How Can You Live As an Atheist?

I just want to know how can you live without a God? Do you ever feel like your life is not enough without a religion? I just do not know how you guys can do it, because if I learned that everything I believed in since I was born was a lie, I would kill myself. Why should I live when there is no hope or love in the world?

Posted: May 9th 2009

Dave Hitt www

When I was around 20 I did learn that nearly everything I believed in was a lie, which I had suspected for quite some time. I didn’t kill myself – I felt more alive, more full of joy and potential than I ever had before.

Finding you’re right about something is a nice ego-stroke, but finding your wrong should be celebrated – you’ve learned something. And if you’re not learning things you might as well lay down and put a sheet over your face after calling a mortician and asking him to haul you away.

Posted: May 14th 2009

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flagellant www

Your question is biased in the extreme and I find it difficult to give you a civil answer. You seem to be saying three things:

1. Your life is nothing without religion.

Speaking personally, I found religious indoctrination so offensive and limiting that I determined to throw it off when I could, some fifty years ago. My life became much more meaningful when I did this: I didn’t have to put up with the superstitious nonsense I was being taught at Sunday School.

2. You find it surprising that people can live perfectly normal lives with neither God nor religion.

In Europe, most people live without religion and its influence is vestigial – but not vestigial enough – and dying. Does that mean Europe is beyond the pale? Over here, few people mention 'god’; such behaviour is regarded as similar to believing in Santa Claus. What makes you so right?

3. You would kill yourself if you were to discover that everything you believe in is a lie.

Are you really serious about that? All the 'god’ and 'religion’ stuff that you espouse is so ill-founded that yours is a foolish assertion: there is not the slightest evidence for 'god’ and, indeed, such as there is is rather against it. Perhaps you mean 'the only way you have to describe the depth of your belief is to say you would kill yourself if you were to find it false.’ That’s not much of an argument, though, is it?

There is no reasoning behind any of your statements.

Here is a link which talks about The psychology of god & religious belief . It will help you to understand how you have been got at. As neuroscientists and psychologists begin to examine and understand the tricks used in inculcating religious belief, its influence will be reduced. Accordingly, your need to call on the services of Jack Kevorkian may well be replaced by irritation that you have been hoodwinked on the basis of so little of substance. Knowledge of human psychology is key to seeing how religion and belief are parasitic upon decent human characteristics such as trust, the need to belong, empathy, and indeed, hope and love.

You should first accept that the religious do not have a monopoly of human fellow-feeling. Just because you feel something doesn’t make it true. And if you are honest, perhaps you should examine the answers here, to this and other questions, and start looking at your beliefs critically. Then, whatever happens, you’d have at least one thing in common with atheists: we are very critical of our own beliefs.

Posted: May 11th 2009

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I’ve heard this question from theists often, but I’ve never understood it.

There are tons of things that give life meaning. Having a family. Helping people out. Leaving the world a better place. Part of being an adult is figuring that out for yourself.

I frankly think it’s a little pathetic if you can’t find anything good in life other than religion.

As for being upset after finding out that people have been lying to you for years, most atheists go through that.

Posted: May 10th 2009

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

George Ricker www

This has been asked and answered here.

I’m willing to bet there are lots of things you believe in that have little or nothing to do with your religion. And among those that are related, I doubt that it would be the case that all of them would or should be dismissed as “lies” even if you leave religion behind. Many of us have been Christians, have begun to question our religions and have been able to move on without them. If you really analyze the situation, you’ll find you really aren’t leaving that much of real value behind.

In answer to the question you asked, here’s an excerpt from my book, Godless in America:

“... we atheists find meaning in our lives in many of the same ways theists find meaning in theirs. We find it in the relationships we have with family and friends and in the interactions we have with society as a whole. We find it in the joys of creativity, the satisfactions of productive work, the pleasures of sensual gratification, and the challenges of intellectual pursuits of all kinds. We find it in the appreciation of the world around us and of the beauty created by other human beings. We find it in all sorts of ways that are made no less valid or less rewarding by the absence of belief in a deity. All of these things make our lives meaningful. None of them requires god-belief as a precondition.”

Speaking only for myself, I can state that once I had stopped living under the influence of gods and religions, I felt like someone who has just recovered from a long, lingering illness. It was as though I had emerged from a fog that had clouded my mind and made it impossible to see the real world as it really was. It’s a state of mind that I can recommend without hesitation.

Posted: May 10th 2009

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Though raised religious, I was always an atheist, never believing in the supernatural. I was a very parsimonious child — if I was not to believe in myths and superstitions because they were not real, well, then that is what I did, completely across the board, including the religious one.

I am certainly happier not having to pretend to believe in something that I never did (despite very strong, daily indoctrination). In fact, I smile each day, knowing that I do not have to live a life of pretense like I was forced to during the first eighteen years of my life.

