In Abbotsford I often hear Christians vilifying atheists and vice versa. Whenever a member of one group blames all of the world’s problems on the other, I wonder if that person has ever had the opportunity for a good discussion with a member of the opposing team. Luckily, I know a lot of atheists and Christians, so I can see both sides of the argument – but in the interest of informing our readers, I took the time to talk to an atheist and learn what she had to say about the value of belief.
Why do atheists hate God/happiness?
I’m missing the part of my brain that allows me to believe in monsters, fairy tales, and religion. I hate God because I simply lack the capacity to believe. It’s a deficiency all atheists have; it feels like we have been left out of an exclusive club. I am doomed to search for happiness within reality. That’s very difficult. I don’t hate happiness; it’s just that religious people hit the nail on the head when they assume there’s nothing joyful about a Godless world. There’s nothing to look forward to – aside from glimpses of happiness when we offend or intellectually dominate religious people (which tends to happen a lot).
If you don’t believe in God, what point is there to life?
Richard Dawkins talks about the enormous odds stacked against the potential existence of each consciousness, and how – knowing these odds – one should feel the utmost privilege and amazement at the opportunity to observe the universe and natural world – and how we should relish in learning as much as we can and just appreciate the almost unfathomable complexity that has led to our brief existence. Dawkins stated it much more eloquently. I would agree with him, but there are only so many times I can look at a mountain or through a microscope and feel awe. It gets boring. So I guess there is no point to life.
In the absence of an absolute morality you can pretty much do whatever you want; how fun is that?
I said I was missing the part of my brain making me capable of believing in fantasy. I didn’t say I was missing the part of my brain making me capable of fearing punishment and authority. Religious wackos fear the wrath of God, and I fear corrupt police forces and the justice system. It totally sucks, because it takes all the fun out of being devoid of morality.
Do you think that atheists will eventually organize and choose a supreme leader?
Nah, I think we’re too miserable and self-centred to revere a leader. If we did set up some kind of organization, it might resemble Stephen Harper’s minority government. Everyone would want to be supreme leader. There’d be lots of yelling, swearing, and immature name-calling, just like in parliament.
Follow-up question: will that leader live in an official building and wear a funny hat?…Sure, why not.
Do you think that atheists are looked upon as good people?
Do you think we’d care?
As an atheist, who are your role models?
What’s a role model?
What are the hot new atheist fashions?
Actually, our flippant and always-mocking attitude is very in style right now. All the hipsters are doing it. I got some skinny jeans and no longer feel as though I’m part of a minority (of rational-thinking atheists, versus the obvious Christians going around smiling at strangers and holding doors open for people like a bunch of suckers).
Hitchens or Dawkins?
Ahh, that’s a tough one. I like that Hitchens is always smoking and drinking scotch – I think religious people find him more offensive and morally repugnant. But his chances of cancer survival are slim, and I’ve always loved Dawkins’ air of snobbish superiority.
How do you believe being an atheist benefits your life? And where do you go from here?
The main benefit is the smug satisfaction of knowing I’m right, without having the burden of proof weighing on me. But it also sucks, because religious people are invariably unable to understand why the burden of proof lies with them. It’s like getting into a logic argument with a two-year-old. You know you’ve won before either person starts to speak, but the two year old hasn’t got a clue. From here, I go to a dirt and worm-filled pit for all of eternity.