Angry Atheists

Some people joke about “angry atheists” and act as though they are little children who are throwing temper tantrums. While I don’t agree with anyone who calls people names or bashes them for their beliefs, and I believe everyone has the right to believe what they want, I can see why many atheists are angry. I am an “angry atheist” myself- and here are some of the reasons why.

(Note that when I refer to Christians, I am referring primarily to fundamentalist Christians who seem to be the most vocal and harmful in their beliefs and actions. There are certainly exceptions.)

I am angry because the gay and lesbian community have endured unimaginable hurt because of the teaching that homosexuality is an abomination. Gay and lesbian teens and young adults have the highest suicide and depression rates because they are told that they are disgusting, are headed to hell, no one likes them, that they must always be alone and never act on their feelings, etc.

I am angry because Christians are pushing their personal beliefs on other people through the legal system. They don’t want to serve gays in their businesses, they want prayer enforced in schools, God on our money, cherry picked sins regulated, etc.

I am angry because modern Christianity does not really follow scripture and no one can agree on anything, and yet they want to rule the country based on their flawed interpretation of the Bible.

I am angry because all sin is supposed to be the same, and yet they only wish to outlaw certain ones- while they do sinful things themselves. It’s so hypocritical it’s borderline ridiculous.

I am angry because Christians cite “religious persecution” when people ask for equal rights or ask that Christians stop pushing their beliefs on others. It is not religious persecution when you get special privileges and then deny basic rights to others.

I am angry because churches have a tax free status but use the pulpit for promoting politics and personal gain.

I am angry because Christianity speaks of helping the poor, and yet millions are spent on opposing gay marriage or building mega churches instead of aiding starving people overseas.

I am angry because Christians get so many special privileges and then complain when they cannot have more, or when they cannot regulate the lives of others.

I am angry because Christians blame the problems of the world on non-believers and sinners instead of looking for the real problems and helping to address them. Instead of blaming hurricanes on the gays, why not send aid for the victims?

I am angry because supporters of creationism and opponents of abortion often use false or twisted information to support their views, often deliberately misrepresenting the other side or using shock tactics to get their point across.

I am angry because I am supposed to accept the atrocities described in the Bible as justified and even moral simply because God did them or commanded them. Calling genocide and mistreatment of women moral is despicable to me, and yet I must push that aside and accept that “god knows best”.

I am angry because Christianity has been and still is used to hurt others, and yet I am asked to respect it and not challenge it.

I am angry because I am told that I must not question the teachings of Christianity. If I do, I am suffering an “attack of Satan”, I am weak, I am a failure. It’s only acceptable to doubt if it strengthens my original belief.

I am angry because I was taught to fear reason, logic, and science, and to throw out any information that did not line up with my preconceived ideas.

I am angry because when I change my beliefs I am viewed with suspicion, anger, and judgement. I am considered a failure, rebellious, my original devotion to Christianity is doubted, and I am suddenly considered a moral degenerate. I’m told “it’s a phase”, and I’m not taken seriously. Friends mistreat and abandon me, and I am accused of having led a double life. I’m not good enough as I am; I must always stay a believer in order to be really accepted, respected, and be given the benefit of the doubt. Other non-believers are accepted because they are “prospects” for Christianity.

I am angry because I was encouraged to be myself and always stand for what I believed in- until I didn’t agree with them any more. Then I was called a horrible example, people were horrified at my views, and I lost friends.

I am angry because Christians say that atheists have no morals, even though that is not true. Atheist countries prove that a country without religion will not crumble into chaos or have high crime rates; in fact the opposite is true.

I am angry because I was told that I am nothing without God, that I am worthless and helpless and incapable of making my decisions without his help. This has caused me and countless others to have low self esteem and self worth, to have difficulties in making decisions, etc. Being proud of and even acknowledging my own accomplishments was wrong.

I am angry because I grew up caring way too much about what other people thought of me. I was taught that my outward appearance would cause men to sin, that I must always be a good example to others, that my actions must lead others to Christ, etc; so I was constantly thinking about how others saw me.

