Greta Christina Skepticon 4 Why Are You Atheists So Angry?

So, why are you atheists angry?

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Comment by Russell20 on December 4, 2011 at 6:00pm

Superb speech it has helped,to an extent, to re-energise me, which takes some doing as I am an atheist from the UK where no-one cares if you are an atheist. Really, it is no big deal here. When I tell my friends here that I am an atheist they usually reply, we know you told us!!!!

Comment by Logan A on November 27, 2011 at 2:32pm

So when people tell atheists not to be so angry, they are in essence telling us to disempower ourselves.




They're telling us to lay down one of the single most powerful tools that we have at our disposal.


They're telling us to lay down a tool that as far as I know no social change movement in history has ever been able to do without. They're telling us to be polite and diplomatic when history clearly shows us that polite diplomacy, which is in fact effective and I don't dismiss it, that polite diplomacy is much more effective when it's coupled with passionate anger.


In the battle between David and Goliath, they're telling David to lay down the slingshot, and kinda just, gnaw on Goliath's ankles or something. Yeah, that's a really effective method of social change.


And in fact, when believers tell atheists not so be so angry, or not to be so vocal about our anger, it's very difficult to avoid the conclusion that this disempowerment is exactly the point. "


Greta Christina, Skepticon 4

Comment by Logan A on November 27, 2011 at 2:31pm

I loved this video! So much that I started googling for transcripts, and came up with none but did see this thread.

I don't have the time or focus to transcribe the entire talk, but I really loved the section on the validity of anger in social change movements, and so I did transcribe (roughly, maybe?) some of that part. It follows:


"Does anger about religion help or hurt our cause?


I will freely acknowledge that anger is a difficult tool in a social change movement. It's even a dangerous one. Anger can make people act rashly, anger can make it harder to think clearly, anger can make people treat potential allies as enemies, you know, it can fuel tribalism. And in the worst case scenario, anger can lead to violence. Anger can screw up, and very contrary to popular opinion, psychological research shows that expressing anger does not make people calmer and less angry.


...I don't want to be cavalier about anger. Anger is a difficult tool, and it is one that we need to be careful with. But all that being said, yes, I think that anger in a social change movement is not only valid, but valuable and necessary.




Because anger is always necessary.


Because anger has driven every major movement for social change that I am aware of.


Anger has driven the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the queer rights movement, the feminist movement, the environmental movement. Every single one of these movements has had as a tremendous driving force, a tremendous amount of anger.


Anger about injustice, anger about mistreatment and brutality. Anger about helplessness.


We need to be very clear about this. Anger is not violence. Anger is not bigotry. Anger is not hatred. I'm not in favor of any of those things... but that's not what anger is. Anger is an emotion indicating displeasure and antagonism with a state of affairs.


Anger is one of the ways that we know that things are not okay.


Anger is how we know that people are being hurt unnecessarily. Anger is how we know that there is injustice in the world. And anger is how we know that its not just in our heads, but in our hearts.


Anger is what motivates us to do something about it.


I'm thinking about Julie's talk earlier, it's like we can't make decisions unless we are motivated by something, and that motivation, often, is anger. Seriously, why else would people bother to mobilize social change movements? Social change movements are hard! Wasn't there a Barbie doll where you pull a string and she says "Social change movements are hard!"




...they take time, they take energy, they take work. Sometimes they take serious risks. Risk of losing your family, losing your job...sometimes risks of personal, actual physical safety. You know, we wouldn't be bothering to do social change movements if people weren't furious about something.


So wh

Comment by matthew greenberg on November 27, 2011 at 10:09am

i don't think that this is a transcript, per se, but i believe this speech was based on this post from her website:

Comment by Frank on November 27, 2011 at 9:28am
Is there a transcript available ?
Comment by Chris S on November 26, 2011 at 4:14pm

Very well said!!!

Comment by matthew greenberg on November 26, 2011 at 2:20pm

i'm not angry....but i'm getting there!


great video, it should be sent to all our religious friends and familty. 


Comment by Loren Miller on November 26, 2011 at 7:58am

Just.  Plain.  BRILLIANT!



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