3 Reasons Why I am Glad I’m Not an Atheist

AtheistCartoonTheSimpsons The following are some points that I have picked up through conversations with many atheists in both Europe and Canada.  That being said, I am not an atheist myself and therefore realize that my thoughts are biased.  I am happy to have a discussion with anyone who self-identifies as an atheist.  I also apologize in advance if anyone is offended by this post, but I also believe that what I share here is the truth….of course, if you’re an atheist you likely think otherwise. 

Over the years I have heard the same responses from my atheist friends.  They ask me what the point of my faith is.  They say the Bible is just made up of feel-good fairy tales that are impossible and never happened.  Some of them have the audacity to say Christianity is basically a crutch to get through difficult seasons in our lives.  It can be easy to become offended at comments like these, but let me suggest another alternative to you: sympathy.  You see, I believe being an atheist is intensely hard work.  It takes a lot of brain and will power to convince yourself that there is no intelligent design, that there is nothing beyond the grave, and that there may be seemingly no meaning behind all the pain and suffering we experience in our world today.  That there is nothing better than what we already have and that all we have to live for is ourselves.  I don’t think I am brave enough to engage in this “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you will die” mindset, nor do I think I have the strength to believe that there is no Infinite Being who guides us as a moral compass.  If you have that type of strength, then all the power to you, but I do not.  And I don’t think I ever will.  Below I’d like to highlight the three reasons why I am particularly glad I am not an atheist:

#1: Atheists Don’t Believe in the Power of Prayer – Over the last few weeks, I have been engaging in a lot of debates surrounding the issue of divine healing.  Do I believe in it? Why or why not?  The answer is: yes.  I have seen healing take place in my own life and in the lives of many others.  I have seen God opening doors because of prayer even though the world was doubtful.  I believe that prayer changes our hearts and attitudes.  Sometimes for whatever reason, God doesn’t answer our prayers like we would have wished, but many other times I have seen God working miracles because of prayer.  Therefore, I know first-hand the importance of intercession.  I believe that when we (collectively speaking) pray a great and powerful energy is being released.  God hears us because of our persistence and He honours our requests.  Prayer has sustained me through some very difficult times and seasons in my life.  In fact, I recently was reading a journal that I wrote when I was going through a particularly rough patch and nothing seemed to be working in my favour.  I wrote: “The prayers of the saints sustain me.  They are the only thing that has kept me going.”  In seasons of distress, when we cling to God, He does not disappoint.  He feels for us in the pain and sadness.  He encourages us and supports us.  He can do that when we are just praying to Him one-on-one and He can also do that when other people we know and love (or even sometimes don’t know) are remembering us in their prayers.  I would not trade this divine connection for the world.

#2: Atheists Don’t Believe in the Sovereignty of God – Atheists don’t believe that there is any form of Divine Power.  In essence, this means that humanity is responsible for itself.  I can think of nothing worse.  When humanity is in charge, it results in chaos.  Think about people like Hitler and Stalin… those are classic examples of when people didn’t seek God’s opinion, but just did what they thought they wanted to do.  It resulted in severe injustice and death.  Even the most moral of people are not capable of making the best decisions in each and every circumstance.  Yet, when we put our faith and trust in God, we believe that there is something greater than ourselves.  When we seek God in prayer and humbly ask for His guidance, He directs us to new places we never thought we could be before.  When things work out, it can be easy just to thank “chance” or “good luck,” but even my atheistic friends have admitted that there are times when there is really no logical explanation for some of the amazing events that have occurred.  Why put your trust in your own intellect and might when humanity in and of itself is not able to understand the vastness of the universe or the intricacies of even the smallest of animals.  Why not just put your trust in God who has created all these things and who we are told even loves and cares for us though we are relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

