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Comments

Billy

Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.

Peter Marreck

Changing your own worldview is the hardest thing to do. Whether you're a member of a certain faith, or an atheist.

A lot of the discord revolves around unanswered questions and ignorance of opposing viewpoints. We should all keep in mind that there is only one objective truth, however... out there, somewhere.

Linus' helpermonkey

Fantastic post. Got me all pissed off (and I'm not even an atheist) - it's a good thing that most of the office is out this week or they'd find me all ranty in the kitchen.

You're absolutely right that no civil rights movement has ever gotten anywhere without some good, articulate rage to fuel it.

Ryan Boughter

Let me just lay some things out: I'm religious, I'm obviously on your anger list (at first I thought I wasn't, but you effectively lumped EVERY single religious Christian (at the least) into your list by the end). And I'm a bit concerned.

You're totally right though. I'm concerned more with the way religion is going (and has been going, since, well, before Galileo, but pointedly since then) than with you and like minded 'angry' atheists. But I'm curious: you point out every quibble you have with religion, yet you say you hate people that do that. You lump all religious people into one category and then say if we disagree with your lumping, how dare we interpret God's word that way. You make note of the "God-of-the-gaps" ideology as if it were gospel, yet make no note of the alternative religious views on the subject of science/religion.

My question to you is: why, instead of writing such a long blog post, don't you just say "I am angry with (bold, underline, font size HUGE) EVERYTHING that religion does, and ALL religious people. Because, I would like to have a dialogue with you, one that doesn't involve hate, perpetuation of old stereotypes, or old, hashed out arguments (on both sides), but you effectively put me at odds with you, and I find that disheartening. I hope that in time your anger will subside, like many of the great movements before you mentioned, but until that time comes the thing I learned from you is: I will never, ever, tell my atheist friends (or any atheist for that matter) to calm the F down.

jeremy

HOLY.

SHIT.

I swear there would be something smarter here in this comment section right now if I wasn't completely reeling.

Amen.
Exactly.
Right on.
Yes.
GO.
Etc.

Easily the best blog post I've read this year - and you're in high company there. :)

Kyleaxe

I'm not atheist but i'm angry as FUCK. I am shaman and their is room for interpretation. REFORM,REDEFINE! Jesus was a pot smoking mushroom eating hippy!
All praise money, the antichrist and slavery! Hail king of north america Bush. Gay la douche.

another angry atheist

here's some angry atheist music...

http://www.ijigg.com/search?s=+atheism

- Belief in god Never Cured Stupidity

- charlatan bastard jesus

- Tax The Churches For Unwanted Pregnancies

- kiss my ass, jesus

- jesus gave me head

- xtians are gay for jesus

Susie Bright

I'm angry because I spent the first years of my life actually BELIEVING that there was this place called Hell and I was going to BURN forever in it because I didn't wash the dishes properly, because I read books too much, because I "had bad thoughts," because Sister WhatTheFuck told me so, because I liked John Lennon better than Jesus, because I touched a Ouija board, etc etc etc. And when you're six and seven years old you have faith. It's just too sickening.

Dave Noonan

Fucking beautiful. Thank you so much.

Scott

While I happen to share many of your views, I don't share the view that writing a log blog post bitching and moaning about how angry you are, is going to affect any useful change what-so-ever.

Especially since you're basically "preaching to the choir." (Funny analogy given the topic of your post, I know.)

Stop wasting so much time being angry and writing blog posts about the hundreds of reasons why you're angry and start working to actually educate and inform more people in a constructive way.

Unless you're like most bloggers who just like to spew words in the hope of receiving piles of meaningless praise.

Pamela

Good post. I certainly hope religious people would be angry about all these as well.

zachariah skylab

Nice rant. Sorry about all that. I'm religious to my bones but I find atheism gives me a fresh perspective on things.

Unrelatedly, the foregoing rant smacked heavily of theism.

Kelly

This was incredible, Greta. Thank you.

Betalife, I commend you. My husband and I are trying to conceive, and we've been getting nothing but crap from people about choosing to raise a child without faith-based beliefs. I can tell it won't be easy—not because of our abilities or my child's capabilities, but because there is a society out there who unethically or ignorantly tries to pass off faith for fact, that believe it’s moral and ethical to inhibit a child’s natural curiosity and critical thinking for something faith-based.

