r/AskReddit 7d ago Helpful 8 Wholesome 8 Keep Calm 1 Take My Energy 2 Wearing is Caring 1 Silver 12 Platinum 1

Atheists, what do you believe in? [Serious] Serious Replies Only

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u/cknipe 7d ago Silver Helpful Wholesome

We need to look out for each other because help isn't coming.

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u/Tune_Kindly 7d ago edited 6d ago Wholesome

Best advice I received from a dear senior on their way out. “You win some, you lose some” shrug

Nothing divine, life is that simple and wonderful, accept it and move on.

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u/Palinon 7d ago Helpful Take My Energy

My wife's three rules of life: - Stay safe - Have fun - Don't be a dick

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u/theraphim 7d ago Take My Energy
  1. Be human.
  2. Breathe.
  3. Don't lose socks.

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u/[deleted] 7d ago Bravo!

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u/eggwardpenisglands 7d ago edited 7d ago Gold Helpful Wholesome

When I was young I used to think that after death you would have access to a PC that you could see absolutely anything about your life. Stats, any question you had no matter how obscure, replays of moments, perspectives of others in relation to you. No matter what you wanted to know, if it was relatable to you, you could see it.

I know it's silly, but as time goes on I just want it to be real, and I don't think I'd have any issue allowing myself to fall into that delusion.

Edit: why did pretty much all the replies to my comment get removed?

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u/funkastolic 7d ago

Yeah! I want to see a game stats screen when i die. Amount of bubble gum chewed, red lights ran, ect.

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u/Kringels 7d ago

I would like a compilation video of all the times I narrowly avoided death without even noticing.

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u/Gurn00r 7d ago

now you see, tying your shoelaces in 2012 actually saved you from a heart attack in 2039

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u/TobiasAmaranth 7d ago

I want this, too. I've been counting to 100,000 across multiple years, a little each night. I would love to know, at the end of it all, if I managed to touch every number at least once. I've made many mistakes, but my goal is to not miss any numbers.

But even more than that, being able to turn back the clock and delve into my random "what if" thoughts, to live inside them even for a moment, that would be a good end.

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u/corndogwolverine 7d ago Helpful Wholesome

Be excellent to each other.

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u/PlasticLobotomy 7d ago

And party on, dudes!

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u/imCIK 7d ago Silver Gold Platinum Helpful Wholesome Hugz All-Seeing Upvote Take My Energy Faith In Humanity Restored Starry Ally Bravo Grande! I'll Drink to That Eureka! Timeless Beauty Respect Stone Face

I believe in a universe that doesn't care, and people that do.

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u/Sorry_Slice 7d ago

This is really well phrased. Bravo.

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u/imCIK 7d ago Wholesome Take My Energy

Wish I could take credit, its from a quote from a game that resonated with me allot and I still think about it all the time.

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u/pdxphreek 7d ago

Well now I'm curious, which game?

Edit - response below my question.

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u/spiciestcactus 7d ago Take My Energy

night in the woods?

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u/imCIK 7d ago

Yes, one of the parts that really resonated. Game really came to me at the perfect time. "At the end of everything, hold onto anything"

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u/Better_Meat_ 7d ago Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Brighten My Day

Realistically, I think nothing happens. We literally experience nothing after death. Same thing that we experience before birth. We don't exist, so it's nothing. I think the tenant that we should follow while living is to try to be happy and healthy while minimizing the damage we do to each other.

What I would LIKE to happen after death is whatever you believe in, exists. I think Christians should get to go to heaven if they truly believe in it, Hindus and Buddhists get reincarnated, and everyone else also gets to experience what they believe they will experience. (I would still experience Nothing.) Maybe it's one of those things where at the moment of death their brain makes them experience what feels like an infinitely long moment in time where they experience their afterlife. I just think it would be neat for everybody.

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u/therealuser42 7d ago edited 7d ago Silver Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote

"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it." -- Mark Twain

edit: actual quote posted below by u/manimal28 which I then looked up and found this: No Terrors For Me

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u/CodyLeet 7d ago

I think a potential fear is not in death itself but in what you will miss out on. I really want to see a warp drive be invented. It saddens me to think death will arrive first. After death that fear will not exist, but it can exist prior.

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u/aesthe 7d ago

Eternal fomo. Brutal.

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u/kgranson 7d ago

I absolutely have eternal FOMO. It is the only reason I don’t want to die. I want to know what I’m gonna miss out on.

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u/aesthe 7d ago

I console myself that it's just as likely to be miserable as awesome.

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u/Fuchsei 7d ago

Ngl this took the last thing I feared from death rn. So true, whatever happens cant be that bad.

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u/usuallyNotInsightful 7d ago

I’m not scared of death but how long it may take me to reach it. Definitely a fear of being put on life support for a disgustingly amount of time.

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u/hazmatte 7d ago

The fear of pain in dying seems to be scarier than death itself.

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u/Mental_Medium3988 7d ago

true that. i dont want a long drawn out slow death. quick and easy for me.

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u/SmokeWineEveryday 7d ago All-Seeing Upvote

Being dead doesn't scare me, but it's more the thought of never being alive again for the rest of eternity that kind of freaks me out sometimes if I really start focusing on that thought. How one day everything will just stop for me and I'll never regain consciousness again.

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u/The_Better_Devil 7d ago

Rick Riordan played with the concept in your second paragraph a lot in his books. It influenced my views on religion a lot when I was young enough to be interested in his books.

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u/africkingmess 7d ago

would you mind sharing which books exactly deal with it a lot

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u/The_Better_Devil 7d ago

It's been forever since I've read any of his work. I just know they talk about it a lot. In The Kane Chronicles, Zia [I think] is explaining the Egyptian Underworld to Carter and Sadie and one of them asks what happens if someone believes there is nothing after life, and Zia responds with "Then that's what they experience".

