Feel-Bad Atheism

One of the rhetorical epithets of atheism is this notion that it’s an empty worldview. Nature in all its cold indifference is all that there is. There is nothing more than an existence of suffering and pain. Comfort is a delusion.

Sounds bad, doesn’t it?
The whole point of describing something in this way is to make it sound less appealing than it really is. It’s like handing someone a glass of water and then talking about how the local water treatment plant suffers from budget cuts. Go ahead and drink the water. I’m sure it has acceptable levels of bacteria and lead in it.

Looking at atheism, this is something I used to believe. Destroying belief in deities had to mean an empty existence where nothing better can be expected. I expected that the world would seem different if I lost my faith in an all powerful Bronze Age war god. I expected that I’d lose all hope if I abandoned my beliefs.

I didn’t need help to be afraid.
Anxiety and depression can do terrible things to a person without any help. I just had the lucky chance to experience that help. It was the gift that kept on giving. I couldn’t give it up because I had no clue what would happen if I did.

And the terror felt very real. People outside the faith don’t always get this. They might chalk up these silly beliefs to a lapse in judgment or stupidity, but there are all kinds of preaching out there that works hard at getting around common sense. Fear is one of those things. Christians can be made to fear things so much that it will alter their behavior when the idea of the supernatural is anywhere on the horizon.

Things changed in a good way when I lost my faith.
I stopped being afraid of a good amount of things when I stopped believing in zombie Jesus and old legends of burning bushes. This was the exact opposite of what I’d been told. Still, there are times when I’ll have this vestigial sense that I should be afraid. Nowadays I recognize the feeling as useless conditioning.

It was that realization that helped me consider that there were many other things out there that were wrong. Being godless isn’t about being a pessimist or cynic. Yes, there are some pessimistic and cynical atheists out there. But that problem exists regardless of ideas about the supernatural.

Beauty and inspiration hasn’t ceased to exist for me. They just pop up in different places. When I see deaf people laugh at hearing for the first time, I feel pretty good for them. When I read about people successfully going into space, I think it’s great. When I see people looking out for each other when they don’t have to, I am reminded that this is a feature of humanity and not a flaw.

No deity is required to think about these things. I know there are people who’d beg to differ. Who are they to tell me or anyone else how to feel? They only had that control earlier because I’d been bound and chained to believe them. Without threats, and without those chains, there’s nothing holding me to those ideas.

Life isn’t always beautiful, but that’s true regardless of what anyone believes. There will be good times and bad times, ups and downs, ins and outs. Letting go of faith was scary, but now I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

18 thoughts on “Feel-Bad Atheism

  1. I really enjoy reading your posts about atheism. It’s interesting to learn about your journey and to see how your past influences how you view things now. Our perspectives are very different: I have never had religion in my life, and so all of the things you’re discovering, I have always taken for granted. Having no god doesn’t mean that life is bleak. It just means that we have to exercise self-reliance and personal responsibility. And good things that happen aren’t gifts from some benign power; they come from the goodness and the generosity and the creativity of the human spirit. That’s the real miracle.

    Good luck in your journey; I look forward to continuing to read about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s no purpose to atheism. If a person wants to believe that upon death, they cease to exist, what hope is in that? None. So, what’s the point of even discussion, for when a person dies, there’s nothing more. We abide in hope, and hope indicates something to hope for.

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    • Hope in faith is ultimately hope in the self, while atheists search for hope from without. When I die, my body will decompose. Organisms will feed on my flesh, and my atoms will spread via natural conveyance. The hope? That people will live on as they have, learning more, feeding their curiosity, and searching for ways to make existence kinder for others.

      The point of discussion is to show people that hope isn’t monopolized by one group of ideas or one group of people. Sure, some people find hope in an afterlife or in mysticism. Good for them. But that hope isn’t fit for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s why I shared to each his/her own. I can only speak for myself. But I do find it curious that some people are comfortable for existing for a few decades, then never again. For all eternity. ** Having said that, I have an instinct that people who claim atheism have a belief they’re not sharing with others except those of their inner circle.

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      • Well, I’m sorry your instincts are telling you atheists are hiding things. Consider talking to more atheists? There’s no tithing or membership fees. And there’s plenty to talk to here on WordPress.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Why is eternal life spent in “worshipping” the vapid, angry petty deity you worship (I assume) such a thing of hope? it sounds…horrific…to me.

      Your religion is logically incoherent. If eternal life in heaven is what your deity intended, than our current situation represents a serious example of either incompetence or malevolence. as everything occurs according to His will, then the fall and our suffering are according to His will. Again, incompetence or malevolence. In either case, again, I see little “hope”, no “Good News” in your religion at all.

      SIRIUS! I never clicked on your name before in the posts over at Maka’s place! Great to discover your blog! I appreciate the little community you have all created!

      Liked by 2 people

      • You believe that you know what I believe and understand? That’s interesting. I don’t know all that makes you tick, but I do have my own experiences, some I share. It’s been a long walk of learning, discovery, and realizations. But the one thing I have learned, regarding people who put me in a box, or others who believe in their religion, is a skepticism and cynicism. Not born of honesty but something else.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Why does it have to be anger? Why not exasperation?

        You’re not the first person to show up on an atheism post making unsubstantiated claims (like the ones in your first comment, or your instincts regarding atheists’ lack of openness). You’re not the first person who has ignored chances to clarify a position instead of just complaining that others are making incorrect assumptions about what you’re saying. You’re not even the first person to imply vague and meaningless criticisms of godless perspectives.

        Usually the next step in these exchanges is for the person in your position to claim unfair treatment, or that everyone dealing with you must be so angry, or maybe even throw something new and equally outlandish out there. For added embellishment, you can attempt to blame everyone else but yourself for your behavior, to absolve yourself in all of this.

        Liked by 4 people

    • I’ve found a wonderful side effect of no longer believing in any Supernational ‘Being’, is how much my appreciation for this life has grown.

      And I know that once I die, my body will again become part of this beautiful planet, and I will live on in the memory of those who cared for me.

      Sure the thought of being “no more” can be a little hard for humans to comprehend at times, but I’ve realised once I’m dead, I won’t know any better anyhow.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I so totally agree with you! It’s really too bad that Crispies can’t get past that “eternal life” thing. IMO, it’s far easier to live life knowing this is all there is … which is why I Carpe Diem!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. dolphinwrite: How can I know who you are or what you really believe? You are a few lines of text in a blog comment thread. Which is all I can respond to. Yet read what you posted above. Everything in said few lines of text is consistent with the too typical Christian concern troll worried about our eternal soul and for some reason unwilling and unable to accept the reality that time is short, our lives are ephemeral, brief flickers of light in the context of the universe and the vast oceans of time in which it exists. You could, I suppose, be a believer in other religions that are unable to accept the finite nature of our existence. If so, mea culpa, I guess. I think this denial of reality is actually rather…sad, though.

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  4. Absolutely you have the freedom to believe as you wish. I was sharing insights. It’s up to you to decide what you wish to believe in. As with all citizens living in this country. The purpose of my writing is for those on the fence, beleiving in atheism but troubled also by the end of existence, or perhaps something else. Like Johnny Appleseed, we talk and share. If people hear, we discuss. If they don’t want to hear, we shake the dust off our shoes and walk on, talking with others. That’s what I’ll do here.

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