Why Are So Many Atheists Such Insufferable Assholes?

As an atheist (former Christian), I am often mystified by the despicable behavior and spittle-flecked rhetoric of many of my fellow “non-believers.” Their hostility to Christians in particular borders on the fanatical–an irony that apparently escapes their notice. (I’ll spare you multiple links demonstrating what I’m talking about, since I assume my readers are all too familiar with the phenomenon, particularly as it manifests itself in social media.)

Those of my politically-conservative friends and acquaintances who are also atheists generally wonder what all the fuss is about. To them, there is an inherent absurdity in militant atheism; those conservative atheists cultivate a live-and-let-live, usually friendly attitude toward politically and morally like-minded Christians that typically amounts to indifference in matters of religious faith. What matters to those politically-conservative atheists is shared values, not shared cosmologies. They care more about (for lack of a better term) content of character, and far less about divergent religious (or non-religious) worldviews. In short, values matter, and all else is pretty much beside the point.

Perhaps the most telling reaction of militant atheists comes when Christians say that will pray for an atheist or an atheist’s loved one because of serious illness–the militant atheist is more likely to unleash a string of God-hating, Christophobic expletives, than simply mutter a polite thank you and go about their business. Why? Need I point out the inherent absurdity of such a reaction? If the Christians’ “bearded sky God” does not exist, why would they care if a believer engages in intercessionary prayer? Are they worried about getting religious cooties?

Even “professional atheist” writer AC Grayling notes:

“And besides, really,” he adds with a withering little laugh, “how can you be a militant atheist? How can you be militant non-stamp collector? This is really what it comes down to. You just don’t collect stamps. So how can you be a fundamentalist non-stamp collector? It’s like sleeping furiously. It’s just wrong.”

While volumes could be written about “evangelical” atheists, I won’t attempt to be comprehensive here, but simply offer a few thoughts.

The most virulent Christophobes are typically on the Left. One suspects that, even if they haven’t read Marx, Engels, Lenin, and the rest of the sorry-ass lot that pass for philosophers on the Left, they know that in order for their Workers’ Paradise to become manifest on earth (note the quasi-religious subtext of the People For A Perfect World mindset), the family must be destroyed. Since it is so family-centric, and so averse to utopian schemes in this world, Christianity represents the primary obstacle to “revolutionary change” per the Left. As with forcing a redefinition of marriage on society, the end game is to destroy the family so as to further empower an already overbearing state.

Leftists are at war with the very idea of self-restraint, let alone its practice. The Left has been pushing a pneumatic as it were view of human nature since Rousseau, at least–an idea that reaches its apotheosis in the easy assumption that those who do not approve of same-sex “marriage” (or worse, disapprove of homosexual behavior itself) are invariably repressed homosexuals themselves, a bizarre idea that finds a ready promoter in a popular culture dominated by the Left. Hence the promotion of “sexual exploration” among (and in some sick Leftist minds, with) very young children, for instance. If only we can liberate ourselves from the shackles of an ever-growing list of “oppressors,” a great flowering of freedom and human dignity will follow. Sure thing. Let me know how that works out.

And let’s not even talk about the fact that most militant atheists dare not utter a word against the most oppressive religious/political ideology on the world stage today: Islamism. They are much too worried about some phantom theocratic Christian impulse that manifests itself in such supposed outrages to humanity as Nativity scenes, cruciform jewelry and memorial crosses. Boo!

But most of all, militant atheists are simply killjoy assholes who can’t stand the idea that people exist who derive fulfillment from something the atheists find personally objectionable. Which is rather odd, to say the least, coming from the “tolerance” crowd.

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Additional thought: Militant atheists often yearn for a redistributional andΒ retributional terrestrial utopia (the ultimate exercise in playing God); even in their creepy Climate Change (AKA weather) delusions of grandeur they are as animated in their strain of “religiosity” as any Holy Roller is in theirs (no disrespect to the latter).

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5/21/14 update:

A poster child for all the above, courtesy of Twitchy, complete with unashamed racism. Check out the asshole’s timeline.

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24 Responses to Why Are So Many Atheists Such Insufferable Assholes?