The underworlds of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythology all coexist in the same universe in his books so he had to explain that somehow. It's touched on a lot throughout the books, but I can't put any to memory because of how long it's been

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u/giftedburn0ut 7d ago

it's also mentioned in the original Percy Jackson series in a similar way I believe, it's been forever since I've read them too though

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u/LOTRfreak101 7d ago edited 7d ago

Well the second percy jackson series definitely gets more into it with the whole greek/roman aspect stuff, but I'd say the kane chronicles touch on it more literally since they talk about how the greek gods belong to the other side of whatever river it is.

Edit: spelling

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u/fakehandslawyer 7d ago

Terry Pratchett did too!! My favorite take “everyone gets what they think is coming to them.”

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u/Gremlin_of_Doom 7d ago

This is such a dope thought. Thanks for rewiring my brain a bit.

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u/neartheBottom 7d ago

When I read his Thoughts/idea, I said "such a dope thought!" We be on the same wavelength

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u/rumblingtummy29 7d ago Silver Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote This Vibing Take My Power

Nothing. [Serious]

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u/thepigfish82 7d ago

I feel this way about death. When I was 5, my grandfather died and my cousin simple said, he is dead, that means you are gone forever. Everything ends up dying, even plants and animals.

I'm now in my 40's and still have this simplistic view of life and death. People think I'm abivalent to life and death but it's just what it is.

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u/katansi 7d ago edited 6d ago Silver Gold Wholesome

Lol life and death are ambivalent to us.

Edit: Thanks for the stuff y'all. I'm super ok with this being my first big deal comment on reddit lol.

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u/eneka 7d ago

my old boss tried converting me. "Aren't you scared whats going to happen when you die? What if you go to hell?"

If I die, I die...I'm living for the now.

Also I was recovering from the flu and he goes "come on, we all know evolution is a lie"

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u/Certain_Shine636 7d ago Silver

What would there to be afraid of if someone else hadn't told you a horrible story about it first?

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u/friedmud 7d ago Helpful

This is more true than you think. My son (almost 4) has never been exposed to religion. Literally doesn’t even know that religion, as a construct, even exists. He is not scared of ghosts, demons, hell, wrath of god, or even the judgement of white evangelicals (shudder).

I think it’s hard for people within a religion to understand that for many of us atheists we simply live our lives without ever thinking of religion. It’s not part of my normal day to say “you know what? I don’t believe in God!”… I’m just out here blissfully living my life.

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u/monalisasnipples 7d ago

I just had this conversation about my 2 kiddos (6 and 3). They have so much more peace than other kids who are told they are being watched constantly for every thing they do

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u/SelectFromWhereOrder 7d ago edited 7d ago

Aren't you scared whats going to happen when you die? What if you go to hell?"

I love those type of questions, I usually answer with, what if you chose the wrong god? If there’s no such thing as Jesus, then the Abrahamic god is going to be very pissed at you, like , very pissed. Look at the first few Ten Commandments.

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u/PepsiMoondog 7d ago

You don't believe in 999 gods. I don't believe in 1000.

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u/riffito 7d ago

My usual answer is... do you understand that if you were born in "the other side" of the world your "god" would most certainly be a different one than the one you worship now?

I only get blank stares, and no one talks to me anymore. Victory! :-P

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u/B-AP 7d ago

My aunt can’t seem to grasp this. She’s a firm believer that if you don’t believe in Jesus and him dying for your sins you’re destined to be a crispy critter.

I’ve asked her how it’s possible that a serial killer can be baptized and go to heaven, but a person who’s led a perfect life of compassion and giving goes to hell because they’ve never heard of Jesus. She still answers the Jesus beliefs.

If that’s how heaven works, then the God who runs it sucks. Who creates people, gives them a specific goal, but doesn’t tell them there is a goal or what it is, meanwhile allowing the worst of all humanity to enter while blocking the truly deserving.

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u/SelectFromWhereOrder 7d ago edited 7d ago

I think we can all agree that if gods exist, they are really bad at communicating ideas to humans. All cultures have way different beliefs and ideas. Hindus Reincarnation is fundamentally different than Jewish dogma. Gods can’t communicate the basics correctly.

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u/---turdferguson--- 7d ago edited 7d ago

I cant help but think of that episode of It’s Always Sunny whenever the evolution vs creation debate starts up. I love how Mac completely turns Dennis’s argument around and uses it against him to “prove” evolution isn’t real.

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u/Dominator0211 7d ago

That’s always how I felt about it. Everything dies, so why would we get any sort of special treatment? Are you trying to tell me that when I die and go to your heaven I’ll be there with every onion I ever ate. Every ant I’ve ever stepped on. Every cow from the burgers I’ve eaten

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u/Geba7 7d ago

People seem to worry (or not accept) that there may be nothing after death. Why not the same worries about the beginning of life? Where the hell was I in 1900? In 506 BC?

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u/thaaag 7d ago edited 7d ago Helpful Wholesome Seal of Approval

That's the fast way to say what I usually say.

I believe that if you have to "believe in" something, then that something isn't real. We don't have to "believe in" the sun to make it rise each day. Or "believe in " math, or science, or engineering. But if someone says "there's an invisible flying pasta deity in the sky, you just have to take my word for it, oh and a book was written about it over 1000 years ago so it's totally fact, just believe me/it", then there's not really an invisible flying spaghetti monster.

So yeah, nothing.

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u/serefina 7d ago edited 7d ago Silver Helpful Wholesome This Take My Power

You're born. You live. You die. That's it. After you die you cease to exist, the same as before you were born.

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u/wtbrift 7d ago

This is the best way to phrase it. So when someone counters with "but there must be something when you pass", I reply "there was nothing before I was born".

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u/mexicodoug 7d ago edited 7d ago

but there must be something when you pass"

I reply with, "yes, there will be, but I won't be part of it anymore, except as a memory."

However, I also accept the evidence that stuff existed before I was born, even though I can't verify it through personal experience.

