QotD: Generations

by VorJack

Despite the attention received by the New Atheists, they are just the most recent face of atheism. There have been many previous generation of atheists. In my recent poll, 18% of respondents stated that they had always been an atheist, and presumably this means that most of them were raised in non-theistic households.

The divide between first generation atheists – those who were raised religious but deconverted – and second generation atheists – those who were raised in non-theistic families, is starting to get some attention. There was a recent episode of Point on Inquiry that discussed the matter, creating some discussion in places like Blag Hag and other atheist blogs.

In your experience, is there any difference between first- and second-generation atheists?

Are the first-generation atheists more confrontational, as Elaine Ecklund suggested in PoI? Or is it more complicated than that?

And also, If you’re a second-generation atheist, what motivates you to get involved in the atheosphere?

It’s no secret that atheist blogs frequently act as support groups for people leaving the faith, and a chat rooms for people trying to dissect their old religion. Don’t you occasionally feel left out?

(Thanks to reader Revyloution for suggesting these questions)

  • http://godlessmusings.wordpress.com/ Fiyenyaa

    I am a second-generation atheist – my parents are both functionally non-believers; my dad does not believe in deities, but he used to extoll the virtues of Christian morality all the time – something which I have argued him into a more reasonable position; and my mum really doesn’t concern herself with religious thought of any kind (although I remember a great story she has where a friend of hers tried to get her into the Jehovah’s Witnesses during a long car journey – failed obviously).
    I think that because I’m here in the UK it doesn’t really make that much difference to my position; most people from a theistic background really didn’t have their life saturated in religion in anything like the numbers of the USA (although it certainly still happens), and this means those of us who are active in the atheist community at all tend to be pretty much as confrontational as each other, and most stories tend to be “I thought about it, and it didn’t make any sense” rather than any kind of re-evaluation based on crazy religious experiences. I think it’d be interesting to hear from the Ex-Muslim community in the UK, because we have some areas of quite conservative thought within the Muslim community over here – I imagine their experience is quite different.

  • Tee

    I find 1st gen to be a bit more smug, like they figured it all out 1st therefore they are superior. Me I am a 2nd gen after exploring all faiths and finding out none of them gave me inner peace. Parents? Father does not care. Mother thinks I am weird but accepts my choice. Brother? Is just like the pastor in the Simpsons and he also preaches that gays will go to hell and he prays for my soul though I have not talked to him in 6 years. Although my mother says he can’t understand why my godless life is going good and his life is going bad (divorces, cash issues, …etc).

    Only reason I get “involved” is to keep my sanity at times. But then again I live in Japan so I don’t have anywhere near the religious crazies here as some of you on here do. Best thing is I have no problem working Sundays so I get more money.

    I did get a visit from 2 Jehovah Witnesses yesterday. It was weird as it was my first time here seeing them. I just pretended to be an uneducated gajin and said “nani” a lot and they left. I was not in the mood to debate them and it’s very rude to do so here. But they were polite as they apologized 4 times for wasting my time. :)

  • http://site29a.com Grimm

    Hmm. All I know for certain is that, as a “2nd Gen” atheist, I find it’s not that hard to be one. Well, at least relatively.

    My work (those few who know) is at least tolerant enough that my job is in jeopardy (against my own expectations) though I do get lots of invitations to go to church. My friends shrugged and went on with life, and those that couldn’t moved on. There’s less need, I suppose, of being strident in my own defense.

    That said, I’d love to move to getting involved in the larger scheme of things… and I don’t know how. I’d really like to work with the Dawkins foundation or the Atheist Alliance, but “getting there from here” isn’t easy.

    Isn’t it odd? When you have a cause, doing things for and with it is difficult.

  • Siberia

    I suppose I’m a 2nd gen; while I was raised by a theist single mother it was more deism than any actual religion. She wasn’t and isn’t a fanatic (even after going evangelical) and is more prone to let we find our own religion than force any one on us, since she had a similar path.

