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Jan 06 2010

Atheist Meme of the Day: Death Is Not Caused By God

Scarlet letter Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day, from my Facebook page. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

Atheism does have comfort to offer in the face of death. Among other things, it offers the comfort that death and suffering aren’t deliberately caused by a God who supposedly loves us, and we don’t have to torture ourselves figuring out what we did wrong to cause it. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

15 comments

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  1. 1
    vel

    now, that’s a nice way of saying it.

  2. 2
    Paul

    This plays into a Christian meme, wherein Atheists are only Atheists because they’re mad at God, and/or guilty for living in sin. You don’t understand God’s plan, and thus turn away from him since you cannot see the big picture as to why your loved one passed on. You are an atheist so you don’t have to face what you’ve done wrong and admit it to God.
    Just thought I’d mention it, in case you didn’t notice the flip side of your meme of the day. I don’t doubt others will find it a comforting thought, though. I just find it useful to evaluate messages from different points of view.

  3. 3
    cag

    Life is not caused by god!

  4. 4
    Alexandre

    Can anyone explain what an ‘afterlife’ and ‘god’ have to do with each other ?
    I was raised an atheist ; my sister once asked my mother (since we had catholic neighbours on one side and protestants on the other)’What are we?’ and my mother replied : ‘That you may find out for yourself’.
    I found out for myself and decades later I am still an atheist. However, when at the age of 15 being confronted with the concept of reincarnation – something totally ridiculous, I thought – I decided not to reject it without proper study. I read MANY books on the subject and after another 15 years I found myself fully convinced of the validity of this concept.
    It is REAL, no doubt about it in my mind.
    I found out much more, afterwards and had at a certain moment an African witch doctor and a Buddhist monk – independant from each other – contact the same relative who had died a few months before. To my surprise the African was told – by the deceased – about the ‘visit’ of the monk previously.
    I now understand that after the death of the physical body, we live on in other dimensions, with our etherical body that is about 130 grams in weight (according to research).
    The so-called god from the bible was an alien : Erich von Daeniken was right when writing ‘Were the gods cosmonauts? and Zecharia Sitchin gives more details. Organized religion only exploits people – let’s get over it as soon as we can.

  5. 5
    Maria

    Organized religion only exploits people – let’s get over it as soon as we can.
    And how much money have you put in your ‘studies’ of these things these 15 years? Woo exploits people too – en masse! Get over it!

  6. 6
    Scarlet P.

    I’m an atheist. I don’t think there’s an afterlife. I don’t believe in reincarnation, having not myself seen any proof of same. I tend to focus on the quality of my life lived on earth rather than on what may or may not happen when I’m dead. I think that all of us could live more fulfilling, more compassionate, kinder lives if we concentrated on our “threescore years and ten” or whatever we get while we are living. Christians (at least some of them) seem far too interested in proselytizing about their imaginary afterlife — the rewards and punishments for themselves and for others — and about somehow storing up points for eternity. We’d all do better to focus on what we can do to make lives on earth better for ourselves and for everyone else.
    I don’t want to go to any afterlife the Christians describe anyway, because according to them my dogs don’t have souls and won’t be there with me. So me and the poodles will look after each other here on earth and enjoy ourselves; try to make life better for other displaced people and dogs.

  7. 7
    Scarlet P.

    P.S.: I like your Atheist memes — as you say, not everyone agrees with everyone else. But it’s good they are there to make us all ponder the universe and our place in it.

  8. 8
    Marshall Neill

    I was raised in a non-religious environment. No attending church on a regular and no Proselytizing. Lost my dad at an early age and mom never pressed the religious point of view. Around 12 I decided that there was no god. My sister was a Jehovah Witness, and still is to this day, which caused me to ask, “Where did god come from?” Since no one can answer that question, and the answer, “He was always there.” doesn’t cut it, as in “Why not the universe always being there.” As a personal note, I really don’t take much stock in the “The Big Bang Theory” either.
    So my view on death is this; I have lived a life that has had its ups and downs. I’ve made some good decisions and some bad ones and some really bad ones. But all in all it’s been a good life. I was an instructor at a computer and would like to think influenced some people in a positive way. I’ve done other things I’m not so proud of. But when I die, I will be missed by wife and friends, heck, perhaps even some people who dislike me. But I find comfort in the fact I did the best I could, under most circumstances anyway, and that my passing will be just another human being who basically did the same. There are exceptions, as in rich people who gave back or ones who became famous, but they are the exceptions. They will be missed as well. But life is not forever. Heaven, now that takes some gullibility. I mean come on. You die, go to heaven. What do you do for an eternity? If, as they say, “You’ll be fine.” What’s that? No job, no car, not much of anything really. Gives couch potato a new meaning. If I were to be okay with that, then it wouldn’t be me. Would it be you? Hell, now there is a concept. Burn in hell. Just can’t imagine any god being that cruel as to condemn you to that.
    Oh, and eternity. Here’s my view on that. There is a boulder, 6′ around. Once a year a little bird comes and sharpens his beak on that boulder. When the boulder is gone, that is one day in eternity. Now that is a long time. Now imagine being a ‘Heaven Potato’ that long. Depressing isn’t it.
    Well I’ve taken enough time. Guess I had a tendency to digress.
    Thanks for reading my views or rant if you like.

