Antireligion

Antireligion is opposition to religion of any kind.[1][2][3] The term has been used to describe opposition to organized religion, religious practices or religious institutions. This term has also been used to describe opposition to specific forms of supernatural worship or practice, whether organized or not. Opposition to religion also goes beyond the misotheistic spectrum. As such, antireligion is distinct from deity-specific positions such as atheism (the lack of belief in deities) and antitheism (an opposition to belief in deities); although "antireligionists" may also be atheists or antitheists.

Historical perspectives

An early form of mass antireligion was expressed during the Enlightenment, as early as the 17th century. Baron d'Holbach's book Christianity Unveiled published in 1761, attacked not only Christianity but religion in general as an impediment to the moral advancement of humanity. According to historian Michael Burleigh, antireligion found its first mass expression of barbarity in revolutionary France as "organised ... irreligion...an 'anti-clerical' and self-styled 'non-religious' state" responded violently to religious influence over society.[4] Christopher Hitchens was a well-known antireligionist and critic of religion of the 20th century who maintained opposition to religion, arguing that free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion as the method of teaching ethics and defining human civilization.

The Soviet Union adopted the political ideology of Marxism-Leninism and viewed religion as closely tied with foreign nationality. It thus directed varying degrees of antireligious efforts at varying faiths, depending on what threat they posed to the Soviet state, and their willingness to subordinate itself to political authority. These antireligious campaigns were directed at all faiths,[5][6] including Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Jewish, and Shamanist religions. In the 1930s, during the Stalinist period, the government destroyed church buildings or put them into secular use (as museums of religion and atheism, clubs or storage facilities), executed clergy, prohibited the publication of most religious material and persecuted some members of religious groups.[5][7][8] Less violent attempts to reduce or eliminate the influence of religion in society were also carried out at other times in Soviet history. For instance, it was usually necessary to be an atheist in order to acquire any important political position or any prestigious scientific job; thus many people became atheists in order to advance their careers. In the years of 1921-1950, some estimate that 15 million Christians were killed in the Soviet Union.[9] Up to 500,000 Russian Orthodox Christians were persecuted by the Soviet government, not including other religious groups.[10] The Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic targeted numerous clergy for arrest and interrogation as enemies of the state,[11] and many churches, mosques, and synagogues were converted to secular uses.[12] The People's Republic of Albania had an objective for the eventual elimination of all religion in Albania with the goal of creating an atheist nation, which it declared it had achieved in 1967. In 1976, Albania implemented a constitutional ban on religious activity and propaganda.[13] The government nationalised most property of religious institutions and used it for non-religious purposes, such as cultural centers for young people. Religious literature was banned. Many clergy and theists were tried, tortured, and executed. All foreign Roman Catholic clergy were expelled in 1946.[13][14] Albania was the only country that ever officially banned religion.

Authorities in the People's Republic of Romania aimed to move towards an atheistic society, in which religion would be considered as the ideology of the bourgeoisie; the régime also set to propagate among the laboring masses in science, politics and culture to help them fight superstition and mysticism, and initiated an anti-religious campaign aimed at reducing the influence of religion in society.[15] After the communist takeover in 1948, some church personnel were imprisoned for political crimes.[16]

The Khmer Rouge attempted to eliminate Cambodia's cultural heritage, including its religions, particularly Theravada Buddhism.[17] Over the four years of Khmer Rouge rule, at least 1.5 million Cambodians perished. Of the sixty thousand Buddhist monks that previously existed, only three thousand survived the Khmer Rouge horror.[18][19]

