally Young) person logging into the site and simply badmouthing the Church, Religion, Christians, or their version of God. What generally happens around here is that their overly generalized comments and inane assertions are challenged in the same way a person would challenge bullshit Christian assertions. These people do not hang around long. They seem to think that they can come onto an atheist site and unload bullshit unchallenged and everyone will agree with them. It does not happen around here. The same atheists that take logical and rational skepticism to the Christians also apply it to fellow atheists on the site.

So what is the difference between an Atheist and an Anti-theist. One simple way of identifying the difference is that atheists are simply asking for facts and evidence regarding theist claims. Absent sufficient evidence the atheist has no reason what so ever to believe in such claims. Belief is allocated to the degree of useful evidence provided.

Anti-theists on the other hand are making claims. "Religion is evil." "There is no god." "Religious people are all delusional." "Religion Poisons Everything." "God is not great." (Some of those attributed to the late great Christopher Hitchens who had no trouble at all defending his anti-theistic views.)

After 8 years as an atheist it makes perfectly good sense that you are developing some strong opinions about religion, religious practices, the concept of god, spirituality, and other nonsense. Here is the rub.... CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES WISELY..... There is a time for being in the atheist camp and a time for being in the anti-theist camp. There are also a whole lot of steps in between.

Think of it as an elevator ride with Atheism being on the bottom floor of a 10 story building. As we move up to each floor, we make a few more challenges and a few more assertions until we reach the top floor: Anti-theism. The angry asshole takes the elevator right to the top floor and gets stuck there. He has neither the knowledge or ability to actually be an Anti-theist. He just hates religion. To anti-theists who have spent time gaining the knowledge and ability to remain on the top floor, our angry anti-theist just looks like a pissed off dweeb with no ability at all to back up anything he says.

Another interesting feature of the Anti-theist is that he / she remains an atheist. If the person is wise, they can continue riding the elevator up and down and be equally as comfortable on the first floor as on the fifth or the tenth. One need not remain stuck in any one place. The division between Atheist and Anti-theist is contingent on your ability to logically challenge a theist perspective with facts and evidence, not just hate and disrespect.

In short, actually being an anti-theist is a whole lot more than merely hating religion. Anyone can hate. That takes no talent at all. Generally people who do hate, (I am not saying you are in this category.) give atheism a bad name. They say stupid things to Christians and when they are called on the stupid shit they say, they can not defend their position with logical facts or critical thinking.

It makes perfectly good sense that an 8 year exposure to atheism and atheist thought would begin moving you closer and closer to the 10th floor. There is a whole lot of bullshit in religion if you just open your eyes wide enough to see it. Even so, never let hate replace skepticism, logic, and rationality. If you plan on taking an anti-theist position on any topic or theist assertion, always be prepared. Lead with logic and rationality, not hate.

Rohan M.'s picture
Great analogy! Sums up

Great analogy! Sums up antitheism perfectly. The idea that antitheism is hating religious people is a very common misconception among both atheists and theists.

noreason's picture
who do we side with? Do

who do we side with? Do atheist feel that "just get out of our way." is a reasonable statement? when the anti-religious says that? Do we, must we, agree with the people that think we must deny anything theist can use that makes atheism harder to sell?

I am an atheist that believes we should hold ourselves to the same standards we hold theist too. Do we base our beliefs off of observation or do we based our belief on how some theist will miss use it?

LogicFTW's picture

I can not speak for all atheist, but I am not worried about trying to "sell" atheism to anyone. Certainly not here on these forums.

I am also not worried about trying to deny things theist can use. They have nothing to use, all their stuff is just talk, only a fool would be concerned with just talk being a threat to a highly evidenced argument from the opposing side.

David Killens's picture


"Do we base our beliefs off of observation or do we based our belief on how some theist will miss use it?"

We still base our beliefs off observation, and if a theist misrepresents what we have stated, then we correct them.

