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Old 09-20-2008, 11:44 AM   #1
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An Atheist's Perspective

For all ya Atheists and Non-Atheists out there.
Here's what one prominent Atheist sees in life...



An Atheist's reflection on the meaning of Life.
by: Adrian Barnett

One of the major misconceptions about atheists is that we have little or no respect for life - human or otherwise. Because we think that all life is some accidental freak of nature there is no meaning or purpose to it all, and it is all pretty worthless. We cannot possibly gain the same enjoyment and fulfillment from living that believers do. We care nothing for the suffering of others, as they're all just wormfood in the end.

What fresh lunacy is this? (to quote Harry Hill.)

Yes, life on this planet is a lucky accident, probably similar to countless other emergences of life on other planets. No, there is no particular purpose or meaning behind it all - why should there be? What right do we have to consider ourselves special?

However, as an atheist, I consider all (well, most) life to be sacred (if I can use such a word). Atheists know that we only get one chance at life. This is it. This is all you get. No reincarnation, no heaven or hell, no second chances. You only get one go, and to mess it up or waste it is the most terrible thing.

Make the most of your brief span of awareness. Educate yourself so that you can see the wonders of the universe for what they are, without the fog of religious belief. Swim in the Indian Ocean. Watch the sunset at Uluru (Ayer's Rock). Tickle a baby. Climb a tree. Learn to unicyle. Massage your partner. Take up pottery.

Gain pleasure from making other peoples' lives better. Some people live in appalling conditions, earning in a week what you might earn in one hour (if that). Support an orphanage.

Some theists seem to have this bizarre notion that atheists are sad, dreary, selfish people who only ever consider themselves, have no concern for anyone else and mope around all day wondering how they can get to Heaven without having to believe in Jesus and be nice to people. (Funny just how wrong some people can be, isn't it?)

I am often asked "Why bother? If life is a meaningless accident, with no ultimate goal or purpose, why not just kill yourself now? Why not even go on a killing spree and end the worthless lives of everybody else? What stops you ending it all?" To which I would reply - "Have you ever built a snowman?" After all, snowmen are ephemeral objects, soon to be melted in the sun. A snowman has no ultimate purpose or goal, and in a few weeks there will be no trace of it's ever existing. We build snowmen because all of us, theists and atheists, live here and now. In the context of our own brief mortal lives, we are able to enjoy this life and gain pleasure from ultimately pointless acts. It is fun to build a snowman, or climb a mountain, or watch the sunset, or go for a long cycle ride in the countryside. The purpose of these things is not "out there" somewhere, waiting to be achieved - the meaning is in what it means to ourselves. I am not overly concerned about some future fifty billion years from now, but I am concerned about the future of humanity here, now and for the generations that follow. That is the context of a mortal life, and that is why I "bother" to live and damn well have fun while I'm doing it.

There is no meaning to life itself. There is no purpose to the universe. You can, however, give life meaning through your actions. Make the world a better place for yourself, your contemporaries and your descendents.

Atheists can, and often do, lead a full and enjoyable life. We know that this is all we get, and all that everybody else gets, so we do the best that we can for ourselves and others. It's no good praying for people dying in a third-world country - there's no God to help them, only people. If people don't do it, nobody else will. I am sickened whenever there is a major disaster in the world, and some politician or church leader says that the victims desperately need our prayers. No they don't. They need someone to go and dig them out of the rubble, comfort the bereaved, find out why the plane crashed, bring them food and medicine. Prayer is not going to do that - people are. There is an orphanage in Kenya, called the Diani Childrens Village. The kids there have no family at all, and live in, well... a hovel. Do they need prayers and Bibles, or do they need love, money, food, clothes and education?

As an atheist, I consider all life to be sacred. A life and a mind are terrible things to waste. Make the most of them while you can, and help others do the same.

Is that such a Bad Thing?




Aight,
how bout them apples?...

Rockn.
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Old 09-20-2008, 03:30 PM   #2
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Marvman, thank you for posting this.
I've never heard of this guy before, but this is EXACTLY my worldview as an atheist.

And I love that his response to "Why don't you just kill everyone?" is "Have you ever built a snowman?"

I treasure human life, and I believe that we should live to make the HERE and NOW a better place for everyone, not doing stupid things to mess it up with the hope of an afterlife nobody knows exists...

Carpe Diem, guys.
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Old 09-20-2008, 03:39 PM   #3
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Most of this seems to make sense. It certainly explains what he thinks, but does not necessarily represent everyone's opinion. I, for one, treat everyone the same, no matter what religion they are, whether they follow it or not. But the only people who seem to think that Atheists are a bunch of evil monsters are over-zealous. I think nothing less of an Atheist than of a Christian.

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Old 09-20-2008, 04:45 PM   #4
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If there were no God, there would be no Atheists
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Old 09-20-2008, 05:45 PM   #5
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@Ling, Umm... What?
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Old 09-20-2008, 07:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ling View Post
If there were no God, there would be no Atheists
Nope. There is no god, and I'm still here
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukario View Post
But the only people who seem to think that Atheists are a bunch of evil monsters are over-zealous. I think nothing less of an Atheist than of a Christian.
There's a reason that while a woman or black person can be the next president, New York has a blind black governor, and there have been various gay elected officials, you will never see an atheist win office. They are the last acceptable prejudice. Even though there is a separation of church and state, people still seem to believe that atheists=satanists, or atheists=communists, or some other connection drawn together from propaganda and hearsay. When in fact, most atheists are like the above writer: normal human beings. Not nihilists, not Nazis, not dirty commie bastards. Just people.
So I think it's a little naive to say that the only people who think less of atheists are over-zealous. Because even if a candidate was a freakin' saint, if he said he didn't believe in god, he would never get elected.
Period.
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Old 09-21-2008, 03:47 PM   #7
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Atheist are rather interesting :/ I never know what to say if one of them sneezes i cant say"God bless you"I guess ill be forced to say"when you die nothing happens" Anyways very nicely written marvman

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Old 09-21-2008, 10:04 PM   #8
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Atheist are rather interesting :/ I never know what to say if one of them sneezes i cant say"God bless you"I guess ill be forced to say"when you die nothing happens" Anyways very nicely written marvman

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Contrary to Dane Cook, you can tell an atheist god bless you.

I even say it myself, except I usually just say bless you....

It's a sign of good will....
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