Featured Book – The Antitheist’s Dictionary – Pt. 6

This book consists of definitions of religious words interpreted by a cynical antitheist. It is hilarious, highly offensive, subversive, sacrilegious and controversial. If you are religious and easily offended then I suggest you steer well clear.


An Ashram is a place where lots of misguided people spend there life in pointless spiritual pursuits. They do no harm and sometimes make some nice handicraft. It would be nice if a lot more people joined ashrams – it would make commuting easier and we’d all have a nice lot of colourful trinkets.

People in Ashrams, while being quite fanatical; do not generally go around stoning non-believers and cutting off their heads. They have a much gentler image than that. Besides, quiet contemplation, meditation and yoga are good for mind and body. That’s to be encouraged.

Astral Plane

According to the ancient Greeks the stars were made of a different element. Souls had to pass through this astral plane after death on their way to the stars. The astral plane was inhabited by angels and other strange beings like that.

I wonder what those angels spent their time doing while they were sitting around in vacuum, trillions of miles from anywhere? So far the Hubble telescope hasn’t picked them up and none of our rockets have come back smeared with angel blood.

I don’t know who first thought this rubbish up but it was later used and adapted by all sorts of other religions. You could leave your body and go off flying through the astral plane.

What a great idea. You so want some of this rubbish to be true. Never mind. We can dream. They Moody Blues did a song about Timothy Leary, acid trips and astral planes. Acid and astral planes seem to go together well.


Astrology was thought up before anyone knew what a star was. This was the age when people thought the world was all that existed and above us was a canopy with holes in through which god’s heavenly light shone through.

Astrology is so important to the Hindus that they ridiculously believe that it maps out there whole life. Seemingly if you can work out the exact second you were born you can work out the positions of all the planets and stars and map out everything that is going to happen to you. It’s called destiny.

Unfortunately my whole life was disrupted when a meteorite burnt up overhead and threw all the calculations out. I’ve been wandering aimlessly ever since. So all of this mad thinking of mine is due to a lump of space rock that happened to be in the wrong place the day my dad’s sperm shoved its nose into my mum’s egg.

You would not believe the lengths the Indians went to in order to observe and measure the stars so they got their intricate maps exactly right. At least it gave us a really good idea of the heavens when it came to doing some real science.

Even today there are millions of people who read their horoscopes and somehow believe that a twelfth of the world’s population are all going to meet a tall dark handsome stranger on the stroke of midnight.

There are otherwise rational human beings who still say silly things like ‘If it’s meant to be,’ or ‘It’s in the lap of the gods’.

No, I do not know how anyone came to believe that some distant planet, star or galaxy being in a certain segment of the sky was going to have any bearing on whether to stick or twist. I guess it’s all down to Skinnerian psychology.

Besides, I don’t like to think that everything I do is already ordained. Kinda takes the fun out of it. I like free will.


An atheist is a person on the road to sanity. They have realised that the whole concept of a personal god is complete bullshit. They have managed, through intelligence and rationality, to break free of their childhood indoctrination. They are no longer subject to brainwashing and can begin to accept the universe as it is, appreciate its beauty, live life to the full, develop their own moral code based on sound philosophy without the need for reward, and make the most of this short life.

They still have to make the last step into realising that religion is a human manufactured evil that is responsible for much madness, murder, torture and pointless ritual – but hey – it’s a start!


Atman is the Hindu view of self or the essence of self which is interpreted as the soul. In Hinduism there is a journey towards the realisation that the true self, the Atman, is the same as the infinite truth outside all knowing, Brahman.

Ha, all these ideas have a nice ring to them. We love to believe them. It is a shame they are nothing more than meaningless musings.

I have a self but I don’t have a soul. My self is a construct of my consciousness which is a result of chemical reactions and neurones. I know – it is almost miraculous! We should all worship evolution! It is simply incredible!

There are probably a whole bunch of believers in the Abrahamic tradition who would love me to have a soul because they adore the idea of this gleeful, evil fairy that torments you for eternity for the sin of not believing in him!

I love to torment them with the taunt that I am not going to be tortured forever by this god of love because I do not have a soul. I like the idea of them being tortured forever up there in heaven having to spend eternity adoring and worshipping the deity. I’ll settle for oblivion any day. I know where I’m at, man.


Seemingly we are all wicked. This has nothing to do with what we do. It is all because of Eve. She got us to eat that apple. Now we’ve been kicked out of Eden and are full of original sin. We’re all evil and doomed – unless we believe, confess and atone.

What a pile of tosh. If someone is evil it is because of what they do not due to some fairy tale.

Anyway, all is not lost. Seemingly we can make good with the all-knowing non-existent fairy. We can atone for our sins and make everything right so that god loves us again. We can be at one again.

In judaism they devote a whole day to atonement. You certainly can’t repent at leisure if you’re a jew. On Yom Kippur you repent, make a sacrifice, confess and make retribution.

That all sounds psychologically very good for your mental health. It’s a bit like going to Catholic confession.

