How is it that Christians feel qualified to proclaim what atheists think or feel?
- Atheists are filled with despair
- Atheists lead empty, meaningless lives
- Atheists dread death
- Atheists are immoral
Have they even talked to an atheist? Because they’ve got it all wrong.
Atheists aren’t despairing. We don’t lead empty, meaningless lives. Because we don’t believe in an afterlife, or any hocus-pocus god-figures, we find joy and meaning in the here-and-now. We build rich and fulfilling lives for ourselves around family, personal relationships, our work and hobbies. We strive to leave the world a better place. We try to get as much as we can out of this life, because this is the only life we’ll have. So we fill it with joy and happiness.
Most of us don’t dread death, either. Why dread nothingness? It’s not such a bad state. The 1500’s weren’t a bad time for me; I wasn’t alive. Similarly, the 2500’s won’t be a bad time for me: I won’t be alive then, either. Christians may have more to dread than we do: they are often bombarded with the angry-god scenario – if you don’t do such-and-such, you’ll burn in hell! If you don’t believe thus-and-so, you’ll be tortured for eternity!
Now that’s some scary stuff. I can see why Christians might dread death. Getting into heaven might be a little dicey. You don’t want to go through the wrong door. What if God is having a bad day on Judgment Day? What if God is angrier about that little episode in college than you realized?
If I were a Christian, I’d be biting my nails. I might even feel (this is ironic!) despair.
And atheists certainly aren’t immoral. I hope it won’t come as a disappointment to Christians to learn that being a Christian does not automatically confer moral standing. Reading the Bible and believing in God does not automatically give you moral bragging rights.
Have you read the Bible? (There’s a poem in a previous post you might like to read!)
Atheists know, just as well as you do, that it’s wrong to lie, or steal, or hurt others. We don’t need the Bible to tell us this. We also don’t need a scary god-daddy standing over us, threatening to hurt us if we aren’t moral. And actually, I suspect you don’t, either.
Here’s a question for you: If God were to somehow appear before us (he’s Real!), and announce unequivocally that he’s done with Earth and humanity, that all bets are off – you can all forget the whole Christianity thing, he’s going away and not coming back – would you Christians suddenly become immoral? Would you suddenly be consumed with the desire to steal, lie, rape, and murder? Would you go out and “live like animals?”
I most emphatically believe the answer is no. I really don’t think you would. Because even though God would no longer be holding a big stick over your heads (or the threat of eternal damnation and hellfire), you know it’s wrong to hurt others.
Just like atheists do.
(And if you don’t know hurting others is fundamentally wrong, then I whole-heartedly urge you to continue believing in God, with his big stick and eternal hellfire!)
Maybe Christians are used to making big sweeping proclamations without any evidence to back it up:
- God approves of a and b, but doesn’t approve of x and y (often conveniently tracking with whatever issues Christians happen to approve and disapprove of)
- To get into heaven, you must act such-and-such way, not this other way (which again, will conveniently track with current Christian “values”)
- Heaven looks like – whatever, fill in the blank: Jesus, family members, God’s right hand, angels with harps, blah blah blah
- God is for this army, but against that army
- God says “An eye for an eye!” No, no, wait, he’s changed his mind, now it’s “Turn the other cheek!” He thinks such-and-such now, not thus-and-so (even though both things are in the Bible); but he really means such-and-such now, trust us, we know
- Evolution is silly/”just a theory”/untrue
- The earth is 6,000 years old
And the list goes on.
So maybe they can’t help themselves when they proclaim, without evidence or seemingly any knowledge on the subject whatsoever, what atheists think and feel. Who we are. What we’re like. The extent of our happiness, the depth of our satisfaction, the level of our morality.
I wish they would just ask us, though. Instead of proclaiming for us. Since it’s so conspicuously and preposterously wrong.
So to you Christians out there – the ones who like to pontificate about atheists, the ones who say we’re “despairing” and lead meaningless lives, etc. – go ahead and proclaim to the world what you yourselves think and feel. About you, yourself. But please don’t tell the world what atheists think and feel.
Because you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.