Because my conviction that religion and the belief in a god predispose people to do bad things, I now think that I should take my atheism into an "evangelical" role. I have become an Antitheist!
I have begun challenging people who proffer religion as the 'cure-all' to mans' woes by asking what god has done for them and why god seems to me so evil. I can cite examples like the Boxing Day Tsunami or the anthrax virus and ask the religious followers why they choose to follow a god that would wantonly kill innocent people (yes innocent, since many people who died from these natural disasters were children).
Usually people will cherry-pick their responses, and select the good incidents in their life and ignore any bad that has happened to them. The two most common responses are "god is punishing us" for bad behavior " or “god works in mysterious ways.” I usually ask why would you believe in something so evil that he (since most gods are male) would punish you for my bad behavior? Of course I always have the omniscient v. omnipotent v, omnipresent argument that goes something like: If god is "all-knowing" then why didn't he warn someone, especially a government, of the impending (flood, earthquake, tsunami, tornado). If god is "all powerful" then why didn't he stop the (cancer, small-pox, volcano)? If god is everywhere, then he is in these natural disasters too, right? How can a good god create such nasty events and why? Therefore he is not all knowing, or all powerful or everywhere; isn't that the definition of evil?.
If their response is "god works in mysterious ways", I usually respond stating that there is no mystery to (hurricanes, earthquakes, botulism, dysentery). These are natural events that wreak havoc on humankind and we understand them very well, thanks to scientific endeavors. So, why would god do such evil?
I will then parry my religious friend, if they're still talking to me, with:
Religion sets us humans up to accept what would otherwise be unacceptable. Why would surrendering common sense and thwarting in depth questions be a good thing? Religion does just that. Religion teaches people to follow without question; to falsely believe that their particular religion is the one and only. In extreme cases of fundamentalism, the religion rewards believers, and sometimes families, for abhorrent behavior. I suppose it could be argued that the person is crazy, but religious zealotry enables recruitment and encourages this type of extremism. And, it is proliferating. Religion creates weak minds, and weak minds with weapons is a very dangerous combination. Why encourage and support such a bad institution??
At some point in our conversation my religious opponent usually realizes that I have lost all my marbles and finds some reason to disengage from our conversation. Occasionally I disengage first because the conversation becomes a never ending circular argument and I realize this person is a lost cause.
I am beginning to create a 'soul saved' count. I’m not a good anti-theismalist (I just made that word up). So far I haven't converted any religious person to my completely obvious understanding about how dangerous it is to believe in a god or follow a religion, but I have planted seeds in several people. Hopefully over time, I will convert those people in whom the seed is implanted and encourage the tree of knowledge to grow within them.
If you have taken this next step, from atheism to antitheism and anti-religion, please share your experience.
I crossed the line some years ago. Up until then I would just leave the theists to it, unless they brought their theology to me, at which point I would argue back. Not exactly sure what the final straw was; suspect it was a combination of things.
For one, I found that the theists were becoming more strident - not just the christians but the muslims and the rest. I also got pretty fed up with the Politically Correct brigade. It was ok for a believer to push their case, but if you argue back you are somehow not showing them respect. "We live in a multicultural society so everything is relative. Therefore you have to respect every ones views etc etc".
Thanks to our previous president, theists have made major strides in government, and especially in our education system. Fortunately for us, so far, the State Supreme Courts have had the wisdom to strike down any laws that allow the school systems to introduce religion as part of science curricula.
I too see the double standard of our society accepting and respecting someone for their religious beliefs, yet completely discounting the atheists' Non-belief as somehow misguided or that s/he is to be pitied.