For last weeks Strange Questions, click here.
Once again before I start writing this article I must explain, even though through the name of the blog it should be obvious, that I am an atheist and I am not the one expressing this question.
Often times people express the belief that Atheists hate god. Is this actually the case though? We are asked in on-line debates and discussions, Why do you hate god? This is used as a way of stating that the only reason that Atheists deny the existence of god is that we have a personal vendetta against him. I think you will find in the following paragraphs that this is not the case.
In my own case, I loved god, I wanted desperately for god to be real. I was a minister, I had been raised in the faith, and it took years and years for my faith to actually completely wane. I now have a completely different view of faith and the bible that has occurred much after I had left the faith. Giving up my ministry, leaving the faith, and dropping my religious beliefs altogether did not come in any way from hate.
What people often times confuse with hatred against god, is anger against religion in general. For this point I can say it’s true. Many atheists are also anti-theists, especially those, like myself, who have come from a life in the faith. After realizing all the lies and misinformation that I had believed for many years, I was filled with a deep anger for those who promote faith as the answer to all of life’s worries.
In fact I was consumed with so much anger that for a while it would have been completely impossible for me to write this blog. Leaving the faith requires a decompression period when all of that pent-up anger comes out. This can be confused as anger against god but that isn’t so.
When you found out that Santa Claus wasn’t real did you get angry at Santa, or did you maybe have a bit of angst against your parents for lying to you? Generally speaking your anger would be aimed at your parents. Much the same is true for the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, unicorns, etc… The anger is focused at those who lied to you rather than the thing you had once believed in.
Being angry at a non-existent being makes absolutely no sense anyway. It would be like screaming at the corn on your dinner plate because it isn’t creamed. You would really be doing nothing but making yourself out to be completely illogical. Does this sentence make sense to you?
I am so angry at unicorns for not existing in reality!
Of course that wouldn’t make sense, how can you be mad at something that doesn’t exist or at least is not evidenced to exist? I think this is more an issue on the side of the theists than atheists. Wanting their own beliefs to be validated they deny that others could ever truly lack a belief in god. This challenges their assumptions and causes a form of cognitive dissonance which bothers them greatly. I know this to be the case since I too felt it at times as a theist.
This is why one of the primary arguments that apologists will use is to act as if atheists simply deny something they know to be true instead of actually providing evidence for their own claims. It is far easier for them to claim we hate god or that we are simply denying an existence that we actually know to be true, than to accept that some people look at the same information they do and come to a different conclusion.
Atheists do not hate god, we simply lack a belief in god. This is due to the fact that we don’t see there as being any verifiable evidence for a god. Some will take a hard-line stance that this evidence does not exist, while others will simply claim it is highly improbable that the evidence exists. You cannot hate what you lack a belief in, any more than you could hate a sleep gifting fairy for not existing and being incapable of curing your insomnia.