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u/Scallywagstv2 7d ago edited 7d ago Silver Helpful Wholesome I'm Deceased

I think a lot of religious people struggle to understand how people can content themselves with this. Too bleak. I'd rather live with an uncomfortable truth than a convenient untruth though.

This perspective means that you take responsibility for your life and don't just put everything down to 'Gods will' and things like fate.

You also don't pin all of your hopes on an afterlife which will never happen. You live while you are alive because that's all you've got.

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u/Lngtmelrker 7d ago

I think a lot of religious people struggle with the fact that we are all just swirling units of chaos. There is no grand plan or great orchestrator. I think that’s why people who are prone to religion are also susceptible to things like Q anon and the Cabal and all that. They REALLY want to believe that there is some almighty puppet-master who determines all of humanity’s fate.

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u/marmosetohmarmoset 7d ago

Even non-religious people struggle with this. I teach college and graduate-level biology courses and the inherent randomness by which living beings came to be and continue to function is by far the most difficult concept for students to comprehend. Even when they accept it at an intellectual level it’s extremely difficult to have an initiative feel for it. Even biology professors struggle with this (which is why you often see biology concept described in teleological and anthropic ways).

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u/smartwatersucks 7d ago

It also seems like many people have a hard time wrapping their heads around doing good things because it feels good to do them, as opposed to doing them out of fear of eternal damnation or with the hope of some grand reward.

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u/machine_fart 7d ago

I can’t wrap my head around the alternative of only doing good because you think someone is watching.

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u/FractalFractalF 7d ago

Exactly. What kind of messed up human fails to develop morally beyond the point where they were told about Santa having a naughty and nice list.

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u/Lngtmelrker 7d ago

I’ve seen quite a few ask Reddit posts lately about what changed someone from religious (mostly along the lines of being raised that way) to non religious and there were multiple people who said that when they found themselves in hard times, it was their NON-religious friends who were willing to jump in and offer tangible help, while religious friends offered “thoughts and prayers” for them.

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u/one_nerdybunny 7d ago

As a mostly religious person, just believe in God but I’m pretty liberal, I can see this. It were my non religious friends that helped me out the most when I needed it whereas my religious friends/family we’re nowhere to be found.

I now make it a point to be the mostly religious friend that’s there when needed.

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u/katansi 7d ago

Also there being a grand plan and knowing that grand plan are very different things. Calvinism is a plague. Everyone's susceptible to religious thought, it's probably built into us. Anything a persona believes counter to empirical evidence is faith based to some degree.

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u/[deleted] 7d ago

The whole "grand plan" is so toxic in so many times too. Some little kid dies of cancer and some asshole says "don't worry its all part of gods plan :)" to the mother

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u/Zsofia_Valentine 7d ago

This exact scenario is why I find atheism comforting. I would rather a disinterested universe where shit happens, than to worship a god of "love" whom is clearly and unrepentantly malevolent. To agonize, questioning what you did wrong to make God punish you by hurting your children. (Very self-centered viewpoint btw) I don't want to question why this perfect being would even allow children, or really anyone, to suffer. An omnipotent being who truly loved us would not treat us this way. Why would such a being hold it against me for being an atheist when they are supposed to be responsible for me being who I am in the first place? If there is a god responsible for all this, we owe it only our scorn, not supplications.

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u/Neat_Afternoon_9337 7d ago

I agree with you , having come to the same agonising conclusions by the age of 15 - coming from a religious family I believed I was the only person in the World who thought this way. It would have been comforting to have Forums such as this where you can share and discuss with likeminded people. I am now 80 and have suffered all my life from the fear of death ,now I am closer to it I try not to let my thoughts and imaginings get to me. Even now I have no friends I can discuss this with .I have a few religious friends who when I have tried to discuss my beliefs and question their beliefs raising the matter of why their god allows children to be molested ,their answer is always the same “ god gave man free will “ - how can you have a sensible discussion with that ? I have been interested to read many of the answers here and will look up Alan Watts , The Kane Chronicles and Percy Jackson .

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u/conservative_genius 7d ago edited 7d ago Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy

Just be a kind and empathetic person not because you’re worried about some cosmic justice, but because it’s the right thing to do. If there is some being that created us there’s no way they actually care about believing in it or adhering to some rules from over 2000 years ago.

Also a big thing for me is that I find the idea that you need religion or the Bible in order to have morals and ethics pretty dumb. It’s pretty fucking clear that most evangelicals have neither.

But my main thing is being a good person simply because, as George Costanza once said “we’re living in a society!”. If you’re only a good person in order to make it to heaven you probably aren’t actually a good and moral person.

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u/sharrrper 7d ago Silver Gold Platinum Helpful Party Train Starry Bravo Grande! Timeless Beauty

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones." -Marcus Aurelius

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u/5minutecall 7d ago Gold Helpful Wholesome

This was always my argument at school -

So if you’re an atheist, but you devote your life to helping people, living a selfless life and caring for the environment - you go hell because you don’t believe in sky daddy.

But if you’re a Christian and you’re a horrible, greedy, selfish person who hurts people and destroys the environment - you go to Heaven because you said sorry Jesus, I believe in you.

God/Jesus sounds like an asshole then and honestly I’d rather go to hell if that’s how it all works.

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u/Lost_Promise535 7d ago

I feel the same way and when I explained this to my grandmother she told me I was wrong and insinuated I was going to hell LOL

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u/Aftmost17 7d ago Silver

I have empathy for religious old folk, they were heavily indoctrinated. My grandma was a lovely lady, forced into a residential school so she grew up very catholic. She would've been devastated to know I'm not catholic too, but I think she saw hell similarly to how she was beaten into believing God. That isn't her fault.

When someone of my culture tries to convert me and won't take no for an answer I like to say "I don't want to believe in the God that tortured our people" and they shut up very quick and remember their parents or grandparents went to residential school too.

