The Passion of the Atheist - Misunderstood Anger

Misunderstood Anger

A common remark from theists is that atheists are angry at god. Many times the claim is made that atheism is merely an act of rebellion against god and that atheism is merely a phase that some people go through. Of course, this notion is akin to saying that refusing to participate in Christmas is an act of rebellion against Santa Claus. There is however, often an element of anger in the atheist position and it deserves to be addressed.

For the most part these angry atheists, such as myself, are also anti-theists. And as we like to say, we aren't angry at god we just really dislike his fanclub. You see, for most of us the idea of god in and of itself isn't really a problem. I can't say I've ever had an agnostic deist try to push their idea of god on me and for the most part they tend to be open to adopting new philosophy and aren't rigid or doctrinal in their thinking. So it comes down to an anger at the religion itself. More importantly and specifically, the doctrines and dogmas of these various religions.

I'm not angry at Jesus or god or even Christians as individuals, but I most certainly have an axe to grind with the ideology and dogma of Christianity. The same goes for Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and all the rest. Within the doctrines and dogma of these various religions are the potential justifications for the most depraved ideas of mankind. Racism, classism, sexism, and many other issues are all offered potential justification within these various doctrines and dogmas. I would dare say that these things should make any person who is a champion of justice and equality a bit upset, because where ideas such as racism, sexism and the like flourish, ideas like justice and equality die.

So when we look at why many atheists are angry and what we're angry about, it usually has absolutely nothing to do with just the simple idea of god. It has to do with the supposed acts of specific gods, and with the potential justification for depravity offered by a given religious doctrine. I'm not angry at god, because it is quite evident that the gods offered by these religions aren't actually real, but I am angry about the fact that people not only believe that gods who commit acts like mass genocide are in fact real, but that they worship these gods as if they are righteous in committing such acts. To me, worshipping such a god, whether it's real or not, is tantamount to worshipping Adolf Hitler, and there is no logical reason for me to show respect to such a notion.

In the same respect, it angers me greatly when believers point to these acts supposedly perpetrated by their gods or by their prophets as being just, and therefore use them as a justification for committing these same heinous crimes themselves. Groups such as ISIS can literally point to verses in the Qur'an and Hadith that support their terroristic actions as being justified because the prophet Muhammad committed those same acts and the Qur'an teaches that Muhammad is the shining example of how to be a "true Muslim". The same goes with the bible and how Christian fundamentalists use specific doctrine to justify their own bigotry and hatred of certain groups such as homosexuals.

So what we need to understand is that almost no one is actually angry at god, and once you understand what it is we're actually angry about, that such anger is wholly justified. Almost no one would tell you that you're wrong in being angry about the Holocaust, and yet, when you tell someone that the glorification of genocide that comes from proclaiming such acts as the supposed great flood as being righteous is in fact perverse, they get defensive and want to call you hateful and angry. Of course such a glorification makes me angry, because it tells me that your perception of ethics is skewed so badly that you don't understand ethics at all. No matter who commits an act of genocide, even if it's an imaginary invention from the minds of long dead goat herders, the act of genocide is still a deplorable and unethical action. If Hitler was not justified in his actions simply by being the leader of Germany, then the god of the bible is not justified in supposedly committing mass genocide on multiple occasions simply because he's god and supposed leader of the universe.

This sort of double standard logic by believers that god is somehow free of any obligations to act in an ethical and just manner, is absolutely infuriating for those like myself. In the end, it becomes nothing more than an appeal to authority fallacy that poses the notion that god's supposed authority over mankind disabuses god of the obligation to act in an ethical manner. In all reality it's like saying that god gets to set the standards, but isn't obligated to meet those standards himself. This is the very epitome of despotism and tyranny, and people have fought tooth and nail against this when they encounter other people acting this way, such as kings and other despotic leaders, all while heralding a god who acts the exact same way as being righteous and just.

The irony is so thick that it is palpable.

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When we really examine this objectively, we see that it makes no sense for us to be angry at men such as Hitler while worshipping his mirror image in the form of a despotic and tyrannical god offered by religion. It is absolute hypocrisy and the only reason people do this is because they want justification for their own depravity. It's as the saying goes; there is a reason your god hates all the things you hate and agrees with all the things you agree with, because in reality that god is simply a reflection of yourself. For those who lean towards true justice and equality, their god also leans that way. For those who lean towards depravity, their god is equally depraved. And no matter which side you lean towards, you can find doctrine and scripture that backs up your position, although no matter which position you lean towards you'll have to ignore all the scripture which disputes your position.

But we must ask if this emotional position of anger at these things is in any way a justification for a position of disbelief, and I for one believe it is. If it angers you that such a god should be worshipped by so many, and that such a god and such a god's actions be heralded by so many, that is surely a valid reason to reject the notion totally, and even to argue against it. If our emotions and conscience tells us that these acts are unethical, no matter who you are or what supposed position of authority you hold, then we most certainly should reject such ideas. When the believer claims their god to be benevolent, we have every right to point out that such a notion is false and that such gods are merely the invention of mankind to justify their own depravity.

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