Sunday, January 16, 2011

What Really Drives "Atheist Anger"

One big clue that your opponent has a losing argument: he accuses you of being "angry." This used to be an effective way to shut down uppity women back when even uppity women cared about how others perceived them as women. Now, of course, if you dare to accuse a woman of being angry, she'll just say "No, this is angry" right before she kicks your nuts up into your esophagus.

Now the god-botherers are trying out the anger accusation on atheists, and PZ Myers delivers a rhetorical kick to the nuts.

Tim Moyle (I will not call him "Father"; I have a lot of respect for my father, none of it transfers to the clergy) wonders why atheists are so grumpy, and offers some explanations. He apparently does not know any atheists and is completely lacking in self-awareness, so his arguments don't hold up very well.

Why is it that so many in the atheist community cannot bring themselves to get past their anger whenever they engage in discussion about religion? The language of many of atheist contributions in public debate is laced with venom and dripping with sarcasm.

Well, actually, when I consider religion, I feel two moods: either anger or hilarity. The reason we tend to feel that way is because religion is so damned ridiculous, full of crazy doctrines and absurd assumptions, and yet people believe in it so fervently. Look at Moyle's version of Christianity: it's an ornate death cult that makes up stories about an afterlife to justify servility in this one, and its major premises are that we're all evil because an imaginary distant ancestor listened to a talking snake rather than god, we're all damned, and the only way we can rescue ourselves from an eternity of sadistic punishments from our benign deity is to believe without doubt in a magic Jewish carpenter who was nailed to a stick and came back to life.

That makes no sense. It's stupid. It's funny, because it is so crazy.

But it's also infuriating, because people are indoctrinated into this myth from an early age, they are closed-minded to any objections to the absurdity of the belief, and it sucks away time and resources from our culture that could be more productively invested in something useful and true. And, oh, yeah, it ruins people's lives.

The explanation for why atheists are often exasperated is that simple: people believe in something that isn't true. Worse, it's not just false, it's stupidly false. We're people to whom the truth matters.

It gets even better. Read the whole thing.

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