In this article Reza elucidates the history of anti-theism and suggests a modern understanding. I believe the dialogue is enhanced by differentiating a concept of rational anti-theism.
I am a rational atheist, a rational anti-theist, and a rational theist. I welcome your religious belief. I will defend your right to hold a religious belief. I have no fear of the content of your religious belief. However I have not, as of yet, invited you to speak of your religious belief. I intend to invite you, but until I do, you have no right to force your belief on me. You may not stand on the street corner and shout your religion to me. Because there are so many possible religions, such a cacophony on street corners is definable as a disturbance of the peace. And, at the end of the day, everything we do, as rational caring people, is geared towards building and maintaining a world of peace and to carry forth our peaceful natures when we join or build the cities amongst the stars.
Rational anti-theism is not in opposition to religious belief. It is in opposition to:
- The consideration of any concept of any religion in the formulation of the just laws in a world of peace.
- The delivery of an uninvited religious message to any man, woman, or child.
- The delivery of an invited religious message that is not accompanied by a good faith presentation of evidence supporting the concepts of religion in the message.
- The repeated delivery of an invited religious message that is accompanied by evidence that has been previously rejected as insufficient by the one inviting the religious message.
The world of peace welcomes any person to discover, formulate, possess and believe whatever religion one wishes. There is no disturbance of the peace if such person keeps his religion to himself. If a theist wishes to convey a religious message, accompanied by a good faith presentation of evidence, he can announce that he will speak on a religious matter with anybody who invites the delivery of such messages. He can then wait for an invitation to convey these messages. He will find many eager to invite such messages and he will no doubt encounter exhilarating debate on the merits of the evidence. If you have a religions message, with some evidence for its validity, you are invited to post it in the comments below and I will respond. There are an infinite number of possible non-evidenced gods and I just do not have the time to consider a random, non-evidenced guess. This is rational atheism.
With such simple, rational rules we can maintain the world of peace. Absent such rules, religions can be identified as opposed to the world of peace. A group of like minded religious individuals who insist that others adhere to religious beliefs can be identified as a conspiracy against the world of peace. As such they are restrained and reeducated in the world of peace.
In the world of peace, rational theism, rational atheism and rational anti-theism will all recognize the infinite number of possible non-evidenced gods as well as the real or imaginary states of consciousness that lead people into or out of the various -isms during the course of their lives. If one of the infinite possible gods actually does exist, and if the rational world of peace is anathema to such a being, and if such being has physical powers to prevent the rational world of peace form existing, then we can expect an appearance soon from such a being as we build the world of peace.
We can also take the opposite view. We can say that if one of the infinite number of possible gods actually exists, that such a god, having created the possibility for free-thinking people to build a world of peace, would be welcoming and indeed patiently waiting for us to complete the noble task. In my view, this is rational theism. Anything else is irrational, requiring a malevolent god that is only interested in the sound of worship and wailing, the gods spoken of, in innocence, and in ignorance, by our ancestors. To be fair to our ancestors, they were only just evolved to consciousness from fight-or-flight driven animals. The had no scientific knowledge. They heard thunder, it sounded like an angry being, and they witnessed the strike of lightning and determined it was the act of such a being. And from what appeared to them to be the angry character of nature, they developed their stories of angry gods. They wondered what it is they should do to appease the gods and as their religions developed, they joined with the other systems of philosophies in trying to answer the moral question "How should I live my life?"
While we might still disagree on the answer to that question, we do agree we should be living in the world of peace that affords the free-ranging discussions that can lead to the answer. (The small number opposed to a world of peace will be identified as in a temporary state of irrational behavior, similar to that of a toddler testing the bounds of behavior, and they will be restrained and reeducated.)
Let us begin to keep our –isms rational and let us keep them private and be ready to discuss them with respect when invited, and let us build a world of peace, and rejoin the moral discussions in an epoch free from the anguish of the irrational –isms that are not yet disarmed and restrained today.