Perhaps that, Greta, is something to add. I’m angry (today, anyway) because people “of faith” are telling me that because I once worked at an women’s clinic as a counselor for women considering abortion, God’s “made me barren” because I haven’t conceived in the three months that I’ve been actively trying. I’m angry because people would prefer to confuse cause and effect and accept appeals as empirical evidence. That comfort trumps truth. That people prefer to be anesthetized to rather than wrestle with the natural existential anxiety inherent in the human condition, and then they claim this is a virtue, something honorable, something to be glorified. That people who accept a blood sacrifice for their “salvation” are, by default, moral people.

Actually, I think all this would fall under all your categorical points above.

Joe M

Wow, just... wow.

Excellent post!

Jeff

Trust me, the God you don't believe in...doesn't exist.

Alex

Wonderful Brilliant. Could not have said it better myself. Ironically, if you were an actual goddess, I'd totally base a religion around you....

James

Excellent article, I agree with most of your points and share your frustration. I'm not atheistic, I'm agnostic, but I'm extremely skeptical in any capacity towards a supreme being. With that being said, I loath organized religion with a passion that is unparalleled.

Thank you for this write up, and keep up the work.

I'm not trying to spam, but visit imminst.org. As atheist/agnostic who doubt an afterlife, all we can hope for is life-extension from a scientific/technological aspect, and seeing how this is the 21st century, it would be naive to think it's not possible.

Remember, this life we live here is our own heaven, and I'm equally disgusted when religious nutjobs try to taint our lives.

secret asian man

I love this post, but yet I'm going to have to disagree.

We *need* religion. I say this as the atheist son of atheist scientists. I'm a kuffar, an infidel, an unbeliever, and I say we need religion.

I used to be angrier. I thought that religion was a trick by which the powerful gave people some good ideas, "thou shalt not kill" to trick them into believing some spiritual BS that benefitted the powerful.

I had it all backwards.

When my father died, my (atheist all her life) mother said "at least he's gone to a better place".

Why? Because she needed to believe that.

Most people are irrational. They need to believe these things:
- Good will prevail and evil will be punished
- The universe is not mechanistic, but actually cares about them in a deeply personal way.
- Death is not final.
- We are members of a nearly unbreakable community that will take care of us.
- Someone else will take responsibility for your actions.
- There are simple, comprehensible explanations for natural phenomena.

Now, all these things are false. Comforting, but false. If your powers of logic or will are weak, you will find some way to believe the above.

When my father died? My mother spontaneously came up with some bogus stuff. What happens when kids with no facility for logic rebel against Christianity? They usually walk right into another, equally irrational and empirically false religion or "spiritualism". What happens when people get shipwrecked somewhere? They come up with religion.

Most people *want* to be irrational. They feel this need at an uncontrollable, heroin-addiction level. They desperately want to believe certain things that are emotionally comforting but false, and they will come up with complex systems in order to justify these beliefs. These systems of rationalization are religions.

Religion, at least, piggybacks on these desires and sneaks in a little good stuff, like "thou shalt not kill"

When I realized this, I realized I had the causal arrow backwards.

It wasn't

People believe "thou shalt not kill" and get tricked into believing in imaginary bearded friends in the sky.

It was:

People want to believe in imaginary friends. We might as well use this belief to trick them into not killing.

Atheism, like dunking a basketball or higher mathematics, is a skill accessible only to people of specific talents and training.

Let me put it another way:

Newtonian mechanics is false. However, it's reasonably capable to comprehend. Relativistic mechanics is significantly better, but harder to comprehend.

Why do we teach (false) Newtonian mechanics? Because in the overwhelming majority of situations, it is almost perfect in accuracy, and yet can be understood.

Similarly, religion teaches people to form communities, observe reciprocity, save money, and understand the natural world.

Without religion, these people would be worse. Far worse.

Take away Creationism from these people and they'll find something even more stupid.

Take away the ancient religions from these people and they'll find something even more stupid. (This process is already happening, with new-age religions that are even more irrational than the garden variety Abrahamic ones)

Taking away religion from these people is like mandating we teach relativity in fourth grade. Sure, I could handle it, and you could handle it, but what about those who can't?

What about those people who need religion to keep them psychologically together.

Ashley

JY,

The reason the term fundamentalist is still wrong is because atheists don't hold to a set of beliefs. There is no equivalent of a denomination.

Atheism in and of itself is a lack of belief. No one is getting together and saying "here's how to be a *real* atheist".

