Positive Atheism Forum
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What Is Love?
Stephen
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Please respond to this fellow's questions about atheism and love. Below is my initial crack at an answer. We will post the answers as we see fit.

Be aware that due to abuses by two Christian men, Abraham Smith and Gregory Auman, who tediously wrote down all the address from our letters section and then formed a list for the purpose of slandering Positive Atheism before our readers, we are no longer posting e-mail addresses under any circumstances (even if you ask) and will today begin the gruelling task of removing the e-mail address that still exist there.

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Seven
Subject: Question: A former theist asks about love (45)
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 1:51 PM

Human love has been designed into us through countless generations of natural selection. Think about it: every one of our ancestors survived long enough to procreate, and most of them procreated via a love relationship (although, unfortunately, rape does happen). Every one of our ancestors was nurtured -- for years and years -- by a loving parent or guardian.

Understanding the mechanics of how love works should not diminish the majesty or the mystery of what we experience as love any more than knowing how a motion picture projector works would diminish the excitement of watching a good film.

To ask how an atheist experiences love betrays a despicable practice perpetrated by the churches. Over and over they tell their members that they alone have the key to love, that their brand of love is the only true love, and that any other love is false love. However, the "love" that the churches speak of, the love of God, boils down to obedience: "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected" (I John 2:5). Love of one's Christian brethren is contrived, the response to a commandment; while contrived love can, through natural human emotions, lead to genuine, heart-felt love, it cannot be seen as originating from the purely spontaneous human emotion.

For me, love has always been (at first) a discovery. Later, it becomes also a sense of loyalty -- hopefully without losing that exciting edge that is youthful loving. A relationship, ideally, is more than just a love affair. It is also a friendship, a family unit, and a business partnership (among other things).

This is all I can tell you.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: "Gregory Tinker"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 2:19 PM

I have always felt that for most people practicing a religion, it seems that their religion justifies their life. Often their lives seem inconsistent (to me) and contradictory, as they rely on their innate weakness as a human to justify their lack of willpower (if you deny this, go to an AA meeting).

To me, atheism justifies nothing. It is something I happen to be, a characteristic much akin to having blond hair. Unfortunately, others in this country/planet will not let it be just a characteristic, and I am forced to constantly defend my opinions and beliefs.

What it comes down to is that while other's religions justify their existence, what to believe, and how to live their lives, my existence justifies what I believe or don't believe, and how I live my life. Me and my wife undoubtedly have a different definition of love than a devout baptist couple, or than just about everyone at the Unitarian Fellowship that we frequent. (Incidentally, if you're wanting to meet people, try your local Unitarian establishment. They don't force any dogma on anyone, and focus much more on intellect than on rote memorization. Even though I don't agree with them, they're a fun bunch).

The greatest challenge in my life is to create a purpose for it. It is a challenge that is constantly shifting. But once I accepted the inevitable apprehension that comes with being held accountable only to myself, I am a better, more consistent person for it.

Greg

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From: "Larry B"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 2:21 PM

I dont know what love has to do with the truth that no gods exit or no unicorns exit ? Love is what it has always been and that has nothing to do with whether or not there is an idea about some god in one's brain.

Larry

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From: "Rod Monsees"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 3:24 PM

I get the impression that you're confusing religion with values. I am happily married, and have been for over 10 years. I have two wonderful boys (5 & 7 yrs). I chose this lifestyle, yet I am an atheist. Why? Because to me, this type of family and commitment is THE great joy in life, and one I wouldn't want to miss. Certainly I will miss out on other things, but it's a question of what's most important to me. These same choices are necessary for all persons, regardless of what their religious beliefs (or lack thereof) might be. You must decide what your priorities are, based upon what you value most. How you deal with the emotion of love has little to do with what your religious beliefs might or might not be.

As to why people experience emotions (including love), there are any number of possibilities, including the strong possibility that it provides a survival advantage, and is thus a selected trait.

