Author Topic: Angry Atheists  (Read 3864 times)

Amicale

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Angry Atheists
« on: May 02, 2012, 05:59:31 AM »
"We need to get rid of all religion, it's evil and backwards."
"I'd never date/be good friends with a religious person, they're all morons."
"If my partner became religious, I'd leave them."
"Someone tried to tell me about Jesus and I got so pissed off. It ruined my day."
"ALL theists are (insert generalization here). I can't stand them!"

We all know the type. Maybe some of us are the type. So, why are some people like this? What causes the anger? Is the anger constructive and helpful, or does it just burn bridges and create stereotypes?

I think this conversation is relevant to life as an atheist, because we either blow a gasket ourselves and say things like this, or we see someone else do so. From my own general observations, it seems like people who feel very angry about religion generally feel that way not because religion exists, but because in the past, they've been horribly offended or hurt by someone who was religious, and they're still feeling that pain and carrying that grudge. Or maybe they live in a culture where religion surrounds them, and they feel oppressed. So as a defense mechanism, they lash out.

I'd be curious to hear everyone's thoughts on this. I'd also be curious to hear any ideas people here have about how to turn the anger around, and how to approach people who are religious with balance or tolerance.


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Tank

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2012, 07:56:04 AM »
I don't think you can stop this sort of thing any more than you could see football supporters not support their football club. This is tribalism at its worst. Humans are social and group survival/inclusion is very important to us. This is social ape group behaviour.

If one wanted to try to stop this sort of thing then the best way would probably be to enlarge the perceived social group. Thus atheist and theist become sub-sets of a larger group 'people', which in fact we are. As long as sub-sets exist their will be conflict.
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fester30

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2012, 08:18:35 AM »
I think there are people who are going to be angry, complaining, bitter SOB's regardless of their religious beliefs or philosophies.  I don't think it's that they are necessarily angry with Christianity or Christians, but that they are angry, and Christianity and Christians seem a convenient target since they have different beliefs.  If you're an angry person looking for a target, are you going to look to be angry at people just like you?  Of course not, then you would have to hate yourself.

The Magic Pudding

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2012, 09:24:38 AM »
"We need to get rid of all religion, it's evil and backwards."
 

Impractical, I would like its influence lessened because I don't think it serves my ideals for humanity.

"I'd never date/be good friends with a religious person, they're all morons."

Moderately religious people wouldn't be a problem, people hardly talk about their religious status anyway.  Whacky believers may be OK if they're benevolent.  Dating isn't really an issue as my wife says I'm not allowed to.  

I think you should be careful with words like "moron," it can seem a bit simplistic and their is an implied claim that you are cleverer.


"If my partner became religious, I'd leave them."

That would depend on their change in behaviour, shared children and property.  It can often be more advantageous to arrange an accident.


"Someone tried to tell me about Jesus and I got so pissed off. It ruined my day."

That's kind of weak and wimpy.

"ALL theists are (insert generalization here). I can't stand them!"

I don't have a generalisation or a generalization.

If one of your major gripes with religion is it tells people how they should be and then you start telling people how they should think from your atheist perspective, it can seem a bit hypocritical.  I've come across some atheist ayatollahs, they aren't much fun.

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2012, 10:35:58 AM »
Amicale, your example statements cover a wide area.

The partner thing - well, that could cause problems, especially if one partner changes views during the relationship.  But that all depends on the personalities involved and the type of religion.  A mild Anglican and a bigoted JW are different animals.

Quote
"We need to get rid of all religion, it's evil and backwards."

As Pudding said, there are plenty of reasons for trying to minimise religious influence.  Apart from the wars and killings, both the UK and the US suffer from religious interference in abortion, contraception, mercy-killing, stem-cell research ....

But of course it's not true that they're all hateful morons.  Some are, of course.

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2012, 12:10:01 PM »
Making generalised statements is usually the lazy way out, all such people are either morons, ignorant or hypocritical ;D


I don't think you can stop this sort of thing any more than you could see football supporters not support their football club. This is tribalism at its worst. Humans are social and group survival/inclusion is very important to us. This is social ape group behaviour.

If one wanted to try to stop this sort of thing then the best way would probably be to enlarge the perceived social group. Thus atheist and theist become sub-sets of a larger group 'people', which in fact we are. As long as sub-sets exist their will be conflict.

I tend to agree with this ^ However, I don't see how two different ideologies can become more than two sub-groups, especially with the zeitgeist that's the growing disillusion with religion. Natural tribal conflict could be channeled into something. I saw a documentary once in which an Italian city would solve this by hosting competitive horse racing games between the neighbourhoods, each with their own sense of identity and loyalty. People found a healthy outlet for their feelings.

I don't know how that could be done for those more angry and vocal few atheists, though. Or even if it would backfire and cause an even wider gap. ???


 
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Angler28

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2012, 04:50:09 PM »
I think a lot of it is some atheists have just run out of patience. For an atheist that is approached by a believer and asked if they believe, for example, to the theist, it could be the first time they've ever talked to this person. For the atheist, it may be the tenth time that week they've been asked this. Keep this cycle going for long enough and eventually someone will snap and lash out, especially here in the bible belt.

It makes me think back to when I was in retail and anytime I would help a customer find an item, I would hear at least 2 to 3 times a day, "Well, if that'd been a snake, it'd've bit me!"

I got so tired of hearing this, and everytime someone would say it, it was like they had made up the expression themselves. I eventually got to the point where I would sometimes say, "Well, maybe next time."   I attribute some of the angry atheists reasoning to this.

