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How many people have had the experience of having to deal with an AYA (Angry Young Atheist). The AYA doesn't see any need for politeness or courtesy: he goes on the attack right away. He (or she) is new to atheism, so they have this almost evangelical tone. They love going to christian chats and letting loose.
They haven't been in the trenches long enough to realize that not only does the direct attack approach not work, it actually alienates their audience.
I admit I was an AYA at one time. Then I realized that wasn't working. Politeness is never wasted.

Robotbuilder 7 Mar 15

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The tone of your post seems to suggest that their anger has littlle or no validity. Perhaps is it your own assumption that is lacking.

Rude for rudness's sake would be pointless. But pointed rudness can have a lot of utility.

It's a lashing out anger: the sort of anger that is equivalent to painting graffiti on a wall, rather than working to change things. I've seen AYAs go on discussion boards, and say things like "THERE IS NO GOD," not to change minds, not to present an idea, but just to attempt to shock. The actual arguments are more complex, more subtle-- and more convincing.


Can you present an example where pointed rudeness has had utility? I'm of the opinion, like the OP, that any rudeness will serve to alienate and make your audience less likely to receive, much less accept, the viewpoints you present... but I'm curious to see the flip side.

Anger is absolutely invalid in rational discourse.

I have the POV that the person that loses their shit first in a debate automatically loses. I don't think it's "official" and I don't know if it's "widespread" but it is a personal metric I use for myself and others.

This is why IMO you see Hitchens and the like trying to rile up their opposition with rhetoric instead of sticking to the facts: it's not to present a rational point of view at that point but to get them to be angry and thus "lose" the debate

Anger may be invalid in rationale discourse, but to ignore its existence is not rationale. I think atheists have plenty of reasons to be openly hostile to so-called believers, be they organized or otherwise. The Crudades, the Holocaust, and 9-11 come immeadiately to mind.


They don't bother me. The ones that bother me are the old Christian politicians who are trying to change the laws in this country to match "Christian values" and remove women's rights, make it ok to teach creationism in schools, chip away at the separation of church and state and refuse to do anything about mass shootings.
They are eroding the principles this country was built on.

I don't think being politically correct, and tiptoeing around religious people is going to change anything. Maybe standing up for what's true will.



Can you think of a more appropriate response to discovering you've been fooled for the majority of your life?

Marz Level 7 Mar 15, 2018

They have a right to an actng out period in this country.

It takes a few years to learn that raised volume is not the best way to be heard.


More power to them. Angry young atheists is what we need for the future. You want polite atheism? Lots of that in the 20th century, when religion went from strength to strength, and became weaponised by Islam and Christianity particularly. Yeah, that really worked. Anyway, what you mean by angry is open to question. Dawkins and others get called angry too. Be forthright about your atheism and in some eyes you are 'angry'. And deferential politeness towards religion is definitely a waste.

I don't think that the OP is talking about people getting mislabeled for speaking their minds. I think they're talking about truly angry young atheists. As I am when I mentioned angry old ones. Which after two posts in a row feeling compelled to say calm down and maybe try to be helpful? to you in particular, makes it seem as though you fit the mold. Who calls Dawkins 'angry'? Fools? And who cares?
Despite your bull-headed approach to seemingly every subject, anger is not the direction any group needs to go.
I am through even reading your comments at this point. An angry atheist is just a marginally smarter but just as annoying person as a religious fanatic.

@DerekFuiten well, you are welcome to disagree. The way you express yourself is awkward, and doesn't help understanding.The bull headed you referred to is nonsense, so I'll ignore that. I'm not aware of all these so called angry young or old atheists, so I think the thread is basically a beat-up discussion, based on a false premise. Anyway, have a nice time here.

I saw a post once where someone say: if you wanted nice gay people, maybe you should have treated them nicer.

The same could be said for atheists.

One thing I’ve noticed since being atheist is people’s offhand comments about the immorality of atheists.

But I actually think the angry atheist thing is a trope. I haven’t ever actually met any militant atheist. Even the flighting spaghetti monster stuff etc is really just giving people their own medicine.

@Myah I agree. That's my problem with this post and some commentary. Angry / military atheist is a stereotype by religionists about the nonreligious. Individuals aside, the stereotype is hardly general. I decline to be sucked into religionist baiting or blithely accept that it's true. If some young people are passionate about their atheism, then good on them. Young people are often passionate. That's what atheism needs.


