Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This question already has an answer here:

We have racism, which implies hate against one or more races.

We have sexism, which implies hate against one of the sexes.

We have nationalism, which implies hate against one or more nationalities.

Is there such a single word for hate against one or more religions?

I realize that this might be difficult to answer because some religions closely identify with certain races and/or nationalities. If it makes it easier, the question can be narrowed down to Christianity, specifically, or broadened to describe a general hatred for all religion.

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Feb 14 '14 at 12:39

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I think the answer would depend on the exact sentiments. My first guess would be, "antireligion", which means opposition to religion. My second guess would be, "bigotry", but that's not specific to religion. My third guess would be "sectarianism", but even among religious groups, people can be sectarian. How about religiophobic? –  Double U Feb 14 '14 at 1:08
@Anonymous Not bad for the first few. I didn't think of those. Is religiophobic even a word? –  fredsbend Feb 14 '14 at 1:12
Yes. I checked. It's not a commonly used word, but it's still a valid word. –  Double U Feb 14 '14 at 1:15
I don't think nationalism fits the description. Nationalism is boosting your own nation, not hating another. If I don't like Bolivians because they are Bolivians, I don't think the first thought would be that I was practicing nationalism. –  Oldcat Feb 14 '14 at 1:24
@fredsbend I believe you are using "nationalism" in place of "jingoism" in that case. –  David M Feb 14 '14 at 8:07

9 Answers 9

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The suffix -ism does not imply hatred; it merely denotes an attitude.
Consider communism, nationalism or patriotism.

The prefix -mis and suffix -misia carries the required meaning.
Misogynist = hater of women.
Homomisia = hatred of homosexuals: a much more appropriate word than homophobia which simply means fear of them.
Religiomisia is a word awaiting its time.

share|improve this answer
I didn't mean to give the impression that '-ism' means hate. Give me a little intellectual credit. "Religiomisia" works, I guess, but it sounds a little weird. Plus, I'm not sure many people will get the meaning. –  fredsbend Feb 14 '14 at 5:23
Also, I would extend that -ism is more than an attitude. It's typically a belief system. Racism and sexism are the (flawed) belief of superiority. Maoism, Taoism, Communism, etc. etc. are schools of thought. It does start to break down when you speak about disease processes: alcoholism, rheumatism, plagiarism (OK, the last one was a joke, but it proves my point nonetheless.) –  David M Feb 14 '14 at 8:21
@DavidM Nevertheless they should have called it "homosexualphobia" since "homophobia" could also (and actually should) be someone who fears anything that is equal. –  Bakuriu Feb 14 '14 at 8:25
@Bakuriu If purists like yourself were in charge of the lexicon, then the world might be a better place! :) –  David M Feb 14 '14 at 8:37
@DavidM Or a little more like Orwell's 1984. lol –  fredsbend Feb 14 '14 at 8:41

Religious intolerance/discrimination are well-established, but so far as I'm aware they are mainly used in contexts where people of one religion don't like people who believe in a different religion.

I'm not entirely sure the man himself would endorse the categorisation, but Dawkinism is certainly gaining considerable currency (mainly among people who are religious, and hence consider the word to be inherently derogatory).

It's worth noting that the -ism suffix is often used in terms denoting a form of discrimination, or wild or visionary theory. By extension, the actual word "ism" is often used in a negative sense.

share|improve this answer
I don't think this would be understood by most people to mean religious discrimination. McCarthism is "the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence." That is not exactly close in terms of the ism of Dawkins. –  medica Feb 14 '14 at 1:56
"Dawkinism" has a formal name: New Atheism. When you actively advocate removal of all religion then you invite pejoratives. Whether used negatively or not, I would be happy to have my name recorded to the history books in this fashion. –  fredsbend Feb 14 '14 at 5:28
@fredsbend: Dawkins is a bit older than me, but like him I was C of E confirmed at 13. Four years of college "bull sessions" left me firmly convinced that organised religion was effectively a "collective delusion", but I didn't have a coherent world-view to replace it. Luckily, Dawkins published The Selfish Gene just about then - the rest, as they say, is just [natural] history. But until 9/11 I didn't really care if other people believe in "God" any more than if they believe in fairies or Father Christmas (so long as they keep it within their own four walls). Now I'm getting more "anti". –  FumbleFingers Feb 14 '14 at 12:58
That's an understandable reaction. Most in the US have evolved into a form of anti-Islam. Also understandable. Take Dawkins as the example here; his attitude leaves much to be desired. I get the feeling that he hates that anyone is religious and thinks them fools despite any evidence to the contrary. That attitude should be avoided. –  fredsbend Feb 14 '14 at 16:08
@fredsbend: Well, I think you're perhaps putting words into his mouth. I've read most of his books, and although it was a long time ago when I read The God Delusion (a rare case where I pre-ordered the hardback edition), I don't recall anything in it implying that he hated anybody because they had faith. Like me, he's just become more vociferous in pointing out that he thinks religion in general is a "bad thing". He doesn't like things like homeopathy either, but I don't suppose that means he hates everybody who believes in it. He just doesn't like sloppy thinking/misguided ideology. –  FumbleFingers Feb 14 '14 at 19:00

The term most widely used for this is not a single word. It's religious discrimination. Religious intolerance is also used.

