Positive Atheism Forum
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Overwhelmed By
The Absurdity Of It All?
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From: "Bill & Lynda Cooper"
To: "Positive Atheism"
Subject: PA-via_Q_and_A:_Atheism_and_Outlook
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 3:22 AM

I have been an unwilling atheist for many years, clinging to my childhood religion, but as I hit my mid forties I have become a born again atheist. When I use Ockham's razor to describe life as I find it then atheism is the simplest explanation that ties in with the scientific world view.

Its OK but when I really consider my own mortality I find I get a real primal fear that makes it difficult to cope with what I believe to be true. How do others come to terms with eventual none existence for eternity? (Beyond trying not to think about it, keeping busy, etc.)

I do feel overwhelmed by the absurdity of it all.

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From: "Larry B"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 5:45 AM

I feel as if I have walked in your shoes for a long time. The unwilling atheist - I like that description very much, it fits my experience quite well . Now however I am faced with the truth that life ends forever one day. Yes, I too went through a period of primal fear, faced with death for ever but that has passed also. Celebrate life today because death has always been there for every one. Death is nothing knew or novel to mankind and the dreams of living beyond it have always been just that, dreams. We all return to where ever we were ,before we were born , some place that we know nothing about. I always remember what Bertrand Russell said "We would not admire a soldier who refused to fight because he knew he could not win" . So, continue the good fight against the viel of darkness, celebrate life with your love ones and think of death as simply returning to someplace you once were.

Larry Brandon

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From: "CCAC Network User"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 8:44 AM

I haven't thought about this extensively, I've been busy in the now instead of thinking about my old age and death.

The meaning of life is the meaning the individual assigns it. If the assigned meaning is absurd, then life's absurd. I think a life in service to some god is absurd, due to the non-existence of gods. But such a life can be productive nonetheless, and meaningful (as I recall) to the individual. A life free from folklore but without long term selfless and selfish goals, is unproductive.

Just this past Friday, I ran into the street to block my son from running into traffic. I didn't think about it, I protected my kid. That's what parents do, that's all, and that's the meaning to my life...my immediate family. My goal isn't to inculcate atheism in them, but free thought certainly; to get them interested in their own education; for me to get a higher paying job; and to be remembered by my kids for my personal integrity. I suppose I would be happier with my goals if I could expand them to impacting the world in some small personal way, and if I could afford it, I'd give more money to charities, but my family has to come first for me.

Please don't include my name if you include this response.

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From: "Susan Ellis"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 11:31 AM

Dear Mr. Walker,

I have been receiving your on-line messages for some months now and I quite enjoy them. Here is my response to the question," How do others come to terms with eventual none existence for eternity?"

As a thinking reasoning human being I am fully cognisant of the fact that my presence here on earth is but temporary. Far from being the disillusioning prospect that theists may think this is, I tend to think of each minute as precious. I count myself very fortunate indeed that my circumstances are such that I have leisure time. I am not spending every minute of every day scrounging for my existence. I go to my work, I earn money from my efforts at my job which I then use to provide food, shelter and clothing. I am able to fulfil my obligations to my family and the society which I contract with to live in.

This is important to me. We all of us ascribe importance to some aspect of our lives and to me being a productive useful member of my society as far as these baseline survival values are concerned is important.

Having said all that, I do not sit around during my leisure time contemplating the fact that I soon will be dead. I instead try to use my time trying to learn and understand humans, the world and our place in it. I read books, watch taped lectures, discuss these subjects and research as much as I can in order to improve my understanding and add to my knowledge. To do otherwise I think, would be a poor use of the valuable time I have left.

I am physically active and try to keep my body in working order so that I might enjoy mobility and good health for a longer period of time. I am in short trying very hard not to squander my resources. I have projects I work on that have influenced others in my small circle of friends and acquaintances and in that respect I think my time here on earth is well spent.

Of course, there are times I put aside to allow myself to simply enjoy the day. I might have a good meal with some excellent beer, I might work out extra hard to get the endorphins doing their work. Or I might simply relax and watch a movie (I do watch and enjoy movies on DVD I do not watch television) or read a book.