I am angry because I grew up thinking that sex was dirty, and that my body was sinful. I believed that my sexual desires were disgusting, that I was some kind of sexual deviant for having fantasies and having normal sexual feelings. I was ashamed and afraid of my body, my mind, and my desires.

I am angry because no matter how moral I tried to be, I could never be good enough. All the teachings of grace do not change the fact that we are supposedly morally degenerate because we cannot meet this impossible moral standard.

I am angry because young children are being taught to not think for themselves, but rather are scared with hell and told to believe like the people around them.

I am angry because when I dared to question something as a believer, I was told that “there are some things you just don’t question.”

I am angry because I see injustice and hurt being promoted by religion regularly, whether intentionally or unintentionally by the people involved. It’s not a rare and unheard of thing, it’s a part of daily life for many people.

Anger is not always a bad thing. When it’s a response to injustice and hurt, anger can be useful for driving positive change. And it’s an important part of overcoming grief and hurt. The important thing is to not let it become bitterness, self consuming, or to allow it to be directed at individuals. When injustice is done, people must stand for freedom and kindness. But eventually anger must fade and be resolved in order for us to move on and find peace; it must be exchanged for balanced action when needed and a more peaceful mindset that does not revolve around the past.

I found some cool resources on this topic that are really good:

http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/21830-phases-of-deconversion/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUI_ML1qkQE#t=732

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8 thoughts on “Angry Atheists

  1. I am a Christian and I’m angry about (most of) those things too. I often say this to my friends and also myself sometimes, that if Jesus were still physically on this Earth, the first abominations he would want to address would be those committed by people who profess to follow him and yet are tarnishing his name.

    • I’m glad to hear it. I know that there are many kind Christians out there, I have some wonderful Christian friends who treat others kindly no matter what they do. I do have to ask though, how do you reconcile the things in the Bible that are so horrible? You say Jesus would want to address these abominations that people do in his name, but what about the things that the Bible says God himself did and supposedly will do? His name seems to be already tarnished with genocide, rape, mistreatment of women, eternal torture, etc. I’m not picking a fight, I’m just genuinely curious.

      • I definitely struggled with such questions for quite a while, especially as a Sunday School kid with Sunday School knowledge of the Bible, of theology, and doctrine. With regard to the violence, looting, and killing of people, one short answer of how that’s reconciled with my view of a loving God is that he is also a just and holy God. Sin angers him and as God who created life in the first place, he has every right to punish sin on the spot. Most Christians perceive of his inaction and delay of judgment as a show of mercy, to give us time to, if you will. In the Old Testament, there are instances of God deeming certain individuals, even entire nations beyond rescue. (And since he stands outside of time, he’s in a pretty good position to know whether someone will be repenting or not.) He allows and sometimes outrightly incites violence (or other kinds of “bad stuff” like with Pharaoh and the Egyptians) as a more immediate form of judgment, whilst also fulfilling other purposes. In the case of Canaan, Canaan was the promised land for the Israelites, and he allowed them to plunder and kill also as a form of judgment for the nation. I probably am not giving a very good account of this, but perhaps you’d find the intelligent theologians behind GotQuestions.Org and Carm.org a lot better equipped at handling such questions. Some suggested resources:

        http://www.gotquestions.org/Old-Testament-violence.html
        http://www.gotquestions.org/God-different.html
        http://carm.org/slavery

        With regard to eternity in hell, that’s something that I nag God about a lot even today, especially when I’m praying for loved ones and I begin to fear that they might never come to know him the way I do. But I suspect we’re all very influenced by images of hell as places of direct torture, and I wonder if hell is so tormenting because God is absent. In our present world, while we see lots of violence and injustice, it’s not that terrible of a place to be in because God hasn’t completely withdrawn his presence from mankind who continually rejects him. And if God was the source of all things good, absence of God would just be terrible (I also believe God to be the source of morality. I would not want to imagine a world without morality whatsoever. Granted, there’s biblical imagery of burning fire and sulfur, but I’m not sure if they’re metaphorical or literal.) I think C.S. Lewis puts it pretty well here: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.” By “choose hell” I understand to mean “choose a life without God.”

