The fine line between atheists and antitheists

Stephen Fry did it again: with a comic style punctering through the illusion of God. With this video he placed atheism back on the agenda. Another world famous atheist is Richard Dawkins. Dawkins was not so long ago in Antwerp in order to talk about science, reason and, of course, religion. Of all atheists Dawkins is a very offensive one with multiple books about it. I have a few critical remarks... 


The fashion and style of Stephen Fry's message is funny, nobody is going to deny it. But the message itself can only elicit a yawn me. This is nothing new, atheists have already said it a thousand times. It is equally commonplace when left-wing politicians state that we live in a multicultural, super diverse society.

Probably many believers feel themselves addressed because they are publicly ridiculed. One should know better, atheists will always criticize faith. This issue is too much viewed black and white. Like much of the West still believes in God. Christianity is as good as dead. Or maybe, the form that atheists have in mind. The modern believer is more flexible than they imagine.

There are a lot of believers who not so much believe in a god, but more in "something", something that they cannot describe but that is supernatural of nature. Most believe not so much in a heaven or hell, but in an afterlife where everyone sees their loved ones again.

For atheistst, those believers are just as retarded as Orthodox believers. Atheists are extremely existential nihilistic; life has no purpose and when we die we are food for the worms. This rabid nihilism is as retarded as fundamentalism as it is without feeling.

Imagine: parents are sitting at the deathbed of their child. The child is in a terminal stage of cancer. The child dies. Three priests are standing around the bed: one is a Jehovah's Witness, a progressive priest and the other a radical atheist.
  • The Jehovah's Witness says: "Your child lived a sinful life, it is God's punishment, your child will go to hell!". If I were in the shoes of the parents, I would clubber that man.
  • The radical atheist says, "Your child just had bad luck This is life as it is.. Earthworms can transform your child into humus." That man would leave the room with a black eye to.
  • The progressive priest: "I do not know why your child is dead, the ways of the Lord are sometimes incomprehensible. If this helps: your child, your parents, their parents and all your ancestors will reunite and you will reunite with your child when your time has come." Parents with that thought could find some consolation to process their loss.
That's my biggest criticism of pure atheism: the numbness, the emptiness, the lack of heart. Atheists deprive people of their hope. They want to improve the world in their image on a non-tactful way. A more relaxed stand should be applied: be and let be. If other people believe in a god, respect that whatsoever. Do not desperately try to convince them that they are wrong.

In fact, I would dare to say that you fail as a scientist if your life's purpose is to persuade people to become atheist. Militant atheists like Richard Dawkins are similar to the IS jihadis in that aspect. Religious freedom is a virtue, a human right. Only extremists want to overthrow human rights.

Individuals or institutions?

This applies to all religious criticism: assault the institutions, not the people. If one still wants to assault people, only assault extremists. It is particularly offensive when one goes personal.

Many atheists are very condescending towards believers: "What raving idiots are they, didn't they hear the Truth?" Newsflash: not because someone believes that someone is intellectually inferior. At best, the believer can rely on a scientific principle: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Not because the supernatural can not be demonstrated that it does not exist. Many physicists believed in the Higgs particle, it took long before it was actually observed. Many Christians believe in things like spirits and there is not yet found a way to record it. Does this mean ghosts do not exist? That is a truism that many atheists do not want to face.

Believing is in itself unfortunately only in the media in the form of IS. That these outrages are linked with faith is beyond dispute. Islam calls upon the jihad. Does this mean all Muslims are like that? Of course not. There are a lot of moderates. Believers (especially Christians) each have their own interpretation of their religion. Some pieces are consciously ignored. Putting things into perspective is a cornerstone of a healthy religious experience. If atheists want to contribute something positive, then they should hammer on that perspective.

Unfortunately, atheists throw everyone on the same pile: "Oh you are a Christian, then you certainly believe that we were created from Adam & Eve?". There will be some who say yes, and some who say no. One can give perfectly criticism about the unreal part of the story of Adam & Eve, as long one does not hold prejudices towards believers. Not every Christian is a creationist.


Atheists denounce the very same moralizing finger of many religions, the strictly legalistic interpretation of ancient scriptures and ditto commandments and prohibitions. For some religions /faiths this is more extreme than another, from anti-abortion to dress codes. Atheists reject this and determine their own morality on the basis of ethical philosophies and humanist principles. Some go so far that they state morals are pure nature.

There is nothing wrong with it, morality is subject to evolution. Yet here's some nuance appropriate. Is content not more important than the way in which those morals were constructed? If one rejects infidelity, then it does not matter because they decided this after an utilitarian, deontological, virtue-ethical or care-ethical investigation or because the Ten Commandments reject this. The result is the only thing that matters.

Some forms of morals are condemnable (eg. executions of gay men because they are considered sinful) and then atheists and moderate believers should stand side-by-side against these crimes. The current context should be taking into account, historical relativism is the only way to have a healthy religion.

What I miss is some moral pluralism. If a conservative Christian intervenes in a debate (for instant about abortion), then he/she is laughed at. Too often, atheists feel themselves morally superior and have no respect for the morals of another or ridicule those to avoid a contentual debate. They descend to the level of the Church, with the same moralizing finger up-in-the-air.


Heartless, ad hominem, morally superior, it's not pretty face. It's only a small minority of atheists who are like this. I believe those should not call them atheists, but antitheïsts. It's a thin line between the two. The tone that one uses, determines the line. If this tone is aggressive and using propaganda to convince and conquer, someone is antitheïstisch. Richard Dawkins and his "New Atheist" associates seem to explore this line (whether deliberately to provoke) and try to push it further and further. This seems to me something to keep in mind...