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February 15, 2008

Comments

Abby

Honestly the thought that keeps coming to my mind is, "Come Lord Jesus soon....let Your Kingdom reign here on earth". It really feels like the end times to me...but then people have been saying that for centuries....

Resident Atheist

I've led a pretty charmed life and haven't had to deal with any major crises. But, I imagine atheists turn to the same people the religious do; family, friends, and maybe a professional mental health specialist. I also tend to do some introspection, which I suspect would be interpreted by the religious as communication with god.

One nice thing about not believing in god is that you don't spend time asking the that pesky question 'why?'. If there's no grand plan, then there requires no further explanation. It's quite liberating. Why did all these NIU students die? 'Nut with a gun' is all the answer I need.

Abby - this year wouldn't even make it in my top 10 from the last century of 'Years to Expect Armageddon'. WWI, WWII, Cuban Missle Crisis... We live in a great time

John

Thanks for the perspective, RA. You're right, atheists aren't the only ones who turn to family, friends, and their local therapist (Of course, those of us who grew up in the house of shrink, had the benefit of that as a 3-in-1 option.) Obviously, those options aren't necessarily the first means of help for the person of faith.

To your other point, I do wonder where the answers lie for the non-religious person who does happen to look deeper below the surface explanation and explore the question, "Why?"

Resident Atheist

In general, I would guess that atheists aren't particularly dependent people. It takes a lot of self confidence to say 'I am alone in this universe. No one has a plan for me, and I can truly only depend on myself and those closest to me.' My point being, people who need help working through problems aren't likely to be non-religious in the first place.

Second point: it's not that the non-religious person doesn't look for deeper meaning, it's that they know there's no answer. There's no grand scheme. Asking the question 'why' makes an assumption that the universe cares that we're here. The non-religious likely thinks that we are here through a series of unintentional events, so asking 'why' makes no sense. 'Why' is for people who need to feel needed.

chris corwin

the non religious person is just as apt to ask "why did this happen?" as the religious one, i think.

the difference is that if you start out with a presupposition of god existing the question is "why did god allow this to happen to me?"

when real bumps in life happen i now simply hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and try my best to maintain an outlook that is neither overly cynical nor stupidly optimistic --- an outlook that will put my brain in a place of being useful and productive.

useful and productive is a fantastic way to be when life gets hard.

it does not require faith in an outside source -- though i admit that it can be MUCH HARDER to gear up hope in hopeless situations without such a faith.

hard, but possible.

hopelessness simply breeds inaction and a self-defeating cycle, and that's no good for anyone.


it is also hard to answer children's questions about WHY when the answer is honestly "DUNNO"

its easier, by far, to just say GOD WILLED IT THUS

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