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!)

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Well, being told I was bitter was something I heard a lot, in the church. There was no end to it being applied to one another as Christians. It was always an easy thing to say to someone who might point out an issue or a problem.

For example:

Parishioner: Pastor, I'm concerned about your relationship with that "other" woman. You know, the one that isn't your wife?

Pastor: You must be bitter.

Anything to keep the issue off of them and put the problem back on to you.

So, I'm not surprised to hear it now. In fact, I expect it. But, I'm very tired of it.

I was never angry at God as a Christian. As a non-Christian, nope, can't be mad at someone who isn't there.

Of course, they won't like my answer to their charge, but there's nothing I can do about it.
I was at first. Christianity is a much different experience for a woman, I would think, than it is for a man. Not that it's particularly worse, just kinda different in a soul crushing "hey I can't help how I was born" downfall of man way.
Yes. I'll never forgive him for that one socks-only Christmas back in '78...
Yes. When I was 7 years old my parents had very little money. That year Santa gave me a globe for christmas. Needless to say I was less than enthused. Years later, I realized that that was one of the best christmas presents ever. I studied that globe and learned where countries were that I had never even heard of (I have an abnormal love for geography). Thanks for asking.
Am I bitter, as an atheist? Absolutely not. I would explain my "deconversion" as a coping process, however. Like losing a close friend...let me explain.

For eight years of my life I was a Pentecostal Assemblies of God Christian, on the road to being an evangelist. I was offered a full ride to a very popular bible university by my church as well. I went to church sunday mornings, evenings, tuesday nights for sign language class (interpreted sermons for the deaf ministry), wednesday nights for youth groups, thursday night leadership classes...and I had my campus bible club (I was president) on friday afternoons.

I spoke frequently in the church, in the youth group, and at local youth conventions for sermon delivery.

It was my whole world...

Worship was my favorite part. As Pentecostals we believed in speaking in tongues...that special language of worship between you and God...It was usually accompanied with powerful music...I broke all of my non-christian CD's in half one night at youth group. Our pastor had encouraged us to do it as an epic display of our devotion to God...

There are a few christian bands which I still enjoy listening to for this reason alone...nostalgic, and even though I don't agree with the meaning behind them, I enjoy the music...

moving on...

I used to babysit the music minister's children on a regular basis. Listening to he and his wife discuss the fact that the music wasn't contemporary enough, and people weren't as receptive to 'GOD' and THAT'S why god wasn't moving was disheartening...I sought help.

I did some research, felt broken hearted. Realized that God was simply a feeling that I could turn off and turn on at will. It wasn't that god didn't move when I wanted him to, it's that he did...and NOT on his own will. THAT'S what caused me to doubt.

I'm not bitter, like I said. I was just broken hearted...and coping with the loss of a friend. Realizing that you've condemned at least a hundred people including my own homosexual brother is REALLY hard to deal with at times.

But as an atheist, I'm a stronger person. Having had these 'experiences' I find that I'm more equipped to think rationally. :)

Viva la revolucion.
It's like looking into a mirror.
I had nearly the exact same experience...other than, I am the homosexual brother.
Nope. As a Christian, I was bound by many kinds of "Thou shalt nots ...", many of which made absolutely no sense. As an "unbeliever," I have the freedom to decide for myself which ones are good and which ones I can ignore. (With a little help from my culture, of course.) Why would I be bitter about finally having the freedom that Christianity always promised but never delivered?

Angry with God? How can one be angry with somebody else's myth?
Bitter - not at all. My only regrets at all are all the years wasted believing in an imaginary friend. In fact, I am happier and more fulfilled now than I ever was as a Christian. I marvel at the wonders of the Universe we exist in - I am captivated by the simple beauty of natural selection and the marvelous variety of species we share our world with. Christianity is a detriment to wonder.
Wow, what terrific responses... I've often been accused of being bitter, something I find bewildering.

I remember how surprised I was to be relieved not to have a Big Brother monitoring (and worse, judging) my every thought. How could I be bitter?
I think I'm more angry at religion and the terrible things I actually believed because of it. Maybe if there were a God, I'd hate It too, but that's silly if It doesn't exist.
But I've never felt so free since I left Christianity. I have alot more respect for myself. My de-conversion process was like getting off a drug, but it kind of felt like a rush of adrenaline. I felt really fresh and renewed
My feelings too, why be angry and something that was never there in the first place. So much better to be mad a the real cause of all of the worlds problems, religion.
Though for a small while i did fell a rather great hatred for "god" when i was still christian. But it was mostly just me trying to blame someone for all the bad things that were happening at the time.
I'm not bitter, no, either towards "God" (who I don't believe we have sufficient proof for) or towards Christians who still believe as fervently as I used to. A LOT of people who are freethinkers now would say "of course I'm not angry or bitter at God, He doesn't exist...... but those Christians.... man, some of them are just IMPOSSIBLE... and judgmental....How dare they tell me where I'm going when I die?" and really, it CAN be easy enough, as an ex-Christian, to harbour some resent and bitterness towards people who still believe as you used to.

Because it took me a LONG time to work out the issues around my faith and then to move away from faith.... I tend to see it differently. I see us as all being on a path. Each on an individual path, mostly -- sometimes, they intersect, but we're still going down a path that we only fully understand ourselves, and we haven't had the experiences, the chances, the circumstances that others have had... and they haven't had ours. Therefore, while I can debate the beliefs someone has/ the claims someone makes as well as the validity of those claims, I don't feel I have any right to be bitter towards them for making them and believing them. I was there too, once; I stepped away because of my own life experiences. Maybe they will later, and maybe they won't.... but that's up to them.

The other thing that makes it easy not to harbour resentment or bitterness is that I have SEVERAL family members and family friends who are attached to religion in some way or another.... and I love these people. I respect them. I used to hold some of the same beliefs they hold now... So that does tend to help me understand them and just 'let them be'.


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