There is something that each of us does not understand. Rabbi Gellman just can’t understand why atheists “are often so angry” and I just can’t understand why theists prefer to promulgate this tired canard at every opportunity. Gellman might as well have added how he can’t understand why blacks sing and dance all the time or why it is that blond women are so dumb. Like many before him, Gellman engages in a little armchair psychology on the angry atheist:
“…I am tempted to believe that behind atheist anger there are oftentimes uncomfortable personal histories. Perhaps their atheism was the result of the tragic death of a loved one, or an angry degrading sermon, or an insensitive eulogy, or an unfeeling castigation of lifestyle choices or perhaps something even worse.”
An insensitive eulogy? A lifestyle choice! What can you say? It’s almost laughable. Or perhaps Mark Twain said it best when he cautioned that it “is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.” Or am I being angry for saying that? Hopefully someone will help the rabbi with a little reality check: nonbelievers are just as happy, fulfilled, and purposeful in our lives as are believers. We laugh, we play music, we raise families, are actively involved in our communities, and spend each day trying to contribute positively to the world. I’ll bet the rabbi knows a lot of good folks who just happen to be atheists — perhaps a neighbor or the friendly checkout clerk at the grocery store. He doesn’t know they’re atheists because they’re too darned friendly and not angry enough. (Once when I told someone I had known for some time that I was an atheist she was shocked and blurted out, “really? but you’re so nice!” Ah, how honest we can be with each other at times!)
Are there angry atheists out there upset over something or other? I suppose there must be but then again there are a ton of angry believers doing some incredibly stupid things too. The other day I read a story about several Muslim radicals in Syria who gunned down a school principal in front of several students while shouting “Allah is great!” Some lifestyle choice eh? Do yourself a favor rabbi. Get out and meet some of us! You might be pleasantly surprised.