The Consolations of Atheism
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12-06-2014, 04:01 PM
The Consolations of Atheism
It has been impossible for me to hold any conversation about Atheism with a believer in some cult or other without the following statements and questions escaping their lips: "It must be awful not to believe in god. You must be so depressed and sad all the time." or "Why would you want to take away something from us that gives us peace, happiness, and consolation? Why don't you just leave us alone?"

Set aside for the moment that I don't believe them for a second that it offers them any such thing, it always makes me think about how much better I feel now that I am an Atheist. My experience was and is profoundly the reverse of what the believers usually expect it to be. I believe that non-belief offers much better and more permanent consolation that religion ever could. I will gladly tell you why.

1. There is no one watching me when I am alone. If you grew up religious it's likely that you have heard this totalitarian nonsense, that god is always watching (perhaps most attentively when you masturbate). What a relief it is not be under a total and unalterable surveillance that utterly robs me of the peace that comes from privacy. What a relief not to be judging myself on god's behalf. There is no frantic, masochistic, and desperate self abjection and denial of happiness and fulfillment. It is impossible for me to explain how priceless the peace of merely existing without original sin on your mind is.

2. I do not fear death. Without life beyond the grave what is left to fear? Only the business of dying, not the death itself. Even then I can die with the knowledge that whatever pain I suffer will soon be over and that I will not be around to suffer in the aftermath.

3. My personal relationships are more important to me and more fulfilling. The realization of limited time with friends and family reminds me why they are the most important part of my life. I can spend what time we have together and I can do it without the indignity of pretending I have a remedy or a cure for the unavoidable grief that will seize me upon their death. Afterwards I can spare other friends and relatives useless and stupid statements of supposed comfort regarding seeing the dead again one day or their current residence with angels.

4. There is no Hell. No sadistic pit of fire and torture awaits beyond the grave for any of us, which none of us could ever have deserved to begin with. Those of us who were abused by our teachers and parents with tales of the flames in our youth can truly appreciate the profound and drawn out mental anguish it awakes. We can also appreciate the immeasurable relief that is extracted from the discovery that it is not and never was true.

5. There is no reason to engage in exhausting and impossible missionary work. I have no need to convert my fellows around the world to any cult, but rather can begin the real business of living in and maintaining peace with a global community of many different ideologies and religions. Giving up what is perhaps the most divisive element within culture is the first major step towards seeing the peoples of the world as they are and not what I wish they were.

6. I don't have to listen to the innumerable human authorities who claim my allegiance in the name of god and/or religion. I don't have to feel obligated or involved in the often horrendous actions they take around the world. At the very least I can maintain the dignity and self respect of a person who has no master or liege lord to whom he owes service or support. I live in a free nation but only as a free man because of my emancipation from religion, not in spite of it. Freeing my mind to think for myself and making my own moral decisions is only the minimum required to be the best person I can be. It just so happens that I can make a great deal more progress without defending the immorality of religion along the way. A great part of that progress is my desire to be on the side of abused children rather than their abusers.

7. I can and will partake in every joy and pleasure that is available to me, especially including those prohibited by religion. I have an unfettered opportunity to focus on a fulfilling life rather than an abject one. Even better still, I have friends and family to accompany me on the journey for their own fulfillment. There is not only no need but no desire in me for the self denial, abjection, loathing, judgement, and fear that accompany belief. Emancipation from religion is like a cage being opened, but discovering a world of wonder and pleasure is like bounding through the open door and running like the wind to a new life.

Perhaps we can all hear a little less about how our only hope for peace and joy in this life is belief and devotion to one religion or another. I am getting along much better than I ever did as a believer and so can you.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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12-06-2014, 06:19 PM
RE: The Consolations of Atheism
So you would say that there is an appeal to atheism in the sense that it offers you consolation as you put it.

Would that be fair to say?

The reason I am asking this is because I have been told by some that a reality without God in it is something that one must face with a determination and resolve. As if it is indeed bleak, and depressing, but nontheless true and thus one has to simply "deal with it"....

So it seems here that your view is actually something I do not see all that often. That your beliefs offer you consolation.

That is interesting.
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12-06-2014, 06:25 PM
RE: The Consolations of Atheism
(12-06-2014 04:01 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It has been impossible for me to hold any conversation about Atheism with a believer in some cult or other without the following statements and questions escaping their lips: "It must be awful not to believe in god. You must be so depressed and sad all the time." or "Why would you want to take away something from us that gives us peace, happiness, and consolation? Why don't you just leave us alone?"