I like atonement though. We can use that in restorative practice. It has a very sound psychological basis. That is precisely why religion latched on to it. It makes you feel good to confess, atone and have a new start. If only it was true.

Aaah! – The myriad of ploys that are devised by religion to hook the unwary?


The Augur was a priest who studied birds. I had a friend who studied birds but his were a different kind.

Seemingly birds carried messages from the gods because they flew up into the heavens. You picked the messages up from the way they sang, flew and what types they were. Of course you had to be a highly skilled priest to interpret these messages and because of your great skill you were worthy of great rewards and hence lived in luxury and were extremely important.

I’m watching the birds on my bird feeder and listening to them sitting around in the trees and on the roof singing. Birdsong is aggressive territorial behaviour. As far as I can tell, and I do not claim to have been trained as an augur, the gods are telling me to fuck off.

The auspices are not good

I’m not sure I’d want to determine whether we go to war or not based on the singing of the starlings in my garden. They’re a bit raucous. But then I understand Hitler did similar stuff when deciding to invade Russia and Britain and look what a mess he made of it.

I’m glad we’ve got computers now. We can at least model things.

Now that we know there is no heaven and no gods in the sky does that mean that the gullible no longer believe in augury? No – I suppose not!


Supposedly we all have an invisible multicoloured aura like a magnetic field around us. We see it with our third eye. You can tell the physical and mental state of a person from the colour and size of their aura. They have proved very good for holistic healers to diagnose problems. They’ve made a lot of money out of auras.

The only trouble is that no scientific tests have ever revealed auras and when healers were subjected to tests they were unable to produce results.

Auras conveniently only exist in the eye of some beholders. I think a good poke in the third eye might help!


Baal was another of those ancient discarded gods from Asia Minor. Once worshipped by millions, now in the trash-bin of time.

It’s a shame about all those dedicated followers of Baal. They chose the wrong fashion (though there wasn’t a lot of option back then – Yahweh hadn’t been invented yet!). They believed in the wrong god. No matter if they martyred themselves with good intent, they got it wrong. According to the current religious mob this means that they are probably burning away nicely in the pits right now and will be doing for some considerable time to come – ahem forever.

They now have the odd demon shoving in a trident to turn them over – ‘This side’s done’.

Their only hope is that the evangelists really get their act together. If they manage to turn on the whole planet to Jesus, and thus save everyone living here from those pits, they could turn their attention to the rest of the galaxy and save all those aliens from the fiery torture too. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  Then they could harness technology to invade hell and rescue the baalists, islamists, hindus, zeusarians, zoroastrians, confucians, atheists, antitheists, and all the countless other believers or non-believers who got it wrong simply by getting them to believe in Christ and accept the lord. Or perhaps the zoroastrians will make a come-back and save all the christians – just as plausible.

I’ll convert. I’m not too dogmatic. A few hours in the pits and I’ll believe Jesus can save me, if that’s what it takes. I’m a coward.

I’ll come quietly.

Anyway, baal went the way of all the others, just like the christians, hindus, jews, islamists and buddhists will in years to come. They’ll be replaced by a shiny new set of fabrications.

You never know I might start a new religion. There could be great statues of me in temples all over the universe.

Goodbye baal, hello Opher. Opherism. No matter how benevolent and tolerant I made it, I know that even Opherism, further down the line, would be transformed into a power structure, misconstrued, misquoted, and used to promote division, stoke up hate and create war. You can’t win.


Baptism is a rite of entry into the religion. You either were submerged in a river or had water poured on your head – cleansed with holy water. Reborn from a watery fluid.

It’s very nice on hot days and it was a trifle muggy in the Middle East. You can see why it caught on.


What a nice name for a boy child though not too popular these days. I might get a dog and call him Beelzebub.

Beelzebub was actually an old Sumerian god who went out of fashion. christians hated all pagan gods – anything that wasn’t christian was pagan – and resurrected the name to apply to the devil. Perhaps that was just a bit of an in joke that we don’t get any longer? Making foreign gods into devils is a bit insulting. You’d have to be careful doing that these days. You’d end up with a crusade or Jihad on your hands.


This is a nice cheap scary way to make your point and one favoured by a lot of religions. In England they used to stick the heads on city walls as a warning to others. We’ve become a bit more civilised than that now. Others haven’t.

It is now a favourite of the Islamic extremists. They like putting it out on Youtube. It scares the shit out of the infidels. The infidels get so terrified they have to keep sending drones over to blow the hell out of the beheaders.

It has always been thus (though in bygone days they didn’t have drones). We have to be grateful that the evangelists do not yet have nuclear weapons.

Those of a religious persuasion have rarely used their head in a civilised manner.


An irrational bit of wishful thinking stemming from childhood and cultural indoctrination and tied to an inability to accept that there is no ultimate purpose to life and that the evolution of life and creation of the universe was an accident.

People fall back on the idea that somehow belief does not have to be rational. They are told by their particular brand of tyranny that belief is beyond understanding.

