Why do atheists feel the need to put down people who believe in a God? I spend a lot of time on the internet and a lot of my encounters with Atheists have been negative in the sense they feel superior to me because they don’t believe in God. Why is that?
I’m going to assume you’re earnest in your question, and that you’re not merely smearing me specifically with perceived slights by other people. There’s a number of possible answers for this question. From most to least likely:
1. You’re on the internet. People are generally douchier than in real life, when behind a screen of anonymity. It’s possible if you were to debate them in person, they’d be more civil.
2. It’s also very easily possible to misread tone on the internet as it’s pure text. You may be mistaken about their perceived superiority. Some people aren’t as good as others at being diplomatic in pure text, where people don’t have the benefit of facial expressions or tone of voice to detract from the seeming condescension of their words.
3. If you’ve spent a lot of time on the internet debating with atheists (and I notice you’re using a capital A so I think this possibility is a good one), they may feel that you’re claiming that an atheist is an Atheist, e.g. that they subscribe to a religious view of atheism, the same way that a person can be a Christian or a Buddhist or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Jew. The thing is, it’s also possible (and much more likely) that they are atheists because atheism is the default position for someone unconvinced by any specific dogma — it is merely a lack of theism. Getting on someone’s nerves is not a good debating tactic — it’s just a good way to ensure you’ll end up incurring harsh feelings. And once you’ve gotten someone’s enmity that way, forget civility.
4. They could recognize specific arguments from battles past, and they may have already heard and feel they have already sufficiently countered them. This is especially true if you’re going to an atheist’s blog, and you haven’t taken the time to search it to see if they’ve specifically addressed your exact argument before.
5. They could feel you’ve mischaracterized something they’ve said, and are offended. It’s not a matter of feeling slighted by your not “believing’ their argument, but rather that you’ve either intentionally or unintentionally misunderstood what they’re saying in order to make a point of your own. When having a debate with someone, read their argument more than once before you start your rebuttal. They’ve likely done the same, so its’s only fair.
6. Understand that just because they don’t agree with your position, doesn’t mean they haven’t thought it out. And it certainly doesn’t mean they are intentionally disrespectful of yours.
There’s more possibilities than just these, but these are the ones off the top of my head.
7. They may not necessarily disrespect YOU. It’s possible they’re disrespecting only your IDEAS. People deserve respect intrinsically. Ideas have to be proven before they should be respected. And in some cases, the manner in which you “prove” ideas may not be the same as other people — for some, merely having enough people believing the same thing makes the idea worthy of respect (e.g. if there are a billion Muslims in the world, their ideas can’t possibly be ALL wrong, could they?). This is fallacious on its face. The fact that a lot of people believe a thing that’s unproven, doesn’t make the thing they believe any more worthy of respect. It is only when ideas are well-evidenced that they should be respected, and even then, they should never be elevated to the level of sacrosanctness.