Antireligion is opposition to en:religion of any kind. The term has been used to describe opposition to en:organized religion, religious practices or en:religious institutions. This term has also been used to describe opposition to specific forms of supernatural worship or practice, whether organized or not. Opposition to religion also goes beyond the misotheistic spectrum. As such it is distinct from deity-specific positions such as en:atheism (the absence of a belief in deities) and en:antitheism (an opposition to belief in deities), although "antireligionists", a neologism as of 2017, sfaik, may also be atheists or antitheists.
This § which was first written as a response on the enwiki article talk page where an ancestral argument by Nietzsche was noted, is the basis of the next §.
A religion is a culturally dependent belief system.
Science/Reason is the one belief system that can produce objective truth about the real world.
Science is not culturally dependent, it is valid for all real beings everywhere and at all times.
A religion until it becomes something other than a belief system is a false one that may be prevalent in primitive cultures that have not yet achieved a thetic scientific basing.
Since having a false fundamental belief system is bad in a way virtually nothing else can be, a moral/ethical individual will be anti-religious to the extent that they will seek the earliest possible resolution of any religion still posing as a system of objective belief into a vessel of cultural heritage.
As a Positive Substantive
"Antireligion" as noted before, could refer to a reconstruction, if you will, of the thing which is generally regarded as a fundamental human impulse in a manner that doesn't suffer from the defects above observed in all the current religions known to me. While the better ones don't assert belief about counterfactual states of affairs in the physical world, they still fail the not even wrong test. In this § I sketch some expectations of such an Antireligion.
- To be consistent with rather than opposed to science and true knowledge, our Antireligion must not assert beliefs about the world including relations between between beings but rather find them out (delegated to the relevant scientific discipline, if it exists and functions properly).
- It must address the same concerns as religions do and further it must do so better (as would be expected if the calumny of "a lie at the heart of being" were redacted):
- The will and desire to overcome animal death.
- Relations between human beings and between Man and other living beings, in particular ...
- ... technologically superior beings, in the distant universe (if they were able to communicate with us since we currently lack even the ability to conceive of how to communicate with them in real time).
- It follows from the first bullet above that it will have a strong aspect of methodological solipsism.
- OTOH, societies may be judged on the basis of their belief systems, the quality thereof and their adherence to or lack thereof. A society with no fundament in belief is ill founded. Further, pursuant to the thesis above, a categorical imperative exists to find out and assert the sort of system of belief and social order which may be expected to hold for sentient beings everywhere, create it if does not yet exist, find and join it if it does.
A redact I made of the version of this § I found divided it into Freedom of Religion and Freedom from Religion, since iirc, it was mostly about excesses of state atheism. Restoring that division.
Freedom of Religion
Freedom is surely an illusion if it is an opportunity to do something grossly not in your own best interests. Nonetheless if people are truly free then they are free to do themselves ( but not others ) harm. Religions are not observed to be personal, private systems of belief, but rather ones whose adherents seek to expand or maintain a group of co-believers.
If they were private, personal, then there would be no need to protect them by various laws. It is in this sense that the religious generally understand Freedom of Religion, i.e. as a protected right to pursue their beliefs, often including imposing them on others such as their minor children.
Freedom from Religion
An early form of mass antireligion was expressed during the Enlightenment, as early as the 17th century. en:Baron d'Holbach's book Christianity Unveiled published in 1761, attacked not only Christianity but religion in general as an impediment to the moral advancement of humanity. According to historian en:Michael Burleigh, antireligion found its first mass expression of barbarity in revolutionary France as "organised ... irreligion...an 'anti-clerical' and self-styled 'non-religious' state" responded violently to religious influence over society. Critic of religion en:Christopher Hitchens was a well-known antireligionist of the 20th century who maintained opposition to religion, arguing that free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion as the method of teaching en:ethics and defining human civilization.
Antireligionism became increasingly violent with the rise of en:communism, where hostility to all religions as political enemies of the state was realized at the national level.
The en:Soviet Union adopted the political ideology of en:Marxism-Leninism and viewed religion as closely tied with foreign nationality. It thus directed varying degrees of antireligious efforts at varying faiths, depending on what threat they posed to the Soviet state, and their willingness to subordinate itself to political authority. These antireligious campaigns were directed at all faiths, including en:Christian, en:Islamic, en:Buddhist, en:Jewish, and en:Shamanist religions. In the 1930s, during the Stalinist period, the government destroyed church buildings or put them into secular use (as museums of religion and atheism, clubs or storage facilities), executed clergy, prohibited the publication of most religious material and persecuted some members of religious groups.
Notable antireligious people
See en-wiki for a maintained version of this §.
- "Anti-religion". Merriam-Webster Online. Archived from the original on 26 September 2017. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anti-religion.
- "Antireligion". Collins Dictionary Online. Archived from the original on 26 September 2017. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/antireligion.
- Bullivant, Stephen; Lee, Lois (2016). A Dictionary of Atheism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191816819.
- en:Michael Burleigh Earthly Powers p 96-97 Template:ISBN
- "Soviet Union: Policy toward nationalities and religions in practice". May 1989. Archived from the original on 2017-04-25. http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-12521.html.