I do not watch TV, the current TV fare I consider to be the most deplorable and despicable use of a very good tool, I do not work my self up over the news as I am of the opinion the news we get is more for entertainment value and not as accurate as we would like to think. I do not do anything which I do not want to do if at all possible. I don't spend time cutting grass or tending my lawn as I am not concerned with that. Instead I hire some one to do that so that I may use my time doing something productive like reading.

I don't want to die, but it is inevitable. So the best that I can manage is not to die having lead an unproductive life, a life where I simply watched TV, gossiped with neighbours, moaned about the taxes etc. I hope instead to have to the best I am capable read and understood things which interested me such as the origin of the universe, evolution, socio-biology, ethics and if I am extremely fortunate, to have positively touched the lives of others.

This done I can face death with a certain degree of serenity.

To quote Richard Dawkins during an interview with Sandra McDonald who asked the him the same question;

"You prepare for it by facing up to the truth, which is that life is what we have and so we had better live our life to the full while we have it, because there is nothing after it. We are very lucky accidents or at least each one of us is--if we hadn't been here, someone else would have been. I take all this to reinforce my view that I am fantastically lucky to be here and so are you, and we ought to use our brief time in the sunlight to maximum effect by trying to understand things and get as full a vision of the world and life as our brains allow us to, which is pretty full."

Stephen A. Lonsdale

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From: "Walt Wentz"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 12:44 PM

Rather than ponder the absurdity of one's eventual nonexistence, one might better ponder the incredible sequence of fortunate accidents required to bring him (or her) into existence. All sentient beings are winners of an incredible lottrery. We, among countless billions of possible combinations of genetic material, have fortuitously been brought out of nonexistence.

That we must eventually return to nonexistence is considerably less important than the fact we are here, now, and able to affect the existence we inhabit without recourse to some narrow little god or gods.

The universe is as it was before we came, without heavens or hells, and will remain the same after we are gone. The only thing to fear about death is that it may come before we have thoroughly made use of the lives and the bodies we have been fortunate enough to gain. Otherwise, dying is simply like walking into a familiar room in the dark.

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From:
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 1:06 PM

My atheism is what keeps me going on. Knowing there is not an afterlife, I have to take full advantage of the life I have right now; the only life I Have!!!

And even if I'm wrong, and there is some kind of afterlife, who knows what it is like?

But right now, you know you are alive. You know you can think, feel, love, hate. Take advantage of the life you know for sure that you have.

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-From:
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 2:03 PM

Two ways of thinking about the most fundamental of philosophical conundrums:

First, I maintain an existentialist's belief in "creating" oneself, and confront the nothingness as Dostoevski's underground man by acknowledging the absurdity of existence analogous to the way I deal with my depression. Rather than taking medication for it, I have simply learned to embrace it and welcome it as a part of existence -- Schopenhauer once remarked that the truly horrible part of existence is that the things that we truly desire are always those things we can never have.

To deal with the futility and absurdity of existence, think about Camus' "Myth of Sisyphus" in which Sisyphus is destined to push a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll down again, for all of eternity. The moral: make meaning in the deed, rather than the final outcome, for we all know there is no transcendental purpose, thus we must fashion our own. It's not easy, it is a constant struggle, by well worth consideration.

-Cyberiad

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From: "LC Whittle"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 3:21 PM

I'll say it's an absurd question. Why is this man's mortality different than anyone else's? Everyone dies. That's a fact. Whether they go to heaven or hell isn't worth discussing.

I don't understand the primal fear his mortality invokes. No one has ever been guaranteed more than their four score and whatever ~ the primal fear of his own end is really what's absurd.

How do I come to terms with my up and coming demise? I accept it. It will happen. There's nothing that can be done to stop it. I simply resolve to enjoy here and now, and maybe plan a bit for the future, understanding completely that today might be the last of it.

If you can accept the cycle of the seasons, why would you not accept the cycle of life, the same cycle that every living thing on this earth is subject to?

I find the religious promise of everlasting life absurd. I find the concept of heaven and hell absurd. I was born, I will die: that's reality. There's no romance in that but -- oh well!!!!

I don't want to die. Despite all the things that have gone wrong in my life, I still love it. I resent the necessity of death, but I am not afraid of it.

