Do Atheists Have Any Reason to be Angry?

Colorado supercell 2017 representing a storm of anger
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This common perception about atheists is particularly unfortunate because, I am sad to say, it is so often true. Yes, there are quite a few atheists out there who are angry — but to address the question, what are they so angry about? Being angry is not in and of itself bad if you have just cause for your anger.

There are many things which can cause atheists to be angry. Some were raised in very religious homes and, over time, they came to discover the things they were taught by family and clergy were all wrong. People don't like to have the sense that they were deceived by those in a position of trust and authority, so this can result in anger.

Religion May Be Perceived as Deceptive or Misleading

Some atheists come to view religion or even just theism as being deceptive — and, hence, harmful to society. Any atheist who has the best interests of society at heart will be bothered by belief systems which they honestly consider misleading. The influence of such beliefs can then cause some to become angry.

Still, other atheists experience ongoing discrimination because of their disbelief in gods. They have to hide their atheism from family, friends, and coworkers. They don't know any atheists except those online. They have to listen to others make disparaging comments about disbelief without being able to respond. This kind of pressure isn't healthy, psychologically or emotionally, and can readily lead to a person becoming angry.

Not All Atheists Are Angry

However, it isn't true that all atheists are angry. Even among those who have gone through the above experiences, many aren't angry or, at the very least, are no longer angry. As for those who are angry about some things, whether their anger is justifiable or not, most aren't angry all the time or even every time the subject of religion comes up. Many atheists are quite happy and don't lash out at religion or theism. Thus, the idea that all atheists are angry is an over-generalization at the very least.

Why do some people ask the above question and assume that atheists as a group are angry? One reason is obvious: there are enough angry atheists, especially online, one can honestly get the impression that this is how atheists normally are. This is, however, a bit like assuming that all Christians reason very poorly and know nothing at all about logic or critical thinking — an impression which many atheists get after dealing with many such Christians online.

There is, however, the additional implication that if atheists are all angry, then this somehow undermines or invalidates the atheist position. That simply isn't true, and to suggest that it might amount to little more than an argument. Even if all atheists were indeed very angry about religion and/or theism, that wouldn't mean that theism is reasonable or atheism unreasonable.

When it comes to debates about which is more reasonable, atheism or theism, the question about atheists being angry is ultimately irrelevant. The only thing which would make it relevant is if the questioner is honestly interested in improving the relationship between atheists and theists. Unfortunately, this seems to be rarely if ever the case.