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Antireligion is the opposite of en:Omnism, it is opposition to en:religion of any kind and is more fundamental in its opposition than en:Anti-clericalism.[1][2][3] 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.

Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.
—confabulated by the internet as a quote of Twain with an actual quote to same effect from Voltaire [4]
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
—attributed to Seneca with essentially same actual sentence in Gibbon, Vol. I, Ch. 2, § I ¶ 1 [5]
These faux quotes are telling of the West in contrast to its being the origin of modern science and especially telling of the part of the planet where it did and ostensibly no longer does culturally dominate. Even those pushing one absurdly claim that it is not a religion[6]. Fortunately both in some societies and layers (e.g. scientific class) of the West and the societies of East Asia, this is no longer the case, these parts of humanity have risen above primitive stories as fundamental belief, can get that it is wrong to hold such as true and worse to try to push them on others. Scientific rationality at the species level is the destiny of Man generally but at this writing religion is still a thing in most places morally compelling polemic.


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[7] 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 material rationality.


Since having a false fundamental belief system is bad in a way virtually nothing else in an otherwise healthy thinking organism 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 living 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.

Historical Perspectives

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 ... 'anti-clerical' and self-styled 'non-religious' state" responded violently to religious influence over society.[8] 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.

The en:Soviet Union adopted the political ideology of en:Marxism-Leninism and viewed religion as closely tied with the capitalist order. It thus directed varying degrees of antireligious efforts at varying faiths. These antireligious campaigns were directed at all faiths,[9][10] 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 §.

See also



  1. "Anti-religion". Merriam-Webster Online. Archived from the original on 26 September 2017. 
  2. "Antireligion". Collins Dictionary Online. Archived from the original on 26 September 2017. 
  3. Bullivant, Stephen; Lee, Lois (2016). A Dictionary of Atheism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191816819. 
  4. "Les divinations, les augures, étaient des espèces d’oracles, et sont, je crois, d’une plus haute antiquité ; car il fallait bien des cérémonies, bien du temps pour achalander un oracle divin qui ne pouvait se passer de temple et de prêtres ; et rien n’était plus aisé que de dire la bonne aventure dans les carrefours. Cet art se subdivisa en mille façons ; on prédit par le vol des oiseaux, par le foie des moutons, par les plis formés dans la paume de la main, par des cercles tracés sur la terre, par l’eau, par le feu, par des petits cailloux, par des baguettes, par tout ce qu’on imagina, et souvent même par un pur enthousiasme qui tenait lieu de toutes les règles. Mais qui fut celui qui inventa cet art ? ce fut le premier fripon qui rencontra un imbécile." Complete Works, Garnier, Tome 11 p. 88
  5. As you might expect since Atheism doesn't really appear fully formed in the West until the late 18th century with d'Holbach.
  6. see Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus. the Movie and meme. The title "I hate religion" by the prosperity gospel televangelist en:Creflo Dollar is exemplary of this.
  7. Obviously, here "science" means real culture independent knowledge, which presumes whatever body of knowledge is not produced by a single culture or species.
  8. en:Michael Burleigh Earthly Powers p 96-97 ISBN 00-719572-9
  10. "Soviet Union: Policy toward nationalities and religions in practice". May 1989. Archived from the original on 2017-04-25.