The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CXXXI (Angry Atheism)

June 6, 2005 | 22 Comments

A devout Catholic mom asks the Squad how to handle her 15-year-old daughter, who was devastated by the suicide of her older brother. In fact, the girl “has totally turned against God, saying she doesn’t believe, and if there is a God, she hates him.” The poor kid has also developed mono, asthma, infected eczema, pinkeye, an ear infection and strep throat. Not to mention the mental illness the Squad’s answer is bound to bring about:

The last thing you should be concerned about is your daughter’s angry atheism. Actually, it’s one of the few positive things in your otherwise heart-rending sorrow. Her fight against God is a sign of the importance, not the absence, of her faith. One can be a person of faith in harmony with God, or a person of faith in a struggle against God. You just can’t be a person of faith without God.

::scratching head::

(1) The first thing the girl said is that she doesn’t believe in God. This, it seems to me, would qualify as being “without God,” or having an absence of faith.

(2) The Squad never explains why being a person of faith is a “positive” or “important” thing. Believing things without reason or evidence (or contrary to reason and evidence) is a mark of idiocy, gullibility and ignorance. Furthermore, if God is in fact an omnipotent creature, being in a “struggle” against it couldn’t possibly be a positive thing. Even if it somehow made you a Person of Faith,” God could hurt you very, very badly. And isn’t Satan in a perpetual struggle with God? I don’t think God loves the devil simply because he’s a POF.

(3) Isn’t “angry atheism” redundant? All of us atheists are angry — and embittered and hateful, too. It’s sort of like talking about “dopey Catholicism.”


22 Responses to “God Squad Review CXXXI (Angry Atheism)”

  1. Serth
    June 6th, 2005 @ 12:59 pm

    I’d be more worried about the sicknesses and her crapped out immune system. Any god, believed in or not believed in would do nothing for this case. Jesus, if he exsisted would probably kill her (see Mathew 10)

  2. TrixieKatt
    June 6th, 2005 @ 1:27 pm

    Off the current topic: Top story on Yahoo just posted with a link to the truly terrifying results of an AP/Ipsos poll on religious atitudes worldwide. I guess I try to deny it’s really this bad until I’m faced with the ugly numbers.

  3. ms. jared
    June 6th, 2005 @ 3:13 pm

    i think the importance and positive positivity of being religious is that you get to go to heaven. so even if this poor girl is depressed and heartbroken and covered with dry, flaky skin, at least her mother can rest assured that someday they’ll both be driven around the gold paved streets of heaven by all those angels who got the shit job of hauling their asses around.

    did you hear about the kid who was mauled to death by the family dogs in SF this weekend? the mother was on the news and just kept saying over and over that the only thng keeping her sane was the fact that the kid was in heaven now and with god. she said it was obviously his time to go and god wanted him back.

    i was thinking, “jesus, couldn’t god have made him die in his sleep? i mean, the whole dog mauling thing is pretty harsh for a twelve year old.”

    oh well, the lord works in mysterious and ridiculously cruel ways…

    xoxo, jared

  4. hermesten
    June 6th, 2005 @ 3:39 pm

    “the kid was in heaven now and with god. she said it was obviously his time to go and god wanted him back.”

    Then why punish the dog? The dog couldn’t prevent himself from being used as God’s instrument.

    I’ve only seen one article on this, and in it someone is quoted as saying that the dogs were sometimes mean and sometimes nice. Dogs aren’t naturally mean: people make them mean. If these dogs are mean it’s because of the way these people treated them. And if a pit bull is mean, ever, you don’t keep it around children. What this woman is really saying about God wanting His child back is the religious version of the Bart Simpson line: “I didn’t do it; noboby saw me do it; you can’t prove anything.:

  5. Angie
    June 6th, 2005 @ 5:15 pm

    Why would an 18 yr old hang himself over a fight with a girlfriend? (shrugs)

    And I wouldn’t generalize atheists as angry. I don’t feel I’m angry. Annoyed at the rest of the world perhaps yes. But angry. Nah.

