12 January, 2011

When Atheists Are Angry at God | First Things

When Atheists Are Angry at God | First Things

7 comments:

  1. It's not possible to be angry with what does not exist. If someone is angry with God, he is not an atheist.

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  2. Am I simply missing where statistics were given for those atheists that reported anger at god? I seem to see 'many' 'more' and 'some', but no numbers.

    Also, the survey I took was web-based, voluntary and (as far as I could tell) un-policed for bad data. I am assuming that the initial study did not share these flaws... I have to assume this, as no citation is given.

    As a side note, if,(as is typically held by the religious), god comforts us in our times of need, would there be a statistically significant drop in belief in god following personal tragedy?

    All of that being said, I have encountered (a very few) self-described atheists who claimed to be angry at god, and this is a very common stereotype in the US. Almost all atheists I have met, however, are not angry at god any more than they are angry at Santa Claus.
    But, of course, that's anecdotal, not evidential.

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  3. It's always quite amazing when theists go out of their way to set fire to the strawmen of their own creation, then go around shouting fire!

    First, the title of the paper was " Anger toward God: Social-cognitive predictors, prevalence, and links with adjustment to bereavement and cancer". Already, things are slanted towards looking for anger, not assessing anger at a representative cross-section of emotionally happy people.

    In fact, Exline specifically sought out people who self-identified as BEING angry at god. Exline, herself being someone who actively encourages people to accept Christian beliefs. Again, this study is more about the source of anger from believers not anger from non-believers.

    Lets talk about Unicorns. Well, unless unicorns claimed to be supernatural beings that could perform miracles, provide salvation, and claimed responsibility for everything, it's hard to see any reason to be angry at them. Of course, no-one goes around saying that Unicorns are real.. well, not much childhood anyway.

    So, anger at god. Well, duh, yes it's entirely possible that people who finally understood that non-existent, supernatural beings, don't answer prayers were angry. Presenting this as another of these "non-believers really believe, film at 11" exposes is a wonderful example of cherry picking and confirmation bias.

    People who still believed in god, well, they were the ones most likely to temper their anger with the false promise of better things to come. This is an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The paper also didn't single out atheists, it didn't even say "all atheists". No, it referred to "some" atheist and agnostics.

    So, sorry, the poor excuse for the article that Tim linked is more likely a projection of someone's own anger at others who don't have the same need for belief.

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  4. Larry Green12 January, 2011

    Anri :
    What benefit will numbers have for you since in the final analysis they’ll be relegated to their relative positions i.e. ' many ' 'more' etc...?
    I’m sorry I missed out , I didn’t get to see the web survey you conducted .
    In reference to your side note Anri : 1. I didn’t know god comforts us in our times of need ( thx.for that ) ; 2. Do you mean a statistically significant drop in ‘ belief ‘ or do you mean ‘ believers ‘ following personal tragedy. If you mean ‘ belief ‘ I would say yes for some people to varying degrees temporarily and for different reasons but the usual one is the natural tendency - for someone who believes that every effect has a preceding cause - to find the primary cause in order to find the proper place to direct an expression of their anguish and anger. If you mean ‘ believers’ I would have to say not a significant drop at all , in fact I would say more often a conversion because out of neccessity they seek and find the " primary Cause " and also perhaps for the reason that you so astutely pointed out that “ God comforts us in a time of need “
    Do You believe that Santa does not exist ?

    P.S. Is anonymous one of “ the very few self described atheists “ who claim to be angry at god ? Is he one of these intellectual pit-bull friends of yours ?
    I’m afraid to ask directly so if you don't mind I’ll ask through you Anri : How long did it take for him to finally understand that non-existent beings don’t answer prayers ? And one more question ( I may be on a path to grasping the same logic ) , does understanding that a particular being is non-existent mean that you understand that there exists that particular non-being ?

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  5. " atheism is a form of self-imposed intellectual dysfunction, a lack of epistemic virtue, or—to borrow a term from my Catholic friends—a case of vincible ignorance."

    so atheists are fools, immoral and pig headed.

    Anonymous - I agree that the author's comments are "more likely a projection of someone's own anger at others who don't have the same need for belief."

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  6. Larry said: "does understanding that a particular being is non-existent mean that you understand that there exists that particular non-being?"

    So, Larry, for how long have you accepted that there exist such things as square circles or, for that matter, round squares? By your logic, does this mean that you understand that Allah, or Thor, or Ra, or Zeus and so on also exist? I mean, by your logic, they must exist for you not to believe in them. Correct?

    Also, I think it would be informative for you to explain your anger at the creator Omecihuatl. While you're at it, just why are you so angry and hostile towards Ganesha, Chac and Akka, to name just a few?

    After all you probably are angry at those gods, which is the why you don't believe in them, even though you accept that they actually exist? Again, I'm trying to simply take your comment as being equally valid in both directions.

    Or, Larry, are you just making a ridiculous argument which, somehow, only applies to people who don't ascribe to your view rather than the (literally) thousands of other gods and concepts that you dismiss without a second thought?

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  7. Larry Green14 January, 2011

    Anonymous :
    I apologize for asking the question . I feel foolish now .
    So now I feel I owe you an explanation.
    In your initial post you gave the impression that you were much more intelligent than you did in this latest one and that’s my own fault not yours at all . I fell for the old ‘perception is reality’ trap.
    However , to clarify the motive behind my query : According to the self proclaimed ’ atheists ’ ( at least those on this blog ) the definition of atheism is one who does not believe in the existence of God and they insist adamantly that disbelief in God’s existence in no way implies the belief that God does not exist.

    The activity ‘ understanding ’ insofar as it is essentially predicated of human being is to ‘ know ’ intimately the thing understood above and beyond mere sensual perception. By necessity one ‘ believes’ the object of ones own understanding , e.g. “ the non existence of a supernatural being.” Note that the object of understanding in this particular instance is not ‘ non existence’ nor is it ‘ a supernatural being’, it is “ the non existence of a supernatural being.”
    You therefore have stated that you came to ‘ believe’ that “non-existent, supernatural beings, don't answer prayers “
    There is a fair bit of ambiguity in that statement and it is somewhat incoherent coming from an ‘ atheist’ given the established conceptual definition of the term.
    It could mean that you have changed your conceptual definition of ‘atheist’. It could also mean that supernatural beings don’t answer prayers because they refuse to. It could mean that supernatural beings don’t answer prayers by virtue of the fact that they do not exist. It could mean that you believe in the existence of non- beings or it could mean that you don’t believe in the existence of beings.
    I’m not trying to put words into your mouth but if you would re-evaluate ( while remaining in your faculties) and re-state your argument you may be able to come up with something more coherent.
    As far as square circles go , I’m a bit of a handy man and made a bunch of them but they no good for nothing . Omecihuatl , I don’t know in fact I can’t even say it nor do I know Ganesha, Chac n Akka.
    I’m not mad at Allah , Thor or Ra or Zeus at all and I believe that they are not mad at me.
    Speaking of anger though. One night while I was sitting in my living room watching the Simpsons unbeknown to me my dog was laying on the rug eating a piece of chicken. She ate a bone that pierced her stomach and I had to take out a second mortgage on the house to pay the vet. I was pissed off at Homer Simpson for this for over a year.

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