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u/Mischievous_Puck 7d ago

The indoctrination is real. When my mom found out I was an atheist she started sobbing and apologized for failing me as a mother because she legitimately believes she'll spend eternity in heaven with the rest of the family but I won't be able to join them because I'm a non believer.

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u/quesakillaK 7d ago

And this is how I know heaven isn't real. Supposedly it's a place where everything is perfect, no sadness, no pain. My mom believes and I do not, so according to the Bible, she'll go and I won't.

The thing is, my mom loves me, and this separation would be detrimental to the woman I know and love as my mother. I don't know how she would cope.

So in order for heaven to exist, she would have to have her memory erased, or at the very least, altered in some way which no longer included any of the time we shared. And that new version of my "mom" is not my mom at all.

That is not a perfect place. That is some dystopian nightmare where lobotomized zombies/reprogrammed robots potter about. If such a place exists, it's not "heaven" in any sense of the word. So if you wanna say a place like that exists, it's not heaven. And I don't want to go.

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u/CyberCait 7d ago

That's not even the most grim version of it

Thomas Aquinas, one of the most important philosophers in the West, and perhaps the most important theologian of the Catholic church, believed that those in Heaven will be able to see the suffering of their loved ones in Hell... and will rejoice in it because they will see God's justice and know it is good

What's the quote about good people needing religion to be evil?

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u/jansencheng 7d ago

Hell sounds like a great fucking place filled with lots of interesting, empathetic, and intelligent people. I fail to see the downsides.

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u/SchwiftySqaunch 7d ago

Free suit of flames too , lit fashion

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u/bfdjfhsdj 7d ago

Also a big thing for me is that I find the idea that you need religion or the Bible in order to have morals and ethics.

It's just such a weird point to me because at the end of the day I'd always trust the person much more who acts kindly out of their own free will and not because they are afraid of someone's (or a deity's) punishment. Or as a religious person, when you think that all atheists are immoral don't you admit or infer that religious people only act morally out of obedience or fear of punishment, not because they actually believe in the ethics?

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u/corran450 7d ago Silver

Penn Jillette said it best, I think:

“ The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine.”

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u/hearke 7d ago

I had a friend in high school who asked me, with complete sincerity, "If you don't believe in hell, why aren't you just going around raping people?"

Because it's fucked up and horrible? I don't need to imagine punishment to refrain from being an absolute monster.

I mean, philosophy and ethics aside, thousands of years of evolution have conspired to make me mostly a decent person who enjoys helping people and doing nice things. Society wouldn't last long, and neither would we, if most or all of us have no built-in inhibitions or moral compass.

I don't even think that conflicts with the potential existence of a God, that's just how things work.

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u/baconit4eva 7d ago

You should've just asked him, "So you would be raping people if I could prove to you that hell doesn't exist?"

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u/hearke 7d ago

That did come up, and he said yes.

But, here's the thing; I don't think he realizes what he's saying. I think he means those little intrusive thoughts a lot of people struggle with, and he thinks without God we'd be all primitive impulses with no inhibitions whatsoever.

I disagree, ofc, but that's the most charitable interpretation I can think of.

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u/ChChChillian 7d ago

Depending on his sect, he might believe exactly this, not because we're primitives but because he's been taught those intrusive thoughts come from demons and that we can only resist them by grace. In my former sect, Eastern Orthodoxy, these were called "logismoi" .

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u/axolotlly 7d ago

As a Christian i was always told if I didn't have god I would be so suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to hurt and kill others I wouldn't be able to stop myself. When I deconverted I suddenly noticed a strong desire to be a better person. Because if I only have this life and nothing else I would loathe to waste it being selfish or unkind.

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u/bfdjfhsdj 7d ago

Brilliant quote, thank you for sharing!

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u/Incorect_Speling 7d ago

Dont shove people's inconsistencies to their faces like that, you'll get in trouble!

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u/korpanchuk 7d ago

"Why do you need a private plane?"

"I cant fly with the demons now can i"

I know its not word for word, but yeah no way a man that claims to speak to god is fearfull of him when he calls people that are poor demons.

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u/Different_Image_8035 7d ago Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome Starry Ally Wholesome (Pro)

Myself... I've always been there for me.

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u/[deleted] 7d ago

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u/[deleted] 7d ago hehehehe

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u/[deleted] 7d ago Silver

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u/dnangia1 7d ago edited 7d ago Silver Wholesome Starry Ally Duck Dance

I believe in you too, my man..

Edit - OMG my first award.. that too for being wholesome.. feels so wholesome, ngl.. I'm relatively new to reddit, not sure what i can do with an award but thank you kind stranger for the appreciation..

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u/MrStilton 7d ago Silver Gold Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Take My Energy This

Atheism generally isn't a "belief" in the usual sense of the word.

It's a lack of belief in a deity.

You don't need reasons for not believing in something. You need reasons for believing.

Not believing is the default position.

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u/redditmarks_markII 7d ago

To put it more concrete, but perhaps confusingly:

  • "a-theism" is not "anti-theism".
  • An individual "a-theist" may, but is not guaranteed to be, an "anti-theist". I other words, non-believers can, but are not necessarily, against the idea of belief or other people's belief.
  • this is before downstream effects of theism enters the discussion. such as arguably theistic laws or public policy (or arguably anti-theistic laws or public policy for that matter).

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u/captaintagart 7d ago All-Seeing Upvote

Ah this. I have no problem with what other people believe or practice until they impose it on others. Specifically when religion intersects with government. I have no issue with the opinion that abortion is murder. I don’t agree with it. But Megan next door doesn’t have to have an abortion. It’s her belief. But to vote and legislate with the goal of imposing your religion on everyone… well, that’s kind of cunty.

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u/Vaticancameos221 7d ago

More succinctly, it’s like saying “People whose tv is off. What channel are you currently watching?”

Nothing… the TV is off…

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u/SolAggressive 7d ago

An empty bowl isn’t food.

