Various types of atheists/non-believers and anger

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An angry atheist speaking to a woman with a Bible in her hand.

The Christian philosopher James S. Spiegel says the path from Christianity to atheism among several of his friends involved moral slippage such as resentment or unforgiveness.[1] See: Atheism and unforgiveness

On January 1, 2011, CNN reported:

People unaffiliated with organized religion, atheists and agnostics also report anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image - that is, what they imagined God might be like - said lead study author Julie Exline, Case Western Reserve University psychologist.

In studies on college students, atheists and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers.[2]

Various studies found that traumatic events in people's lives has a positive correlation with "emotional atheism".[3]

For more information, please see: Atheism and anger

The 6 types of atheists and anger/violence

A University of Tennessee at Chattanooga study of non-believers found that there are 6 types of atheists/agnostics/non-believers: atheists/agnostics who are more intellectually minded (38% of total sample); non-believer political activists who commonly get involved in leftist/political causes more than atheist activism (23% of non-believers, most atheists lean toward the left end of the political spectrum, see Atheism and politics); Anti-Theist (This vocal group often gets conflated with all atheists by believers, but they merely constitute 15 percent of non-believers); Seeker-Agnostic (makes up 7.6 percent of non-believers) and Non-Theist (apathetic and is only 4.4 percent of non-believers).[4]

Anti-theists/militant atheists/New Atheists give the public the perception that atheists are exceptionally angry individuals.[5] Social science research indicates that anti-theists score the highest among atheists when it comes to personality traits such as narcissism, dogmatism, and anger.[6][7] Furthermore, they scored lowest when it comes to agreeableness and positive relations with others.[8]

Picture of the atheist, lesbian and leftist Greta Christina in 2010.

(photo from Flickr, see: license agreement)

As far as the non-believer political activists mentioned above (who commonly fall on the left end of the political aisle as noted above), a New Scientist article about anger and one's political affiliation entitled Why conservatives are happier than liberals may be relevant and it declared:

Liberals, claim New York University psychologists Jaime Napier and John Tost, have a tougher time rationalising social and economic inequality than conservatives.

The recent surge in home foreclosures, for instance, is due to poor economic choices on the part of borrowers, a conservative might think. Liberals, on the other hand, seethe at predatory lenders and lax government regulation of the mortgage industry.

The result: conservatives mix a martini and hit the country club, while liberals write angry letters and stage protests.

Of course, American political views aren't so binary, yet the happiness divide seems to be real. Previous studies, including a 2006 survey from Pew Research Center have found the same general trend, much to the delight of conservative pundits like George Will, who noted that "liberalism is a complicated and exacting, not to say grim and scolding, creed."....

To add some ammo to these explanations, Napier and Tost conducted a series of surveys on political attitudes of Americans and citizens of 8 Western countries, using previously collected data. Their results affirmed the "conservatives are happy, liberals are mad" findings of previous polls, but income, education, religion and other demographic variables couldn't explain the happiness gap.[9]

The atheist, lesbian and leftist Greta Christina told the journalist Chris Mooney on the Point of Inquiry podcast, "there isn't one emotion" that affects atheists "but anger is one of the emotions that many of us have ...[it] drives others to participate in the movement".[10]

Seculars leftists have used violence and indoctrination to achieve their political/ideological aims

Historically, the secular far left has used large scale violence to achieve its political/ideological aims (See: Atheism and mass murder and Atheism and communism). In addition, both the secular far left and secular left have employed atheist indoctrination to achieve their ideological/political objectives.

The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied article: The Myth of the Angry Atheist

In 2015, an article appeared the Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied entitled the The Myth of the Angry Atheist and the journal abstract declared:

Atheists are often portrayed in the media and elsewhere as angry individuals. Although atheists disagree with the pillar of many religions, namely the existence of a God, it may not necessarily be the case that they are angry individuals. The prevalence and accuracy of angry-atheist perceptions were examined in 7 studies with 1,677 participants from multiple institutions and locations in the United States. Studies 1–3 revealed that people believe atheists are angrier than believers, people in general, and other minority groups, both explicitly and implicitly. Studies 4–7 then examined the accuracy of these beliefs. Belief in God, state anger, and trait anger were assessed in multiple ways and contexts. None of these studies supported the idea that atheists are particularly angry individuals. Rather, these results support the idea that people believe atheists are angry individuals, but they do not appear to be angrier than other individuals in reality.[11]

See also


  1. Christian Philosopher Explores Causes of Atheism
  2. Anger at God common, even among atheists
  3. When atheists are angry at God by Joe Carter at website
  4. The 6 Types of Atheists and Non-Believers in America By Amanda Marcotte / AlterNet July 11, 2013
  5. [ The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied Volume 149, Issue 3, 2015], The Myth of the Angry Atheist
  6. Science Shows New Atheists to be Mean and Closed-Minded
  7. Why Sam Harris is Unlikely to Change his Mind by JONATHAN HAIDT, February 3, 2014 8:36 pm
  8. Science Shows New Atheists to be Mean and Closed-Minded
  9. Why conservatives are happier than liberals, Monday, August 11, 2008
  10. Greta Christina - Why Are You Atheists So Angry?
  11. [ The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, Volume 149, Issue 3, 2015, The Myth of the Angry Atheist