Friday, October 15, 2010

Angry Atheists?

Believers often criticize atheists for being angry.  Usually when they do this, they are implying that we don't believe in god because we are angry at him for not giving us something that we want in life.  A previous post dealt with that "argument" and if the believer makes that point specifically, then deal with it directly.

On the other hand, if a believer simply makes a comment about atheists being angry in general, there is a ready and very useful response:

"If we are angry, it is a result of the way believers treat us."

Every person needs a social support network--a community.  We atheists are vulnerable to numerous problems because of our isolation as well as the insults and hostility we face.  These problems include depression and its close relative, anger.  In some cases, the result can be Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Atheists are also vulnerable to bad relationships with the wrong people, being driven by an often unacknowledged emotional need for social support.  These bad relationships simply end up fueling our bad feelings.  These feelings of depression, anger, and isolation help feed the theist stereotype of us as "angry" (angry at god or other authority figures or the world in general).  This anger is for almost all of us a symptom of atheism, not its cause, but it is used to label us all with that obnoxious "rejecting god out of anger" nonsense.  

The prejudice and discrimination we face is simply incredible.  Just read up on what happened to the Smalkowkis, Prof. Zellner, and Jeremy Hall.  My own experiences have been precisely analogous to the things they went through.  Any atheist who doesn't either stay in the closet or live in a protected environment has had similar experiences--though I must admit many of them seem to try to minimize what happened or even stay silent for fear of further victimization.

The fact that believers seem oblivious to the inevitable effects of the way they treat us tells me that they have not internalized the golden rule.  I have no doubt that if I treated them in the way they do me, I would have long since been murdered and rotting in a shallow grave right now.  How do I know this?  Because just such threats were made against me for merely protesting the way I was treated.

Everything an atheist says and does is scrutinized for "proof" of our "obvious" moral degeneracy.  Remember we are not "moral" in the believers' eyes because we don't accept "authority".  We actually use our own minds to figure out what is right and wrong.  Believers can say and do things that are immoral or insane and suffer no ill consequences--in fact they are often rewarded for it, provided it is what the authority figures wanted.  (That is one of the reasons that religious morality is not morality at all--it is obedience.  They don't know this, however.)  Often these immoral and insane behaviors are directed at atheists for daring to think they are individuals with minds of their own.

What really makes the whole scenario bizarre and a sign of evil is that the believers act as if none of this occurs and as if we are somehow "intolerant" of them.  This situation is nothing less than Kafkaesque and is typical of the sort of "gaslighting" one might expect if one were targeted by a manipulative psychopath. In fact, this "gaslighting" is one of the many signs that religion is often either a symptom of a mental illness or a type of mental illness. But, that will be the subject of a later post.

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