The angry atheist is as much a stereotype from the religious as the ignorant theist is a stereotype from the non-religious.
In both cases, yes, they exist.
In both cases, no, they are not the majority.
In both cases, it's valid to try to minimize the stereotypes (as I read the intention of this post)

After all, a minority of muslims commit violence and suddenly the entire religion is labeled as violent. A minority of priests commit abuse and suddenly the entire priesthood is labeled as pedophiles. Likewise, a minority of atheists are angry and suddenly all atheists are labeled as such.

Here's a podcast specifically addressing the angry atheist whereupon you see in the cast and the comments, several people comfortable with the label which, IMO, does very little to promote a positive view of atheism.

The feeling I recall witnessing some AYA’s was ..gee, given the same numbers, clout & privilege, would their views be driven home with as much intolerance and arrogance as their former oppressors..? Angry yes, arrogant, no..


Dawkins and Hitchens have the clout and privileged and are the epitome of arrogance and strong role models for AYA's.

@TheMiddleWay in your humble opinion. Never ceases to amaze me how you jump on anyone's view that doesn't sit well with you, but your own gross generalisations and simplifications are just fine, like this one.


I've no need to be humble for it's not just my opinion:

From Dawkins own website in an article entitled "How Atheists Can Overcome a Reputation of Arrogance"

"The second pretext: atheists are arrogant intellectuals who belittle well-meaning Christians.

I acknowledge there might be some truth to this allegation"


From Salon magazine article entitled "New Atheism’s fatal arrogance"

"For all their eloquence, their arguments are often banal. Regrettably, they’ve shown little interest in understanding the religious compulsion. They talk incessantly about the untruth of religion because they assume truth is what matters most to religious people"


From Current Affair in an article entitled "GETTING BEYOND “NEW ATHEISM”"

"New Atheism is attacked not solely for being arrogant, but for putting this arrogance in the service of right-wing tendencies like sexism, hawkishness, and bigotry against Muslims.


@TheMiddleWay Oh give me a break!

Your comment:
"Dawkins and Hitchens.... are the epitome of arrogance and strong role models for AYA's"

In reply you refer to one Dawkins site article, that says nothing specific like that about Dawkins, and 2 articles from 2 regressive-left magazines, Salon in particular that has waged a campaign against New Atheism for years as everybody knows.

Yes, there are lots of articles and comments from people about atheism being arrogant. Big surprise! Blind Freddie and his friggen' hearing impaired dog knows that. Obviously you are part of that. Again, big surprise! You don't like Dawkins and Harris and alike. Tough. Get Over it. HUGE NUMBERS OF US DO! And if that means young people as well, then great. And history will show that these guys have had a huge impact on the debate, motivating atheism and atheists, and bringing the topic to the forefront. Yes they ruffle a few feathers, like yours. Tough. You like Mr. Dennett. He's more your style. Philosophical and warm and cuddly and grandfather like. I get that. But I doubt his views on religion are any more forgiving than Dawkins and Harris. He just has a different stye, which you like.

And your statement: "Dawkins and Hitchens.... are the epitome of arrogance and strong role models for AYA's" is pure hyperbole.

Not only does it not do justice to Dawkins and Co, but it also shows a patronizing attitude towards young motivated atheists who may have a number of factors influencing their attitude towards religion, not just slavishly following 'role models'.

I began my reply to this post about so-called Angry Young Atheists by saying "More power to them". I say it again. To angry young atheists out there, stay angry, focused, reasoned and determined. You are the future. More power to you;


Here's an article from a moderately conservative paper, The Telegraph, in an article entitled "For once, Richard Dawkins is lost for words"

"If you were trying to come up with a definition of misplaced intellectual arrogance, you could not do better than having the planet’s most famous atheist issuing diktats on who does and doesn’t count as a proper Christian."


Here is one from australia's ABC which is regarded as centrist to right leaning, in an op-ed entitled "Science or naturalism? The contradictions of Richard Dawkins"

"This, combined with the arrogant, smarter-than-thou ("thou" being believers in God) tone of the book can annoying."


And here is Dawkins himself on the topic. Quote:

"Atheists sometimes come across as a bit arrogant in this regard, and characterizing faith as something only an idiot would attach themselves to."

And in defense of this perception of arrogance:
"Undisguised clarity is easily mistaken for arrogance."


I'm of the opinion that any excessive emotion, of which anger is a prime example, diminishes our capability for rational thought.

As you point out, that is why I like Dennett... not because his views are radically different from Dawkins and Hitchens but because he is less arrogant about those view.

So while you passionately root for the angry young atheists, I'll be in the corner calmly rooting for the pacific young atheists.

