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.
So you want to be a Fundamentalist. It’s not easy, you know: you’ll have to impose the stiffest constraints on your mind, accepting authority without question — you will be subject to jeers and persecutions at the hands of the Spawn of Satan, and you will suffer during your entire lifetime trying to throw pearls before the swine. But in the end, you will receive your reward from the Almighty in Heaven, and you will have the satisfaction of seeing all others being tossed into the Lake of Fire. But enough of that; you’re not there yet. You must first prove yourself worthy of being a Fundamentalist.
Lesson One: Developing Your Psyche
Right now I would like you to relax. That’s it — just sit quietly and let your mind go blank. Concentrate on one thing and one thing only: concentrate on your thumb. Now that thumb is no ordinary run-of-the-mill thumb: what you see is THE THUMB. That Thumb is your world. Nothing besides that Thumb concerns you in the least. As far as you are concerned, that Thumb rules over all. The only thing that should be in your mind right now is your Thumb and its absolute authority over your life. Each and every line, ridge, wrinkle, and bit of cuticle is a Divine Mandate, eternal in its wisdom, power, and relevance. That Thumb was made by GOD, and its sole purpose is to guide you to your Salvation.Now, while still concentrating on that Thumb, begin to think about the world around you. Careful! Don’t try to take in everything at once: start with the rest of your fingers, and slowly spread from there. See how your fingers are connected with and dominated by your Thumb. Now, slowly extend your perception to embrace the entire world and everyone in it. The whole world and everyone in it was created by God, and it is all guided by the Thumb.
Pay no attention that there are a lot of thumbs in the world. Your Thumb is THE HOLY THUMB, and was especially given to you by God so that you can use it to guide your life and the lives of others. Remember this: the thumbs of other people are not fit to guide their lives. Those thumbs are heathen thumbs, and those who live by them are Spawn of Satan and are an insult to the One and Only True God who created your Almighty Thumb just for you.
Now let me ask you this: do you feel superior to the Spawn of Satan? Do you feel obligated to show them the light by running their lives for them through the Divine inspiration of your Thumb? Do you have absolute and utter faith in the inviolable authority invested by God in your Thumb? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then you are ready to go on to Lesson Two.
Lesson Two: Establishing Your Doctrine
Congratulations! You’ve come a long way, but you’re not there yet. What I want you to do now is to go to the nearest Christian book store and purchase a copy of the Bible. Preferably, it should be bound in nice, shiny black leather, and should have gilt edges and a red silk ribbon. It should of course be the King James Bible, which is the only Bible written in the true tongue of God (remember: all other versions are Satanic attempts to pervert the True Word of the Lord). It should be fairly hefty in size, but not so large that you cannot hold it with one hand. Finally, it should have the words of Jesus in red letters, for as you know the Son of God only spoke using red letters.Now that you have your Bible, read it, and read it thoroughly. I imagine that some of it will fit in perfectly with your beliefs and morals, since you have been inspired by God to attempt this indoctrination into Fundamentalism. Remember that the more strict and conservative your beliefs, the better: it’s difficult to keep your mind shut to new ideas, but to be a Fundamentalist you must keep your mind clean and unsullied by ideas which could threaten your beliefs. You must remember that your beliefs are the ONLY right beliefs, and all others are falsehoods and are totally incompatible with God’s Divine Truth.
Now you may be dismayed as you read through the Bible to find that much of it is outside your beliefs, or may even contradict them. No problem! All you have to do is take a black marker pen and blot out those verses which you don’t like. Simplicity itself! Now don’t you worry if it seems that more of the Bible is blacked out than left behind: just remind yourself that the remaining verses are emphasized all the more.
Remember that the Bible represents YOUR doctrine, and is the Divine statement of your beliefs. It wouldn’t do for it to say something which contradicted your beliefs. That would be silly! Besides, nobody is actually going to see INSIDE your Bible. You can wave it in front of people, quote from it, shove it under their noses, hit it with your fist, and even use it as a weapon, but for Heaven’s sake don’t let anyone READ it!
Now that your doctrine has been established, I would like for you to repeat Lesson One, substituting “Bible” for “Thumb.”
Have you done it?
No fair cheating!
Now: do you believe that your Bible is the utter, absolute, and inviolable law of the universe, coming to you directly from God, and that it is your Divine mission to live by your Bible and to feel superior to those fools who don’t listen to you and who are guaranteed to burn in Hell?
Congratulations! You are now officially a Fundamentalist!
