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The angry atheist

March 19, 2010

common sense, who'd have thunk itI am not one to spare the snark in regards to skepticism, particularly when my former faith is concerned, though I do spare overt nastiness and profanity. But there is a curious stereotype about the ‘angry atheist.’ I often find believers build their arguments specifically to piss off skeptics, and then complain about the anger and fury!

While reading this article from Pharyngula, though, amongst the many comments I spied this, and remembered why such anger may be righteous. Thanks to Feynmaniac, #115, for the reminder.

During Dawkins’ speech at Lynchburg somebody in the audience asked him if anger was common after one deconverts. Dawkins said he really didn’t know and asked the audience. That was a resounding “YES!”. While I don’t consider myself ‘angry’ anymore, I do emphasize with those who are. The process is already difficult enough without religious people making things much worse. That’s one of the problems I have with many religious people complaining that atheists are angry. Yeah, YOU intentionally brainwashed us from a young age (when we would have believed anything you told us) and rather than being congratulated for questioning dogmas we were stigmatized. There’s plenty to be angry about. Furthermore, you are continuing to do this to young kids today.

I don’t know if I would go as far as intentional brainwashing with my parents; but I would, in the case of a priest who doesn’t even believe what he’s preaching anymore, but does it for the money, part of what the Pharyngula article is about. But brainwashing, indoctrination, in any case. Most xians mean well I’m sure, but we all know about best intentions don’t we? They pave the road to hell, as the old proverb goes.

It was hard for me to drop it, to build a new philosophy, a new way of life. I can imagine it would be harder for a student in the seminary, or a preacher for that matter. But then, a preacher ought to know from responsibility; getting back to that brainwashing comment. I can understand being misled; but what kind of rationalization leads to teaching kids something you know is a lie?

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