    I love my mum.

    I get involved in the atheosphere because I like knowing things, learning things, debating things and I find atheistic sites have more interesting people and discussion than theist ones. It’s simple like that.

    The main difference I see between 1st and 2nd gen is that 1st gen tend to come off a tad bitter; like they were duped for a long time and finally saw the light, but remember all those wasted years. They tend to be a tad vitriolic as well (not all, but some) because of this bitterness. 2nd gen seem more relaxed or simply don’t care unless it crosses their path.

  • http://NoYourGod.blogspot.com NoYourGod

    “18% of respondents stated that they had always been an atheist, and presumably this means that most of them were raised in non-theistic households.”

    Don’t presume…. I am a 1st generation atheist along with 3 of my 7 siblings. I was raised in a catholic household, and was even forced to go to church every Sunday until I was 8 or so, but I never really believed. Oh, sure, I repeated things about “god”, but never with any sort of understanding or belief. I cannot recall a single time I talked about “jesus”, or “savior”, or anything like that. Although I did go through first communion and confession, again there was no belief or understanding of what those processes were actually for.

    Am I confrontational? No – not unless somebody confronts me. My favorite fuse is “Oh, you can’t be an atheist – you’re too good.” The response to that winner ranges from “Oh, don’t be silly – one does not have to believe in a boogie-man to be good” to “do you realize how condescending and insulting that statement is? You are saying that only people like you can be good.”

    • Olaf

      The same for me, I even went to catholic school where they prayed 4 times a day in class. Not because I believed but because it was a good school. In the beginning I pretended to pray not to upset the others. I respected their believe. But later in church I refused to go to the front to get the body of jesus, I stayed at my place since I did not want to fake a believe out of respect of the religion. The priests were not happy since it started other people also not going to the front of the church.

      I became an active atheists because I am fed up with religious nuts trying to convert me.

    • Michael

      This describes me fairly well. My Mom is an atheist (although she doesn’t ever really think about religion), but I didn’t actually realize that when I was little–I sort of assumed she was Christian. (Technically, I did ask her what her religion was, but responses ranged from “not very” to ” . . . Episcopalian, I guess.”) My Dad was raised very Catholic, but ended up thinking most of Catholicism was sort of a joke. He is still sort of Christian, but more of a Deist. Actually, the only substantial belief he still holds is one in the afterlife.

      But growing up, I thought I was going to be Catholic. My entire father’s family was Catholic after all, and I was going to a Catholic school where I learned about Christ and had a First Communion, etc. I did believe to some extent for a while, but my beliefs were always sort of confused and conditional. I was the kind of kid who would basically figure out Santa was fake at the age of three, but still sort of hold some vague beliefs regarding Christmas and Easter and such for several more years. The same was true about God, except that everybody I knew told me God was real, so I just assumed he had to be, even if I didn’t really believe.

      It wasn’t until I was maybe 11 or 12 that I really began to realize I didn’t believe in God, and I was a teenager before I was a true atheist.

  • JulietEcho

    I’m very much a “first-gen” – raised by a very religious family. You’re definitely right that atheist blogs and forums can, among other things, help people like me dissect our old religious beliefs and even shed some of the anxiety and feelings of isolation that leaving a religion can bring.

    I don’t consider myself very “confrontational” and I definitely don’t feel smug about “figuring it out” for myself. I have no idea what made me any different from the 40-odd kids who grew up in the same church and missionary organization with me, none of whom have strayed at all from the party line. Some of them are probably smarter than me, or at least as smart. Some of them had parents who were more strict than mine and some had parents who were less strict. My siblings grew up in the same environment I did, and they’re both really bright, and they’re both extremely Christian. I feel a sort of “survivor’s guilt” wondering why I got out and they didn’t.

