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Should Atheism be Militant or Not?

Updated on August 30, 2015
TessSchlesinger profile image

A reader of medical research and the life sciences since 1966, Tessa often reports on the latest research in those fields for others.

Militant Atheism vs Militant Christianity

In recent years atheism has become more and more militant. Where once, if religious people mentioned their faith, an atheist would listen politely and not mention their viewpoint for fear of offending the speaker, the pendulum has now swung in the opposite direction. There is vitriol on both sides. So marked has this vitriol become between atheists and those who aspire to believe in god, that those who do not aspire to be militant about their lack of belief in a god prefer to label themselves agnostic. In reality, both agnostics and atheists mention a lack of evidence in a personal god for their position.

The Enlightenment, science, and god.

Why Atheism should not take a militant stance

People believe in gods/religions because it solves a problem. Belief systems of this nature bring comfort when there is loss, provide hope when there is struggle, reassure when there is fear, and give an answer to unanswerable questions. When people are dependent on a religion to fulfil these needs and there is nothing else to fulfil those needs, then it becomes unkind to attempt to remove those belief systems from them. In certain instances, it can be downright cruel. People have belief systems in magical beings because without that belief they cannot face life. If they cannot face life without a crutch, it without that crutch, they will fall.

It becomes problematic when believers are persistent. They have been taught that their salvation depends on them ‘witnessing’ to others. Prosyletism becomes a way of life, a vital aspect of their relationship with their god. So they will not stop, despite it being extremely rude on their part to persist in talking about something that is irritating to atheists.

Until very recently, atheists remained quiet and polite when being ‘witnessed to.’ The worm has turned, however, and for various reasons, the relationship between Christians and atheists has become tense.

Militant Christianity street preacher

A little history between the conflict between atheism and Christianity

As Christians have become more militant in their belief system that the world must be converted to Christianity, they have also started demanding that the laws of the country must be changed in order to suit the precepts of Christianity. This endangers the modern world which was built on the principles of the Enlightenment, a movement that occurred. Wiki explains the Enlightenment as ‘The Age of Enlightenment or simply the Enlightenment or Age of Reason is an era from the 1630s to the 1780s in which cultural and intellectual forces in Western Europe emphasized reason, analysis, and individualism rather than traditional lines of authority.’

As a result of the Enlightenment, science began to made headway. Disease was no longer the hand of god but the result of bacteria, viral infection, bad diet, etc. Women were given the vote because they were no longer seen as second class citizens. Planes were invented because the idea that if mankind tried to reach for the sky (as per the Tower of Babel story in the bible), they would be struck down was discounted. The idea that mankind should be free to practice whichever religion or non-religion s/he preferred is also a tenet of the Enlightenment. (Christianity, itself, persecuted anyone who deviated from Catholicism. It also attempted many times to purge the world of Jews, plus it invaded Jerusalem and murdered Muslims and anyone else who stood in their way.) The world of invention and scientific discovery is a direct result of the tenets of Christianity no longer preventing the advancement of mankind.

As religion is a direct threat to the world of science, invention, freedom of religion and speech, women’s rights, civil rights, human rights, and the reason and analysis that provided for all these modern concepts, a return to a world led and dominated by religion will result in mankind returning to the Middle Ages.

Christianity already challenges gene therapy, the separation of church and state, and the idea that women are responsible for their own bodies and are the ones to make a decision as to whether they wish abortion and contraception (or not). It has tried at various time to blame the absence of rain (drought) on the mini skirt and the financial chaos of the modern world on the pill (Planned Parenthood).

Democracy, the right of all people to participate in government, is a direct result of the Age of Reason (Enlightenment). Religion puts the power in the hands of the king (ancien regime), the pope, the priest, the pastor, the caliph, and the shaman.

Reason and analysis, therefore, are in direct conflict with many religion, Christianity in particular. That’s because the age of reason and analysis arose in the world of Christianity and was the first to be threatened by it. Reason and analysis show the holes in the bible and as a result of the demand for evidence, there is declining belief in the religion. This is an enormous threat to the church as a whole and is probably the reason for the increase in Militant Christianity and the subsequent message of the church that Christians must convert others. It is also possibly the reason for Christians’ insistence that we revert to the tenets of the Dark Ages – no more scientific advancement.

