I have 2 female friends who are believers and have claimed several times over the years that since I became an atheist, I act like a know-it-all or arrogant. Many times I've seen similar claims made toward other atheists by other theists in chats, message boards etc. So, I know I'm not the only atheist who occasionally gets this label.
What I would like to know is...

Do we atheists subconsciously become this way because we feel superior to theists??

Are theist somehow jealous that we have overcome something that they are afraid to try and overcome??

Is it simply another way for them to try and demean us??

Or do you think it may be something altogether different?? I'd like to hear your ideas on this.

Tags: arrogant, atheist, believers, demeanor, know-it-all

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I think changing beliefs, changing jobs, changing hair colors... all come with a new attitude. I don't like to be pretentious about my beliefs, but I can be. Occasionally I'll go to church meetings with a friend, because I'm not sure how to turn down the invitation. Somehow, I've managed to avoid killing anyone, but I feel self-righteous sometimes listening to lectures and contradicting them internally, forming my own arguments and knowing that they're only giving me ammunition in my own search for answers. However, as a general rule, I like to be a kind person. I think that's going to speak louder than being exactly what they'd expect of me as an Atheist.
That's a good point. A lot of theists defend themselves with arguments based on emotion, whereas Atheists tend to be very analytical. At least we're being know-it-alls in a smart way?
That's the stereotype, and I guess there's some truth to it.

I had a very instructive personal experience in meeting and then separating with my now ex-wife, who has since returned to being a full-on God-believer. My ex-wife was/is very, very smart. Graduated high school valedictorian, made the Dean's list multiple times. She was relatively well-read in philosophy. I met her when I was a graduate student pursuing my MLS, and she was an undergraduate senior. This was back around 2002, in the the early stages of the war in Afghanistan and the run-up to the Iraq War, and she was one of the few people I knew on campus who, like me, was profoundly anti-war. Her intellect was her most attractive quality, and she was also a wavering agnostic; she seemed to have just gone through a major crisis of faith and was drifting towards atheism. She knew of my atheism and didn't judge me negatively. Her intellect and her antiwar views were refreshing and attractive to me initially. I gambled with our friendship and parlayed it into a romantic relationship and for a time it was sheer bliss.

Unfortunately, despite her uncertainty on the God-question, she held fast to other irrational beliefs like creationism,etc. I kept hoping that if she did succeed in ditching her God-belief, the rest would follow. It was tough at times because she was also more skilled in math and science than me, the liberal arts major, but I held my ground and held my own in intellectual discussions. Sometimes we had really good intellectual discussions about non-religious topics, other times complicated arguments over theism/atheism. In time, unfortunately, she drifted back firmly to her God beliefs. Ultimately, I just couldn't keep my contempt in check regarding her more "out there" views.

There was also tension stemming from the fact that I was from a relatively privileged (by comparison) middle middle class background, with two college educated parents who were public school teachers, while she came from a working class family of divorced parents (but both extremely religious), and she was the first member of her family to attend college. It became hard to enjoy a good game of Scrabble, because it was obvious from our different backgrounds who was better with words and spelling. And as regards Trivial Pursuit, the ten years difference in our ages, it was never any contest, so we stopped playing altogether because I always won handily. She loved to play Monopoly, while I can barely stand the game. But when I became more skilled and could sometimes beat her handily at Monopoly, I found she was a really sore loser.

Even to this day, I can't say my Ex is not extremely intelligent; She certainly is--sometimes deviously so.
It's just that she's fracking crazy and completely obsessed with her Jesus beliefs. I had thought I was relatively pessimistic, but her religiously-based pessimism about "this fallen world" was of the most relentless kind I've ever encountered. It forced me awkwardly into a kind of guarded optimism, if only to keep my sanity.

She used to have (probably still does) have friends who admired her intellect, and would even ask her breathlessly "is there anything you DON'T know?"; to which she would reply (as would I, if asked such an inane question) "quite a lot."; Until I learned the depths of her more irrational views, I could maintain a level of respect for her learning and education and natural smarts.

Do I feel superior to my ex? Well, yeah, insofar as I feel like my views are grounded in reality while hers are not. As far as raw intelligence, I'd guess we were/are both roughly equal. My main advantage was that I was always a bit more polished and linguistically sophisticated, which she resented deeply, because this was a deficit she knew would take years to overcome.

My ex-mother-in-law always said I would lead her wayward daughter back to Jesus; turns out she was right, just not in the way she was expecting.
When we question religion, to those that are religious in their minds we are questioning God. If God is an all-knowiing all powerful being, then to question him, would be the HEIGHT of human arrogance. I AGREE.

Humans are narcissism by default. So..the simple answer to their claims of arrogance, is to let them know it isn't "god" you disagree with. It's them.

It is a human CHURCH you disagree with.

It's a human BOOK you disagree with(and if it's inspired by God)....

It's a human CLAIM you disagree with.

And you will be able to provide them with many examples(Jihad for one) as to where THEY as a human disagree with another's Godly claim. It is virtually impossible for the religious (especially fundamentalist) believers, to realize their belief belongs to THEM, as individuals and is not a reflection of some greater truth. Again, you are not disagreeing with "GOD". You are disagreeing with a human institution(a church) a human book(the bible) and human philosophies.

The argument I've just said to you, will gut them delivered correctly. The nicest of christians, will become hostile. Especially on another forum.Why? It's never crossed their minds, that their "beliefs" belong to them, and do not absolutely reflect an ultimate reality. If you argue as I have above, you show them the human side of their beliefs. This is scary and humiliating to them. So don't think you'll win the argument, but be kind. It's not everyday that a believer comes face to face with their own narcissism.

And religion, is not if anything most of the time an exercise in narcissism. (not alway's however.)


Cheers
It is no more than petty, childish deflection. They have no logical arguments to sway you so they will resort to "well, you're intolerant" to demean you (as you suggested) so that they can stop listening to your own side

But do I feel superior? Internally, I think I would have to honestly say yes, for the same reason that xtians feel superior to primitive tribes that dance around idols worshipping tribal gods. Xtianity has no more evidence than any other primitive belief, but it has the illusion of credibility because of government acknowledgements
I think we've probably all experienced this anti-intellectualism, anti-education bigotry. If someone spends 20 years of their life training to be a great sportsman, or singer, or dancer they're lauded in our society. If someone spends 40 years of their life reading, and learning and thinking and acquiring knowledge, they're called an arrogant know-it-all when they display this talent in public.

I really think all you can do is accept that you're going to piss some people off and, usually, if you think about it, they're not the kind of people you want to be friends with anyway.

Lately I've started to embrace my enemies. I think the character of your enemies often defines you better than the quality of your friends. It's something I've really thought a lot about lately. Truly, if I really think about it I can usually say, "You know what? I'm really proud that that person dislikes me."
"Do we atheists subconsciously become this way because we feel superior to theists??"
Speaking for myself - certainly not. I simply don't find theism tenable to my outlook on life. I admire many theists, yet I'm not compelled to adopt their religion.

"Are theist somehow jealous that we have overcome something that they are afraid to try and overcome??"
Could be, but frankly it's not really any of my business if it is.

Overall, as for the title of your post, it comes down to the individual, but for the crime of arrogance, I feel that theists bear the greater burden. As an atheist, I cannot confess to knowledge they claim to have, and think they're unfortunately mistaken.
On the contrary... If you pretend to "know" a god exists you're being an arrogant know it all.

By the way... does NOT believing in BigFoot also constitute arrogance? Ask your friends.

What about The Abominable Snow Man?

Little green men on the moon?

Awwww come on! Dont' be so arrogant!

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