Within the last couple of days or so, I got a comment on my repost of “Why Should I fear Hell?,” a comment that, while it didn’t shake my non-theistic worldview, much less impel me to seriously give pause, it did provide, as so many of these situations do, a good bloggable moment, so I’d like to give a proper response to said comment in this post. All quotes will be complete and verbatim.
“I personally believe in right and wrong, God and Satan, and Heaven and Hell. I believe I have an eternal soul that is accountable to the Eternal God, and that I will have to give an account to Him for my actions and words.”
What to say, what to say…I too have a moral sense, an awareness of right and wrong, but not deriving from any sort of god or devil. My moral intuitions derive instead from the evolved moral drives of my species, like those moral emotions of any other social primate, needed to maintain group trust and cooperation among our ancestors on the plains of Africa over millions of years. Moral emotions allowed the group, and thus the group’s members, to survive, and led to our success today.
I have no reason to believe in any form of afterlife. This life is the only one I have strong reason to think I’ll have, and it is variously both heaven and hell, with no need for any sort of imagined hereafter. This life is the only one I’ll ever get, and that alone behooves me to do as much good for others and to enjoy it as well as I can, for I do not think that I’ll get another.
I neither want nor fear anything for which there exists no objective evidence, neither gods, nor eternal souls, nor a heaven, nor a place of eternal torment; I’ve looked. I once believed. And I see no evidence for these things discernible outside of any particular religious belief system. I’m just as non-believing of all those other gods out there as you are…I’ve just added yet a further god to my list of those I don’t believe in.
I hold myself accountable to my secular moral conscience and the judgment of my fellow human beings, not to invisible gods.
“When I look at creation, I know it was no accident. The existence of my very soul testifies that there is a Creator. I did not make myself. I understand that there is someone much greater than I made the earth and the heavens above Who will assign my soul to an eternal place of reward or punishment. I understand that (deep down, everyone does, but they want to deny).”
I think I should point out here that before the existence of a soul can ever testify to the existence of anything else, one must first demonstrate that souls exist apart from just believing they do…
…and no one has ever done this, reports of ghosts, religious doctrines, and alleged near death experiences to the contrary.
“There are some who do not believe in God. They don’t even believe they have a soul. They choose to believe in idols, though. They choose to worship the dirt under their feet, or mortal men, or other living things. They even may choose to believe in aliens on other planets…but one God Who created everything, even their inner being?NO WAY!
Thanks for sharing.”
Madam, in your comment, you have assumed a great many things simply not in evidence, particularly popular myths of non-believers in the third, fourth and fifth sentences of your last paragraph.
As one of those non-believers I must point out neither myself nor any other atheists, humanists and skeptics I know actually have the attitudes nor hold the beliefs and practices you attribute to us.
My experience as a former Seventh-Day Adventist has taught me that information about non-believers given me by fellow churchmen is consistently misleading, reliably leading to a great many errors in knowing and thinking.
I would suggest a way of getting around this:
All it takes to find out what a religious non-believer thinks or believes is to ask one. We don’t care enough to hide our imaginary nefarious plans to bother lying to you about it, and as the most hated minority in this country, we have every reason to explain ourselves honestly so as to allay all-too frequent misunderstandings.
Welcome to my blog, and have an awesome week.