"A Better Life", Chris Johnson on Atheists Talk

One of the main ideas that is celebrated by our atheist and humanist communities is that we can be good without god, that we as nonbelievers can live happy, fulfilled, satisfying, beautiful and good lives without having or wanting to involve supernatural beings. Chris Johnson is sharing this narrative with his new book of stories in writings and photographs of atheists from the US, Canada and UK, A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God. From his website:

I decided to travel through the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom and put together a book of photographic portraits. From the airline pilot, to the musician, I wanted to document my fellow atheists and ask them what brings meaning and joy to their lives. The goal of the book was to visually capture the diversity of non-believers and the ways they maintain a better life, not in spite of their atheism, but because of it.

Among those those who were interviewed and photographed  for the book are A.C. Grayling, Steven Novella, Daniel Dennett, Rebecca Watson, Christopher Hitchens, James Randi, Carolyn Porco, Julia Sweeney, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, James Watson, Jessica Ahlquist, Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker.

We hope you will join us this Sunday at 9 a.m. Central time when we speak with Mr. Johnson about his journeys and what he found along the way.

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"A Better Life", Chris Johnson on Atheists Talk
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3 thoughts on “"A Better Life", Chris Johnson on Atheists Talk

  1. 1

    The phrase “better life” always, always makes me think of this, which is good because I <3 that TV show, but sad because I'm always compelled to make the same lament inside my head.


    More on topic, I find that atheism is utterly irrelevant to the quality of my life. Poverty is a byutch.

  2. 2

    From the linked interview:

    I am creating this book of photography to show that joy and meaning can indeed be found in the lives of non-believers, not in spite of their atheism but because of it.

    Huh. I can do all that without ascribing any meaning to life, much less desiring it.

    (What is this obsession with meaning some people have?)

  3. 3

    I just did a whirlwind tour of Camus for a project I was working on, and he tries to address the issue of how to live well without meaning. I found his arguments suffered from invisible privileges, most notably that of self esteem.

    He thought you could derive a sense of pride from carrying on in the face of the supreme indifference of the universe, but I find some people are biologically incapable of that – whether from childhood abuse/neglect or from inborn reasons, it’s just utterly intractable by the time they grow up.

    You & I, John, are fortunate in that respect. I feel alright, whatever else I say, because I have a measure of assumed worth that many others lack. You can get joy from a meaningless life. That’s pretty cool. Camus was into it, though it can’t work for everyone.

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