Byer's Basic Blog

just call us the Tunkhannock Times

I’ve never heard of an atheist who wasn’t angry

Posted by joelbyer on December 5, 2008

Atheists take aim at Christmas – CNN.com
Again, this proves the point!
Advertisements

25 Responses to “I’ve never heard of an atheist who wasn’t angry”

  1. Brian Westley said

    So, have you also never heard of a Jew who wasn’t cheap? Or a black who didn’t steal? Or do you only stereotype atheists?

    By the way, if you’ve only encountered angry atheists, maybe you’re the cause of that anger. Ever consider that?

  2. Tony said

    What is angry about that placard? It’s a neutral declarative statement of fact.

  3. Pete said

    This entry just got systematically destroyed with one reply. Kudos, Brian Westley.

  4. You’re right. There’s no such thing as an angry atheist and that proves that your religion must be true.

  5. Neeneko said

    Maybe you need to meet more people? Or as the first poster pointed out, maybe you need to look at your own behavior? Or are we looking at pure selective viewing here?

    Most of the time when I see an aethist who is unhappy (within the context of their belief) is when someone is trying to force their own belief on the person via laws, threats, harassment, or just plain arrogance.

    Compare the trivial amount of resources of champagns like this to the VAST amount of time/money/energy that churches put into making sure that their message is heard and what does that say?

  6. Brian Westley said

    By the way, the placard is now missing. Probably someone who’s angry at all those angry atheists.

  7. joelbyer said

    Cool! I assume all you folks are atheists? And how did you all find me? I didn’t know this blog was that popular. Also, I didn’t know I had many atheists who read this, so I didn’t mean to offend. My apologies for being so…dismissive of you all.

    As a matter of fact, if I wasn’t a full-blown 100% committed Christian, atheism would be my next choice.

    As to stereotyping…keep in mind one key distinction here.
    Being a Jew or an African-American is part of who one is (ethnicity, pigmentation, whatever). An atheist is what one believes. IF (and obviously I haven’t proved it) atheism is a faulty belief system, then logically any faulty belief (be it WHATEVER) would cause the believer to act irrationally.

    Isn’t that what you would say about we Christians? 🙂

    So…I guess my point is…prove it to me. Prove to me that you folks are not angry…it sounds like you are…it sounds like your belief system is making you resentful of Christians and life in general.

    The placard doesn’t sound neutral to me at all. It describes how awful Christianity and religion is, but offers no constructive positive alternatives.

  8. Brian Westley said

    First, I don’t agree that beliefs are choices; I can’t choose to believe in gods, just as you can’t become an atheist for a day. At best, you can imagine or pretend.

    Second, why is stereotyping over choices acceptable? Is it acceptable to stereotype unmarried women as man-hating dykes?

    Now, as to your poisoned well here….”So…I guess my point is…prove it to me. Prove to me that you folks are not angry…it sounds like you are…”

    Hey, prove to me you aren’t a self-righteous prick. You sure sound like one.

    See how well that works? You can’t possibly convince me you AREN’T a self-righteous prick now, can you? Anything you say in response I can interpret as either self-righteous, or your being a prick. A classic “poisoning the well” situation.

    I certainly can’t convince you I’m not an angry atheist. After all, you started the conversation saying you’ve never met one who wasn’t angry, just like someone who has never met a Jew who wasn’t cheap. Why bother trying to convince people with such closed minds?

    Your assumptions even color your interpretation of the sign, saying it’s describing how awful *Christianity* is; the placard doesn’t refer specifically to Christianity, it refers to elements that a lot of (admittedly Abrahamic) religions have.

  9. joelbyer said

    Thanks for your response, Brian.
    Again, to emphasize, I had no idea that actual atheists would find this blog and thus I again apologize for being too dismissive of your beliefs and no doubt the title was rather inflammatory.

    Atheism cannot be lightly dismissed with a trite or witty one-liner.

    Also, “prove” is, as you correctly pointed out, a logical fallacy. A better word would probably be “demonstrate”. I actually have not met many atheists in person…but I still posit that their belief system makes them very susceptible to anger and a certain darkness of tone.

