Why are Atheists so Angry?

February 26th, 2011 | Categories: Amazing, Deep Thoughts, Interesting | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Why are Atheists so Angry?

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~

We atheists are frequently subjected to this question – or criticism. Often, it appears the questioner thinks she already knows the answer, and is simply implying that we’re angry out of defensiveness, as one gets when he is backed into a corner with no arguments left. It’s not that simple.
But I want to offer an answer to the believer who is genuinely curious and really wants to know. Now I can’t speak for everyone, but I think most atheists would agree that we get angry for a great number of personal and social or civic reasons.

You see, we all grew up in a god-saturated society, everyone does. No one is born believing in a god. We were all indoctrinated in belief, to one degree or another, if not by our parents, priests, or pastors, then by our peers and society at large. We all began hearing about this god when we were toddlers, just old enough to understand a bit of our native language. We were told that there is a very powerful, invisible man in the sky, and he is very uptight about how we should act. We were told he not only knows everything we do, but he listens in on our every thought.

Most of us also got the standard stick-and-carrot lesson, as well. See, there’s this kind of deal we have with this god, even though we were never asked and never agreed to any deal. If we largely do what people and the bible tell us what god wants (he never speaks to any of us directly, of course, so we have to take their word for it), then we can go to heaven after we die, to live again. If we don’t do what they tell us he wants, then we go to this god’s concentration camp after we die, to live again, in eternal torment.

Many of us took all this stuff quite seriously. We were only kids after all. But, over time we began to have questions about this god and what he supposedly did and wanted. And we got too many unsatisfactory answers. Very often, we were shocked at what we found in the sillier (Leviticus) and nastier (Exodus) parts of the bible. As just one example, it simply made no sense to most of us for a god to create humans, if the majority of them were destined to suffer eternally in hell. We treat our children better. If we knew that most of our children were destined for such a future, we wouldn’t have them in the first place. Why would a god do what we found so repugnant, and so immoral?

For others of us, we simply saw no logical necessity for a god in this universe, and saw no credible evidence of one, so we simply abandoned that hypothesis.

Now, where the anger comes in, is that once we see the light, once our reason tells us there is no god and never was, we feel that we have been had, been fooled, hoodwinked. Ask yourself, do you get angry when you feel you have been lied to, or cheated, played for a fool? Anger is a very natural and expected response in such situations.

Many atheists feel that their society has been unfair to them in subjecting them to religious indoctrination before they had developed fully developed brains and enough maturity and confidence to question what grown-ups told them. Watch some little children for awhile and see how often you hear them yell, indignantly, “But that isn’t fair!” A sensitivity for fairness is hardwired into all of us, and in many other animals, too. Chimpanzees, for example, have been observed to become downright vicious with members of their tribe who have treated other members unfairly.

Many atheists also get angry at the way believers throw their weight around in the public square against abortion rights, gay marriage, the teaching of evolution, and such, when all of their arguments are ultimately based on ancient writings by primitive tribesmen.

Many of us feel the anger of helplessness since the system is stacked against us, as most people are god-believers. We are convinced that religions are based on falsehoods, and decisions based on false premises are usually wrong. For instance, I get angry that people lobby against gay marriage simply because some primitive people wrote that god abhors homosexuality. The same book says god abhors eating shellfish and people who work on the Sabbath, too, but believers conveniently ignore the obvious fact that the bible preaches a very primitive “morality” which our own legal systems have sensibly outgrown. We have no laws against any of these things that god supposedly abhors (or thinks are “abominations,” if you prefer the exact biblical language).

We get angry that politicians can’t be honest about their lack of belief and still get elected. Fifteen percent of Americans are non-religious (even more among those with higher education degrees, such as those in Congress), but only one member of Congress admits to being an atheist. Now there are 535 members of Congress, so there should be at least 80 who are non-religious, but they dare not admit it. And if the hidden non-believers in Congress are opposed to religion-backed legislation, they have to be very subtle or be found out and not re-elected. And are they justified in keeping the secret of their non-belief? Absolutely! Without them, we non-believers would have no representation at all.

We atheists also get angry that we are forced to subsidize religion through unfair taxation; churches in America pay no property tax and there is a housing tax benefit for clergy for which the rest of us don’t qualify. We get angry when we think how stupid our governments are, in this 21st century, to provide special benefits to some, solely because they are pushing ancient superstitions onto the populace.