Notable antireligious people

Intellectuals
Politicians
Others

See also

References

  1. ^ "Anti-religion". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Antireligion". Collins Dictionary. Collins Dictionary Online. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  3. ^ Bullivant, Stephen; Lee, Lois (2016). A Dictionary of Atheism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191816819.
  4. ^ Michael Burleigh Earthly Powers p 96-97 ISBN 0-00-719572-9
  5. ^ a b http://www.countrystudies.us/russia/38.htm
  6. ^ "Soviet Union: Policy toward nationalities and religions in practice". www.country-data.com. May 1989. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  7. ^ Timasheff, N. S. (1941). "The Church in the Soviet Union 1917 - 1941". Russian Review. 1 (1): 20–30. doi:10.2307/125428. JSTOR 125428.
  8. ^ "Revelations from the Russian Archives: ANTI-RELIGIOUS CAMPAIGNS". Library of Congress. US Government. Retrieved 2 May 2016. The Soviet Union was the first state to have as an ideological objective the elimination of religion. Toward that end, the Communist regime confiscated church property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated atheism in the schools. Actions toward particular religions, however, were determined by State interests, and most organized religions were never outlawed.
  9. ^ World Christian trends, AD 30-AD 2200, p.243 Table 4-10 By David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, Christopher R. Guidry, Peter F. Crossing
  10. ^ Емельянов Н.Е. Сколько репрессированных в России пострадали за Христа?
  11. ^ (in Romanian)Martiri pentru Hristos, din România, în perioada regimului comunist, Editura Institutului Biblic și de Misiune al Bisericii Ortodoxe Române, București, 2007, pp.34–35
  12. ^ Brezianu, Andrei (26 May 2010). The A to Z of Moldova. Scarecrow Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-8108-7211-0. Communist Atheism. Official doctrine of the Soviet regime, also called "scientific atheism." It was aggressively applied to Moldova, immediately after the 1940 annexation, when churches were profaned, clergy assaulted, and signs and public symbols of religion were prohibited, and it was applied again throughout the subsequent decades of the Soviet regime, after 1944. ... churches were either pulled down or turned into facilities designed to serve secular or even profane purposes ... the Transfiguration Cathedral (previously dedicated to St. Constantine and Helena) housed the city's planetarium.
  13. ^ a b http://countrystudies.us/albania/56.htm
  14. ^ World Christian trends, AD 30-AD 2200, p.230-246 Tables 4-10 By David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, Christopher R. Guidry, Peter F. Crossing
  15. ^ Leustean, Lucian (2009). Orthodoxy and the Cold War: Religion and Political Power in Romania, 1947-65. la University of Michigan. pp. 92–93. ISBN 978-3447058742. One of the main aims of the regime was to transform Romania into a communist atheist society in which religion was considered the ideology of the bourgeoise. Thus in 1949, the Society for the Popularisation of Science and Culture was established. The main objective of this anti-religious society was 'to propagate among the labouring masses political and scientific knowledge to fight obscurantism, superstition, mysticism, and all other influences of bourgeois ideologies'. ...the regime's anti-religious campaign aimed to discredit the church and to reduce the influence of religion in society.
  16. ^ January 23, 1999, issue of the London Tablet by Jonathen Luxmoore, Published by Chesterton Review Feb/May 1999
  17. ^ Philip Shenon, Phnom Penh Journal; Lord Buddha Returns, With Artists His Soldiers The New York Times - January 2, 1992
  18. ^ Khmer Rouge: Christian baptism after massacres Archived January 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ CRIMES OF WAR
  20. ^ q:Thomas Paine
  21. ^ Marx, K. 1976. Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Collected Works, v. 3. New York.
  22. ^ "Dewey felt that science alone contributed to 'human good,' which he defined exclusively in naturalistic terms. He rejected religion and metaphysics as valid supports for moral and social values, and felt that success of the scientific method presupposed the destruction of old knowledge before the new could be created. ... (Dewey, 1929, pp. 95, 145) "William Adrian, TRUTH, FREEDOM AND (DIS)ORDER IN THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, Christian Higher Education, 4:2, 145-154
  23. ^ "I think all the great religions of the world – Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Communism – both untrue and harmful. It is evident as a matter of logic that, since they disagree, not more than one of them can be true. ... I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue." Bertrand Russell in "My Religious Reminiscences" (1957), reprinted in The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell [1]
  24. ^ Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labelled only by a difference of inherited tradition. And dangerous because we have all bought into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let's now stop being so damned respectful! The Guardian, 2001-10-11 "Has the world changed?." The Guardian. Accessed 2006-01-29.
  25. ^ Grimes, William (16 December 2011). "Christopher Hitchens, Polemicist Who Slashed All, Freely, Dies at 62". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  26. ^ "[T]he Bible, contrary to what a majority of Americans apparently believe, is far from a source of higher moral values. Religions have given us stonings, witch-burnings, crusades, inquisitions, jihads, fatwas, suicide bombers, gay-bashers, abortion-clinic gunmen, and mothers who drown their sons so they can happily be united in heaven." The Evolutionary Psychology of Religion, presentation by Steven Pinker to the annual meeting of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Madison, Wisconsin, October 29, 2004, on receipt of “The Emperor’s New Clothes Award.”
  27. ^ "Religion is the opium of the people: this saying of Marx is the cornerstone of the entire ideology of Marxism about the religion. All modern religions and churches, all and of every kind of religious organizations are always considered by Marxism as the organs of bourgeois reaction, used for the protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class."Lenin, V. I. "About the attitude of the working party toward the religion". Collected works, v. 17, p.41. Retrieved 2006-09-09.
  28. ^ http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/soviet.exhibit/anti_rel.html
  29. ^ Grossman, J. D. (1973). "Khrushchev's Anti-Religious Policy and the Campaign of 1954". Soviet Studies. 24 (3): 374–386. doi:10.1080/09668137308410870. JSTOR 150643.
  30. ^ http://www.randi.org/
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-07. Retrieved 2013-10-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "I'm anti-religious ... It's all a big lie ... I have such a huge dislike [of] the miserable record of religion." The Guardian, 2005-12-14 " The Guardian. 'It no longer feels a great injustice that I have to die'
Agnostic theism

