Correspondence

I got an email today from a random person who’s on to my atheism. Since I’m trying to be a little more public about my atheism lately (not with the intention of converting anybody but with the intention of just letting the few who read me in on the fact that atheists aren’t necessarily evil and sad), I’m posting the email and my reply here.

The email:

I feel truely sorry for you. Someday I hope you will see the light of Jesus Christ. I just wonder, according to your athiest beileves, What is the point of your existence? Do you have one? According to athiest beileves it is just to simply pass on your genetic material and die is it not? Think about it.

Now also think, that doesnt sound like a very good reason to be alive does it? What are you helping, what are you doing to help humanity, what exists after death? according to you, nothing. That beileve is truely foolish because that would mean as soon as you have children, your point of existence is over, and you have no reason to live anymore. Now truely think about this, doesnt being athiest sound stupid? oh well why even bother, when you die you’ll see who was right. hopefully atleast you lived your life rightously and saw god just before you died and will atleast goto purgatory.

My reply:

Hi, <name omitted>. Please don’t feel sorry for me. I’m a happy man with a loving family and a full life. And to top it all off, I’m unemcumbered by the guilt that religion inspires in many.

As a humanist, I believe the value of human life trumps any fictional gods. Accordingly, I do plenty of things to help humanity. For example, I’ve recently been volunteering to help people displaced by Hurricane Katrina who have been sent to my city. I also donated a substantial sum of money to my local Red Cross to help with the effort. I did all of this not because I was trying to be a sycophant to a god whom I’m told I should fear but because I value human life and dignity and wish to help others in trouble.

Sure, I believe there’s nothing after I die, and I’m fine with that. It’ll stink for those who love me when I die, but I’ll be dead and won’t miss a thing. I’m also not hung up on there being a point to life. Now that I’ve got a child, a large part of my purpose is to enjoy watching her grow up. It’s a very fulfilling purpose, and it’s one I’ve discovered on my own rather than one I feel I have to live up to or else face an eternity of pain designed by a god I’m supposed to believe is benevolent. If you ask me, being religious sounds much more stupid than atheism when you boil it down to contradictions like that.

Of course, I’m happy to acknowledge that religion means something to many people, and so I wouldn’t for the world interfere with anyone’s inclination to be religious. Religion I suspect is as fulfilling to many as my family and my accomplishments are to me, and I’m happy those people have found something that brings them comfort and happiness. What they’ve found just isn’t my bag. And as long as they don’t try to force their views on me (and I certainly don’t try to force mine on others), I’m pleased as punch to stick to a “live and let live” philosophy.

I’m not interested in any sort of debate. Please don’t expect me to engage further. I did want to assure you that atheists don’t sit around and gnash their teeth and wail in pain all day. We’re as happy and fulfilled on average as the religious population is on average. Best wishes to you,

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