We get angry that the members of each religion are convinced that all other religions are mere fantasy, yet they cannot see that that in itself is a clue that they are ALL just fantasy. They ignore the fact that no on has ever had enough evidence or proof of the truth of any one religion to cause the disappearance of all the other religions. And they never will! All religions are based on blind faith, not evidence gleaned from the real world, yet the believers of each all persevere in their smug assurance that they alone know the Truth. They’ve made their guess, and they’re stickin’ to it!

We get angry that our national Pledge of Allegiance had a “god” put in it in the 1950s, that our government promotes such a divisive superstition. We get angry that here in America, we have the most powerful military in the world, the CIA, the FBI, SWAT teams, the border patrol, billions worth of new airport security all over the country, and yet all of our money says, “In God We Trust.” Given the facts of the matter, doesn’t that motto ring kind of hollow? We certainly aren’t trusting in any god for our security. There’s a blatant lie in all this.

We get angry that various god beliefs have made our world such an unsafe place, with Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and others all fighting each other in various combinations all over the world, sometimes involving different sects of the same religion (Sunni vs. Shia, Catholic vs. Protestant), and for century after century. And, perhaps most of all, we are angry that defenseless children are still being indoctrinated in these ancient superstitions; and many of these children will be on the front lines of religious terrorism and the religious wars of the future. All in subservience to man-made, make-believe gods which never existed. Doesn’t it frustrate and anger you that millions of helpless little children are being indoctrinated into that silly, and false, Hindu religion? Now, do you begin to see how we atheists feel, since we think all religions are false?

Now, if you asked another atheist why atheists are angry, you would get a different list, and hers may well include some things that are not part of my experience; things like the waste of thousands of their dollars in collection plates, thousands of hours wasted in church, Sunday school, helping out with church benefits, etc., and the hypocrisy they encountered in their congregations. And, likely, their anger includes a frustration with themselves for not seeing that it was all based on a lie. They know now that it’s extraordinarily unlikely that a man died 2,000 years ago, and then got up several days later and walked away (they no longer believe in zombies). The “evidence” couldn’t be any weaker. That they believed it just because the story was written in the Gospels (and nowhere else), in a superstitious, pre-scientific age, now seems almost unbelievable to them.

Now there are some atheists who say they don’t get angry, and that appears to be true. And that is their business. But, for myself, I believe the anger most of us feel is absolutely necessary to achieving positive change in the god-saturated world we live in. Anger is a great motivator. Anger gets things done. Without anger there would have been no American independence, no end to slavery, no women’s voting rights, no civil rights for blacks, no broad acceptance of gays, and this is obviously just the short list. Passive people don’t fight for change.

Atheists are fully justified in their anger, and that anger may be the last, best hope for our species surviving our own ignorance and gullibility. If religious forces ever manage to quell our anger, then they will have won the battle . . . and lost the world.

  1. Len
    February 27th, 2011 at 05:21
    Reply | Quote | #1

    This is excellent – thanks for sharing.

  2. Scott
    February 27th, 2011 at 13:16
    Reply | Quote | #2

    You summed up my feelings perfectly. Excellent work!

  3. kurtisle
    February 27th, 2011 at 22:37
    Reply | Quote | #3

    I have my own rules to run by. I don’t need nor want anything to do with yours. If you want to run by rules written 2000 years ago, be my guest, but don’t you dare tell me and mine that we have to also. And those are the facts. Plain and simple. Having read you book cover to oover twice, I can tell you, my morals are higher than yours ever were. So don’t tell us that we need your God to make us moral, because that is not the truth …YOU need it. SO go ahead and believe. But each and every time you try to shove your beliefs down our throats, we’ll kick you in the nuts to remind you, we don’t want or need any of it.

  4. Malcolm
    June 17th, 2011 at 21:57
    Reply | Quote | #4

    I’d say Athiests get irratable rather than angry. Christians, think about how much iritation the Westboro Baptist Church have cause? Those chaps insist they are right, they don’t feel the need to justify protesting at dead soldiers funerals to because they “know” they are right. To an Atheist like me there is virtually no difference been that and the Catholic church trying stop the use of condoms in Africa because it is “right”. Someone opting out of the need to logically justify their actions is inherently annoying.

  5. Sean
    August 12th, 2011 at 10:53
    Reply | Quote | #5

    Hi, I just read your article, and I do feel a need to respond. I do take some of the religious stuff fairly seriously, though the acts of certain people do make me uncomfortable (yelling ‘Love Jesus’ to strangers does not strike me as helpful). In any case, here’s my response, and you can take it or leave it.