Agnostic theism, agnostotheism or agnostitheism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of a god or gods, but regards the basis of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable. The agnostic theist may also or alternatively be agnostic regarding the properties of the god or gods that they believe in.

Antisuperstition

Antisuperstition is a concept in Chinese religion that can be defined as to body of all discussion against religious practice when using the word mixin, distinctly mixin/zongjiao.Antisuperstition is similar to some extreme forms of Confucian fundamentalism, rejecting the moral self-perfection delineated by any particular world religion's theological scriptures.

Antitheism

Antitheism (sometimes anti-theism) is the opposition to theism. The term has had a range of applications. In secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to the belief in any deity.

Apatheism

Apatheism (; a portmanteau of apathy and theism) is the attitude of apathy towards the existence or non-existence of god(s). It is more of an attitude rather than a belief, claim, or belief system.An apatheist is someone who is not interested in accepting or rejecting any claims that gods exist or do not exist. The existence of god(s) is not rejected, but may be designated irrelevant.Scientist and philosopher Ian von Hegner has argued that apatheism is an alternative to positions such as theism, atheism, and agnosticism, with implications that have been overlooked in modern philosophical discussions. Philosopher Trevor Hedberg has called apatheism "uncharted territory in the philosophy of religion."

Argument from free will

The argument from free will, also called the paradox of free will or theological fatalism, contends that omniscience and free will are incompatible and that any conception of God that incorporates both properties is therefore inherently contradictory. These arguments are deeply concerned with the implications of predestination.

Atheist's Wager

The Atheist's Wager, popularised by the philosopher Michael Martin and published in his 1990 book Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, is an atheistic response to Pascal's Wager regarding the existence of God.

One version of the Atheist's Wager suggests that since a kind and loving god would reward good deeds – and that if no gods exist, good deeds would still leave a positive legacy – one should live a good life without religion. Another formulation suggests that a god may reward honest disbelief and punish a dishonest belief in the divine.

Atheistic existentialism

Atheistic existentialism is a kind of existentialism which strongly diverged from the Christian existential works of Søren Kierkegaard and developed within the context of an atheistic world view. The philosophies of Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche provided existentialism's theoretical foundation in the 19th century, although their differing views on religion proved essential to the development of alternate types of existentialism. Atheistic existentialism was formally recognized after the 1943 publication of Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre and Sartre later explicitly alluded to it in Existentialism is a Humanism in 1946.

