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Is anti-theism on a par with racism?

I would like to make the argument that people who really hate it when religion is being criticized, are really only encouraging one thing. IGNORANCE

I consider many ideas found in religious text to be immoral, incorrect and harmful to society.

Not only that, but the way society moves forward (or improves) is by challenging ideas. This is how we end up with things like technology, medication, equality (etc), and when it comes to equality you won't have to look too far to see how religion can be a major barrier.

However, I hear many people that really hate the idea of criticizing religion. Even atheists are adopting this position. I hear atheists criticizing people like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins just for writing books and talking about the evidence (or lack thereof) for religious ideas. It seems like an aggressive liberal position to me which basically says:

You can be religious or non religious, but you are not allowed to criticize people that are different to you as it is a form of racism (or discrimination similar to racism)

For me I think these people's hearts are in the right place but I do think that they are wrong. People who are genuinely curious as to what type of universe we live in (one with or without a creator) will need to look at the evidence if they really do care about the truth (and not just what they want the truth to be). Personally, having come across the 'fine-tuning' argument (I heard it first by Frank Turek), it was argued very well and learned facts that I was completely unaware of. I would probably be an agnostic person leaning towards a belief in some kind of deistic god, if it wasn't for people who argued against the idea, supplying there own evidence/arguments in favor of a natural universe (this is the position I hold after listening to both sets of arguments). The point is, as stated above, is that these people only encourage ignorance, or at least opinions based on ignorance. What are your thoughts? Is debating religious ideas an acceptable thing to do?

RobH86 7 June 29

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i think you are misdefining antitheism. being against religion is not the same thing as hating or discriminating against religionists. protecting yourself from their discriminating against you is no more equivalent to racism than being black and objecting to being shot dead for no reason by a racist policeman would make you racist.



Religion and racism are both founded upon ignorance. Neither have any basis in science or fact, and both are founded in lack of knowledge.

Incredible claims require incredible evidence. Neither religion nor racism has any evidence. To me that means both need fervent ridicule to highlight their idiotic claims.


status quo is for many the goal and upsetting it is uncomfortable for them so it can be an uncomfortable experience to debate against something even if they believe it to be a falsehood but ideas are different to your ethnicity you choose one and are born the other


Religions are ideology, not races. Therefore, criticizing religion is not racist.


People can choose, change, reject their religion, but do not get that option when it comes to race. Therefore, comparing the two is spurious.

Great answer

@Livia Thank you. Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and again.

@Coleman but I just thought, what about Judaism. It is both a race and a religion as it is matrilineally. If you are Jewish it’s both blood and religion. Therefore, in anti-Semitism there is both racism and religious intolerance. No?

@Livia There are plenty of people who are culturally Jewish but are of a different religion.

how so?


I'm not an anti-theist, but as a nullifidian I loathe all organized religions, most notably the Abrahamic faiths. I don't hate adherents, I hate the doctrines, dogmas and demands their faiths espouse. If there is a supreme being, none of the world's religious leaders or so-called prophets have a clue as to its attributes, despite their egotistical proclamations. What gives any man or woman the right to claim to be a mouthpiece for the divine? In this realm Rabbis, Priests, Imams and Buddhist monks are on equally specious footing.

I literally seethe with every fiber in my being when I consider what has been perpetrated--and continues to be done--in the name of religion. And I agree with Richard Dawkins that to force upon the minds of innocent children these unfounded and hideous articles of faith represents a form of child abuse. And yes, we may think it's cute now to tell toddlers that there is a Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus, but someday we will look back somewhat shamefully and ask ourselves what made us think it was okay to fuck with our kid's heads like that! Away with all magical thinking, and to 'hell' with religious teaching and all organized religion!


Antitheism can be akin to racism, if one views theists as an inferior class. People can be wrong about many things, like the Monty Hall problem, but that doesn't justify stigmatizing them in general. They just don't understand probability.


If you treated a person harshly just because they were a theist, then I'd say that it is similar to racism. If you didn't hire a highly qualified person for a job solely because they believed in God or attacked someone minding their own while holding a bible.. basically any act of hatred on an innocent just because they believed in God, then I'd say that's right up there with racism.

