Atheism: Not for the Faint of Heart

It’s a shame how often I read that deep down, atheists secretly believe in God, but are afraid to face his wrath and want to escape moral responsibility. One of my professors last semester held (and taught) the mindset that secular communities have no moral code and nothing to keep them from getting completely out of line as opposed to religious communities which have much better cooperation and cohesion. Of course, these ideas were unfounded and unsupported, but were received without question because it’s simply a common belief that atheists are morally inferior.

I’m not going to get into why Christians do not have any more inherent morality than atheists do, but if you want to read my thoughts on that, you can do so here. I’m more concerned now with why Christians believe that they have more reason to live moral lives than atheists do, because I simply can’t wrap my head around what leads them there. YouTuber JaclynGlenn has some good points on this: Christians can simply pray for forgiveness for their sins or attend weekly communion in order to get a clean slate for the next week’s sins. Atheists, however, have no one to answer to but themselves. If we make a mistake, we have to face the consequences for ourselves. If we hurt someone, we have to talk to them and ask them to forgive us; we don’t count on prayer to heal our relationships. If we want to achieve something, we know that it is done through 100% hard work and 0% begging a deity to open a door.

Of course, atheism, like every worldview or lifestyle (note: see the discussion in the comments on why atheism isn’t a worldview by itself), has its occasional perks–like sleeping in on Sundays or not having to tell yourself that you’re a despicable, sinful person who can do no good–but atheism is not easy.

I repeat: atheism is not easy. Atheism is not trendy. Atheism is not fun. Atheism certainly doesn’t make my life easier. My last post was all about how my atheism and its implications for my life are daunting, terrifying, and deeply nerve-wracking, and mine is only a variation of the story that many atheists share. If I could say a magic word and have all of my faults erased, I would do it. Just as Christians don’t believe in God for the fun of it, I don’t disbelieve for the convenience of it. I truly, honestly promise you that there is no part of me that believes that being an atheist is saving me from God’s wrath, or that I disbelieve out of fear of judgment. I don’t understand how one could arrive at that conclusion in the first place, because if God and Satan did exist, which I am almost entirely positive that they do not, being an atheist would land me right into eternal damnation, and I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t risk eternal damnation just for the fun of it.


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33 Replies to “Atheism: Not for the Faint of Heart”

  1. I guess Christians believe they are more moralistic than non-Christians as they believe everything good and moral comes from God, and the implication is that without God our good acts are mostly worthless. As a side note, it really annoys me how Christians believe Atheists really believe deep down, but just don’t want to. In fact, it’s often the other way round haha. It annoyed me even when I considered myself a Christian, but for a so called ‘Professor’ to say that, damn…

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  2. This was a great post!

    Concluding that there is some kind of a super-natural being that created the universe is easier to believe than additionally believing this being IS the God of the Bible. I know a lot of people who believe in something outside our system, but reject that this being is the God portrayed in the Old Testament.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gods were used as a way to keep what were basically unruly savages from annihilating themselves. From Sumeria to Jerusalem, religious texts and religious belief systems were used by kings and emperors and tribal elders to control the people in their culture. Those who didn’t, disappeared. 5000 years ago “thou shalt not kill” covered a LOT of territory, and “thou shalt not covet” overlapped that by quite a bit, too. I suspect arguments were settled quite swiftly, catch a thief, kill a thief…

      Much of the old Testament and the Torah are devoted to keeping a savage people from eating posionous plants, each other, undercooked meats, how to dress, how to behave, how to survive in a desert wilderness.

      The mystery comes only when you wonder how the writers of the early books KNEW that eating undercooked pork would kill ya, or what plants killed you fast, or slow…

      If there were a Creator, he is/was either indifferent to the life he set in motion, or he’s just not touching it. The Grand Experiment, rather than the Big Bang. If there really was a God of Love (or whatever people like to believe), it stands to reason that any book he wrote would be perfect. Or there would be no reason to even bother with a book since we would all be manifestations of Himself anyway, and therefore perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What you said about the savages makes a lot of sense. The same way that the writers of the Bible basing a 6-day creation off of a 6-day workweek makes sense because that’s how their culture was. I wish we could just leave it at that and not overinterpret what it was used to explain. Of course, it could be stretched and twisted to apply to modern people, or the 6 days could be stretched to mean ages or millennia or what have you, but to me it seems unlikely that they were thinking that complexly when they wrote it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Im not sure who added the Creation story, nor why the seven day week exists at all in the Bible, except that it coincided with the phases of the moon. Only modern man uses time frames this rigidly, as near as I can tell.