  6. Viole
    June 6th, 2005 @ 5:52 pm

    The young rarely have a sense of proportion. I’ve been pretty broken up over unworkable relationships before, but I always had a friend who wanted nothing more than to make me happy.

    That said, sometimes the old don’t have a sense of proportion either. Sure, her son killed himself, which is a brutal blow at best, but if she needs something to keep her going it should be the live daughter, not the dead son. She needs her mother to be whole and sane, not depressed and evangelistic, if she is to get through this without her own life being risked.

    Perhaps that’s the trouble; an afterlife does nothing to encourage you to get over your dead. They hang about like ghosts. Someone in the forum posted a link to a sound clip to Julia Sweeny on This American Life. She talked about letting go of her past dead, when she lost her belief in god. “I had to go back and kill off those people who died, who I didn’t think had really died.”

  7. glenstonecottage
    June 6th, 2005 @ 6:25 pm

    I ain’t angry anybody… unless they make fun of my Invisible Purple Unicorn.

    Then I feel that I have every right to kill them immoral infidels.

    This is what the IPU expects of us believers.

  8. Dave
    June 6th, 2005 @ 6:27 pm

    I hope you’re being tongue-in-cheek about atheists being angry. Oh, sure, we get exasperated and annoyed, but I don’t walk around angry.

    Maybe it’s that people are telling her that her dead brother is being tortured in Hell for committing suicide that’s got her all worked up.

  9. boywonder
    June 6th, 2005 @ 6:40 pm

    Her brother probably killed himself so he didn’t have to hear his mom whining about god all the time (joking). The idea of an afterlife does make the possibility of committing suicide (though it is a sin) more likely. It’s the “I’ll show them” mentality combined with “I’ll see ‘em again in heaven anyway” mentality.

  10. leon
    June 6th, 2005 @ 7:11 pm

    ::scratching head::

    ME TOO!

    But it does sounds like the 15 year old is living in a pig sty from all the ailments she has.

    Devout mama should stop this faithful shit and clean her house up.

  11. Grotesqueticle
    June 6th, 2005 @ 8:34 pm

    At least 61% of Americans don’t think that relegious leaders should try to influence government decisions. That is encouraging.
    When I was in my early 20’s I had a knock on the door one Saturday morning. My girlfriend and I were sitting on the couch hungover. Surprise! Surprise! It was two Jehovah’s Witnesses. I said, “No thanks, I’m an atheist.” A lady in her mid-thirties (wearing braces, which I thought odd) replied, “Really? I thought atheists were old bitter people.” She was quite sincere. She asked me, “Can we come in and talk to you?” I looked over my shoulder at my girlfriend sitting on the couch in a half shirt and panties, and ushered them in.
    Hey, it made for an interesting five minutes before they left.

  12. Kafkaesquí
    June 6th, 2005 @ 11:50 pm

    “I hope you’re being tongue-in-cheek about atheists being angry. ”

    Hmm. I may have to start commenting here again regularly, if only to educate the godless masses on how to decypher RA’s sarcasm encryption.

    From the God Scrod:
    “Her fight against God is a sign of the importance, not the absence, of her faith.”

    So what they’re saying is, fighting against God is a good thing? How do they explain Satan’s lowly position in the Company these days? Oh I know the Rabbi has nothing to say on it, but still.

  13. tarkovsky
    June 7th, 2005 @ 9:50 am

    “God” is in our heads, it is a meme. For that troubled 15-year-old, the meme is being challenged. When she works through and eventually overcomes her grief, it will be interesting to see if the “God” meme remains or if she will have moved in another direction.

    15 years old is young to have the experience required to be solidly anchored in the atheist meme. One has to be emotionally mature to do so.

    I contend most people are unsure of the existence of God, but because culturally the meme is very much ubiquitous, most people adopt the meme with a degree of doubt because it is emotionally more secure that way.

  14. hermesten
    June 7th, 2005 @ 9:59 am

    I apologize for my completely disconnected remarks in #4. I can’t even claim I was drunk or high when I made them; but I was apparently zoned in one way or another. If I was a Christian I could at least blame God.

