Atheists get labeled as offensive and bitter... when we express anger, and when we express hope and morality and meaning. Why is it important for believers to frame atheism as inherently joyless and hostile?
Is there anything atheists can say about our atheism -- or even just about our lives -- that won't make people look at us with revulsion?
Two recent stories in the news/ blogs/ opinionosphere have made me vividly aware -- not for the first time -- of the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" position of non-believers in our culture. In one piece, atheists were called out for being negative and confrontational, and readers were informed that we're angry and bitter all the time because we have no hope of life after death. In the other piece, non-believers were called out for sharing the positive, joyful aspects of our lives and the ways we find meaning and hope even in the face of death... and for failing to mention God when we do.
I know. It makes my head spin, too.
Thus begins my latest piece for AlterNet, Why Are Believers So Hostile Toward Atheists? To find out how atheists get accused of being hopeless, bitter nihilists, regardless of whether we're expressing anger or joy -- and why it's so important for so many believers to frame atheism as inherently joyless and hostile -- read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!