Just when you thought that “new atheism” marked a radical turn in nonconformist thought, along comes an even more rebellious concept of religious dissent: misotheism.

What I’ve tried to do in my work is to take the lid off this simmering, largely repressed stew of blasphemy — and to do away, for good, with the false notion that atheists hate God. While atheists may oppose religion or clerical institutions they cannot reasonably hate God, since one cannot hate that which does not exist. What atheists from Annie Besant to Christopher Hitchens will do is express contempt for the fictional construct called “God,” much as one might dislike for a fictional villain, say Uriah Heep or Iago. In addition, atheists may take exception to the fact that so many people consider God to be both real and praise-worthy.

Misotheism is a different kettle of fish. In fact, it may well turn out to be more threatening to the pious than atheism because misotheism makes the radically subversive claim that there is a God but that he is malevolent or at least incompetent, indifferent—in any case not worshipful.

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