• Hi Guest: Welcome to TRIBE, the online home of TRIBE MAGAZINE. If you'd like to post here, or reply to existing posts on TRIBE, you first have to register. Join us!

How atheists became the most colossally smug and annoying people on the planet

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member


When did atheists become so teeth-gratingly annoying? Surely non-believers in God weren't always the colossal pains in the collective backside that they are today? Surely there was a time when you could say to someone "I am an atheist" without them instantly assuming you were a smug, self-righteous loather of dumb hicks given to making pseudo-clever statements like, "Well, Leviticus also frowns upon having unkempt hair, did you know that?" Things are now so bad that I tend to keep my atheism to myself, and instead mumble something about being a very lapsed Catholic if I'm put on the spot, for fear that uttering the A-word will make people think I'm a Dawkins drone with a mammoth superiority complex and a hives-like allergy to nurses wearing crucifixes.

These days, barely a week passes without the emergence of yet more evidence that atheists are the most irritating people on Earth. Last week we had the spectacle of Dawkins and his slavish Twitter followers (whose adherence to Dawkins' diktats makes those Kool-Aid-drinking Jonestown folk seem level-headed in comparison) boring on about how stupid Muslims are. This week we've been treated to new scientific research claiming to show that atheists are cleverer than religious people. I say scientific. I say research. It is of course neither; it's just a pre-existing belief dolled up in rags snatched from various reports and stories. Not unlike the Bible. But that hasn't stopped the atheistic blogosphere and Twitterati from effectively saying, "See? Told you we were brainier than you Bible-reading numbskulls."

Atheists online are forever sharing memes about how stupid religious people are. I know this because some of my best Facebook friends are atheists. There's even a website called Atheist Meme Base, whose most popular tags tell you everything you need to know about it and about the kind of people who borrow its memes to proselytise about godlessness to the ignorant: "indoctrination", "Christians", "funny", "hell", "misogyny", "scumbag God", "logic". Atheists in the public sphere spend their every tragic waking hour doing little more than mocking the faithful. In the words of Robin Wright, they seem determined “to make it not just uncool to believe, but cool to ridicule believers”. To that end if you ever have the misfortune, as I once did, to step foot into an atheistic get-together, which are now common occurrences in the Western world, patronised by people afflicted with repetitive strain injury from so furiously patting themselves on the back for being clever, you will witness unprecedented levels of intellectual smugness and hostility towards hoi polloi.

So, what’s gone wrong with atheism? The problem isn’t atheism itself, of course, which is just non-belief, a nothing, a lack of something. Rather it is the transformation of this nothing into an identity, into the basis of one’s outlook on life, which gives rise to today’s monumentally annoying atheism. The problem with today’s campaigning atheists is that they have turned their absence of belief in God into the be-all and end-all of their personality. Which is bizarre. Atheism merely signals what you don’t believe in, not what you do believe in. It’s a negative. And therefore, basing your entire worldview on it is bound to generate immense amounts of negativity. Where earlier generations of the Godless viewed their atheism as a pretty minor part of their personality, or at most as the starting point of their broader identity as socialists or humanists or whatever, today’s ostentatiously Godless folk constantly declare “I am an atheist!” as if that tells you everything you need to know about a person, when it doesn’t. The utter hollowness of this transformation of a nothing into an identity is summed up by the fact that some American atheists now refer to themselves as “Nones” – that is, their response to the question “What is your religious affiliation?” is “None”. Okay, big deal, you don’t believe in God, well done. But what do you believe in?

Today’s atheism-as-identity is really about absolving oneself of the tough task of explaining what one is for, what one loves, what one has faith in, in favour of the far easier and fun pastime of saying what one is against and what one hates. An identity based on a nothing will inevitably be a quite hostile identity, sometimes viciously so, particularly towards opposite identities that are based on a something – in this case on a belief in God. There is a very thin line between being a None and a nihilist; after all, if your whole identity is based on not believing in something, then why give a damn about anything?

How atheists became the most colossally smug and annoying people on the planet – Telegraph Blogs
 

NemIsis

TRIBE Member
Well, let's look at the demographics. About 2% of the world's population is atheist. They posted a few signs and it created an uproar. However, most atheists really couldn't care less what others believe in.. For instance, in regards to a previous thread about saying Grace:. My sister asks me to say it at every holiday meal (whether at my house or hers) and also at her wedding. She's a believer. She knows I'm an atheist. It's a tradition in our family. Does it make her happy? Yes. Am I thankful for the food on my plate? Yes. The sentiment, whether I believe in God or not, is the same. I think you'll find most atheists are pretty laissez-faire, so you're talking about even less than 2%

I could post religious signs about the coming of the end, or how if you don't believe then you will die a horrible death, but I'm sure you can google that. As well, you can google the huge number of anti-atheist sites, anti-gay (for religious reasons), anti-muslim, anti-semitic, etc., The last two of course being religion based, but they seem lto ove to hate each other (or some do). Personally, the most self-righteous/hate online groups that I have read are the ones with religious affiliations. And while there is smugness and self-righteousnes in all groups and affiliations, I've rarely seen atheists express absolute hate. But perhaps that's just what I've read. I don't read angry extremists on either side.
 
