So there are all the terms I’ve learned of late. One of which is “Anti-theist”. I know it sounds the same as atheist but there is a big difference. An atheist is someone who lacks a belief in a god or gods. That’s it. That’s the only defining characteristic that ties the atheist “movement” together. We can and often do disagree on nearly every other aspect of life. On the other hand, an anti-theist is someone who actively opposes religion. Typically they are atheists but I suppose that wouldn’t necessarily be a prerequisite. Although that would be a bit odd, someone who believes in a god but actively opposes it.
There’s a Youtuber who has brought up the question “What beneficial aspects of religion can’t be replaced by secular means?” and it made me think. I began to think about my time as a Christian. What would that look like? There is only one thing that comes to mind about this that I still struggle with and that’s community. When you believe in a religion and say “I go to such and such church” it has a built-in sense of belonging. A group of people all united with certain foundations and tenants. You all have many things in common just by default. Now being outside of that circle I find it hard to find a group of people to spend time with. I’m sure that’s in big part to being an introvert and having a young family (having neither the time nor the inclination to venture outside of my house). I have found some community online and it’s a good starting place, but there is something about meeting with people regularly, face to face that is missing. I am working with Graceful Atheist and a few others to see what something like this might look like but we are still in the infancy stage.
On the opposite end of that, however, there is one thing that really is something that the secular world has done for me that religion never did. I struggle with depression off and on and while I was a believer I always felt there was something wrong with me. God was supposed to have this great plan for me and I was to be living life abundantly. But that never seems to click. Of course, I could fake it on Sunday mornings and pretty much with every interaction I had but deep down I felt as though I was doing something wrong. Why wasn’t I always just happy? Why didn’t I feel the “joy” all the time? Was I not praying right? Was I not reading my Bible enough? So now stacked on top of all the depression I had an overwhelming sense of guilt.
So am I an anti-theist? I don’t know. I haven’t thought it all the way through. I do know that I think religion does do more harm than good for our current society. Trying to pass laws in order to make everyone follow their moral guide, having their myths taught as scientific fact, being content with “god did it” as the answer to deep questions seems to hold us back as a society. But I do get it, I was there not too long ago. Maybe time will make me one?