One of the more annoying things to me is hearing religious people project their inadequacies onto atheists and tell us what we must be feeling — especially when we don’t feel it. This is an anonymous letter on the website of a South African TV station but it’s a good example of this behavior:
As an atheist you may be able to fulfil or satisfy some of your material or physical needs, e.g. cars, house, food etc. but atheism will never be able to satisfy man’s spiritual needs. Atheists will experience feelings of emptiness, a gap or void in their lives. “Something is missing in my life.” They will resort to try to fill that gap with various things but inevitably those feelings of emptiness will return. Atheists will of course vehemently try and deny this.
Yeah, and what do we know about our own feelings? Who are we going to believe, ourselves or some random and presumptuous stranger who knows nothing about us? I don’t feel any such feeling of emptiness. And even if I did, believing in something that isn’t true is hardly a rational way to deal with it.
I am sure many of you have questioned your reason for being here. I know I did. Many times. “Why am I here? Surely there must be more to life than this?” Belief in God and the Bible answers those questions and fills that void. It gives Believers purpose, adds value to our lives. Can atheism claim something similar? I think not.
But it goes further than that. Belief in God and the Bible brings something more which sets Believers apart and which will outshine atheism any day of the week and that is a message of hope and redemption. Atheism can and will never ever even come close.
And if that hope was actually based in reality, he might have a point. But if it isn’t true, it isn’t any different from thinking that a fairy tale or an illusion fills some void within us.
Believers have a hope, an expectation, a promise of eternal life in heaven, while atheists have, well, nothing. I believe that the Bible is telling us that there is more awaiting Believers after their lives on earth have ended. Ultimately if it turns out there is no God and no heaven, Believers would have lost nothing while atheists have lost everything.
Yes, yes, yes. We’ve all heard Pascal’s wager and it’s as absurd today as it was when he came up with it. And if you just replaced the Bible with the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita in that paragraph, he would easily recognize the absurdity.