Intellectual and emotional disconnect

6 Jul

I had a very interesting conversation with my girlfriend last night. She pointed out how she feels there is an intellectual and emotional disconnect with some Atheists (myself included). For example, I might consciously know that not all religion is evil, yet my emotional response when confronted with religion is disdain.

She also made the point about community. A lot of Atheists are loners who don’t particualry need the weekly community that religion provides. They might intellectually know that some people do need that community and that it is one of the purpouses of religion, but emmotionally they reject it and fight against it.


2 Responses to “Intellectual and emotional disconnect”

  1. annawood July 6, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    We aren’t Christian because we need community although that can be a lovely addition. We are Christian because we have been created to need God and He has drawn us to Himself. There are Christian loners just as there are atheistic loners. I myself prefer solitude to a crowd but when church rolls around you will find me there because I have a need to worship God. Being with other believers helps to feed my soul but I would worship God even if I were alone.

  2. Brian July 7, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    Your girlfriend’s pretty bright, so I’m not surprised I agree with her. Keeping in mind that I don’t know that many atheists, I tend to attribute it to:

    1 – the siege-mentality that most people who adopt a firm position on these sorts of issues tend to feel. Knowing that you could be under attack at any time, many adopt an overly offensive or defensive posture. It can be worse for atheists since they don’t usually have regular association with like-minded folks to relieve the pressure.

    2 – the struggle to break free from an upbringing that included another faith other than atheism. The Catholics say there’s no one more devout than a convert, and most atheists are converts who must struggle against not only their own upbringing, but also against a culture that reflexively (one might even say Pavlovianly) invokes deities on a regular basis. This causes some atheists to adopt a hard line that seems, from the outside, to deny not just gods, but any appreciation of how sublime the universe is. (One of the reasons Carl Sagan, a devout and public atheist, was generally welcomed and respected by folks who believe in gods is that he projected an almost reverent awe towards the universe that was part-and-parcel to his curiosity. However, even he could annoy due to his…)

    3 – possession of the Hidden Truth. While it may be possible to respect individual believers in the divine, since you believe all religions to be a lie, the best you can manage is to acknowledge that religion might be useful for those who need it. But that attitude is rife with condescension, and left unchecked will rub people the wrong way.

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