Trying to debunk Christian confusions about atheists without sounding like a list of “thou shalt nots” is rather harder than it sounds. But we’re giving it ye olde college try:
CONFUSION #1: ATHEISTS DESERVE PITY
Whether an atheist has given up their faith or never had it to begin with, a common reaction from believers is pity. You feel that we’ve lost something vital, and you feel sad for us. You feel so sad for us, in fact, that you constantly pester us about being sad.
“Aren’t you lonely without God?” “Doesn’t it make you sad to think that there’s no life after death?” “How awful it must be not to believe in anything.” Those are some common variations on the theme. Every time we’re a little blue, you take the opportunity to remind us that if we believed in God, we’d have someone to pray to for relief.
And it seems to really flummox you when we refuse your pity. You mean well, but your pity isn’t necessary, and it’s really annoying.
I try not to pity you. I could pester you right back with questions just as valid. “Isn’t it horrible to believe that your loving God’s going to torture your heathen friends for all eternity?” “Doesn’t it make you sad to think God’s punishing you with ill health/natural disaster/financial hardship?” “It must be exhausting to try to reconcile all those contradictions in the Bible.”
Irritiated yet? I thought as much. Look, if you’re happy being a Christian, and I’m happy being an atheist, let’s just try to be happy we’re happy. Let’s put the pity in a box and leave it gathering dust on a shelf.
We can certainly explore those questions. For instance, the big one, eternal life. It makes you happy. Knowing death is the end makes me happy, oddly enough. We could talk about the reasons why we feel that way. We could discuss why God makes you less lonely, while the idea of having a god underfoot all the time leaves me cold. But if we go spelunking through each other’s philosophies, pity isn’t going to be of any use.
I’ve also hit upon CONFUSION #2: ATHEISTS ARE EVIL… BUT YOU’RE AN ATHEIST, AND YOU’RE NICE! and CONFUSION #3: YOU’RE NOT REALLY AN ATHEIST! If you all have some confusions you’d like me to cover, now would be an ideal time to say so.
The cat is snoring. I want to emulate my cat. Therefore, I am going to bed.
We are now officially at the “NaNo is kicking my ass” stage, but it’s still fun. Hope all my fellow sufferers are, too!