Atheism vs. Hatetheism and How to Respond to Each

As atheists grow bolder in the absence of such boldness from christian leaders in the Western world, we have begun to find new terms to describe this group.  Typically, we call them the “New Atheists” – ones who do not simply lack belief in God, but actively assert that God does not exist and “evangelize” their worldview.  Now, I have found a better word proposed by Robin Schumacher, a blogger for the Christian Post.  He proposes the term “Hatetheist” to describe those who cannot help but espouse their hatred (not just disagreement) with theism, especially of the Christian variety.

Schumacher raises a number of points that resonate with me (and I suspect most who engage in any debates with atheists), such as:

…atheists keep Christians honest where our apologetics are concerned, and they are helpful in showcasing what the philosophy of naturalism espouses and where it logically leads.  Although we disagree on theological matters, I’ve found atheists to be respectful, intelligent, and understanding in many of our discussions. They have thought through their positions, present them in a well-organized manner, and are happy to consider contrary positions and opposing arguments to their stance.

In contrast, he says, “discussing theology with hatetheists is an exercise in futility.”  He lays out 8 points describing what sets the hatetheist apart from other atheists.  Below is my attempt to boil down his comparisons for simplicity.

Atheist Hatetheist
Respectful Name-caller
Uses names “God”, “Jesus” “Invisible sky fairy”, “Jewish zombie”
Recognizes intellectual equality Believe they have superior intellect
Considers and addresses arguments Uses red herrings, dodges questions
Recognizes limits of science Adheres to scientism
Universally critiques all gods Focuses on God of Christianity
Promotes freedom of religion Promotes freedom from religion
Does not see Christianity as a threat Fights against threat of Christianity

These distinctions are important because they can help discern how best to respond or approach an unbeliever.  While it may be a good idea to continually engage with an atheist for evangelism or other discussion, Schumacher warns against such continued interaction with hatetheists.  He gives a number of scriptural examples for this conclusion, which is summed up with a quote from Richard Weaver’s book, Ideas Have Consequences:

“Nothing good can come if the will is wrong. And to give evidence to him who loves not the truth is to give him more plentiful material for misinterpretation.”

If you often engage with atheists online, I would strongly recommend reading his entire post.  Do you agree that we should sometimes disengage with an unbeliever, or is it always advisable to keep the dialogue going?

  • Andrew Poland

    I would agree with this. I have no problem with the Atheist, Agnostic, or whatever as long as they do as I do and mind their own business. I wrote on Hatetheists posting propaganda on facebook, and responded to the Huffington post with this article. http://tactisweak.com/2012/06/07/a-defense-of-faith/ 

    I will definitely start reading this blog more often. I only found it through a friend on facebook so with the bad inevitably comes the good I guess. I may even link to y’all if that’s OK.

    • Feel free to link to whatever you like on this site, and thanks for your comments.

  • A Humanist

    Any idea must be open to valid criticism and freethought. And that includes religion. The God Hypothesis is empty; there is not a single shred of evidence
    supporting it. The Bible was written by multiple authors hundreds of
    years after the supposed date of said events, and is riddled with
    contradictions and deviations from reality. The concept of God itself is
    unfalsifiable, and thus is invalid.

    So no, I will not respect your unfounded beliefs. I will not respect the dogmas that are holding back humanity, that promote hate speech against women, people of other races, the disabled, the old, and members of the LGBTQ Community. I will not stand by as religious beliefs, from all religions, threaten the human race in ways that are both personal and empirical.

    I apologise if this viewpoint is often presented in a blunt and perhaps uninformed manner. But the societal dominance of theism is a lucky accident, and in fair debate your foundations are nonexistent. Those who you claim to evangelize Atheism are likely only doing so in response to the continued presence of Religion in Government and in daily life.

    Good Day.

    PS. I love the hypocrisy in the fact that the first thing listed under the term “Hatetheism” is “Name-calling”.

    • MLG Bros. 963

      “Unfounded beliefs”? Explain please. Though I doubt you can. There are lots of evidences, though these all point to the Christian God. DNA, complexity of nature, these point to a Designer.