  1. Heather says:

    I’m a former Christian and not an atheist. It has been my experience that it’s the Christians who act like dicks most of the time. The atheists I know are kind, compassionate people who just want to be left alone to believe what they believe. I’ve never met an evangelical atheist. I’ve never met an atheist who insisted his beliefs had to be adopted by everyone else. I’ve never met an atheist who insisted that other people’s behaviors should conform to her set of beliefs. I guess we just run in different circles.

  2. John Reagan says:

    I agree somewhat with Heather. But put another way, when you’re raised under the thumb of oppressive religions, it’s normal to spout off a bit once the pressure is relieved, and in a way, it’s an aggressive defense against believers and their nonsense. Not much different than Blacks in the 60’s and 70’s trying to step up.

    • Super and Natural says:

      I was raised by not one but two evangelical atheist fathers. It was not a pleasant experience. I don’t know who these people are saying that the atheists they know are friendly, kind, understanding, gentle, loving people. Most atheists I’ve met are completely miserable people and not any of those things. Christians I have known don’t get off the hook as well, many are a bag of neuroses to boot, but a lot of people don’t want to own their personal baggage and want to project their insecurities onto anyone who is remotely perceived as a challenge to their world view. I just don’t understand where all these kind, loving and compassionate atheists are. I sure don’t see them on the net! I believe in the existence of a soul and that you are more than your corporeal body- that consciousness is more than we currently think it is and that it’s a complex subject that science has only yet to barely even begin to grasp. Oh my Ha- God- you would have thought I had drowned a puppy for saying that in the homes I grew up in.

      • songwroter says:

        At least you’re not biased one way or the other, there’s that. Enough contempt for everybody. πŸ˜‰

        But you ignored the ideological point of my piece, yes? I was differentiating conservative atheists from Leftist ones. Because the militancy comes from the Left.

        And I never said, nor would I ever say, that Christians are ergo wonderful human beings (or think they are). It flies in the face of Christian doctrine as to the necessity of salvation. I never made that claim as a Christian, and I won’t make it as an ex-Christian.

      • Anya says:

        Not disagreeing with you. I understood your points- its understandable that most of the unpleasantries would come from the left; the rise of communism was perhaps the greatest contributor to the notion of atheism and to promote it on a gigantic platform. Do with that connection what you will. However both sides of the political aisle at the extremes often become so strident that they resemble each other after a while in tone and inflexibility. But that’s evangelism for you.

  3. Dan Draney says:

    I work with many people for whom Christianity is a big part of who they are. It makes them really nice people, too. I’ve never met a Christian who was as “in your face” about his/her faith as much as some of the atheists are with their absolute faith in the absence of any deity. πŸ™‚

  4. songwroter says:

    If one never encounters militant (“evangelical”) atheists, ones life is the better for it. Small mercies.

  5. OMSE says:

    This is very useful it helps me a lot, thanks you. 😦

  6. Night Owl says:

    I sometimes wonder if they aren’t actually atheists at all. It seems more like they hate God, and how can you hate something you don’t believe exists? So maybe they are just plain evil. I just saw the story of what happened to the girl in the Vietnam picture, the one who was running naked down a street after being hit with napalm. She became a Christian, and runs a charitable foundation for children injured in war. One of the comments was from an atheist, and he said it was a shame she wasted her life believing in the fairy god in the sky. Whatever she believes, her life is certainly not wasted. It is used to belittle and ridicule people for no reason other than the person saying it wants to shock or upset religious people.

  7. songwroter says:

    Like I said on Twitter: hate the sin, not the sinner. πŸ˜‰

  8. The Atypical Connoisseur says:

    @Heather while I agree that Christians can be assholes this in itself is not a watermark of Christianity anymore than it is of any other belief or non belief. Thee most fundamental flaw of people who are anti Christian and this counts mostly for atheists and especially militant ones. Is this assumption that the effect is caused by religion and not the most real world and clear evident cause of people being jerks, because they are jerks. Being jerk does limit itself to sex, race, religion or non religion. It is a human reaction. I do agree Christians and I am a Christian stumble on many things. We follow and believe in a God that is consistently defying human rational. It is not easy to get that and we struggle between knowing this and living it. So please enough with defaming Christians. It is generic and not to mention prejudice. It is not edifying and does not help to say that at all towards Christians and non Christians.

