Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Consolations of Nonbelief

Against the frequently-repeated claim that belief in god offers reassurance and calm in an uncaring world, Greta Christina suggests we take a good look at the flip side of that coin: that when bad things happen, nonbelievers don't have the burden of wondering about the motives and moods of a cosmic overseer:

I don't have to add guilt to the dogpile. I don't have to add the shameful and frightened feeling that the dogpile is a punishment for some unknown sin. I don't have to add sleepless nights trying to figure out what I've done wrong, what I've done to deserve this, what lesson is being taught me that I'm too dense to learn. I don't have to feel like it's my fault. (Okay, not backing up my data often enough was my fault... but other than that.) I don't have to take it personally.
For an atheist, bad luck is just bad luck -- it's not the wrath of god, not the evil schemings of hostile agencies, not the transactions of a karmic force.

Cookies crumble. There's not necessarily a malignant crumbler, but if there is, we can be sure that it, he, she, or they will be found here on earth.

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