Why Atheists Get Angry
When I first renounced Christianity, I resented everything that reminded me of religion. I felt betrayed and lied to. My entire understanding of the world had been turned on its head.
I looked back and regretted things I had done when I was younger — putting anti-gay and anti-abortion bumper stickers on my truck; pushing away perfectly good friends because they weren’t Christians.
It wasn’t my nature to be judgmental. I was simply practicing what I had been taught in church.
When I realized purity culture had set me up for a dysfunctional sex life and pushed me to get married too young, I felt violated. I mourned the years I had recoiled from all sorts of coming-of-age experiences.
My beliefs had been hurtful to myself and others, and I felt ashamed.
From a young age, I’d been indoctrinated by a system that I no longer considered true, and the programming wasn’t something I could simply shrug off. It was like it had been hard-coded into my personality. The anger was strongest those first years as I worked to reset myself and my understanding of the world.
I associated my pain with Christianity, and with theism as a whole.
As time passed, my outrage subsided. In my mid-twenties I befriended new people, took on new interests, grew into myself, followed new life paths, and learned to be more mindful. I didn’t worry so much about what other people thought.
My parents weren’t trying to brainwash me; they just wanted me to grow up learning what they believed was the truth.
For years I avoided picking on religion at all because I wanted to let my own scabs heal.
Eventually, but especially over the past couple of years, I’ve come to accept that Christianity alone was never responsible for everything wrong in my life. Some of my problems were a byproduct of American culture (which has been deeply influenced by Christian culture). Some of my problems were my parents’ doing. And a lot of them were my own fault.
In short, I grew up.