        Thanks for asking, and I hope this somewhat helps you understand our perspective! I do believe it’s important to have such open dialogue that seeks to understand, and not attack. Same applies to Christians needing to seek to understand atheistic (and other forms of secular/agnostic worldviews), rather than saying ignorant things like, “Oh, people choose to be atheists because they want to continue doing bad things.”

      • “Sin angers him and as God who created life in the first place, he has every right to punish sin on the spot.”
        I don’t believe he has that right, even if he did create life. Parents create life in their children, but we would (and do) condemn any parent that abuses or kills their child just because the child does not do what they want. Since God calls himself a father, this is a fair comparison. Just because he is god does not mean he has the right to do whatever he wants to us. I don’t care how much sin bothers him- killing children who don’t know better is not ok. Why can an “immoral” atheist see this but a Christian cannot?

        In regards to the Old Testament stuff, I studied that for years during my 24 years as a Christian and Bible college student, and then during my time as a minister and missionary. There is no reasonable explanation for the atrocities there- I tried for most of my life to find them because I was desperate to believe that God was as good as I believed him to be. Finally, after much study, I couldn’t make excuses for him anymore. I challenge you to read the Old Testament sometime and count the number of times that God ordered or committed horrible acts of violence, both against adults and helpless children. It’s very shocking… when you read it without making excuses for him, you’ll see why I would never serve him again even if someone could prove his existence. I would never serve a deity who drowns children… there is no explanation that can hide the horror of the Flood.

        In regards to morality, you should read my newest blog about morality and atheism.
        “All that are in Hell, choose it.” Saying someone chooses to go to hell is like me putting a gun to your head and telling you “choose to give me your money, or I’ll shoot you!” Technically a choice, but a very unjust one. By that logic you’d have to say that people in concentration camps chose to go there because they helped Jews to escape.

        Of course, perhaps hell is metaphorical, or simply the absence of God and not a literal pit of fire. But if it involves any kind of torment, then it is unjust. If I had a child and they disobeyed me, I would still want them to be in my presence. I would not deny that to them just because they did something wrong; even if they didn’t ask for my forgiveness I would give it anyway. And I certainly would not punish them if they didn’t believe I existed because I did not openly show myself to them. Any God who really did not want people to go to hell would make himself obviously known to them through signs and miracles that could not be disputed. Since he supposedly did that in the Bible times, that shouldn’t be too hard.

        I appreciate your comments at the end. I also think it’s important to have helpful dialogue. And I’m glad you understand that atheists aren’t just trying to justify doing bad things. 😉 That irritates me so much when people say that!! Lol. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and comment.

  2. Oh, I forgot to add, I don’t know how much non-Christians would enjoy/look forward to the Christian version of heaven anyway. It’s an eternity of worshipping the God we love, not quite the generic secular idea of paradise.

  3. “Squawk, what she said, what she said” but seriously

    This really old so I won’t join a year old discussion. I did just want to say to the comments, I find it hard to reconcile that a God of unconditional love, mercy, and hope would write people or nations of as beyond hope but then send his Son and later his spirit to give tell us we are never beyond rescue. Scrambles this bird’s brain

    Also hell is described more than once as a place of sulfur and brimstone and being eaten alive by worms…but don’t worry little know bible fact…it end’s later….when hell is thrown into a lake of fire. Also Theologically speaking, God is everywhere present and nowhere absent….it took me along to realize and admit that this includes hell, the place of endless torment. Everyone has to reconcile things in their own way, but this was a quality I could no longer glorify.

    Lilly you should check out, http://www.amazon.ca/Atheists-Angry-Things-That-Godless-ebook/dp/B007MCMKV6 “Why are Atheists so Angry” I hear it’s really good.

  4. Pingback: Reasons Why I am an Atheist & Reasons That AREN’T Why I’m an Atheist | Life and Other Musings

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