@TheMiddleWay wrong. I root for passionate young atheists. The poster called them angry. I said it was a beat up. As for you, I doubt you are capable of being passionate about anything, except perhaps the Catholic Church which you suppress. Some of us here, many I think, are passionate about creating a secular religious free world. That does not appear to include you.


You said, in your OP "Angry young atheists is what we need for the future. "
You said in your later reply "To angry young atheists out there, stay angry, focused, reasoned and determined."

That is you rooting for angry young atheists, not passionate young atheists.

This would be you rooting for passionate young atheists, not angry young atheists.
"Passionate young atheists is what we need for the future. "
"To passionate young atheists out there, stay angry, focused, reasoned and determined."

But that is NOT what you wrote, now is it?

As to my passions, your doubts are irrelevant to the point at hand. If you want to continue making ad hominem commentary and directing your reactions and arguments toward me and not the points I'm making, go right on ahead... doesn't bother me one bit.

Finally, you are correct: I'm not interested in building your version of a secular religion-free world. It's much to much based on impoliteness and telling people what they should or should not believe for my agnostic tastes.
Rather, I seek a pacific Gould-ish NOM, where people are free to believe what they want without other people telling them what they should or shouldn't believe or think.

@TheMiddleWay I also said " what you mean by angry is open to question" meaning I think they are only passionate, and that the reference to angry was a beat up. But this is pointless. I didn't join this site to deal with argumentative residue Catholics like you with little or no commitment to building a nonreligious world. This image you attempt to project doesn't work on me. There is an intellectual smugness about you which is insufferable. There are many people here with a genuine commitment to the ideal of creating a world without religion. Their ideas are interesting. Their stories are interesting. Their enthusiasm is genuine. They are genuine. You are a facade. You are boring. Your posts are boring. You are everything I don't want to deal with here, so let this be the end of it.

I am agnostic. I am not committed to building a non-religious world nor have ever pretended to be. And being agnostic and promoting "the middle way", it's not surprising that people with extreme views, hard atheists like yourself and hard theists like others, don't enjoy with my pacific and polite point of view and my focused and evidence-based method of discussion.

I genuinely want a world were people can believe what they want, not your world where they have to believe as you or I dictate. If that makes me boring, then so be it. Peace is boring. Righteous anger is not. There are no thrills in peacetime but many in war. I get that. But I'd rather a boring world than an angry one and thus will continue to espouse my boring views on this board.

Till the next David.


We've got a few of those folks on here. That attitude isn't for me. I'll take a pass on the whole rageing against the gnostic machine thing.

Life is far too short to be going off on some time wasting crusade against a bunch of dim bulbs who believe that a sky fairy with a white beard sits on a cloud and watches in judgement over us all. I'd much rather spend the limited time I have in this life traveling, getting laid and having as much fun as possible with my friends.

Work and other obligations already take up too much time I'd rather be using for the aforementioned pursuits. If I'm going to add to that time, I'd rather do so by participating in the arena of politics where I can make a difference that actually matters.

Let the sky fairy believers believe what ever cockamamie bullshit they like, so long as they keep that crap out of the halls of my government.

Oh we definitely have a few on here.

When theists claim that atheism is a religion, I'm sure it's precisely that sort of outburst that they have in mind. The evangelical "Must convert everyone to my way of thinking. It isn't enough for me to know that I'm right, I will not rest until I have stamped everyone who disagrees into the ground or brought them around to my way of thinking" attitude exists on both sides of the fence. It isn't constructive, for either side.

Well, i mean you could use the same argument against promoting your policies. Why bother with anything? I think it's important to raise the consciousness of other people.

I wouldn't have the ideas i have today if i didn't listen to people who were coming at this from the other side.


I came to solid atheism from a state of not really caring. So I don't really have any pent up anger to release. As a result, I don't troll or do the ironic evangelism thing, but if someone goes on the offensive against me, I calmly destroy them. If anything, it's a lot more fun than attacking the religious.


It is the same way with the believers. Being overbearing only alienates people. Let alone it's rude and out of line. Do I think that the believers are foolish for choosing the path they have? Of course! It's nonsensical. I it gives them strength though, I'm all for anything. Whether they are AYA or AOldA, they're difficult to deal with. I have found that the ones probed to be angry don't lose that with age. Their contempt for the world overrides their caring for other people amd maturity no matter the age.


I think we've all been there. Years of pent up frustration and anger. Heck I'm still there on bad days. When I see all the things Christians are doing to make my life miserable there are times I just have to vent. So I'm very sympathetic to the AYA as ya name em. But you're right. Evangelizing and attacking people is not our job and its way more productive to be less aggressive. But It's something that you can't just teach, it's something everyone has to come to on their own. People should be proud if they can overcome the struggle and still come out polite. And for the people who can't let go of the anger, we can condemn it but also just understand where they're coming from. They might not be sure what to say or feel like anyone's on their side, so it's important to be there for them too.