Sectarianism is bigotry, but not specific to religion. It means any discrimination or hatred arising from perceived differences between subdivisions (sects) within a group, such as between different denominations of a religion, class, regional or factions of a political movement. It does carry a connotation of religious discrimination because sects are associated with religion (a sect is defined as a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination) but the broader connotation of sect is a group regarded as heretical or as deviating from a generally accepted religious tradition; a Christian denomination characterized by insistence on strict qualifications for membership, as distinguished from the more inclusive groups called churches; any group, party, or faction united by a specific doctrine or under a doctrinal leader.

share|improve this answer
I'd like to caution anyone who wants to use the term to comprehend the difference between respecting someone's right to hold certain beliefs and respecting said beliefs. "Tolerance" calls only for the former, not the latter. –  Shadur Feb 14 '14 at 9:36
@Shadur I don't think that's a resolved issue. I've often heard it argued that one cannot be tolerant while respecting another's right to be homosexual without also respecting said homosexuality. It seems silly to me to make such distinctions, but my point is that it's still up for debate. –  weberc2 Jun 5 '14 at 13:11
@weberc2 So have I, and usually the person forwarding said argument is a disingenuous bigot trying to fudge the issue and play the victim card that the big evil government and the meanie liberals are infringing his free speech rights by forcing him to pretend gays are people, waaaah. It's a flawed argument that's almost invariably made in bad faith by people who feel their particular bigotry is a god-given right and the proper natural order of the world. –  Shadur Jun 6 '14 at 5:17
@Shadur I think you misunderstood my comment. Basically, the argument is you aren't tolerating homosexuals if you don't respect homosexuality. This is inversely-analogous to your contention that you can be considered tolerant of religious folks without respecting their religion. –  weberc2 Jun 6 '14 at 20:32

In (ancient and modern) Greek there is the work "μισαλλοδοξία" ("misallodoxia") which is a compound word, comprising of "μισος" (hate) "άλλος" (other, different) and "δόξα" (technically, fame/glory, but in this context, belief). It means exactly that: hating different beliefs (there is also an adjective, "μισαλλόδοξος"). The word has a pretty negative connotation in greek; when used, it is always used in a negative sense, as something one should never do, and as a practice that should not be tolerated.

share|improve this answer

Christianophobia. But it's limited to Christianity. http://www.macmillandictionary.com/open-dictionary/entries/Christianophobia.htm

share|improve this answer

Let me preface this with, it was too long to be a comment, and I couldn't find an appropriate place to tack it on, anyway. I'm not expecting a flurry of up votes here (and hopefully not down votes either for the same reason).

Not to put too fine a point on it, but yes there is a word:


Hate is hate. Religious hatred is the term for hating a religion.

Adding -ism onto a word does not turn it into a system of hatred (see multiple above answers).

Racism is not the hatred of other races. It is the belief that your own race is superior.

Nationalism is not the hatred of other nationalities. It is the belief that your nation is superior to others. (Extreme nationalism which encourages violence, etc. is called "jingoism".)

Sexism is not the hatred of the opposite sex. It is the belief that your gender is superior.

The usage of those words in common parlance has come to identify with hatred, but that's merely because those belief systems are used to justify hateful behavior.

Just to extend my thesis: You don't have to hate other races to be a racist. I may love people of African descent, yet think myself superior to them in all ways because I am a caucasian. Is my thought process racist, it sure is. Is it hateful, not particularly. Is it wrong, damned straight it is. But, still not hateful.

