achicksperspective

My thoughts on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Oh, and sports too.

True Peace of Mind

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As an atheist, I am always interested in a healthy debate about the existence, or non-existence of god, and all that comes with it. In a conversation that I had this week, with a good friend of mine, she made a comment about her Dad, who passed away last year, looking down and laughing at her. Knowing that I do not believe that to be possible, she said that she felt sad for me. I, of course, explained to her why there was no reason to be sad for me, and why my way of thinking is the ultimate peace of mind. I don’t claim to speak for all atheists, but in a nutshell, this is my explanation.

I believe that when a person dies, they just cease to exist. No after-life, and no heaven or hell. The light just goes out……..for good. Most believers find that kind of thinking just as sad as my friend does. The reason for that sadness is because of years and years of conditioning, combined with a complete inability to consider any alternative possibilities. It’s these alternative ways of thinking that make the life of THIS atheist, far better than any believer could possibly imagine.

For starters, I don’t go through my life worrying about whether or not the things I do are a sin or not, and whether I will have to ask for forgiveness for them later. I have a much better concept, whereas I choose to just be a good person. Not because I want my golden palace and eternal life when I die, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. What a novel idea. Conversely, the fear of burning in hell for eternity doesn’t fuel my good behavior either. I certainly don’t find the idea of using reward or punishment as motivation for being good, a viable tool unless it’s for a child. Insert completely sarcastic comparison here. Ultimately, I believe that people would be far better off if they just wanted to do the right things in life because they were the right things to do. Especially when this is the ONLY life you have. Great segue.

Imagine, for a second, that someone you have known and loved your whole life, was going to be the first person ever to go on a never ending trip through space. You would never be able to see them or talk to them again. Wouldn’t you attempt to do as much with that person as you possibly could before they left? Now, imagine that you were the one going on that trip. Wouldn’t you try to see and do all the things you wanted to, with as many of the people you consider important in your life? I’m sure the answer to both of these questions would be yes. That is exactly the way an atheist goes through their life. Living our lives to the fullest because we accept the fact that our time is limited. We have only this one life, and it is incumbent on each and every one of us to maximize it. In doing this, you remove any excuses from the equation. You do the best you can with what you have. No regrets. I guess that would make Bobby Valentine an atheist. Huh? Oh nevermind.

In the end, I could say that I feel just as sad for believers, as they do for me. Needing a set of guidelines to be a good person, instead of doing it out of common sense. Believing that you will see someone you love in the after life, while simultaneously crying about all the things you wished you had said and done with that person. That makes no sense. That should be something an atheist does, because we know we won’t have another chance. For a believer, that seems hypocritical. In my opinion, a true believer shoud never cry at the passing of someone. If I believed in the heaven that a believer does, and my Dad passed away, I would be completely psyched. I would be calling everyone I know to tell them the great news. “Dude, my Dad went to heaven. How awesome is that? Lucky bastard. If you can see me right now, Dad, how many fingers am I holding up?” All the while laughing my ass off. That would be awesome. That’s not what happens though. Everything about the believers beliefs is a giant contradicion and is completely confusing. When the people I hold most dear to me meet their end, I will hope that I have done all that I can with them, and also that they know what they meant to me. If not, that will truly be a reason to be sad.

6 comments on “True Peace of Mind

  1. Linda Roberts
    April 22, 2012

    Makes a lot of sense to me.

  2. Sue Muscato
    April 22, 2012

    Whether God exists or not, there is life after death. Without going into detail on how I came to believe this, I can tell you that I more than believe it. I know it. When you die, you do not cease to exist. There is a world beyond this one. Since I have never been there I can’t say exactly what it is, but if I get there before you I will definitely find a way to tell you “I told you so” from beyond the grave.

    And as a side note…if you won a billion dollars and moved to a tropical island never to return, I would be psyched for you, but still bummed out that I would never see you again. It’s the same thing with my Dad. Although I know he is in a better place, it doesn’t make it any easier for me to live without him. I miss him, no matter where he is.

    Now… about God. First, I think we need to separate religious zealots from ordinary, spiritual people with faith. As the latter I can assure you that I don’t do or say anything based on reward and punishment in the afterlife. I am a good person because it’s who I am. God is a guiding, comforting force for me. As you know, I used to be an atheist, too. I am not anymore…it didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t based on anything I read or saw, or any other hard evidence. It was something I felt deeply. Faith is not something you think. It is something you feel. You have said that if a person has no children they can’t possibly know what it feels like to be a parent…and it’s like that. If you don’t feel it, you don’t feel it. And that’s fine. I get it. I understand why you don’t believe. It is interesting to me that you have so much empathy for the plight of every other group of people in the world (aside from Republicans, of course) but you have no mercy on non-atheists. Can you give us a break, please? I really want to live a long life, but I have to say, I am looking forward to the day I can finally prove you wrong! I will rub it in your face for eternity! =)

    • jwc
      April 22, 2012

      There are two specific things I would like to comment on, Sue.