Rod

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Add Your Two Cents Worth

From: "ART HAYKIN"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 3:45 PM

Love is an abstraction that defies definition in terms all could agree on. Romantic or courtly love is a relatively recent development in the sociology of humans. Thanks to the exploitation and objectivication of women by the relgions of history, man's relationship with women bears scars of distortion that persist to this day.

Alone or connected, young or old, one should always live as full a life as one is able. Nobody said life was fair, we must all play the hand we're dealt. Religion capiltalizes on this fact by always holding out hope and answers on which it can never deliver. Look to see how some of the truly great minds have dealt with setbacks, pain, disappointments, and frustration. Imagine Beethoven's deafness, Galileo's ridicule and persecution by the church, Hawking's unbelievable illness, Helen Keller born deaf and blind. The list is endless. Nietzsche, whose life was no picnic, said it best "That which does not kill me strengthens me."

No special interest group of any kind has the market cornered on love, and throughout history, love has been denied to multitudes. To be sure, the absense of companionship and physical love is a cruel fate for a sensitive, carng person, yet, perversely, some seek out solitude. Men like Newton and Ravel seem to have had no intimate relationships with any other humans, male OR female. The overwhelming majority of philosophers and other great thinkers remained unmarried and many lived reclusive lives inside their brains.

How to cope, who can say?...if you feel sorry for yourself, DON'T (I'm NOT implying that you do). If you have a brain (mind) USE IT. If you have something to say, SAY IT! Read, write, listen to and play music, connect up with kindred and empathic "souls" if only on the internet. Stop wasting your time with the "great mystical, metaphysical questions." Don't ask "Why am I here?" or "Whither goest I?" Better to find your bliss and to pursue it rentlessly. Better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

You speculate that narrowing down your life to a single person would cause you to miss out on a great deal. This is specious reasoning. The person who constricts your life is the wrong person. Linking up with the ideal mate or compan- ion should open up your life to broader and more varied vistas and experiences. If two minds and/or bodies come together and create restriction, you're both doing it wrong. One's life should be enriched by another's and no part of it should be displaced.

If love isn't additive, it's destructive. Two people "goin' for the gold" should find TWICE as much treasure.

Every moment spent dwelling on your plight is a moment forever lost. Every moment of your life should be ennobled with the love and glory of nature and the wisdom that only comes from awareness. It's your birthright.

Good luck

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From: "Michal Pagowski"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 5:07 PM

Hello,

I would like to take this opportunity to shed some light (from my personal point of view) upon the feeling of love, that any other atheist, as an authentic human being, experiences.

A sincere atheist is a person who for a good reason has discontinued, or never taken into account (and that may be just a few of us), to believe in the existence of a supreme being of any kind, whose main feature in most cases would be (unfortunately) a promotion of unconditional love for all the creatures. God is in catholic church known as "Pleroma" -- the "wholeness", the "everything", a description that encapsulates most anything you might experience in your life. Therefore, love, as an indeed very positive feeling, occupies one of the main positions in the system. If god=love, then one is apt to associate one with the other, especially if raised as a christian, and this is usually the case from your early childhood on. From the point of view of any branch of behavioral science, an early association is a very powerful part of your (sub)conscious understanding of the world. And "powerful" Does mean "powerful". You cannot just get rid of it, as you could get rid of some childish views on mechanics, or biology, or anything else... because this attitude has found its place in the very source of your emotional life.

Actually, I would be surprised, if you did not have problems relating to this association as an atheist.

An atheist is a person who loves this life, and virtually all the aspects of their existence here on this small planet (located quite far away from the galaxy's center), as much as any other person, including all theists, or even more... because we instinctively realize that this life is indeed all what we really have. That is why we look very carefully into all the important matters, and we do not disregard anything that makes us really human, here and now. Our emotions, rationally speaking, might be regarded only as an integrated activity of our "emotional brain", to mention here the amygdala, or the hippocampus. But, as we all know, our rational understanding of the world does not come exactly from "there"; it's our neocortex, the hemispheres, that allow us to analyse it. The source of our emotions is probably placed beyond our intellectual sphere. So, to sum up this line of reasoning, our trying hard to gain control over our emotional life through rational efforts, may simply be missing the point. It's like trying to become a human being through becoming a robot first. In my opinion, it's just not going to work... and even if it does, we might just be trying -- in this way -- to avoid being a full-dimensional Homo Sapiens.