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u/BabyBaritone 7d ago

So well said. This made me genuinely belly laugh for a few minutes. People try to come up with extensive arguments and metaphors (and sometimes those are needed) but this is short, sweet, and gets the point across. I love it.

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u/Meikami 7d ago

That's actually quite apt.

And when you answer that way, a TV watcher will struggle because they don't understand that the question was rather limiting.

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u/Tethros 7d ago Gold

Right. I feel like people don't get this. Atheism does not have the same epistemological status as belief in a deity. One is a positive assertion of the existence of an unobservable entity or phenomenon. The other has nothing to do with positing the existence or non-existence of anything in particular. I'm an atheist in the same way as a rock is an atheist.

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u/drthvdrsfthr 7d ago Bravo!

actually the Rock is a devout Christian

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u/marsepic 7d ago Helpful

I think a lot atheists also don't "choose" to be atheists. It's usually self-realization.

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u/Mclovin11859 7d ago

Or just never learning to believe in the first place. 100% of newborns are atheist.

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u/NotMyRealName778 7d ago

I wish the doctors knew that before the circumcision

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u/The_Seerion 7d ago

You mean being told and trained to believe.

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u/Pretty-Balance-Sheet 7d ago

Religious people can't fathom not believing, so they talk about Atheism as if it's a religion. It's the only framework they can use to view the world.

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u/btstfn 7d ago

I can't remember who said it, but I saw an interview where an atheist pointed out that a Christian only believes in one more god than an atheist. There are literally thousands of others they have no issue not believing in, yet some can't understand why others don't believe in theirs.

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u/atrich 7d ago

I'm sure it's not his own idea, but the interview you may be thinking of is Ricky Gervais talking to Stephen Colbert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5ZOwNK6n9U

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u/godofpoo 7d ago Helpful (Pro)

Stephen Henry Roberts

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

Source

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u/zugabdu 7d ago Silver Gold Platinum Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Keep Calm Take My Energy Faith In Humanity Restored Bravo! Starry Heartwarming Bravo Grande! I'll Drink to That Brighten My Day Awesome Answer
  • There is no plan, no grand design. There is what happens and how we respond to it.
  • Justice only exists to the extent we create it. We can't count on supernatural justice to balance the scales in the afterlife, so we need to do the best we can to make it work out in the here and now.
  • My life and the life of every other human being is something that was extremely unlikely. That makes it rare, precious, and worth preserving.
  • Nothing outside of us assigns meaning to our lives. We have to create meaning for our lives ourselves.

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u/traws06 7d ago edited 7d ago Gold Helpful Heartwarming Eureka! Shocked

Theists argue that there is no point to life if you’re not religious. I argue this is our one shot at life, and that makes it more valuable than the idea that there’s another life waiting for us.

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u/TheSheepThief 7d ago Silver Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy This

Theists have the luxury of having purpose provided for them in their religion. Atheists have the responsibility to create it for themselves.

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u/arksien 7d ago Silver Gold Helpful All-Seeing Upvote Crab Rave

This is something I've tried to explain to my religious friends. It's not that I dont WANT to believe in god/the afterlife/divine justice etc, it's that I DON'T believe. There's a difference.

More power to any religious people who do believe in these things if it helps them get through life. (unless they're using their religion to justify harm/discomfort to others, which I know is not all religious people, but god if it isnt a loud portion of them).

What's the point of going through the motions of using my time/energy in pretending to believe in something I frankly do not believe, when my time on this earth is so incredibly limited and all evidence points to it being the only one I got?

Either I'm right and I maximize the one shot I get at existence, or I'm wrong and there IS an afterlife, and if the creator of said afterlife is so petty that they ignore my actions all because I didn't worship them, then it wasn't a being worth worshiping in the first place so what was the point of wasting my mortal life worshiping something objectively evil?

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u/an0maly33 7d ago

This is exactly it. I live my life with virtue and consideration for others to the best of my ability. If my genuine attempt to be a a good person is dismissed because I didn’t pick a flavor of religious worship, then fuck that god.

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u/Price_Of_Soap 7d ago

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

― Marcus Aurelius

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u/dancin-weasel 7d ago

And if you’re wrong, and you meet god after life, he will look at your virtuous life and reward you accordingly. If he punishes you because you didn’t worship him enough, that’s not a god worth worshiping. # Fuck that god.

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u/NoobSabatical 7d ago

Sounds like a thing that just wants everyone to be a sycophant to it, doesn't it?

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u/CrushHazard 7d ago

That’s why the Christian afterlife specifically is based on doublethink. On the one hand, heaven is for good people, but also it requires you to subjugate yourself to a being that you can’t see, hear, feel or observe (and part of that subjugation is pretending that you can).

If you tell a Christian that it’s about subjugation, they’ll say it’s about being a good person. If you ask why good people can’t go to heaven based on virtue, then they say how you must subjugate yourself.

The whole “be a good person” thing is just marketing. At its core, Christianity is about subjugation.

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u/Dense-Hat1978 7d ago

There's also this whole Christian way of thinking that revolves around the idea that we, as imperfect beings, have an imperfect notion of what true "justice" and "fairness" are.

Personally I don't see how I could enjoy a heaven that requires a hell in which perfectly fine people are suffering for all eternity because they didn't devote themselves to a religion. A devout Christian would tell me that this is due to my faulty, mortal-based understanding of fairness and justice.

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u/AnythingWithGloves 7d ago

The amount of times I’ve argued this point with a religious person. They argue that being a genuinely good person means nothing in the end (as in getting to heaven) if you don’t believe in their god. Faith in a god is more important than living this actual life we have with a internal moral compass. According to them there is no good deed worth doing if it’s not in the name of god.

If I get to their heaven and am turned away for that one reason despite living a genuinely good life, then I don’t want to go. I’m thinking of one person in particular who is a horrible person and nasty to other humans who tells me she’s going to heaven but I’m not. Ok sis.