When atheists take a defensive stand against militant Christianity, it is seen as offensive rather than defensive. Wiki Rational explains...
When atheists take a defensive stand against militant Christianity, it is seen as offensive rather than defensive. Wiki Rational explains... | Source

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Why atheism should take a militant position

There is a direct threat to our technological world, our freedom of speech and religion/non-religion, and our accurate understanding of how our world/universe works (science) if religion is to be permitted its version of reality. It cannot be allowed to happen. While the reason to allow militant Christianity to say what it wishes and change all the laws is wants is based simply on tolerance and good manners, the reason to fight back with militant atheism is one to save civilization from reverting back to savagery and the Dark Ages.

It’s a no-brainer.

© 2015 Tessa Schlesinger

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    • TessSchlesinger profile image
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      Tessa Schlesinger 22 months ago from South Africa

      Jason K Clark, as your statement is not above anymore, I do not know why I deleted it but there was a reason. You have no profile and I cannot check to see who you are. I would therefore not have a high regard for anything you said.

      I suppose it depends who you define the word 'good.'

    • profile image

      JasonKClark 22 months ago

      I'm not religious. Why'd you delete my comment? This, "There's nothing good about religious people", is just a garbage statement.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 22 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Just to clear something up - I do not "hate" Christians. I am disgusted by them and their refusal to come to grips with reality. This is a far cry from wanting them dead or suffering. I would rather that they stop their own delusions and free the rest of us from participating in their delusions. This is not "hate". It's not even "militant". It's more like their own version of "prayer". I don't want to behead Muslims either. I don't "hate" any of the religions. If I hate anything, it is all of the HARM that religion has done to the world. Not the religion itself.

      One can pray to Jesus all they want, but when they molest children and try to hide their "affliction" behind religion, that is disgusting.

      One can believe in god all they want, but when their children die because they believe god will save them instead of modern medicine, that is disgusting.

      One can proclaim that Allah is merciful all they want, but when they actually chop off another person's head for being homosexual, that is disgusting.

      In other words, take responsibility for your own actions and quit expecting the delusion of religion to protect or encourage you.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
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      Tessa Schlesinger 22 months ago from South Africa

      IF YOU ARE RELIGIOUS, YOUR COMMENTS WILL BE DELETED.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
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      Tessa Schlesinger 22 months ago from South Africa

      Gordon Wright, I wish there was a block button on hubpages. Unfortunately, there isn't. Let me tell you that atheists are the most intelligent, the most ethical, the most educated, the most generous, the nicest people on the planet. That's research, by the way. Numerous studies. They also have the least people per capita.

      Christians, on the other hand, are the least intelligent, the least educated, are much nastier than secular people, less generous, and are really shitty people as I have experienced many times in my life.

      We're definitely more self-aware than Christians. If you're thinking that there are no atheists in foxholes, you're just another mindless idiot who repeats phrases that sounds good tot their brain dead ears. You have absolutely no proof whatsoever that atheists who die don't think of god.

      You're just assuming that because you're too much of a coward to even contemplate doing things without a god.

      Religious people become religious for several reasons.

      1 They feel guilty about something they shouldn't have done and are scared of being punished so they want to be forgiven.

      2. They can't manage to do something and they think if they pray to god, he'll help them.

      3. They can't face the thought of death, so they have to believe in an afterlife.

      4. They struggle with morality because they are led by appetite rather than principle.

      There's nothing good about religious people. Your next response will be deleted as I can't block you.

    • Gordon Wright profile image

      Gordon Wright 22 months ago

      Should atheists be totally devoid of self awareness or not?

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 22 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

      I am beginning to think atheists should be militant. Just look at the nonsense over a Starbucks holiday cup! Imagine getting so upset over a holiday cup that you have to "start a movement" against the phony war on Christmas! There is no freaking war on Christmas. Who the freak cares if Christians sit around a pagan holiday tree and spend money on gifting socks to each other? I certainly don't.

      But I do care about seeing "Christian" support for a US president like Donald Trump or Ben Carson or the Republican fat cats because those men are truly dangerous. If any of them are elected they will finish the job that G.W. started and totally ruin the planet and its people. These idiots will try to take our country back to the dark ages or even to the "end times" just to gloat about it. They could care less if everyone on the planet suffers and dies. They probably have a lifeboat somewhere.

