You've all heard the claim that we aren't really atheists, we are just mad at god. (Or you will see such things as "so and so claims to be an atheist.")
Today, though I saw an argument in chat with a theist, and someone else's account of an argument they had out in public, and I stopped to wonder if maybe we aren't sometimes encouraging this line of bullshit, albeit unwittingly.
What happened in both cases was the atheist began recounting all the sorts of horrible things Yahweh is portrayed as doing or believing or commanding. In one case, I saw the atheist say "why should I love god when he won't love me back?"
The problem with this sort of thing is we usually don't take care to phrase our remarks to make it clear that god is a character of fiction. When discussing the misdeeds of Yahweh we tend to fall back on a convention we use when we talk about a fictional character in a book. We refer to him by name and talk as if the guy was real and the book was not fiction, for example, "In George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith was arrested for thoughtcrime," not, "In George Orwell's 1984, the character Winston Smith..."
We know what we mean, because we both know Winston Smith (or god) is fictitious. But they don't know god is fictitious.
Talking this way with someone who believes the fictional character is real might cause him not to understand you are just following the convention. Your phrasing sounds to him like you accept god as real, he "knows" god is real, so he assumes at some level you think god is real.
What I am suggesting here is that you ever want to bring up how nasty this being is, you make it clear that you don't think he exists, make sure you put "fictitious" (or equivalent) in every other sentence at least, and not let them think for a minute that you assume the existence of god.
Yes I know that when you just said you were an atheist this shouldn't be necessary, but obviously many of these people don't understand atheism in their guts, so don't let their paradigm default you into a "believer but mad at god" box.
I am switching to: Oh Your Fictitious God (aka OYFG! for texting purposes).
I don't think atheists need to give religious people any reasons why we don't believe in God till they can prove to us that God actually exists. I used to be mad at Dumbledore for not sending me a letter to join Hogwarts, and yea I would have kept the owl.
In general I agree. (Some conversations have a slightly off-nominal context; perhaps the religious person is curious about your reasoning. Of course one of the reasons should be that they've given insufficient reason!)
The point I'm raising here is to make sure that the religious person you are talking to has less reason to think that deep down you really believe in god.
I have been told the same thing. yes, we make it seem like we are mad at god, and yes we may be. but there's a lot more to it than that. while, i just deconverted from pentecostalism, you and i both know that god is cruel and mean, christians are just to blinded by their "faith" to realize how cruel god really is. even the bible proves it. god is a fictious mean, character, who tortures his people. while, yes i may be mad at god and christians, but i also know that god isnt real. jesus never came to the earth. there is no proof. if people want to think i'm mad at god, thats their opinion, i know otherwise. technically, thats judging.
this is how i feel about it. my whole life i never stood up for myself at all. i was blinded. well, now im strong, and i see. i dont have to proove myself to nobody but me and my boyfriend. everybody else can kiss my ass (no offence) but thats how i feel. this is my life. if i want to be mad at god its my business, not anybody elses.
What would prompt anyone to worship such a being?
The acceptance that anger and wrath wielded by supreme power is often justifiable and/or to be expected. This belief, common in humans even before biblical times, has more credibility when such anger/wrath can be presented as having divine origin.
A few different multicultural classes I'm taking this term teach that Internalized Oppression is an effect of a sub-culture or minority being dominated by the prevailing culture or majority. But it occurs to me that this is much like legitimizing--and even having reverence for (e.g. in acts of martyrdom)--anger and wrath, whenever it's commonly attributable to "an almighty, powerful force".
Speaking pf anger,
Is it possible you meant to post this on the Anger Management thread? It doesn't really make a whole lot of sense here. Don't get me wrong, it's a good question, maybe even deserving its own thread, but it has nothing to do with whether we are encouraging Xians to think we really, deep down believe in god by not being careful how we phrase our arguments.
I have come accross this argument much and often in certain Atheist Theist debate rooms i give a 2 word answer for starters to
: Q "Arn't Atheists just mad at god ?)..says Theist
: A "Which one?" asks me
I don't think that discourages or encourages it , it's usually met with (put their god here) and I respond with that great quote Oh you only have 1 God well you too are an Atheist I Just believe in 1 less god than you sir/ma'am, Are you mad at God?
Because there is this rumour going around that WE (you and me) ALL Atheists are mad at god, even though there are no specifics in that accusation about which god in particular to which the rumour is regarding....
I would address your comment "Arn't Atheists mad at god" technically poor and some what of not only a gross misrepresentation and a straw man but a non sequitur.
LOL usually that is where the subject gets changed ...
I call it "tricks for beginners" -they will trick themselves so don't bother..
Now that's clever, turning it around on them like that!
In debates/discussions people are often asked to accept a certain premise. Sometimes I'll give them that premise in order to move on to other things.
Even in giving them the God premise I still phrase statements like "IF god exists..." and "IF your God exists, then..." Otherwise it's "First we must establish that there is a God" then "which one?"
On the other side (the believer side) They often do not have much information or possibly can't connect the dots. So God is a reality to them so it probably seems silly or naive that we can't see what they can('t).
For the record if I gave the God premise and was then accused of just being angry at God I would say "IF your God exists then my anger is justified and you should be angry with your God too ."
If, when arguing with biblical literalists, you choose to criticize Yahweh as if he were a real being, you are making the point that this god they worship is about as despicable as anyone, god or otherwise, could be, and that they should therefore be ashamed of Him (and, by extension, themselves). On the other hand, if you argue from the point of view that Yahweh is a fictional entity, then you are more specifically ridiculing the ignorance of the fundamentalist for believing such nonsense. So, I don't think one approach is better than the other; it all depends upon your objective vis a vis the specific person with whom you are engaged. I have used both approaches, but I don't pick which one to deploy until I get a good read on the mindset of the person with whom I am arguing.
I do make a point of saying, "your god" in any debate with a theist. It helps set demarcation lines at the outset. If it is raised that this "god" character is everyone's god, then I simply say, "not according to my Hindu friend Dhiresh". Christians don't seem to like criticising other religions beliefs, and tend to recoil from doing so in debate.
It appears to be more comfortable for a Christian to feel that you believe in a god, than in no god. Basically it's apparently better to be delusional albeit with a different delusion, than it is to have no delusions at all.