A true atheist thinks of the gods constantly, albeit in terms of denial. Therefore, atheism is a form of belief. If the atheist truly did not believe, he or she would not bother to deny. – Terry Pratchett’s character Dorfl, Feet of Clay
I have been repeatedly struck by just how strident and angry atheists seem to be, both here on Ricochet and elsewhere (including many religious sites where atheists seem to go just to start fights). And it makes me wonder: “Why?” Unlike Jews or Catholics or any number of other Believers, atheists feel the need to belittle and abuse those who see the world differently than they do. Why are atheists so much less willing (than are religious practitioners) to simply “live and let live”?
Is it because the belief in one’s own intellectual superiority requires that everyone else applauds that superior intellect?
Is it because atheists are, as per Pratchett, actually living a paradox?
Is it because the atheist worldview ultimately relies on life being pointless? If we are, statistically/rationally quite unlikely to make any difference in this world, does that not lead to depression and nihilism?
Or is it the fact that religious people seem to be genuinely kinder, more productive, and happier?