The secret of life, I've been told, is that it's all absurd, every last iota of it.

LC Whittle of Florida and New Mexico, USA

"Tell me whom you love, and I will tell you who you are." Houssaye.

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From: "Mary Cancilla"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 3:44 PM

The thought of no longer existing is, indeed, totally overwhelming and absurd. I equate the feeling with thinking about the vastness of the universe and how many billions of stars there are...if I think about it too much, I tend to freak out a bit. I do the same when I think too hard on the fact that I will eventually stop existing. Existing is something I've become used to, and it's a bit weird to think of not doing that anymore.

The thought that comforts me is this: How did I feel before I was born? I didn't exist, so I didn't feel anything. It will be the same when I die; I won't feel anything. I don't remember what it was like before I was born, and I plan to have the same lack of knowledge after I die. No biggie.

Then I start thinking about the fact that we are all tiny little specks amidst this immense universe, being held to the surface of the earth by some invisible force called 'gravity', and I start really freaking out.

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From: "Timothy Gorski MD"

These feelings, it seems to me, are probably withdrawal symptoms of a sort. I went through them for awhile too, when I was much younger, thank goodness. They are caused by the fact that our emotions are often a bit slower than our intellects. The same thing happens when someone "still loves" a partner who beats them up, cheats on them, gives them AIDS, or whatever. All I can say is: stay the course and stick with your good sense. Tincture of time will lead you to see that you will have all you need for as long as you are and, after that, it doesn't matter. Every night we cease to be, after all, when we go "off line." Are we really exactly the same person that went to sleep when we wake up again? We can't be, or else we wouldn't need to sleep in the first place. But what is the use of worrying about such metaphysical nonsense? Every time I hug one of my kids I realize that I can never get the moment back again. Freethinking, therefore, should lead us to realize that not just death, but life, too, is irreversible.

Cordially,

Dr. Tim Gorski, Pastor
The North Texas Church of Freethought
http://church.freethought.org

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From: "ART HAYKIN"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 6:53 PM

Hi

My response is really quite simple.

Life is Logical, mystical beliefs (God, religion, and all that) are not. Not only are most beliefs illogical, they are rife with magic, held out promises, threats, meaningless ritual, unproven (and unprovable) prophesies, and a whole laundry list of nonsense calculated to appeal to the frightened and ignorant (not to mention the stupid).

The fact that the real world is based on sound logic does necessarily mean that everyone can understand it without intensive study. The understanding of algebra is not accessible to all. It takes a lot of work and application to grasp the fields of logic and math. When the king became impatient with his lessons, he complained to his teacher Euclid. He was told that "There is no royal road to geometry."

Your question deals with life and death, probably the most perplexing question know to humans. Yet, it's really not that difficult to understand. Look around you, everything organic dies in a relatively short time, and even inorganic entities go through cataclysmic change. Mountain ranges have "died", rivers have dried up, Gibraltar itself is crumbling. Everything is in flux, everything changes or "dies" -- our own sun is about half way through its life and will "die."

Now, the common problem is, we humans possess a brain and mind that allows us, uniquely, to ask questions about ourselves and our enviroment. In fact, this ability is the "miracle" that follows the ultimate question "Why is there something instead of nothing?" and the ultimate "miracle" is "That we can ask that question!" With this ability to think (and speak) abstractly, we've come to regard ourselves as something pretty special, and indeed we are, mentally. (Physically, we are quite puny..the cheetah is swifter, the chimp is stronger, the birds can fly unaided, the seal is at home in the water, we have no fang or claw or protective hide or fur, we have no poisonous sting, and our five senses, while good, are inferior to many of the "lower" animals.) So what DO we have, besides our brains to distinguish us. Well, for starters, our egos (which, of course, lie in our minds). We say, "How could I simply die being so special?" A cat can't ask that question. Without death, there can be no life, it's an ongoing cycle that works perfectly. Your fears are understandable and there are no really alleviating answers except to say that death is nothingness, the same nothingness that we felt (or rather didn't feel) before birth. Remember?