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders

spaboy

TRIBE Member
I think the most important part of the article touches on how atheism becomes an identity of nothing. The minute you let your religious / spiritual beliefs become your identity, you're annoying. To me at least. No matter what you believe in. I would consider myself an "atheist". Mostly because anyone who has the audacity to tell me they know what the fuck is going on irritates me thoroughly. Atheists, Christians, Jehovahs Witnesses, it doesn't matter. You give somebody the opportunity to feel superiority over others and then praise them for telling as many people as possible how right they are and how wrong you are...........
That's bound to round up a few narcissists

"Atheism" just happens to be the most popular choice at the moment.
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
You give somebody the opportunity to feel superiority over others and then praise them for telling as many people as possible how right they are and how wrong you are...........
Is this your impression of every religious person out there?
 

Mr. Magyar

TRIBE Member
Boss Hog said:
. Okay, big deal, you don’t believe in God, well done. But what do you believe in?
I've never understood this line of thinking. Why does one have to "believe in" something? It seems to me that "believing in" something tends to lead to a rather irrational commitment to viewpoints in the face of evidence to the contrary.
 
tribe cannabis goldsmith - gold cannabis accessories

praktik

TRIBE Member
The trend I'm noticing is a group of atheists competing to be the "nicest atheist" and to do this you must:

A) Make sure to make a disparaging comment about Richard Dawkins
B) Put a box around yourself and other "nice atheists" that leaves all the "bad atheists" out

What's ironic is the OPs attack on the alleged new "self identity" of atheists (why is this "new" now?), is itself a very specific claim of self-identity for the author...

Methinks he doth protest too much...
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Im also finding these kinds of tracts more and more useless at the same time as I have been developing into an increasingly tolerant and moderate atheist.

Maybe its marrying into a catholic family - I get annoyed when people attack religion with bullshit arguments.

But these kinds of articles seem to me to be far less accurate takedowns of "atheism" than it is a collection of strawmen in the author's imagination, note the OP is riddled with generalities.... This should be a clue the author is making less of a solid case about others and more of a case specifically about his attitude and self identity. "look at all these idiot atheists" - just seems a twist or two away from the strawman atheist "attitude" he is criticizing, who he imagines is saying "look at all these non-atheist idiots"
 
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
just seems a twist or two away from the strawman atheist "attitude" he is criticizing,
by strawmen I'm guessing you mean these guys that have to prove their intellectual superiority bashing people of faith in every online comments section.

Oh the delicious irony of those intellectual warriors.
 

Mr. Magyar

TRIBE Member
by strawmen I'm guessing you mean these guys that have to prove their intellectual superiority bashing people of faith in every online comments section.

Oh the delicious irony of those intellectual warriors.
You don't find it silly that people believe in invisible beings in the sky? People who insist their beliefs are true even when there is no evidence for them deserve to be mocked.
 
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders

praktik

TRIBE Member
You have ten paragraphs to explain. Go!
Author basically used generalized statements and crass formulations of imagined arguments he never ascribes to any one individual, setting up easy targets he can more easily use to show how awesome he is - thus he was creating "strawmen" of his imagined targets...
 

Rocky

TRIBE Member
You might believe you will have an ice cream tomorrow.
There is nothing wrong with this belief. There is nothing wrong with having "beliefs". This is what "believers" tend not to understand.

Using your example: It is well within the realm of possibility that he will have ice cream tomorrow. Based on evidence, we can all agree that ice cream does exist. We've all likely had some before. There is no reason for us to believe that ice cream will suddenly cease to exist tomorrow. We also have no reasonable reason to believe that tomorrow will not come. Therefore, there is merit to the belief that he will have ice cream tomorrow.

This question about "arrogant atheists" can be summed up with two of my favourite atheist quotes:

"There is no polite way to suggest to someone that they have devoted their life to a folly." - Daniel Dennet
“Religious apologists complain bitterly that atheists and secularists are aggressive and hostile in their criticism of them. I always say: look, when you guys were in charge, you didn’t argue with us, you just burnt us at the stake. Now what we’re doing is, we’re presenting you with some arguments and some challenging questions, and you complain.” — A.C. Grayling
 

WestsideWax

TRIBE Promoter


Anyone using the words "smug and annoying" to describe someone else, is probably quite resplendent in both qualities, themselves.
 
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders
Top