I feel it’s time I clarify something. There is a very distinct difference between an Atheist and an ANTI-Theist. An atheist is just someone who does not believe in the supernatural. In fact, it’s kind of a silly term to begin with. Like Nonsmoker or Unsweetened tea, it is a term used ONLY because a majority exists in opposition. Personally, I don’t enjoy identifying myself through someone else’s hobby but since language evolves slowly, I will bear with the term for now.
As for what an anti-theist is, we turn to what MANY fundamentalists think all atheists are. An anti-theist is someone who opposes religion. Completely and utterly. Like an Anti-abortionist, Anti-fur, Anti-gun control person. They actually DO identify themselves as an opposing force.
For example, everyone who does not smoke is a nonsmoker. The Truth campaign is ANTI-smoking. Most Anti-smoking people are nonsmokers but I am sure even a handful of them are hypocrites. The same goes for anti-theists and atheists.
Now, just like in the smoking example, not all anti-theists are irrational and full of vitrol. Yes there are PETA level fanatical anti-theists who hate everything even remotely associated with religion. Usually these people have very deep, personal reasons for hating religion. Then, of course, there are rational anti-theists who simply enjoy debating the what-ifs of a future without religion. They see this as a utopia ideal of humanity.
I fall sometimes in the later category but not very often. What I am most days is just a human being who happens to not believe in the supernatural. And it’s not really something I chose to do. Much like many nonsmokers who have just never smoked, I have never really believed anything at face value. So it’s not like I had to shed some shackles of faith or “quit smoking”.
Still, I am constantly misjudged and mislabeled by Church advocate groups and religious Apologists who believe any criticism of a religion or church is rude and immoral. If I call a rapist a rapist or a murderer a murderer I am simply stating a fact. Does it really matter if they are a priest or a rabbi? Much like some hypersensitive people tend to play the race card or the sex card, I find many apologists use the religious freedom card.
How can someone fail to see that rape is rape, murder is murder and discuss the human rights and legal terms of a case? It’s simple. Inject racism, sexism, or religious persecution. Now any commentary is skewed through the bias of the observer. Because I am atheist, I am accused of “attacking religion” when I say Scientologists should be held accountable for child abuse.
Look, I understand the importance of free speech and I really do believe that IF all religions conducted themselves like any fandom we would have far fewer social problems and could coexist. But as things stand now, all I can do is debate and try to change minds one at a time. All I can do is vote for people who support equal rights for ALL citizens. And if voting for someone with pro humanist, pro science viewpoints makes me “anti religious” then I guess diabetics are really just anti-sugar.
*edit: fixed some typos. grrr *