Lesson Three: Living a Fundamentalist Lifestyle
Well, I’m sure that you novices are simply bursting with questions on how to apply your new-found faith to your lives. I am pleased by your enthusiasm: such zeal is a necessity if you want to begin to work your influence on this filthy and sinful world and mold it into a clean and upright one. Those Spawn of Satan are simply itching to be preached at, whether they want it or not, so let’s get cracking and Save those Souls (even though they don’t deserve it)!First of all, let’s work on personal appearance: to be moral and upright you must look the part. If you’re a man, you must keep your hair short and well-groomed, your face clean-shaven (a beard or moustache is acceptable ONLY if it is IMMACULATELY trimmed), your teeth clean and white, your breath minty-fresh, and your wardrobe strict and unassuming: slacks, tie, and white shirt (preferably long-sleeved so you can roll them up while witnessing) are the clothes of a God-fearing man, and NOTHING else. If you’re a woman, you must keep your hair neat and pinned up, your face only slightly made up (only heathens paint their faces), your figure neat and trim (a too-full figure is a dead giveaway for a shameless slut of Satan), and your wardrobe moral and proper: a dress (preferably dark or neutral colored, no plunging lines) is the ONLY proper garment for a God-fearing woman.
I imagine that you’re ready to ask me “Now that I know how to dress, how do I act?” That is a very good question to ask, and a somewhat difficult one to answer. Essentially you must follow your Doctrine which is in the Bible, but not TOO closely. You are the wielder of the Almighty Bible, and because of that you are ALREADY Saved, and are concerned more with the conduct of others so that they may also be Saved.
Let’s get into some concrete examples. Playboy is a magazine of Satan, and anyone who reads it is in danger of Damnation — anyone, that is, except you. For you know the ways of Satan, and are familiar with his traps, and you are always vigilant against his foul schemes, and thus you must scan his works constantly so that you may point out their atrocity to others. The same principle also applies to X-rated films, dancing halls, taverns, and brothels. [Note: this applies only to men. Women must stay home and support their husbands, and under no circumstances are they allowed to rest their innocent gaze upon profane situations (unless they happen to be checking up on their neighbors in the name of God and decency).]
Now we get to raising a family. You of course know that you are to raise your children properly and morally, and thus they must never be exposed to anything which is the product of Satan, including comic books (unless they are CHRISTIAN comic books), TV programs (unless they are CHRISTIAN TV programs), heavy metal rock music (there is NO such thing as CHRISTIAN heavy metal rock music), evolution (which is possibly the deepest imaginable insult to the intelligence of God), sex education (you can teach them about moral behavior yourself and at the same time protect their innocent yet corruptible ears from any mention of s-e-x), globalism (God wants us to DESTROY Communism, not cooperate with it), and equal rights (if God had wanted us to be equal, He would never have created women). As for religious education, I am sure you realize that women and children cannot properly develop their own religious faith — it must be given to them from a higher source: their husbands and parents.
Now we get to the gist of your faith and the justification for your life: the teaching and conversion of others (through guiding their lives for them). It is absolutely essential that you remember from Lesson One that only YOU are fit to guide your life AND the lives of others. All other people cannot in their ignorance of The Way live their own lives properly unless they can see the Light and receive the Salvation of God and Jesus which ONLY YOU may bring to them. Your Way is THE WAY, and all other paths lead to Satan and eternal Damnation, and it is YOUR Duty to show The Way to others so that they may enter (behind you) into Heaven.
Let’s look again at a concrete example: art and literature. Only YOU can say what is moral and upstanding in art and literature and what is not. Any work of “art” or “literature” which you feel is profane, blasphemous, or otherwise immoral is instantly the product of Satan and it is YOUR responsibility to make sure that its ugly blot upon the moral fibre of the Wonderful God-fearing Land of the Free is wiped out utterly so that our Glorious Nation may Shine Out as a Star of Righteousness amidst the Black Cloud of Satanic Communist Corruption which Blankets the World.
Well! Your heart must simply be bursting with Pride, Patriotism, and Love for God right now! And I’d bet that right now you’d rally behind a Leader who believes in the same things that you do. You guessed it: your next step is to find a religious Leader whose beliefs are YOUR beliefs, and who knows that YOUR way is HIS Way and that YOUR Way is THE Way to Salvation. Once you get behind that Leader, life becomes simpler. He knows YOUR beliefs, and thus if you ever feel any doubts about how to run your life, HE can make your decisions for you. All you have to do to insure your fidelity to him and to God is to follow him without question, and to give him as much money as you can so that he may bring the Way of the Lord to everyone in the World.
