Why Theists Think We Are Arrogant

I have a theory that I want to run by this group. I searched it and couldn’t find a directly related thread. If there is a thread already, please direct me to it.

I was watching The Four Horsemen on Richard Dawkin’s Youtube channel. The opening discussion was about how theists accuse atheists of being arrogant.

Personally, I’ve found they are more arrogant than me for a variety of reasons, but I am so curious why they think the same. I have a theory.

Theists believe that God is superior to them and thus act in with a position of inferiority to God. They do not challenge God’s authority because it would be a sin.

If I say to the theist that I can reach my full potential without God, handling life and understanding higher level subjects, the theist sees me as substituting myself for God because I am providing my own answers (which I do through research and asking questions). I also do not fear God simple because I don’t believe it exists.

The theist now thinks I am replacing God with myself or that I feel superior to God because I not only control my actions and understanding, but I rely on my own will.

Because they believe that I am acting as God or superior to it, they assume I believe the belief they hold. They do not grasp I am indifferent to something I do not believe to exist.

That thought would require placing myself in a superior position on a hierarchy which would portray arrogance, thus they hold me in contempt.

I’m not trying to talk them out of it because it’s not worth it. It is worth to me, however, to understand how things got this way, With that understanding, I can navigate the world I share with them better, and use that advantage for efficiency and greater good.

Thanks for taking a look at this.


@Clare_deLune Welcome to Atheist Republic.

Personally I think it is the reverse. Many theists think they have the right to dictate the laws and practices of a nation, that they are right, and whatever they do can be justified no matter how horrible the actions.

I suspect your theory does apply to many theists. They fail to grasp the concept that atheists do not bend the knee, while they assume that should be universal for all. And we do replace their god with ourselves. We determine our own morality and actions.

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Most Christians cannot fathom that their god and their religion is fictional. The Cherry Picked Bible, God the Skyfather, and Jesus the magic man are “factual” to a Christian. It’s a reality to them that they’re stuck at. When they come across an Atheist and assume we’re Christians too and that we believe in their god and start talking about their superstitions and to their disappointment when I say I don’t believe in it, and when I say there’s No Objective Evidence, and that I tell them that I believe it to be fictional; they can’t take it. They get defensive and start making claims and fallacious arguments to defend it while offering no evidence. More or less the same circular arguments.

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Howdy, Clare. Welcome to the AR. Dealing with my grandson at the moment, so not much time to reply like I want. Just wanted to say hello real quick and let you know your subject interests me. Will try to get back here later when I put the little bugger down for his afternoon nap. Meanwhile, make yourself at home. Many great folks here. Nice having you with us.

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Good luck. My mom had to lock me in my room at that age to get me to nap. She even strapped me to the bed once.

When you think you know the mind of god; anyone who disagrees with you is going to seem incredibly arrogant.


Indeed. That asshole Bobby comes to mind that I made a thread about a while back. Anytime I disagreed with him about his superstitions and asked for evidence. He’d get real defensive and talk down to me. He was also that way with Christians from different denominations. I honestly think he enjoyed the control he was getting from it as a part time pastor. He never could back any of his “god” claims.

I use duct tape and ratchet straps on my grandson. Sure, he’s not even 2 yet, but he’s stronger than he looks.

Duct tape is a great invention. You can use it for all kinds of things :smiling_imp:

If I put a circle around the set of all things that make atheists seem arrogant to theists, your current insight would be a speck of sand within that set.

Christians identify with their beliefs. "Basicly, “I am a Christian” is a delusional and pathological state of being. So is the idea, “I am an atheist.” We are not our ideas. I am a person who does not believe in god, gods, spirits, or other frorms of woo woo. I am a person, surviving on this planet with other people. We have a tendency to pretend we are something different than what we are.

Atheists, by simply existing, challenge the world view (the enmeshed self perception) of the “Christian.” The very fact that I exist, is an afront to the Christian, (Theist - we can thow all god beliefs into this pot.) world view.

An atheist that challenges any assertion made by the religious; miracles, spirits, prayer, the bible, revelation, Jesus, or any assertion at all, is challenging the very existence of the theist. The theist is asserting “I AM THIS” and the atheist is pointing out, “No you are not.”

We all do this. I am a teacher, he is a mechanic, someone else is a biologist or a cop. We identify with the roles we play and pretend we are this or that. The atheist in a very profound way, is challenging the very identity of the theist.

Now, with that said… how strongly do you identify as an Atheist. Atheism “IS NOT” a belief system, There is nothing to believe in. There is nothing about Atheism that, “I am.” It is something I am called. I do occasionally use the word atheist but it is enough to let the person know, "I am not religious and do not believe in gods or Gods, magic, spirits, spells, miracles, or other supernatual woo woo. Atheist is the lable I have been called and I do fit into that category.