When a theist uses such tactics, it is either based on ignorance (which is corrected by educating them) or they intend to divert the conversation. Stick to the game plan, stick to the topic, never get drawn into an emotional fight, try to remain rational and calm.

And the longer you are in AR, the more you will learn about all the fallacies that theists use in an attempt to win the conversation.

NaturalWorldGuy2's picture
While anti-theism and atheism

While anti-theism and atheism can encompass each other, there are differences. Atheism is a lack of belief in a God or gods. Most atheists would believe in a god if there was sufficient evidence for one. Anti-theists are usually ardent in opposing religion and deities no matter what.

So, no, I don't blame you for being furious over religion, but being more rational rather than angry will help you in the long run so that you can deal with zealots, like most of your family, I suppose, in an easier and logical way (despite the backlash from them).

NeverHappened's picture
There is a big range. Most

There is a big range. Most Christians I know are willing to 'agree to disagree' and move on. But I'm sure there are some pockets of hostility. I live across the street from a (mostly black) Baptist church. In the 30 years I've lived here, they've been friendly to me and I to them.

To be honest, I do know a FEW atheists who wear their hostility to religion as a badge of honor, but the crowd here seems pretty well balanced.

" I came out as an atheist and libertarian" --I've encountered a few atheists who were hostile to us libertarians

Cognostic's picture
@Never-happened: "Agreeing

@Never-happened: "Agreeing to disagree." Do you not see that this means you have won the argument. There is no disagreement when all you are doing is asking for proof, evidence or a rational reason for belief and the theists can not come up with one. There is no "AGREEING TO DISAGREE." All the Theist is really saying is that they have failed to provide sufficient information. "I am not disagreeing with you. I have asked for facts, evidence, and reasons in support of the theist position and you have not provided them.)

Atheists are not hostile to libertarians. Atheism has nothing what so ever to do with being a libertarian. You are mixing a paradigm (Libertarianism) with a position on the existence of god (non-belief). More likely, you are in disagreement with other atheists about how their atheism should be expressed. Not all atheists express things the same way.

Yesterday I was walking down the street and ran into a troop of street preachers. They were doing the typical shit. Playing music, reading from the bible, calling people who passed by sinners, etc.... I walked up to one young man who was holding a donation bag and asked him if he was giving away money. He said, "No, it's for donations." I literally went into a tirade.

"Look at the way you are dressed and now look at the beggars, You have new clothes, shoes, guitars, amplifiers. You had a shower today. What the fuck right do you have to come out here and ask for money. The Church up the street is the largest building in town and the poor are forced to sleep on the street outside its gates. The same gates that open for fancy cars on Sundays so it can make money. YOU SHOULD BE GIVING MONEY AWAY! bla bla bla.... It ended with , Jesus isn't even real. There is no evidence supporting his historical existence. You are following Paul and his ideas, not anyone called Jesus, Do you know how to use the internet. Why don't you open your mind and look into some of your stupid beliefs. How long are you going to be an ignorant puppet of your church...... The guy just stood their dumbfounded and completely unable to deal with the battery of assault leveled at him.

I walked away feeling much better about myself for the confrontation. I have always wanted to do that.

When the POPE visited the Philippines they left a book in the airport for people to sign. A huge golden book that looked like some sort of registry. I wrote (FUCK THE CHILD MOLESTING POPE AND HIS CATHOLIC FAITH ) all across one page. I knew airport security was going to lock me away, but nothing happened. Until I got on the plane, I imagined being confronted by security and a local news crew demanding I tell them why I desecrated the Pope's book. The Philippines, after all, is a Catholic nation.

So look, you express your atheism in your own way. The more you hang around the atheist camps and the more informed you become, the stronger and more confident you also become. Religion really does poison everything. With that said, not every day or every situation demands a confrontation. You must pick your battles carefully and only engage in the ones you feel comfortable engaging in. Try to stay within your comfort zone but don't fear stepping out of it now and again, especially when something really religiously insane is going on.

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