    My statement about the placard being against Christianity, was of course, an interpretation of the context of that placard. Being that the placard was placed in the USA, I think it would be safe to assume that the primary intended target would be Christians.

    So…do any of the above statements make me sound a little less self-righteous? Hopefully.

    I bear you or no one else ill-will.

  10. joelbyer said

    As to stereotyping about choices…

    Like the black or Jew argument, the analogy over unmarried women likewise isn’t the same as the atheism/Christianity debate.

    To continue the analogy, logically, it could not be initially ruled out that some women make the right choice in being single, while other women make the right choice in marrying.

    The same cannot be said about atheism and Christianity. The 2 belief systems are saying 2 dramatically different things. So, one or both belief systems is by definition faulty. Thus, WHOEVER would subscribe to said system is in error, and thus warped in their thinking…to some degree. Warped thinking often leads to irrational actions, does it not?

  11. John Myers said

    I don’t know, but it seems to me as if some of the posters are just providing evidence to support the premise of the title of this blog post.

    Brian, you sound angry.

    Brian, you seem to posit that you have no choice in being an athiest. What power, what being, what cosmic force compells you to be an atheist?

    You say that beliefs are not choices. If that is the case, do you blame it on genetics? On environment? On what?

    Interesting discussion.

  12. Brian Westley said

    John Myers writes:
    “Brian, you sound angry.”

    Ah, proof that you too, are a self-righteous prick.

    “Brian, you seem to posit that you have no choice in being an athiest. What power, what being, what cosmic force compells you to be an atheist?”

    You don’t seem to understand human reasoning.

    I can’t make myself think the earth is flat. Can you? Not pretend, but actually convince yourself that the earth really is flat. Not discuss some of the reasons why people might think it’s flat, but convince yourself that it IS flat.

    Can you do it? I sure wouldn’t be able to do that.

    Same for belief in gods.

    Now, it might be interested to discuss how people form such beliefs, but all I’m saying is that I can’t make myself believe in gods (or that the earth is flat). There’s no mysterious “power” doing this, just the lack of convincing evidence to believe in gods, or a flat earth.

    Now, as to Joel, people can be quite good at compartmentalizing. There are a number of doctors who are atheists, and a number who are Christians and various other religions. But their work isn’t judged by their religious views, it stands or falls on its own.

    But you bring up an interesting point — if you have, say, two doctors, one an atheist and one a Christian, shouldn’t the one with the “wrong” worldview (or both, if both wrong) be somehow inferior in their work to doctors who have the correct view?

    But wait, if the Christian point of view is correct, why was modern medicine even developed? Shouldn’t prayers to (the correct) god have shown which religion was right hundreds of years ago by now? Why go through centuries of medical advances when any uneducated, but sincere believer can cure every ailment by a few seconds of prayer?

    Unless it really doesn’t work.

    Tell you what. Say your child develops diabetes, and (for some reason) you have to choose between treatment by prayer only, or medical science only. Which do you choose?

  13. joelbyer said

    A few more thoughts:
    Keep in mind that I don’t know you from Adam (oops! a little Christian lingo there:-), but seriously, written text makes it harder to understand the subtler nuances and contextual backgrounds as to why various statements are given.

    1) I now understand (I think) what you meant about beliefs and choices. Certainly, no one can make themselves believe something they know isn’t true, but there’s another issue here that I believe is being misrepresented.

    That is, facts don’t necessarily speak for themselves. We all require some kind of philosophical framework, human reasoning, etc, etc. with which to interpret data.
    The problem is, no one (excepting God if He exists) has all the data. Therefore, an element of belief is needed in order to interpret data as it comes our way.

    2) I hope this doesn’t sound condescending (though it probably does, sorry), but I really think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what Christian prayer is all about. Prayer isn’t primarily about a vending machine where we insert coin and out comes the goodie.
    Prayer is primarily about relationship with God. Likewise, relationships with humans mean we don’t always get what we want…but we love for the greater good.
    I assume you know the Lord’s Prayer. It isn’t until much later in the prayer that we read, “give us this day our daily bread”. The first part is about establishing relationship/worship/etc.