So, to continue the message, I guess that your problem is partly related to this imprinted association, but in part -- to something quite as deep; as this:

Love, generally, may be seen as the supreme purpose, but also -- as the Supreme Cause of a mature human life. In other words, our existence in this wonderful and mysterious world (if we disregard all the downsides for the moment), has been made possible due to this deep emotion, nurtured by our parents, grandparents, and further and further back into the countless generations. Therefore, I guess, if we want to continue to exist as a gradually more and more happy mankind, we should realize that love might be (besides the basic biological reproductory instincts) one of the reasons why we are here at all. We can easily imagine the whole world getting killed from its own hands, if it weren't for this pure, call it irrational, instinct of human love, that exists in the very middle of anybody who was raised in a loving environment. And, whatever biological cause we might attribute to the origins of this instinct, it is now a distinct aspect of our existence, and (a relatively new) value in it, whether we want it, or not.

A scientifically mature atheist is in no way a 19-th century reductionist. We understand that this very complex system of human body and psyche has grown into a multi-level entity, in which the biological, social, and intellectual spheres mix, but still maintain their different basic positions. In turn, this may create a feeling of a "schizofrenia" of some kind, but -- on the other hand -- this same feeling has the power to astronomically extend our awareness of who we are. To stress this again, a Multi-Level, not a one-level fruit of the millions of years of evolution.

And here we are.

To reject the importance of the feeling of love would then be a serious offence against our very own constitution. But, what we must be aware of, we have for some good reason been taught, to see the difference between the cause, and the purpose. We do not, and cannot, accept anything as an inborn purpose of our existence. That is what we -- as, say, agnosticts -- simply do not know, and -- as atheists -- reject, as a totally irrational abuse of our rational mind. And, quite naturally, we have all the reasons to see love as an inborn, and indeed very important, Cause. Something that significantly added to the source where we all stem from.

That is why we don't reject love, and -- in fact -- enjoy it, as much as we enjoy seeing the life-giving Sun, or experiencing the Awe of the night sky and the infinite Universe beyond it (actually... not quite beyond it), which very much seems to have provided the base for the bio-chemical, and - further -- social, cultural, and emotional evolution, that has led us up to this very point.

In conclusion, we can possibly see, that attributing a supreme sense to one of the many factors that has brought us here, may further be misleading, and bringing us back to where I started from with this letter. This is naturally a sort of a crossroads in our lives, but, again, quite naturally, at least from the subjective point of view, there is a moment of choice involved in it. Either we make this choice, or we'll stop our progress by endlessly jumping from one point of view to another.

I have made my choice, which has enabled me to move forward, and it was the choice of standing by the path as closest to truth and reality as possible.

And, well, I wish you a pretty good choice!

Regards,

Mike

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From: "Timothy Gorski"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 6:40 PM

I don't know why theists aren't plagued by these feelings much more than atheists. Logically, they should be. After all, if one believes the teachings of the Catholic Church (for example), individual human beings are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. That is, God may have his big Plan and all, but there is no single individual human being that is important to that Plan. Indeed, even if God loves everyone and want them to be saved, etc., he's still going to damn them to hell if they don't cooperate in what is an exceedingly iffy guessing game. And, even if you get into heaven, you'll be one insignificant soul among many. There will be no way to distinguish yourself there, even by being virtuous. Finally, it is by no means clear that the divine Plan is primarily for the benefit of human beings generally, let alone any single human being. For all anyone knows, the Elect will be in a divine sweatshop.
 

