Sunday, August 3, 2014

Does Life Have Meaning Without God?

This post originally appeared on a website once called Associated Content in a very similar form.  I wrote it in response to this guy who kept asking me why I didn't just kill myself because I didn't think heaven was real.  Yeah, bizarre, eh?  Anyway, I've kept it pretty much as it was.  I think my writing "voice" has changed a great deal in the last seven years and so has the Internet landscape regarding discussions of belief.  But this post was very popular, a few pastors even asked me if they could use parts of it in their sermons.  So I decided to relocate it when the site it was on ceased to be on July 31, 2014.  Here it is, warts and all.

...and then he said to me "If there is no afterlife, then our life on earth is meaningless. Without God our life on earth has no purpose...." At the time I was thunderstruck and had no idea how to respond. After thinking a bit I came up with this.

Wow, I'm very sorry for you. All the beauty, wonder, love, and experience to be found on earth are meaningless to you?

Finding life without an afterlife pointless or depressing is as silly as going to an amusement park and becoming so depressed that your visit will end that you sit down just inside the entrance and cry your eyes out. How about running through the gate flushed with excitement and trying to ride all the rides and see all the shows before the amusement park closes for the day? Eat cotton candy until you puke and enjoy your day at the park until the security guard pulls you kicking and screaming out the gates when your day is done.

I believe that what we do is all that matters. Bad will hit you, good will hit you but your measure is how you ride the waves. With luck and hard work and the love of your brothers you can build a good strong boat.

Great, you prayed to end hunger - fabulous, I'm sure that just filled a lot of starving bellies. How about getting food to the hungry instead? That's the answer - get off your lazy praying ass and go pray with your hands. Even atheists can pray with their hands. There might not be a God but you can know that prayers are being answered even if it's just by you. I think "God" gives people the power to sit back and not feel responsible - "it's all in God's hands." You are who you are and what you do, if you do evil, well there ya go. If you do good - same deal. Every moment is a choice and you can keep your self as strong on the path as possible and you can spend your last second thinking - "I could have done more."

Why all this drive to go to heaven? In some ways it sickens me. Isn't doing good enough? Why does there have to be a carrot on the end of the string to motivate you? Can't you just do and be good because that's a reward all by itself? Why do you yearn to live forever? Why not yearn to live right now? Why do you need a God commanding you to be good? Are you, personally so inherently evil that if there were no promise of heaven or threat of hell you'd just be a frickin demon? Doesn't the desire for good exist in all and don't they crave it whether they believe they'll get a reward for it or not? Don't you eventually grow out of needing gold stars to use the potty? Don't you eventually just do good because it's good? Or must you be rewarded and threatened until you die?

I don't believe in God, just in good. To be loving is all the meaning I need.

Look to your heaven and your invisible God. Pray quietly in your house to live after death and pray for the hungry to be fed. Behave yourself only because you hope for heaven and fear hell. I'm afraid knowing people like you roam the earth - I hope you never stop believing because you seem to believe normal people would run amok without their fear of going to hell or their hope of heaven. To me, that means you think you would. I'll go right now and lock my doors in case your faith becomes shaken.

I feel sorry for all who think humans are inherently evil and I also feel a bit afraid of you. You must be looking through the windows of your own soul to see such things in the hearts of men.

You see, I've seen evil in men, more than my fair share. But where you see God as saving me and the devil as hurting me, I see humankind as saving me and broken, hurt humankind hurting me or pure chance causing me pain. The glorious mother-hearted love when a stranger picks up a stranger, risking all from their love of a sister they never met - I'm sorry the windows from your soul leave you blind to that. I'm sorry you haven't seen tears of joy in the eyes of a stranger because you groaned; you blinked an eye when they thought you were a goner. I'm sorry you've never felt the good in people, coming from their brilliantly good selves.
I'm sorry for you in a way that chokes tears into my eyes and stings my heart. I can't imagine your loneliness thinking that there is no purpose here, no meaning other than to obey rules and a hope that you get to go somewhere better after it's done. There is nothing better. This is heaven, this is hell. Your heart and eyes and hands make it so. In my heaven, you get broken and torn to shreds and it hurts immensely but the love glowing in every human heart touching you is so beautiful and blinding that like the pain of childbirth your suffering is as nothing in time. I hurt, I fear, I feel pain every day but still this life is beautiful beyond anything I can imagine. It has purpose and value and worth all of itself. No heaven or hell necessary.

You don't know what love is or what good is. I am more sorry for you than I can express. Good is that bond between people that need to lift, to carry, to tend, to nurture and to love. It is that thing inside us that throws aside everything and flings us headlong into a flooded ditch to grab a drowning child we've never known before. It's that desperation to keep the lives of others safe and to try to pull them up from pain. It's once knowing pain we can't bear to see others in pain. It's sobbing at the death of a stranger because she had a mummy, a daddy, a big sister who would break from the pain. It's crying with joy at the saving of a stranger because she has a mummy, a daddy, and a big sister whose arms would ache without her. It's feeling the pain of your brothers and trying with all your heart to stop it and also, feeling their joy. It's living for their joy, living to banish fear and pain.

Love and good are feelings in your heart opposite the dark things in the world. All of the darkness in the world can't smother the light of a single candle. Surely the candle will die out but in its time it will light enough candles that darkness only hides in corners and under the bed.