    You write of religion in general in a negative light (and given your observations, that would make sense to you), but keep in mind that a religion like Christianity has at its core themes of forgiveness, dedication, and love. The gospels do speak of a man who challenged the authority of his day (much like you do), who are portrayed as men deeply mired in the rules of their society, and not the soul. Basically, I’m saying that there is some good stuff in the Bible, and in other religions, a good few which promote kindness, peace, understanding, etc.

    Now before I start sounding preachy, I do acknowledge the inevitable nastier parts of these religions (the old Testament in particular has justified genocide, polygamy, etc.), and their seeming arrogance in the belief of their one religion. Also, I do recognize that it doesn’t take a genius to understand most religious principals, and that there does seem to be a lack of evidence for the miracles past and present, not to mention a God in general.

    That said – and this is personal – I find it greatly troubling to paint believers as the stupid, blind masses, many ready to commit genocide in the name of their God. If I’d seen what you see, I might have a different opinion, but here’s my view. I believe that there are many pious individuals who quietly practice their faith, many of whom could be considered altruists. Thousands of years of theology also show that many were not stupid, but constantly discussed the nature of their God/gods. Many were also scientists, and it despite popular views, there were religious scientists who were responsible for important scientific advancements (e.g Roger Bacon). Also, I really dislike the use of the word ‘primitive’ as a byword for ‘stupid’: I do believe that these ‘primitive’ people might have had wisdom and practical knowledge that might have been lost to the ages (e.g. it’s doubtful that a modern Urban dweller could compete with a caveman in terms of survival in the wild).

    That’s my response. Looking at it, I do realize that it probably won’t hold much water with the entrenched Atheist, but I felt a need to respond, so I did. Take it how you will. Oh and PS. Abortion is murder. I understand that there are reasons for it (e.g. fear for the unborn child’s future), but I still don’t like it.

  6. Redirected
    August 16th, 2011 at 06:26
    Reply | Quote | #6

    Hi Sean;

    I read your post.
    While I don’t know if you’d consider me an “entrenched Atheist”, nor am I sure that ALL of the folks on this forum would agree with my opinion. I’ll say this;
    There are many things stated in your response that I would disagree with, however the very honest nature of what you wrote gains you points of merit. In other words, you stated what your opinion was and what you believe. There was no pretentious, convoluted or veiled attempts on your part to bait anyone into a pre-fab argument. Also pleasantly absent, was a forced justification of your views by stacks of Bible quotes or Apologetic site links. Nor, did you even feint agnosticism to hedge your position. It was a very honest disclosure of what you think, feel and believe-at face value.

    We can disagree on many things, but I for one, appreciate your honesty.

  7. August 25th, 2011 at 00:34
    Reply | Quote | #7

    Hmm. Wonder what happened to my response to Sean’s comments?

  8. rusd
    January 3rd, 2013 at 02:49
    Reply | Quote | #8

    Many atheists are angry because of unresolved anger with their childhood. That deep seeded anger due to the betrayal/neglect or abuse of one’s parents at such a young age leaves them scarred for life, never able to believe that a God would actually care for them. (Study basic childhood psychology and you can easily see the connection) Atheists see God as hateful, because their own upbringing was absolutely hateful, through no fault of their own. I know an atheist very closely, and he was deeply neglected and wounded as a child, left alone to cry with no one to hold him, no love, nothing. Now he is a grown man who is emotionally stunted (can’t be any serious relationship) but absolutely intelligent. Many atheists seem to have high IQs, but terribly low EQs. He doesn’t even know why he is the way he is, he can’t even verbalize anything about his emotions to hopefully dig his way out of his past, his hurt, his wounds.

    I read up on Piers Morgans childhood (was interested because he is so deeply angry with anything God-related). Morgan’s childhood sounded really rough. Seems to fit in line with the theory posed above.

    Atheists can’t understand the things written about in the Bible because the Bible talks about relationships. Man’s relationship to God, and man’s relationship to each other. An atheist’s ability to understand and be in any healthy relationship was robbed from them as infants and young children due to abuse and neglect.

    I see atheists as people to be loved more because they were so robbed of love as a child. Their anger is deep, and strong, but their also deeply hurt. Anyone who has been hurt will understand this.

    Don’t believe it when someone says they are christian just because it came from their mouths. No real christian would ever hold up a sign that says “G– hates f–s” That’s just the religious fanatics, not the real church. Church (institution) is filed with hypocrites. Judge by the fruit of their lives, not by the words out of their mouths.