Sometimes when I talk with others and the subject of atheism comes up, these same people are surprised to discover that I am not different than they are. I’ve actually been asked if atheism helps to solve life issues. Yeah, I’ve been asked that. No, it doesn’t. It’s just a personal conclusion that there are no gods. It surprised me that some people equated atheism with some sort of self-help program, Alcoholics anonymous, for example. No, the problems or issues a person had before becoming an atheist mostly exist afterwards. One that probably doesn’t is guilt.
By guilt I mean the guilt a person may feel when they are doing something bad in the eye of whatever faith they believed. I knew people that mentally punished themselves for missing church on Sunday morning because, well, they just didn’t want to get out of bed. Others find it difficult to not be themselves on those same Sundays. I mean, does anyone believe that this person who always seems cheery on Sunday morning is like that after church and the other six days of the week? Whether you’re Christian, Muslim, or Jew, you’re just a human being like everyone else on this planet. you’re no better or worse than anyone one else, generally and no one has any bragging rights to their religion or non-religion.
Just look at the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics concerning the declared religion of those incarcerated. It’s interesting that those percentages are almost exactly adjacent to those that are not incarcerated. For atheists, that is right at three percent. That’s close to the number of atheists that have been polled in the U.S. So, atheists, generally, are no more law abiding that those that are believers.
What advantage is there being an atheist? Well, none that I have ever been able to determine. In fact, it can be a detriment to someone’s career and family because atheists, yes in the 21st century, are very much regarded as untrustworthy and worthy of disdain. So, in some places, right here in the U.S., it’s not necessarily beneficial to be an atheist. no, no one’s going to jail for just being an atheist, as what happens in some fourteen other countries on the planet – to the point of being sentenced to death – but that sentence here, as I alluded to, may come in other forms.
If there’s no advantage to being an atheist, why be an atheist? FOr me, a personal conclusion that I could no longer believe what I was hearing in church or reading in the text. It didn’t make sense to me, and probably never did, but like so many, I was afraid of leaving and standing on my own. Of course, a lot of people in the last few decades have left their church, but they’ve not given up the belief which went along with that church. So all of those, which in recent polls referred to as nones, doesn’t indicate non-belief of any kind, just that they no longer belong to a specific denomination. When I see other atheists cheer this percentage of nones, I tend to want to correct them.
So, no, atheism doesn;t cure any of your personal ills. If you’re a drunk, drug addict, wife beater before, you will still be that person. There is no conversion process other than the one an individual has determined for him/her self. some refer to the process as deconversion. but if a person was never consciously converted in the first place, then that is a misnomer as well. In other words, if you were born and raised in a Muslim family, you cannot deconvert because you never converted. Of course, if you’re not an atheist reading this, you will proabably find other that would disagree with what I just said.
That’s okay because there is no catechism of atheism. there is no holy text that everyone ascribes to. We are the products of our environment, the one we came from (religious) and the one that we exist in now (our personal choice). No one decides for us what is right or wrong and of course we do not believe that our moral or ethical conscience comes from many god. I don;t think anyone has to be a Christian, Muslim, or Jew to have the efficacy not to murder, rape, or steal. If it does take a religion to keep someone from being evil? Well, if you know that person, make sure they get some psychiatric help. Soon.
If anyone out there is thinking that atheism must be some sort of cure-all for the ills of humankind, and that’s why it attracts people. Well, no and anyone that became an atheist because they thought that way, let me tell you, they quickly retreated back to their religious conclave. I see it all the time on social media: former atheist. I find that strange because I don’t refer to myself as “former christian” even though some others may believe I am a lapsed Christian. I think it’s that those that use that description in the bio, are folks that thought there was something to being an atheist and when they discovered that there was nothing particularly special being an atheist, quickly reverted to their old, comfortable, belief system and of course, berate those of us that, throughout whatever each person has had to endure to be an atheist (for me, nothing) for remaining ourselves and not giving in to intimidation or anything else that someone might be, may have, had to overcome.
