Atheism and Libertarianism

Atheism, simply defined is the lack of belief in God or Gods. It’s the negation of theism which is the belief in God. There is also a type of atheism called strong atheism, or antitheism, which is the assertion that Gods can not exist and do not exist. Antitheists also find religion to be contemptuous since it is irrational and has given rise to many of the problems humanity has faced and continues to deal with in the modern day. The Inquisition, religious wars, hatred of homosexuals, mistreatment of women, the death penalty for apostasy, stonings, witch trials, suicide bombers, genital mutilation, brainwashing children,and many other horrible precepts. So religion can be a way of life, whereas atheism is not a lifestyle. It’s just an absence of belief in the supernatural and Gods. Essentially everyone is an atheist. There are thousands and thousands of religions and Gods. If you are a monotheist, (Jew, Muslim, Christian), you reject all of the other Gods. You reject The Hindu Gods, The Greek Gods, The Norse Gods, so on and so forth. The difference between an atheist and a monotheist is that the atheist takes one more step, and does not believe in any Gods. So as I said, atheism is not a lifestyle. It does not say you must live a certain way. But what about political beliefs. Is atheism more compatible with one over another? Is it more compatible with Communism, or is it more compatible with Libertarianism? I think it is obvious to see why the latter is a better choice when it comes to reconcilability. So let me make the argument.

First, I think it is better to discuss this topic by using strong atheism, rather than weak atheism to discuss the compatibility between politics and the lack of belief in Gods. Strong atheism, or antitheism, is an assertion and can be looked at as a philosophical position. A person who is against religion can discuss the reasons why and make compelling arguments against religion. The atheist, who just lacks belief in Gods, is just that, and it does not go much deeper than that. The same way we do not call people non alchemists, or non coin collectors, or non Catholics, they just do not believe. I think Libertarianism and Atheism go hand in hand. Libertarainsim is based on the non aggression principle (NAP) and it says that no one is allowed to initiate force against your physical person or private property. Self defense and punishments for criminals are permissible, however, aggressive actions like murder, rape, theft, assault, fraud, trespass, vandalism, etc. are all violations of the NAP. Libertarians believe that The State is illegitimate since it is an institution with a monopoly on force and ultimate decision making power in a geographical region. The State is coercive and it murders, kidnaps, and steals. It is perhaps the greatest plunderer and threat to human rights and freedom man has ever seen. What does this have to do with antithesim. Well, organized religion is hierarchical and coercive.  So if you take one of the monotheistic religions, more specifically Christianity or Islam, let’s say Christianity for argument’s sake. There are certian rules and guidleines you must follow in order to be rewarded with eternal life after death. There are many things you can do in life that are victimless crimes here on earth, or not even a crime anywhere in the universe, however, the celestial overseer, the dictator in the sky, will punish you with a hard handed and excruciating punishment if you break these rules and do not ask for forgiveness. The Ten Commandments, sacred scripture, and religious precepts govern the kingdom of God, and religion says you are bound by them here on earth, and breaking them could mean a fiery and tortuous afterlife in a place called Hell. If you break God’s rules you could land a one way ticket to a place a thousand times hotter than the Sun, where all the dregs of humanity reside, the serial killers, the murderers, the thieves, the rapists, the torturers, unless of course they asked for forgiveness then they are with God and Jesus. I find this to be a ridiculous proposition. Especially since . If a person committed atrocious acts of violence for 3/4 of their life and then on their death bed, that person asks for forgiveness, God has a place for them in heaven. I find this a repulsive idea, that someone like Ted Bundy, or Heinrich Himmler, could be forgiven for their crimes by the all loving God by merely asking for forgiveness and salvation. After all, a so called benevolent God who created these horrible people and who permitted them to inflict suffering and pain to people sounds rather sinister. But if you show disrespect to God, or you do not believe in God, or you criticize the idea of God, or you are disrespect your parents, or you covet things, or if you are a homosexual, or eat certain food, you may very well find yourself in a burning dungeon, with the sound of wretched moaning and blood curdling screams for eternity. This is absurd and perhaps even more sinister and evil. But many people believe in this nonsense. They believe if you are gay, or you are an atheist, or if you admire your stamp collection more than God, this will send you straight to Hell. So dogmatic religion and libertarianism would no mix well philosophically since libertarians oppose coercion. They oppose The State. So religion and God are very similar to The State. The geographical area that that is monopolized with the threat of eternal damnation is the earth, Heaven, Hell, and the whole universe. The monopolizer of this coercion and threat of violent punishment for not believing is this celestial overseer we call God. Sort of a despotic dictator of the transcendent realm. If you eat the wrong thing or have sex with the wrong person, you will very likely be punished here and in the afterlife according to scripture. This is like living in a perpetual 1984 times a trillion!

Many atheists identify with Communism or political and social collectivism. This seems logical since Karl Marx, the author of The Communist Manifesto, was a staunch atheist. I do not think Communism and atheism go together though. Communism replaces God and supernatural power and judgement with statist power and force. The Communists and Progressive Leftists want people to worship The State and Big Government. If you are an anarcho-communist, and you oppose The State and capitalism, you are still in favor of using force to seize private property. Anarcho-communists are still in favor of mob rule and central governmental panels who have been elected by a system of mob rule (democracy) making the ultimate decisions on how resources are allocated among the people living in the commune of city, or wherever this political system exists. I think Ayn Rand’s rejection of faith is more realistic. She rejects mainly because it is irrational. She talked about how a lack of knowledge was not a license to invent fantasies. Instead, humanity should strive to expand its knowledge.

So in conclusion, I think a person who is consistent in their beliefs and who calls themselves a libertarian, should also reject the dogma of religion. There are many wonderful people who are devout theists. There are people in my family who I love dearly who are religious and believe in God. They have a right to believe what they want. People have an inalienable right to practice a religion as long as they do not violate the rights of others in the process. Unfortunately, there are religions which exist today, which are extremely violent. I do not have to name them. You know which ones they are and one in particular which has been responsible for human rights violations and ultra violence for 1400 years. So the problem is that religion has many coercive elements and ideas ingrained in the holy books and if people are just going to pick the good parts and do away with the bad, then why do we need religion at all? Libertarians who are against The State and support the NAP, would be much more consistent if they were antitheists. I do not see how religious dogma that is very coercive and is used to condition young susceptible children into believing in God is an acceptable practice and in line with the objectives of freedom. I find it unsettling for a person who is a supporter of freedom to submit to a supernatural morality monitor who they have never met and in which there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of this God. the only evidence, if you call it that, is a holy book or books that were written eons ago by extremely fallible men living in the desert way before The Age of Enlightenment, The Theory of Evolution, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Immanuel Kant, David Hume and other world changing contributions and discoveries. If you support freedom and the NAP, I think it would also be logically consistent to reject organized religion and celestial dictatorships.