Why do atheists have this rap for being angry? As much as I try to be a "calm" atheist, it is difficult in a culture permeated by "believers". If you want to really know why some atheists come off as angry, I have listed a few possible reasons:
(1) Divisiveness: Many people use religion like race or language or skin color or geography. "WE
are right and THEY are wrong and stick with ME and I will deliver YOU
from THEM". It is all there in the "holy" books and "sacred" texts. Read them people, really,
actively read them. No true religion can be tolerant. True believers can not afford to be tolerant. Any group that claims tolerance is therefore excluding others who are not tolerant and therefore are themselves intolerant. I admit that my belief system does not allow for tolerance, however I do not actively pursue injustice, hatred, fear or public harassment toward those with differing beliefs. I would never say however, that I am religiously tolerant. I believe that I am right and others are wrong. I will also admit that I allow that belief to occasionally impact my feelings toward other people, but I work hard not to allow my beliefs to impact others in a negative way.
(2) Manipulation: As stated in other posts, religion is used every day to manipulate and control the masses. It is an astounding thing, religion. A carnival show that has existed since man first started living in groups. Its the tribal formula. Each tribe has what? A figure head, a technologist, a military general and a cleric. They each have their roles to play and the cleric's role is usually that of
"being given from above" the ultimate judgment or the ultimate final word, yet unlike the others who often earn their power the cleric only receives their power through collusion with the leader, the general and sometimes (sadly) the technologist, so it comes as no surprise that the "revelations" they have usually support those in power or those about to seize power.
(3) Widely Accepted, but False Views on Ethics and Morality: While
there is no doubt that some "religious organizations" do help make the
world a better place, nothing of what they do that makes a difference is
done by God. It is all done by the PEOPLE within those organizations
and could have just as easily have been done by any organized group of humans. The
next argument for morality and ethics assumes that atheists are also amoral. Don't go there either. No one requires a belief in a god or the threat of eternal punishment to do good and to be good. In fact one may argue that if you need the threat of eternal punishment to do good and to be aware of and try your best to avoid evil, then your heart really isn't into it - is it?
(4) Tax Exempt Status
(5) Influencing "Democratic" Governments: It would be awesome to be able to wield so much power that you could dictate to professional bureaucrats and politicians to legislate things like tax exemptions, the inclusion of your "holy book" in public swearing in and to guilt ALL leadership candidates to publicly ascribe to a religious affiliation out of need. "No one wants an atheist President", is one of the biggest lies ever told in America. By all accounts the "great" Ronald Reagan was at most agnostic and likely an atheist, but was able to act the part when required. Many of the founding fathers were not religious, but hypocritically evoked the idea of a higher power, to mostly garner favor from voters and other influence wielders. I find this "necessity" stunning in our modern era. Even Barney Frank in a recent interview stated that in many ways, being openly gay was easier from a political standpoint than being an agnostic turned atheist. I found that surprising.
church has the best business model ever: They offer a product
(forgiveness, eternal life without damnation, peace of mind, etc) for a
relatively small fee (high volume sales is how they make their living) and
no one ever comes back and says that your product is faulty, why?
Because they are dead and the dead keep all secrets. You then claim that
you posses infallibility because the almighty revealed such to you.
Things couldn't be more tidy.
(7) Atheists are RARELY given any consideration: How often are atheists invited to lead memorial services, inter-faith town halls or the annual National Prayer Breakfast? When NASCAR starts their race with a prayer, is there any consideration for atheists, agnostics, heck for that matter non-Christians of faith? Why was adding "under God" to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 tolerated by regular, Americans who believed in freedom? How is it acceptable to ask everyone to swear an oath on a bible in court? Then force those who take exception to that request to be made to publicly declare their private religious beliefs.
The reason that some atheists feel the need or are compelled to "be angry" is that just like "angry blacks" or "angry feminists", often an emotionally charged PLEA for equality, fairness and understanding is the only way to get any notice of your plight. Given the statistics on the number of atheists in the US and given the ridiculous amount cow-towing and deference given to religious organizations and religious "leaders", I am shocked at exactly how very few angry atheists there seem to be.
the end, most atheists don't care what you believe. We just don't want
to see it, feel it or have decisions influenced by it in the public
domain. Religion should be a private thing, like your sex life, your
toilet habits and your underwear.