I’ve been thinking a bit lately about the difference between being just an atheist, and being anti-theist. I’ve been wondering if I would include myself as one of the later and not just the former. I haven’t given it a lot of thought until recently, when I’ve seen story after story concerning atheists being anti-Christian. To me that’s not necessarily anti-theist.
Do I believe that religion causes harm, physical or mental/emotional to those that are believers or are forced into a certain belief due to heritage? Well, yes, I do think that is true and it’s more than just Christianity. In fact, the basic tenet of being an anti-theist is that religion is harmful, not just one particular belief system.
Those to me that claim to be anti-theist and are simply anti-Christian, or just anti-Muslim (pick a religion) do not in my mind qualify as being anti-theist. They have a bias against a particular belief and thats all.
So, do I qualify as an anti-theist? Well, I also think that religion should be removed from politics and culture, which sometimes overlap. I’m not against the freedom to worship, but I am always troubled by the influence religion has in everyone’s daily lives – no matter what someone believes or doesn’t believe. So, technically, I guess that would place me in the category of anti-theist.
I know many atheists that eschew being referred to as anti-theist, mainly because it has an extremely negative connotation, more so than atheist, but those that think that religion is harmful and that we need less of it in the public arena, are in fact anti-theists.
No need to hide from it, or deny the obvious if the terminology defines ones’ thoughts and beliefs.