Criticism of religion

Criticism of religion is criticism of the ideas, validity, or the practice of religion, including its political and social implications.Historical records of criticism of religion goes back to at least 5th century BCE in ancient Greece, with Diagoras "the Atheist" of Melos. In ancient Rome, an early known example is Lucretius' De Rerum Natura from the 1st century BCE.

Every exclusive religion on Earth that promotes exclusive truth claims necessarily denigrates the truth claims of other religions. Critics of religion in general often regard religion as outdated, harmful to the individual, harmful to society, an impediment to the progress of science, a source of immoral acts or customs and a political tool for social control.

Humanistic naturalism

Humanistic naturalism is the branch of philosophical naturalism wherein human beings are best able to control and understand the world through use of the scientific method, combined with the social and ethical values of humanism. Concepts of spirituality, intuition, and metaphysics are considered subjectively valuable only, primarily because they are unfalsifiable, and therefore can never progress beyond the realm of personal opinion. A boundary is not drawn between nature and what lies "beyond" nature; everything is regarded as a result of explainable processes within nature, with nothing lying outside it.The belief is that all living things are intricate extensions of nature, and therefore deserve some degree of mutual respect from human beings. Naturalists accept the need for adaptation to current change, however it may be, and also that life must feed upon life for survival. However, they also recognize the necessity for a fair exchange of resources between all species. Humanistic naturalists are generally concerned with the ethical aspects of "worldview naturalism."Industry and technology are sometimes regarded as enemies to naturalism, but this is not always the case. For those who do believe in such threats, the thought is that the majority of human history, societies were largely agricultural and hunter-gatherer and lived in relative harmony and balance with nature. With the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, some humanistic naturalists see this balance as being increasingly threatened. This view has some similarities with anarcho-primitivism and other anti-modernist perspectives.

Ignosticism

Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that the question of the existence of God is meaningless because the term god has no coherent and unambiguous definition. It may also be described as the theological position that other theological positions assume too much about the concept of god.

Misotheism

Misotheism is the "hatred of God" or "hatred of the gods" (from the Greek adjective μισόθεος "hating the gods", a compound of μῖσος "hatred" and θεός "god"). In some varieties of polytheism, it was considered possible to inflict punishment on gods by ceasing to worship them. Thus, Hrafnkell, protagonist of the eponymous Hrafnkels saga set in the 10th century, as his temple to Freyr is burnt and he is enslaved, states that "I think it is folly to have faith in gods", never performing another blót (sacrifice), a position described in the sagas as goðlauss, "godless". Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology observes that:

It is remarkable that Old Norse legend occasionally mentions certain men who, turning away in utter disgust and doubt from the heathen faith, placed their reliance on their own strength and virtue. Thus in the Sôlar lioð 17 we read of Vêbogi and Râdey á sjálf sig þau trûðu, "in themselves they trusted".

In monotheism, the sentiment arises in the context of theodicy (the problem of evil, the Euthyphro dilemma). A famous literary expression of misotheistic sentiment is Goethe's Prometheus, composed in the 1770s.

A related concept is dystheism (Ancient Greek: δύσ θεος "bad god"), the belief that a god is not wholly good, and is possibly evil. Trickster gods found in polytheistic belief systems often have a dystheistic nature. One example is Eshu, a trickster god from Yoruba religion who deliberately fostered violence between groups of people for his own amusement, saying that "causing strife is my greatest joy."

The concept of the Demiurge in some versions of ancient Gnosticism also often portrayed the Demiurge as a generally evil entity.

Many polytheistic deities since prehistoric times have been assumed to be neither good nor evil (or to have both qualities). Thus dystheism is normally used in reference to the Judeo-Christian God. In conceptions of God as the summum bonum, the proposition of God not being wholly good would be an oxymoron.

A historical proposition close to "dystheism" is the deus deceptor "evil demon" (dieu trompeur) of René Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy, which has been interpreted by Protestant critics as the blasphemous proposition that God exhibits malevolent intent. But Richard Kennington states that Descartes never declared his "evil genius" to be omnipotent, but merely no less powerful than he is deceitful, and thus not explicitly an equivalent to God, the singular omnipotent deity.