In the end, you are correct; however, you have barely scratched the surface. Inmeshed belief systems, when we become our belierfs, run deep.


But it doesn’t work on hamsters. No matter how tight I wrap them, they still explode when they hit the wall.

Such a waste. Get yourself a ball python and feed it hamsters. They make such wonderful pets.

Okay, Clare, I’m finally back. The little guy was in a mood today, so it took a whole roll of tape and an extra ratchet strap to keep him down. I just hope it holds long enough for me to finish this post. Anyway, back on topic…

So, for what it’s worth, just because we atheists are much smarter, funnier, and much better looking than theists does not make us arrogant. Superior, maybe. But how DARE they suggest we are arrogant. :triumph:… (:innocent::clown_face:)

Seriously, though, I do find the irony of this topic interesting, as well as a bit amusing. As you said, they subjugate themselves to some imaginary entity they allow to control their lives (selectively, of course). And in doing so, on a deep psychological level, it gives (most of) them an inherent feeling of superiority. A self-righteous, pious attitude, of sorts. The incongruity and dichotomy of that is fascinating to me. Meanwhile, atheists (for the most part) control their own lives and set their own moral guidelines. As such, we tend to have a higher degree of personal integrity, and take fuller responsibility for our actions. (Again, generally speaking. There are always exceptions.) Basically, unlike theists, atheists have no magic Sky Daddy to run to for forgiveness, and no evil nasty demon bad guy to blame when decisions/actions they make go bad. And - oddly enough - theists tend to be “threatened” by this self-regulating mode of operation. They simply cannot comprehend (much less ACCEPT) the fact people can be good, caring, and moral without the guidance of their all-powerful god. Therefore, they view atheists as trying to “insult” their god by acting as though they are better than god. All the while, those theists who always claim to know what god thinks/wants are totally oblivious to the fact they are literally acting in complete contradiction to the teachings of the god in their own bible. The cognitive dissonance is simply mind-blowing.

In all fairness, however, I have to point out there may be a tiny bit of justification in the theists’ perception of “atheist arrogance”. Although, it’s not in the way they may think. I’ll use my own “attitude” for this. I have many Christian friends/family. Some of them more or less “hardcore” than others. And while I do not believe myself to be “superior” to any of them, I do have to admit I often feel sorrow/pity for them. And if I’m being totally honest, I must say there are times when I see their religious views as “amusing” and “childishly naive.” Does that make me arrogant? I don’t really know. In an attempt to clarify a bit, though, I suppose it’s like this… After 40+ years of my life I was finally able to escape the insidious bonds of my Christian indoctrination. And after making the adjustment and getting reoriented, I am now able to see through all the psychological bullshit that held me captive all those years. (I consider myself fortunate in that regard.) Because of that, I now have an in-depth understanding of how/why religion maintains its hold over people. And since it no longer has any effect on me, I suppose maybe I DO carry a noticeable sense of confidence about me that could potentially be perceived as “arrogance”. I am no longer threatened/intimidated/controlled by the god to which they still worship, FEAR, and bow to. That scares them.

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Awwww… Man, you make me miss my Ziggy. My pet python I had for about 7 years or so. Snakes are wonderful creatures.

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From my experience with my own family, theist’s seem to have the feeling that they are morally superior to us poor, dumb atheists.

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First off, the fact that duct tape got into the thread lets me know I am among like-minded people, so thank you for making me feel welcome.

Darkmatter2525 has a good video about how the theist considers the atheist to not be rejecting God, but actually rejecting the theist directly. In fact, he covers many of the ideas you all have shared in this thread.

The assigning of arrogance to an atheist because he is an atheist is something that dawned on me last night. I was struggling to understand why someone would say that about me when I actually live a very minimalist lifestyle and pride myself on my subordinate leadership approach in my job. It was only after I spoke up about how living my life free of belief in supernatural beings has made things easier and more efficient than if “God was running my life” that someone said something. The feedback given to me was that I was coming off as arrogant.

I am simply trying to find an explanation of why that would be.

I will admit, as said above, that I do feel a sense of pride for taking the time to challenge myself to get to the heart of my values and reject what is only myth, as well as go against the grain of my community which is steeped in religion (the Rust Belt is just as religious as the Bible Belt). Still, I don’t consider myself arrogant about it because I rarely talk about that sense of pride and the reasons for it.