If you’re a person that, over time, has come to doubt your faith, all I will say is don’t worry about it, but also don’t burden yourself with that guilt. Maybe it’s time to move on. Be sure though that coming to atheism is about you, and not someone else.
9 thoughts on “Atheism is Not a Cure-All”
Atheism, belief that gods don’t exist. I would like to go one-more and that is where do gods sit and rule. Heaven is that very place, so these days I resist believers’ divine BS and simply ask, “What and where do you imagine heaven to be?” Cheers and thanks. GROG
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Agreed. Th position of believing or not believing in a god isn’t going to solve life’s issues anymore than a belief or non-belief in fairies, dragons, unicorns, or santa claus is either. Atheism to me is just another word for reality. It means not having to apologize for being human or made to feel guilty for being born human. It also means appreciating the life I have in the here & now and enjoying the experience as it happens and not wishing it away on some celestial 3 card trick that tells me heaven is right there waiting for you, and all you have to do, …is die. I have hope in human beings getting together to do what we can to solve our problems. Because as far as I can tell, that’s the only thing that has ever made the world better. No God, no claim about a God, no attempt to impose a claim about a God has ever truly made the world better.
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Right on! There is only one reality. The universe is 100% natural. If there were a supernatural realm and if there were ever an interaction of the supernatural with the natural it would be a miracle. Religions can not exist without magic. GROG
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Absolutely. And dealing with reality on realities terms, that are based on truth, and the best conclusions we can make based on the best evidence available is a demonstrably better way to live. Bar-none. Having your internal worldview more consistent with reality is ALWAYS the key in everyday life. Because we’re talking about decision making and if I’m going to make decisions that affect what I do in reality, and if those decisions may possibly affect other people in that reality, then if my internal review of reality is more consistent with actual reality, the better. And the more off-course my internal view is from reality, the worse.
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The interesting thing, GROG, is that Christians, with whom I have discussed much about their faith, do not accept the “supernatural” because they believe that their god, angels, heaven and hell, etc. are part of all there is, and therefore natural. To them the term “supernatural” is reserved for those fictional creatures, such as, werewolves and vampires.
My thinking and consideration of “reality” and theirs are absolutely alien to one another.
OR2021, I have never experienced a christian that withstood the “slings and arrows” as well as any atheist. To accept that “it is what it is” and get on with living seems to me to be a more positive mindset, and I think atheists have that in spades. The miserable and whining and crying christian wretches often tell me that I will see when some terrible disaster strikes me or my family, and me telling them that I have been there and done that means absolutely nothing to them.
This is to say that their faith in their god seems to do little to support them…if one is judging by their actions and demeanor.
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Most believers intrinsically know that the universe doesn’t owe them anything. They are terrified of facing that reality or reality itself.So they invent a security blanket to ensure that they aren’t stuck in depression about having to face a cold, indifferent reality. Whether it’s heaven and hell, or karma dictating justice, it serves the same purpose. It’s a way to distract from the fact that they have no good reason to think that their God exists because if you look at their argument, and it was true,
“hey without the existence of god or an eternal afterlife, there’s no meaning and purpose in life”.
Okay maybe there’s not meaning and purpose in life. But you still haven’t demonstrated that your God or an afterlife exists. What they’re really saying is:
“I want there to be meaning and purpose in life. I can’t see how there’s meaning and purpose in life without a God or an afterlife. Therefore, I’m gonna believe in God.”
You talk about intellectually dishonest. That is leading yourself to the conclusion you want to reach. That is not about following the evidence. It’s really about saying:
“I don’t want to live in a world like this, so I’m gonna believe in a God & an afterlife so that I can convince myself that I don’t live in that world.”
Some of us prefer to actually face reality. Some of us realize that there’s no good reason to believe that the universe doesn’t owe us anything & is indifferent to our existence, our emotions, and our perceptions of good and evil. Some of us realize that dealing with reality on reality’s terms is the only way to make any real improvements in the situation.
It’s no surprise they’re more terrified of reality than of hellfire. And why is reality so scary to them? Because it’s so real.
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Well written, Anon.
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