I’m an anti-theist. I used to be an atheist but I realized that it did not describe my true feelings. And let’s face it somewhere between theist, atheist, and anti-theist it’s all about your belief system. I grew up Mormon in the deep south. My family are multi-generational Mormons active in both their faith and church leadership. I left my religion at the age of 18 as I watched friends of mine coming back off their missions. Young men and women who had been brainwashed and inculcated into the hyperbolic microcosm that is the mormon religion.
Upon leaving my parents faith I wandered randomly through different belief systems. Anything from New Age Wicca to Judaism were up for exploration. I read Alister Crowley and Confucius. All of them were fun. The more bizarre they were the more time I seemed to spend exploring them. But all of them were lacking. None seemed to be based in reality.
I love science. I have since my mother loaned me her college astronomy textbook at 7 years old. Despite her faith she studied to be a secondary science teacher. At BYU they have a very effective method of allocating faith and studies for people. I read National Geographics with rabid fascination. I was disciplined for reading science books at the school library that were ‘beyond my level’. I loved the tangible nature of the scientific method and the amazing discoveries about our universe.
Over time I came to reject the variety of belief systems I ran across. They all seemed to have similar issues and some unique ones. They were a cult combination of fantasy and heresy. The people that belonged to them rarely behaved in the pattern proscribed by the scripture they followed. Or if they did it got even more bizarre. They hated outsiders with valid questions. And eventually I was left with atheism.
It wasn’t hard to come to. I already had a malicious attitude towards my parents faith. I just broadened the scope as I began to realize how little difference there was between any of them. They all were lost. Fantastical stories that were so human-centric as to just be ridiculous. Science has shown us much of the universe we live in and there just was no place for god, shiva, etc.
But recently I’ve moved beyond my atheism. Or maybe it has grown to a broader concept of the state of humanity. It came to me while reading buddhist scripture and the yoga sutras. I know, a strange place to find yourself when coming to these types of conclusions. However, while reading this monastic literature I came across the concept of science. The people writing these documents in antiquity start their writings with descriptions of science of experience, logic, reasoning. Why would they use such a words when they were practicing these ancient religions? How is that the yoga sutras of Patanjali written millennia ago would describe the practice of ascetic yoga as ‘the science of the mind’. Or the Dali Lama would describe logic based analysis of reality as the basis for a meditative practice. These were some of our early critical thinkers I realized. They were practicing in a world view that had not yet developed the instrumentation required for great scientific discovery. But their desire was the same. Reality, science, the human experience needed to be realized without dogmatic belief systems but with a fundamental practice.
And so I finally crossed from atheism to anti-theism. I believe that religion is wrong. Wrong for every reason. Wrong for humanity. Wrong for our future. Any time a single human gives up their capacity for critical thinking to worship or obsesses we all lose. We lose their their contribution to our innate humanity. Their ability to be a part of a critically thinking community.
Therefore I believe that any theistic belief system is a negative impact on humanity. Only by releasing ourselves to think critically can we improve ourselves. Only by questioning and re-questioning will the answers become apparent. Through this path, letting go of our structured belief systems, and testing them to break and transfigure will our true humanity reveal it’s place in the universe.
Think critically, test often, and enjoy the results.