Because I am an atheist: NathanDST

Today’s contribution was submitted as a comment by NathanDST, who blogs at “Occasionally, I Think

Because I am an atheist…

…when my best friend, my true brother in every way that matters, suddenly collapsed at home on Monday, May 7, I didn’t pray. I took his wife to the hospital to be with him and babysat their daughter. And when he was stabilized, I looked for something to do to help him, and his family. I started communicating with our mutual employer, so his wife didn’t have to worry about that. I made sure someone was dealing with his responsibilities. When another friend of ours started a fundraiser online to help cover his medical bills, I donated what I could, and wrote a blog post to tell the world what kind of a man he is, and beg for donations.

Because I am an atheist, I couldn’t simply tell myself that he would make it, and it would all work out, so I started thinking of ways to honor him, if the worst happened (or happens, though it’s now looking good for him). I’ve been watching how his friends, family, and total strangers have responded, and my heart has swelled with pride and delight that humans are coming together to help humans, and not just relying on prayer and their god. I appreciate all the more the efforts of the hospital staff and doctors, and am pondering ways to thank and honor them. I understand how incredibly fortunate he is at how it worked out: if he hadn’t taken a half-day to watch his daughter while his wife was at a meeting, he would have been on the road coming home when it happened; if his wife hadn’t realized he wasn’t joking around almost immediately, and dialed 911; if the paramedics hadn’t been so fast in responding to the call; if modern medicine was less advanced, if the doctors weren’t so skilled, if if if . . . I understand that it’s all coincidence, and there was no plan or destiny, and I think this makes my relief so much more palpable, if that makes sense.

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