      • Troy Boyle

        In the same way that the water filling a pothole thinks, “Wow, I fit this pothole exactly! It must have been designed for me.”

  • I see that a hatetheist joined in and helped prove the points raised. They have been the subject of several articles at my “Stormbringer’s Thunder” Weblog.

    Robin Schumacher has written some excellent material, and I like your own comments as well. The way you showed the contrasts is especially helpful. (Think I’ll hang about and check out more of your material.) I first came across the hatetheist article when it was posted at the Christian Apologetics Research Ministry.

    Something I would like to add is that hatetheists not only use double-edged genetic fallacy to assume that they are more intelligent than Christians simply by virtue of their disbelief, they are also severely lacking in logic. Many times, I have pointed out their logical fallacies and they justify their lack of logic with more fallacies. Yet, they claim to be the harbingers of “reason”.

    Hatetheists are extremely aggressive. I have posted articles, which in turn sends out links via Twitter. The anonymity of Twitter allows them to act like bullies, saying things that they would never dare say to someone’s face. Also, they attack people for posting the links, as if they were the authors, and seldom actually read what they are whining about!

  • I don’t hate Christians or any theist. However, many anti-theists, myself included, view the adherence to ANY religion as a dangerous disease, like cancer or delusional schizophrenia. You wouldn’t want to see those diseases espoused and passed on from generation to generation, and neither does an anti-theist. “Hatetheist” is merely another pejorative term, like “Cracker” or “Himey.” Thanks for thinking up yet another cute euphemism.

    Theism, in any form, is definitely a threat to progress and human society as it retards innovation, encourages us vs. them and insider vs. outsider thinking. Not to mention that no religion from Gaia to God has ever had a single shred of unambiguous evidence to support it. Christianity is no more or less valid than Odinism or belief in leprechauns or any other unsupported belief.

    • I think we now know whether Troy is an atheist or hatetheist. Pray that he repents.

    • Regarding the charge by you and “A Humanist” above that the term “Hatethiest” is derogatory, I do not see it that way. It is meant as a descriptive term, to adequately portray an attitude that is not merely “lacking theism” but rather a crusade against theism that becomes a defining part of one’s life.

      When you have made it your goal, in your case acting as President of the National Atheist Party, to rid the world of a “disease” or “threat” from a particular class of people, I find it quite accurate to describe it as hatred.

      Biblical Christianity promotes the concept that we are all free to choose our beliefs and worship freely according to that choice…hence the site name “Soul Liberty”. Yes, we seek to present the truth of Christ’s salvation and make efforts to persuade others to accept that salvation, but judgment is God’s alone to give. Therefore, I am no threat to you. Why, then, are you compelled to suppress my freedom to believe and practice as I choose?

    • You’re simply intolerant filth. And that’s coming from an Atheist who doesn’t hate Christians.

    • MLG Bros. 963

      How can you say you don’t hate Christians when you are an anti-theist? That is retarded.

      • Troy Boyle

        I’m pretty sure that I adequately covered that in my post, but let me draw a parallel. Christians are fond of saying “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Anti-theists are much the same. We don’t hate anyone of any religion, but we think that religion ITSELF is unnecessary, and often dangerous.

  • They’ve had a name for a long time — Antagonistic Atheists, aggressive Atheists who go after Christians to destroy Christianity. Historically they’re Jews and they acutally still meet in synagogues. They’re tools of Marxists.

  • Pingback: Learning How to Respond Is Part of Becoming a Good Case Maker | Cold Case Christianity()

  • Howard Isaac Williams

    Another possible distinction between atheists and hatetheists: Some hatetheists do believe that God exists. But they hate God and so the description has an extra accuracy.
    Although many in the USA and Western Europe refer to something called the “New Atheism,” it isn’t so new. In the 20th Century hatetheists killed more people in so called peacetime than did all the religious wars combined. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot slaughtered millions as did Hitler who may have technically have been a pagan but was certainly anti-Christian.

  • Martimus maximus

    “Do you agree that we should sometimes disengage with an unbeliever, or is it always advisable to keep the dialogue going?”

    Proverbs 14:7–“Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.”