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u/UnimaginativeRA 7d ago

If I get to their heaven and am turned away for that one reason despite living a genuinely good life, then I don’t want to go.

IKR? I've asked: "so if Hitler converts right before he dies, he gets to go to heaven, but I don't, even if I've been a good person all my life?" The hardcore people say "yes." The squishier ones say "God will know and let you in regardless."

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u/AnythingWithGloves 7d ago

Exactly. For me it comes down to the ultra religious child molester who knows damn well what they are doing is fucked up, do it anyway and then believe if they ask for forgiveness they will still go to heaven. Fuck that, just don’t molest children in the first place. Personal experience and years of trying to make sense of that has solidified my stance.

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u/JohnKellyesq 7d ago

Which god? The god de jour, or one of the ancient gods, or one we haven't invented yet.🍺

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u/killerdead77 7d ago edited 7d ago Take My Energy

I find solace in the fact that i think theres no meaning to life. Its all a bunch of absurd things. Life is absurd.

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u/That_Hobo_in_The_Tub 7d ago

Good ol' Absurdism, my favorite!

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u/dwalbright89 7d ago

Philosopher's love for the word 'absurd' is rather.. absurd. Thanks Albert

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u/phpdevster 7d ago

luxury

"misfortune" is the word I might choose.

Atheists control the reins of their purpose. For theists, someone else controls the reins.

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u/NoodleNeedles 7d ago

Makes it more important to treat the living things around you with care and consideration, as well. If you make their life worse, or end their life, that's it. There no reincarnation, no nothing. Everything you do matters *right now*.

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u/Atiggerx33 7d ago

Yupp, this is how I look at it, it actually makes me more inclined to be a good person. Because as you said. If someone has an afterlife/reincarnation/w.e. than a single lifetime is nothing but a microscopic blip in comparison to their eternal soul. Whereas if there is no afterlife/reincarnation/w.e. else than all the time you will ever have is as long as your body lasts.

Meaning, if I just go out and be a cunt and ruin some random person's day its not "whatever, they have a literal eternity of existence ahead of them" its "I have ruined one of the finite number of days of that person's existence."

Thus, it is my responsibility to do what I can to not worsen the limited time of those around me, and hope they do the same for me. It also means that I should generally let shit go, my time is limited and wasting it being miserable (angry, sad, etc.) doesn't improve my life or the lives of those around me.

I'm of course going to feel those emotions, but I make an effort to let go of them as soon as I'm able as opposed to allowing them to take any more of my limited time than they need to.

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u/jworthing 7d ago

Not to mention, and I realize this sounds hyperbolic but I'm 100% serious: the "atheists can't be moral" argument is exactly backwards. It's impossible for a Christian to act truly morally since they purport to believe their eternal fate is being judged on their actions. An atheist doing a good deed is not done with the expectation that a supernatural being will notice or care.

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u/osmium-76 7d ago

The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine.

  • Penn Jillette (2012)
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u/HmmSinkSo 7d ago

That's basically how I feel about it. Trying to be a good person in spite of believing there is no lasting reward has more validity than doing it believing there will be a reward.

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u/sjmiv 7d ago

There was a clip posted yesterday "if you want to get to heaven so badly, just go."

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u/LordFrogberry 7d ago

This loophole was heavily exploited until subsequent editions of the holy text added the "suicides don't count" clause.

The Wandering Inn has a great scene involving this concept of fast-tracking to Heaven. An atheistic species of antlike humanoids is introduced to Christianity through the lense of an average young American woman (so, poorly worded and not well researched) and a large contingent of soldier Antinium just start massacring each other as soon as they are told that there is a place of happiness and peace where they will no longer have to suffer from birth until death.

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u/Dr_prof_Luigi 7d ago

The last one is a big one for me. The universe is inherently meaningless, we are but a speck in the vast expanse of an uncaring void.

But rather than use this as a 'nothing matters so what's the point', I choose to interpret that as 'there is no divine meaning, so we must derive our own.'

It is our responsibility to find meaning, morality, and happiness in an uncaring world. And personally, I believe that is what makes us human.

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u/skonen_blades 7d ago

Yeah. People are like "So what's the point of being moral in an uncaring and vast meaningless universe?" and I've always felt that it's SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT to be moral if that's what the universe is. Like, it's arguably the entire point to be moral in the face of that. It's an act of the highest defiance of the void and the truest service to the good inside of us. I think it's almost a more divine calling that most divine callings.

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u/Breezel123 7d ago

Basically, being a good person because you want to be a good person is much better than being a good person because someone told you so, and if you don't obey you get punished for the rest of your afterlife.

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u/Krelkal 7d ago

You should read the Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. In it, Camus reflects on the absurd nature of our basic need to find meaning in our existence and the universe's inability to provide one. Faced with a lifetime of pointless suffering, surely the rational option is suicide? Wrong! Become a rebel, set yourself free, chase your passion, and you'll find life is worth living.

Thus I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my revolt, my freedom, and my passion. By the mere activity of consciousness I transform into a rule of life what was an invitation to death -- and I refuse suicide.

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u/EpilepticBabies 7d ago

Truly, one must imagine Sisyphus to be happy.

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u/BlackZombaMountainLi 7d ago

Damn, that was really powerful for me right now. Thanks for sharing. I go round in circles and come to the conclusion that this world isn't a place fit for humans and the logical conclusion is suicide. It's a hard thought process to break.

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u/AcceptableAnswer7 7d ago

Yeah this about sums it up.

Also to add, when we die, it's the exact same experience as before we were born. That is to say, nonexistence. It's not like I expect to be sitting in some black void for eternity. I won't exist anymore, and neither will any of you when you die.

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u/SeveralLargeLizards 7d ago

Nail on the head here. This is the answer, OP.

Nothing I do is out of hope of an eternal reward. I am kind because it feels right. I enjoy life because it will be over before I know it. I try my best because why not do so?