If there is one bit of advice I give to others (as I am getting on in years, I am sometimes asked for my hard earned wisdom), it is to love your self. Not in a pompous, stupid, dead-end way, but in a constructive, delighted approach, appreciating your good points. With that foundation, you are able to appreciate the good points in others and perhaps choose to love them. However, I can’t see how self-love is possible if you believe in something you suspect could not be real/true. You need to be honest with your self, for goodness sakes! Everything follows from basic self honesty.

Also, you sound like a love junkie. Love is not a magical force, it is just an emotion! A nice emotion at times, but not without its problematic aspects. Humans have a broad spectrum of emotions which are the basis of our being able to act and problem solve. Embracing them all, you can join in human endeavors to improve life for all of us. Hope is only possible because we know from experience that we do have a pretty good record of solving problems, not all of them, but enough of them to maintain confidence in our abilities and look forward to the future.

Posted: May 10th 2009

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Paula Kirby www

Oh, for goodness’ sake, do get a grip. We don’t believe what you believe, therefore there is no hope or love in our lives and our lives cannot be worth living? I thought you Christians were meant to cultivate the virtue of humility?

Does the requirement for me to believe precisely what you do in order for my life to have any value extend to other things too? Do I have to share your belief that [insert football team of your choice] is the only team worth watching? Or that [insert music of your choice] is the only music worth listening to? Do I have to decorate my home in [insert colour of your choice]? Only read books by [insert author of your choice]? Only vote for [insert political party of your choice]?

Or it is simply your belief – for which there is NO evidence whatsoever – that you’ll continue to live after you die, which you think is essential to fulfilment in MY life?

And tell me, if you think life doesn’t have enough intrinsic value to get you through 70 years or so, why should it be worth living for all eternity?

Doesn’t the fact that the majority of the world’s population manage to live perfectly satisfactory, fulfilled lives without believing what you believe make you stop and think just for a moment?

As a former Christian I can tell you that life gets a lot more meaningful when you start living it and accepting yourself and others for what they are, rather than fretting about imaginary sins and imaginary rewards and imaginary punishments. All of us are just human – a mixture of good and bad, but generally making a pretty good fist of things, sometimes in seriously dire circumstances. There is nothing in the reality of human existence to justify the obscene Christian teaching that all humans are born evil and corrupt and deserve eternal torment.

I suspect that’s what your 'hope’ amounts to, really: that you won’t spend an eternity in hell. In other words, it’s really based in fear.

Well, we don’t share your fear and therefore we have no need of what you mean by 'hope’: there isn’t the slightest shred of evidence for hell or anything else after you die. And if you could just bring yourself to see people as they really are, rather than through the obscene filter of Christian indoctrination that says they must be evil and corrupt, you would see that the whole hell-story is just foul nonsense.

Life is – on the whole – pretty good; people are – on the whole – NOT evil and corrupt, but simply doing their best – and a pretty impressive 'best’ it often is, too. There is absolutely no reason to believe that ANYTHING happens to you after you die. Now – how much more of your life are you going to waste by giving in to groundless and fanciful fears instead of just accepting it for what it is and making the most of it whilst you can?

Posted: May 10th 2009

See all questions answered by Paula Kirby

Reed Braden www

I’m actually happier as an Atheist than I ever was as a Baptist.

When I realized that everything I was taught in church was a lie, I shrugged it off: The people who taught it to me believed it completely, so they weren’t intentionally lying to me, plus Bible knowledge (while I studied it for years and knew a great deal about the Bible) comprised such a small fraction of everything I knew about the world and the universe in general, so I wasn’t losing much.

Also, if you would kill yourself after learning that the divinity of Jesus is a myth, what did you do when you learned the truth about Santa Clause. (Please tell me you already know about Santa Clause.)

Posted: May 10th 2009

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SmartLX www

You assume before you begin that the only source of hope and love is God. Other people are an unlimited source of both, and other people actually, definitely exist.

Hope, love and other such emotional presences do not have to be ethereal, magical entities to be real. They can simply be human interpretations of natural processes, like emotional attachment to others and concepts of a positive, happy future. Just because they’re abstract doesn’t mean they’re absent.

Perhaps everything you believe is a lie. That’s not necessarily the end of the world, because you believe that so much is utterly dependent on the existence of a god. If you’re wrong about that too, then it’s not so bad if there isn’t one.

Posted: May 9th 2009

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bitbutter www

I was lucky enough not to have been indoctrinated as a child into religious belief. I have never felt that my happiness depended on the truth of an ancient story.

I appreciate that others have been far less lucky. Religious people can have a great deal invested, psychologically, in the assumption that the particular miraculous story that they happened to have been brought up with is true.

Why should I live when there is no hope or love in the world?

The undeniable existence of emotions like love and hope doesn’t depend on the existence of any of the characters described in the bible.

If you are really not able to face life believing that Christianity is false, then I hope you never become persuaded that it is. Maybe you should avoid visiting sites like this one.

Posted: May 9th 2009

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