    3) A flawed premise invariably leads to a flawed conclusion. Choosing between prayer only and treating the proverbial diabetes with medicine again misrepresents the nature of prayer and Who God is. Praying to God while rejecting medical treatment would in most cases be choosing a flawed form of prayer…as would a farmer praying for crops to grow yet never planting. All of the above of point 3 of course does not prove the power of prayer. I’m simply pointing out what I perceive as a false dichotomy…the 2 issues truly are interconnected.

    4) The Christian and atheist doctor analogy. Yes, of course worldview would affect their actions. One would never perform abortions, for instance, while the other might feel no reserve about so doing. Please note, the above paragraph is not arguing the morality or lack thereof of abortions, it is simply stating that worldviews affect actions in real life.
    You point out that Christians should “just pray” and voila…instant healing and no medicine needed. If that was a true representation of the Christian worldview, then yes, we would have no medical advances and much superstition.
    However, the true Christian worldview is that a relationship with God compels us to love Him supremely and our neighbour as ourselves. Thus, Christians down through history have been at the forefront of treating the sick. Witness the almost innumerable Christian names in hospitals today. Worldview affects actions!

    So are you arguing here for or against compartmentalization? I’m a bit confused on that point.

    Well…good discussion. I’ll try to do my best to honestly assess any shortcomings of my points.

  14. Stephani said

    Disagreeing with Brian = Self Righteous Prick status

  15. John Myers said

    Brian, there is a bit of a problme with one of your analogies.

    I cannot believe, even if I wanted to, that the earth is flat.

    Why?

    Because of the evidence.

    So it is with believing in God. There is evidence.

    I do not have enough faith to beleve that this world, that you and I, that everything just *popped* into being.

    I look around, and I see the evidence of a Creator.

    Now, my belief in God keeps me from calling others that disagree with me “self righteous pricks.” I like it that way.

  16. Tim Haber said

    Brian’s tombstone epitaph:

    “Here lies a man. All dressed up, with no place to go!”

  17. Tim Haber said

    Wow, a quick google search on Brian Westley provided site after site where he has spread his venomous hatred across the web.

    Below are a couple:

    http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/2007/11/27/waronboys/

    http://jewishatheist.blogspot.com/2008/09/what-if-there-were-no-god-politically.html

  18. joelbyer said

    So, are all atheists angry?
    In retrospect, that is probably too simplistic and overstated.

    However, I think there is an important truth here that atheists need to address in their belief systems.

    I firmly believe that the atheistic system TENDS to make a believer’s tone dark, and often angry, cynical and resentful.

    To demonstrate otherwise, the comments on this blog by atheists should have been willing to admit faults, been gracious, and showing by example how it isn’t so.
    Did they do that? Well, ultimately you the reader must decide, but that wasn’t the impression I received.

    It’s almost Christmas.
    The Christian message is, “Peace on earth, good will toward men”.
    Where is the equivalent message of hope, good will, faith, optimism in the message of atheism?

    I haven’t found it.

  19. aaron said

    Great discussion. I want to state from the beginning that Joel is not a “self righteous —-” (I refuse to repeat the name). I have known Joel for several years and was his roommate for a year and he is one of the most conscientious people I know. A sincere heart who wouldn’t willfully and knowingly offend anyone.
    A good point Joel made in this discussion is about the context of this placard. If it is the same one I learned about the other day it was placed directly beside or in front of a nativity scene in the capitol building in Washington State. Hmmmm…. right beside a nativity scene. Now that doesn’t seem to be directed toward any particular religion now does it?
    So the nativity is just an American tradition?
    So I guess that makes the the life and miracles of Christ just legend.
    The death and burial of Christ just myth.
    The resurrection of Christ a fairy tale and the second coming of Christ a fantasy.
    “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds?” Wow, sounds like a statement the former “brilliant” governor of Minnesota made a few years ago. A far cry from the humble acknowledgment of man’s utter dependence on a holy, all-powerful, just and sovereign God of our founding fathers. Were these men hard hearted and enslaved in their minds? I think not. “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Created? Creator? All men are created equal? Doesn’t sound hard hearted or closed-minded to me.
    ” If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Christ does not enslave, He sets free.
    I think it is clear to see who is angry. If that puts me in the “SRP” crowd, so be it.

