Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Angry Atheists

It surprised me at first how much anger comes through in our blog here. It wasn't part of the original idea to have a blog to spew anger, but that's what came out. I figured it would subside after a time, but it's usually when I get angry about something that I think to blog about it. There is also the problem that Christians close to us caused a lot of evil and hid behind their religion for guilt-free forgiveness without regard to the recipients of the evil acts. And the purported use of religion by those distant to pursue evil acts worthy of reporting far and wide.

My big message I wanted to get across in the blog is that you can live a good, happy and moral life without a belief in God. I don't think I'm doing a great job of it, but oh well. Whenever I hear atheism discussed by religious folk they speak as if love and morality disappears if you have no God to believe in. That's the idea I want to change. Love, morality, caring, meaning and fulfillment are not tied to any religion or God.

I guess I also want people to quit using religion as a tool to manipulate others, because that's what I see when I look at organized religion. It's a means of few people controlling the thoughts and ultimately actions of many others. The flock react to the preacher, not to God, because God is just a feeling of validation you have when you feel good about what your thinking, and that is reinforced by your peers and leaders in the church.

I wish I could be more like Carl Sagan in my attitudes. In reading his book I love his approach in speaking about God. He says something like "I see no compelling evidence for God". Heck, I'm not even sure he was an atheist. He just speaks about his (and science's) observations and the accuracy of their predictions compared to religion and pseudoscience without anger or accusation.

The Friendly Atheist also has a good approach. In a recent video he speaks of reaching out and speaking with people he is at odds with to good effect. A woman who outed his atheism to all his management at work and released press releases further out him eventually complained about a nasty email she received from an angry FA reader. He apologized for it and pointed out an unfounded incendiary speculation made in one of the press releases, and they started an apparently cordial dialog and met in person. I doubt either altered their beliefs and opinions, but here are two people talking and agreeing on fair play and free speech rather than spewing anger at each other to no effect.

The FA also makes a distinction between debates and discussion in public speaking. I like this. I don't think I've ever seen a debate or argument change someone's opinion. It just polarizes people over the issue and separates people. A discussion, however, still doesn't change opinions, but it can result in fairer play, lower aggression and bring people closer together even if they disagree on such things as God and morality.

Another problem in getting along with people when realizing I was an atheist is that formerly respectable religions begin to sound as stupid as UFO cults, voodoo and pseudoscience, and it's hard to maintain respect for people who believe in them. It's hard not to start feeling smarter and superior to people who believe in ludicrous stories with no actual supporting evidence. And a lot of other atheists seem to come to the same thoughts, because there seems to be a sport in other atheists mocking believers. Sometimes amusing, but probably not constructive.

I sometimes ask myself how to be more like Carl Sagan or Hemant Mehta—The Friendly Atheist. I don't really have a good answer. I suppose I need to get over the anger. That will be hard to do, and I find it's helpful to spew it out here rather than to hang onto it.

After posting this I realized that my last blog is based on a video series titled "Why Do People Laugh at Creationists", and my last tweet links to "The Bible: Evidence That God Is Evil?" I found both amusing and validating my beliefs, but they certainly wouldn't open a door to friendly discussion with someone of differing beliefs, would they?

1 comment:

tina FCD said...

Oh, you can bet Hemant gets pissed too, but is not in a position to spew it. :)