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Titanic Explorer
7th June 2010, 09:31 AM
I was under the assumption Christopher Hitchens was an atheist- but he has described himself as an anti-theist. What's the difference?

There is nothing quite as enjoyable as watching Christopher Hitchens debate apologists for radical Islam or Christianity, and tear them to shreds..

thaiboxerken
7th June 2010, 09:52 AM
It means he hates all religions.

Professor Yaffle
7th June 2010, 09:59 AM
An atheist doesn't believe in gods. An anti-theist thinks other people shouldn't believe in them either.

pgwenthold
7th June 2010, 10:12 AM
When I think about the difference between a-theist and anti-theist, the best comparison I come up with is symmetry. In group theory, you can talk about something that is symmetric (with mirror-like properties, i.e. one side goes up, the other side goes up). There is anti-symmetry, where the properties go opposite each other (one side goes up, the other goes down). Then there is a-symmetry, where the two sides have no relationship at all (one side goes up, the other side...goes sometimes up, sometimes down).

So we have things that are

Symmetric - having the property of symmetry
Antisymmetric - having the property of opposing symmetry, and
Asymmetric - without the property of symmetry

So I would say Hitchens, being an anti-theist, would have the property of opposing theism.

UKBoy1977
7th June 2010, 10:12 AM
Hitchens has said that by anti-theist he means that not only does he think the existence of God is untrue, he wouldn't WANT it to be true, as opposed to some atheists who wish it could be true although don't believe it is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auS-1IWZ0Q0

Go to 1:07 for him speaking about this.

TraneWreck
7th June 2010, 10:16 AM
Hitchens has said that by anti-theist he means that not only does he think the existence of God is untrue, he wouldn't WANT it to be true, as opposed to some atheists who wish it could be true although don't believe it is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auS-1IWZ0Q0

Go to 1:07 for him speaking about this.

Additionally, one could hold the view that God doesn't exist, but look at all the wonderful things religion provides: inspiration, hope...etc.

Being anti-theist, and here I'm inferring from the many Hitchens' debates I've watched, includes the idea that religion itself, irrational belief structures, is intrinsically harmful: crusades, witch burning, genital mutilation...etc.

Philosaur
7th June 2010, 10:17 AM
When I think about the difference between a-theist and anti-theist, the best comparison I come up with is symmetry. In group theory, you can talk about something that is symmetric (with mirror-like properties, i.e. one side goes up, the other side goes up). There is anti-symmetry, where the properties go opposite each other (one side goes up, the other goes down). Then there is a-symmetry, where the two sides have no relationship at all (one side goes up, the other side...goes sometimes up, sometimes down).

So we have things that are

Symmetric - having the property of symmetry
Antisymmetric - having the property of opposing symmetry, and
Asymmetric - without the property of symmetry

So I would say Hitchens, being an anti-theist, would have the property of opposing theism.

I don't mean to be rude, but isn't this difference inherent in the definitions of the prefixes "anti-" and "a-" (respectively, "against", and "without")?

pgwenthold
7th June 2010, 10:24 AM
I don't mean to be rude, but isn't this difference inherent in the definitions of the prefixes "anti-" and "a-" (respectively, "against", and "without")?

Well....yeah.

OTOH, some people seem to have problem understanding that concept when it comes to theism, so I bring up another example of where X, antiX, and aX are used in a distinct manner.

steve s
7th June 2010, 04:08 PM
He also addresses it in this video, right at the start.

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Manopolus
7th June 2010, 06:08 PM
Antitheism to me is anti doctrine. It does not necessarily deny the possible existence of a God or gods, it rather says that we know nothing about Him/them if He/they does/do exist, and therefore should not pretend to know something that we do not.

That's my definition, as an antitheist. Other definitions may vary.

Skeptic Ginger
7th June 2010, 07:09 PM
Hitchens has said that by anti-theist he means that not only does he think the existence of God is untrue, he wouldn't WANT it to be true, as opposed to some atheists who wish it could be true although don't believe it is.....I hope you also recognize those of we atheists who just recognize god beliefs are silly. I don't care that people believe in gods, except I do care that god believing people are poorly skilled at rational thinking when it comes to god beliefs.

But why would atheists wish gods existed? If I was going to wish anything along this line, I'd wish I were a god. Why would I want other gods to exist?