    Mr. Tarkovsky, I like your movies.

  15. MBains
    June 7th, 2005 @ 11:21 am

    I didn’t bother checkin’ out the scrod’s actual page on this one. What you quoted though RA sounded good to me. The G-scrod can go a head and let her get mad and “believe” its cuz she’s a Person of Faith. The kids sounds just like I felt when I was first deciding how to jettison the idiotic baggage of my Catholic youth.

    And hey Trixie! I had to rant as soon as read that Ipsos/AP poll! That 61% is slippin’ though Grotesqueticle, if I recall past polls correctly. Scary sheet mang!

    Finally, Glenstonecottage thou arty a BLASPHEMER!!! ‘Tis the Invisible PINK Unicorn as I can revelatorily attest having never witnessed our Lordlette and Salvatator with mine own psychical eyes! (so there! :-p)

  16. Andy
    June 7th, 2005 @ 1:23 pm

    Heh… MBains, you beat me to it. I was going to call for a holy war against the blaspheming Purple-ites. :)

  17. speedwell
    June 7th, 2005 @ 4:14 pm

    I was actually one of the respondents for that poll. One of the frustrating things was that it asked about the “importance of religion in your life.” Now, I’m of course an atheist. But religious people and religious ideas impact my life, the culture I live in, religion-based decisions made by politicians in my city, state, and country, and I also have religious people in my family. Is religion important in my life? Hell yeah! I wish it was FAR LESS important!

  18. TrixieKatt
    June 8th, 2005 @ 12:40 pm

    Nice rant, MBains. It’s almost enough to make me forgive your dreadful taste in music (Aimee Mann excepted).

    Speedwell, I find it very interesting that you got polled. I always see the results of polls like this and think to myself “who the hell ARE these people”?

    And lastly, I’m pleased to announce that as of today I am reborn and have accepted the Invisible Puce Unicorn into my heart as my lord and personal savior.

  19. speedwell
    June 9th, 2005 @ 10:20 am

    LOL Trixie :) The poll was disseminated through the Harris Poll Online service, which may be the most influential of such pollsters. Harris pays you off in “points” that you can trade in like green stamps to get STUFF. (Six months or so of once or twice-a-week polls, and I got a quite decent little toaster oven last year.) I am an opinionated megalomaniac cuss who likes to think I’m speaking up for hundreds, even thousands of other people who think like me (my guy says, uh, who would that BE exactly? and I say, hush your mouth).

  20. TrixieKatt
    June 9th, 2005 @ 11:37 am

    OK, I just signed up for Harris. I can’t wait for my first poll on religion. Is there an essay portion, like the new SATs? I wish it were done by phone instead of online: Yeah Buddy, I’ve got an opinion on that. So pour a cup of coffee, call the babysitter and get comfortable because it’s gonna be a while. Now gimme my toaster.

    But seriously, doesn’t it skew the results if the polls are conducted online amongst people who have volunteered to answer polls? So like maybe you get a greater percentage of people on both extremes of issues who’ve signed up hoping to get polled, like me, and bored housewives (NOT that there’s anything wrong with that, I should add before the RA contingent of bored housewives flames me).

  21. speedwell
    June 9th, 2005 @ 12:22 pm

    This is (sorry to disappoint) the first poll on religion I’ve seen from Harris in about three years. Here’s a poll you’ll like, though: the 2005 Survey of Non-Believers at

  22. Allyn
    June 10th, 2005 @ 11:48 am

    I was disappointed–my newspaper carried a different “God Squad” column this week. First question was about depression in an interfaith couple, second was about what Jews believe their god to be.

    The situation in the first question was this. Interfaith couple–Jewish husband, Catholic wife. Wife attends Mass on occasion, but feels that she feels nothing and is doing and saying things by rote. Is that bad? she asks.

    Their response was that she needed counseling.

    My response is that maybe Catholicism isn’t working out for her.

    They don’t get that.

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