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How Can You Live Without A God?

I really don’t understand how you guys can live without a god. I mean, I’m at the time of my life, that religion doesn’t really make any sense to me anymore, but I cant see myself leave my faith. I don’t see that my life is worth living anymore, if everything I believed in was a lie.

Posted: April 11th 2009

Eric_PK

First, I want to discuss one of your premises.

Presumably, if you think life is not worth living without a god, I’m curious why you think it is worth living with god. What does god give you that makes life worth living? There’s following his rules – not sure how that helps. There’s the “eternal life” thing, but that would seem to me to make life on earth less worth living.

So, I just don’t get that part. I can see how a belief in god might make somebody more content but I don’t see how that’s related to worth.

To address your question directly, the worth of your life is up to you to figure out. If there is no god, then surely your belief that there is a god can’t make your life more worthwhile.

Posted: April 12th 2009

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logicel

Though brought up religious, I was an atheist from my earliest memories (the supernatural never made any sense or had any appeal to me). However, I have been extremely gullible in other ways. For example, I attributed humanity to nature, that it had feelings and wisdom. It all was very vague, but extremely important to my personal narrative. I had a constant continuing secret dialog with great big nature. After many decades, I was able to see that I was incorrect in my viewpoint. For many months, I felt very sad and isolated, drifting apart from what was once a very comforting anchor.

Then I cheered up because I realized that many of the things that I did learn about nature still held true (mating rituals of birds, names of flowers, etc.) and that I had a formidable basis from which to continue learning about nature. But this time, it would be of a more substantial approach, based in reality and science. Of course, my delight in it certainly can be expressed non-scientifically via poetry, painting, etc.

Many things that you have learned in your life still hold validity. All your experiences are valid, even if some prominent ones demonstrate how gullible you have been. As humans, gullibility is one of our traits. It allows us to be receptive to new ideas. Sometimes, it backfires and we get taken for a ride. It happens to everyone.

I am now at the point that I can chuckle at my gullibility at thinking that nature was something that it was not. And I am grateful that I had an opportunity to learn first hand just how gullible us humans can be!

Posted: April 12th 2009

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George Ricker www

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: April 12th 2009

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Paula Kirby www

Well, I used to be a Christian and I used to take my belief very seriously, but I have made the transition to being an atheist and I can tell you from firsthand experience it doesn’t change as much as you might think – not the things that matter, anyway. It felt odd to begin with, but that was more the fact I had to adjust to a change of routine (I no longer went to church, prayed or spent time reading the bible) – nothing else changed significantly, not when I really thought about it.

There are still the people I love and care about and whom I want to make happy and who make me happy in return; I still have my work, my interests, my hobbies; there is still the beauty of nature and the wonders of how the world works; there are still the things I want to achieve in life; I still have my personal values, which I strive to live by. There are still amazing books to read and things to learn and beautiful music to listen to and art to look at. There is still friendship and companionship and laughter and tears.

All that has gone is belief in a god – which didn’t make sense to me anymore anyway, and which you say doesn’t really make sense to you any longer either.

Life is every bit as worth living as an atheist as as a believer. I would say more so, in fact: for it suddenly gets upgraded from a dress rehearsal to the real thing. This is it – and that adds a preciousness to it that can’t be there when it’s just seen as the forerunner to something bigger and brighter … and non-existent!

There is plenty in life to make us both happy and fulfilled – and it really doesn’t need a backdrop of religious belief in order to be activated.

There’s another point in your question too, though, which seems to be more a question of coming to terms with having to accept that what you’ve believed was not true, and perhaps the feeling that this has invalidated your life so far. I can see that this might be a frightening thought: but if your belief doesn’t make sense to you anymore anyway, aren’t you better just cutting your losses? At least getting on with the rest of your life free to embrace it as it IS, rather than as you’ve been taught to think of it? We all make mistakes – the important thing is to learn from them, surely, and just move on? You haven’t wasted your life so far, anyway: I am quite sure you’ve derived value and meaning from all the things I’ve listed above, just as I have. You’ve simply added on something extra, which you now seem to be struggling to believe in and which was never necessary for a happy and fulfilled life anyway. The REAL value and meaning in your life, I would suggest, have always lain in the things you will continue to have, even if you do at some point decide to abandon your belief.

Posted: April 12th 2009

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brian thomson www

The best suggestion I could have for you is to analyze the situation a bit further. You will have been told many things over the years, by different people, for different reasons, and it would be too simplistic to describe it all as lies. Have you actually spoken to atheists before, and do they actually say “it’s all lies!”, or are you going by descriptions of atheists you hear in church or read in the media?

You may find that there has been “cherry-picking” of the history of religion; for example, there are parts of the Old Testament that would never be read out in Church, at least not if there are children around. Parts of the New Testament, including much of the Gospels, were influenced by the pagan beliefs of the era (Horus, Mithras, Sol Invictus). The Bible is not a pristine “pure source”, it was cobbled together by committees, who left out parts they didn’t like at the time.

So: you can do your own “cherry-picking”, and keep the parts of your religion that are in tune with your human nature. If you lose the belief in the god, that would make you an atheist, but that does not mean you have to change who you are. Or, if you keep your belief, at least you will go forward with your eyes open, better able to tell truth from fiction.

Posted: April 12th 2009

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