Skeptic Ginger
7th June 2010, 07:12 PM
Additionally, one could hold the view that God doesn't exist, but look at all the wonderful things religion provides: inspiration, hope...etc.Oh puhleese. Religion provides none of those things. People who have inspiration and hope may channel those beliefs through a religion. But the religion is not responsible for those things.

Titanic Explorer
7th June 2010, 09:01 PM
I despise religion-ALL religions are cults.

Iconoclast08
7th June 2010, 09:15 PM
In other words, he's against (anti) the whole notion of a big daddy supernatural bossmanship that intervenes and meddles in the affairs of humans as conceptualized in certain major religions. In his book, Hitchens equates theism with totalitarianism-- a nasty, controlling, celestial dictatorship that creates you sick and commands you to be well (thereby demanding the impossible).

In this sense, I would consider myself an anti-theist as well.

David Henson
7th June 2010, 09:44 PM
I was under the assumption Christopher Hitchens was an atheist- but he has described himself as an anti-theist. What's the difference?

There is nothing quite as enjoyable as watching Christopher Hitchens debate apologists for radical Islam or Christianity, and tear them to shreds..

You know . . . I disagree with Chris (I know he hates to be called Chris) when he talks about the Bible. I cheer him on when he talks about religion, which I myself loath. I wish I could speak and write like he can. I see good sense in him choosing the term anti-theist over the, in my opinion, moronic term, atheist. He smokes and drinks and cusses and makes obscene jestures at creationists and subjected himself to water boarding. He knows politics which is to me as bad, if not worse, than religion.

I like the son of a *******.

Isn't that interesting? I cant type ***** in the stead of bitch, but if I type bitch the JREF will - I assume - type *****.

Although it may not apply to that particular word, I'm testing it.

People are crazy! I'm a person.

David Henson
7th June 2010, 09:51 PM
I despise religion-ALL religions are cults.

[Laughs]

Duh! Yeah, they are synonymous. A cult is only used typically as an indication of being a religion in oppisition to the one you subscribe to. It's like Pagan.

The Christians were pagan (meaning outside of) the Romans and the Romans were pagan (meaning outside of) the Christians.

It depends upon what side of the word you are on. Unless you don't know what the hell you are talking about and then, well, oddly enough, it depends upon who you agree with . . .

Good job! You fit right in with everyone else. Does it really matter if we call you Griffendorf or something else?

Think about it.

Brainache
7th June 2010, 09:58 PM
[Laughs]

Duh! Yeah, they are synonymous. A cult is only used typically as an indication of being a religion in oppisition to the one you subscribe to. It's like Pagan.

The Christians were pagan (meaning outside of) the Romans and the Romans were pagan (meaning outside of) the Christians.

It depends upon what side of the word you are on. Unless you don't know what the hell you are talking about and then, well, oddly enough, it depends upon who you agree with . . .

Good job! You fit right in with everyone else. Does it really matter if we call you Griffendorf or something else?

Think about it.

I think he was using Cult in the modern perjorative sense. I agree with him. If you can't see what we mean, maybe you should try getting in touch with this organisation:
http://www.caic.org.au/

Rasmus
7th June 2010, 10:11 PM
I think he was using Cult in the modern perjorative sense. I agree with him. If you can't see what we mean, maybe you should try getting in touch with this organisation:
http://www.caic.org.au/

From that site: World religions such as Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism etc are NOT cults!


So, no it doesn't seem to be a worthwhile resource ...


Also:


(This article was written by a former Jehovah's Witness who came to know the reality of God's Grace)


It's just the big religions fearing they may lose influence to any of the smaller religions. Painting the smaller ones in the light of "dangerous cults" and pretending that there are significant differences is not a new tactic at all.

David Henson
7th June 2010, 10:16 PM
I think he was using Cult in the modern perjorative sense. I agree with him. If you can't see what we mean, maybe you should try getting in touch with this organisation:
http://www.caic.org.au/

Yeah, and maybe I would want to join the Catholic church, to.

You think I want to join your organization?

[sigh] A waste of time.

David Henson
7th June 2010, 10:20 PM
From that site: World religions such as Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism etc are NOT cults!

Tell me the differance between a religion, a cult and a sect.

(This article was written by a former Jehovah's Witness who came to know the reality of God's Grace)

A Jehovah's Witness KNOWS or at least should know what that is all about. It means nothing.

Aepervius
7th June 2010, 11:10 PM
There is a good reason such expression like "le denier du cult" still exists (hint : that was the obole given to church or parish).

