Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Atheists Don't Hate God

Theists often accuse atheists of hating God, despite that fact that we don't actually believe in gods. It's pretty difficult to work up too much hatred for an imaginary being, except in the sense that you might be repelled by a fictional character. Bernard Schweizer, author of Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism, has an article up at Religion Dispatches that makes some excellent points about the distinction between true God-haters and atheists.
In Hating God I go to some lengths to explain why atheists are not, and in fact cannot be, haters of God in any genuine sense of the word and that, conversely, those who really do hate God, cannot be atheists. A new term was needed, and so I revived a forgotten word—misotheism
The people who truly hate and reject God are those who believe in one.
There is absolutely nothing unusual about people expressing disgust and dislike of fictional characters, and that includes the atheists. What is more unusual and, indeed, highly paradoxical, is to encounter people who do believe in the existence of God (hence, for them God is not a fictional character) and yet to reject that God on moral grounds.
The difference is significant.
If we refuse to make a distinction between the hatred of a fictional character and the hatred of, say, one’s mother-in-law, then we must refuse to make other kinds of distinctions as well. If hating a non-existing personage and hating an existing one are one and the same, then worshipping God and worshiping Harry Potter must also be considered on the same level.
Although the article is a response to a specific book review by a Christian, it's worth reading even if you haven't read the book in question.


  1. The gods love atheists, because they're the only ones who never blame the divine for anything.

  2. There have been over 3000 different gods since mankind has sought the need to invent them. Everyone is an Atheist to at least some of these gods.