Okay ... WHERE is the arrogance is basing one's life on KNOWLEDGE rather than on unsubstantiated belief? It strikes me as being infinitely MORE arrogant to claim that the answer is in something that cannot be demonstrated, cannot be verified, but has to be taken ON FAITH. Even more arrogant is the idea that such faith determines one's place in a putative afterlife which is no more demonstrable than the deity one is supposed to have faith IN.
The arrogance is in the hand-waving and the excuse-making and the ultimate lack of substance behind all of that show.
I think theists feel that atheism is arrogant because most of the folks on earth believe in a higher power, and since atheists do not, we must think that we are smarter than everyone else.
I have to admit that reading some of the posts on this site, atheists do sometimes come off as either angry or arrogant, or both.
I think many theists believe that atheists are arrogant because we generally aren't very open to the supernatural. Personally, I think we have good reason to be skeptical of it and I feel it is dangerous to accept things for which we don't have don't have sufficient justification.
Another reason is that the atheists who openly speak out, tend to be strong in their language and, thus, come across as arrogant. A person might not qualify their statements when engaged in a heated conversation or debate with a theist, like they would if they were having a casual discussion. The theist may come across many other atheists who are less upfront about their feelings and never even realize that these people are atheists.
Another possibility is that it is a deliberate strategy on the part of the theist to put the atheist on the defensive. Perhaps the theist has been told in a sermon that atheists are arrogant and they simply assume it to be true because a preacher said it.
I've tried pointing it out before: regular christianity assumes an arrogance, that you're so important that a deity wants to listen to your prayers or inane talkings-to whenever you feel like it, and will answer them, rather than the ones of someone much more powerful and rich(those tend to be the answered prayers), or more needy than you(those tend to be the prayers people say get answered).
When instead, I am questioning and building on my own life the views that I have, and assuming that if there is a deity, he probably doesn't give a shiz about me. That's somehow arrogant.
I think it's more along the lines of, to them, I am arrogant for "rejecting his love" and "questioning his holy word."
Religion is all about telling people what they have to do and what they can not do. Theists have a hard time understanding that they have a choice to act in any way that they see fit. When one has accepted the authority of some senior member of their church who is presumably acting under the authority of some deity, it is very easy to think of someone as arrogant who will not accept that same authority. What you have to remember is that these are the same people that will ignore civil law and claim that they are acting under god’s law.
Also remember this. In many instances when one claims that someone else is arrogant, the claimant is usually lacking in the ability that garnered the arrogance charge. I am sure that I have heard this somewhere, “Don’t call anyone arrogant, you just make yourself look like a dumb@$$.” When someone uses the word “arrogant”, ask them to define it. I’m sure that you will get some interesting responses.
Modesty, in the sense that most people intend, is a way of distorting realism. This distortion is in the form of reducing contrast. A modest person that is exceptional at something will downplay their exceptionality. I’m afraid that atheism has more to do with realism than it does with modesty.
Thank you, that was a brilliant reply. I think I agree with your view of theists accepting authority- "it is very easy to think of someone as arrogant who will not accept that same authority". It could be that theists see the world exclusively with authority over them, thus, when they imagine a world without a God they still desire a place for that authority to rest, they then assume that the atheist must think they are the authority, in other words, if you think there isn't a God then you think you are God.
Also, on arrogance, I've always though it is a form of arrogance to accuse someone else of being arrogant, would you support that view?
Your definition of modesty is good too, I think i'm looking for a different word to describe what I mean though, in an earlier post someone used the word 'humble', perhaps a better descriptor of atheism is 'honest'. It may be impossible for ideologies to be 'modest', especially concerning such grand issues.
"Also, on arrogance, I've always though it is a form of arrogance to accuse someone else of being arrogant, would you support that view?"
The quickest person to accuse someone of stealing is a thief. The quickest person to accuse someone of lying is a liar. We generally see our own faults in other people without any real evidence of them having those faults.
With that said, I am an Imbecile.