Monday, January 24, 2011

Lucia When atheists are angry at God

I’ve been mad at just about anything you can imagine. Except unicorns. I’ve never been angry at unicorns.
I've shaken my fist in anger at stalled cars, storm clouds, and incompetent meterologists. I've even, on one terrible day that included a dead alternator, a blaring blaring tornado-warning siren, and a horrifically wrong weather forecast, cursed all three at once. I've fumed at furniture, cussed at crossing guards, and held a grudge against Gun Barrel City, Texas. I've been mad at just about anything you can imagine. Except unicorns. I've never been angry at unicorns.

It's unlikely you've ever been angry at unicorns either. We can become incensed by objects and creatures both animate and inanimate. We can even, in a limited sense, be bothered by the fanciful characters in books and dreams. But creatures like unicorns that don't exist – that we truly believe not to exist – tend not to raise our ire. We certainly don't blame the one-horned creatures for our problems.

The one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. They claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, tend to be the people most angry at him.
I've noticed this as well.

Read more: When atheists are angry at God ~ CERC

20 comment(s):

leftrightout said...

Well, I won't pretend to speak for all atheists, as that is not my role. But for myself, i saw nothing in the linked article to confirm the assertions.

According to Cook and Wimberly (1983), 33% of parents who suffered the death of a child reported doubts about God in the first year of bereavement. In another study, 90% of mothers who had given birth to a profoundly retarded child voiced doubts about the existence of God (Childs, 1985).

Here we see doubts about god suddenly becoming anger towards god. Bait and switch?

No, i am not angry at god, as like the article's authour, I cannot get angry at soemthing that doesn't exist.

But I DO get angry at god's followers when theirm religion leads them in to evil acts.

I get angry when Bishops cry because a mother of 4 didn't die, when it was her duty to die so a foetus would not be aborted.

I get angry when i see people care more about a loose collection of cells than they do about living, breathing people.

I get angry when unspeakable evil is done simply because someone made a joke about someone else who has been dead for 1500 years, or 2000 years, or even longer.

I get angry when I see children brainwashed by homeschooling and religious schooling lest their minds be polluted by Truth.

But I also get a lot of laughs from the foibles, the silliness and just the plain old dumb humanity of god botherers.

This is one of the best encapsulations of religion I've seen in a long time.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM5n8jESUEk&feature=player_embedded

ZenTiger said...

I get angry when Bishops cry because a mother of 4 didn't die, when it was her duty to die so a foetus would not be aborted.

That sounds like you shaping events to match your preconceived notions. Do you want to provide a link?

I get angry when i see people care more about a loose collection of cells than they do about living, breathing people.

It's not that I care more about the unborn than the born, it's that I think their right to life is more important than the some of the reasons given for terminating it.

And some of those cells had tiny feet, tiny hands, tiny hearts and tiny brains. And they were living human beings too. They just hadn't started breathing yet.

I get angry when unspeakable evil is done simply because someone made a joke about someone else who has been dead for 1500 years, or 2000 years, or even longer.

Why is this worse than when people commit unspeakable acts of evil because they want political power? The point is, people do evil things and will justify it using any reason available.

Could be they decide God requires it, could be they decide the DNA isn't up to quality, could be they decide the person is too old, or looks different, or has too much, or doesn't have enough. Could be the person just annoys them. Taking away the excuse of "God told me to do it" will just bring out another excuse.

Christianity lays down specific moral commandments that prohibit murder, and some people use their time to figure out a reason to ignore those commandments, and others just commit unspeakable acts of evil unrestrained from even the effort of ignoring moral behaviour.

I agree though that some cultures are inferior in that they do not respect and promote human rights. I'm hoping our one isn't heading that way as it forgets its Christian heritage.

Lucia Maria said...

LRO,

You saw nothing in the linked article to confirm the assertions because you missed out the rest of the paragraph:

"Our survey research with undergraduates has focused directly on the association between anger at God and self-reported drops in belief (Exline et al., 2004). In the wake of a negative life event, anger toward God predicted decreased belief in God's existence."

leftrightout said...

I didn't miss it, I am just querying the connection. The authors don't make that clear, unless one goes to the original research, which I don't have, nor do I have the time to find

David Winter said...

Lucia,

So your headline should be

"People who used to believe it god became angry at god before they stopped believing in him"

I don't think it's a particularly big surprise that some religionists, when faced with a tragedy, find it hard to fit a loving god into their world?

ZenTiger said...

Except the article goes on to discuss atheists in particular:

At first glance, this finding seemed to reflect an error. How could people be angry with God if they did not believe in God?

Reanalyses of a second dataset revealed similar patterns: Those who endorsed their religious beliefs as "atheist/agnostic" or "none/unsure" reported more anger toward God than those who reported a religious affiliation.


