Why are agnostics and atheists so angry?

Hello all, I am just wondering why people who are agnostic and athests are so angry and feel the need to bash any religion, primary the Christian faith, in order to feel contempt? I am in a field of work that encompasses mostly young people (engineering field) and a lot of people who do not know I am religious tend to randomly attack the Christian religion (they leave the other ones alone, and I do now know why Christianity bears the brunt). They feel it is a culture to not be religion versus a personal belief. I am just wondering why this is so? I never let them know I am religious or allow it to get a reaction out of me because I simply do not want to sit there and argue non-stop. I usually try to change the subject if they are talking to me. These are people who grew up in just regular households. I just cannot get what makes them so angry or feel the need to attack Christianity.

It’s like Dathan said to Moses in The Ten Commandments: “We don’t need your laws. We’re free.”

That A-team wants to do things “my way”, without rules, without responsibility.

Nobody can take Hinduism and Buddhism seriously, but Christianity has obvious truth in it so the A-team attacks Christianity.

They will tell you it is because of all of the horrible things religioun has done throughout history. They will tell you it is because religion retards progress and it needs to be combatted.

The truth is, they do not know, as they are not pbjective enough with themselves to know why they are angry. They do not have practices such as examination of consciences, meditatoin time, spiritual reading, which really help one to understand and control one’s feelings.

They are also not objective enough with history to understand the weakness of their arguments: namely that state established atheism has been horribly worse than any religion. Their focus of hatred against Christianity is itself a weakness of argument, as it is quite easy to find other religions which have done much worse things (both in history and ongoing) than Christians.

Today’s athiests are intellectually weak. In the late 19th century, and early 20th century, there were some great minds who were athiets. They presented logical enough arguents such that even the likes of Chesterton claimed if Orthodoxy did not exist, the next most logical argument would be in support of atheist. Of course, in those days, these inteelectual atheists followed their reason to its logical conclusion and came up with some horrible ideas (see George Bernard Shaw or Karl Marx).

But today, atheists are intellectual amateurs. They do not seek any understanding of their opponents point of view. THey are simply happy to assume falsehoods and half-truths.

Why are Christian fundamentalists so angry?

Abraham Lincoln once joked, “It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.”

I know what he is talking about. Fundamentalists are very frequently the nastiest, most judgmental, most stingy people you will ever meet.

Well, there’s lots of little reasons. First, the (American) culture allows and indeed encourages contempt for religions, or at least for Christianity. Man is in fact a social animal, and the masses of men go with the flow, so there ya go. Certain other religions, especially Judaism and Islam, are protected because they’re minorities and therefore “high-status” in the liberal worldview. Very rarely will you find an atheist who is equally critical of all religions.

Second, most of their experiences are with Protestants, who, let’s face it, are not the most theologically sound, often have very questionable beliefs, and are not the most competent at articulating and defending a coherent theological worldview. Most lay Catholics aren’t, either, mind you, but bear in mind that Catholicism has a much richer philosophical tradition than Protestantism does, and Protestantism grew largely out of a rejection of that tradition.

Third, they tend to be highly intelligent, and atheism is typically associated with other belief systems (i.e., liberalism) that justify social rule by intellectual elites, so there’s probably a natural self-interest component as well. Liberalism compounds the issue further because it entails (contrary to the liberals’ constant assertion that their worldview is free of dubious metaphysical baggage) a particular metaphysical view of things, including what I’ve called here before “epistemic weakness,” the idea that man can possess no sure knowledge of the good. Christianity, especially Catholicism, is flatly incompatible with that belief. So liberalism/atheism and Christianity are simply incompatible; liberals intuit this (because they tend to be smarter on average) and act accordingly. Christians, on the other hand, don’t, and so they get clobbered by trying to be nice to them all the time. We often see this in action here on these forums. The highest good in the liberal worldview is freedom. Of course, we don’t share that view. We don’t even share his definition of freedom. So he hates us because we’re “anti-freedom.” And so on.

Part of it is tactical. Because we try to be nice to them all the time, they suspect we’re weaklings, so they get more aggressive. That’s just natural. People respect powerfulness, confidence, and aggression, and they feel contempt for weakness, timidity, and cowardice. That’s why bullies tend to be popular and they pick up on the quiet, nerdy kids. That’s just how it is. The solution is to stop coddling them (by which I mean the atheists) all the time and call them out for their ignorance and impiety when they indulge in it. I used to try to do this at CAF, but apparently, being harsh with an atheist is the only thing that will actually get Catholics angry at you, so I stopped.