    I’m quite jealous of my second-gen friends, as they seem so nonchalant about their non-believing parents! I couldn’t believe it when my agnostic friend told me her parents watched South Park with her. I was shocked to meet my (then-future) in-laws, who didn’t mind me sharing a bed with their son under their own roof or joking around about sex.

    I think second-gen atheists have the wonderful advantage of being free from religious baggage, anxiety, and residual guilt that many of us first-gen atheists have to deal with.

    • Nelly

      I like the “survivor’s guilt” comment…………that’s me too

      • JulietEcho

        Yeah, I spend a lot of time wondering what chance circumstances and perhaps genetic differences allowed for me to become a skeptic and for everyone else in that environment (along with my siblings, who share both parents) to be so staunchly Christian as young adults. I keep thinking maybe some of them will start questioning their faith eventually, but as each year goes by and more and more of them join ministries and marry other conservative Christians and graduate from Christian colleges, I lose hope that it’ll happen.

        It’s lonely being the “survivor” – especially when the rest of the community feels sorry for me or judges me for being rebellious and “rejecting Jesus” and so-on. Part of the reason I’m so involved in atheist forums/blogs is because they’re the only places I can find people like me, who somehow emerged from heavy childhood indoctrination and guilt and somehow shed their religion. And I don’t necessarily see it as a virtue or a matter of being smarter or stronger – I think a lot of it has to do with chance.

        • ghostgirl10

          Oh, this is so me. I still have the guilt. Also, I am “undercover” or “in the closet” about not believing in God…fundamentalist evangelical pastor’s kid. :( My family can never find out and I literally have NOTHING outside my family and church. I just kind of live inside my brain, and on the internet. Eventually, it gets kind of surreal. And very weird.

  • Olaf

    I am neither, I grew up as a catholic but I always failed to believe. I tried to make sense of religion but it never daunted that people actually believed it to be real. I thought it was some cultural thing.

    I always classified real believers as nut-cases ripe for psychiatry. People that cannot separate reality from fiction. Until I heard about the Dover trials in the US in 2005. Since then I started to realize that even sane people would actually believe this to be real.

  • http://malvond.wordpress.com/ Malvond

    Not only am I second-generation, but both of my parents are, too. It does seem like a lot (though certainly not all) of first-generations are more confrontational, and I would say a bit more arrogant. Privately, my parents and I will bash religion all day long, and I will admit that I have particular prejudice against Christians more than anyone else. But as an adult I’ve lived in (and am living in) Christian-conservative places with people who, while I believe them misguided, are good people, and while I will happily discuss with them why I don’t adhere to their or any religious beliefs, I would not aggressively attack their beliefs without them attacking mine first. I think that believing in things like One Creator and the divinity of Jesus and all that is stupid, but I also try to remind myself that as much as I know that I’m right, they know that they’re right, too, and that helps me guide both my interaction with others and my own reflection.

  • kjpweb

    Isn’t this a question that is making little sense, unless you place Atheism in the realm of it’s own religion? Aren’t we talking about the absence of something?
    Why can’t we do away with the “ism’s” completely and just keep debunking the existing ones?

  • Zotz

    I was raised in a strict, conservative Mormon family. I became an unbeliever fairly early (as a tweener). However I kept up appearances holding priesthood positions and attending seminary, etc.

    Along the way I grew up in the 60s and 70s and experimented with “spirituality” both religious and pharmacological.

    After a stint in the military (Viet Nam) and Nixon I became an atheist around age 27 and radically progressive. And I consider myself militantly, angrily atheist. I consider it my duty as a sentient being to confront religious superstition to the best of my ability, wherever I find it. I relish pointing out the utter stupidity and inherent bigotry of religion. No quarter.

    After lo these many years my once very (religiously, politically) conservative parents (late 70s) are now both atheists and progressives and very politically active. I couldn’t be more proud of them.

    So, I’m a 1st generation atheist in a family with deep roots in conservative Mormonism (my ancestors came from Sweden, pulled handcarts across the country, and settled in Southern Idaho and Utah), but we’re all atheists now.

