Militant atheism definition

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Militant atheism is a form of atheism which is hostile towards belief in the existence of God and hostile towards theistic religions.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

The atheist author Julian Baggini summarizes militant atheism thusly:

Although …atheism Is not necessarily hostile to religion, there are, of course some atheists who are hostile to religion, and not just fundamentalist religions….Atheism which is actively hostile to religion I would call militant. To be hostile in this sense requires more than just strong disagreement with religion—it requires something verging on hatred and is characterized by a desire to wipe out all forms of religious beliefs. Militant atheists tend to make one or both of two claims that atheists do not. The first is that religion is demonstrably false or nonsense, and the second is that it is usually or always harmful.[7]

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Notes

  1. Julian Baggini (2009). Atheism. Sterling Publishing. Retrieved on 2011-06-28. “Militant Atheism: Atheism which is actively hostile to religion I would call militant. To be hostile in this sense requires more than just strong disagreement with religion—it requires something verging on hatred and is characterized by a desire to wipe out all forms of religious beliefs. Militant atheists tend to make one or both of two claims that moderate atheists do not. The first is that religion is demonstrably false or nonsense, and the second is that is is usually or always harmful.” 
  2. Karl Rahner (1975). Encyclopædia of Theology: A Concise Sacramentum Mundi. Continuum International Publishing Group. Retrieved on 2011-06-28. “ATHEISM A. IN PHILOSOPHY I. Concept and incidence. Philosophically speaking, atheism means denial of the existence of God or of any possibility of knowing God. In those who hold this theoretical atheism, it may be tolerant (and even deeply concerned), if it has no missionary aims; it is "militant" when it regards itself as a doctrine to be propagated for the happiness of mankind and combats every religion as a harmful aberration.” 
  3. Kerry S. Walters (2010). Atheism. Continuum International Publishing Group. Retrieved on 10 March 2011. “Both positive and negative atheism may be further subdivided into (i) militant and (ii) moderate varieties. Militant atheists, such as physicist Steven Weinberg, tend to think that God-belief is not only erroneous but pernicious. Moderate atheists agree that God-belief is unjustifiable, but see nothing inherently pernicious in it. What leads to excess, they argue, is intolerant dogmatism and extremism, and these are qualities of ideologies in general, religious or nonreligious.” 
  4. Phil Zuckerman (2009). Atheism and Secularity: Issues, Concepts, and Definitions. ABC-CLIO. Retrieved on 10 March 2011. “In contrast, militant atheism, as advocated by Lenin and the Russian Bolsheviks, treats religion as the dangerous opium and narcotic of the people, a wrong political ideology serving the interests of antirevolutionary forces; thus force may be necessary to control or eliminate religion.” 
  5. Yang, Fenggang (2004). "Between Secularist Ideology and Desecularizing Reality: The Birth and Growth of Religious Research in Communist China". Sociology of Religion 65 (2): 101-119. http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/65/2/101.full.pdf. "Scientific atheism is the theoretical basis for tolerating religion while carrying out atheist propaganda, whereas militant atheism leads to antireligious measures. In practice, almost as soon as it took power in 1949, the CCP followed the hard line of militant atheism. Within a decade, all religions were brought under the iron control of the Party: Folk religious practices considered feudalist superstitions were vigorously suppressed; cultic or heterodox sects regarded as reactionary organizations were resolutely banned; foreign missionaries, considered part of Western imperialism, were expelled; and major world religions, including Buddhism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism, were coerced into "patriotic" national associations under close supervision of the Party. Religious believers who dared to challenge these policies were mercilessly banished to labor camps, jails, or execution grounds.". 
  6. Yang, Fenggang (2006). "The Red, Black, and Gray Markets of Religion in China". The Sociological Quarterly 47 (1): 93–122. http://www.purdue.edu/crcs/itemPublications/articles/Yang3Markets.pdf. "In contrast, militant atheism, as advocated by Lenin and the Russian Bolsheviks, treats religion as a dangerous narcotic and a troubling political ideology that serves the interests of antirevolutionary forces. As such, it should be suppressed or eliminated by the revolutionary force. On the basis of scientific atheism, religious toleration was inscribed in CCP policy since its early days. By reason of militant atheism, however, atheist propaganda became ferocious, and the power of “proletarian dictatorship” was invoked to eradicate the reactionary ideology (Dai 2001)". 
  7. Baggini, Julian, Atheism a Very Short Introduction. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 101.
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