I won't go to church!!

Hi, As an Antitheist I find myself increasingly frustrated at the thought of attending weddings, funerals etc. in church - I have told my wife that I feel I can no longer attend such services but this has upset her - can you offer any advice to me (I'd really like to know if you think I'm taking it too far!). Thanks (keep up the good work), Justin P.S. Is it really wrong to honk the horn on my car outside a church if I know there's a service going on inside?
Atheist Answer: 

Assuming your wife isn't very religious, I think I know why she's upset.

Since you're against theism, of course you wouldn't attend a church service if the only point was to worship, pray and donate. And you probably wouldn't go to christenings, first communions or confirmations either since the purpose of each is explicitly religious. But religion isn't why people attend other people's weddings and funerals.

They go to weddings to support and congratulate the newlyweds as they make a public commitment to each other. In front of their friends and families, never mind "in the sight of God". And they go to funerals to support the bereaved, or if they are the bereaved to get some emotional closure on their relationships with the deceased. In both cases, the gathering of friends and family is what makes it important. In either case, God and religion are the least important things.

By not coming to a friend's wedding, you're saying to them (regardless of what you intend) that your antitheism outweighs their friendship. They and your wife wouldn't be upset because you don't share the religion, they'd be upset because you're not there. Same with funerals. People you know would miss your support when they're grieving. Maybe you wouldn't be doing yourself a favour psychologically by missing a last chance to say goodbye to whoever's died.

I know it's painful, but at times like these you really need to think of others. Otherwise you come off looking incredibly self-centred. Sorry, buddy.

Just go in there, concentrate on the people you're there for and don't join in the prayers. Then go right back out and carry on doing whatever it is you do to combat theism. With a bit of progress, perhaps fewer of the weddings and funerals you attend will be held in churches or with priests.

- SmartLX


This is a question better suited to someone who is anti-theist. That is, someone who is opposed to theism. In any case, do you best: What harm is done by belief in God? Not done in the name of God - that's fairly elementary. But what harm is done by the very belief that there is a God?
Atheist Answer: 

Simple belief in a god does no harm by itself, but it is rarely simple and it rarely comes without company.

Imagine someone who really believes that God watches over them at all times, and judges their human failings harshly. This person might be absolutely convinced that they're going to Hell. They'd be depressed, they'd have low self-esteem and they might even try something drastic to redeem themselves, like going to Burma to fight with the Karen. Even if they don't, it's a miserable life.

Imagine someone who believes in the Buddhist concept of reincarnation. This person might look at an infant who is horribly deformed because of some genetic disorder, and rather than pitying the poor child, think, "I don't like her. She must have done something really terrible in a past life to be reborn like that."

Imagine someone who believes that if you martyr yourself for Allah, you will wake up in heaven where 72 virgins...well, you know where this is going.

There is often a logical path from simple beliefs to harmful thoughts, and tragic actions. Not everyone takes this path, but it's always there for the taking. It's a matter for debate whether the benefits of religion are unique to religion, but it's a lot more believable that religion is a critical part of such exotic and dangerous reasoning.

- SmartLX

Anti-God logo

Isn't your anti-God logo very pejorative? I think being atheist does not have to bring a war between religions up. Do this site admins and moderators judge other religions? I cannot see how you want to get respect from people with such a symbol. It's just my opinion. Because by my judgment a serious website with such a polemic subject cannot attack other religions or have "anonymous cowards" tags for people who just maybe don't want to create an account in another website for a single post in their lives?
Atheist Answer: 

The logo is not specifically that of this site, but of the Rational Response Squad for which this site was created. It has God crossed out (rather than Allah, Vishnu, etc) presumably because the RRS is based in the USA where Christianity is the most powerful and influential instance of religion. It indicates a desire to remove God, and by extension religion, from people's lives. Not forcibly, because that would be not only cruel but ineffective. Ideally people will want to abandon religion. It's not a war between religions because atheism isn't a religion, it's merely a conclusion.

Even religious people make their judgements about religion, though they're generally more positive. The moderators here are not in accord over everything. To begin with, membership in the RRS isn't required. Some of us judge religion to be dangerous, some don't. Some of us see some possible benefits in certain specific applications of religion, some don't. The common ground is that we all judge all religions to be created by people, unsupported by applicable evidence and therefore most likely wrong.

Don't take "Anonymous Coward" too seriously. It's not aimed at theists, as some clear atheists have been stuck with it too. It's there to encourage people to register, frequent the site and enter into a dialogue with us, rather than drop in and take potshots. One question and answer is rarely enough to shift anyone's position. Besides, as it says on the right your login details here will work on all other sites in the RRS network. It's worth the effort.

- SmartLX

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