The more I'm subjected to having what the believers want forced upon me, the angrier I become. Sometimes, anger is totally justified, and expressing it is completely reasonable.

It’s strange how true that is … yet take someone like Madalyn Murray O’Hair.. She’s pissed, aggrieved, threatened, attacked, and eventually murdered ... thus angry -- and gets shit for that even around here! Anger has it’s place, I both get and respect that, but there’s also a price to be paid… I thank, admire, and praise those knowing when and how to use it.. so I don’t always have to ~

@Varn Agreed. I don't buy into the mindset that anger is always a bad thing. I've learned to use my anger as a motivator in a number of ways. I also agree with your last sentence, in spades!!!


Beats an AOE (Angry Old Evangelical).

godef Level 7 Mar 15, 2018

Every damned time, too!

When you've engaged in the behaiviour you hate in others, you've beaten yourself.

[Omar Mukhtar protects two surviving Italian soldiers]

Omar Mukhtar: We do not kill prisoners!

Arab Warrior: They do it to us!

Omar Mukhtar: "They" are not our teachers!


its not so much an angry young athiest, but more like just an angry athiest. Age doesn't seem to have anything to do with it. its important to recognise the difference between rational critique of ideas and hatred. But I agree there are some very angry athiests out there.


Even early on in my time as an atheist I shyed away from conflict with Christians, I haven't seen the point in conversing with them since almost all in my area can't be swayed with any argument.


LOL! I'm still sort of an AOA (angry old agnostic) because I got into a few dust-ups at website I used to frequent, for missionary kids (MKs).


I know some AOAs too. Angry Old Atheists can be just as obnoxious.

JK666 Level 7 Mar 15, 2018

LOL. 🙂


Interesting point.. On one of my few trips home from college on the city bus (instead of my car), I listened to several AYA’s verbally beating down a religionist ‘our age.’ I couldn’t help but smile at some their points, agreeing totally, but their hostility, arrogance, and gang mentality reminded me of it’s religious equivalent...

Kept looking out the window … while ingraining within my brain that I’d not be that kind of Atheist. It’s rare when we’re not outnumbered (this place is a thrill), so I’ve rarely if ever had an opportunity to gang up (try picketing a pope), but would never want to be viewed equally hostile to a relitionite … though that’s not always easy..

Varn Level 8 Mar 15, 2018

The militant atheist is a lot like the militant Christian in one way. They both claim to know the unknowable. Since no proof of there claims is available, they must resort to shouting their claims in people's faces. As an agnostic, I can say that god as portrayed in the bible seems extremely unlikely. But do I know that for sure? OF COURSE NOT, because it is unknowable, and that is ok....... "that is ok" is where the peace is.

Is there such a thing as an angry agnostic?
I don't think so because we've nothing to get angry about!
Yet another advantage of agnosticism vs. theism or atheism IMO: lower blood pressure! LOL


AYA seems to only be a thing for old exhausted anybodies.

Approach is important as you will catch more zombies with fresh flesh rather than rotten flesh.

To any angry atheist I would say, "Your anger may be valid, but is your anger worth sacrificing your position?"

Also, politeness can absolutely be wasted, just like anything else.


I don't think it's impolite to disagree with someone. That's the kind of attitude id like to change. I'm happy there are militants, but I agree there has to be a forum for that. A Christian site would be preaching decovertance to the converted. It's just a waste of time

Disagreement should never be seen as impolite, I agree.

But HOW you express said disagreement should always be polite IMO.

@TheMiddleWay I think most people would be insulted just because you call them on their bullshit. Even if you're polite.


No doubt. Those people are ruled by emotion, not logic (Kirks, not Spocks) and best left alone unless you want to appeal to their emotional side, which I'm not very good at. 😛


Fortunately not


Ive seen a few on FaceBook and I just slither away ...............


I think you're just describing a common subset of young people of any stripe. Some of them take awhile to acquire epistemological humility; a few of those never do. It happens. Not unique to atheism, either.


Yah, I've had my share of those. I've even met a couple on here. Ironically, the angrier they are, the more they represent their fundamentalist counterparts. There's something about anger that seems to isolate and causes them to act just like fundamentalists.


Work out your anger in the gym, not in conversation.


The squeeky wheel gets the oil, as the saying goes.
However, the wheel that keeps squeeking eventually gets replaced and thrown away. 😉

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