Set aside for the moment that I don't believe them for a second that it offers them any such thing, it always makes me think about how much better I feel now that I am an Atheist. My experience was and is profoundly the reverse of what the believers usually expect it to be. I believe that non-belief offers much better and more permanent consolation that religion ever could. I will gladly tell you why.

1. There is no one watching me when I am alone. If you grew up religious it's likely that you have heard this totalitarian nonsense, that god is always watching (perhaps most attentively when you masturbate). What a relief it is not be under a total and unalterable surveillance that utterly robs me of the peace that comes from privacy. What a relief not to be judging myself on god's behalf. There is no frantic, masochistic, and desperate self abjection and denial of happiness and fulfillment. It is impossible for me to explain how priceless the peace of merely existing without original sin on your mind is.

2. I do not fear death. Without life beyond the grave what is left to fear? Only the business of dying, not the death itself. Even then I can die with the knowledge that whatever pain I suffer will soon be over and that I will not be around to suffer in the aftermath.

3. My personal relationships are more important to me and more fulfilling. The realization of limited time with friends and family reminds me why they are the most important part of my life. I can spend what time we have together and I can do it without the indignity of pretending I have a remedy or a cure for the unavoidable grief that will seize me upon their death. Afterwards I can spare other friends and relatives useless and stupid statements of supposed comfort regarding seeing the dead again one day or their current residence with angels.

4. There is no Hell. No sadistic pit of fire and torture awaits beyond the grave for any of us, which none of us could ever have deserved to begin with. Those of us who were abused by our teachers and parents with tales of the flames in our youth can truly appreciate the profound and drawn out mental anguish it awakes. We can also appreciate the immeasurable relief that is extracted from the discovery that it is not and never was true.

5. There is no reason to engage in exhausting and impossible missionary work. I have no need to convert my fellows around the world to any cult, but rather can begin the real business of living in and maintaining peace with a global community of many different ideologies and religions. Giving up what is perhaps the most divisive element within culture is the first major step towards seeing the peoples of the world as they are and not what I wish they were.

6. I don't have to listen to the innumerable human authorities who claim my allegiance in the name of god and/or religion. I don't have to feel obligated or involved in the often horrendous actions they take around the world. At the very least I can maintain the dignity and self respect of a person who has no master or liege lord to whom he owes service or support. I live in a free nation but only as a free man because of my emancipation from religion, not in spite of it. Freeing my mind to think for myself and making my own moral decisions is only the minimum required to be the best person I can be. It just so happens that I can make a great deal more progress without defending the immorality of religion along the way. A great part of that progress is my desire to be on the side of abused children rather than their abusers.

7. I can and will partake in every joy and pleasure that is available to me, especially including those prohibited by religion. I have an unfettered opportunity to focus on a fulfilling life rather than an abject one. Even better still, I have friends and family to accompany me on the journey for their own fulfillment. There is not only no need but no desire in me for the self denial, abjection, loathing, judgement, and fear that accompany belief. Emancipation from religion is like a cage being opened, but discovering a world of wonder and pleasure is like bounding through the open door and running like the wind to a new life.

Perhaps we can all hear a little less about how our only hope for peace and joy in this life is belief and devotion to one religion or another. I am getting along much better than I ever did as a believer and so can you.
Your imagery of God is not very good. In view of your testimony, you should at least realize that if your unfaith is joy, your god is messed up.
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12-06-2014, 06:37 PM
RE: The Consolations of Atheism
(12-06-2014 06:19 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  The reason I am asking this is because I have been told by some that a reality without God in it is something that one must face with a determination and resolve. As if it is indeed bleak, and depressing, but nontheless true and thus one has to simply "deal with it"....

I'm in the camp of being happier as an atheist than I was as a theist, and not because I'm "free to sin". Rather, I'm free to investigate and to learn honestly. I'm free to take the world on face value, as it is rather than as I would want it to be. I'm free to take on issues not thinking that some god will help or that I'm the tool of a god. I can make a difference, a human difference in what I do. I am able to act with integrity and not have that diminished by a belief that my integrity is some kind of gift from a god.

I am responsible and autonomous. My future is determined by my own decisions as much as anything outside of my control. I'm free to love without thinking that love is flowing from an external source. Rather I know that my goodness or my evil are determined by my own character.

My world is not diminished by a lack of belief in gods. Rather, it is expanded by knowledge about reality and by my personal autonomy.

(12-06-2014 06:25 PM)childeye Wrote:  Your imagery of God is not very good. In view of your testimony, you should at least realize that if your unfaith is joy, your god is messed up.

.. or rather: It is an observation that the gods proposed by others are messed up.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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12-06-2014, 07:05 PM
RE: The Consolations of Atheism
(12-06-2014 06:37 PM)Hafnof Wrote:  
(12-06-2014 06:19 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  The reason I am asking this is because I have been told by some that a reality without God in it is something that one must face with a determination and resolve. As if it is indeed bleak, and depressing, but nontheless true and thus one has to simply "deal with it"....