      You made the tropical island comment to justify being sad because, in your words, you would never see me again. That means you believe you will not see your Dad again. You can’t have it both ways. If you believe you will see him again, then your argument is bunk. 😉

      Additionally, I have said before that virtually anything an atheist says, that contradicts the belief system of christians, is taken as an attack. If something is confusing or hypocritical to me, I’m going to point it out. I suggest that the believers step forward and give better arguments than winning the lottery and moving to an island. Love ya, kid.

      • Sue Muscato
        April 22, 2012

        Ok, to make it easier for you to understand I should have added the words ”in this life”…so yes, I do believe I will see my father again but it could be tomorrow or 50 years from now, and in the meantime, I am going to miss him every single day. Your argument was that no one should cry over a death if the dead person is supposedly going to such an awesome place. Comparing it to a tropical island was so that you could maybe understand that it doesn’t matter how awesome the place is…he is not physically here with me and that is what is sad. It’s pretty unbearable for you to be away from your wife and kids, right? If you didn’t know when you would see them again, you would cry every day. Even though you know they are ok and in good hands. It’s the physical separation that makes death sad. You cry for yourself…not the person who is gone.

        I don’t consider your opinion an attack at all. You bring up valid points and the theme is great. Live life to the fullest, seize the day and love each other. I agree. But you usually throw in atleast one personal dig in every anti-god rant. For example: complete inability to consider any alternative possibilities. Really? It seems to me that YOU are the one who refuses to consider any alternate possibilities. I can’t prove to you that there is a God and you can’t prove to me that there isn’t. Neither of us has died. The truth is that we don’t know what is on the other side. I would suggest that people should believe whatever they want if it makes life better for them, as your beliefs do for you. Why are we even still talking about this?

        PS. Not all people that believe in God are Christians. Love ya, kid.

  3. Sue Muscato
    April 22, 2012

    Before you say a word about not knowing what is on the other side…let me clarify that SOMETHING is….but whether or not it is heaven, I have no idea. And who knows if you find out the truth about God even when you die. Maybe God is an eternal mystery.

  4. David
    October 28, 2012

    Jeff,
    It was great catching up with you the other night. I really enjoyed our conversation. Although I was a little disappointed that more people didn’t show up, I am also a little glad they didn’t. I really appreciated the opportunity to participate in a one on one discussion with you. We were able to cover so many topics, politics, sports, TV, movies, religion, etc. You truly do have an interesting perspective on all those topics and are not afraid to tell anyone . . .in detail. As you can see, I took your suggestion to look up this blog entry. No surprise, that I am going to side with Sue to an extent on this one. I definitely believe that there is an afterlife. Whether or not I will be reunited with my loved ones there after I die, I am not 100% sure. It is probably a really big place. Not sure what we will all be doing when we get there so I can’t be sure my friends and family from this world will be doing it all together. So my motivation to be a good person and to do the right thing cannot be to get a ticket to spend eternity with those people. I try to do the right thing and be a good person because God loves all of us and wants me to love everyone else in the same manner. In order for heaven to exist, though, someone had to have created it along with creating this world. In our conversation I was wondered what your take on the Theory of Intelligent Design was so I asked you. My understanding of the theory is that if you look at how the world is put together from how ecosystems function, down to how cells and molecules operate, that it is unlikely that it all happened by accident. The order in nature points to the possibility that God exists and that he is the intelligent creator of all things. After I asked for your thoughts on Intelligent Design we continued to talk about many things. After a while you acknowledged that you had not answered my question, and then we continued to talk about some other topics. It wasn’t until the very end of the night that you briefly touched on a response. You basically said that you didn’t know where the intelligence came from. I find it curious that you have the ability to discuss multiple topics in depth with well thought out responses but you seemed to be at a loss for words when it came to the Theory of Intelligent Design. Maybe it is a good theory that is difficult to argue against. Or maybe I just gave you the topic of your next blog. Either way, I am glad you posted the invite to come have a drink while you where in town and I am glad I took you up on the invite.
    David

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This entry was posted on April 22, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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