Joseph Campbell (a terribly flawed man) said it best, and I paraphrase, "Don't ask the big meta-physical questions like "What's the meaning of life" and "Why are we here?" You and I are never going to know. But, he goes on, "The important thing is to find your bliss and pursue it relentlessly." If you're in average health and don't get hit by a truck, you've got around 75 years to enjoy this world and all its glories....what more could one ask for??? You can mess up that lifetime by wasting it on worry and fret, or you can take up the reins and have one Hell of a ride. At 70, I've found a sort of "immortality" through my children, my grand-children, the legacy of work that I will leave as a teacher and photographer, and the place I hold in the hearts and minds of the people whom I've loved and who have loved me.

Death is not the worst thing that happens to you, it's merely the last. Worrying about it will only hasten its arrival. If believing in an afterlife gives you succor, go for it -- it's harmless enough. Personally, I live in the real world and accept it on its own terms, warts and all. Don't exhaust your precious resources fighting reality, it's a losing battle. Rather, develop your mind and skills, steep yourself in the culture and the beauty that surrounds you. So many books, so much music, so much art, so much to share with good friends, so little time.

Life is not a problem to be solved, it's a mystery to be enjoyed.

Religion was created by the untalented, power hungry few to be sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered and unremarkable masses for profit and gain. If you buy it, I've got some gold mine shares I'd like to sell you.

Art Haykin

Egotism is the anaesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity. Frank Leah, 1955

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From: "test"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 9:42 PM

Personally, I never worry about it. If this is all there is, so be it. I have lived a good and full life. What more could I want?

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From: "Alex Mayor"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org> Subject: Re:The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 2:44 AM

Dear Cliff,

Here are some thoughts for your questioner on the absurdity of life without afterlife. It's a discussion I have with my father periodically. I hope its of use.

Alex

I think there are two responses or angles from which to approach this feeling. One is to question the derivation of life's meaning, the other is to imagine what an afterlife would seem to be contained in.

On the former point I think most people can produce a list of substantial things without which their life would be entirely bereft - the loss of partners, friends, opportunities, a life without any kind of achievement. It is from these that life avoids absurdity. In effect the afterlife is not really a substantial idea at all. Of course we want to be here forever, until, we don't -- i.e., when everyone else has gone and there is nothing left.

From the second perspective -- just pause to consider all the descriptions of the afterlife in religious literature. They all seem absurd, childish, reduced versions of the life we are addicted to in all its variation and excitement. They are essentially life-denying, to borrow from Nietzsche. (where life is described in all its real colours, good and bad, happy and unhappy). They tend to follow a societal model from the time they were written. This is where the real absurdity comes from. As a species we've grown up a lot in the last 150 years -- we've presented ourselves with some worrying discoveries about our relative importance as individuals and part of nature. This knowledge has an uneasy truce with the preternatural fear of extinction which also stops us from falling under buses or off cliffs. They won't resolve. It is the human condition.

[On a more trite note there is a wonderful throwaway comment by Wittgenstein which more or less runs: "Death is not an event that will occur in my lifetime".]

One of the reasons I think atheism is an essential, vibrant outlook is that, being a creedless non-doctrinaire perspective it just says 'we're here, for how long who knows - lets get on with it'. Every day is a day to do the best with. There really isn't anyone else to make it better but us.

'Non-existence for eternity' isn't a meaningful concept. Non-existence is not something that could admit of length breadth or temporal quality. One of the many ways the human condition tortures itself derives from the fact that language frees us to have ideas that have no real-world objects. Hence monsters, angels with harps, afterlives, all manner of flights of fancy that we can discuss and worry ourselves with! For this reason a philosophical style attention to language when enumerating our feelings is quite useful. Occam's razor indeed.

It's best to find something to do that takes you out of yourself; one of the reasons why atheism is NOT a barrier to charity and fellow-feeling. Hope this is of some help.

A Mayor

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From: "Steve"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 11:22 PM

My own way of dealing with this feeling because that's what it is was this: I talked to myself one day in a quiet room, I thought we are all gonna die one day that's for sure all creationists will also -- and this is the point -- I said to myself, I do not wish to suffer the neurosis and anxiety they do in convincing themselves they were created, I am going to lead a free, free thinking life, and when my time comes, then goodbye -- but in the mean time I feel good about life in my short time here. I've felt better since I did that.