      Evangelicals and Bible Thumping crusaders disgust me.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
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      Tessa Schlesinger 22 months ago from South Africa

      Gordon Wright, I obviously didn't express myself well. The militancy is about stopping the religious right from destroying civilization and returning to the Dark Ages. Or maybe you didn't read the article and just commented on the title.

    • Gordon Wright profile image

      Gordon Wright 22 months ago

      There's something silly about being militant about a lack of belief.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
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      Tessa Schlesinger 23 months ago from South Africa

      What was militant atheism to do with war? Militant atheism is the resistance that has grown out of endless prosyletising by religious nutcases. It's also the result of the increased pressure to make the tenets of religion law governing everybody. These are all peaceful actions. I'm not interested in your 'Peace Testimony,' not because I'm a pacifist, but because I don't like being part of any group movements.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
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      Tessa Schlesinger 23 months ago from South Africa

      What was militant atheism to do with war? Militant atheism is the resistance that has grown out of endless prosyletising by religious nutcases. It's also the result of the increased pressure to make the tenets of religion law governing everybody. These are all peaceful actions. I'm not interested in your 'Peace Testimony,' not because I'm a pacifist, but because I don't like being part of any group movements.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 23 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Regardless of Theist or Atheist, can you take the Peace Testimony?

      I renounce war and fighting for any purpose or under any pretense whatsoever.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
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      Tessa Schlesinger 23 months ago from South Africa

      Thanks. :)

    • profile image

      JasonKClark 23 months ago

      Because it was a sign they were Jewish, Muslim, or following some religious practise. He was out to eradicate theistic beliefs.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
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      Tessa Schlesinger 23 months ago from South Africa

      Jason Clark. Why did Pot POl kill people because they were not eating bacon? Doesn't sound rational to me.

    • profile image

      JasonKClark 23 months ago

      Nobody has committed atrocities in the name of "theism". Nobody has committed atrocities in the name of "atheism". However, there are both "theistic" and "atheistic" ideologies that have committed atrocities.

      Christians need to get over the fact that Hitler was a Christian. Atheists need to get over the fact that Pol Pot was an atheist. He was killing people for not eating bacon, for crying out loud, and wiped out all but a handful of monks who escaped the country.

      The path towards intolerance starts with believing you're oh so much better than the other person. There are plenty of irrational non-believers.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
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      Tessa Schlesinger 2 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you AustinStar. :)

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Excellent hub! My biggest conflict with religion is that it emotionally AND physically does harm to people.

      1. You can almost daily read about some Christian or religious family denying medical care to their children because 'god' will cure them. Many of these children die.

      2. Religionists insist on trying to dictate to non-believers about how to conduct their lives, who they can and can't love, when they can and can't have children.

      3. Women have no rights. Slavery is allowed and encouraged.

      4. Rapists are "forgiven" even for incest and pedophilia. (Josh Duggar)

      5. They have a judgemental attitude even while preaching salvation.

      6. They constantly make excuses for their 'god' because he allows, and even encourages and performs genocide.

      The list just goes on and on.

      Religion is a force for wrongdoing and persecution and they just won't admit it.

      It's a farce. It's man-made superstition and false hope. It encourages the destruction of our species. It's against science and logic.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
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      Tessa Schlesinger 2 years ago from South Africa

      You are correct masspectrician. I think it is regarded as militant, though, because it is threatening. That's the power of reason! When reason, gently spoken, threatens to derail a 2000 year old religion, it is seen as aggressive when, in fact, it isn't. :)

    • profile image

      massspectrician 2 years ago

      Vocal atheism is not militance.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image
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      Tessa Schlesinger 2 years ago from South Africa

      Oztinato, there is no such thing as political atheism. Atheism is a lack of belief in a personal god. That's it. Yes, you're right, that the base desires to bully and dominate others becomes appealing to the lower rung of base human failings. Repeated studies have shown these to belong to religious people, not to atheists. Atheists are shown to be the most ethical, the least percentage of people in prison, and the most tolerant of others. Religious people have the most criminals.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Because the immoral pull of total religious intolerance is too alluring for those whose ethics have been weakened by political atheism. Those base desires to bully and dominate others becomes seductively appealing to the lower rung of base human failings. Likewise if a religion attempts to bully others of course.