Why I Pity Atheists

I do, I genuinely pity atheists.  Now mind you an atheist is generally a lot easier to have a discussion with about life than a born again full on evangelical by a long shot.  They tend to be rational people, and most tend to be in my view “good people”.  As honest as most if not more so.  Most “keep the commandments” though they don’t say it that way.  They respect their parents, don’t steal, don’t want what you have at your expense, they don’t murder, etc.  Now they don’t keep the Sabbath or worry about “the lords name in vain” but hell, those things do not apply to their beliefs so why would they.  My point is simply that beyond the overt religious components of most faiths, most such people are ethical even in the eyes of a person of a revealed religion.

Most atheists I know are also dramatically intelligent people.  Many are highly successful in life and in general happy and optimistic.

So why do I pity them?  In simple terms it is the lack of a sense of wonder.  When I look at the stars, I know full well scientifically what they are, giant balls of gas, nuclear fusion reactors, nothing more in reality.  Yet the dreamer in me understands that the very essence of that star, the same dust that makes up that star, also makes up my body, your body and the very earth itself.  The difference for the Deist in seeing this fact which many atheists acknowledge by the way is its meaning.

To me this means so much more than galactic recycling of matter, it is also the recycling of energy.  In fact I personally see the lines between energy and matter as blurred, and while science is now confirming this, it takes some level of “faith” to truly extrapolate what that means.  When I see a leaf I don’t just see a photosynthetic solar panel, I see the marvel of life itself.  To the atheist the universe seems mechanical, where the Deists and even the religious see it as energetic.

There is also what is next, to the atheist there is nothing next for the living when we die.  You are dust, worm food, gone forever.  I have written before about afterlife so I won’t go deep here but I do believe something happens, I don’t know what, I just know in my very being something does.  Do we remember our lives, I don’t know, may be, may be not.  We may simply become energy and only imprints of our prior life remains in the energy, just the raw information.  Or we may remain in spirit far more like revealed religions believe.  I really do not know, but the fact that something of our lives remains in some way, matters to me.

There is just part of humans I feel that is connected to the creation and when one cuts that off, something inherently human is then cut off from the individual as well.  I feel I was made to be part of the creation, to be a co creator with it in my own tiny small way.  Just like you were, atheists can’t comprehend how this is possible, we are too small to matter they say, one person doesn’t matter to the universe, in fact man doesn’t as a species.  When we are gone the universe itself will not even miss us.

Let me put it this way, I feel all living beings that see, hear, perceive, wonder at, participate in the creation are very much, “the eyes of God”.  It is with this wonder that I study science, nature, history, etc.  I don’t sit around praying or believing that one day God will save us.  I don’t wait for the day I die with anticipation of heaven, nor do I fear hell but I do marvel at the creation and its wonder and simply feel that is lacking for the atheist.

In my next text I will discuss why I personally feel many become atheists and why they feel it is the right choice.

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6 comments to Why I Pity Atheists

  • Pecos Billy

    I thought what you wrote was very good and I agree with you.

  • Someone

    Have you ever bothered to talk to an atheist? Actually get to know at least one? Or are you just assuming that since they do not believe in a deity that somehow their lives are incomplete? I am Deist myself, but I do not presume to live in some ivory tower where I look down upon all other religions (or those who lack belief) because I cannot fathom that they possess the same thoughts, feelings and abilities as I do since they do not share my spiritual views.

    I have known several atheists throughout my life and yes, the atheists I have known do possess a sense of wonder and awe. They wonder about the workings of science, while we stand in awe of the Creator behind the science. They still have the ability to wonder at the unknown. Just because a person does not believe in a deity does not mean that the world is dull, boring and mechanical. Whether you have belief or not, the universe is a delicately balanced cascade of processes and the consequences of those processes and anyone with the smallest amount of imagination can’t help but find it breathtaking if they choose to take an interest in it.

    I will agree some don’t. I have interacted online with atheists who want to live in a world free of any spirituality of any kind. They’re the type who are like you described — apt to dismiss stars as simply giant balls of burning gas out in space or leaves as mere food factories to nourish a plant. They do truly lack wonder, but only because they would rather wrap themselves in the security of chalking everything up to genetics or whatever branch of science strikes their fancy without being the least bit curious about the unknown.

    • ModernDeist

      Sounds like you didn’t read what I said at all? I didn’t look down, I voiced my opinion about why I feel people make this choice. If you did read it you would see first I said nothing negative about those people, not one thing. I said that I FELT they had something missing in their lives. What are you some sort of modern product of the tea cup generation where no one should say they feel anything is negative about anyone least a feeling be hurt?

      If you had actually read it you would also not ask if I ever bothered to talk to an atheist, seriously, haw can you ask that when in the post I state,

      “Now mind you an atheist is generally a lot easier to have a discussion with about life than a born again full on evangelical by a long shot. They tend to be rational people, and most tend to be in my view “good people”.”

      and

      “Most atheists I know are also dramatically intelligent people. Many are highly successful in life and in general happy and optimistic.”