  9. 9
    Cuntageous

    I take the view that life ‘just is’ — we’re organisms, chemical concoctions of nature (random occurences even). We live, we die. Death of the organism is part of the biological process. Saying that death sucks or whatever is just human hubris. Get over it.

  10. 10
    vel

    sorry, alexandre, but there is no “research” that shows that there is any “etherical body that is about 130 grams in weight (according to research).” However, I am open to any you might be able to show, rather than making vague claims.
    Your claims are as nonsensical as any “organized religion”. Claims of how bad “organized religon” seem to always accompany an excuse of why “my” personal beliefs in other supernatual thing are “real” or claims that a Christian isn’t religious but has a “relationship”. Both seem to be ways to avoid words that have gained baggage due to the actions of those who believe.

  11. 11
    Greta Christina

    Can anyone explain what an ‘afterlife’ and ‘god’ have to do with each other ?

    Alexandre: Most people who believe in God also believe in an afterlife. And the kinds of critical thinking that make people question the existence of God tend to make people question the existence of the afterlife.
    Your “130 grams” thing is flatly not true, and it’s been demonstrated to not be true. If you think it’s true, though, and you think you can demonstrate that it’s true, then I suggest you look into the James Randi Educational Foundation $1 million challenge: they’ll give $1 million to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.
    As for your experiences with the monks contacting the dead, I suggest you look into the phenomenon of cold reading, a technique used (consciously or unconsciously) by people who seem to be telepathic or communicating with the dead.
    If you think there’s good evidence of life after death, I suggest you start reading the Skeptical Inquirer, which investigates claims of this and subject them to rigorous scientific testing — and have never once found these claims to be substantiated.

  12. 12
    llewelly

    Those who do not know about Erich Von Daniken can read about him here.

  13. 13
    Maria

    I remember Erich von DÀniken was very popular when I was a little girl in the -70s and the -80s. It’s nuts that people still bring him up as any sort of reliable source of… anything. Woo… it doesn’t develop, it just rehashes the same old BS. And it can safely do so, no matter how many times it is shown just how much BS it is, there’s always new people to take it in and fall for it.

  14. 14
    MaryLynne

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Another column when you’ve articulated exactly what I’ve been struggling with.
    The more I’ve considered the world and what I beleive and the more sceptical I become, the more this has struck me. I’ve had only the usual tragedies and pain in my life – never lost a child or spouse thank dog – but not having to ask “Why me, God?” is the biggest comfort.
    This speech has been developing in my mind; I might use it when confronted with a major loss and someone is comforting me with Godtalk:
    “The biggest comfort has been my complete lack of faith. If there was any evidence for a God, I’d have to ask why he would allow this horrible, senseless thing to have happened, along with all the other evil in the world. But I know that things. just. happen. For no reason or purpose. So I don’t have to make sense of it or find some higher purpose. I don’t have to try to bizarrely be glad they went to a better place. I can feel what I feel, grieve, be angry and sad, and then cope and heal, because that is what humans do.”
    OK, so I won’t get that whole thing out every time someone says, “It is in God’s plan” or whatever, but even the first sentence will be very satisfying.

  15. 15
    Eclectic

    This is diverging into a different meme, but “it’s god’s will” is a great way to keep the masses in their place. You can revolt against your prince, but you can’t escape the great juju in the sky.
    Some theologians have devoted whole books to the subject, e.g.

    In the course of earthly existencem each person has his assigned role in play, whether king or beggar, alloted to him by God

    The School of Pateience Jeremias Drexel (1581–1638)
    There are still things that I can’t do anything about, but I don’t have to pretend they’re good and put up with them to make God happy.

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