I don't know what God is, or if it is real but I know what love is and what good is and I know that both love and good are better to me than any promise of heaven and failure to be who I want to be is more frightening to me than any promise of Hell. After all, you think you get a second chance - I don't. I only get one try so I'd better do this right.

So you probably figure I'm going to hell.........I guess that's fine because I've had my time in heaven.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"What Can You Say to a Grieving Atheist?" and More of My Atheist Musings on Bubblews

Wow!  I haven't posted on this blog since April!I've actually put very little attention to writing on atheist relevant topics since then but I have put up a few such posts including one called "What Can You Say to a Grieving Atheist?"

On the same topic I also posted "On Comforting Atheist Grief" and on a related topic, "Why Do Some Christians Think It's a Good Idea to Try To Convert Grieving People?"

Please keep in mind that these only represent my opinion and that they aren't intended as end-all be-all guides to anything or even as articles.  They are opinion pieces and your thoughts and input to those discussions are completely welcome.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Is An Atheist View Getting Stale?

I was recently checking a page of mine to see if all the links on it still work.  I freshened it up a little with some new text but I'm a bit concerned it looks stale.  If you have a moment, I would really appreciate it if you'd check it out and let me know what you think.  If you have any ideas for keeping it a little more current I'd appreciate those as well.

The page in question is:
An Atheist View

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What Do Atheists Think About Homeless People?

I tend to study the search terms that land people on my articles and editorials.  That's just part of my "thing."  I love to analyze things and, provide things useful to searchers or make a connection I find interesting.  I am in love with data of all kinds.

In any case, this sort of odd search has been popping up for several years now and it was so odd to me that I just didn't know what, exactly, I could do with it.  The search varies in how it is phrased but it is roughly, "What is the atheist view of homelessness?" as well as, "What is the atheist view of homeless people?"  I know, right?  What the heck does that even mean?

I understand how that sort of search lands people both on my pages concerning atheism and those concerning homelessness but what on earth would prompt such a search in the first place?  Lately, similar searches have been popping up a lot more frequently so I decided to take a stab (in the dark, really) at answering whatever question the people doing the searching are asking.

I've written a page expressing my individual atheist view of homelessness and homeless people which includes a bit of speculation as to why people would think atheists have some uniform view on the subject and as to why people might search for such a thing.  However, I wouldn't be surprised if I'm dead wrong on the subject as to what the searchers may be thinking.  I'm a high-functioning autistic so I often excel at misjudging what others are thinking.

If you have any idea why people would be searching for atheist views on homelessness or why they would think atheists, as a group, have some sort of singular view of homeless people or homelessness please, enlighten me.  You can find what I've written so far at An Atheist View on Homelessness which, you may note is simply providing my view of homelessness and homeless people.  If you have different views of homeless people and are an atheist, I'd greatly appreciate your comments in the comment section on that page.  If you are someone searching for atheist views on homelessness, I'd also appreciate your comments posted on that page to help everyone make sense out of what is being wondered by people who search for atheist views on homelessness. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

NaCl Available on Amazon - Free Copies for Select Reviewers

OK, so this is not an atheist relevant post other than that I'm an atheist and I created some of the album art for my partner's album of somewhat liberal and experimental rock and roll.  You can listen to clips from NaCl on Amazon or buy the album as a package of mp3s or as a CD.

You can watch a video (soon to be two videos) from the album on Reverbnation and listen to different clips and whole songs from NaCl.  

If you are a writer and would like a free CD of NaCl, contact me and I will furnish a free copy of NaCl in exchange for an honest, substantial review on Amazon.  Supplies are extremely limited.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

16 Atheist Documentaries You Can Watch for Free on DocumentaryStorm

I just popped on for a moment so I could share a link to a website where you can watch sixteen atheist documentaries for free.  I have a slow Internet connection and computer but I was able to load and watch the documentaries.  If you have an issue with getting the videos to load, try restarting your computer or switching browsers.

Atheist Documentaries on DocumentaryStorm

I plan to go through and write a brief review of each of the atheist documentaries on the website and post them here as time allows. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why Do Threat-Type Messages Occur In Clusters or Waves?

Most abusive comments don't make it to the page because most people delete them if they contain swearing to keep their pages visible or simply don't publish them to avoid turning their blog, editorial, or article into venue for a flame war.  I practice a little of both.  I don't publish comments with any swearing on Squidoo because my pages will become invisible to the public if I do and if comments anywhere cross a threat line I take them down or don't publish them.  I follow similar rules on my blogs but allow some mild swearing.  All of this makes it difficult for others to tell when I'm getting abusive comments.  I presume it is the same for other bloggers and atheist writers.  So I'm wondering if anyone else is getting clumps and clusters of sweary-pants comments right now?  

I hadn't gotten any for over two weeks and then they started trickling in again.  Now I'm getting them in clusters of three or four at a time, several times per day from what appear to be different people.  This has always been how it happened in the past, stretches without nasty comments or threats interspersed with clumps and clusters of them.  Before, they always seemed to correspond with something atheist relevant I'd written experiencing a burst of near popularity.  This time, my view counts are pretty small on my atheist material, and my most popular writing at the moment has to do with crafts.  Are the vocal anti-atheist, anti-non-Christian folks just generally extra stirred up right now or something?

The kind of weird thing is that the sweary comments I'm getting contain zero death threats so far.  I'll take that as a good sign but maybe it's just an indication that the death threat people are bothering someone else at the moment.

So what is your theory as to why the nasty comments tend to come in clusters rather than more-or-less evenly scattered in time?