There's a stereotype of ex-Christian atheists as being bitter, at being angry at God. How do you respond to this charge?

(I won't give my response yet -- I don't want to bias the discussion!)

Tags: Christianity, bitter, deconversion

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My young daughter and I attend a UU church. I also like Ethical Societies but there aren't any in my area. I love the UU church, (as much as a church can be loved). Everyone knows I am an atheist and there are many others that are openly atheists as well. Along with all kinds of other flavors of belief and the lack of. The first of 7 UU principals is this: "We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person." That sounds like something I can wrap my head around; very Humanistic.
Growing up, my pastor father told me many times that there is no such thing as an atheist who has honest intellectual skepticism...that all atheists are just mad at God for some kind of pain in their life and so they reject God. I used to believe him. I've even repeated that little morsel of "wisdom" to other people. But like so many things I once believed...everything looks different to me now.

I left my church probably six months ago. Up until then I was a bible believing, tithing, evangelical Christian who wanted to live my life in service to God. There was no big bad event that caused disillusionment, I just had intellectual questions that slowly caused doubt to creep up under the surface. My husband and I enjoy reading 'Scientific American' and 'Discover' magazines as well as lots of books. I think pursuit of knowledge, particularly scientific, just naturally erodes faith and dogma.

So finally my husband and I decided to take on our doubts head-on, to allow ourselves to step back from our faith and think about it critically and objectively. We read Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitches, but also lots of apologetics. Our faith came tumbling down like a house of cards in a matter of weeks. It's been scary, difficult, even sad. I really felt like God was real, loved me, spoke to me. I sometimes even have fears that I'm wrong...that God "removed his Holy Spirit", which enabled my faith, because I let it go. I fear hell every once in a while. I know it's silly. Emotional baggage. Intellectually, I've really totally made the leap. I couldn't will myself to believe it now if I wanted to.

So there are many difficult emotions to work through (this has all hurt my family too)...but bitterness? Not at all. I still love my dad and family. I still have my Christian friends. I still really like our old pastor. He was a great guy. I just don't believe anymore. I've experienced honest intellectual skepticism.
Well, I'M bitter. There, I said it! Haha, obviously I'm not mad at God. Although I will say that the God of the Bible is a right prick. Seriously, Yahweh can suck my imaginary testes. I was raised in a cult/sect of Christianity and I'm pissed off about all the needless suffering I went through - abuse, neglect, guilt and shame, you name it. But I don't think that's the experience of all atheists - obviously many of you seem quite at-peace and content and not at all bitter. That's why I call myself an atheist and an anti-theist. I want religion to pay for what it does to children. I want a day of reckoning. Maybe all those years of hellfire and brimstone sermons has left a "comeuppance" sense of justice in me, but I am most assuredly bitter.

(I'm going to go eat some ice cream, smoke a cigarette, and watch George Carlin till I calm down.)
When i was just starting in my "deconversion" i was a bit bitter/angry. (i was 16/17yr old) so ya, i was a bit unhappy about it all :) but i quickly realized that anger doesn't help anything, and got over anything like that.

Now i only get angry when people make baseless claims and call it fact :P eg "the earth is 6000 years old"

A lot of people here deal with guilt/shame. I guess i was just such a good christian that I never had those feelings (not in any serious way). so really the only point where i was bitter was the short time between when i called myself a christian and when i called myself an agnostic.
How can I be bitter towards something that does not exist.
So many theist actually believe atheist are mad at god.I'm not mad at a god when I don't believe in one.I reject the whole idea of the supernatural. I do get angry when religious people have the need to impose their religion on others.Why is "In God We Trust" on the currency and "One Nation Under God"in the pledge.They were not there in the beginning.I hate when religion restricts our rights.I look at other counties that are Islamic nations and the mistreatment of
women and death to those that do not believe.
Nope, never bitter - There's a little bit of "I can't believe I fell for that" sort of incredulity, though.

I've always been mystified at the question I sometimes get from Christians today, the whole "Do you really not believe in God, or you believe in him and just hate him?" thing - Is there *anyone* who matches the latter description???!!! Sounds bizarre.

T
My reply is "How can I be bitter or hate something that does not exist?"

Hi all!

I am not bitter, though I only fully deconverted on the 1st of November last year.

I come from a long line of Huguenots, so I was raised to be an extremist. I also had the added bonus of having a biological mother whom is a psychopath, which has been confirmed by a mental health professional. So religion was a method of control and manipulation. As a teenager, I moved into pentecostalism, where my extremist mindset was much approved of. I married at 18, believing it was "god's will", and left the christian arsehole a year later. He was such a misogynist that I can thank him for turning me into a feminist!

However, it was not until last year, just after I turned 26 that I fully deconverted. I had more paganistic leanings at the time, but decided not to jump into anything and just spend some time in reflection. After much thought and consideration, it suddenly occured to me one day as I made a cup of tea that I was definitely an atheist, and rather comfortable being one. The world is simpler place in a more beautifully complex way for me now. Everything is fascinating. And I like being able to say, "shit happens sometimes and I don't know why". Atheism has brought me much inner peace.

I am connected to a large forum of ex-christians online, and I have noticed that the ones who are the most bitter are the ones who focus the most on what christianity robbed them of, instead of ficusing on their new-found life and freedom. It also seems to be the ones who buy into the Religious Trauma Syndrome who have the hardest time coping, interestingly enough. I don't deny that religion can be traumatising, but I do find the after-effects of buying into this special syndrome alarming. I am still researching into Dr. Marlene Winell, one of the leading crusaders for RTS. Unfortunately, so far I am only ending up with more questions and suspicions the further I dig.

Anyway, I'll wrap up there. Nice to eet you all :)

I'm a bit bitter that I wasted my university time on theology ... though without doing so I can't see a way that I would have got out of Christianity.

Yeah ... I harbour a certain amount of anger towards Christianity ... but the anger is not the reason I'm no longer a Christian, the anger is because I once was a Christian.

I'm not bitter. Sometimes, I wish the world were a little more even-handed, but I learned a lot during my time as a Christian. If I hadn't been involved in the church, I might never have learned how to distinguish between rational thought and control- or fear-based assertions. I never would have started studying the psychological and historical influences on religion. I looked at religion, at the time even, as a trial-and-error exercise. I'm better for having tried it. It didn't work for me, and I found that many in the church were more fond of ritual and zombie-like obedience than they were of the ethics they claimed to follow. Since those ethics were what attracted me in the first place, that was a huge red flag. If a god can't live up to the highest human standards, I concluded, such a god was either a fraud or the tool of a power-hungry priesthood. Perhaps both.

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