NOTE: Here I wish to be very clear.  Not all atheists are like Hitler or Stalin… in fact, few are.  Many atheists can also be very loving people who do a great deal of good for our world.  We also have Christians who destroy this earth.  They ruin our ecosystem and hurt relationships.  Sometimes Christians can act even worse than someone who does not believe in God.  All I am saying is that if someone is passionately following God 100% of the time and seeking to do His will for their lives, I believe they have the opportunity to become moral for reasons other than morality’s sake.  Conversely, if someone is just living for themselves because they believe that there is nothing beyond the grave, the world becomes rife with opportunities for caring about nothing else other than self-seeking, gratifying pleasures.  But there are many who are in the middle.  After all, C.S. Lewis once wrote, “a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.” (Mere Christianity)

#3: What If You’re Wrong.  This one gets to me every time.  I have some friends who grew up in the church, but have since left organized religion.  In fact, they want absolutely nothing to do with religion.  Period.  Sometimes these same friends will say to me, “it must be nice to believe that there is a meaning behind everything.”  Once I even had a friend admit she was somewhat envious of the fact that I believed God was in control over every aspect of my life: my marriage, my children, my future profession.  She said she wishes she could have that type of trust because it would likely make her feel better, but she just couldn’t bring herself to believe as I do.  This was so sad for me to hear.  I thought, “but you can.  You used to have it, but you chose to give it away for some reason.”

We are likely all familiar with Pascal’s Wager.  In this wager, Pascal says that we essentially have two options.  We can either believe that God is real or we can believe that He isn’t.  If we believe the first, that God is real, but it ends up that He really isn’t, what do we have to lose?  We end up dying and going into the ground.  We don’t rise again, there is nothing more, just the endless abyss – but it doesn’t really matter because we will be dead and thus it will not concern us.  On the other hand, if we believe that God is not real, and we die and find out He is, what have we got to lose?  Everything, including our own soul.  Therefore, it is really in our best interest to believe in God.

I see no reason why not to believe in God.  It seems to me that the Pros far outweigh the Cons.  Faith in God enables us to believe that there is something more than simply what meets the eye.  It reminds us that life is not only about us and therefore relieves us of a responsibility of trying to be in control, but also gives us an invigorating sense of wanting to change the world.  It surrounds us with friends who will pray for us during our darkest hours and who will truly be there for us.  It can radically change us to become more loving, giving, and self-sacrificial.  My question to you is this: why do you not want that?  Is believing that you were created by chance and that there is relatively little meaning to life because all we are going to do is eventually end up fertilizing dandelions really helping you to become more positive and happy?  I personally find the prospect of being an atheist to be rather dull and lifeless.  I even find it to be somewhat depressing because I feel like if I were an atheist there would be nothing to live for.  I would have an insane fear of death and being eternally forgotten.  I would wonder why I was born since people are only going to forget me after about three generations (if not sooner).  Instead I have put my trust in a loving Saviour who breathes life-giving messages of hope and peace into my life.  I have learned to find contentment in this life because I believe that it is really nothing more than a rest-over stop before my final destination which will be even more glorious.  A destination that promises no pain or heartache, no diseases or divorce, no abuse or apathy.  Doesn’t that sound amazing to you?  Then what’s holding you back?  Why not reach out, take that step of faith, and place your trust in the Eternal God who has truly promised us so much more.

 

2013-02-10-theanswerP.S. I came across these super interesting blogs after I had finished writing my own.  Although I still stick by what I shared, Courtney’s (AKA: Godless Mom’s) blog provided me with a bit more understanding and appreciation towards the atheist movement: http://jaysondbradley.com/2015/09/16/5-things-i-wish-christians-understood-about-atheists/#sthash.XHvalCon.dpbs.  Conversely, Jayson’s blog provides some sound insight on a reasonable Christian response to atheism and is also worth a read: http://godlessmom.com/guest-post-5-things-i-wish-atheists-understood-about-christians/.

 

 

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9 thoughts on “3 Reasons Why I am Glad I’m Not an Atheist

  1. Reading your reasons, your words unintentionally may show what you claim to be against, using religion as a crutch. Here are three examples:

    “Prayer has sustained me through some very difficult times and seasons in my life.”