          Many cultures base their time frames on the moon, on it’s phases, and on the sun and its placement in the sky. Before modern man I doubt if any group of people actually even HAD a workweek, as we determine it.

          Even primitive tribes used the moon as a time keeper: “seven moons ago” or, “he was born 36 moons ago”. If we were to reconfigure the modern (Gregorian) calendar (which hasn’t been around that long, actually) it would be exactly 13 moons (months) long, plus one day.

          I’m exceedingly sceptical about any times or dates in the Bible, Old or New; at times it reads more like a Gulliver’s Travels chapter, at others, someone’s pipe dream. But, again, as you have seen recently, tell a willing group of people anyting long enough, and persuasively enough, and they will soon think it’s real, doable, and worth cheering about.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Here are a few remarks:

    The morals of the Bible including the New Testament are for the most part bad. There are some good moral suggestions, but they can be reach independently without any sacred text. Turn the other cheek – bad idea. Look what Lord Chamberlin did before World War II. He gave Hitler Austria – basically turning the other cheek, or maybe more accurately, turning a blind eye. So how many Jews did Jesus save?

    Atheism has made my life easier. One thing that makes it much easier is I do not have to worry about any afterlife. This life is enough to worry about. Also, my life is full of real meaning. This provides me with a good feeling about life in general. Sure bad things happen, but it is a lot easier to deal with without a god sticking his nose in my business. Plus, I can honestly say that I have gained a peace of mind I never experienced as a believer. I can understand that not everyone is at the place I have arrived at. After all, it took sometime for all of this to fall into place.

    I do feel that being an atheist is not popular in the United States, so I rarely divulge my atheistic beliefs to anyone that does not already know the person I am. To stick my nose out in public would be scary.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pope Pius did the same thing, during WWII, refusing to acknowledge what Hitler was doing. It may have been fear, it may have been a reluctance to take a stance. I call it cowardice.

      Peace of mind? for sure. I don’t have to pray to anyone for permission, advice (not that I ever got any from that quarter anyway), or instruction. My choice, my mistake, my success, and my reward and/or punishment. Damn but it’s freeing.

      No one around here has ever asked me what religion I follow, no one really cares. If they asked, I’d tell them, but I surely wouldnt volunteer the information.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. “WORLD-VIEW

    wərldˈvyo͞o/

    noun

    a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.”

    Atheism by definition is a philosophy of life Limey. It makes claims about how the universe is and directly affects the conception of the world for those who take that stance. I’m anticipating something like, “does lacking belief in Santa Claus impact your view of the world?”… In a small sense yes but mostly no. This however is a perfect example of a false equivocation. Whether or not Santa exists has virtually no impact on daily life, however if God exists, I hope you agree that it makes a world of difference. I’m not sure how well versed you are in atheistic literature, Flew, Nietzsche, etc, but if you read any philosophical works on atheism, you will readily see that it did indeed impact the authors view of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ” if you read any philosophical works on atheism, you will readily see that it did indeed impact the authors view of the world.”

      Thanks for patronising me. From your own words, atheism had an impact on their view of the world. In other words, atheism isn’t a world view on its own, but it can influence or be part of a more comprehensive world view.

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  5. Ultimately it is untenable for a theist to claim that an atheist cannot be “as moral” as them. This is a ridiculous claim and you should ignore anyone who says that… It is inconsistent with the theists’ view of the world to say that and as such, it is obviously someone who does not understand their own worldview. The problem arises when an atheist makes that claim that morality is inherently subjective and applies it in an objective way. “How could God allow such morally abhorrent things! How could a perfectly good God create a world in which evil is present!” These questions are all emotionally difficult, but the problem is that the question assumes an objective standard by which to say things are actually evil and actually morally abhorrent. Morality is either objective and those questions are intellectually based, or it is subjective and those are emotionally important, but not intellectually persuasive questions. Remember, if I hold that morality is objective, every agent has a moral responsibility and a moral ability, not just those that believe in it.

