Have you ever heard these common reactions to atheism?
You can’t be an atheist. How can you believe in nothing? Everybody believes in something. Maybe you’re an agnostic and you’ll figure it out one day. You’re just going through a stage. Your life must feel so empty and lonely.
I came across a popular objection today in the midst of an online conversation about how it’s more acceptable for atheists to bash religious people and call them names than for a Christian to talk the same way about atheists. Feel free to comment about this as well; I’m curious if you think it’s true in an online context.
Christian: I just think that it’s important that you believe in something bigger than you. God, Allah, the stars in the sky – believe in something so that you don’t feel alone in this world.
Me: Why do you think atheists are lonely?
Christian: Not lonely, but just with the few atheists who have bothered to sit with me & actually talk about it, they have told me that they think that there is nothing. Just people and then nothing. I haven’t done research or anything like that, just going off what I have been told. [My boyfriend’s] best friend is a very loud atheist. He’s very open that he thinks there’s nothing bigger out there and that when we die, there’s just nothing.
Me: Interesting. I agree that after death there is nothing, but I like that. I also believe in bigger things like, you know, the greatness of community, love, humanity, etc. Also the wonder of reality without the supernatural. Why look for something imaginary when you can have the glory of the universe? So there you go—an atheist who isn’t alone, hopeless, nor lacking.