share|improve this answer
Your last paragraph makes a good point. But I said the word implies. Those isms imply hatred, especially in common use. Why does everyone think I've confused the -ism suffix to confer hatred. It is coincidence that the words I chose for examples all end in -ism. I could have easily chosen misogyny, but it didn't cross my mind at the time. –  fredsbend Feb 14 '14 at 8:45
@fredsbend In truth, I don't believe that you think this. But, I think the coincidence set up expectations that it would be a word ending in -ism. Also, I think that the inherent flaw in those example is just what I've said here. None of them is actually hatred. –  David M Feb 14 '14 at 8:48
To an extent, I guess I did expect an ism. Just kind of got into the ism mode, you know. Modeism, if you will. The belief that all beliefs are named with the suffix -ism. Maybe ismism is 'em better. lol –  fredsbend Feb 14 '14 at 8:49
@fredsbend Understandable. Decades of conditioning don't go away overnight. LOL –  David M Feb 14 '14 at 8:50
@fredsbend "especially in common use", which indicates they are not defined as such. If some tortured use of a word is drilled into peoples' minds often enough... Like "gay" meaning "homosexual" to the point where its use as meaning "happy" has become impossible. Or where people assume anything black is racist by definition, to where you can get into trouble driving a black car through certain areas because people see it as a sign of you hating blacks. –  jwenting Feb 14 '14 at 10:50

Sectarianism is very often used in this sense. As has been pointed out, it strictly means only hatred of or discrimination toward people of a different subdivision (so covering e.g. Shiites and Sunnis that hate each other, or Catholics and Protestants that hate each other, but not Shiites and Catholics who hate each other).

But as words often become vaguer as time goes on, it is indeed used to cover all religion-based bigory. E.g. this article which uses sectarian to describe animosity between Hindus and Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir.

share|improve this answer

No -ism implies hate. It implies the belief in a value derived from the things the -ism relates to. Nationalism implies the belief that different nations are of different value. Sexism implies that different sexes have different value. It does not imply hate.

A -phobia, however, implies fear, literally, but often is used in a wider sense meaning avoidance, distance, and (sometimes) hate. So what you are looking for is a religiophobia. But with just around 5k hits on Google, this word still seems to be kind of uncommon and made-up.

share|improve this answer

Based on David M's answer and the given examples:

Racism is ... the belief that your own race is superior.

Sexism is ... the belief that your gender is superior.

Nationalism is ... the belief that your nation is superior to others.

In their extreme form the above are commonly perceived as hatred, because the "believers" tend to "defend their superiority" against what they see as "subversive attacks" of whom they believe to be "inferior".

So I mostly agree with David M and I'd just written a comment, if I could (I can't because of low rep). What I wanted to add is that I'd propose "fanatism" as an equivalent to the provided examples:

Fanatism is the belief that your (often but not necessarily religious) belief is superior.

So, if you're looking for an "-ism" and are satisfied with "hate" and "religion" being implied only by common use, here you go.

1. Edit: Since I still lack the rep, I'm answering the comments here:

@Alfe: Strictly speaking you're right. But there are implications by "common use" that make me tend to agree with David's answer. And one of the implications is that one believes oneself to be superior. A black racist slave in the 19th century's Texas is just not significant in today's associations that come to mind, if you hear the word "racism".

@jwenting: The key note here is "In their extreme form...". "Defending" in the extreme form is attacking the "inferiors" who started the "subversive attacks" with more aggression. Although it might not be violence but only an aggressive tone or constant antipathy. This is seen as "reasonable" by the extreme racists/sexists/nationalists/...ists. The targeted persons (and some outsiders) will perceive this aggression not as defensive but as an attack on its own. Thus they will call it "hatred" instead of "reason". In short: You're right. Defending the belief ... isn't necessarily born out of hatred. It's the other way round: Hatred is perceived by those who you attack when defending your belief.

A nice example is the patriot's slogan:

"Who's not with us, stands against us."

I hope you see the aggressive undertone in the above statement. Btw. if you want to be picky, George W. Bush junior kind of declared war on Germany with these words in the context of 3rd Iraq war. After all, German chancelor Schröder seems to have been eavesdropped on subsequently. My favorite "equal pay" answer to this kind of provocation is:

"Patriot is another word for idiot, as you just made me stand against you."

Or to put it less blantly and thus deescalate things:

"No, thank you, I will not stop thinking on my own."

In general: I picked up a lot of "perceived" "implications" and so. The question explicitly listed the "-ism"s and their implication of "hatred". So I think fanatism is a nice word to fit the list.

2. Edit: I just reread the question and noticed it's not "religious hatred" but "hatred against one/multiple religions" that's sought for. Fanatism in one religion often goes with the implied hatred for other religions.

@fredsbend: The one-word requirement is rather harsh on this one. You will either lose quite some accuracy or have people not understand the exotic term you got.

share|improve this answer
Not particularly your race, gender, nation. If a black slave in the 19th century in Texas deemed the white race superior, just out of their whole life's experience, they still are a racist. There are examples of people who fall to such an -ism without feeling themselves to be superior. –  Alfe Feb 14 '14 at 10:34
defending the belief that you're better than others isn't necessarily born out of hatred for the other. I can be a nationalist and think I'm better than a German without hating the guy, quite likely I'll merely pity him. –  jwenting Feb 14 '14 at 10:46

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.