Best wishes
Steve

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From: "John Stear"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 11:51 PM

While I sympathise with the writer I must make this comment. Ordinarily a person with a religious upbringing asking this question would be told to throw off the shackles of faith, listen to the tapping hammer of reason, etc., etc. However, in this case the giving of advice is made more difficult, if not impossible, because the writer is still influenced by his/her childhood religious indoctrination.

I'm afraid I don't understand why he/she calls him/herself an Atheist. How can one be "an unwilling atheist"? And what is a "born again atheist"? One is either an Atheist or one is not. One either believes in a god or one doesn't. It seems to me that the writer is better suited to agnosticism if he/she still harbours fears about eternity.

Pragmatic Christians now say that the concept of hell has nothing to do with fire and brimstone and eternal suffering but is merely an absence of god. Atheists must then, according to this dictum, inhabit a perpetual hell, and how grand it is.

I am of course an evolutionist and believe that we like all creatures are born, live and die-for me it's as simple as that. I take great comfort in the knowledge that when I die that will be the end of my existence, except in the memory of my family and friends (and perhaps an enemy or two).

I'm secure in my atheism, but then I was never "unwilling" and have never been "born again". I have absolutely no problem in coming to terms "with eventual none existence". In fact I consider it to be extremely comforting to contemplate my life's ending as a nothingness.

I can only echo William Shakespeare (As You like It, Act 2, Scene 7) "...Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

John Stear

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From: "Elizabeth Main"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 7:04 PM

I think that this letter really makes you think. I think that all atheists believe that this is it -- no heaven awaits us, but we don't want to think that our loved ones are gone and just dead.

Personally, on another note, I feel that the whole heaven idea is a comfort for those who don't want to think that after this we just end. It is an answer most comforting.

In my mind I believe that this is it. After we die, we no longer exist in any form but in the memories of those who loved us.

I think that religion is a part of our lives because we have the intelligence to think it up and believe it. Do you think that the dinosaurs had a god? It sounds funny, but it is a valid point -- we have religion because we have the intelligence to think it up, dinosaurs did not.

Liz

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From: "Peter M Musial"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All?
Date: Thursday, June 24, 1999 2:06 PM

Why fear something that is inevitable? Who knows, for what I know no one comeback from the dead and complained about their experience?! Furthermore, the fact that no one came back to complain puts me in belief that being dead could be the best thing that can happen to us.

On more serious note, why live and think about the moment of death when there is so much living to due before that happens? Is live so bad after all? For most of us it probably not, for those whose existence is so miserable that they can not stand it, the mortality is one thing that they can look forward to. For those who are approaching this moment and lived through almost everything, death the final experience to encounter.

The only absurd thing the fact that people spned their lives thinking about death and never experience life.

PMM

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From:
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: The Absurdity Of It All? Occam's Razor
Date: Friday, July 23, 1999 11:07 AM

Occam's razor, sometimes spelled Ockham's razor, is a scientific and philosophical rule named for William of Occam which basically states that we should seek the simplest explanation when attempting to explain an unknown phenomenon. In other words, when trying to explain the unknown we should first seek the explanation in terms of known quantities. An example would be the aurora borealis or northern lights. The aurora borealis caused much interest and speculation when first observed by humans, and divine origin was attributed to the phenomenon. In actuality, the aurora, seen as streamers or arches of light in the upper atosphere of earth's northern magnetic polar regions, is caused by the emission of light from atoms excited by electrons accelerated along the planet's magnetic field lines.

The Northern Lights are a beautiful and wonderous sight to behold I imagine, never having seen them in person. And I certainly understand how our imaginations could run rampant when first seeing such an incredible thing in the night sky. But, there is a logical explanation for the lights. And even when the shroud of mystery is removed from the explanation of why they are there, I am sure they are no less fascinating to behold. Along the same vein of thought, I imagine that what we imagine God to be, all we attribute to Him, can ultimately be explained in a logical fashion. But, even in so doing, I don't think God is any less wondrous or incredible. I think the most difficult thing for Theists is that sense of disappointment when we remove the layers of mystery from all things once viewed a God, because we can't help our tendency to see God in a more personal way than electrons and the like. And perhaps, even when God is distilled down to quanta and quarks, there is still a mystery that defies our logic and reason and simple explanation. Perhaps, somehow, whatever God is, still connects to something in us that is personal and as close to home as our very being, with all the emotions and inward experiences we feel being just another avenue by which God is explained. Just not as clearly as the avenues employed by scientific endeavor.