Luckily, most agnostics and atheists don't care enough about not believing in God to act out on their distaste in a harmful fashion. Challenging religious beliefs isn't racist. Any belief or knowledge we have is open to criticism, and should be challenged in the same fashion as it. If a theist is having a calm back and forth discussion, do the same. If a theist is trying to physically beat the belief of God into you, punch them in the fucking face. If someone gets offended by non-hateful criticism though, then they are probably insecure with their belief.


No anti-theism opposes a belief system not people. Even though people can and do identify with their religions and take any criticism of their beliefs as attacks on their characters, its not. In fact it demonstrates how pathetic people are that they see themselves as a mindless follower of a cult rather than as an individual.

Anti-theists don't hate religious people; they want to free them from superstition and ignorance.

JimG Level 8 July 19, 2018

The trap has been set! Bwhahahaha


@RobH86 Is debating religious ideas an acceptable thing to do? Of course it is, anyone who says no to that q. on here is gonna get clobbered. Maybe a poll would have been a better approach? Sorry, it looks like a trap.

@MrTallman Holy hoaxer, Batman! You may be on to something. And to think, I fell for it! 😉


Comparing anti-theism to racism is a logical fallacy. It might be a form of bias, but the root cause is entirely different.

sounds like we agree, although it doesn't necessarily criticism with bias, I would argue that it is perfectly reasonable to criticise certain religious ideas without any bias at all

@RobH86 Some people are biased against all religion based on their experience. Hence, "might be" a form of bias. My point is just that comparing racism with anti-theism is a logical fallacy.


Hell no. Anti-theism isn’t a proposition to erase or become tyrannical against Theists. That’s just psychopathic, period. Anti-theism is the rejection of theism even in the hypothetical existence of the Theist god, as in “I would not worship a celestial dictator”. That’s it.


All ideas should be challenged. Any statement made with certitude, whether it is religious or non-religious, political or philosophical is open to debate. Many of the atheistic views from contributors at this site are delivered with the zeal of evangelism, i.e. no substance to support the claims, or misinformed positions, declaring an 'I know best' refrain. Debate and discussion opens the way for new ideas and any entrenched beliefs are destined to fail due to the advances made with science and philosophical discourse.


The Dead Sea Scrolls prove that Pre-Christian Jews were debating their own religious beliefs. A pesher is a commentary on scriptural interpretation. The Habbakuk Pesher is the most famous one included in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Christianity would not exist without this type of debate. Jesus (who never actually claimed he was God) argued for this type of reinterpretation. Sufism which is a Mystic form of Islam would also not exist. So debating religious ideas is not only right, it's essential to spiritual growth, and human understanding.

Interesting. What do you mean by spiritual growth?

@RobH86 I included that term to mean that not only is debate important for the religious or spiritual but for the non-spiritual and non-religious as well. My seminary's definition of spiritual contains nothing that is supernatural, that isn't the most popular definition though.


NO idea is beyond criticism. Religions explicitly try to set themselves up as a category apart from all others, claiming that they aren't even ideas, but rather revelations from a divine source, and thus immune to criticism. Yet, if you notice, each religion criticizes all other religions. Religion cannot logically plead a special immunity.

There's no special exemption for any category of thought. Religion is as open to critique as any other. Atheism or antitheism is not bigotry, it's simply an opinion. A religion is not something inborn to a person, like skin color, it's acquired and can be shed just as easily.This is just another of the religions' ploys to give themselves a special exemption.


"You can be religious or non religious, but you are not allowed to criticize people that are different to you as it is a form of racism (or discrimination similar to racism)"

I would say that not only is that wrong, it is inverted.
Dogmaticly speaking, religion by religion, non belief in said religious claims tend to make the outsider the minority and the one discriminated against.
If you don't believe, you burn in hell (for instance)

This is the Dogma of various faiths and denominations claiming "Only my religious Tribe is correct"( with a few exceptions), others not of my tribe are lesser, unsaved, sinful, infidels and so forth. That is the very process of de-humanization, the bedrock of Bigotry.

