Why Are Anti-theists So Hostile?

One of the nice features of WordPress is that it tells you what other blogs have linked to your posts.  This way you can come across some blogs that you might not regularly read.  Just a moment ago I came across this post which linked to my post on the J.P. Holding/Hector Avalos “debate” of last month.  In any event, give the post a read and watch the YouTube video at the end and you’ll see why I’m asking why anti-theists are so hostile?  The sad thing is that this isn’t a random or freak example, this is normative.  Anyone who has heard/seen/read Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens has seen the very same thing. :-|

B”H

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11 thoughts on “Why Are Anti-theists So Hostile?

  1. Thanks for the link. As you know, some blogs won’t link to “skeptical” sites.

    And hostility… Have you ever had any dealings with J P Holding? Two wrongs do not make a right… But they do make it impossible deal with Holding civilly.

    As you can see from the comments here, I am perfectly capable of friendly discourse.

    Best regards

  2. PTET,

    Yeah, it’s unfortunate that some people don’t link to those they disagree with. As far as Holding goes, I’ve only exchanged one email with him and it was pretty mundane. Nothing hostile in it, but as I noted in the comments to the post you linked to, I thought he acted like a big baby in his TheologyWeb posts directed at Avalos. That type of behavior isn’t acceptable from anyone, especially Christian apologists.

    And I’m quite sure that you’re capable of friendly discourse. This exchange seems to be friendly enough at the moment. :)

    Be well…

    BTW, I was shocked :-o to see what Holding actually looks like! I always pictured him as a frail old man. How wrong was I?

  3. If I had to guess I would say that they view themselves as some sort of anti-body for the human race. Ie, the irrationality of the religionists is like a virus that hinders progress and evolution, so as far as they are concerned they are acting in the most ethical way possible.

    Of course some could just hate the ide present in religions of any kind, specifically the Christian one, as they call people to submission to the other.

  4. Hi Geoff

    “…they view themselves as some sort of anti-body for the human race… the irrationality of the religionists is like a virus that hinders progress and evolution…”

    You might like to loosen your tinfoil hat.

    “Of course some could just hate the ide present in religions of any kind, specifically the Christian one, as they call people to submission to the other.”

    Does Christianity really call for submission more than Islam or Hinduism?

    How can you tell whether you are submitting to “the other” or whether you are just subconsciously making it all up as you go along?

    Does it matter what “other” I submit to, or is it OK if I just tell myself that I am not responsible for my own beliefs, behavior and life?

  5. I think that the straw that broke the camel’s back truly surrounds 9/11 and the Iraq quagmire which has only disturbed the bees nest of religious factions and religiously motivated violence.

    Now for religious folk who would never identify themselves with such dogmatic absolutism, the anti-theist argument is that if it were not for religion in the first place, there would be no such dogmatic absolutism causing these problems. Therefore, any form of religion legitimates such instances of dogmatic absolutism and therefore legitimates violence to some degree. Finally, religion, since it can take on these forms that appear beyond critique, is an irrational basis for living that we should simply eradicate if possible.

    I have noted on many occasions that I do not think that this argument holds water when it seems clear that such an approach that essentially declares “war” on all religion will only incite the dogmatic absolutist to tighten up their convictions even further thus legitimate the claim of the anti-theist. It is a rather sycophantic relationship this way. They really kind of need each other to form legitimate claims on reality.

    Finally, I think that there is plenty of room to take the problems that atheists and anti-theists have with religious behaviors as a result of poorly founded beliefs and use those critiques as impetus to reform those problems. Many atheists agree with this with whom I have been in countless debates. But this is simply not an option for the anti-theist position which is more shored up in the mission to cure people from the religious disease.

    So with that I am not convinced that the anti-theist project, if we can call it that, will do any good to resolve the problems that dogmatic absolutism causes. How do you stop a three year old from having a temper tanturm every time you say “no” to candy? Ignore the temper tantrum. Stop reinforcing the behavior and use political action to constrict and enforce the limits of that behavior. An atheist will never stop Fred Phelps from picketing by attacking his beliefs. But everyone can stop it by asking the government to intervene within the strictures of the law and to amend the law to limit that sort of behavior. Just like we do with a three year old pitching a fit.

  6. “…I think that there is plenty of room to take the problems that atheists and anti-theists have with religious behaviors as a result of poorly founded beliefs and use those critiques as impetus to reform those problems. Many atheists agree with this with whom I have been in countless debates…”

    Amen to that.

    “…this is simply not an option for the anti-theist position which is more shored up in the mission to cure people from the religious disease…”

    I didn’t call myself an anti-theist, and I would never consider myself an anti-theist.

    Just for the record.

    Ignorance, dogma and bigotry are bad wherever they come from.

    P

  7. PTET: Indeed, our preconceptions can be and are wrong, quite often actually. But for the record, the gentleman in the last YouTube video of your post I would consider an anti-theist (I don’t know if that’s you) along with Dawkins and Hitchens. An atheist is content in not believing that there is/are a god(s) — the anti-theist is the one who argues vehemently against theists and that/those god(s) that they don’t believe in.

    But this post was initially written because of that video. Just wanted to clear that up. :)

  8. Hi Nick

    It’s not me in the video (and he’s a deist apparently).

    My argument is with people who promote their beliefs through absurdities (“you can’t be a Christian and believe in evolution”, for example) or who try to assert that my unbelief is unreasonable (hi Geoff).

    And yeah, the guy in the video is a little “forthright” in his presentation. And I was a little “forthright” in my blog post.

    But I’ll try and be nicer : )

    P

  9. PTET – I know you are not an anti-theist, I was just explicating the vagaries of the position… Your own rhetoric is much more akin to FriendlyAtheist and a few of my agnostic counterparts on the Atheist v. Christian Google group…

    We are actually probably quite close to the fence of “God exists”, we just share opposite sides of it and are unlikely to cross over.

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