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The Atheist Response to Sandy Hook

layopinions Wrote: Jan 15, 2013 10:14 AM
"They would have to acknowledge that, in terms of consolation, there is no comparison between 'The dead do not suffer' and 'Your child lives on, and you will be reunited with her.'" Fine. I readily acknowledge that atheism doesn't offer much in the way of consolation but that doesn't make your religion true. Is the purpose of religion to ease suffering? For me, the lack of an afterlife makes this life MORE precious, not less. The fact that a human life only takes up a "tiny speck of time" is not an atheist-only view. Don't you also believe that our life is short compared to the eternal afterlife? I choose to do what I can to make THIS life better for those around me. Is that so bad?
Joseph64 Wrote: Jan 15, 2013 10:21 AM
Religion has many purposes and one of the purposes of religion IS to ease suffering, so you are wrong on that point.. Also, if you are an atheist who helps others then you are a fool. If there truly is no life beyond this one, then what motivates you to help others when you could be making your own life better? Helping others is a waste of your time, so why do it? If we will all die one day and become nothing more than dirt, then shouldn't you be devoting all of your time to making your own life easier? If you think you can be an atheist and altruistic at the same time then I think you need to re-evaluate your beliefs because you obviously have some other motivation than just helping people for it's own sake.
Joseph64 Wrote: Jan 15, 2013 10:22 AM
You obviously expect to reap some sort of benefit from your actions otherwise you would not take them and if it's not a material benefit, then it must be a spiritual one and if it's a spiritual benefit you seek, then you cannot be an atheist.
layopinions Wrote: Jan 15, 2013 11:23 AM
"Also, if you are an atheist who helps others then you are a fool."

When deciding how to live your life, most people (regardless of their religious beliefs) come to realize that the "Golden Rule" is a pretty good guide. The most logical and reasonable way to make the world a better place is to "treat others how you want to be treated."

There are many motivations that lead to this same conclusion:
- Make the world better for me
- Make the world better for my kids
- Make the world better for everyone
- Go to Heaven after I die

Isn't that last one just as selfish as the first?
layopinions Wrote: Jan 15, 2013 11:28 AM
As soon as you realize that your actions and your life affects others around you and theirs affects you, it does not take "spiritual benefit" to motivate you to be a good person.

If someone could prove to you that there is no God or afterlife, would that make it ok to murder your neighbor and eat the food from his pantry? Of course not. Actions still have consequinces even if there is no final judgement and most people would rather live in a world where we help each other than one where it's every man for himself.
NCLaw441 Wrote: Jan 15, 2013 11:47 AM
One purpose of Religion may be to ease suffering (and perhaps to provide meaning to life) but that is different than the purpose of Christianity (in my view). Christianity's purpose is to worship God and follow His direction to spread the Gospel to as many as we can, hoping that they will believe as we do. We are also to love one another as God loves us.

I agree that atheism suggests no concept of love-- if they believe that love even exists (God is love).
Last week the New York Times published an opinion piece that offered atheism's response to the evil/tragedy in which 20 children and six adults were murdered at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.

What prompted Susan Jacoby to write her piece was a colleague telling her that atheism "has nothing to offer when people are suffering."

She wrote the piece, "The Blessings of Atheism" ("It is Here and It is Now!" screams the subhead) to prove her colleague wrong by offering a consoling atheist alternative to religion's consoling belief in an afterlife. Atheists cannot believe that there is any...

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