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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One of my favorite arguments, which keeps coming up over and over, is something like this:

You believe there's no God

Therefore you have belief.

Therefore you have faith.

Therefore you're not really an atheist.

Therefore you have faith.

I once worked in grocery stores where employees refilled the canned food shelves. We had been instructed to discard -- as spoiled -- the swollen cans of food we occasionally found.

And so, when  theists told me I had faith, I agreed. I told them I had faith that the next can of food I open and eat won't poison me.

Did I intimidate them into silence or did they conclude I was nutty? (Be kind, folks.)

Possibly both reasons there, Tom.

Take the idea of how theists understand prayer over food today. They think you have to be humble and thank god for your food. Some people do not have food.

Now switch this prayer into the lines they use saying "for the nurishment of my body." What else would food be for? Now ask yourself what this would have meant in a world without refrigeration.

Now you can see the evolution of prayer.

>Did I intimidate them into silence or did they conclude I was nutty? (Be kind, folks.)

Depends - should we ask them about this, or should we ask you?

If you lived in a hungry world with no refrigeration and limited food where the Christians were even asking Saul of Tarsus about "eating food sacrificed to idols" what would you think? Some people were happy to get bread to eat, not everyone had an income, and their was no Walmart.

I get my information like everyone else. I research it and use logic and reason applied to evidence. From time to time I put an opinion here on A/N just like others do. Some of my opinions are of a "religious" nature because of the background I came out of. That's what I did as a theist. Everything is now on the other foot because I'm atheist.

Oh, Michael, how I wish a theist would lay that line on me!

(I'm wondering if my very out-of-the-closet attitude intimidates the more aggressive theists. One told me he is a biblical literalist; another told me she believes her god dictated the bible to the men who are named as its authors. I don't try to enlighten such people.)

If a theist tells me I have to believe in something, I will reply "I believe in myself," which sounds narcissistic until you know the considerable effort that Catholicism puts into blocking children's attempts to learn to trust themselves.

My very Catholic dad had paid to send me (and four more kids) to Catholic schools. Years after he died I realized that by demanding quality performance in the various tasks (mowing the lawn, etc) he gave me, he had subverted Catholicism's attempts to wreck my attempts to build some self esteem.

BTW, before he died he knew that all five of his kids had quit Catholicism. It might have been our revenge for his occasional violence.

'She immediately went on a rant about how she is "sick of atheists," and how "stupid" they are to be "angry at God."

I think that she's ignorant of the fact that atheists cannot be angry at God. Atheist is someone who doesn't believe in God, so how can one be angry at something that doesn't exist?

Leon,

"angry at God."

I've heard that line repeated so often I can only conclude they're willfully disregarding what we're telling them. On certain websites, atheists have pointed this out to the obnoxious theists. Not much time passes and they're right back to repeating this drivel. I honestly don't know what to do with these people. I think they're usually in an environment where they feel slandering people will have no downside to them. Oddly enough, most of these forum participants believe they, and their like minded friends, are from Lake Wobegon, possessing above average intelligence. Maybe that's just the internet. I shouldn't let it bother me but I sometimes wonder it it's all a waste of time to engage in discussion with people who put such low value on honesty.

Greg, the theist default position is that god exists and everybody knows it. They think their bible tells them this. So if you are a non-believer you have to be "angry at god."

Arguing with them on this point produces the fingers in the ears and "la la la la la la la, I can't hear you." They are systematically trained to deny logic of any kind.

I don't give a sh!t about their "default" position. Their are screaming their "default" position in their churches. I don't go there, I don't want to see their religious leaders foaming and thumping their garbage on their pulpits.

I was furious! I cursed god all the way from Texas to Washington state. . Then I rebuked myself for believing those ridiculous delusions. For two thousand miles, I cursed. Then I got busy getting an education. I learned a lot. Males do not have authority over females and children and get away with the crime of assault. Females have brains and learn what their family and culture teach them. Well, it is learned behavior and thinking.  Females can unlearn nonsense. They can learn a healthier, safer, more fulfilling and fun way to live. Children need a safe, secure, and stable environment; they do not have to suffer beatings in order to become good citizens.  

There is no god? What? No Jesus or heaven or hell? You mean Adam and Eve never existed a creation of  god? No Abraham and no promises from god? No Noah's ark and no 40-year travel over the desert with only manna to eat? People didn't live to be 900 years old?  The bible contains ALL those discrepancies? Fictions created fear and hope; they manipulated and exploited believers. 

I guess you get the picture now! Mad at a "let's pretend god"!

Isn't it nice to get out from under the control of imaginary beings and free of dreamed up punishments and rewards!!!

Alas, I can laugh now! I am who I am with all my gifts and faults. I can look anyone in the eye and tell them "Fuck you!" if I want to;  I don't want to, but I can. 

 

Don't worry about it. Women together babble on about all sorts of nonsense and reactions can be unpredictable.

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