Also, in line with the posts above, while reflecting today, I wondered if merely having a different value system can be considered arrogant in itself. Personally, I don’t think humility is a good quality in itself, especially if it is done in a braggadocios style, which it often is. I can see how that could lead one to believe that without humility, you have to be arrogant.

After reflecting on the great input I’ve received here, it seems that the issue comes from a lack of common understanding of the world between the theist and the atheist, that leads one to label the other as arrogant, with the idea that arrogant is a derogatory label.

Since it goes both ways, it may simply be the human condition for one to consider the other to be arrogant for disagreeing with the other’s views. If that’s the case, then those arrogant bastards just don’t get it. Yes, I know they are saying the same about me :wink:

Humility may be a virtue to the believer, but it’s not to me. If you claim yourself to be below (or above) where you should be, you are dishonest. If you actually lessen yourself to be below others for the sake of being lower, you are a fool.

I also think it is arrogant that their religious belief system is beyond reproach whereas they can say whatever the hell they want about me without any fear of retribution.

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Ohhhh! A fellow Atheist who understands the significance or duck tape. I know, I know, most people tape ducts with duck tape, but honestly, where is the challenge in that. I find that one of the best uses of duck tape is to cover your body in it with the sticky side out. Then you lure some ducks close to you with bread crumbs. When the little quackers are busy chomping away. You get a running start, fly off the bank of the pond and right into the middle of them. Any that stick to the duck tape, are invited to dinner. He he he he…

Oh what a stuck up pridful and arrogant ass. “I’m special.” “You can’t call me arrogant. I’m a minimalist. I pride myself on being a subordinate leader. How dare you call me arrogant. What the fuck is wrong with you!”

Sheesh you sound just like an arrogant Atheist rationalizing why he is not an arrogant atheist.

How did the conversation get twisted into what you think of yourself? If you don’t think of yourself as an arrogant asshole, then there is a blind side to your personalty. SOMEONE out there in the world hates your fucking ass, your minimalist fucking ass, for just being you. Are you REALLY worried about that? Really? 8 billion people in the world and you are worried about the one asshole that thinks you are arrogant? Someone needs to get a life.

ANYTHING can be considered arrogant. ANYTHING! Get down off that high horse. How in the fuck are you ‘above’ being called arrogant? What arrogance is that!

YES! Now you are catching on. Now write it down and take some of that duck tape and tape it to the back of your head before you go to sleep tonight. That way you can assimilate information as you sleep.

Cognostic - you are too funny, and you’re right. I’m taking this too seriously, though I never said I’m special. You ask why I care?

I’m monitored for alcohol use disorder and have been forced into participating in AA, which is a religious based organization. Part of keeping my job is having satisfactory reports in the program, which I don’t because I refuse to say there is a God/higher power. I am continuously berated and criticized for this, and my inability to lie about believing puts my job in jeopardy every time I say something. No, I can’t walk away from the job, and unfortunately, I have a concern about keeping it. If all they were doing was saying that I was arrogant to my face, I’d be fine with it, but it actually goes into records that are medically reviewed and evaluated to continue to practice my job.

The report says I am arrogant because I believe I can do this without divine intervention. I was just asking here to try to figure out the reason why they would say this and be able to reply with a thought-out response.

Again, your point is taken. Thanks for the laugh.

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Hell, if you’re impressed with duck tape-… duct tape?.. ducked tape?.. :thinking: (Aw, fuck it.)… Anyway, if you’re impressed with tape, then you should see what we do with clothes pins and olive oil around here. :grin:

Well, like Cog said, no matter how good or bad a person you are… no matter what type of lifestyle you lead… no matter what you believe or don’t believe… everybody out there will have their own personal opinions about you, regardless of how well they do or do not know you. Absolutely nothing you can do to change that. And as long as they are not paying your bills or showing up to your house with torches and pitchforks, then who gives a shit? People be people. Opinions vary. What matters is that you do you, regardless of what others may think.

Regardless of the term used to describe it (arrogance, rebellious, prideful, etc.), the root of the problem is simply… (Wait for it.)… Fear. You have a value system that is not controlled by their all-knowing/all-powerful god. In their (Christian) minds, that should not be possible (ESPECIALLY if you are genuinely a good person). It just will not compute for most. They cannot process that info. And somewhere deep down inside, it terrifies them because it sends a subconscious message that their god can be “over-powered”. And they likely do not even realize that is the problem. All they know is, “There’s a disturbance in the Force,” that makes them very uncomfortable. Therefore, they have to apply some sort of “derogatory label” to the defiant individual to help them regain their sense of balance. (Very over-simplified explanation, but you get the idea.)

Aw, hell… :unamused:… Don’t be laughing at the shit Cog says. It just encourages him to keep doing it.