Whereas it is true that cult/sect has slightly taken a pejorative term for small group of weird people mostly being scammed by a few leader, the generic meaning is STILL a general observance of worship or ritual. So yeah all mainstream religious -ism are basically cult.

Aepervius
7th June 2010, 11:17 PM
Tell me the differance between a religion, a cult and a sect.


Cult and Sect have multiple definition. One of sect is a sub group of a religion distinguishable by its idea or ritual or worship (think of shiite and sunite, or I would wagger catholocism and prostetantism). Cult is simply worship of a religion. I don't think I need to define religion to you.

So for example we have :
* Islamism (religion)
* sunite (sect)
* Islam (cult)

Or

* Chrtistianism (religion)
* Catholicism (sect)
* Christian (cult)

naturally you have also the other definition of cult which is a dangerous belief and/or group of individual.

* Sun sect, the one which mass suicided (was it in toronto) is such an example

Often people think of the second definition instead of the first but both are valid.

David Henson
7th June 2010, 11:24 PM
There is a good reason such expression like "le denier du cult" still exists (hint : that was the obole given to church or parish).

Whereas it is true that cult/sect has slightly taken a pejorative term for small group of weird people mostly being scammed by a few leader, the generic meaning is STILL a general observance of worship or ritual. So yeah all mainstream religious -ism are basically cult.

Excellent point. Awesome avatar.

David Henson
7th June 2010, 11:30 PM
Cult and Sect have multiple definition. One of sect is a sub group of a religion distinguishable by its idea or ritual or worship (think of shiite and sunite, or I would wagger catholocism and prostetantism). Cult is simply worship of a religion. I don't think I need to define religion to you.

So for example we have :
* Islamism (religion)
* sunite (sect)
* Islam (cult)

Or

* Chrtistianism (religion)
* Catholicism (sect)
* Christian (cult)

naturally you have also the other definition of cult which is a dangerous belief and/or group of individual.

* Sun sect, the one which mass suicided (was it in toronto) is such an example

Often people think of the second definition instead of the first but both are valid.

Yes! Everyone look at this. An excellent point.

What about a sect. Uh . . . a lot of the time I sort of throw these sorts of objections . . . questions, if you like, to the opposition. Like a master tossing a morsel to the dregs.

And then every once in a while someone like you comes along and says . . .alright. Lets have a look at this.

Oh, sure . . . it doesn't happen often enough and when it does it escapes the mongerals.

Sect. They . . .(who are they) called the Christians a sect. It doesn't matter. Really.

Common usage.

Brainache
8th June 2010, 12:46 AM
Yeah, and maybe I would want to join the Catholic church, to.

You think I want to join your organization?

[sigh] A waste of time.

Not my organisation, I've never been in a cult, but you appear to be pretty firmly entrenched in yours.

Titanic Explorer
8th June 2010, 05:28 PM
[Laughs]

Duh! Yeah, they are synonymous. A cult is only used typically as an indication of being a religion in oppisition to the one you subscribe to. It's like Pagan.

The Christians were pagan (meaning outside of) the Romans and the Romans were pagan (meaning outside of) the Christians.

It depends upon what side of the word you are on. Unless you don't know what the hell you are talking about and then, well, oddly enough, it depends upon who you agree with . . .

Good job! You fit right in with everyone else. Does it really matter if we call you Griffendorf or something else?

Think about it.


I have no use for religion or sympathy for religious people. I concider them detached from reality. Suggesting that one god is better than a different god is absurd.

TraneWreck
8th June 2010, 05:34 PM
Oh puhleese. Religion provides none of those things. People who have inspiration and hope may channel those beliefs through a religion. But the religion is not responsible for those things.

I agree, I was just giving an example of someone who is an atheist, but not anti-theist. The importance of hope, faith...etc. will be cited as reasons why religion and religious belief are important even if the speaker doesn't buy in.

Karl Rove holds this view, which alone should be enough to see the silliness of it, but there are weak-kneed atheists all over the place.

Iconoclast08
8th June 2010, 07:54 PM
... Uh . . . a lot of the time I sort of throw these sorts of objections . . . questions, if you like, to the opposition. Like a master tossing a morsel to the dregs.

...

Oh, sure . . . it doesn't happen often enough and when it does it escapes the mongerals.

How Christ-like of you.

Iconoclast08
8th June 2010, 07:56 PM
... mongerals [sic] ...

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

I'm Grammar Tyrant's brother-- Spelling Tyrant.

:)

Peace, love, and religion.

:)