Remember that Fundamentalists have to stick together and rally under a Leader, for in numbers is Power, and in Power is the ability to change the World for the better. So remember that though YOU are the instrument of God through the guidance of your Bible, you also have the responsibility to make sure that your influence is felt, and the best way to do that is to join up with those who have CLOUT, so you can fulfill your wildest dreams: ban books and movies, ban abortion, enforce prayer in school, establish a national religion, create a national moral and dress code, and more! With the proper Leader, all this can be in your grasp.
Well now, I’d say that you’re just about ready to go out into the world and begin your career as a Fundamentalist. But not quite yet: you must first prepare yourself to face the opposition.
Lesson Four: How to Overcome the Spawn of Satan
As you preach The Way to others, you will inevitably run into those who not only doubt the veracity of your words, but who also pose trick arguments inspired by Satan in an attempt to trap and discredit you. This lesson deals with some of the major swords wielded by various tempters, and gives you some ideas on how to parry those weapons.Biblical scholars: these vermin use their high-falootin’ technical jargon and book-learning to pervert the words of the Lord and read things into the Bible which aren’t there. The Bible was written by God for YOU to use, and contains EVERYTHING you need to know for Salvation, plainly stated in black and white and red. There is nothing archaic or mystical about it: it speaks out in the Words of the Lord and speaks directly to YOU.
If the scholars say that the Bible evolved (note the use of heretical words) over a period of millennia, changing and altering from one translation to another, you can reply that the WORD OF GOD TO MAN is immutable, and speaks out exactly the same way today as it did to Moses. If they say that the historical and cultural context was completely different then, you can reply that MAN IS MAN and has not changed his sinful ways since Adam. If they say that you completely misunderstand the situations behind the composition of the Bible, you can reply that THEY completely misunderstand the situations behind the composition of the Bible. And if they say that they can prove their point because of years of scholarly and scientific research studying the Bible and its history, you can reply that the only true scholarship is FAITH and TRUST in the WORD of the LORD.
Scientists: these unfortunate heathen have strayed from the path to Heaven, ensnared by the trickeries of Satan, believing in them utterly. As a result, they cannot accept the eternal Truth contained in the Bible. You must tell them that God is perfect, and the Word of God is therefore perfect, and cannot contain falsehood. Therefore anything which is in your Bible is the absolute Truth.
If the scientists say that they have amassed countless evidence to support their atheistic theories, you can reply that their evidence was given to them by Satan to trick them into disbelieving in God. If they say that the processes which shaped the Earth can still be seen happening right now, you can reply that Satan is still working right now to deceive those who cannot comprehend the Truth which is in your Bible. And if they say that the Bible is not completely factual, but is rather mythical in many places, you can reply that they simply do not understand that God speaks not in mysterious ways, but speaks directly to Man through your Bible, and speaks not in riddles or symbols, but only speaks the absolute and utter Truth.
If other Spawn of Satan say that the Bible cannot speak the utter Truth because it is inconsistent in what it says, you can reply that there is no inconsistency in your Bible: everything that you have in your Bible perfectly supports your beliefs (remember Lesson Two). If they quote passages from the Bible which they claim contradict your beliefs, you can reply that Satan has inspired them to pervert the words of the Lord and to twist their meaning around in order to try to subvert the Truth. If they say that you are being totally ignorant and irrational in your absolute belief in your Doctrine, you can reply that they are being totally ignorant and irrational in their absolute refusal to believe in your Doctrine. And if they say that you are shutting your eyes to reality, you can reply that they are shutting their eyes to God.
There now! Isn’t that easy?
All you have to do to counter their arguments is to turn their arguments against them. In fact, you should easily be able to defeat the arguments of a wide variety of heretics, such as Theologists, Democrats, Liberals, Peaceniks, Environmentalists, and Humanists. And you don’t need a fancy scientific vocabulary to do it! If you keep your mind on the straight and narrow path, God (and/or your Leader) will do your thinking for you. And if things turn against you, all you have to do is proclaim the Truth even louder, letting your Zeal and Faith drown out all unbelievers, and causing the weakened opposition to crumble under the force of your Inspiration.
That’s about all that I have to give to you. I hope that these lessons were informative and helpful toward your long and difficult quest toward Fundamental Salvation. From now on, it’s up to you (and your Leader) to show The Way which leads you and your flock to Eternal Life.
May God bless you, and give you the Power to glorify His works in preparation for His Coming. Amen.