What is there about the word "atheist" that makes normally sane people act crazy?

Help! I just got off the phone with my best friend. I started telling her about an event I attended recently. When I mentioned the group's name (which included the word "atheist") it was like I had rung a bell for Pavlov's dog! She immediately went on a rant about how she is "sick of atheists," and how "stupid" they are to be "angry at God."

This shook me up because normally she is a wonderful friend. She is a non-practicing Jew who was raised completely secular. I've been open with her about the full extent of my apostasy, and I've even identified myself as an atheist to her before. Perhaps she didn't believe me? What is there about that word?

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Joan is exactly correct! Such people are highly delusional and therefore not "sane" as most sane people would interpret reality. The "insane" part of them is that they do not live in reality, and they want to back up their own brand of this with "the Bible says."

Anything that you believe as "reality" has to be able to be backed up and demonstrated with LOGIC. (Gravity is an example.) There is no logic in scripture or holy books. Believing it in "faith" does not make it so!

I've had similar conversations with my aunt. I still love her although she's called & freaked out on me several times for being honest. Religion, to me is like mass hypnosis. People are afraid to wake up & understand-I mean really accept that there's no god and we only have one life & each other. I must admit it was a hard thing to accept myself years ago but I'm greatful for the encouragement to ask questions about everything. Anyway, maybe you helped open her mind a little bit. ; )

It is because they truly believe that we are simply here to deny them God. They see atheists wanting crosses pulled out of public locations and think we are evil. I wonder how Christians would react if we were trying to get Islamic symbols taken away? Wouldn't hear a peep! They don't see or ignore their own hypocrisy. It's ok to have symbols or religion in public places but ONLY if it's their symbol! And also you have to realize a lot of people are only ever taught the nice and peaceful stories that are in the Bible, they themselves most likely haven't read it and have no clue of the horrors in it. Also there is an actual phobia that is related to learning things that would question religious beliefs and losing religion in general and if they know your an atheist then they might have actual fear of you telling them something. People (especially in the US) think that they are superior and have a higher level of understanding from religion, they think that jesus actually speaks to them, and in the US they believe that this is a Christian country and that they are the only ones with the right to question, ridicule and impose and now that we stand up for ourselves we are attacking them and the country. Look at the case of Kalei Wilson; she see's christian clubs in her school and attempts to start a atheist club and is fought tooth and nail because that is "evil" or "unpatriotic" and even "imposes on there beliefs." But without batting an eye will want to pray in schools. Just FYI (and you probably know all of this) but she even got death threats once it was approved! HOW CHRISTIAN OF THEM! Like I said, HYPOCRITES!  Sorry for the rant!

Andrew, I like your rant. This is the best place to blow off the steam and then figure out a strategy to respond to bigots and hypocrites in a way that tells the truth and let go of the fury. Haha! I am a fine one to talk. My rage is palpable. 

Anyway, good for you!

Im glad you approve! lol I live in a very religious town, and the people I live with are religious. Once in a while a little "debate" will take place and I get so frustrated. I am open about my atheism and because of that talks happen a lot and usually it is several on one and I just walk away. The lack of reason is to stressful haha. 

Andrew, may I repost your rant on Twitter? If yes, may I use your name as author or I can use your initials or "anonymous"? If I post it for Twitter, it will automatically go to Facebook and back to Atheist Anonymous because I have it set up to do that. 

If you don't want me to repost, just say the word. 

Joan

That's a pretty good rant, Andrew. Remember in your "fights with the christians" that they are the only ones who are right. The other religions are wrong coz they don't have Jeebus Chrust! He was the bread of life. I can imagine all of them claiming you cannot prove god doesn't exist. Remember that the burden of proof is upon the one claiming to have a hundred dollar bill in his pocket. You make the claim, you show me the proof. What proof are they going to show you? "But the bibble sezs" Guess what? It is the only proof they have! Maybe if they had of read it more and also read it's entire history they might begin to understand. But no. Without Jeebus they cannot make it through a single day. It makes you wonder how they did anything before they knew of him.

Andrew, this religious hypocrisy was what provided the first wedge in my doubt when I was in my teens. I looked around at the church I had grown up in and saw it was filled to the brim with gossip mongering, intolerance, ignorance, and anything but love for one's fellow humans (who weren't in the right club). And that's when I began to question. It took 15 or so years for me to come around, but it did happen and I'm glad for the journey. Poking holes in what we believe is an ability reserved for the brave. Everyone else is hiding behind their invisible shield of willful self-righteousness.

This is how the world sees atheists. Somehow not believing made you a monster.

They got it wrong! Those would be handfuls of babies and we'd be eating them!

This poster cracked me up so I tried to track it down, which led me to Austin Cline's comments on About.com: "Godless Atheists Menace Western, Christian Civilization." Here is one paragraph:

What might be more serious is something that is generally left unsaid: atheists represent a specter of doubt, questioning, skepticism, criticism, and even blasphemy. Irreligious atheists are like metaphysical anarchists who do not submit to the authority of any religious institution, not even those of "false" religions, and thus feel free to criticize all religions. Irreligious atheists call into question the validity of religion generally just by the fact of their very existence. By living, and worse yet by living well, they demonstrate the irrelevancy of religion to having a good life. Christians Nationalists don't understand how they do it, but they know that it's intolerable.

The full text is HERE.

Gee whiz, how about that!  We have the unmitigated gall to QUESTION stuff, to demand explanations and verifications of claims made, and the more outrageous the claim, the more determined we are to insist on that corroboration.  Funny thing, too - to date, There Has Been No Corroboration For The Bible!

But let's make a distinction here: "Western" civilization is by no means de-facto CHRISTIAN civilization. Christianity may have been strongly associated with western Europe in the past and the United States in current day, but that association does not necessitate the integration of the belief with the location. Indeed, most of western Europe is very secular, and while the US is behind that curve, numbers of the "nones" is growing here by the day while the numbers of protestant christians recently fell below the 50% mark for the first time.

I also can't help but notice the rather loaded word, "menace". It paints a picture of atheists threatening believers, perhaps forcing them to give up their beliefs. A larger load of cow droppings I have not heard recently. Most of us who have become atheists did so rationally, as a result of looking at the evidence (or lack thereof) for a god of any sort, and Coming To The Conclusion That There Is No God. No one held a gun to our heads; no one threatened us with some horrible consequence. We made that deduction ON OUR OWN.

We do indeed scare the believers, and I suspect for the very reason pointed out in the last two sentences of that extract. We chop our wood and carry our water, pay our taxes and love our kids without the Damoclean Sword of Yahweh hanging over our heads, and we do it just fine. And at some point or other, they have to be asking themselves just WHY they bother with all the folderol.

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