We are sentient, self-aware, beings. Perhaps such a thing is a simple matter of chemicals and hormones in our brains which allow us emotions and faith and thoughts period. Maybe there is nothing more to the explanation of why we are as we are. And it is a simple explanation from the standpoint of Occam's Razor. But, it may well be that the reason we are as we are, the reason those chemicals and hormones blend in such a way to stir our minds to self-awareness and intelligent thought processes, is because there is a God, in which all things existing, are woven to yield the material manifestations observed in the universe so as to appear to be present due to an intelligent designer, a cause. And since Occam's Razor basically is about cause, God , at least from the standpoint of the argument I give above, does not stand in contrast to the rule, but rather, is an inevitable consideration when attempting to explain our existence and that of the universe.

I don't believe we can get past the observation that there does seem to be a design to us and our universe. Hence, we will always have the sense that there is a designer, a first cause. On our macro material oriented level, everything we observe has a cause, so it is difficult to imagine a submicro level in which there is no first cause that set such a submicro world into motion in such a way that the macro universe, full of such apparent design, would be manifested. Even if we conclude and agree that true reality is really a virtual reality comprised of virtual particles that cannot be defined in any manner on our macro level other than us just saying they must be there because we are here, even then we must recognize in this paradox that a very wondrous and incredible thing has occurred for our macro reality to have exploded or banged out from that virtual reality. And the simplest explaination for the unexplainable may well be God.

Michia

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From: "Jonas S. Green"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Question - Absurdity of Life
Date: Sunday, June 27, 1999 4:30 AM

First to comment on the description of yourself: "Unwilling Atheist."

I suppose I could consider myself an "Unwilling inhabitant of Planet Earth" since I didn't really have any conscience participation in my own conception. I just appeared in a Hospital one day, and these strange people I learned to call My Parents took me home. Now I have no other form of existence to compare this one too. I can consider what it might like to be a bird, or a tree or an elephant, but I do not have any first hand knowledge of that. I was in a play once, where a character had was granted the ability to change into various animals, and a more known example is the scene in Miracle on 34th Street, where Santa is teaching the young child to use her imagination, and she pretends to be a monkey.

The Scientific method gives us one approach to knowledge, and you might say that what we perceive through our senses and machines which enhance our senses only go so far. I feel this is true. Only so much light from distant suns has reached our telescopes, for example. A microscope enlarges small things only so much. Some say in addition to the Scientific exploration of the Universe, there is the Religious method. This is where the term Faith is used, overused, and misused.

I have heard some religious leaders refer to themselves, or their church membership as "People of Faith" as if that gave them some special moral responsibility is a political issue: ex: "We as People of Faith, must come together and welcome the GLBT community to worship with us" etc. etc. Now the term "Faith" simply means "Belief without Evidence, or in spite of contradicting evidence." There are a few levels of suspension of disbelief involved, however one when it comes to Gods, and the paranormal their existence can not be proven. However "A often repeated lie becomes true." thus some may fear God, or believe weird things, because it is human nature to want to believe and have that comfort.

If there is an afterlife, and some sort of divine judgement by a God in the Christian sense, I would say that we are in unknown danger of worshipping this God incorrectly, or not at all. "The type of God who is so insecure that he needs to send me to Hell, is the type of God who would Get a kick out of damning the Christians as well" - D. Barker.

It would be good to keep in mind that Theism does not equal morality, and atheism does not equal immorality, despite the Religious Propaganda. I think we should live morally in the hear and now, and if we at some time find ourselves in an Afterlife we should live morally it that one, until we find ourselves in an After-Afterlife ....

"The noblest of occupations is to search for truth."
          -- Robert Green Ingersol

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Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.