Writings on Christianity

Atheist Anger: Either Irrational or Arrogant

Atheist Anger: Either Irrational or Arrogant

Whenever a person gets angry, it is usually because he/she is upset that a moral value has been transgressed or broken. We get angry that our boss treats us unfairly—assuming that is objectively right to treat another person fairly. We get angry when a weak person is taken advantage of—assuming that it is objectively morally wrong to take advantage of another person. We get angry when we’ve been lied to or had things which are ours stolen—assuming lying and stealing are objectively wrong and others should not lie or steal and should know better. Nearly all anger is the result of some kind of feeling of injustice and appeal to standard of morality which feel others OUGHT to abide by.

As this seems to be the fact, I would argue that those who hold to atheism end up with a MAJOR problem when it comes to anger: all of their anger ends up being either irrational or arrogant.

To understand this claim, we have to back up to see how atheism and morality relate. Firstly, if atheism is true, then there is no such thing as God. If this is true, there is no such thing as moral realism—the view that legitimate objective moral values, values which transcend human opinion, exist and inform us about what is right or wrong. We would end up with this reality: all morals are merely the preferences of evolved apes; all morals are relative and the results of those who have the most power. In this view, there is no such thing as good or evil, just preferences. (Dawkins said so himself here).

Interestingly, this means that if someone were to hold to an atheistic view of reality and get angry at another person for ANY reason, their anger would end up being either irrational or arrogant. All we would have is either irrational anger or arrogant anger.

Here’s why:

Option 1: All Anger from an Atheistic Worldview would be IRRATIONAL.

If there are no legitimate moral standards above us informing us to what is right or wrong, then all anger would be irrational. It would be irrational because to be angry at another person for breaking a moral code (such as mistreating you or others), you would have assume that mistreating another person is objectively wrong–wrong regardless of human opinion. But if there is no such thing as objective morals, then your moral indignation would be irrational, because you have no rational reason for being angry. The one mistreating you would only be going by their subjective preferences, and all you have are preferences. To be angry at another person for violating your preference is irrational: why should you take umbrage at another for not following your preference? Why would anyone be obligated to follow YOUR preference? Thus, anger from an atheistic worldview would be irrational.

Option 2: All Anger from an Atheistic Worldview would be ARROGANT.

If there are no objective moral values then all our anger would be arrogant. It would be arrogant to be angry at another person for mistreating you or for hypocrisy or anything else that makes you angry. It would arrogant because you would be assuming that your moral preference is some how superior to another person’s preference. But if all we have are preferences—no objective moral values above anyone—then it would arrogant to impose your preference on another. What gives you the right to be upset by someone else violating YOUR preference? What makes your preference superior to theirs? Thus, anger from an atheistic worldview would be arrogant.

Yet a final problem faces those who hold to atheism. If atheism were true, neither irrationality or arrogance would be immoral. Neither is virtuous or wrong.  

In the end, we see that atheism is an unlivable worldview. It cannot be consistently lived out. Every atheist lives and gets angry as though moral realism were real, showing that actually they live as though they know God exists–a fact that Romans 1:18-21 testifies to.

By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

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