Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Angry Atheist: A Myth?

This study looked at attitudes toward Atheists as well as the attitudes of Atheists. Put succinctly, there is a considerable bias that Atheists are angrier than other people, but the findings were that Atheists are no angrier than other people.

I suspect that the angry Atheist perception is due to single instances of contact with one particular Atheist, maybe a relative, who blows up when religion is brought up. Just a suspicion of my own.

But my perception of Atheists is not actually that of anger. My perception of the most common Atheist attitude is arrogance couched in narcissism, an overbearing self-endowed elitism, with a sneering, Ad Hominem Abusive approach to dissenters, traits seen in virtually all public Atheists. Further, I suspect that Atheism derives from an underlying emotional neediness which is of an undefined source, but which manifests itself with the Nietzschean Will To Power albeit from an irrational perspective of reality - frequently the reality of their own actual lack of influence and power, a reality they wish to suppress.

And again, maybe that's just me. But maybe not.

Just before argumentative Atheists leave this site in frustration, they tend to escalate into irrational name-calling and angrily stomp off, slamming the digital door on the way out. The anger is due, I think, due to their frustration at not being able to fulfill their own self-image of eliteness in situations where they cannot bully their way into control. Loss of control of the situation relates to loss of eliteness and thus loss of self-control. If there's one thing in common between American Atheists, Freedom From Religion Foundation, various humanist associations, and the New Atheists, it is the overheated desire for control - control of society by eliminating religion totally in the name of secularism (Atheism). Much of social Atheism focuses on their own Victimhood Status and being unrecognized for the elite, superior beings which they know they are. That has to be frustrating, too, leading to more tension and ... anger. It's easy to find this on Atheist blogs: "we are the elite but we are sooo persecuted". They are truly pitiful.

And maybe that's just me; but maybe not.


Stefani Monaghan said...

"arrogance couched in narcissism, an overbearing self-endowed elitism, with a sneering, Ad Hominem Abusive approach to dissenters"

While I won't generalize to all atheists, this certainly does seem to be characteristic of the typical Internet atheist.

I won't claim original credit for the following -- it's reworked from a list I found floating around online -- but here's my personal take on how to argue like an atheist:

Philosophy: Insist all religion is illogical/stupid.
Psychology: Insist religious belief is a mental disease.
Theology: Mention any two of the following: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, invisible unicorns, flying pasta.
Atheology: Insist you just believe in "one less god".
History: Bring up two or more of the following: the Crusades, the Inquisition, Salem Witch Trials. Insist religion is responsible for most war/murder/icky stuff.
Sociology: Insist on the following: a) Stalin wasn't a "real" atheist; b) communism is a religion; c) bad atheists don't invalidate atheism d) bad Christians DO invalidate religion.
Science: Claim two or more of the following: a) Science proves atheism; b) Evolution invalidates Genesis; c) religious people can't understand science.
Authority: Claim you are a former well-educated Christian, or at least that you know more about the Bible/religion than most Christians.

Helpful tips:

- Remember to liberally salt all your arguments with ad hominems, pejoratives and other insults. Crude and rude is the way to go!
- When discussing the Bible, insist on absolute literal interpretations of everything; but
- if the Christian is doing it, call him a fundie loon.
- Whenever possible, insist faith means "believing without evidence".
- If the Christian denies any of your claims, or insists on evidence, don't get bogged down in specifics; just tell him he's too stupid to understand, then repeat your claims louder.

Finally, if the Christian makes a point you can't answer, deflect. And always remember: it's not about being persuasive; it's all about shoring up your flagging self-esteem.

John Rhue said...

Whether or not it is true, the idea of an Angry Atheist is useful.
In any conversation with onlookers the idea that someone is just angry can be enough to get the onlookers to disregard the atheist.
I use this to great effect on the street. Destroy his credibility in onlookers eyes by asking "why are you so ANGRY?" Alls the better if this makes him angry. Credibility destroyed.

Phoenix said...

Atheology: Insist you just believe in "one less god"

The "one less god" is nothing more than a quip with zero logic attached.It basically says X is equal to ~X.A clear violation of the law of non-contradiction.Besides,what stops a Theist from proclaiming that we are all Theists,I just believe in one more God than you.

Stefani Monaghan said...

To a self-anointed intellectual giant I recently enquired, "Why is it that every time an atheist walks into a room, the first thing he does is announce his intelligence? Is he afraid no one will notice?"

Maybe not all atheists are angry, but he sure is.