    • Jerdog

      I suppose I’m 1st gen. I was made to go to catechism and went so far as to be confirmed catholic. Though I never really believed in it I sort of went with the flow, I have never been to church by choice (just family obligations.)

      In college I realized there was no reason I had to believe in god. I never really made an issue of it. I did casually wonder why people did believe, not to the point of visiting blogs about it.

      A few years ago I got involved in singing in a style called shape notes. The main songbook is called The Sacred Harp which was published in 1844. The songs are all religious in nature. See: fasola.org for details. I have been singing from this book weekly with tens to hundreds of people. I definitely get the irony in singing “I want to live with Jesus every day” but really it is a very enjoyable hobby for me.

      The interesting thing is religion is NOT discussed at a singing. Every one is very much invited and accepted. So it is actually hard to tell what people’s religions (or politics) are. I know I’m not the only atheist. There are Jews (former? current?) that I sing with. Even though I’ve sung with (likely very religious conservative) people from the deep south we all get along fine because it is the joy of the singing unites us.

      Anyhow, that is how I started to think hard about religion and why I read this blog. I’m interested in why some people believe in an idea that is past its prime.

      • Jerdog

        That wasn’t meant as a reply to Zotz.

  • Jasowah

    I am a first generation.
    I would like to stereotype and say that 2nd generations are more smug and arrogant while 1st generations are more aggressive due to past relations with a religion, but the truth is that it really seems to depend on the person in this regard.
    I know one second generation who is an over smug ass, and I also know one who never mentions the topic but is still well versed in it (and polite about it).

    • Jasowah

      *overly

      typo!

  • privet

    I’m a 3rd generation atheist. Or even more, not sure. None of my friends or relatives were religious, and I never meet a believer until I was 20 or so (not kidding).

    I’m not involved in the “atheosphere”. The “new atheists” irritate me. I find them shallow, arrogant, badly educated (in particular, in the areas of psychology and philosophy) and immature. They are like children that believed in Santa Claus for too long (when all the friends made fun of them) and now they overcompensate for the trauma by fighting Santa Clauses.

    • http://www.shredderfood.com ShredderFeeder

      Exactly!

    • Mike

      Have you read Sam Harris? He’s the uneducated guy with the PhD in neuroscience…

      • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

        Yeah, and what about that uneducated philosopher, Daniel Dennett? He’s *so* immature.

        • privet

          Daniel Dennett is a new-born atheist??? That’s news for me.

      • privet

        Mike, I haven’t read Sam Harris, but just checked the wikipedia article on him. From there: “…Harris stated that he grew up in a secular home and his parents never discussed God”. So, I don’t see how he is relevant here… Was he a religious type before?
        …I guess we use the term “new atheist” differently. Or, you can say, I misunderstand the term. By new atheists, I meant the new-born atheists, the former religious fanatics that denounced their faith and started fighting it.

        • Mike

          Indeed, misunderstanding of terms. I generally take ‘new atheist’ in the sense of the current generation of scientifically literate and usually outspoken atheist figures in the public domain, particularly the ‘four horsemen’ – Harris, Hitchens Dennett and Dawkins.

          Harris’s ‘End of Faith’ is well worth the read, and his recent TED talk just has to be seen.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/andrea.m.semler The Nerd

    I’m 1st Gen, and interestingly enough, I only have “issues” when it comes to talking with my still-religious family. I have a vast array of friends and acquaintances who are atheist of different origins, and I have yet to see a definite pattern, other than the one of awkward family reunions. It’s possible that we only see these different generational characteristics because we’re expecting to. (Confirmation bias?)

  • http://www.shredderfood.com ShredderFeeder

    I suspect that like born-again Christians, born-again Atheists feel a more pressing need to push their (non)beliefs on others.

    I’m second gen atheist. And when it comes to religion I really could care less. If other people need their illogical beliefs to get through their day, so be it, it really doesn’t affect me at all.