Actually, if you jump around from person to person, you will be stuck with superficial relationships of little real meaning. This is due to two things (that I can think of right now): 1) You just can't get to know and appreciate another human being very well without giving it an extended effort. Other people are no less complex than you, after all. 2) Other people generally believe this too, so that those who are willing to carry on hopeless short-lived relationships (the Monica Lewinskys of the world) are not the sort of people who are going to cooperate with someone who wants to "enjoy" them in anything other than a superficial level.

Why do people experience love and other feelings? Objectively, we can look to the forces of natural selection to explain this. If human beings laid eggs and left, like many fish and turtles and so on, we would probably not have this love stuff. But, since we do, we have the opportunity to make use of these feelings in forging valuable and rewarding experiences.

Cordially,

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

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From: "Steve Locks"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 6:53 PM

Hi Stephen,

I hope you may find some answers at my site which is full of "testimonies" and reflections from people who have left Christianity (usually for atheism, although not exclusively so) and the ramifications this had on their feelings for others and life in general. It's mostly pretty positive once one is past the initial turmoil as I think you will find, atheism is really not a scary bad thing, one is just taught to think it so when religious. Away with clutter and obstacle, an unhealthy relationship with a god one must love even though he doesn't seem to deserve it (but we mustn't admit that to ourselves -- just like an abused wife) and hello more connection to other people who are no longer divided into Christians and non-Christians (or the saved and unsaved, or whatever the formulism of one's church).

I'm not sure if your worry about narrowing yourself to one person is a specific question that is a result of atheism, other than you may feel less tied to traditional catholic teaching on marriage now. Maybe those who leave traditional Islam feel strange about only wanting one partner now they are free to do so?! My guess is that after a number of relationships you may well feel like you just want to settle down anyway just like the rest of us (relatively) old fogeys. On the other hand, if you don't ever want to settle down that's okay and up to you too.

I would just take it easy and I'm sure nature will take its course!

lots of love :-)

Steve
-----------------------
Leaving Christianity (hundreds of deconversion stories):
www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/decon.html

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From: "Stephen A. Lonsdale"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: atheism & love
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 9:16 PM

Dear Stephen,

I am not sure one can actually say with certainty that there is evidence against a god so much as one can say that there is no evidence to support that concept. In any case, as it is theists who are positing a positive concept, the onus of proof is squarely on their shoulders. It is my opinion that theism thrives on the emotional needs of the believer. Many psychologists seem inclined to this point of view as well. So, in a sense I see a correlation between your current emotional crisis and the fact that you are wrestling with the idea of atheism.

Seeing the world as a playground is not necessarily a bad thing and as you put it, you won't get another shot at it. However, you must discover your own sense of value. Working to achieve a goal, to be productive, to do or create a thing that you can, by your own standard, value, will in turn give you some sense of worth. It is my opinion that it is through this kind of endeavour and not by living a totally hedonistic way of life that will lead to a more complete and lasting happiness.

The fact that you say you have an inability to get married because you don't want to be narrowed down to one person, suggests to me a degree of immaturity. I might even suggest that such feelings are indicative of low self-esteem. I hope I am not being offensive here for that is certainly not my intention.

In any case why should it be taken for granted that monogamy is the natural state of a relationship for everyone? I think given that the divorce rate is approximately 50 percent, one could make an argument against monogamy. However, I do not think this state of matrimony or non-matrimony, monogamy or polygamy has anything whatsoever to do with atheism per se. The upshot of it all is that you must deal with the issue of love the same way everyone else deals with it -- poorly!

Your last question regarding if one is an atheist then why do people experience love and other feelings, leads me to thinking you are not yet an atheist. In fact it sounds as though you are still very much a theist. But to answer your question I would say, as a layman, that I understand human brains to have evolved from the instinctual reactions found in the Reptilian complex, through the emotional states of the Limbic system and to the abstract thinking of the Neocortex. I would suppose that there might be some bleed over into these other areas of the brain, as all of these parts are still present. Now I could be dead wrong on this, as I said I am anything but a biologist. One thing I will go on record as saying and that is; humans have emotions because there is some survival value for having them. If it were otherwise the driving force of natural selection would have bypassed the genetic information containing emotions.