I'm in the camp of being happier as an atheist than I was as a theist, and not because I'm "free to sin". Rather, I'm free to investigate and to learn honestly. I'm free to take the world on face value, as it is rather than as I would want it to be. I'm free to take on issues not thinking that some god will help or that I'm the tool of a god. I can make a difference, a human difference in what I do. I am able to act with integrity and not have that diminished by a belief that my integrity is some kind of gift from a god.

I am responsible and autonomous. My future is determined by my own decisions as much as anything outside of my control. I'm free to love without thinking that love is flowing from an external source. Rather I know that my goodness or my evil are determined by my own character.

My world is not diminished by a lack of belief in gods. Rather, it is expanded by knowledge about reality and by my personal autonomy.

(12-06-2014 06:25 PM)childeye Wrote:  Your imagery of God is not very good. In view of your testimony, you should at least realize that if your unfaith is joy, your god is messed up.

.. or rather: It is an observation that the gods proposed by others are messed up.
Any invented god or gods are messed up. It's like an amoeba trying to invent the universe.
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12-06-2014, 07:08 PM
RE: The Consolations of Atheism
(12-06-2014 06:37 PM)Hafnof Wrote:  
(12-06-2014 06:19 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  The reason I am asking this is because I have been told by some that a reality without God in it is something that one must face with a determination and resolve. As if it is indeed bleak, and depressing, but nontheless true and thus one has to simply "deal with it"....

I'm in the camp of being happier as an atheist than I was as a theist, and not because I'm "free to sin". Rather, I'm free to investigate and to learn honestly. I'm free to take the world on face value, as it is rather than as I would want it to be. I'm free to take on issues not thinking that some god will help or that I'm the tool of a god. I can make a difference, a human difference in what I do. I am able to act with integrity and not have that diminished by a belief that my integrity is some kind of gift from a god.

I am responsible and autonomous. My future is determined by my own decisions as much as anything outside of my control. I'm free to love without thinking that love is flowing from an external source. Rather I know that my goodness or my evil are determined by my own character.

My world is not diminished by a lack of belief in gods. Rather, it is expanded by knowledge about reality and by my personal autonomy.

So you too would say that your beliefs offer you consolation or that they are appealing to you?

Would that be fair to say that is how you feel?
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12-06-2014, 07:38 PM
RE: The Consolations of Atheism
(12-06-2014 06:19 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  So you would say that there is an appeal to atheism in the sense that it offers you consolation as you put it.

Would that be fair to say?

More like freedom from delusion.


Quote:The reason I am asking this is because I have been told by some

By WHOM, mister Strawman Factory?



Quote: that a reality without God in it

...that is to say, without SUPERSTITIONS


Quote:is something that one must face with a determination and resolve. As if it is indeed bleak, and depressing, but nontheless true and thus one has to simply "deal with it"....

Not at all. Reality is reality and life is life. There are hardships in life which one must deal with, but that doesn't make life a hardship that must somehow be "dealt with". No strawmanning, please.



Quote:So it seems here that your view is actually something I do not see all that often. That your beliefs offer you consolation.

Disbelief in superstitions and fairy tales are not in themselves beliefs. How many fucking times must you be reminded of this, Idiot Boy.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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12-06-2014, 07:44 PM
RE: The Consolations of Atheism
(12-06-2014 07:08 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  So you too would say that your beliefs offer you consolation or that they are appealing to you?

Would that be fair to say that is how you feel?

More loaded trick questions, I see.

It's DISbelief, asshole.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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12-06-2014, 08:05 PM
RE: The Consolations of Atheism
To the OP:

All 1-7... agreed.

So these apply (with some minor modifications to your wording) to someone (me) who never bought the myth in the first place.

That was a well written piece, DP
*goes off to check if rep given yet*

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12-06-2014, 08:27 PM
RE: The Consolations of Atheism
(12-06-2014 04:01 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  2. I do not fear death. Without life beyond the grave what is left to fear? Only the business of dying, not the death itself. Even then I can die with the knowledge that whatever pain I suffer will soon be over and that I will not be around to suffer in the aftermath.

I think Ricky Gervais said it best.

Quote:“It’s a strange myth that atheists have nothing to live for. It’s the opposite. We have nothing to die for. We have everything to live for.”
― Ricky Gervais

"If you keep trying to better yourself that's enough for me. We don't decide which hand we are dealt in life, but we make the decision to play it or fold it" - Nishi Karano Kaze
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