    “Religion is a crutch for those not able to stand up to reality on their own.” -R.Heinlein

    Truthfully I find it hilarious how the “born-again-atheists” have managed to make a religion out of not having one. It’s just as unreasonable in comparison.

    • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

      “If other people need their illogical beliefs to get through their day, so be it, it really doesn’t affect me at all.”
      …unless I happen to be in the building they fly the plane into…

      • http://www.shredderfood.com ShredderFeeder

        Religious hatred foments religious hatred. Has it ever occurred to you that Christians (and by christians I mean catholics) started the whole mess with the crusades? It’s pure ego to wander into a foreign country and tell them that my imaginary friend is better than your imaginary friend.

        I’m not sure why it surprises anyone that they hate us, we slaughtered millions of their people in the name of “bringing them to Jesus.”

        That leaves a mark on people.

        • Blood Red Fox

          Um… no… to say that the Christians “started the whole mess with the crusades” is nonsense. The supposed mark that the crusades left on the Muslims of middle east is a modern myth. The crusades barely left a mark on the culture’s psyche. What DID leave a mark was the Mongol invasions and the destruction of Baghdad. If there was going to be such a mark surviving into modern times, any chance of that was stamped out by trauma inflicted by the mongols. There is nothing to suggest that there was such a mark, and if there was then what we have today is a irrelevant resurrection.

          It seemed that Muslims have not really been outraged about… until modern times. It’s a result of all the European Imperialism in the region after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. While the boot of colonialism was stomped on them, they looked back and remembered the Crusaders, only then did the Crusades became the symbol that is has today.

          The reason that they hate the west is not because of wars that occurred in the the middle ages. It’s the result of sustained imperialism throughout the 20th century. You can’t tack the blame onto Christianity for that one.

    • Kodie

      I used to feel that way, and still feel that most people are not going to use their religions to harm me or affect my life in any way. Those who just believe in god and don’t affect anything are mostly harmless. It is to watch out for the harmful ones, those who affect policy, including infringing on the rights of other faiths or no faiths, not to dismiss anything like violent behavior and such.

      I think as an atheist, it may or may not bother you when people around you default to religious phrases and sentiments, and that one is not quite as free as an atheist to ?? I don’t know what do we do? Much of what you hear from any given atheist is pushback, in whatever degree they personally feel necessary, some may be quite vocal and angry about their upbringing, but channel that into those pressing issues of infringement and/or violence. It’s also popular among some to point out the folly of belief, for amusement purposes.

      Online communities such as this one heighten a lot of the expression that perhaps people are discouraged from in their daily lives, we are just being on-topic. It’s all well and fine for someone to accept themselves for what they think, and tolerate others, but communities provide a resource for people who are alone or think they are to educate themselves, to get over their myths (of god and of what an atheist actually is), and participate in the discussion of issues. A facebook friend of a friend once made a comment on a vid he posted about praying to a gallon of milk instead of god, saying that atheists were pushy — to even make the video demonstration. That is pushy? To put something on the internet for people who are looking to find information in their quest to be alright with themselves in atheism… is pushy? Sure, there are loud people on both sides, but some people have literal tolerance, as if atheists have nothing to discuss whatsoever, or demonstrate for those seeking more information. The fact that someone out there thinks it’s pushy to demonstrate in what ways faith in god is unreasonable means they are aware of us, and can’t ignore us, there are a lot of us, and we just want to live and say things and be tolerated also.

      • http://www.shredderfood.com ShredderFeeder

        *VERY* well said.

  • Paul

    I don’t really have much insight to the first question. Only that it is more confrontational. I think my mom may have been a first generation atheist (I think her family had belief in god, but wasn’t that concerned with being actively religious) and my dad is definitely a deconvert. She is highly confrontational whereas he is not. Meanwhile, being a second generation myself, I don’t get very confrontational because I know that being an atheist in America is a minority in a christian nation.

