Friends, I have come across a post that for lack of a better word portrays the atheist in so unfortunate a light that it is only fair that we be heard. I will not claim to speak for every atheist, but myself. However, before I respond to the three posts which can be found here, here and here, I want to start by saying that atheism answers only one question. The question is do you believe in the existence of god[s]? To which the answer is no! Beyond that, it says nothing about whether I am vegetarian, stamps collector, nada nada, nothing. With this out of the way, I can now proceed to answer to the claims of the above three posts.
The first accusation is the atheist lacks faith which is touted as the greatest good on earth. Our accuser commits a fallacy of equivocation. The word faith here is used in a narrow meaning forgetting that it has other meanings. I will demonstrate. I have faith my car will start in the morning. This faith is informed by the fact that I drove my car home the previous evening, it showed no sign of mechanical failure and last I started it, it worked. It could fail to start, though. It is therefore important that we are told what faith are we deprived of, if it is faith in an afterlife or fairies, that isn’t useful to me and as such I don’t need it.
We are asked to believe the atheist is devoid of human love. I don’t think this claim needs a response. My ability to love other sentient beings has nothing whatsoever to do with whether fairies exist or not. This said, however, I can understand where this comes from. I have often times asked my friends to tell me what they mean when they talk about love and I will tell you that many if not all have very interesting responses. I have sometimes said love is an ambiguous term, and if this is the basis of this accusation, then so be it, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that whatever it means to love, the atheist is as capable of having it just as the theist.
There is a beauty in looking at plant life, animal life or even at contemplating the night sky. There is sublime beauty in knowing we are stardust without positing a divine creator. All around us, both for the believer and unbeliever we are surrounded by natural processes and there is every mystery in looking at the working of nature. Therefore to write
The eye of the atheist sees in creation nothing other than the operation of natural processes. The brilliance and magnificent beauty of the Divine Creator’s image remain hidden and undetectable to him. As he glances aimlessly at creation, nowhere does he discover the beauty of God’s wisdom, nowhere does he see God’s omnipotence, nowhere does he observe God’s goodness and providence, nowhere does he discern the Creator’s righteousness and love for creation
is blatantly false and a collection of hodgepodge. It is what my good friend Tidleb would call deepity – those statements that look profound but tell us nothing. And while here, as I have written always, what god? And why would life and the universe need a creator? And where is this love? Is he implying that his god in act of love created the antelope to be killed by the lion for food or the male preying mantis gets to be killed during intercourse, tough love it must be!
The atheist has reason informed by experience as his guide. He walks with his head held high knowing that he too, like all things, in nature die and rot and go back to what they were before in the endless cycle of natural processes. He sees his kin die and knows that he too shall die. If this truth is uncomfortable for some, too bad, but I think to say
The atheist lives in a dispirited state; listlessness has taken hold of his soul. He wanders astray in the lightless and expansive night of this present life without even one ray of light to illumine his crooked paths
is not only mean but borders on condescension. It is a statement borne of ignorance, loaded with hate and malice and is far removed from reality as anything could possibly be.
I am grateful to my friends, they know because I express my appreciation to them. I love a lot of things and so many people. To claim
Feelings of love and gratitude remain unknown mysteries for the atheist
is based just as the others are, on ignorance of atheists. I can only say the author of this piece must live in a place where there is no atheist or he hasn’t met my friends.
It is said of the atheist that
having appointed matter as his principal governor, limited man’s true happiness within the narrow confines of temporary pleasures.
Be that as it may, please tell me one permanent pleasure that ain’t borne of wishful thinking. All things in nature are transient. This is not wishful thinking. This is fact. You can either embrace it, knowing that nothing is permanent or you can pretend it is not the case and be surprised when things happen not as you had expected them to be.
If as he writes
God, however, has fled from the heart of the atheist. The human heart has infinite desires because it was created to embrace the infinite God. However, since the atheist’s heart is not filled with the infinite God, it can never be filled or satisfied with anything—even though it perpetually groans, seeks, and desires to do so.
The fault is with god and not the atheist. The theist then must ask his god to fill the atheist’s heart with whatever it is that should fill hearts but please leave enough space to allow the heart pump blood :-P. I don’t want to die of heart failure!
I know of no other pleasures. This statement
The pleasures of the world are incapable of filling the heart’s emptiness
then joins the list of those many meaningless things people are oft to say in the hope they have said something substantial. The atheist/ naturalist says we have one life here and we have a duty to make each other’s journey through it as beautiful and easy as it can possibly be. We are earthbound, we make no promise of a future bliss. If we can’t have bliss here, there is no guarantee it can be anywhere else. And I say, since, we needed no training before our birth on how to live here, if there be another place, we should be able to learn to live there as well. While still on this part, I must say, the theist must show me why his god would choose such a torturous route to get us to heaven and hell. Why not just populate the two places at one go?
If happiness is dependent in believing there is a god, and that this god loves you, one wonders why there are countless unhappy believers. No, we are happy when our desires are met, our health is sound, those around us aren’t distressed, we all have a roof over our heads and food in the stomach. Anyone struggling to live can’t be happy. And am not saying having so much makes you happy, nope, but knowing that you are safe, have food and is loved is enough to make all of us happy. No god is required.
The atheist is unaware that man’s happiness is found not within the enjoyment of earthly pleasures but in the love of God
is therefore superfluous and irrelevant to human happiness.
The theist is slave of a tyrant, not the atheist. The theist believes his god desires worship, watches his every deed and will likely condemn him to an eternal fire for finite crimes. Reason can’t be a tyrant. There is no place on the earth where a life has been lost because people were reasonable, but many a number have been lost and continue to be lost in the name of god. So again, this statement
The atheist has become a unfortunate slave subjugated to a harsh tyrant!
is blatantly false and ridiculous. It can hold no water. It can’t stand.
The natural world seems to him sterile and barren. It neither provides him with joy nor generates within him feelings of delight
then you are definitely beyond help. It is you, not the atheist, who needs help. Wake up, look at the beauty around you and be filled with gladness that you are apart of a magnificent thing. That nature has so combined atoms to come up with a being such as you that can appreciate her beauty. You don’t need gods to see that the world and the universe is beautiful.
We are then told
Unmerciful and uncompassionate despair, in turn, violently and harshly severs the thread of his pitiful life, and hurls him into the depths of perdition and darkness, from where he will resurface only when the voice of his divine Creator—Whom he denied—calls him to give an account of his disbelief, at which point he will be condemned and sent to the eternal fire.
to which, in conclusion, I respond, don’t despair for me. If you are not going to be my attorney, let me be. Live your life praising your god and while at it, pray so hard that you are worshiping the right god and if that isn’t the case, that the right god be merciful to you for worshiping a wrong one. If any atheist is called to account, they will do so on their own, stop your threats, they are meaningless to us. They don’t scare us. And in closing, our lives are full of light not darkness, we know we shall die someday and when that day comes we will be no more and are the happy for it.
May your god help you, but please leave the atheist to live his life. The time to live is now.