Look Back in Anger

I’ve been for the most part avoiding link/quote posts, as they’re not really why I started writing here—I prefer essaying to commentary, generally. In this case, however, I must point to Alonzo Fyfe‘s words on the ‘angry atheist’ phenomenon. I hope to get into atheism soon here, as it’s probably the concept about which I am most passionate and with which I am most engaged right now, but for now, I’ll merely nudge you (forcefully) in the direction of Alonzo’s post. You ought to read the whole thing—it’s not especially long, and Alonzo is always very readable—especially if you’ve ever been at all confused as to why many atheists seem to be angry (short answer: we have reason to be), but here’s a tidbit, emphasis mine:

The article [ed: here] also states:

To be called to a level of goodness and sacrifice so constantly and so patiently by a loving but demanding God may seem like a naive demand to achieve what is only a remove human possibility. However, such a vision need not be seen as a red flag to those who believe nothing.

First, the author says that atheists see a call to “goodness and sacrifice” is a red flag. So, atheists are not good, and we do not engage in sacrifice. In fact, our rejection of religion, I assume, is because we, like spoiled children, simply do not want to do anything for other people. No, the ‘red flag’ is being called evil and selfish. I find my calling to goodness and sacrifice in a different source — from the fact that my fellow humans are capable of feeling pain and suffering and I do not want bad things to happen to them. Instead, I want them to be safe and happy. Period. End of story. No God involved.

Anyone who has trouble recognizing this as a legitimate source of good and moral behavior needs to take a long, hard look at their own morality.



5 Responses to Look Back in Anger

  1. Rocky says:

    I read a widely circulated e-mail the other day where in an American Christian was throwing stone at Islam …. the case of the pot calling the kettle black. That e-mail also stated that our Constitution was founded on bibical principles.

    Now you want to know why this atheist is generally upset. This is the type of behavior that leads to sectarian conflict and who ends up in the cross fire?

    Why don’t we try building a country where religion is transparent and
    a personal choice between the individual and the god he/she believes
    in. A country that is founded on true human values: liberty, justice,
    honesty, good behavior, consideration for others, ethics, morality.
    These are not religious values because if they were Pat Robertson,
    Jerry Fawell, George W Bush and other hypocrites like them would be
    struck dead by now.

  2. Dennis says:

    Atheists are not angry. Disappointed maybe but not angry. Every tribe, culture, civilization in history has had its God to explain what it couldnt understand and to control its people through fear and to impose what it considered virtues. Each and every one in it turn fell and the next God in line took its position in the lineup. Some lasted a long long time some didnt rate a blink in history. I guess believers “just dont get it” ….. God is the most powerful weapon of mass destruction ever invented by man.

  3. Rocky says:

    The purpose of life is to enjoy the passage of time. We all have different ways of dong so; to have faith in the substance of things not seen, to sit on the fence and watch the never ending debate, to create metaphors, philosophize and eloquently articulate logic as we do in this forum. This is a great pass-time but it all means nothing if it does not contribute to the physical quality of human existence.

    There is a storm ahead and one early warning of it is the intolerant serious minded comments made by the good Rabbi and atheist alike. My mother, a fundamentalist Christian, thought that God was coming soon because the world is coming to an end. Although I agree with her in some respects we see it from different points of view. I hold to the thought that the world will be here long after us humans have contributed greatly to the future oil reserves of this earth. A testament to our intelligence will be how we choose to exit, in chaos or an orderly procession. We do have it in our power to greatly extend the inevitable.

    This atheist would like to think that it really does not matter where you stand on this debate what matters is our existence here on earth. This is my time, my sons and daughter’s time and I would like to think that after I am gone I would have persuaded others to put aside this useless bantering with relevant dialog and action. We should spend more time working on our co-existence than trying to beat in to each other our views and beliefs on religious matters. The good Rabbi is condescending and insincere in his words, the storm is coming.

  4. heaventree says:

    “I’ve been for the most part avoiding link/quote posts, as they’re not really why I started writing here—I prefer essaying to commentary, generally”

    And good thing it is — I try to do the same. The blogshere is full of cross-links and commentary and this is one reason why most of it is unreadable. Not to mention the crappy quality – even on good sites, like the Valve the quality is VERY mixed. Thank you for your commitment to good intelligent writing — even though commenting and cross linking would probably get you more traffic. (But who wants that sort of traffic?). I hope you can keep it up!


  5. goatherd says:

    Marc Hauser just wrote a book called “Moral Minds” that bears on this subject. His assertion is that morality is achieved due to constructs in the mind and that these constructs are independent of religion and other factors formerly considered inseparable from morality. I have not read the book yet, but I heard him interviewed on NPR and more information is available here:


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