    But that is the reason I joined the atheosphere– due to Madison and his factions (Federalist 10). It feels good to be around people who I can relate to, especially since I felt that being an atheist was an abnormality that was looked down upon by society. It wasn’t until highschool that I started to find other atheists, and learn that we aren’t as much of a minority as I previously thought.

    Also, yes, I do sometimes feel left out of the discussions where the first generation atheists dissect their old religions. But I also enjoy sitting on the side lines and listening. I haven’t studied the same materially that they have, at least not yet, and the discussions I’ve been privy to have always been insightful, interesting, and a great learning experience.

    • Paul

      Post Script
      I was interested in knowing the results to that poll, were you [vorjack] going to release the info, or did you already and I just missed it?

  • http://insanitek.net Cat

    I have honestly not been part of the atheist community for long enough to actually know any first generation atheists closely enough to answer your first question.

    As for your second question, I was raised both with and without religion. I was told it was my choice. My mother disdained religion for the time that I was growing up. I never got the feeling that it was wrong to be an atheist until my mother became a fundamental later in life. It was then that I started seeking out the atheist community for . . . solace, I guess.

    It isn’t that I was ever close to my mother, but I don’t make friends easily. (I’m a bit of a hermit.) Just hearing or reading about people that also disbelieve, question, and continue to question religion gives me a sense of peace that I’m not the wack-job mistake that my mother claims I am.

    As for being pushy about atheist, no. Personally I love to debate religions of any sorts, but only on the level. I never bring up the fact that I’m an atheist unless directly ask. I don’t insult others for their beliefs. When asked why I don’t believe them I simply respond with “it doesn’t suit me”. If the discussion escalates beyond that point, I generally excuse myself.

    It is when atheists or religious people are mean spirited, confrontational, arrogant, full of themselves, and/or immature that I find them intolerable. It can go either way as I’ve seen, and I’ve not been part of the atheosphere long enough to know what generation has the majority with this attitude.

  • DDM

    Is it okay if I label myself inbetween? When I was about 9 my parents divorced. My mother was very religious, but my father(who might as well be an atheist for all he cared about religion) got full custody. So what happened was that I’d spend 12 days in a non-religious household, then 2 in a religious one. And in those 2 days my mom would drag me to church on Sunday, which was always terribly boring for me.

    Eventually my mother stopped going to church and I did too.

  • Kodie

    It kind of skipped a generation, I think. I don’t know what my mom believes but I think she believes. It can’t have been a very strong belief because my grandfather financially supported us, supposedly under the condition that we aren’t brought to church. Religion was never discussed. My grandfather brought up atheism, not every time we visited, but enough that I’d heard of it plenty, nothing like setting us down and discussing it, it was usually in rant form about some news of the day. My father believes in god but not organized religion. He never said anything about it either way until I asked him because a classmate asked me what religion I was.

    I didn’t answer the “juvenalia” question yesterday, but I went a long time as a child before I understood how much god meant to other people. I thought it was a family-oriented thing (sorta), cultural, like what different foods different moms make for dinner, or some dads wear suits to work and others do not. Important to the family, but not important-important. Even after hearing about heaven and hell, I couldn’t grasp how serious this was to everyone but me. Even with the education I got in public school regarding the Pilgrims fleeing Europe yadda-yadda religious tolerance, etc., etc., the 1st Amendment brought up the topic, it never seemed like such a big deal, and for these reasons, I became someone who was mostly religiously tolerant. Be who you are and it’s all good, right? It helps that the area where I grew up is religiously diverse and not pushy about it. Having the Jewish holidays off from school didn’t seem like a terrible idea to me either.