What needs to be done now is to ensure that, with proper training, we as human animals exercise our neocortexes and allow our reason to be the major influential aspect of our lives. That is not to say that I think there is no place for emotions, no indeed I welcome instinct and emotion as members of our "brain-team". I just want reason to be the "captain" of that team.

Respectfully,

Stephen A. Lonsdale

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From: "LC Whittle"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 3:49 AM

I found this gentleman's question silly on the surface. Is he looking for an excuse to practice hedonism? Can he live a moral life only within the confines of religious rules? Religion and morality are not inclusive.

I think, Cliff, in your definition of love, you forgot to mention respect. I am an atheist, I have been in an exclusive, monogamous relationship for almost 30 years. I love my partner, I like his company, I respect his person, his character and his person. We still maintain, after all these years an exciting sexual life, because we both make the effort.
 

Excuse me? Is there joy in promiscuity? Maybe at first there is novelty. Atheism is not an excuse for promiscuity. Damn, I am tired of hearing that if I am an atheist I must necessarily believing in a moral vacuum.

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From: "Luciene Lima"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 6:48 AM

After my read on Stephen's "article", I'd like to say that atheism or theism topic is connected with self human maturity. It's like a self process as it happens in our deep self.

It doesn't matter if a person is a doctor, a engineer, a teacher or so on, for when we get a new knowledge our vision is changed and it fight against all our thoughts or leanings looking for a place to rest, looking for the coherence beside all past knowledge we already have.

When a person turns to theism, life is changed also but we don't realize so easily as people around us believe in "this something" also. When a person turns to atheism, life is equally changed but it scares more for we don't have so many people around us showing their disbelief. Because there is the necessity in having a clue (gave by another people) and we don't have it, we we feel alone.

When I lost my grandma, who was like a mother for me, I still had god in my mind universe, then I could look for god as my grandma was with him. Because that I did not feel alone. But when you lose god you feel alone because you can't find your grandma (still using the example) or anybody else. We put all our deals/stuff/thoughts/visions in god hands, in god mind, in god universe. Then, if god is not there (as he never was) you need the clue, you need to put all things in a place...but if god is not there anymore, where are you gonna put all your thoughts/persons?? Only in your own mind and you are not praticsed with that, then you think life does not have a proper meaning, but it has!! And now more powerful as it is concentrated in youyr own self.

The topic marriage and personal believe don't have clue with god or non god. When we don't believe in god there is freedom in god's place and we start thinking only in ourselves, don't admitting anything or anybody else in our mental universe. Because that we think we have inability to deal with others, as these others don't have the same ideas we have.

First we have to see the respect for others as the world really is like a playground (but it's only a way to face the world as it can be - to me - a beautiful field, a warm house, a crazy theatre, whatever), but if the world is a playground, a beautiful field, a warm house, a crazy theatre or son on it does not give me right to play with others as I start where others end or vice versa. Don't mix god idea with others respect.

You can be happy with a person without missing the great joys of life for the life and its great joys are not related with others but with yourself. If you hurt someone else how can you be happy?? In part our happiness depends on the happiness of others. It's named harmony and it does not have anything with god.

If you are concentrated in long and constant pleasures/relationships, you don't have problems with feelings and others. But if you are worried with god in them, you're gonna have problems for people are "people" not "people and god" together.

So, that's my "tip".

Luciene

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From: "Witek, Stephen R"
To: "'Positive Atheism'" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: RE: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 10:07 AM

I don't pose the question of "how does an atheist love", from any predisposition of theists. I understand that atheists experience the feeling of love (I may be an atheist myself and I love). My problem with the feeling of love is that it limits me to experience many of the wonders of life. For example, if I fall in love with someone and marry them; I am limiting my opportunity to experience the many wonderful people that exist around us. Furthermore, if I truly love the person I'm with, I would want them to experience those people too. So the institutions created by theists (i.e. the institution of marriage) seems to contradict an atheist's desires to "make the most of this one chance at life". Assuming all atheists do view life in this light, how do you deal with this emotion?

