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Antitheism – What is it?

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Antitheism refers to active opposition to belief in God or religion in general, with a claim that faith in God is harmful and should be countered. Antitheism is more related to one's intent than to his beliefs. For example, many who are agnostic or atheistic are not antitheistic.

The Bible speaks about such an attitude, identifying those who defiantly reject God as fools (Psalm 10:4 and Psalm 14:1) and worse. People who actively defy God are warned of dire consequences (Proverbs 29:1; Romans 1:18–25).

In modern times, the New Atheist movement has gained traction by identifying terrorist attacks stemming from religious extremists as evidence that belief in a god is harmful to society. Some of the leaders of this movement, such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, believe that religion should be argued against. Many have been criticized as divisive, arrogant, and sometimes shallow, derogatory, snide, and irrational by both religious and non-religious figures. The demeaning and belittling nature of some antitheists is reflected in some of the more popular book titles, such as The God Delusion and God is Not Great.

Some popular artists and entertainers who have pushed this belief include Lawrence Krauss, Jerry Coyne, Victor Stenger, Bill Maher, Ricky Gervais, and Penn Jillette (the magician). Several antitheists hold views that reflect New Age thinking or pantheism. Antitheism is also known for its aggressiveness, hostility, negativity, derision, and bigotry against people of faith.

It is important to delineate between such aggressive attacks on faith and those people who simply do not believe in God. Jesus said that those who are not able to understand are different than those who do and reject understanding. "Jesus said to them, 'If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains'" (John 9:41). Even on the cross, Jesus prayed that the Father would forgive those who crucified Him because "they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

Though antitheism experienced a bubble of popularity recently, it is really nothing new. In the past such antitheistic attitudes have been labeled as misotheism (hatred of God) or maltheism (belief in an evil God).

Unfortunately, antitheism is often expressed in negative ways. Those who believe in Jesus can rest assured that He is God and He has won the victory (John 12:31). We can be comforted by His words that, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:18–19). Jesus then spoke of the ministry of the Holy Spirit; we are not left in this world to fend for ourselves, but indwelt by the Holy Spirit who is our Helper. Jesus also told His followers, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). We can pray that the hearts of those who have rejected Jesus will be softened, and trust that He will ultimately be just (John 5:21–29).

Related Truth:

Does God exist?

What is organized religion and does the Bible support it?

What is atheism?

What is agnosticism?

What does Ietsism teach? What is a biblical view of Ietsism?

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