Nothing To Live For

It seems to me there was a post here on FtB that explored the notion that “atheists have nothing to live for”, but I can’t find it. Maybe the upgrade ate it, or maybe I hallucinated it, but it got me thinking. And writing, trying to put myself into the shoes of someone who really thinks that this amazing, beautiful world is “nothing”. If you happen to see that post, let me know and I will link it here. Anyway, this verse is longer than my usual ones, so it goes after the jump:

You’ve nothing to live for, my atheist friend–
No hell or no heaven, to fall or ascend
When your time on this planet has come to an end
No reason at all to go on

If heaven and god are the myths you report
And you vow to be clear-eyed and not to distort,
Then life, as you know, is remarkably short
And nothing at all once it’s gone

You must be disheartened! I cannot conceive
The depression of people who do not believe
Where worm-food’s the most they can hope to achieve
And death is an ending, outright.

No cloud-covered heaven, its streets paved with gold
Where everyone’s happy, and no one grows old
The story that innocent children are told
To keep them from crying at night

No future past death; just the here and the now
Just the days and the nights that your life will allow
You could try to extend them, but no one knows how
No hope for a shot at hereafter

Just puppies, and babies, and flowers, and fun
Rainbows, and kisses, and seashells, and sun
Elephants, penguins, and whales by the ton
And giggles and childish laughter

Just cities that sparkle by day and by night
Forests and fields that may stretch out of sight
Eagles and airplanes and seagulls in flight
And water or wine in your cup

If you’re lucky, there’s children, and laughter, and tears
A chance to re-live all your heartaches and fears
Through their eyes—but it’s only for so many years
So you might as well just hang it up

No halo or harp-strings—and surely no wings
Just real-world delights, but no heavenly things
There’s music, but not from an angel who sings
Just your daughter, who plays you her song

No stuff to have faith in, just stuff you can see
No reason to hope or to wish it could be—
This view is pathetic, I think you’ll agree
Or maybe… just maybe… I’m wrong

If all that we have—all that life consists of
Is the love of our families and friends—just that love
With no hell down below, and no heaven above
Is that an intolerable end?

Suppose that this lifetime is all that we get
No heaven’s reward, and no hell for a threat
(And we’re not Blaise Pascal, and just placing a bet)
Should I pity my atheist friend?

There’s reason for pity; I’m wasting my time
Which from his point of view, is a horrible crime
If we get but one life, then I worry that I’m
Being foolish by waiting for more

The years, days, and seconds, they fly by so fast
Each heartbeat, one more that is now in the past
One life to be lived, and you know it won’t last…
So live it—cos that’s what it’s for!


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    … there was a post here on FtB that explored the notion that “atheists have nothing to live for”, but I can’t find it.

    X marks the spot.

    As for that “cloud-covered heaven, its streets paved with gold” – what the [ahem] hell could you do there? What goals could you strive for, what accomplishments could you savor?

  2. Randomfactor says

    I heard it said once that the only profession surviving in Heaven would be journalism. No fires to put out, no wars to fight, no dishes to wash. But those on the north side of heaven will still want to know what is going on in the south side.

    Of course, the answer will be “nothing.” I expect Fox Newz to draw high ratings there.

  3. Jim Hudson says

    Most believers I’ve known are afraid they’ll go to hell – that is a basic element of their belief and a control of their behavior.Is this what they live for ?LMAO.

  4. hoverfrog says

    Greta Christina wrote something many years ago about why it is okay to be fine with death as an atheist, even why it an end to life is a comfort. We never, ever get to have this moment again. Never. Once it is gone there is no way to get it back. Rather than having nothing to live for we have every single moment to live for because we know that every one of them is precious.

    Deluding oneself into believing that we have infinite more moments ahead of us in fairy pixie sparkle land in the sky (or whatever it is that they believe) takes something away from the life that we have now. The life that is precious and important to us because we are living it and the only life that we know that we have. I don’t want to die because I like being alive. I like those moments that will never come again and I want to hold on to them rather than let them slip away as if they were only practice for living forever.

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