Ts ila

You have a right to your anger, and to express it, but holding onto it is bondage. But you really don't know what a True Christian is like. I am sorry you have had experience with un-Christian-like people. But not everyone who calls themself a Christian actually is one. Christians walk in love and forgiveness. We are kind, gentle and humble. To condemn us all for a few is unjust. But to be judged by you or anyone, to me, is a small thing. God is the One Judge. He will judge us all for the things we have done on this earth, there is nothing that will not be brought to light. He is the only One I care to please. I hope you find peace.

Elizabeth

I am angry too, but I am not an avowed atheist. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention...

Bill

Christian religion speaks of the End Times, or Judgement Day. As an agnostic, I believe/hope the time is near since it will not be all doom and gloom/end of the world stuff, but rather an end to religion. People will realize that it does not make sense and equate with reality especially as communication and "voice" continues to grow globally. Information is the key and the world is a much bigger information source now as compared to past generations. With each new generation, I believe less of the population buys into religion. The Catholic church has taken major hits over the years, and will likely not recover, especially to its glory years during the Dark Ages. Other flavors of Christianity as well as most other dominant religions also will likely suffer from the spread of information and concept of choice.

Religion's "End Times" are coming and there will hopefully be lasting peace once this comes, but it will not be at the hand of Jesus, but rather the spread of real time information and the human species realizing that all this religious dogma does not make sense, and "I" am not going to devote my life to the nonsense.

Kevin

I was angry at the twit next to me in an airplane. He made the sign of the cross and prayed before landing.

It fucking works every time! If it lands he validates god's service to him, ensuring safe landing.

If the plane crashes into a firey inferno then it does not matter anyway.

Win-win. That's why I hate religion.

looneymoonbat

Great piece Greta.

As Margaret Cho says, "Sometimes I just want to 'go there'" too.

I am angry that my brother has been crippled by MS and our government actively blocks research into technology and science that could help him walk or cure him entirely. Rather than utilize embryonic material that would have been discarded anyway, they, upon their religious belief, impute this as gods will - and value a cluster of cells higher than a live, suffering human.

I am angry when violence against doctors and employees of family planning clinics is committed by religious zealots, and the rest of the religious communities do not do more to self-police these groups. I am angry that Teri Schaivo was used as a prop in a charade of faux piety when the spark of anything that made her uniquely definable as a human being had long departed. I am angry when the bible and religious belief is used to attempt to explain or justify hate crimes against gays. I am angry when gay kids kill themselves because they are raised in households filled with religious intolerance for gays. I am angry that Mathew Shepard was killed, because the root cause of all this homophobia, and the ultimate justification for it, is based in religion. I am angry that the church asks queers to sacrifice their sexuality on the alter of celibacy in order to "enter the kingdom of heaven" - that is essentially what "love the sinner, hate the sin" means. I am angry that this god of theirs always demands being approached on ones knees. I am angry that their god plays a "zero-sum" game when everything else in the natural world testifies to the multiplicity , variety, and diversity of the universe. I am angry that atheists are called immoral when it is the christians who are afraid to do the moral heavy lifting of finding meaning and purpose in their lives without the aid of some vast supernatural entity - or having it spoon fed to them. I am angry that christians would presume to know anything whatsoever about my inner life and moral character when they can't bother themselves to know anything about atheism. I am angry that Jesus and Mahammoud and the pope are held up as figures above reproach and criticism and that the lives of anyone who dares question their moral authority will be in jeopardy. I am angry that the natural world, with all of its wonders that can be seen, and felt, and tasted, and smelled, and heard, and is in itself awe inspiring and amazing, with mysteries still to be discovered and explored, is dismissed based purely on a "feeling" - the inability of human limited minds to think beyond themselves. I am angry that all of this universe is still not enough to fill someone with respect and reverence for life and everything else in it that people had to go invent god to explain it all, and that even as we begin to understand the universe people STILL cling to fables and fantasy. I am angry that christians can not see that from an atheists point of view their beliefs are as equally valid as believing in Zeus, Thor, Shiva, or the Goddess - how does one chose between one supernatural agency over another? Is it all luck of the draw depending on the age and culture you are born into?

One thing I've said about anger is that anger tells us something about ourselves if we are willing to listen. Anger tells us where our boundaries lie. Sometimes we don't know a boundary within ourselves until we are angry about something. Our anger stands up for us when we would otherwise be cowed, or bullied, or oppressed.

Good piece. I enjoyed reading it.

Kris

Wow. Great post! I want more snarky atheists in my life if they're going to be as smart and articulate as you.

