RQ Antitheism

lol okay check out this post I found from like a year ago.

Ignore rolequeer (the url)’s input because lol they’re not wrong, they’re just missing the point.  I’m linking more for that last comment because it’s… a trip.

“Theism is entirely compatible with a consent positive etc. sexual politic etc.”

No. There’s no such thing as THEISM (as in: a pure platonic form of faith in god/s, free of corruption).


1) Religions tend to etiologically and mythologically explain and sanctify the status quo.

*chinhands* “Religions tend to,” eh?  One paragraph we’re shouting that “there’s no such thing as theism” — but there is such a thing as “religions”?

Anyway, citation please.

2) Many branches of Abrahamic theism elevate unthinking obedience

I can see you haven’t talked to many Jewish people.

3) Many branches of Abrahamic theism pervasively employ a rhetoric of hierarchy or even ownership, both with respect to the relationship between creator and creation and as a regulative idea within creation. Sometimes it’s done sneakily, but I would say that apparently benign images like that of Jesus as the Good Shepherd deserve some critical scrutiny, too.

I love the transparent trajectory from “let’s protest this very general claim [‘theism is not mutually exclusive with valuing consent’]” to “but LOOK see many of these VERY SPECIFIC variants of theism INVOLVE a rhetoric of hierarchy.”  Kid, that doesn’t even contradict the original claim you were first responding to.

I’ll grant that some problematic aspects might be memetic freeloaders on the back of a given religion – nonsense that could be put aside without touching the core of the faith

I keep… rereading this sentence… because the idea of “the core of the faith” (as purported here to exist) is an awfully ostensibly Platonic thing to believe in for someone who was just yelling “there’s no such thing as theism” a moment ago.

but in other cases there’s really no choice but to scrap the whole set of doctrines. Calvinism, for instance, I see as basically unsalvageable ideological / religious trash.

…Yeah.  Yeah, Calvinism is pretty gross.  I don’t think anyone who participated in that conversation would argue otherwise.  I also don’t… see the point of bringing this up at all.

Which, I suspect, would be easy to accept if it didn’t use religious terminology, but for daft reasons our culture(s) demand of us to respect everything religious.

Your culture, maybe.  I’m not sure I’ve had much contact with it.

[Always been confused whenever people talk like this, because it’s such a 180 of my experience of the majority of people holding “religion” at arm’s length as some strange peculiar and deficient Other to gawk at and occasionally ridicule]

* For the same reasons: There also is no Islam, just a number of Islams. No Christianity, just a multiplicity of Christianities. No Judaism, just a variety of Judaisms. No Buddhism, but .. well, you get the idea.

Funny thing is, I’m inclined to agree with this, in a way, but it’s harder to do that when it’s leveraged to insert needless complexity while failing at rhetorical coherence.

Anyway I think this comment thread could be paraphrased/translated as “Theism is entirely compatible with a consent positive etc. sexual politic etc.” met with “While theism itself may be compatible with that, theism is rarely adhered to in isolation from additional doctrine, beliefs, practices, and traditions, and so looking at theism as a belief in isolation won’t have much relationship to the real world.”

Or at least, maybe that’s what was intended.

But maybe that’s giving Omgiam here too much credit, because those three points they gave don’t have much relationship to the assertion I just described.  All this stuff about how Religions Can Be Bad is just kind of wandering off away from the actual topic and doesn’t refute what LA was saying at all, despite the response being framed as a refutation (i.e. it literally begins with a quote from LA and then the word “No.”).

Anyway whatever the intent was, this post is a mess, and this concludes the reading hour with Coyote.


7 responses to “RQ Antitheism

  • Siggy

    If I understand the context, the relevant sense of “compatibility” is the practical sense. The OP, lyricalagony seemed to be arguing that antitheism should not be brought into [whatever it was they were talking about] because theism is compatible with consent positive politics. But let’s be pragmatic. If, in your view, theism is a major factor in many people’s lack of consent positive politics, then you might think it worthwhile to address theism, or at least not ignore it. Theism as an abstract concept isn’t relevant.

    But I agree that omgiamnot’s response is confused. Shorter version: “Generalizations are bad. Listen to these generalizations I have.”

    • Coyote

      Maybe I’m less familiar with the lingo… I just figured “antitheism” meant “theism itself is bad, boo” and not “let’s not assume everything connected to theism is good, and let’s look at it critically.”

      If people want to go with the latter, then, cool. But in the context of the discussion, it seems pretty apparent to me that LA’s concerns were about the former possibly-maybe being part of the ambiguous quote they put in the OP. So… eh?

      • Siggy

        If you’re sympathetic to antitheism, you define it to have just enough qualifiers that it describes you and your allies. If you’re unsympathetic to it, you say that if it had that many qualifiers, that’s never what you were talking about. The usual talking past each other.

  • Hezekiah the (meta)pianycist

    “No Judaism, just a variety of Judaisms.” This person really doesn’t know anything about Judaism at all if they think the differences between subcategories of Judaism are as stark as between Catholics and Southern Baptists (using those examples bc my spouse who was raised Southern Baptist and I–raised Catholic–have had many many conversations about the core beliefs of those traditions, which are often diametrically opposed). Core beliefs among different types of Judaism are wayyyy more similar to one another than core Catholic beliefs vs. core Southern Baptist beliefs.

    • Elana

      These quotes sound like they’re written by someone who thinks Judaism is Christianity minus Jesus, plus some festivals. And you’re completely right that the difference between denominations isn’t so extreme. I’ve heard orthodox and reconstuctionist rabbis quoted in the same breath.

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