Your suggestion that an atheist’s life has no meaning or purpose because we neither believe in god(s) nor, implicitly, in an afterlife is a classic piece of biased apperception. Or, in blunter language: you don’t know what you’re talking about. You seem to have everything the wrong way round: most atheists, for whom this life is the only one, are more attached to life than believers. In fact, atheists value life more highly than the religiosi who have something to which to look forward. If you believe in an 'afterlife’ you can afford to be more cavalier about your earthly existence: heavenly forgiveness and all that garbage. If you’re an atheist, you can’t buy indulgences.
In the light of your belief, consider this serious question: Why don’t you commit suicide? It is far more logical that you should do it because (you believe) you have an afterlife to go to, something/somewhere much better than the here-and-now. It is a feature of religious belief – e.g for suicide bombers – that to kill oneself in a good cause is a sure way to get to paradise. (And, just as a matter of fact, how many suicide bombers kill themselves in the name of atheism, eh?) But isn’t it also tenable to argue that, for a believer, it’s worth committing suicide to get to heaven a bit earlier? Surely, you don’t think it’s sinful to kill yourself to get to heaven more quickly? Don’t you really think, rather like us, that the concept of an afterlife is totally ridiculous? Are you willing to risk it yourself, and find out? I wouldn’t mind betting that you’d wake up 100% d-e-d.
Long ago, as part of concluding that death is final and that there’s nothing afterwards, I realised how precious life is. I love life with all its variety: the beauty of our spaceship planet, art, science, love, and, of course, mortality. I know that life is finite and that there is nothing beyond. I don’t want to die, but I have accepted that no-one is immortal; so I don’t need a comfort blanket.
There is one time where I might consider suicide as a possibility for me. That would be if I were incurably, terminally ill, suffering unalleviable, excruciating pain. And if I were unable to take the necessary steps, I would like someone close to help me on my way.
But, for the moment, I am fit and healthy, patched up by brilliant medical science. I am still able to enjoy life to the full, and I want it to stay that way, for as long as possible. Part of my enjoyment comes from putting people right about atheism. I simply insist that supernatural beings are figments of deluded, hopeful imaginings. And the idea of life after death, however comforting, is ridiculous.
So, unlike you, I don’t need superstitious nonsense to give my life value and I pity people who have yet to outgrow their pacifiers and comfort blankets. How about starting to question the very basis of your faith? It is rather more rewarding than sniping at individual atheists who have given up following the herd.
Posted: October 11th 2010
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