  9. Adamantian says:

    I only just came across this article, and I’ve got to say, you really nailed it, friend. As a Christian, I tell people about my beliefs and have intellectual debates with various friends and strangers, but I never force my views on anyone. A lot of fellow Christians I know are the same way, and yet, even though we make it a point to respect the viewpoints of others, I have witnessed innumerable “tolerant” Atheists who are the most completely bitter assholes I’ve ever come across. It’s like they make it a point to shit on your beliefs, even though you did nothing to instigate such shallow ad hominem attacks. What do they have to prove? If they believe there is no God, that should be enough for them, yet I’ve seen them bully and badger the nicest people. It’s disgusting, especially considering the same people will get offended at ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. How insecure can they possibly be!? It’s sad that so many people take these idiots seriously. At least it’s refreshing knowing there are plenty of goodhearted Atheists out there, even though they’re not usually the ones making themselves known on social networking sites, internet forums, and the like. I’ve pretty much had the opposite life experience of what the first two commenters described; mostly goodhearted Christians and douchebag Atheists. Of course, everyone’s life experiences are different, and I’m well aware of notable exceptions(the medieval Catholic church by and large, the notorious WBC, and certain crazies like Pat Robertson, to name a few). Plus, some of my very best friends are Atheists, and even though we occasionally debate for the intellectual challenge and for the sake of discussion, we mutually respect each other’s beliefs in the end. In any case, it’d be nice if more Atheists(and, heck, people from all walks of life in general) followed the examples of people like you and stopped being so damned militant toward everyone who doesn’t see eye-to-eye with them ideologically. I, too wonder why the mainstream media and the like are so afraid of stepping on the toes of Muslims, though, considering they have no problem tearing down Christians. Well, I guess that’s just the corrupt media for you. Lastly, I totally agree with you on how these hardcore leftists seem to be deadset on killing ethical values like the sanctity of marriage. While there are of course many Atheists that simply don’t believe in God, I think there’s a sizeable portion of the demographic that is misusing the philosophical idea of Atheism as an excuse to be free from moral accountability. It’s likely these individuals only seek a way to justify their wrongdoings so that they might freely sink lower and lower into the depths of depravity. Just my two cents, though. Thanks again for writing this great article, good sir, and good luck on your future writing endeavours.

    • songwroter says:

      Thank you for the kind words.

    • AD says:

      Thank you both. It’s like you’ve spoken my mind. Life is too short to be a dick to one another over a disagreement. I just don’t understand the anger. It’s good to see that there are genuinely tolerant atheists and people of faith out there. You give me hope for our future. Sorry if it sounds cheesy, but this has been building up.

  10. Amusingly, the only people who still think of God as “a bearded old man in the sky” are… atheists. πŸ™‚

  11. Diogennifer says:

    I am relieved to find that someone else suspects that the bandwagon-jumping in support of gay marriage and the fierce resistance to non-propagandistic discourse on the subject masks a more subtle agenda that has very little to do with homosexuality.

    I had supposed it was the suppression of the Churches as a political force for the extension of the state-business-press [all of which are a) centralized and b) relatively easily controlled]. Certainly if you watch the movie “Selma” you come away with the idea that Civil Rights would have been impossible without the moral authority of the Churches.

    However, destruction of the family in order to extend the long arm of the state makes equal sense as an end goal. David S. Crawford makes the argument that without fertility, all marriages are “gay,” existing solely for the benefit of the adults (not children nor a society with an interest in the creation of well-ordered citizens), and having no inherent purpose.

  12. Trey Havens says:

    I really enjoyed this. I am a Christian but I loved this. It kinda helped me understand the difference. I always wondered why athiests saw Christianity as a whole, and it’s because we see atheism as a whole. But it’s not.

  13. A. Nal Turdinski says:

    You condemn atheist assholes, as you should but, then you use the term, “bearded sky God.” Why was that neccessary? You are simply the angry atheist you pretend to hate. You may as well have thrown in “nigger,” as well.

    • Diogennifer says:

      I think he was just stepping into their rhetorical shoes for a moment. I’m not sure why songwriter is responding to so, so, so many posts, but do consider that interpretation instead.

  14. songwroter says:

    Re the preceding comment, “approval” does not equal approval. In this case, it’s a way of saying “Reading is fundamental.”

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