I suspect a certain degree of atheists’ contempt is tinged with arrogance. I have never yet met a belligerently hostile atheist who really fully understood Christianity. Oftentimes they have trouble separating Catholic beliefs from Protestant ones; often they don’t understand that they use certain words (like “love” and “judgment”) in a different way than we do, because their understandings of those words are informed by their zeitgeist and ours goes back several millennia. They don’t seem to be very aware of the philosophical tradition in Catholicism (which, again, stands to reason since most of their interactions have probably been with Protestants). There’s this belief, and I have heard this sentiment stated explicitly by more than one atheist, that they don’t need to know what they’re talking about because they already know it’s garbage. (The first time I heard this was an atheist asking me why, since the Church had “deinvented” purgatory, it couldn’t “deinvent” anything else. Of course the Church never “deinvented” purgatory. He was thinking of limbo, which the Church didn’t “deinvent” because it never “invented” it in the first place. It simply declined to rule on the issue dogmatically. I pointed out his twofold error to him and his response was something to the effect of “So what?”). There’s at least one famous atheist (the Eucharistic desecrator, PZ Meyers) who actually accuses Christians of logical fallacy when they point out that an atheist doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Meyers calls it the “Courtier’s Reply.”

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all that springs to mind at the moment. Bear in mind these are just my experiences and they’re limited exclusively to American Catholics, so I’m not sure how well they generalize to the broader population of them.

EDIT: Also, I don’t think I’ve ever met an “angry agnostic.” Come to think of it, I’m not sure I know any agnostics at all. I used to be one, but even then I was never angry. I was certainly angry when I was a leftist atheist, though, for most of the reasons mentioned above.

Don’t know that they are…

My point is that there are indeed some who come across that way, but most of the ones I’ve encountered are pretty normal types and we can talk and debate just fine, though most often we just simply talk.

I think it’s a generalization to infer that they all are…

I’m sure Hindus and Buddhists take these religions seriously, as well as those who convert to Buddhism, as do many Jews, for example. Perhaps Christianity bears the brunt because it is the most familiar religion to Western culture, being a majority religion.

Yes, there’s definitely selection bias at play, too. The atheists that aren’t angry are ones you aren’t likely to know are atheists at all.

My above remarks only apply to the atheists I know are atheists. So perhaps I was really answering a different question, i.e., “What explains the anger of those atheists who are angry?”

Perhaps it is more frustration than anger.

As the central tenet is that the existence of God cannot be proven, likewise the existence of faith is equally vexing. It seems that many of the “attacks” against Christians tend to project that people of faith are somehow less evolved, or have emotional issued for which faith is a some sort of defense mechanism.

We pray for all souls who seek the Truth. That these individuals tend to have a well formed opinion concerning the existence of God (that it cannot be proven), indicates that in some way the seek or have sought the Truth. To do so is human - to find it, divine!

I am married to an atheist. He isn’t angry at all. :shrug: In fact, he is a pretty easy going guy.

It just so happens that my favorite blogger of all time, and a remarkably insightful atheist-turned-Catholic philosopher and author, John C Wright, is posting a multi-part essay that asks this question, among many others. To whit, he asks

If the moderns had so much self-esteem, why where they so loud and angry, insanely angry, insanely self-righteously angry?


I just happened to be in Washington DC on March 24th and 25th when the Reason Conference was going on. This is a group of militant atheists and I think Dawkins was there. While we were standing in line to see the Declaration of Indepedence, some people were handing out tracts to get people to go to this conference. I think the reason for their anger is that it is being used by the secularists as a political movement. I think it’s a trojan horse and it is being used to help in the destruction of more Christian Values. It would be interesting to see who’s funding them.

Some of them had a bad experience with church. Others just read a lot of demagogic stuff online. Not all atheists are mad, but I’ve seen what the OP’s talking about. Maybe some of them never met a good priest or a counseler. A lot of them simply have issues with the problem of evil.