LRO seems to take delight in finding "proof" that suggests God is angry or unforgiving or evil (according to LRO's interpretation) and it would almost seem that he fits the idea advanced in this essay perfectly.

Also, the author isn't saying ALL atheists are like this. His conclusion:

Many atheists do, of course, proceed to their denial of God based solely on rational justifications. That is why evidentialist and philosophical approaches to apologetics will always be necessary. But I'm beginning to suspect that emotional atheism is far more common than many realize.

James Stephenson said...

I'm just wondering why we are suprised that the emotion of anger is common at the point where people realise that they've been sold a lie for a big chunk of their lives?

Muerk said...

James, if I told you a lie, say, chickens are mammals, would you be angry with me if you found out? Even if truly thought in good faith than chickens were mammals?

If so, why would you be angry when I told you something I really thought was true? I wasn't being malicious or misleading.

I tell my children about God and Jesus, not because I wish them ill, but because I believe God exists and that Jesus is the Son of God. I would be lying to them if I denied what I thought was true.

James Stephenson said...

Muerk, anger at you? No, why would anger be directed at another victim of the lie, even if one that still cannot see that it is a lie?

Although anger forms no part of the journey from my Methodist upbringing to my current atheism, I'm entirely unsurprised that this research finds a common incidence of unfocussed and frustrated anger directed at the notion of "god".

ZenTiger said...

There is no lie here, there is only the issue of belief.

It's not surprising that belief can be tested by an inability to comprehend the mind of God, and places particular expectations on how God should act.

What is surprising, according to the study, is when people declare atheism, which is to declare that there is no such thing as God, they can remain angry at something they claim doesn't exist.

That seems paradoxical and counter-intuitive.

The theories advanced above are that atheists are angry at people believing in God, because some of them commit acts of evil in his name. Another theory is that people are angry at the fact that they believed in God in the first place.

That may be the case in some circumstances.

It may also be the case that whilst some people reject God at the intellectual level, they remain fundamentally convinced that there might yet be God, and whilst they cannot understand it, there may be some level of awareness not easily described that connects them to God no matter how much they try to deny it.

James Stephenson said...

...or there is the theory (in common parlance, rather than scientific) that there is somehow a "god-shaped hole" in the human psyche -for whatever reason that may have been favoured by natural selection- and that no matter how intellectually you understand there is no god, there is a nagging background wish for it to be true.

I don't suffer from any such doubts myself, however much my childhood experiences of Methodism are overwhelmingly positive. That is by way of a disclaimer, I'm not anti-Christian, I just don't not one anymore.

ZenTiger said...

It seems like a very atheistic response to imagine that a belief in God is evidenced by a "god-shaped hole", and the hole creates wishes for God to be true. That's quite funny.

Angus said...

For fuck sake people!

LRO is a hate riddled, Christian-obsessed communist. He is the same identity behind Fugley, Billy Borker and MyNameIsJack.

He is Paul Egerton Piesse.

Why on earth do you people try and reason with him? He hates you, he hates everything you stand for, and given the political power he'd have us all lined up against the wall.

Lucia Maria said...

Angus,

Yes, I know.

I consider people such as him a means of sanctification.

Muerk said...

Angus - I'm Tess Rooney and I like socialised healthcare.

Lucia Maria said...

David,

I don't think it's a particularly big surprise that some religionists, when faced with a tragedy, find it hard to fit a loving god into their world?

Yes, thank you for that. You've just reminded me of something I read a while back, on a type of Christianity where this is true. Belief in God is predicated on nothing bad happening, as soon as something bad happens, the belief vanishes...

I'll see if I can find the article ...

Acolyte of Saint Diego Maradona said...

Perhaps LeftRightOut would like to enlighten us to when "a bunch of cells" becomes a human being? Or perhaps he is like Bill Hicks and considers you are not a human being until you are in the phone book? Or is not this nonsense about a "bunch of cells" just an intellectual abstraction to hide from the reality of what abortion is: the unequivocal destruction of a HUMAN LIFE.

ZenTiger said...

Angus, it's all for the readers. Judging by the stat counter, about 5 of them.

They keep score, and then tell their friends. As far as I know, they think LRO is slightly more offensive than myself, and it's not winning him converts, and I have a 13% chance of being forgiven for my transgressions.

Although there is some dispute over the prize. If I win, I go to heaven and more people turn up at my funeral and say nice things about me. If he wins, he's just dead. That's a bit unfair, isn't it?

MK said...

It's best when some of these more fascist cretins are angry, if they're happy, get worried, really worried.

Psycho Milt said...

The capacity of humans for self-delusion is great. Having a really serious and important self-delusion on which you've based much of your life suddenly made clear to you by events must result in some pretty intense anger, I'd imagine. The author of the linked article draws an odd conclusion about that anger, however.

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