Monday, January 29, 2007

I've often thought that the Sunni/Shia differences in Muslims were probably not unlike the difference between Presbyterians and Methodists, or Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, none of which I fully understand.

And so, while I don't fully understand the differences in Christianity, which is familiar to me, understanding the differences in Islam seems far beyond my reach.

But here is a simplified explanation to the schism between Sunni and Shia, for others who might be curious. This kind of religious intolerance, spread over 1400 years, is almost unfathomable to me! People kill each other over this? And dying for such ideas is a matter of pride? I don't get it... I really don't.

Does anyone know if there's a word for anti-religious? Since atheist means that one doesn't have a belief in god, is there a word for those of us who think that "organized" religion is, er, crazy? If not, can we make up a word?

The definition I'm looking for a word for is approximately: one who thinks that organized religion is more about controle of the masses than spiritual enlightenment, and therefore rejects any religious dogma instead favoring a personal moral code.

I don't remember if I linked this before, but it's still good.


Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

The word bandied around to describe someone who considers religion to be harmful is "antitheist."

Antitheism (sometimes anti-theism) is a direct opposition to theism. The word has had a range of applications; in secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to belief in any deity, while in theistic ones, it sometimes refers to opposition to an actual god or gods. It is not to be confused with atheism, although the two are similar. Atheism is the denial or disbelief in theism and its deities, whereas antitheism directly opposes theism. That means an atheist may not be an antitheist if he/she denies the existence of a God, but still thinks that theism isn't harmful i.e. doesn't oppose it.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Jon said...

The term anti-theist is close.

4:26 AM  
Blogger new.atheist said...

See, I thought of that, but Merriam-Webster doesn't have that word, and the other dictionary says:


\An`ti*the"ist\, n. A disbeliever in the existence of God.

I kinda was looking for an anti-religion word, not just an anti-deity word. Not all religions or cults are based on worship of a deity.

And the reverse dictionary let me down too:*&loc=revfp2&clue=anti+religious

Religious intolerance just sounds so harsh...

10:32 AM  

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