From the Contact Form mailbag:
Hey Bruce, ran across your site blah, blah. UP FRONT , I am a “Christian” and am interested in questioning SOME of your conclusions, simply because I believe they are erroneous. 1.To me, atheists operate under the assumption that their own experience encompasses all there is to know. 2. Our human suffering is evidence or even proof that God is nonexistent (can we conclude the opposite when we see pleasure and beauty?). 3. If we are a product of chance, luck or an accident, then why do we still care about anything (ref. your comments: teaching “good” things to my kids, being remembered, being good at doing something, etc)…who cares? You’ve chosen your “way forward” and I wish you only the best, but these are some things I don’t get.
This person is a Christian and like most Christians knows very little about atheism.
First, I don’t know of any atheist who thinks “their own experience encompasses all there is to know.”
Second, the arguments against the existence of God are many. Yes, human suffering, along with animal suffering, is one bit of evidence in the argument against the existence of deities.
Third, just because a person doesn’t believe in God doesn’t mean they find no meaning or purpose in this life. I care because THIS life matters to me. In fact, it matters more to me now than it did when I was a Christian. No heaven, no life after death. All I have is this life. All I have is this brief moment in time.
My wife, children, grandchildren, friends, and neighbors matter to me. I want a better world for them. I want them to be prosperous and live in peace. It matters because I love them and they love me. This is basic, what it means to be a good person, kind of thinking.
Yes, some day I am going to die…end of story. So it is for everyone. If I can help lessen the suffering of others then I want to do so. Again, it matters because I am a good man, a man who cares about other people.
Christians like the person above simply cannot comprehend meaningful life outside the Christian paradigm. For them it is God, Jesus, the Bible, and the Church that gives their life meaning and purpose. They wrongly assume that anyone NOT like them lacks purpose and meaning in their life.
The atheist simply cuts out the middleman. The atheist sees no need for a God to get in the way of living life to its fullest.