If I'm wrong and there's an afterlife, I'd wager any sort of Ethereal Supervisor would care more that I made strong efforts to be decent vs whether or not I went to church.

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u/Nailbomb85 7d ago

If I'm wrong and there's an afterlife, I'd wager any sort of Ethereal Supervisor would care more that I made strong efforts to be decent vs whether or not I went to church.

Also, even if there is an afterlife, it's very likely not like any of the religions describe. Most of them have been around for thousands of years, and largely passed through word of mouth for years, then written in a dead language, then translated and rewritten who knows how many times by who knows how many men.

Messages get lost in translation just talking in a single language for a few seconds. It's like playing telephone in grade school, but on a much larger scale.

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u/2punk 7d ago

Well said. A lot of folks out there depict atheists as fedora tipping edgelords, but your comment is spot on with my worldview and many other’s.

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u/mark8992 7d ago

Yes, agree 100% and will add the OP’s question is one often asked by people who have had a religious upbringing starting at early childhood. They have a hard time conceiving of what it’s like NOT to have faith in the supernatural. The same way we are puzzled at how someone that is an otherwise intelligent and rational person could throw reason aside and believe in something that has no basis in fact and is by its very definition unprovable.

Drawing from personal experience, many have been taught by their church to believe that atheists and apostates are “hostile toward God” and usually believe we are either “deceived by the devil” or have an axe to grind with the church. They have also been taught that atheists and agnostics are amoral and prone to crime and “sin” because we don’t receive or believe in god’s moral truth. Therefore we are untrustworthy and likely latent criminals.

Hence they are perplexed that we aren’t all axe murderers and rapists because we “have no moral foundation.”

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u/hippiekait 7d ago

I once told my dad that my desire to do good carries more weight than his because I choose to do it by my own volition and expect nothing in return. His gifts often come with the expectation that the receiver participates in his religion. For example, he would make a person begging for money on the street pray with him before he gave them money. If friends ask for financial help, he needles them into going to church with him before he feels like he can give them his full answer.

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u/Red__viper 7d ago

What your dad is doing is not "good". Those are tactics of control and manipulation.

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u/Hemi_Blue 7d ago All-Seeing Upvote

On point comment! I find it ironic that Atheists are perceived as amoral and crime/sin ridden while the Theists have a system in place to absolve them of THEIR sins as long as they confess to their god. If having religion means they are good moral people then there should be no need for confession of sin or forgiveness right? Of course as Atheists we know that being a religious person doesn't necessarily translate to being a good person. I feel Atheists are actually more moral and better people because we don't need a book or a religious leader to tell us what is right or wrong and good or bad. We already know and we embrace it without being told. Just my 2 cents...

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u/doyathinkasaurus 7d ago Silver Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Eureka! Brighten My Day

A Jewish story about atheists is predicated on exactly that idea!

A Rabbi is teaching his student the Talmud, and explains that everything in this world is here to teach us a lesson.

The student asks the Rabbi what lesson we can learn from atheists?

The Rabbi tells him that we can learn the most important lesson of them all from atheists -the lesson of true compassion.

"You see, when an atheist performs an act of charity, visits someone who is sick, helps someone who is in need, and cares for the world, he is not doing so because of some religious teaching. He does not believe that God commanded him to perform this act. In fact, he does not believe in God at all, so his acts are based on an inner sense of morality - and look at the kindness he can bestow upon others simply because he feels it to be right."

"This means" the Rabbi continued "that when someone reaches out to you for help, you should never say 'I pray that God will help you.' instead for the moment, you should become an atheist, imagine that there is no God who can help, and say 'I will help you.'"

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u/Kaikalons_Courier 7d ago

Aye to this. Being ethnically Jewish but an athiest is quite common because of the nature of Judaism as a religion and y'know, the Holocaust.

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u/doyathinkasaurus 7d ago

Yep - I'm a Jewish atheist myself

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u/CyaLaterBye 7d ago

A good friend of mine is an atheist Jew and likes to joke that he’s “Jew…-ish”

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u/BrockStar92 7d ago Helpful

Not even just that. If the only reason you behave ethically is because you’re trying to avoid eternal damnation then that’s a pretty self serving and flimsy moral code you have. Atheists don’t think they’ll be punished for sinning after they die. Yet despite having no overlord punishing me I choose not to murder, rape, steal, etc because it’s the right thing to do. Imo that’s far more ethical.

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u/eggbronte 7d ago

I typed out a bunch of crap but this is much better.

I like to think of it as perky nihilism.

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u/boot2skull 7d ago

“Nothing matters unless you make it matter.”

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u/SolipsistBodhisattva 7d ago

As a Buddhist, I also believe in all of this

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u/YouProbablyBoreMe 7d ago Silver

Humanity. Despite its very obvious, and apparent, flaws. I believe we have it in us to excel and be better.

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u/whatitdowhatitbee 7d ago Gold Helpful

Science, how dope nature is

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u/ButtholeBanquets 7d ago

More the reality that the scientific process allows us to understand. Truth is that which accurately reflects reality, and the scientific process is that which best allows us to find truth. We can arrive at truth through other means, but not reliably.

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u/PygmeePony 7d ago

I never understood the appeal of creationism. Why would you want to believe some supreme being created everything around us in six days when the truth is so much more fascinating?

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u/ParamedicSnooki 7d ago

Because it doesn’t require thought. There’s no curiosity around it. You don’t have to (get to) ask “why?” I grew up fundie and am now in science. The amount of trouble I got in for asking questions. I’m too curious for creationism.

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u/koombot 7d ago Helpful

There is nothing in this world preventing me from doing unspeakable things. Laws are just words. They have no meaning and only apply if you get caught. The law, in a sense does not exist.

There is no existential threat preventing me from doing anything.

I follow the rule of law, fight for equal rights as much as I am able and treat people in a manner in which I would like to be treated because I choose to.

I choose to be, if not a good person, then a compassionate person because I choose to be.

I believe in me.