    The last paragraph is also why I believe that those who are theists’ (because the vast majority believe in objective morals) have a deeper responsibility than those who say morality is subjective (not always but generally atheists). The only responsibility we have, if morality is ultimately subjective, is to ourselves (hedonism/ existentialism/ egoism) and the laws that are the societies consensus (utilitarianism). There is indeed no ‘ultimate’ responsibility to anything.. because nothing is ‘actually’ wrong (as we have redefined wrong to be the basic equivalent of a taste). What we do not enjoy and do not like have, individually and socially, become the basis for the definition of wrong (evil). We lose the ability to apply that standard to anyone else except through societal legislation and consensus… Not on an individual level.

    An aside, I am glad you are willing to say that atheism is a worldview, instead of taking the typical outspoken internet atheism route. If theism impacts your view of the world, certainly atheism does the same. Both are by definition a ‘lense’ through which we see the world.

    Sorry for the lengthy response, I truly enjoy your writing Miss Atheist. Keep up the thoughtful insights!

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      1. agreed, limey. It’s personal, it’s private. We don’t attend meetings to bolster ourselves up, we don’t make up stories of how the earth was invented, and many of us come to it after a life of belief in a god or gods.
        Whereas Christianity and other major belief systems depend on an external deity and group connections to shore up their internal deity beliefs, atheism stands pretty much on its own. You can be an atheist all by yourself, without encouragement from anyone.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m not sure if we are disagreeing. A worldview is private, personal and wholly subjective. It is OUR view of how the world works and our conception of the universe. Whether or not others share the same opinion means nothing to the topic. I think you’re disagreeing with atheism being considered a religion or some form of equating the term worldview and religion. The definition of worldview is basically an all encompassing general idea. Everyone has one regardless of religious beliefs, view of morality, purpose, love, life etc. We all take a stance on those things be we religious, a polytheist, a deist, a theist, an atheist, an agnostic, an egoist etc. Every philosophy by definition is a worldview. But worldview does not equal religion. WV=\=R.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. it may be that the Christian idea of a worldview outlook is based more on what the bible says it should be, rather than something we figure out as we go along, based on personal observation as much as anything.
            One of the things that truly saddens me is that Christianity (or any religion, actually) imposes a belief system of how it was/is according to ancients texts, with total disregard for the realities of what is right in front of them, or easily discoverable.

            Agreed, our world view is totally private and personal, but when you approach it as a religious person, it gets a bit distorted, since you view it through the filter of the religion you’re immersed in. How can you not?

            I was brought up Catholic. My worldview was that of a Catholic, and I saw it in relation to that. Anything I did or saw or heard or believed was tempered by the Catholic filter.

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            1. In my post “Journey to Atheism: Part 2” I talked about a class in which we learned about worldviews. We used a book called “The Universe Next Door” by James Sire. While I don’t agree with everything he says (he’s a Christian) about the worldviews that oppose his, he has a good method of identifying worldviews. He says that a worldview will answer the following 8 questions:

              1. What is prime reality–the really real? (God, the cosmos, etc)
              2. What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us? (created or autonomous, objective or subjective, chaotic or orderly)
              3. What is a human being? (the image of God, a complex machine)
              4. What happens to a person at death?
              5. Why is it possible to know anything at all? (process of evolution, created by God)
              6. How do we know what is right or wrong?
              7. What is the meaning of human history?
              8. What personal, life-orienting core commitments are consistent with this worldview?

              Atheism is really only the statement that there is no god, so I’d say that it really only answers question #1 (the cosmos, the natural world is what’s really real), if that. Meanwhile, Christianity, for example, could answer all 8 questions (“God” being the answer to basically every question). This book includes naturalism, nihilism, and existentialism as differing worldviews. They all include atheism, but they have very different answers to most of the questions.