  20. Hey Joel! I’d get out of this conversation. You’re putting a lot of energy into it. It’s not worth it. It’d be different if you and Brian could sit down over a cup of coffee, but that’s not likely to happen due to space and time restraints. Everyone in this blog conversation would be better off if they’d simply leave this fruitless conversation and go love their neighbor.

    Peace out…

  21. joelbyer said

    Thanks for your input, Paul. I like your simple, straightforward constructive criticism.

    I think you have a point about wasting time, but I don’t think conversations like these are necessarily fruitless. I like to have my ideas challenged, and learn how to refine my thoughts to better respond to people who don’t think like I do.

    Also, thanks to Aaron, John, and the other Christians, as well as all the atheist friends (hopefully I can call you all that!) who contributed.

    So to quote Paul (the preacher, not the apostle):
    Peace out 🙂

  22. Brian Westley said

    Joel writes:
    “That is, facts don’t necessarily speak for themselves. We all require some kind of philosophical framework, human reasoning, etc, etc. with which to interpret data.
    The problem is, no one (excepting God if He exists) has all the data. Therefore, an element of belief is needed in order to interpret data as it comes our way. ”

    That doesn’t change the basic problem — I can’t “will” myself to believe in magical, invisible superbeings.

    “A flawed premise invariably leads to a flawed conclusion. Choosing between prayer only and treating the proverbial diabetes with medicine again misrepresents the nature of prayer and Who God is.”

    Hmm, so prayer somehow “works,” it just works better if you also get medical treatment? Is that what you’re claiming?

    “The Christian and atheist doctor analogy. Yes, of course worldview would affect their actions. One would never perform abortions, for instance, while the other might feel no reserve about so doing.”

    Are you saying no Christian doctors perform abortions? I doubt that.

    Stephani writes:
    “Disagreeing with Brian = Self Righteous Prick status”

    When someone starts out with the “angry atheist” stereotype, I’ll respond in kind.

    John Myers writes:
    “Brian, there is a bit of a problme with one of your analogies. … So it is with believing in God. There is evidence.”

    Convincing evidence to YOU. It’s not at all convincing to me.

    “I look around, and I see the evidence of a Creator. ”

    I look around, and I don’t see the evidence of an invisible superbeing.

    “Now, my belief in God keeps me from calling others that disagree with me “self righteous pricks.” I like it that way.”

    It doesn’t stop you from stereotyping atheists as “angry” though, which is why I said you sounded like a self-righteous prick in the first place. If you’ll refrain from opening conversations with me by insulting me, I’ll return the favor.

    Hey Tim, if you’ll quote something I’ve written that you disagree with, we could have an actual conversation.

    Joel writes:
    “I firmly believe that the atheistic system TENDS to make a believer’s tone dark, and often angry, cynical and resentful.”

    Why do you believe this?

    “To demonstrate otherwise, the comments on this blog by atheists should have been willing to admit faults, been gracious, and showing by example how it isn’t so.”

    Why did you expect that an article written by you, where you insult atheists, should have resulted in gracious responses by atheists?

    “Did they do that? Well, ultimately you the reader must decide, but that wasn’t the impression I received.”

    Wow, you insult atheists by saying they’re all angry, then you reinforce your own prejudices by observing all the insults you get from atheists, when all you did was insult atheists. Imagine that.

    “It’s almost Christmas.
    The Christian message is, “Peace on earth, good will toward men”.

    Where is the equivalent message of hope, good will, faith, optimism in the message of atheism?”

    Atheism isn’t a group with a message, any more than people with brown hair is a group with a message. Where’s the equivalent message of hope, good will, faith, optimism in the message of people with brown hair?

    Aaron writes:
    “A good point Joel made in this discussion is about the context of this placard.”

    The context of the placard is rather significant; a realty agent, Ron Wesselius, sued to install a nativity scene at the capitol. The city decided to settle the lawsuit by making it an open forum.