Emily

A-fucking-men.

Ranger Joe

From an atheist that used to be in a foxhole I give you a great big, "Hooah!"

Kagehi

"If Christians acted like Christians, you wouldn't be angry."

Bard gets it even less that you said. This is standard, "My far better understanding of what Christians are trumps your arguments about how they actually act!", excuse that is already mentioned in the article. Its bullshit. The number of assholes in Christianity, even *before* the Nicene Creed, when they decided what was "acceptable" stories, so they could better figure out which "false" Christians to kill, has outnumbered the *true* Christians Brad is babbling about by at least 100:1, if not worse. Its like arguing that Stalin wasn't a true "communist". It might even be an accurate description, if you want to nitpick to that silly an extent, but its not a valid argument when 99.9% of the governments that call themselves communist have been based on Stalin's model, and not on the gloriously pure version a "true" communist would want to argue for. Same for Christianity. 99.9% of Christian churhes, and their attitudes/beliefs towards "everyone else" have been based on the same, "We are better than everyone else, and since we are, we will talk a lot about loving our neighbors and hating sin but not the sinners, but when push comes to shove, if you are one of the later you are, at minimum, going to get thrown out the door, and you should feel lucky we don't also light you on fire as you leave."

We are not angry about the imaginary "perfect" Christains you are talking about Brad. I have seen not one scrap of evidence that they are any more real for the most part than Unicorns or Pixies, unless you count the various fictional accounts of all three you can find in made up books, TV shows and movies.

Now, a note on Unitarians and Annie Sprinkle's post... Give me a break. Statistics on them show that like 18% or something *of* Universal Unitarians, when asked, say they don't believe in God any more than any hard line atheist, despite being members of a "church". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitarian_Universalism And you won't find a single atheist denying love, charity, or anything else that gets labeled "spiritual". What you will find is some that are rather irritated by using a word that implies supernatural forces of some sort, which contradict the total lack of evidence for such things, or some who don't have that big a problem with the term, but are real tired of some people waving it around like it means something more than the sum of their emotional reactions to the world around them, and that therefor they "deny" its existence. The question of "if" such things exist is, honestly, as up in the air as anything else that *may* be imaginary, but where you can't disprove it. The difference of course being that we tend to place the supernatural rather low on the list of possible things because nothing anyone has ever come up with suggest that such a thing "does" or "must" exist. This is in contrast with something like say, extraterrestrial life, for which we *at least* know the laws of physics, the age of the universe and the shear number of places such a thing might be, makes is "likely" that such a thing exists some place.

In other words, atheists don't deny spirituality. They deny it special categorization outside the realm of reality and/or that the term, which carries with it the implication that they lie outside the real world, means anything in the first place, instead of talking about the "real" things that people arbitrarily toss into the "spiritual" basket, so they don't have to actually think about what they really mean/are or how they happen.

Guy Warner

Thanks awesome post!! I shared it with who I could. And our struggle is just starting to come to light. We will do great things if we can come together.

eponymous coward

bleh... TLDR

torotech

Don't you feel like your Luke Skywalker stuck in a Star Wars Movie? You must channel your anger. May the force be with you. Great Blog.

PEACE,
Brian

CHADMAC

Very nice article. Apart from my being a heterosexual male, you pretty much captured my thoughts on this matter. I will now do my part and forward this on to my loyal base of readers..... all ten of them.

Cheers

PuckishOne

I agree that this is a wonderful post and that our anger is understandable, organic, and justifiable - thank you, Greta Christina, for saying what I want to say nearly on a daily basis.

I also want to reinforce what commenter JJ Ramsey said: We cannot descend into our own forms of revisionism, our own quote-mining contests...in other words, we can't stoop to the level of those we are trying to fight, even if being snarky is one of the things we're really, really good at. It sucks to have to take the high ground, but ultimately I believe that's what's going to get the atheist "agenda" (such as it is) accepted into the mainstream. If anger provides the fuel for this, I say bring it on.

Cynic the Infotainer

Say it loud "I'm godless and proud!"

I believe atheism is the new "Gay!"