First, I don’t think all agnostics and atheists are angry. Some agnostics don’t care and some atheists don’t believe in anger. :slight_smile:

I think that many people in our modern society are taught that they can think for themselves, but then they are not taught how to do it. Many are left to their emotions alone or to highly underdeveloped reasoning apparatuses to distinguish the truth. The fact that they can’t actually think for themselves is a frustration, because deep down they know they’re mailing it in, but they can’t figure out how to get out of that rut.

The other way to look at it is that when people rely on their emotions to arrive at a conclusion (in lieu of reason), they must rely on emotion alone to defend their position as well. And happiness does not defend unless its a reasonable happiness.

God bless you.Tom

meltzerboy wrote;;;;;;;;;;;

I’m sure Hindus and Buddhists take these religions seriously,

I’m sure they do in India and Asia, but this forum is mostly American, I suspect, and I don’t know anybody who lives here who even thinks about them. ( There is a little Buddhist temple a few miles from here, but I never hear anything about them. )

as well as those who convert to Buddhism, as do many Jews, for example.

Say, what! :eek:
I find this very surprising. I would think Jews and Buddhists had nothing in common. It seems like a complete change. Why do many Jews convert?

Just to make clear, the OP, in asking “Why are atheists so angry?” isn’t suggesting that every single atheist is angrier than every single non-atheist, and that should be pretty obvious from the context. When I say “men are taller than women,” no one objects “but I know one woman who’s taller than one man!” because I’m not saying “the shortest man is taller than the tallest woman,” i.e., there is 0 overlap between the height distributions of men and women (this is a nominalist conceit). Rather, I’m saying the mean heights of men and women are significantly different from one another, i.e., their overlap is relatively small. The fact that there may be individual women taller than individual men doesn’t change the fact that such arrangements are exceptional. Likewise, atheists, the OP is saying, seem on average to be angrier than non-atheists. It doesn’t follow that he’s saying the least-angry atheist is still angrier than the angriest non-atheist.

My own opinion…I don’t typically find angry atheists or agnostics…that is a “caricature” many religious people paint of them for some reason.

When I do find them angry is when religious people seek to impose their particular religious beliefs upon others or dictate religious morals and seek to impose them on those who do not accept such belief systems.

Those agnostics and atheists I have encountered are typically polite and well mannered.:shrug:

Most of the “anger” and “hateful comments” and insults come from those professing religious beleifs…at least in my limited experience.:slight_smile:

When I do find them angry is when religious people seek to impose their particular religious beliefs upon others or dictate religious morals and seek to impose them on those who do not accept such belief systems.

That’s cliche thinking.

Exactly how would religious people seek to impose their particular religious beliefs upon others,

or dictate religious morals and seek to impose them on those who do not accept such belief systems?

There’s no way to do it in the United States. We’re a free country. Bellieve what you want. Walk away from anybody you want. Ditto for Europe.
I suppose it’s done in places like Saudi Arabia, but that’s not about this forum, or the A-team we know in this country.

Some because of misinformation and/or poor philosophy

Some because of defiance

Most because of both.

Don’t profile from your experiences. It is like saying all Muslims wanted to bring down the twin towers. Sure looks that way at the time, but it ain’t so.

The ones that you are experiencing are what I would term vandals and iconoclasts. They are assaulting Christian societal values. Many were Christian but somehow perceive that they were let down by those values, or simply those values conflict with the direction that they are bound and determined to go.

To give an example, one thread talked about a good Christian kid who was dumped by a good Christian girlfriend, and it hurt him dearly. Then he met up with a non-Christian girl who was disillusioned by her background - one thing led to another - and they both fed off of their feelings of their disillusionment with friends, family, society, Barney, … you name it. Before long they became a Bonnie & Clyde shooting at every vestige of established belief. That good kid before long was being driven to dump his mother whereas up to the point of his connection with the troubled girl, he and his mother had a great relationship. The more the mother tried to convince the son to drop the girlfriend because of what it was doing to their relationship, the more their relationship deteriorated because of holding onto the girlfriend. The interesting part of the story is that the girlfriend was not really shooting at the mother, but all other things. Only the boy was shooting down his mother on behalf of demonstrating loyalty to the girl.

Its that way with belief systems too. If adherence to a belief system is associated with a feeling that you must suffer, and another belief system gives you relief from suffering by breaking rules, then the psychology of the person must make a strong break from the original beliefs even though they subconsciously adhere to it and believe it.

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