Nontheism

Nontheism or non-theism is a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of espoused belief in a God or gods. Nontheism has generally been used to describe apathy or silence towards the subject of God and differs from an antithetical, explicit atheism. Nontheism does not necessarily describe atheism or disbelief in God; it has been used as an umbrella term for summarizing various distinct and even mutually exclusive positions, such as agnosticism, ignosticism, ietsism, skepticism, pantheism, atheism, strong or positive atheism, implicit atheism, and apatheism. It is in use in the fields of Christian apologetics and general liberal theology.

Within the scope of nontheistic agnosticism, philosopher Anthony Kenny distinguishes between agnostics who find the claim "God exists" uncertain and theological noncognitivists who consider all discussion of God to be meaningless. Some agnostics, however, are not nontheists but rather agnostic theists.Other related philosophical opinions about the existence of deities are ignosticism and skepticism. Because of the various definitions of the term God, a person could be an atheist in terms of certain conceptions of gods, while remaining agnostic in terms of others.

Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society

The Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society (PATAS) is a nonprofit organization for the public understanding of atheism and agnosticism in the Philippines. It serves to educate society, and eliminate myths and misconceptions about atheism and agnosticism. It speaks against discrimination of the non-religious, and for equal opportunities as Filipino citizens. PATAS encourages harmonious information exchange among its atheist and agnostic members, and encourages its members to come out and speak for their lack of religious beliefs. The society was founded in February 2011 by John Paraiso, who served as the first chairperson and president, respectively.

Post-theism

Post-theism is a variant of nontheism that proposes that the division of theism vs. atheism is obsolete, that God belongs to a stage of human development now past. Within nontheism, post-theism can be contrasted with antitheism.

The term appears in Christian liberal theology and Postchristianity.

Frank Hugh Foster in a 1918 lecture announced that modern culture had arrived at a "post-theistic stage" in which humanity has taken possession of the powers of agency and creativity that had formerly been projected upon God.Denys Turner argues that Karl Marx did not choose atheism over theism, but rejected the binary "Feuerbachian" choice altogether, a position which by being post-theistic is at the same time necessarily post-atheistic. For example, at one point Marx argued "there should be less trifling with the label 'atheism,'” as he insisted "religion in itself is without content, it owes its being not to heaven but to the earth, and with the abolition of distorted reality, of which it is the theory, it will collapse of itself."Related ideas include Friedrich Nietzsche's pronouncement that "God is dead" and the transtheism of Paul Tillich or Pema Chödrön.

Secular movement

The secular movement refers to a social and political trend in the United States, beginning in the early years of the 20th century, with the founding of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism in 1925 and the American Humanist Association in 1941, in which atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, freethinkers, and other nonreligious and nontheistic Americans have grown in both numbers and visibility. There has been a sharp increase in the number of Americans who identify as religiously unaffiliated, from under 10 percent in the 1990s to 20 percent in 2013. The trend is especially pronounced among young people, with about one in three Americans younger than 30 identifying as religiously unaffiliated, a figure that has nearly tripled since the 1990s.The secular movement in the United States has caused friction in the culture war and in other areas of American society. It is generally opposed to the Christian right and promotes liberal positions on social issues such as gay rights, reproductive rights, and separation of church and state. This doesn't mean that all "secularists" believe these things, just the movement as a whole has moved in a more "liberal" or "civil libertarian" direction.

Spectrum of theistic probability

Popularized by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, the spectrum of theistic probability is a way of categorizing one's belief regarding the probability of the existence of a deity.

Theological noncognitivism

Theological noncognitivism is the position that religious language – specifically, words such as "God" – are not cognitively meaningful. It is sometimes considered synonymous with ignosticism.

Theomachist

Theomachist is a term used to refer to an individual who resists God or the divine will. The term comes from the Greek words theos, meaning God and machē, meaning battle. Karl Marx was considered by many to be a theomachist. The atheists who established the Cult of Reason in Revolutionary France have also been described with this term.

Concepts in religion
Conceptions of God
Existence of God
Theology
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Problem of evil
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