My counselor asked me the question, “Why are you so angry at God?,” close to the end of our last session. I shut down. It’s not anger at God that caused me to shut down. After all, the short answer is: I would have to believe in a God in order to be angry at Him. And I do not. Regardless of what my beliefs are, they don’t include a supernatural entity.
I don’t know how to make this any clearer.
It is, however, anger at my counselor that caused me to shut down. I was angry he asked this question given the numerous attempts on my part to explain my disbelief in God. In my mind, asking this question disregarded my firm position: belief in God is an unnecessary illusion for which I find no value in my own life. Hence, this “lack of relevance to my life” is the reason I discarded my belief in God so many years ago. Asking “Why are you so angry at God?” arrogantly presumed the contrary and attached an emotional bias to it.
I recognize the possibility that much of our discussion about God, spirituality, and the nature of religion, as well as the emotions attached to such discussion, are possibly a form of transference/ countertransference. I don’t want this to become a power struggle despite our obvious opposing views on matters of faith and spirituality — me as a non-theist and my counselor as a theist. I had hoped my post, On Belief and God, would eliminate any confusion and place a boundary on matters of spirituality to “agree to disagree.”
Like I’ve stated previously, my spirituality is the one area of my life where I don’t need validation from others.
I’ve spent the last 2 weeks, since that last counseling session, attempting to reconsider this question of anger at God to no avail. I’ve literally started and re-started this post 5 different times! There’s simply nothing there to dispute within the question itself. Only the blatant disregard of my lack of belief in God warrants any comment.
Zinnia Jones said it best in her article titled, “Are atheists ‘angry at God’?“:
“…when believers treat a difference in views as pathological in nature, it allows them to refuse to consider the actual merits of the position they don’t agree with.”
Atheism can be a deeply spiritual experience in that it allows the individual to search and find ways to meet one’s own psychological and social needs through the “living experience” of each moment rather than placing faith in the belief of God to overcome life’s struggles. In short, each moment of our lives has the potential for creating awe without the requirement of a supernatural entity creating it. Rather than arguing about who is right or wrong about the nature of god and whether or not it exists, understanding why that belief persists in our society could potentially promote more compassion and tolerance, not only in discussing this matter, but also in how we treat one another in daily life.
In the following video, Why We Believe in Gods – Andy Thomson – American Atheists 09, Andy Thomson makes the point:
Morality is doing what is right, regardless what we are told. Religious dogma is doing what we are told, no matter what is right.
We don’t need religion to tell us to practice “good” behavior or to promote hope. We don’t even need a belief in God to accomplish these things. We need empathy and compassion.
Also, two articles on the Psychology of Belief that I found interesting:
- The Two Kinds Of Belief: Why infants reason better than adults by Alex Lickerman, M.D.
- Video: The Psychology of Belief – Bias and the Brain by TheThinkingAtheist