Now and then I come across this notion of the angry atheist. The atheist with axes to grind, who only disbelieves because X happened to them. The underlying theme is that only negative personal experiences could drive one away from gods. You had a bad father or you were ostracized or your parents divorced - on and on. I see these ideas and I see lots of atheists leap in to suggest they never had these problems and I think "good for you".
But I sure as fuck did. And if I am to be honest, they HAD to inform my nonbelief. The fact that I accepted my atheism two decades after some life changing negative events occured suggests that my disbelief was not a direct result of the negative experiences, BUT (and this is tricky to talk about because it will leave one open to the types of accusations many theists are wont to make) the fact that I was detribed, defathered and and decultured at a young age played a huge part in my decision, I believe. I was not afraid of losing the relationships theism provides, for example. I was not afraid of seeming arrogant, or disrespectful. I have learned what actually matters and how to maintain it. I have learned how to move into a social group and make alliances based on nothing more than my ability to communicate and empathise. I can live on little, sleep wherever I need to and, if it really has to happen, defend myself physically.
I write all that to get to this question: do my ideas track with the universe as it presents itself? When you ask me to take a notion seriously, what can you show me to persuade me it also tracks? Theism has only a few things to offer, such as popularity, tradition and community. I am not against these things, but none of them are reasons to hold a belief about the cosmos. They are simply socializing mechanisms. Not bad or good, but also not facts.
(TLDR) So, how much of a stereotypical atheist do you feel like you are? Are you mad at your dad, angry at evangelicals, snotty and stuck up - and do you suppose any of these atttributes argue for the existence of a god? Because, in the end, that is the only question that matters to an atheist.
I have great, loving and understanding parents. I grew up in a friendly christian community with pretty rational thinking people. Personally I don't think I'm snotty or stuck up (but other people might disagree based on their own perspective).
And yet I no longer believe in a god.
So no, I don't think any of these attributes argue for the (non)existence of a god. However, they can be thinks that ignite and catalyze questions regarding a god, thus eventually leading to atheism.
Btw: it's good that you didn't put in the infamous 'I hate God so I'm an atheist' line that some atheists are accused of. I can't see how people think there is some logic to that sentence.
Geez, my dad was a wonderful man. I'm sorry I'm not such a sweetheart as he was.
I don't hate christ-tards; i despise and pity them.
My atheism finally came from time in the military, my youngest brother committing suicide after the church got a hold of him, and a lot of study.
My dad built the church we went to, was very active but he had a lot of guilt from the idea of original sin crap. I watched how people behaved and saw that the church really made little difference to their everyday lives.
Preachers remind of Insurance salesman, they have product you can't touch, feel or see but when you die there is a payoff (well at least an insurance policy does payoff). The whole system is about guilt and control.
Well, for one thing it's hard to be angry at something or someone who doesn't exist...
That being said, I didn't have that happy an environment either and it was part of what pushed me to study and learn as much as I could. But the fact that I had a bad experience doesn't take away from the logicality of the arguments, I just have to pay attention to what arguments I make and be sure that I am in charge of my emotions especially when in debate.
I may be considered by some to be stuck up, but not snotty for sure. I am not an angry person, nor am I an angry atheist, in fact I consider myself as being in a process of understanding when a response is necessary and what is the appropriate response when a theist says something. I guess "I'm learning, still trying to figure things out" is my excuse for everything.
My father became a pastor when I was 14, which brought about a move which uprooted my social life and caused him to become a completely different person with very different priorities. He's a good man, I just disagree with his priorities is all.
For as long as i can remember, I have been very socially awkward. At a young age, I moved to MN with my family, and just couldn't fit in or make friends to save my life. I was teased constantly, spat on, pushed around..etc. My younger sister was doing just fine, so my family didn't see any reason to take my complaints seriously at that time. Though recently we have been able to talk openly about everything.
I felt very alone, worthless, like there must be something very wrong with me because I just do NOT fit in with any crowd. I did become very hostile as I got older. After a while, I actually looked for a fight because I just didn't give a damn anymore.
The rest is a very long, rather drawn out story of therapists and psych wards (thankyou alcohol and drugs). Do I believe that my past or that the life i lived is responsible for my atheism? Absolutely not. I was an atheist long before things got crappy. There have been a few times though, when locked up somewhere with nobody but myself to blame that I did pray, not because I believed that some invisible deity actually existed, but because I was desperate. In the end, I realized that the only person able to change things in my own life was me. Not some nonexistent "god", not the system, or anybody else.
So while my experiences may have strengthened my atheism, I do not believe that they are the cause of it.
Not really angry at my dad, he is wonderfully agnostic about everything. Having a dad which mind's might be a bit too open is probably be better than a bad one. My stereotypical atheism is that of Europeanism, a stereotype I don't mind.
I guess it is, as the people who would call you something like an "angry atheist" believe, a small chance that some atheists are atheists because they are angry at their dads. But most of us are atheists because of rational reasons. And even if you are atheist over pure emotion, then it doesn't immediately make you wrong in that conclusion.
For my part there was no one soul-shaking event that lead to my lack of a belief. In fact, I don't remember very clearly a time when I EVER believed, though my father is Protestant and my mother a Buddhist, and they both know I am an Atheist-Agnostic and it was never a point of contention between us. The idea of God or gods all just seemed totally unlikely to me from the start, I was never a very credulous child.
Evangelicals used to get me very angry, but now I realize that they're just a different sort of victim. So I guess really, I'm not a very stereotypical Atheist. I don't go picking fights or arguments with Theists because I know it is very likely to just result in a lot of frustration and I don't mess with Jehovah's Witnesses who knock on my door. Conflict polarizes people and their beliefs, and I try not to feed the fire.
"Are you sure you are an atheist, or just reject religion because of your experience with abusive people who betrayed your trust in the name of god?"
This was the point I was trying to get at, actually. That I am an atheist because that tracks with the universe as it presents itself. The other things I mentioned had to have an effect, but they are not WHY I am atheist. But I have had the type of life, until I was old enough to take some control over it, that the theists who use psychology to demean atheism as mere rebellion or resentment toward gods or the religious tend to toss at you in an argument. What I am trying to get across is that these things probably made it more likely I would reject theism and faith, but that theism and faith would be wrong even if my negative experiences were the only reasons I became atheist.
Moreover, it kind of makes you wonder at the kind of a person who rejects or accepts things based purely on their own emotional experiences with said thing. Many people I talk to seem to prefer a world that moves for them and their comfort rather than the world I see, which is separate from my feelings about it. I think this may be the bigger issue we as atheists should look at. I have sometimes thought religion is a symptom of a much darker disease.
I'm not mad at anyone. I just realized all that BS my parents and school taught me was just that: BS. There's a point in your life when you become rational and you start doubting Santa Claus exists. It's pretty much the same with theism, except that some people prefer to still believe in him because that way you can ask anything you want trusting that you might get it.
BTW, my parents love me and have had a pretty much normal life so my atheism definetely doesn't come from there.