On the other hand, there are those that are just looking for an arguement and will use any means to get one going in an attempt to feel superior over someone else, or to try and prove they are smarter. Unfortunately, these people tend to play for all teams.
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Asmodean

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2012, 06:07:30 PM »
That thread with that video about angry atheists. Where did The Asmo put it? Can't find it.  >:(
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Sweetdeath

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2012, 08:42:37 PM »
I'm pretty angry, and it definitely comes down to disgust, sick and tired of being treated like a worthless object.

I'm a gay woman. So yeah, religious people and i REALLY don't get along.

:P
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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2012, 08:52:55 PM »
I'm pretty angry, and it definitely comes down to disgust, sick and tired of being treated like a worthless object.
You're definitely not worthless.

Quote from: Sweetdeath
I'm a gay woman. So yeah, religious people and i REALLY don't get along.

:P
I realize this may be your experience...and for what it's worth, I apologize for my closed-minded brethren.

DeterminedJuliet

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2012, 08:55:17 PM »
There are plenty of religious people who do get along with women/gay people, though. I used to be one of them. I can understand being frustrated with the system sometimes. I think frustration, or even anger, is sometimes warranted, but I'd be wary of acting aggressively towards any person that I don't know simply because they're religious (or because they belong to any other "group"). I'd consider myself a bit of a feminist, but I'm not going to write off all men because of that. You know? What would it say about my ideology if I came online and started attacking random guys, or men in general, because, by virtue of their existence, I considered them "part of the problem"? Some feminists have done that, and that's what gives feminism a bad rap. It's not a fair approach and only serves to alienate.

I love ya SD, but you do say things sometimes that sound almost as close-minded as the stuff that bothers you.
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Amicale

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2012, 08:55:23 PM »
Thanks for the responses so far, everyone. Some good points have been made. :)

Angler, your point about people just running out of patience is a good one, and probably very true. When I see someone snap and get all angry, all I'm seeing is that one moment, rather than the thousand that led up to it. Had I been in that person's shoes, it's possible I would have been just as burnt out. Good food for thought.

Pudding...  :D @ arranging an accident. I can always count on you for a laugh.

Tank, I like your point about this being tribal behaviour. It's true. It's an us versus them mentality, rather than seeing all of us as being members of the same group.

Sweetdeath, I can certainly understand why you'd feel disgusted, sick and tired of being treated like a worthless object, and I'm sorry that's been your experience. *hug* That being said, I'm also a gay woman, and I get along fine with most religious people. So it must not be the 'being gay' that's the issue, but maybe more the different experiences gay people can have in different societies, yes? I know that too often, I take my own society for granted -- there is certainly some pressure from the religious/conservative folks to behave/be a certain way, but in a society where gay relationships are considered pretty normal by most people and where people have been getting happily married for several years, I don't see a level of vitriol here that you must have seen, growing up where you did.


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Crow

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2012, 08:56:23 PM »
I'm pretty angry, and it definitely comes down to disgust, sick and tired of being treated like a worthless object.

I'm a gay woman. So yeah, religious people and i REALLY don't get along.

:P

Like AD said you ain't worthless and anybody that treats you as such are not worth the time of day.
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Crow

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2012, 09:07:05 PM »
"ALL theists are (insert generalization here). I can't stand them!"

I have started to become a bit like this as of late, minus the "I can't stand them!" part. Previously I was always like religious people in general aren't mental but some are. However I started watching debates and talks that are entirely made up of those of a monotheistic belief and quite widely represented of all the different thoughts and ideas within those religions. I have yet to watch one where I haven't thought "they are mental!" and that's just from the moderates, never mind those that are a bit more literal.
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Stevil

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Re: Angry Atheists
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2012, 11:01:28 PM »
"We need to get rid of all religion, it's evil and backwards."
I am for tolerance, so I would definitely like to get rid of the intolerance that religion breeds in society.
But, I couldn't care less about what people believe in. If a person believes in fairies, or UFOs or ghosts or monsters or gods or string theory or multiverse...
It doesn't really bother me.

"I'd never date/be good friends with a religious person, they're all morons."
I'm not sure what beliefs have to do with friendship, maybe this person can't respect religious people? Friendships require respect. "Moron" is the wrong term.

Belief isn't related to intelligence, just a epistemology standpoint. Me, I am very analytical, I need evidence, facts and then create conclusions (beliefs) of knowledge based on that. Other people go with intuition or trust in what others tell them. But reconciling existence and life is difficult at the best of times, no-one has all the answers.

I've been reading a book, "Quantum Leap", it discusses the people behind the major breakthroughs in Quantum Physics, Bohr, Plank, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Einstein, etc. It goes into their history, whom they were, where they came from, who they worked with, their major publishings, the scientific reaction to these publishings. I found it quite interesting. There is a lot of belief in science. These scientists come up with a model that accurately fits the  observed measurements. Their models often have a visualisation aspect e.g. Bohr's circular orbits of electrons around the nucleus of an atom. Scientists then believe in that visualisation. When someone else comes up with a new theory that also fits the observed measurements but is contradictory to the believed visualisation, it gets a lot of initial distain, and disbelief. It takes years for scientists to change their thinking (their beliefs) to come to accept the new theories.
Einstein for the most part was good at accepting new theories, if they meet the observed measurements then he wouldn't simply throw them away due to his current beliefs.

"If my partner became religious, I'd leave them."
Conditional love, are we all so fickle? or is this an emotional bluff, a gut reaction in the anger/denial stage of discovering new contradictory information, a feeling of betrayal, of being lied to, of being deceived?

"Someone tried to tell me about Jesus and I got so pissed off. It ruined my day."
Your emotional state is based on other people's believes or expressions of their beliefs?

"ALL theists are (insert generalization here). I can't stand them!"
All theists are believers in god/s, they don't need empirical evidence to support their god beliefs...