This is a ploy.

People love belief because is makes them feel good. They find it extremely comforting to believe a whole raft of utter stupidity:

  • There is a god who personally cares for them
  • There is a purpose to their life
  • There is an after-life that they go on to
  • Their existence is not a futile accident
  • They might not understand it but there is a plan
  • If they do all the right rituals, say the right prayers, and follow the strict codes of behaviour they will be saved.
  • All people who believe a different set of stupidities are doomed to an ever-lasting Hell – only the set of rules they happen to have been born into is correct
  • God loves them even if he is a sadist with a quick temper and intolerance towards anyone who gets it wrong
  • The plan is beyond their understanding
  • People who do not agree with them are obviously wrong and should be eradicated

The fact that there is not one shred of evidence for any of this misplaced trust is of no consequence to an indoctrinated believer. They always counter with a well-trod series of arguments:

  • Scientists do not have all the answers
  • One only has to look at the complexity of life to realise that it has been intelligently created and designed
  • One only has to look at the complex physical laws of the universe to realise that it could not have come about by chance, it has been created by a god
  • Infinity exists therefore time, space and god are ever-lasting and beyond the understanding of man

Of course this is merely unintelligent foolishness.

Human beings are extremely limited. Far from being built in god’s image we are a poorly constructed product of evolution. Our bodies are far from perfect. Our intelligence is extremely limited. The universe is infinite and probably beyond our understanding. It is quite probably that we will never understand it. The fact that we have understood as much as we have is a miracle.

As a biologist one only has to look at the human body to see its history of evolution. Far from being a miraculous product of god’s creation, in god’s image, it is an extremely flawed mish-mash that is the result of its journey through billions of years of arbitrary selection. If there was a god who was so flawed it would be laughable. If some all Supreme Being deliberately made human beings then he either has a great sense of humour, is inept or wilfully vicious. I could point out a whole series of poor design features that illustrate my point:

  • Why would we end up with a lack of separation of the oesophagus and trachea so that we are in danger of choking when we eat? Why only one trachea so that it can be easily blocked and we are suffocated? Good design or simply because the lungs evolved out of fish air-sacs attached to the gut?
  • Why have the brain out on a limb exposed in our head instead of protected within the body? A brain on top of such an imperfect neck so delicate that it can be easily snapped – good design or the imperfect result of evolutionary cephalisation?
  • Why have the reproductive tract closely intertwined with the excretory and egestory systems? (As somebody noted it is like having an open sewer running through the playground). The fact that the urethra and rectum are closely associated with the vagina, clitoris and penis is either the result of a perverse supreme being or the result of them having evolved from the common cloacae of fish. I know what I believe!
  • I could go on and on………… If the human body was designed then it’s pretty shoddy. I could do a far better job.

Believers have an inability to take responsibility for their own lives. They are weak people who require a prop to psychologically hold things together. They are unable to grasp the concept that we are nothing much more than bacterial scum on the surface of a small, insignificant planet in a minor planetary system in an inconsequential galaxy made up of trillions of stars (more numerous than grains of sand on all the beaches in the world) but being one of countless, often more magnificent and beautiful galaxies, that also number countless trillions. Yet they believe that some fictitious super-being somehow exists forever, has a purpose and for some obscure reason has chosen this backwater of biological scum to be the entire centre of his (it’s usually a him) plan. They somehow manage to reconcile this view of god as being acceptable.

The universe and life are obviously things to view with complete awe but even a cursory look at the concept of god shows its inept human conception. A supreme being, who lives for ever, is unknowable and has some unfathomable plan that puts human beings at the centre of all his work – absurd! Nothing but the result of a huge, out of control, totally over-inflated ego! Mankind loves to bloat its own importance.

I’m a believer. I know what I believe. I believe I don’t understand lots of things. I believe that I can never understand the complexities of an infinite universe with my tiny brain and limited intelligence. I believe that it is at least a possibility that some of our esteemed religious characters such as Billy Graham, Jimmy Swaggart, Guru Maharaji, Mahareshi and the Borgias are no more than opportunistic charlatans who have made a great living out of peddling religious crap to the gullible.

I believe that god and religion are both human fabrications. I believe religion has stultified progress (one only has to look at the effect of the christian church on European progress – it was not until after we got rid of religion from our political systems that science and technology was able to flourish. One only has to look at the Middle East, once the seat of civilisation, inventor of writing, maths and agriculture, frozen in a mediaeval poverty by islam).

I believe religion is evil.

I am a true believer.


Supposedly this was where both David and Jesus were born.

The town has hence had the attention of jews, christians and muslims. They have fought over the town for hundreds of years and it is still the centre of great animosity and violence. It was alternately sacked by Crusaders and Muslims such as Saladin.

The British left the palestinians and jews to fight it out after the Second World War and the results are still resounding round the whole region to this day.

Religion has a lot to answer for. Bethlehem has become a symbol of violence and division.