When I have time some time I will write an extended entry as to why passionate dissatisfaction with things does not equal hostility, which is what people mean they describe atheists as angry. They really mean hostile and meanness where in reality there is displeasure, irritation and fury.
The short answer is that stupidity – which is what all religion and religious thinking is – pisses me off. If that offends people, too bad.
That said, let me add that accusing an atheist of anger is nothing but an ad hominem attack trying to distract from the actual substance of the debate. By just dismissing the atheist altogether as angry, the atheist is automatically invalidated and their position weakened. After all, who would want to deal with an angry asshole, as atheists have often been made out to be.
Given the vile crap that emanates from religion and religious thinking, I cannot imagine anyone being anything but angry at the way things are going. Frankly, if you are not “angry”, i.e. if what is happening in the name of religion doesn’t bother you, I seriously question your judgment, intelligence and character – or lack thereof.
The truth is that anytime someone says something that goes against the status quo, thus criticizing and often invalidating the world view of those being criticized, they are dismissed as angry, bitter scrooges who are just unhappy assholes. That is where the “angry atheist” idea comes in.
As Mark Twain once said, “whenever you find yourself on the side of the majortiy, it is time to pause and reflect.” Religious people rarely ever pause when caught up in the zealotry of their religious thinking – with decorum of course because as Mitt Romney taught us after his 47% speech, the problem was that things weren’t “elegantly stated’ – and they most certainly never reflect other than the usual “god’s way” and “god has a plan for all of us” platitudes.
Religion intrudes into non-religious peoples’ lives in insidious ways. I could not care less what someone believes in their personal realm. It only becomes a problem when I am somehow being forced to believe in those superstitions and direct as well as lead my life according to someone else’s beliefs. This is ultimately a question of autonomy. Religion takes away that autonomy.
Religious thinking is rarely confined to one’s personal realm as clearly evidenced by the myriad of policies religious people push for. Take stem cell research, marriage equality, a woman’s right to choose, education, science and pretty much all sectors of life where religious people have stuck their dirty little paws.
This past election cycle alone, the Catholic church spent $2 million dollars of its tax exempt money to fight marriage equality efforts in the four states where marriage equality was on the ballot this fall. They didn’t spend that money to help out the needy, hungry and uninsured. No, they spent it on hatred, one tax exempt dollar at a time.
That makes me angry.
It should make you angry too.
If you do not understand religion’s role in war, murder, slavery, misogyny, exploitation and torment, then you have not studied history or religion and thus are willfully ignorant to the facts laid out in both.
It is not the intangible atheists detest, but the tangible effects of religion. Turning a blind eye to that is not heroic or cute or a fountain of inspiration, it just makes you part of the problem.
Religion, we learn, is the art of being close-minded; it is a realm for the unimaginative. It is a method of finding personal realization in the ignorance of bronze age and first century charlatans. That is sad. Religion is simple, intellectually devoid, and emotionally rewarding. People want to find such simplicity in atheism, which atheism, by definition, cannot do. Rationality and inquisitiveness, logic and knowledge based on fact instead of myths, anecdotes and fairy tales do not producthe simplicity religious people seek.
Another reason atheists may show anger is because they are persecuted and marginalized. And I have to ask why it is that the attacks on rational people and science are so personal and extreme. Since the United States Constitution grants all Americans religious freedom, why do religiopaths believe themselves ordained to subvert the rights of those who do not share their superstitions?
Finally, when it comes to the question of anger, often language, tone and inflection are implied. Directness is mistaken for anger even though there really is no polite way of telling someone that their entire world view is based on myths and fairy tales. So, don’t be fooled by the false decorum and politeness of religious people. Look at the policies and callous notions their views – disguised under such decorum and kind words like Jesus, love and god and savior – perpetuate.