June 03, 2016
I stumbled upon a web comic, that I felt needed to be addressed. I can't speak for all atheists, but I felt the need to offer my views, which may be helpful for all of those looking to understand us better. My point-by-point responses are included to the right of each comic window. Since the text may be small, I've also included my responses after the image.
I think in summary, the bleak life of an atheist painted by the comic's creator couldn't be further from the truth (and obviously, as I write below, the assumptions that the writer uses to lead to this are false). Many atheists (like me), seem to find the natural world fascinating, and we are filled with wonder and awe. We recognize the transience of life, and I personally aim to enjoy every possible minute of it. It is because of my atheism that I am filled with awe at the universe around me. It's why I seek to maximize my enjoyment for every minute that I possibly can, and why I feel the drive to create a better, more equitable world around me.
Original posting is here: http://adam4d.com/honest-atheist/
“A freak chance” -- We actually don’t know if there are other civilizations out there in the cosmos. It could be fairly common for intelligence to arise in the universe. It could be that we’re the only ones, it may be that it naturally arises in any system large enough. Regardless, it’s fascinating to ponder.
There is the deeper view that the universe seems to be tailored for life. It's an interesting concept, but perhaps there are a wide range of options for universes where life could arise. And of course, if it weren't possible for life to arise, I wouldn't be around to contemplate such a question.
If life like ours is improbable, it could be viewed with the idea that we are fortunate to have such an opportunity to be here and contemplate the universe around us.
“Defying all laws of reason and probability” -- There are billions of planets and stars. I don’t really think it’s improbable that living beings could arise in this vast universe. Its likely more improbable that we’re the only ones.
“Nothing exists beyond the natural world” -- Probably not. Could a god and afterlife and all of that exist? Perhaps, but the odds are just pretty low. The odds are even lower if you think there is a god who cares about my day to day activities. Even lower if you think that god is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good. It’s extra doubly bad if you also believe in both your free will and an all-knowing god.
“Morality” -- Why can’t morality exist without a god? Our morals are likely a result evolution, and I would argue that evolution does a better job of actually describing the morals that we posses.
“Love” -- Why can’t love exist without a god? How do you define love?
“Reason” -- Why can’t this exist without a god? Many (most?) atheists have come to their position as a result of using logic and reasoning.
“Logic” -- Why can’t logic exist without a god? Whether or not we agree where logic comes from, I think we can all agree that this comic is logically fallacious in multiple ways.
“Purpose” -- Why can’t I have a purpose in my life without a god? Personally, exploring the universe around us, working with interesting ideas and thoughts, helping others, and improving the world around me seem to provide quite a bit of purpose.
“We have no more inherent value than an ant” -- Not sure how you define value, but I guess the universe probably doesn’t care one way or the other about us. As an atheist, that doesn’t really bother me. That of course doesn’t mean that we don’t have value to one another and our planet. You could even argue that we provide value to the universe for being a part of figuring itself out.
“None of our lives will have mattered” -- Our lives will have mattered to those we have loved, taught, or passed ideas onto. That can range from a few years, to potentially centuries, who knows, maybe even millennia. For many of us atheists, that is enough. Our lives will have mattered while we are here, and ideally our lives will have helped make the world a better place.
Even from a christian worldview, I fail to see how any of it matters. So you acknowledge a god, and you get to spend eternity in heaven. So? Does that really matter either? At a large scale, that’s also pretty meaningless.
“That’s what I believe” -- Actually, I strongly doubt that the strawman painted here is even remotely close to what most atheists believe.
Personally, I live my life to learn as much about the universe around me as I can, to enjoy as many moments as possible, to find beauty in as many places as I can, and to be fascinated with the world around me. I feel a strong desire to help others and help create a better world for everyone.
There may be an afterlife, and if so, fantastic, but there may also not be. Because of that, I will try to soak in as much of this beautiful existence before my time runs out.
The Built Environment