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u/RPO1728 7d ago

I'm an apathetic agnostic. I don't know and i really don't care

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u/[deleted] 7d ago edited 4d ago

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u/rabbiskittles 7d ago

I’m interpreting this question as just polling people who don’t believe in a god as to what they do believe, not restricted to “what do you believe about god and religion?”

So I would say, I believe that my perception provides useful information to help me tailor my experience in life.

I believe that very few concepts in life fall into strict dichotomies of “this” or “that”, but that most things are a spectrum (“shades of grey”).

I believe that joy and suffering exist, and that maximizing joy and minimizing suffering is a good thing for both my experience in life and other beings’ experiences.

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u/PerpetuallyStartled 7d ago Take My Energy

The fact that theists are confused about what atheists believe in seems like a product of their particular religions indoctrination. It's not complicated. There is no religion in existence can prove they are right so why should anyone believe in any one of them? Pick the right one and get 72 virgins, pick the wrong one and you go to hell? Almost everyone chooses their parents religion, people rarely convert. Is this a lottery where you win if you were born to the right parents? That seems childish and smells like the ideas of prehistoric tribal sheep herders. Which in fact, it is.

Don't believe in things just because you want them to be true. That's easy, but you're just lying to yourself.

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u/THEhot_pocket 7d ago

Not being a piece of shit.

I feel religion is a morality guide for the most part, and some people need that guide.

I'm comfortable in doing my best to be a good person for the sake of being a good person.... I dont need afterlife bribery.

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u/SqueakSquawk4 7d ago

I feel religion is a morality guide for the most part

I think there was a study a while back where scientists asked a bunch of religious people what they would do if the existence of any god was conclusively disproven. It was disturbing how many people said "Probably kill someone". It was far from everyone, but it was worrying how non-zero the number was.

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u/timelord-degallifrey 7d ago

Based on my 30+ years as a Jehovah’s Witness, I am fairly confident that the majority that stay in the religion are narcissists who only stay and follow the rules because they want the promised reward. Without that carrot/stick, they’d be truly awful people. They’re already not that great, but they’d be worse if they thought that they weren’t being watched and graded every second.

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u/izactuallydolan 7d ago

majority that stay in the religion are narcissists

Imagine that, every faith thinks they're the chosen ones!

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u/KyOatey 7d ago This

Science, research, evidence... that sort of thing.
Also, the golden rule.

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u/lordofduct 7d ago Helpful Wholesome

What do I believe?

I believe a lot of things. Atheism has nothing to do with what I believe.

Atheism has to do with a very specific thing I don't believe in... and that's a lack of belief in a "god" or other "supernatural religious being".

Answering your question though is a bit difficult. What I "believe", a belief is just something that one accepts as true. I believe the sky is blue, I believe water is wet, I believe arsenic is a poison.

Are you asking rather what I believe in place of a god?

And that's the thing... I don't. I don't believe in a replacement for a god. Since that replacement would just themselves be a god. I don't believe in that.

Or are you asking what I believe in as the answer to all the question god answers. To which I'd argue... god doesn't really answer many questions. That is unless you willfully ignore all of the scientific/historic answers to those same questions.

The only questions god answers that we don't have answers to are things like:
"What is the meaning of life?"

But that's not really a practical question in my opinion. Does it change anything to have an answer to that outside of removing that sense of existential dread that comes with "not knowing". But I'd argue even though you believe in whatever meaning you've come up with doesn't mean it's true. That existential lack of knowing still exists. You just chose to ignore it by pointing at an imaginary factoid and saying "this makes me feel better about it". Like hiding under your bankey so as not to look at the empty void under your bed.

Here's the problem with questions like "what is the meaning of life", the real answer... even if it's comprehensible by our tiny monkey brains... is probably so damn mundane it'd be depressing to hear it.

What if it turned out the meaning of life was to shit. Just piles of shit everywhere. All of evolution, all of creation, all of the universe was a system designed to make the most efficient shitting machine. And worst... that we weren't even the best model of the shit making machine. We're the mistake model that just won't die.

...

What do I believe?

A lot of things.

I just don't believe in that one thing religious/spiritual people do believe in.

Just like I also don't believe in the illuminati. I'm both an atheist and an ailluminatiaist.

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u/Epistemite 7d ago

Thank you! It was driving me crazy that so many people seemed to treat the question as though it had asked something like "what's the closest thing to God that you believe in?" But that'd be a different question. What does an atheist believe in? Literally an infinite number of things (1+1=2, 1+2=3, etc.)

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u/ghosts-go-boo 7d ago Helpful

Murphy’s Law

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u/GavinBelsonsAlexa 7d ago Wholesome

I'm an atheist, but I do believe in a higher power. That is to say, I have absolute and unyielding faith that a grizzly bear is more powerful than I am and would 100% murder me in an encounter.

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u/GalacticMango8 7d ago

But if you shoot and kill the grizzly bear, does that make you the higher power?

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u/GavinBelsonsAlexa 7d ago

That would make the gun the bear's higher power.

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u/xtaberry 7d ago

Bear beats me, gun beats bear, I beat gun?

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u/GavinBelsonsAlexa 7d ago

The whole world is just a complicated game of Rock Paper Scissors.

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u/Silly-Wrangler-7715 7d ago

Not believing in any supernatural is atheism by definition. So nothing basically.

I could mention science, but that is not a belief. Science is just an organized collection of observations and a bunch of theories how to interpret them according to our current knowledge.

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u/SuddenHedgehogs 7d ago

Oh, heavens I appreciate your definition of science.

It's a toolbox, not a worldview (though it presupposes a very specific worldview), not a way of life, and certainly not a god.

I get tired of people saying things like "follow the science." It's all science. It's not like the people who disagree with you aren't also doing science. It just so happens that one of you is right, and the other wrong.

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u/Wazula42 7d ago

That we're a communal and altruistic species, that we thrive when we come together, and that helping others is the best way to a happier life for yourself.

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