              I apologize for any confusion in my post. I didn’t really mean to refer to atheism as a worldview, but I can see how it sounded that way. Being the lack of something, the lack of a belief, it is hard to characterize atheism, and worldview was the closest thing I could think of to describe it.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Thank you for the clarification. Im afraid Im not much of a philosophical thinker, and this has been an education for me, as regards worldview.

              I agree, all of those questions can easily be answered “god” by any Christian, close the book, look smug, go home. For the remainder of the class, they are left thinking long and hard about all of them.

              Most of them, even so, can be answered, but quite differently by atheists, and from a much more (I think) thoughtful pov. and much more personal. God is the easy answer. No thinking involved.

              Some of them are downright silly, especially 1, 3, 7, and 8, Those are like asking someone, “what is air? why can’t we see it?”

              (an aside: Thank you for joining my new WP blog, but I had decided not to bother with it just now, and deleted the whole thing since I had no idea how to configure or use it. Apologies. I wasn’t deleting you, just the blog.)

              Liked by 1 person

            3. i know, and it’s one of the reasons I got as far as I did with it, since you can’t seem to connect with my blogspot stuff. sigh. It may just be that i’ve reached the upper limit for computer savvyness, like no longer being able to hit the high notes we did when we were young…

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    1. Thank you for your comment! I’ve looked at ethics these ways before (take a look at the essay I linked to in this post) but ultimately, I find it overwhelming and kind of a headache. Atheism can influence your ideas of ethics, but I think it is more of a crucial part of an overarching worldview, like humanism or existentialism, that has a greater influence of whether you see morality as objective or subjective.

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  6. I’m fully with you on this. God isn’t the sole reason to lead a good, moral life. I remember studying this in my ethics class. You have the law and society to respect as well as your own standards and beliefs. And you can’t really pray for forgiveness. I’m sorry that you’re surrounded by people who don’t quite accept you. Stay strong. You know why you believe what you believe and that’s all that matters.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “It’s a shame how often I read that deep down, atheists secretly believe in God, but are afraid to face his wrath and want to escape moral responsibility.”

    Oh yes! The number of Christians that trot out variation of ‘atheists believe in god too, they are just in denial’ is astounding. They won’t or can’t listen to reason on this one. The best we can do is keep trying to educate them. Eventually it’ll get through to some of them.

    “Of course, atheism, like every worldview or lifestyle”

    Well, it’s not really a worldview, there are worldviews that include or incorporate atheism, but it’s not a worldview on it’s own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, on both things. It’s a part of different worldviews; I just didn’t know what to call it. It’s not really a belief, not a religion, not a worldview…. really just a statement (“there is no god”) that can impact a big part of how you live your life.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Actually, atheism is extremely easy.
    It has no content other than the lack of belief in gods.
    Although I guarantee you will be told otherwise by a large number of Christians should this come up!

    Atheism is the ground state of humanity. Everything else has to be taught/learnt.
    Something easily demonstrated from the number of gods humans have created.

    We have evolved to assign agency to things: thunder, lightening, smoking volcanoes etc. many of which we once attributed to one god or another. It is part of the human ”survival package”. When we first climbed down from the trees and heard a rustle in the grass it was usually either the wind or a predator.

    You got it wrong and you were lunch.
    So rather just hightail it out of there than stick around to find out.

    Atheism is only difficult if you are surrounded by those who still think that it is a god who causes the lightening or the smoking volcano – and inadvertently most Christians do think this! Funny, if you think of it in this light?

    However, when you are in an environment where non-belief is more the norm, and extreme fundamentalism is regarded as ”Oddball” you will glide through your daily life like a skater on ice, I assure you.

    And remember: You are highly unlikely to win the hearts and minds of those thoroughly wrapped up in religion by trying to demonstrate that the Earth is not really flat, or any variation along this theme!

    You’ll get there … one ”godless” step at a time.

    🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  9. jaclynglenn is saying the same thing I do about freedom to make your own choices, good OR bad. I like to think we have outgrown religious belief (the one where God is the Daddy) in favor of belief in ourselves as autonomous beings.
    It’s like what happens when you grow up in a family–some of the kids leave home to make lives of their own, a few stick around and never quite leave…

    Liked by 2 people

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