Monday, May 6, 2013

Angry Atheists?

You atheists are so angry!

How often have I heard this complaint?  Too many.  To be fair, however, there is a lot of truth to this complaint about atheists, though atheists are hardly the only guilty parties when it comes to anger.  I have gone through a period of cleansing of late and have backed of significantly from Facebook.  This has left me a lot of time for introspection and thought.  Those that know me know that I spend a lot of time thinking about all kinds of things.  I have been told I "think too much" and that it will drive me crazy.  I do not think it is possible to think too much but if it were a fault or a flaw that one could be guilty of it is one I would not be ashamed of being accused.

But how much truth is there to there being a lot of anger among atheists?  I would say that there is a lot.  There are a few things that come to mind when I think about this:

First...there is a legitimate cause for this anger.  Stop acting innocent already!  You guys judge people for what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms, try to tell them how to dress, when they disagree with you on what you deem to be family values you tell them they are going to hell and that is really just the beginning. Now make no mistake.  I have learned the hard way that the real problem is the human condition and has little or nothing to do with whether an individual is religious or non religious.  I can speak from experience that this anger has a lot to do with the fact that there is an imagined difference that Christians claim because they are followers of Christ.  If you claim to be different then, dammit, be different.  The point is, there is a reason for this anger and there is a lot of hurt, bitterness and anger that comes from many atheists that have been through some very bad times involving Christians. let's talk about the elephant in the room.  "Well those are not REAL Christians, they are extremists." Really?  But everybody that wears a turban and prays to Allah is a terrorist?  Again...your double standard stinks and it is why we laugh at you.

Second...The fact of the matter is that just like everybody that claims to be a Christian is NOT a Christian so everybody that claims to be an atheist is always an atheist.  I have come to understand that many people that claim to be an atheist could not place a single intelligent argument on why they are atheists.  The most common answer I hear from atheists when they are asked to prove that there is not a god is that the burden of truth is not on them but on those that make the claim.  While this is very true in practice and in reality it is also very lazy and a cop out.  I find that there are a large group of supposed atheists that are just angry at church, Christians, religion and preachers or pastors and as a result of that anger they just reject all things religious.  While this swells the numbers of atheists it does little to make us a strong community.  If the only reason you are an atheists is because Christians suck then you are a lousy atheist!

Look, I get the anger.  I battle it all the time.  There are times that I just get angry out of the blue and struggle to put it away.  Anger blinds you.  Anger keeps you from stopping to think, keeps you from challenging yourself, challenging your views and challenging your own ideas.  Anger makes you want to find people that commiserate with you and agree with you so you can comfort each other and reassure each other.  The problem is that you never learn anything new, never challenge yourself.

I made myself a promise when I finally reached the conclusion that I could be nothing but an atheist.  That promise that I would never be as blind of an atheist as I was a Christian.  I periodically challenge everything I believe, I challenge every argument I make.  I read apologetic   I read books that defend faith.  If I hear a book, a movie or any other medium that makes the claim that it will make you believe in God, I will read it, watch it and listen to it with an open mind and challenge myself and my system of belief with it earnestly and vehemently.  Why do I subject myself to this?  Because if I can change my own mind then I should and if I can change my own mind then somebody else will be able to.

I have begun attending a church with my wife.  She is a believer and it is important to her and I go more for her than anything else.  If that costs me my atheist creds then so be it.  I never was out to prove I am more of an atheist than anybody else...I leave that kind of behavior for Christians.  As I sat in church this last Sunday I discovered I was angry.  I am not sure why, I like the pastor, a kind soul that truly means well and while I cannot agree with his belief system I can definitely agree with his life system.  I have been impressed with the fact that he does not condescend to me, does not insult my intelligence and actually respects it and will take a discussion with me serious, as a discussion between two men of opposing views but agreeable adults instead of his job to convert me.  Anyway, I discovered I was angry.  In retrospect I think it was the "communion" that aggravated me because it is such an emotionally binding "sacrament" that churches use to bind their members on a weekly or monthly basis depending on its frequency.  I had to remind myself that this is other people's choice and they have that right to make it.

What my mood did for me was force me to evaluate myself and my anger.  Anger does little good to anybody.  I had to challenge myself, am I an atheist because I am angry?  Is that the basis of what I believe? I have to say that afterwards I came to the same conclusions.  I am an atheist because I cannot accept things at face value.  I am an atheist because I have tested faith, religion, the Bible, the doctrines, the dogma, the church, the believers and found them to be lacking when it comes to logic and reason and found them to be unable to stand up to any firm questioning without running to hide behind faith.  But I still have a ways to go at exorcising those "demons", to borrow the phrase.

Nobody reads this blog anymore I think and I guess it is almost more of a journal than anything more at this point.  But if you are a Christian and you read this, make no mistake, you are grossly mistaken to minimize all atheists and reduce us down to anger.  Many of us have been hurt, many of us are angry, many of us have been let down by a system, by an organization and by a system of belief as well as an imaginary divine being.  Much like the child that didn't get what he asked of Santa Claus, only to learn the truth...that there is no Santa Claus...we depended on a divine being to hold up his end of the deal...only to be left with empty hands and broken hearts.  Yes we have anger at times, but do not marginalize us, do not minimize us do not ignore us because of that anger...some of us at least challenge ourselves, challenge everything we believe in and challenge the very foundations our world is built upon...when was the last time YOU dared do that with an honest and open mind?



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