What to do if angry atheism isn’t working for you
My Humanism is not a secret. I am quite open about it. It’s what I do. I’m also an atheist. I don’t make a secret about that either. I’ve been atheist since I was a teenager and before that I was agnostic. I was never a believer.
I meet a lot of people in the course of my work. Some are very comfortable in their faith and they are looking for ways to improve their thinking and ways to integrate their values more thoroughly into their day to day lives. Some are people who are questioning their faith and are looking for ways to build an ethical system to replace the one that isn’t working well for them. And still others have abandoned their faith altogether and are looking for a way to express their secular values without the anger that dominates the “angry atheist” movement. It is to this last group that this essay is addressed.
For those of you who have found atheism but who are looking for a way to be atheist without being angry. I’ve got great news for you. There is no right way to be an atheist. Some atheists are angry – sure. Some aren’t. It’s the same with every group actually. As my dad always says – no group corners the market in stupidity.
What I want to do for you is introduce you to Humanism. For a lot of people, they come to atheism through skepticism and critical thinking. And that’s great! The problem is, critical thinking, only gets you so far. Sure – it’s helped you to let go of your former religious beliefs. But now what? How does being an atheist help you cope with the rather crappy day to day problems we all have. The answer is – it doesn’t.
In order to cope successfully you need a value system/philosophy of life that will help you assess your problems realistically and help you solve those problems effectively and hopefully ethically. You also need to figure out how to give your life meaning and purpose so that you have a reason to get up in the morning.
Because there are no churches or temples dedicated to atheism, most new atheists have no one to teach them how to construct a new world view, value system, ethics and coping strategy from scratch.
People coming out of religion, especially if they were emotionally abused as part of their religious experience, are wary of any philosophic teacher because the last thing a newly minted free mind wants to do is to shackle itself to a new “belief system” that could be just as flawed as the one they just left.
Finally, they might not be aware that they have options. There are lots of different ways to be atheist and lots of different communities of atheists with lots of different value systems. Some of these are “angry” some are not.
The net result is that people who leave their faith often find themselves flopping around from one belief system to another trying to find something that is reality based but still emotionally fulfilling. They eventually piece together a personal philosophy of life for themselves that is based in reality, motivated by compassion and focused on personal responsibility. In other words, after a long and frustrating journey, they eventually find their way to Humanism.
If you are an atheist and have been through an angry phase but you are finding that you are tired of being angry all the time and you are now looking for a better way to be. Understand there is a very good chance that better way for you is probably Humanism. Humanist Learning Systems was founded to help people like you learn about Humanism so that you don’t have to spend decades searching for a better way only to eventually end up at Humanism. Here are books and programs that will help you learn if Humanism can help you.