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Why Are Atheists So Arrogant? Why The Question Is Stupid (On Three Levels)
Once I tried to give Christians some room on the question of why atheists were arrogant. But after being asked the question countless times and having the opportunity to answer it from several angles, it became obvious to me that question of why atheists are arrogant comes from a position of such stupefying blindness and hypocritical arrogance that the most appropriate response from an atheist is probably speechlessness.
As an atheist, how frequently do you get asked, "Why Are You So Arrogant?"
However, in spite of that and in the interest of fairness I'll try to give the cliffnotes version of why Christians answer the question.
Christians usually claim they follow God, which involves, in their minds, humbling themselves before Him. Kinda like people humble themselves before a law, or humble themselves before a King or Queen. According to these Christians, however, atheists reject God’s authority in their attempts to make themselves the authority over themselves. So, by rejecting God’s authority, they are being more prideful than the Christian. For Christians, this is airtight logic -- and, according to many Christians, deep inside most people know this is airtight logic, so that merely stating it will convince nonbelievers or, at least, make them feel uncomfortable about their supposedly baseless pride. Often (though not always), the Christian may feel a bit of resentment towards the atheist, as well -- as the Christian is afraid of God and, it seems, the atheist is not -- making it so that atheists seems to think themselves better than Christians, as atheists, unlike Christians, make God more of a secondary factor.
For an atheist, however, this is wrong on so many levels it is hard to know where to begin. But let's do so, anyway.
"Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence." -- Christopher Hitchens
Level 1: "Arrogance" Isn't Even The Point
What the heck is wrong about being arrogant? Why is that a sin? The conversation should concentrate on whether the assessment I have of myself is accurate. So even if I WERE being overly arrogant, it seems up to you to tell me that I’m assessing myself wrongly – that somehow, I didn’t have the skills or abilities or value that I thought I had. But just saying I’m “arrogant” doesn’t do jack. So, let's look at the situation I'm arguing I'm in, in order to assess the appropriateness of my position: I think there’s not a God. So it's really I and others doing the things that you assign to something I don’t think exists. From my perspective, there is nothing wrong with me thinking I can fulfill those functions (say, help build and craft a moral system, or figure out how cause and effect works in the universe), because the human race has been doing it since, well, forever. You don’t change that perspective by simply saying I’m arrogant. You need to first prove that I’m unduly arrogant – giving myself an improper evaluation of the way I work in the world.
Jeff Dee Breaks It Down
Level 2: If Your God Exists, You're More Arrogant, Anyway
But, if we’re going to open things up to the charge of being arrogant – you’re far more arrogant than I, all things being equal, if you’re a Christian. I mean, take a step back and think about it. Who do you think I am, as long as I'm an atheist? If you're like most, you'll say I'm unsaved. And who are you? Saved. By whom? By, if you’re like most Christians, no other than the Almighty, Great, and Powerful God. Now, there’s a lot of theology wrapped up in that, I understand, but let’s just cut to the chase and say that, someway or other, God saves Christians and doesn’t save atheists, in most versions of your religion. So when I die, you think I’m going to a place of eternal hellfire, and you’re going to a place of eternal bliss. Whether you think you were ever a sinner, too, doesn’t really matter – the arrogance you have in your assertion of where we are going to end up when we die is plenty to say that your arrogance exceeds mind.
Richard Dawkins on Level 3
- Don't believe the claim about atheists? Take the quiz.
Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups in a 32-question survey of religious knowledge by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Level 3: Even Your Claim To Knowledge Is Usually More Arrogant Than The Atheist's
In addition, you have a lot of arrogance in your own belief -- enough so that you don't really think, in many cases, that you need a lot of evidence for it outside of a bit of apologetics, your personal experience, and, most importantly, "faith." The atheist reaction to this arrogance in the face of your question, "Why are you so arrogant?" is the hardest thing to get through to most Christians, which is largely why atheists get so frustrated and infuriated on a fairly regular basis when reacting to that inquiry. So, to save us some frustration, Christian, please try to take a step back and really understand here.
You believe things in the Bible – like a God-man being born of a virgin who died on a cross and rose after three days of being stone cold dead in a way that somehow saved us from the sin of naked people eating a fruit in a garden – that are absolutely stupendous. Many of us atheists actually were Christians who took the Bible far more seriously than you may have (it’s offensive, but it tends to be true), studied it, and found that there was not a shred of evidence to support it. Now, what’s more humble – to study something and come to a conclusion based on facts, or to say, “I don’t need to study it; I KNOW it happened, and everyone who disagrees with me is going to spend eternity in hell while I go to eternal bliss”? Try to answer that question from an outsider's perspective, and you may see how arrogant the latter option sounds.
Let Me Sum This Up For You
So it comes down to being wrong on three levels. First, arrogance isn’t really a charge that should stick – the charge that’s important in the first place is whether or not your claims are factually correct, and whether you have an accurate assessment of your standing in reference to the context you claim competence in. Second, even if we WERE to open up the charge of arrogance as one that should stick, it’s a lot more arrogant for you to think that an atheist is going to spend eternity in hell while you spend an eternity in bliss than to hold almost any atheistic stance. And, third, you’re showing an irrational arrogance, from the atheist’s perspective, in having a belief that doesn’t tend to be based on careful study and rational consideration of the claims of Christianity, and yet you proudly proclaim you are being humble over the arguably much more conscientious atheist who has the humility to realize he or she could be wrong and actually did research on the facts behind the phenomenon of Christianity in order to come to an accurate opinion.
In short – Christians should stop using the argument that atheists are arrogant. It is not really a valid argument in the first place, and even if it was, the claim hurts your claim more than it helps it.
Hopefully that’s clear.