    “Atheists don’t believe that there is any form of Divine Power. In essence, this means that humanity is responsible for itself. I can think of nothing worse. When humanity is in charge, it results in chaos.”

    “I personally find the prospect of being an atheist to be rather dull and lifeless. I even find it to be somewhat depressing because I feel like if I were an atheist there would be nothing to live for. I would have an insane fear of death and being eternally forgotten. I would wonder why I was born since people are only going to forget me after about three generations (if not sooner).”

    Don’t all of these sound like a crutch to get through a tough world? I won’t speak for all atheists, but every single one I know has no need to be remembered. Why are you so arrogant as to think you NEED to be remembered? I also don’t live my life thinking there is nothing to live for. There is EVERYTHING to live for. This is it. Try to make this world the best I can for myself and others. If I can make a positive change, however small, and I am not remembered, that’s more important that people remembering you just for the sake of preventing your feeling of insignificance.

    I have zero fear of death, so when it comes, that’s it for me, and I hope I made a positive impression. I live my life to the fullest, I donate to both animal and human charities, work hard, love my family, and am one of the most moral people you could ever know. I want to leave the world better than how I came into it. None of these qualities were taught to me through religion. It’s common sense, empathy, and a true respect for all living things and a high quality of life. I am happy.

    • Hi Stargazer, thank you very much for taking the time to read and respond to my post as well as chipping in with several of your own ideas. In the interest of free speech and free thought I very much believe that everyone should have the opportunity to share whatever is on their mind and I wish as much as possible to make my blog a safe space where people not only feel able to disagree and debate, but where they would even feel encouraged to do so.

      You raise some very interesting questions in your post which I would like to respond to. In order to be fair, I wish to admit right from the start that I do not know everything there is to know about atheism. I recognize that each person’s experience and worldview would be different and that within atheism there must also be a variety of different thoughts and moral philosophies represented. I also recognize that in many ways atheists and people of various religions fail to properly hear and understand each other. For example, not all, but several atheists have never read the Scriptures for themselves but they still feel at liberty to talk about why they disagree with them and the same goes for Christians (and perhaps other faiths). We are not well versed enough in the arguments and should spend more time engaging with atheists and listening to them. On behalf of the Christian religion, I will apologize for anytime you, as an atheist, felt highly misunderstood or misrepresented.

      In regards to your question concerning the meaning of suffering and whether or not Christianity is a crutch, I actually believe Christianity is quite the opposite. I believe that yes, it does take some level of trust in order to be an atheist and of course, being an atheist probably isn’t always easy. May I ask you, what is your reasoning for why suffering takes place in this world? The great theologian, C.S. Lewis who was highly academic and came to faith later in life once wrote: “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” Being a Christian is a far cry from having an easy life especially in our current world. In many countries, Christianity is very socially unacceptable and many people who have converted to this faith (especially from other faiths) have had to forsake all they had to get here. Many have lost their houses and property, their jobs, and even their own lives. In fact, Christians remain one of the largest persecuted groups in the entire world. C.S. Lewis also lost his wife after only 4 years of marriage and wrote another book called “A Grief Observed” in which he spoke about how if he didn’t believe in God it would have been far easier to accept her death, but because of his belief in God he faced complications and had to learn how to manoeuvre through them. Lewis is just one example among many, but he is a good person to read because he is very intellectually driven and also spent time as an atheist.

      To answer your question about moral life, I do not wish to negate the fact that many humans in and of themselves as “good” people. I believe that short of a few extreme cases, most people truly do want the best for others and are naturally caring and supportive. This is true of people who are of any religion or none at all. So thank you for all your hard work in making the world a better place. That being said, our goodness only gets us so far. I know you disagree with the Christian faith, but in the Scriptures we are taught that even our best deeds are as filthy rags. Many times people who have converted to Christianity have had a moment in time in which they recognized their own sinfulness in comparison to the glory of God. Many of them were quite “good” people before they became a Christian, but now they realize that they can be even more. But Christianity is not primarily a “moral” religion full of dos and don’ts. The Bible is written as a love letter to humanity, not as a “how to” manual. It is about God stepping in and providing a way when there was no way… not about proving a point or being upright, although following the Bible should naturally make someone more upright.