    I assumed I was an atheist for a long time, but it was more of a long journey into it for me, starting in college to really identify myself as a thinking atheist and not just the atmosphere I was raised in, and really picking up within the last year or two (that’s over a decade elapsed). I’m in the atheosphere to examine myself and to find out what others think. I’m finding out more and more just how many people are crazy for Jesus and other deity figures, way more than I thought and way crazier than I thought, and how to handle questions/situations among the religious, and whether or not to keep my mouth shut and just what should I say, or why I’m still sometimes afraid to say it to certain people. I do not fear my life or property, but it doesn’t help that I’m already a little socially awkward that mentioning my atheism tends to deter people who might otherwise be my friend or at least civil to me.

  • Ladyh

    1st gen here, and yeah, I had a lot of guilt to work thru before I could finally let go of god. When I did, I was very angry at the idea that I had wasted so much of my life (and based very important decisions) on religious beliefs that could not be based on reality. I rejoice in my freedom now, but it scares me that there are those who believe that because I’m a woman I shouldn’t have any freedom. It’s those ppl whom I fight against, and if I am over zealous it is because there is a line I will never cross again. I imagine it’s like some of the original hard-line feminists, fighting to keep their hard won freedom, while their children grow up thinking it’s not a big deal, because they never lived without it.

  • Footsoldier

    As a 2nd gen in the US I came to the atheosphere once I left the safe environment of my home and moved out into the general population where most religions are accepted, but lack of one is cause for great suspicion. In each new place I’ve gone (state college, military job etc.) I realized I have to hide my non belief until I become fully established in the community. With the overwhelming pervasity (probably not a word) of religion here in the south where I live currently it is a breath of fresh air to come home and hear from likeminded people for a change (probably how some folks feel when they turn on FOX news).

  • beyonddeities

    I’m….. Idk. Mother’s side very religious, dad’s side atheist. :\

  • Grumpygirl

    2nd gen. Both parents atheists, mother raised as a Catholic and VERY anti religion.

    I think as a 2nd gen atheist you don’t have the same anti-religion viewpoint. You didn’t have experiences that drove you away from religion that your parents did.

    That being said, I think our country (USA) is becoming more intolerant of atheism than it was in the past. When I was growing up and told people I was an atheist, it didn’t mean anything to my friends. They were Catholics, Jews, and I was an atheist. Nowadays, my children are getting harrassed at school for being atheists. They are proud atheists (one is going to the Unitarian Church, you know, the religion where they have at MOST one god :-)) and won’t take crap from other kids.

    I like this website because I, too, have become an “angry atheist”. I’m tired of the disrespect there is for my non-religion. I’m tired of people requiring other people bow to their religious beliefs, even when they don’t make sense. I don’t understand why I have to respect their beliefs when they believe in complete nonsense. Worse, they pass laws based on their 2000+ yo literature that don’t make sense in the modern world.

    It’s just nice to read some sanity once in a while :-)

  • matt

    I’m first generation, and I would agree that many of us are more confrontational. Most of us because we were decieved by religious people for years and are occasionally still bitter about it. Also, because we have a religious background, we are often better equiped to be confrontational.

  • TrollofReason

    Mmh. I don’t think it’s any real surprise that so-called New Atheists are more militant (vocal) than the previous generation. I also don’t think it really has anything to do with a generation thing, necessarily. Unless we’re talking about cultural shifts then yes, it’s totally a generation thing.

  • ln

    1-gen. both parents are/were inspired by religion, but not to the point of sanctimonious piety. religious stories may stimulate me to some extent, but that’s all. as for opposition? one can say i only oppose religion to the extent that it attempts to assert authority, as i strongly believe that authority must have a legitimate foundation based upon reason and not faith.

    that’s all, really.

  • http://www.jesus21.com Miss Poppy Dixon

    My great-granddad was an atheist. No one in my family from then on was religious except for me in my teens.I guess that makes me a 4th generation atheist – woo-HOO! Having been religious, though, I do enjoy the war stories in the forums. I don’t feel that militant, though I am definitely feeling more hostile to religion these days. It is just such a colossal waste of resources, and the root of most that ails the world.