Mary Grabar

And they are ignorant of the misery that atheism causes in this life.

I could get through only half of Theodore Dreiser’s diaries of a life of “free love” in Greenwich Village back in the 1910s for fear of lapsing into my own depression. His days seemed to be filled with meaningless sexual encounters, hostility from girlfriends, and frequent visits to a clinic for therapy and medication.

Women fare worse, for sometimes pregnancies result from affairs, and then abortions. Edna Saint Vincent Millay may have been a brilliant poet and a role model of an early liberated woman for feminists, but I would not want the emotional turmoil of her open marriage and numerous abortions.

Ernest Hemingway, after his fourth marriage, and facing his sixties, put a gun to his head. Most recently, in 2005, a protégé, Hunter S. Thompson, did the same and gave instructions to his widow and friends to have his ashes blasted from a cannon.

The symbolism of the ashes heading up into the sky is obvious, but the physical laws of gravity (the only laws atheists ultimately obey) require that what goes up come back down.

I will not presume to know where Hunter S. Thompson is now, just as I do not presume to know God’s reasons for allowing 9/11. I do recall, though, the wonderful description of Satan being hurled from heaven in

Paradise Lost:

. . . . Him the almighty power

Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky

With hideous ruin and combustion down

To bottomless perdition, there to dwell

In adamantine chains and penal fire,

Who durst defy the omnipotent to arms.

Nine times the space that measures day and night

To mortal men, he with his horrid crew

Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf . . . .

But it seems to me that atheists who fancy themselves all-knowing and all-powerful, have created little hells for themselves on earth already. Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins, et. al., are enjoying fame and financial success right now. But we have not yet seen them at the end of their days.

Mary Grabar

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at Her writing can be found at