      Next, I recently read an incredible book called “Engaging Atheists” by David Robertson in which he shares the thought that most countries which now claim to be secular actually have deep roots in Christianity. I believe that Christianity and politics are two separate worlds, but perhaps in some ways our moral fibre has been shaped by these very ideals. Take the U.K. where I currently live, for example. The U.K. is quite secular, but there is no denying the fact that our history has been deeply shaped by Christendom. Therefore it is nearly impossible for an atheist over here to say that religion has no place in their life, because so much of what occurs in the U.K. is a result of Christendom. Now take other countries which were very atheistic for example Russia or China, and you notice much of a difference. Now, of course, you could say that those leaders were simply immoral and of course, this wouldn’t represent atheism as a whole nor would it be fair to say that the only reason for political demise was because of atheism… but the fact is that our countries would have been quite different without religious background case and point.

      Lastly, you mention there is everything to live for, but my question to you is who do you think has enabled you to have this life? Yes, humanity is capable of many wonderful things, but do you think the very synapses in our brains were just created by pure chance and luck? Do you have children of your own? How do you explain the amazing miracle of giving birth to a tiny life inside you who is capable of so much? Even when you are in a brilliant spot in nature, does it never occur to you that there might be something more? That there might be something beyond what we see and experience in this life? Have you ever had something truly special occur for you that human reasoning could not justify the timing and did this not suggest that there might be a higher being, God, or whatever else you want to call this essence?

      Again, thank you very much for your thoughtful and detailed response to my post. I always value opportunities like this to really learn from others such as yourself.

  2. Pingback: Blog Response: “3 Reasons Why I am Glad I’m Not an Atheist” | Unmagical Secular Holiday

    • Hi There, thank you very much for your insightful blog post in response to my original post. It was very interesting and I am always looking for opportunities to engage with people who believe differently than I do. I realize that I do not know all the answers and there are many expressions of atheism I am unfamiliar with. I have recently tried reading some of the best atheist literature out there, but again each person would very much have a different experience. So thank you for pointing that out. I am going to respond more indepth to your blog in a little bit, so I will save my remaining comments for that rather than posting it here. Your journey definitely does sound like quite the interesting one, and I am hoping to read about it because it could provide a bit more of a background to what you said and how you arrived at your conclusions.

    • Hi Clark,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my article. One of the best things about being part of the blogging world is the opportunity to engage with people who believe differently than I do and to hear about different perspectives.

  3. I’m not sure that when we die we enter an abyss. I have been asking myself – where was I before I was born? and that was a very long time in the history of the universe. I don’t know, but maybe my spirit goes back there upon my death. So why fear death when for most of time we didn’t have the particular existence we seem to have now. Although Einstein’s Relativity of ‘space-time’ leaves a lot to think about regarding just what time is.

    • Hi Murray, these are some wonderful thoughts. Thanks for posting. I agree that death has often been misrepresented in our society and this has sadly resulted in some pretty unhelpful views on the topic. I have addressed some of these in other blogs. That being said, anyone who self-identifies as a Christian must believe in a form of heaven and hell. This is directly what the Bible teaches through the Christian Scriptures and worldview. Atheists are free to believe otherwise, though I would caution that just because you believe something is not the case, does not necessarily mean it is that way. We can often be mislead and then find out we are wrong. But for a Christian to go contrary to what is laid out in the Bible would be a fallacy.

  4. God made man. All was well. Then Satan corrupted man. Then man made atheism. And then everything turned to hot dookie in a hand basket.

    I’m glad I’m not an atheist, too. Atheism is a fictional world of make believe and Pokémon magic (aka Darwinism). It’s a pathetic excuse to not be held accountable for your actions. It’s a comforting fairytale for brainless, unthinking, uneducated sheep.

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