More on atheism (if you're interested):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTGQss54mhY

Nick

I'm angry that religionists think the world can only be beautiful as God's creation and can't be beautiful otherwise. I'm angry with original sin, what chance does that give us? I'm angry that they claim all human spiritual progress as their own and take the credit away from the humans who made the actual progress.
Stay angry dude.

annoDomini

In reading the litany of religion's offenses, I am reminded of a historical figure with an equal measure of anger: John Calvin, famous (infamous?) merchant and theologian. As a result of his anger and his writing, the Protestant Reformation was strengthened and the power of the (Roman) Catholic Church was curtailed. During his lifetime, he inspired tens of thousands to question various dogma pronounced by the Pope and other Catholic leaders. Since his death, his writing has influenced millions to grapple with tough moral questions.

In a similar fashion, Greta's ideas posted here may have a profound affect on our world and on human beliefs, even well beyond the immediate recognition received on this site.

But let me offer this warning about the power of an "angry pen": Late in Calvin's life, when he had become famous, a small group of people claiming to be his "followers" proceeded to convict several of Calvin's detractors of heresy. The sentence was to be burned alive. Neither the trials nor the punishment was dictated or even approved by Calvin. His readers were simply determined to act on Calvin's anger. He is purported to have been despondent when informed of those deeds. To this day, many people attribute those deaths to Calvin.

Be angry; let your anger lead to redress the injustices you perceive and can influence. But know that the antecedent of anger is often hatred and the result of hatred is often violence. The unintended consequence of your success could be that 200 years hence, the same offenses that you have laid at the feet of "religion" will instead be attributed to "atheism".

To turn a famous quote:
Never underestimate the power of a large group of ignorant people to destroy the goodness begun by a small group of believers in a just cause.

T.T

This is a beautiful post, and sums up exactly how I feel.

Old fashioned bigotry still exists - not towards any race or class - but toward those who don't believe in fairy tales.

Ken Hagler

H/T to Calladus Blog for the link and thank you for your writing. I'm just not sure saying thank you is the right thing to say but it maybe all I can say.

I'm sorry too. Your words and anger and emotions were well written and if they didn't break anyone else's heart, they broke mine.

BTW, I haven't bothered to read what anyone else wrote and don't really care to. Your words were enough.

Reed Braden

If this weren't the Internet, I'd hug you.

Ken Hagler

H/T to Calladus Blog for the link and thank you for your writing. I'm just not sure saying thank you is the right thing to say but it maybe all I can say.

I'm sorry too. Your words and anger and emotions were well written and if they didn't break anyone else's heart, they broke mine.

BTW, I haven't bothered to read what anyone else wrote and don't really care to. Your words were enough.

Thanny

"unimaginable enormity of the universe"

I know pedantry is perhaps the second most annoying thing in the world (first is proselytizing), but "enormity" is not a synonym for "enormousness".

I know it's used like that all the time in the popular (and not-so-popular) media, but they're all wrong. Someone, somewhere wanted a word that means "enormousness", but rolled off the tongue more smoothly. Said person moved right past correctly using "immensity", and settled on the archaic word "enormity", which actually means depraved abnormality.

Sure, eventually, the dictionaries (being descriptive, not prescriptive) will move the newly-added corrupt definition to the head of the entry. But I can still complain about some journalist who didn't know how to use a dictionary resurrecting a dead word with the wrong meaning because he/she thought it sounded better.

I'll close with that, before I get started on "moot".

Al Shaw

Wow.

Why don't you come over to England?

It's a lot more easy going over here.

Ben

Amen!

Arg! Did I say that!?! I totally agree with you. You've given me a few more points to bitch about... on top of the already huge "why I hate christianity" list. Kudos!

Now to go do my own ranting...

susie Bright

More angry-emo-atheist-woman rants, please! I didn't even know it was a genre.

Michelle

An athiest friend sent this to me. I find it funny and sad - sad for all you people who don't have faith and are so angry. I don't meet too many believers who suffer from this kind of rage and anger. seriously, get a life. My take on atheists - you folks are scared of 'faith', cos you do not have it, do not understand it, maybe wish you did, at some level, and are damn scared!
You might want to use your anger at helping the world - stop trying to be angry for the mis-guidance( if there is such a word) that happens to those who have faith. trust me, we can take care of ourselves. we have faith, dude.

Monument

You know what makes me angry? People who censor posts that disagree with their point of view.

Atheism is a religion.

Musicguy

This is an incredible post!!! I'm giving you a standing ovation. Thank you for speaking your mind and articulating so many of my feelings. Keep up the good work!

Jen

Huh. I never even had a faint idea that I should be angry about anything. Now I feel stupid.

Marcus Ranum

((applause))

Jen

Huh. I never even had a faint idea that I should be angry about anything. Now I feel stupid.

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