I guess what I'm getting at is this: It seems that the love that many people involve themselves in today (marriage) seems to be a taught emotion. True love would involve NO jealousy at all. For example, are you jealous if you mom hooks up with some other man? Assuming she's not married to your dad and you actually like this other guy, No. That's because you know that your mom is experiencing that feeling of excitement. Moreover, jealousy is a result of this taught emotion. If you truly love someone then you are happy for him or her during all of their experiences and you are not jealous. So, jealousy and the love created by marriage are both taught emotions that cause us too much anguish.

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From: "Gordon and Dee Crowe"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 11:56 AM

Dear Stephen,

May I add to Cliff's answer about love. When love for one's sexual partner is based on a long-standing relationship, it has special value for both partners. One-night stands can involve numerous health and social problems for society that I needn't list here. Therefore, I recommend commitment and endurance in relationships. Don't give up your quest for an enduring relationship. It's more fun anyway than hop, skipping, and jumping.

Why do I care about society? Life, human life, and human culture have evolved through a few billion years, so what has evolved at least has survival value, except for a few things, like religion, that have outlived their usefulness and should be dismissed now that we are able to evaluate their validity. As an Atheist, I want my values to be coherent with all valid ideas. That is a tremendous responsibility that leaves no room for living a careless and thoughtless life.

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From: "Jaime Carrillo"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 7:02 PM

Love, as an emotion, is an expression of one's esteem for a person or object. As human beings, we esteem most that which we deem to be, or posess the highest value to us as individuals or as a group. As such the feeling of "love" is how we demonstrate that something, or someone is valued by us.

A critical thinker, as much or more so than anyone, truly discerns before deciding to esteem or value. The love of, and loyalty to, another individual is the highest form of value one is likely to posess- other than the value of one's own life ( although that is certainly open to discussion). So when a critical thinker( read atheist), has come to a realization that he or she is "in love" it is not because one allowed "foolish" emotion to subvert reason or logic, it is because that individual has realized an understanding of the object of his or her loved one's Value to said individual. Love is not exclusively an emotion of the idealistic or mystic, it is a genuine human emotion--just as fear, and anger. As with any emotion, one must not abuse it, or ignore it, but rather learn and grow with it.

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From: "Monica A. Harris"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Love & Atheism
Date: Saturday, September 11, 1999 10:38 AM

Hey, Cliff,

Sorry to hear you have not been well & hope you are feeling MUCH better now! Also disturbed to hear about the pirating of your list members. But I suppose that is to be expected in a controversial process.

Regarding the query on Love & Atheism, there is a book you might recommend, entitled "The Psychology of Romantic Love" by Nathaniel Branden, Bantam Books Bestseller, 1981. There is a lot of relevant information on the indoctrination of the Churches in contrast to other visions of love. This work also provides a non-theistic concept about romantic love. Enjoyable, insightful reading.

blue

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From:
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: A former theist asks about love
Date: Wednesday, September 15, 1999 3:01 PM

Let's turn to Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" for the answer to the offensive presumption in this awkward query: that atheists are immune to normal human emotions simply because they do not believe in a supreme being.

In Shakespeare's time it was the Jews whom Christians claimed were so inhuman they were immune to normal human feelings. (Since atheism was a capital offense, there were very few atheists to pick on.)

Ergo Shylock's famous lines: "If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? ...hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?"

And even more cogently: "...what these Christians are, whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect the thoughts of others!"

To suggest that the existence or non-existence of God has anything to do with the capability to "experience love and feelings" is a cop-out. I suggest this young man look more deeply into himself for the REAL reasons for his new-found urge to "live every moment of my short life to its fullest" and let the chips fall where they may.

His allegation that his sudden lack of desire to marry is connected with his loss of faith in God is the most screwball connotation I have heard in a long, long while. The last I heard, atheists were falling in love, marrying and settling down right along with the religious folks, and sometimes even (horrors!) among them.

This young man has problems, all right, but none of them are connected with his loss of faith in a supreme being.

Bob Winslow

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