      Seriously and perhaps you should read my post from the very next day,

      http://moderndeist.org/why-i-feel-people-choose-atheism

      Where you will find me saying “Some of my favorite people and most intelligent contemporaries are atheists.” Among other things.

      What you really didn’t like was the word pity I bet, do you even know its definition? “The feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering or misfortunes of others.”

      So I feel that most atheists I have talked to have turned to atheism due to emotional suffering caused by revealed religions they by logic had to turn away from. I also feel that the fact that many never even paused to consider an option like Deism which is based in logic is unfortunate for them. Due to this and do to what Deism has done for me in my life I feel a sense of compassion for them. Yes, indeed I am a horrible human in my ivory tower. (roll eyes).

      I think one thing lost in our world is people have decided to change what words mean so they don’t understand them when used properly and certainly can’t get past single words into contextual use anymore either.

  • Warren Dodd

    I am an athiest. I am in awe of the beauty in science and the universe. I spend my time learning new things everyday as I am very curious. I don’t feel I miss out on anything in life. If you wonder why I am here it’s to understand why someone I respect is a deist. Your article about athiesm caught my eye as I also don’t understand how people can be superstitious. But I can certainly relate to deists more than people of traditional faith.

  • Jason

    I’d like to quote a parable from Philosopher, Antony Flew’s and his book on why he changed his mind from being an Atheist to a Deist.

    THERE IS A GOD – How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, ISBN: 0061335304

    In between, there were other text but I cut out the main aspects of the story, which I found to be an interesting little story.

    Let us begin with a parable. Imagine that a satellite phone is washed ashore on a remote island inhabited by a tribe that has never had contact with modern civilization. The natives play with the numbers on the dial pad and hear different voices upon hitting certain sequences. They assume first that it’s the device that makes these noises. Some of the cleverer natives, the scientists of the tribe, assemble an exact replica and hit the numbers again. They hear the voices again. The conclusion seems obvious to them. This particular combination of crystals and metals and chemicals produces what seems like human voices, and this means that the voices are simply properties of the device.

    But the tribal sage summons the scientists for a discussion. He has thought long and hard on the matter and has reached the following conclusion: the voices coming through the instrument must be coming from people like themselves, people who are living and conscious although speaking in another language. Instead of assuming that the voices are simply properties of the handset, they should investigate the possibility that through some mysterious communication network they are “in touch” with other humans. Perhaps further study along these lines could lead to a greater understanding of the world beyond their island. But the scientists simply laugh at the sage and say: “Look, when we damage the instrument, the voices stop coming. So they’re obviously nothing more than sounds produced by a unique combination of lithium and printed circuit boards and light-emitting diodes.”
    (…)
    In this parable we see how easy it is to let preconceived theories shape the way we view evidence instead of letting the evidence shape our theories.

    (…)
    When the Sage in the parable tells the scientists to investigate all dimensions of the evidence, he was suggesting that a failure to explore what seems prima facie reasonable and promising ipso facto precludes the possibility there is a god of a greater understanding of the world beyond the island inhabited by the tribe.

    (…)
    Returning to my parable of the satellite phone in the previous chapter, the laws of nature pose a problem for atheists because they are a voice of rationality heard through the mechanisms of matter. “Science is based on the assumption that the universe is thoroughly rational and logical at all levels,” writes Paul Davies, arguably the most influential contemporary expositor of modern science. “Atheists claim that the laws [of nature] exist reasonlessly and that the universe is ultimately absurd.

    (…)
    I want to return now to the parable with which I began this part. We talked of the satellite phone discovered by the island tribe and the attempts to explain its nature. The parable ended with the tribal sage being ridiculed and ignored by the scientists.

    But let’s imagine it ending differently. The scientists adopt as a working hypothesis the sage’s suggestion that the phone is a medium of contact with other humans. After further study, they confirm the conclusion that the phone is connected to a network that transmits the voices of real people. They now accept the theory that intelligent beings exist “out there.”

    Some of the more intrepid scientists go even farther. They work to decipher the sounds they hear on the phone. They recognize patterns and rhythms that enable them to understand what is being said. Their whole world changes. They know they are not alone. And at a certain point they make contact.

    The analogy is easy to apply. The discovery of phenomena like the laws of nature—the communications network of the parable—has led scientists, philosophers, and others to accept the existence of an infinitely intelligent Mind. Some claim to have made contact with this Mind. I have not—yet. But who knows what could happen next?

    Someday I might hear a Voice that says, “Can you hear me now?”

    I read this book based on this debate & recommendation. It was a simple, quick, yet a really good read.

    https://youtu.be/eikekHsTUTo?t=30m45s

    And just for the record, I am an agnostic, Deist.

  • Greg

    Just stumbled upon your site – thank you and please keep up the good work!

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