This religious discrimination is so ingrained it is evidenced in clothing and jewelry. Few believers, sporting a new gold cross, ever stop to think that is a Dogmatic Insult to all Jews. Their personal statement of "I believe in Christ" communicated by that simple cross also says "The jews have it wrong" or worse "The Jews killed Jesus". Not all Dogmas are compassionate.

Your opening statement shows the lack of clarity found in many believers. I can criticize your ideas or beliefs, and that it not a criticism of you personally. You are not your worldview.
You believe something I cannot believe, and I am just sharing the why of that with you.

Not responding or talking about religious beliefs let them speak with a bullhorn in a silent auditorium.
As a Minority in society, in order to survive, we must shout like Hortons Who's "We are here, We are here, We are here!"


My point of view is valid yours isn't therefore you are a racist .... Laziest argument ever !!!!!!!

Simon1 Level 7 June 30, 2018

Religions have a very unpleasant habit of trying, usually in their very definition, to set themselves up as beyond criticism, and demanding special status to put forward deeply unpleasant ideas which in any other context we would regard as unacceptable in ordinary discourse.

Whenever they gain any measure of secular power, that typically seems to get backed up with explicit censorship, intimidation, and outright violence to suppress critics who call out the intolerance and bigotry.

Which specific reilgions do you refer to here?


The ones I know best are in the Abrahamaic traditions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Ba'hai.

The least damaging of these seems to be Ba'hai?

Yet they all have in common proselytisation and a viral form; there exist other religions that don't, and unsurprisingly don't propagate, and modern cults which do spread.


I think there is a time and a place for these things. If someone else opens the conversation on the subject of religion, then I feel fine interjecting a few anti-religious arguments and questions. But it is a fine line between bothering people with unwanted debate, which is not cool, and letting bad attitudes pass uncriticised.

Denker Level 7 June 30, 2018

A very broad definition of "racism" is "discrimination of other people because they are members of another group".
In this sense anti-theism is a form of 'racism' because some people despise theists just because they are theists, not because they are doing something reprehensible.

(NB: Ignorance itself is not a sin or something bad. Truth as such is overrated.)

Matias Level 8 June 30, 2018

@Ignostic_Skeptic I do not like the broad definition too, but it is quite often applied in public discourse these days. To me, racism has to refer to "race", everything else is discrimination or bigotry or prejudice or ostracism...
But activists like the word "racism" because it packs a punch.

@Matias Agreed. 'Racism' is a weasel word which is used for rhetoric impact. Discrimination is much less antagonistic for a speaker to use when attempting to add fire to a debate.


Racism is blind and generally meaningless bigotry based on ignorance.

Anti-theists can be extremely annoying and even counter productive but being intolerant of bad ideas is bigotry with at least some rational thought, although IME some anti-theists are just over-reacting based on their pain from religion. I get that, I was that very angry, immature anti-theist for about a year.


Criticizing religion and other bad ideas is great, although should be done with some diplomacy.

I just posted how an aggressive atheist friend was pretty antagonistic with a stranger who is religious and a Trump supporter at a wine tasting tonight. I like my buddy a lot and it was obvious the table as a whole thinks Trump is stupid so I didn't try to curb my buddy.

There's still an enormous difference between criticizing a thought or giving factual criticism of religion v attacking the religious person.

You imply that 'religion is a 'bad idea' in your opening remarks. Which religion(s) do you refer to?


Ideas stand or fall on their own merits and the evidence that supports them. Challenging those ideas and evidence is not discrimination, it is skepticism. Just because the idea has been around a long time does not make it right nor does it remove the evidentiary requirements. Nor does it exempt it from being challenged.

Challenging old ideas is the only way to validate if they are true or right. If we never challenged old ideas we would all still be living in mud huts and dying very young.

icolan Level 7 June 29, 2018

Yes, of course it's acceptable to debate religious ideas. For too long, social programming has built up this idea that religion automatically commands "respect" and that thou shalt not discuss anyone else's "beliefs". I think that line of thinking has harmed us as a society. My proof is last week the Keebler Elf and Smokey Eye cited Biblical Justification for jailing kids and Americans didn't bat an eyelash. That should never be acceptable in our modern world.

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