  23. Rachel Shetterly said

    Assuming that your subject line means that you believe that ALL athiests are angry…

    I am going to be so bold as to insert my observations…

    As you know, Joel, I am a follower of Jesus. I have several friends who don’t really have time to give to anything related to God. I don’t know that they are proclaimed athiests, but they don’t go to church, tithe, etc. I wouldn’t say they are angry people. I wouldn’t say they are overly joyful, either. However, even I, as a follower of Jesus don’t always feel extremely joyful and even I have moments of anger. Those moments of anger are not frequent, but there are things that happen in life that do make me angry.

    I am angry when someone abuses a child. I am angry when I am deliberately disobeyed by my children. It makes me angry when children are aborted and abandoned because of selfish parents, to name a few. It’s my reaction to the anger that shows the difference between my relationship with Jesus and how the rest of the world who doesn’t have that relationship reacts.

    Your statement that you’ve never met an angry athiest may, perhaps, be a bit unbalanced. It’s like saying that all people who dress and act like you are Christians and going to Heaven. I don’t believe that, and I don’t think you do either.

    Athiests probably have something that happened that caused them to begin believing that there is no God. They may have been treated badly by Christians so that they decided they wanted nothing to do with God because of the Christians actions. You may want to talk to my pastor. He used to be an athiest. He didn’t believe that there was a God at all, but God was merciful. God is like that!

    I guess my point is that I don’t believe that ALL athiests are angry. I don’t believe that ALL Christians are happy and joyful. I don’t believe that ALL Christians are going to Heaven.

    As I go back and look at the placard in discussion, I observe a couple things.
    1. CNN is saying that athiests are taking aim at Christians. It doesn’t say that the athiest is saying the athiest is taking aim at Christians.

    2. I see a paper that states a group of people’s beliefs. It’s no different than putting up a manger scene to state the Christian’s belief. (I dislike using the word Christian because ages ago the Christians were really the followers of the Catholic faith who participated in the Crusades. And I am not Catholic!) It’s not much different from the Jews putting up the Menorah.

    In this age of tolerance this placard should be expected. I see that placard and my heart weeps for those who have no desire to know Jesus for the redemptive person that He is.

    Respectfully,
    Rachel

  24. joelbyer said

    Thanks for your thoughts, Rachel. I think you have a lot of good points and I agree with much of what you say.
    However…I think there is a significant (even huge) difference between the person who doesn’t care about God (as you described) vs. a militant atheist.

    Incidentally, this thought about atheists tending to be angry doesn’t originate with me. I read it from a debate that Rick Warren had with Sam Harris.
    Here is the link of the whole debate as reposted on an atheistic web site… (you might have to copy the link into your browser)
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,825,The-God-Debate,Sam-Harris-Rick-Warren-Newsweek

    Below is the excerpt where he said it…

    “WARREN: Well, I do believe in the goodness of God, and I do believe that he knows better than I do. God sometimes says yes, God sometimes says no and God sometimes says wait. I’ve had to learn the difference between no and not yet. The issue here really does come down to surrender. A lot of atheists hide behind rationalism; when you start probing, you find their reactions are quite emotional. In fact, I’ve never met an atheist who wasn’t angry.

    HARRIS: Let me be the first.

    WARREN: I think your books are quite angry.

  25. Rachel Shetterly said

    Okay, that makes sense now that I understand where you’re coming from. I didn’t realize that you were addressing the more militant atheist. I’ll check out the link as soon as I can. Tonight I’m trying to figure out how the Mongols contributed to the development of the Ottoman Empire so that I can explain it to my daughter…not something I’m enjoying at 10 p.m. I like history, but this is a bit much.

    I’m also going to look up what Sam Harris authors. Naturally, I don’t go looking for books that atheists write, but I will this time.

    Thanks, Joel. You do have an interesting blog, for sure!

    Merry Christmas!
    Rachel

    P.S. Luke cannot deny his daughter! My mom had a picture on the table tonight of his family. wow! She’s the spittin’ image!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: