Atheists offer hope, but is it enough for the hurting?



by Kenneth Justice

~ It’s been an interesting week to say the least. Apparently an atheist dude didn’t care for my <article> in which I questioned if atheists have harmed our culture by taking away our hope in someone (or something) being out there; the atheist dude was rather eloquent in their comment on my blog yesterday when they wrote, “Fuck you and Fuck you blog!”.

Apparently spelling isn’t the dude’s strong suit since their comment would have come across more effectively had they added an “R”, as in “Fuck you and you fuck your blog!

Let’s pause for a moment and look at what I wrote the other day that caused my atheist reader(s) to be unsettled,

having hope that someone (or something) is out there, has been central to humanity throughout our history. It gave us a sense of purpose in our darkest hours, and it gives us hope that our lives are not the fleeting moments we spend on this earth

So what did I say that was so offensive? Isn’t it true that throughout the annals of human history; people have generally believed someone (or something) was out there; someone they could have hope in?

Isn’t it true that since the rise of atheism and agnosticism over the last few hundred years, that a greater sense of hopelessness has risen? I mean, don’t the two add up; if one doesn’t believe there is anything else but this life, than doesn’t that mean you don’t have hope in an afterlife?

This isn’t to suggest that atheists can’t have any hope whatsoever, the simple definition of hope reads, “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen”. So with that understanding, anyone, whether they are atheist, Christian, or Jack Reacher, can indeed have hope; an expectation and desire that something will happen, and in the context of my article, that the world will become a better place.

One of my favorite bloggers, Nerd in the Brain, a proud atheist, wrote this, partially in response to my article,

Honestly, I’m an atheist with a tremendous amount of hope for this world, but I’m feeling a bit like my current company (online and off) is intently attempting to chip that hope away…while simultaneously blaming me for the loss

Her heart really came through in her post and if you have time to read it, you will definitely be blessed by taking a moment out of the day, her article is titled, “An Atheist With Hope”, and for the most part I almost entirely agree with everything she wrote.

The confusion regarding my article the other day comes from a simple premise; perhaps my atheists friends don’t realize the perspective from which I was writing; 

—) I’ve worked with the homeless at shelters and in the jail system as a social worker for the better part of 10 years and for many of them; their lives are awful and are never going to get better. They are doomed to a substandard existence, I have written about them extensively.

If there is no god, no afterlife, and nothing after we die. Then most assuredly; the atheist worldview offers no hope for these people. In fact, I have sat with many of these people and l listened to them cry rivers of tears as they told me, “Kenneth, at least I have the hope that the next life will be better than this one”.

You see, it’s an interesting little quirk of statistics that the more affluence and money people have; the more likely they are to be atheist. A recent study by Gallup found that as a nation rises economically, religiosity decreases <Article>, while on the other hand, the poorer a country is, the more likely they are to have higher rates of religiosity.

—) What hope does an atheist offer the child born with AIDS in Africa thanks to an infected mother?

—) What hope does an atheist offer to the women and children raped and slaughtered by Boku Haram as they lay there dying on stretchers with human aid workers?

—) What hope does an atheist offer to the hundreds of thousands born in North Korean concentration camps, children who will live and die awful lives of desperation and torture?

Gentle reader, I do not dispute the fact that atheists can have hope. Of course they can; they can have hope that scientists will cure the continent of Africa of AIDS and Ebola, they can have hope that North Korean concentration camp prisoners will one day receive their freedom, they can have hope that the millions of men, women and children who live on the streets will one day receive a better life……..but what hope do you offer these people now, as they lay dying? 

Guess what; hundreds of millions have died, having lived utter lives of wretched sadness. Hundreds of millions of people have died having never enjoyed a nice little vacation along the oceanside, or a ski-trip to Aspen. Hundreds of millions have died by the hands of rapists, murderers, child molesters, awful disease, and more.

Where is the hope for these people if they do not have someone out there to believe in?

Yes gentle reader, you live in the comfort of your warm home. With heat, and food on the table, an automobile in the garage. Come spend the week with me while I’m hanging out with the homeless and you try and tell them that there is no one out there; that they have no hope for a better life after they die. Try and see if your words will be received with warmth and love. Try and see if these people who are suffering will see how wonderful loving you think you sound.

No, gentle reader, atheism offers no hope for the suffering. Atheism offers no hope for those who Boku Haram butchered. Atheism offers no hope because atheism stands proudly in it’s assertion that there is no god, there is no one out there, there is no hope for a better a life.

Yesterday I spent a few hours with a homeless person who believed he was a wizard. We shared coffee together and talked about god and the afterlife (that was what he wanted to talk about). He talked about how awful his life has been since his mother died. He talked about sleeping on the streets this winter and how cold it is. He talked about the incantations he performs every morning for the people he meets, “I cast spells on people to make their lives better” he said. And finally he said, “Life is rough, but at least I have the hope that things will be better in the next life”.

So there it is, as simple as I can say it; what hope does the atheist have for these people? The people you generally don’t see because you have been blessed to live a life that hasn’t forced you to huddle under a bridge for warmth.

I used to be a hypocritical Christian. I used to be a little prick Christian who thought he knew it all. I preached from a pulpit of arrogance and pompous religiosity just like so many of my fellow Christians. I was apart of a Christian world that was as disconnected from real life as you could get.

Then I started volunteering at the jail. Then I started working at the homeless shelter. Then I started working at the rehab clinic. Then I started spending hours every day hanging out with all the homeless people in my community. I started seeing the joke that so much of Christianity has become. I have written about the problem of hypocritical western Christianity so much on my blog that some people think I’m decidedly anti-Christian!

But dear reader, dear atheist reader. It works both ways. You too are apart of a culture that has alienated itself from the people at the bottom. You go on vacations, you drink your lattes, and you live a life that keeps you hidden from the people at the bottom. But you are more than welcome to come sip coffee with me anytime you want; and see what it’s like drinking coffee all the way down here at the bottom.


Categories: Culture & Society

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50 replies

  1. I think that you are always going to have issues with these topics =/

  2. “Then most assuredly; the atheist worldview offers no hope for these people.”

    What atheist worldview do you speak of? Because I honestly don’t know what you mean by that.

    My secular humanist worldview offers plenty of hope for those people.

  3. I like the wizard who spends his day casting spells to make peoples lives better. Hey! That’s me. (Has he considered a part-time job in sales?) (Not meant to sound flippant. Fascinating tidbit.)

  4. Maybe a definition of “hope” should be the next conversation. Have you seen Ricky Gervais’ movie “The Invention of Lying?” This movie explores the hope and comfort you describe like no other I’ve seen. Would love to hear feedback on that one, Kenneth.

    • I have seen it! Very interesting to say the least. Ultimately, what i was trying to get at in the post is that Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, CHristians, etc, offer a hope for a better life in the life beyond for those who are currently living a miserable life. But when we remove spirituality from the equation; what hope is left for those suffering and dying?

    • The hope of changing things in this world.

  5. Too bad about the response that you received for expressing your opinions. But I am not surprised. Not even politics brings out the hostility of religion, especially here in the ‘blogosphere’. You are a brave man for tackling it, Kenneth. Personally, the longer I live the less sure I am about almost everything, so I tend to be pretty tolerant of almost everyone who does not personally attack me. I’m enjoying your work here lately. Don’t let ’em get you down.

  6. City of Joy – Patrick Swayze

    Best movie I ever saw that discusses these exact issues from this exact perspective.

  7. Your first article didn’t make me angry. This one does. You still are. Nothing is worse than sublimated self-righteousness and false humility. Nothing denigrates another person’s experience more than a pat on the head and a soporific dose of metaphorical opiate. Maybe you’ll get it in the next life (how does that feel?).

  8. Atheism is not in the business of offering anything; it is simply a lack of one belief. I think Secular Humanism is more what you’re talking about. As a Humanist, I think I offer truth. If theology is just empty promises, then the hope it offers is empty and it comes with an awful lot of baggage. Being honest and realistic may not offer those in dire circumstances hope, but I think it leads more readily to action.

    If most people thought that this was their one shot, the only available life, they would do everything they could to make it the very best life possible. They would not wait or be content with possible pie in the sky after death. Realizing that there isn’t something better waiting for us, we would take better care of our planet and the people on it. We could not be content with the idea of people who have it rough getting their due later; we would find out how to give everyone a good life now.

    False hope may very well be costing us real improvements in the only life we have for sure.

    • I love your response and you provide an excellent alternative view: does false hope (I.e belief in a god that doesn’t exist) do more harm than good? Great thoughts and much appreciated, I’m always glad to read well articulated thoughts and alternative positions rather than the blathering of “fuck you kenneth” that so many others say to me. You defend your position well 🙂

    • I agree with Kenneth. Nice response.

      Myself I’m torn on the false hope, hope, no hope thing as well. Certain readings of the Gospel, especially in the context of Judaism – the Torah is silent on an afterlife – would indicate that Jesus’ message was apocalyptic and the Kingdom of God would be here on earth and with very strict rules – not some cozy gated community on cloud nine.

      We also need to consider the anxiety that heaven’s alternative introduces. If you live in a secular western country and abide by our cultural norms, then I’m sorry, you’ve got NO HOPE. You’ve turned your back on the law that Yahweh will be using to judge you. We’re going to hell in a hand basket.

      That said, I don’t think that Christianity’s offer of hope is what the poor, destitute, and forgotten are clinging to. It is a modern cultural narrative that leaves out the nasty theology.

      I think the hope is worthwhile for the people Ken mentions, and yes, I think it’s a Santa Claus size fib that they’re being offered, BUT it’s not our business to take it away. It is however on our backs (“our” meaning the latte brigade) that we don’t step in to offer something more substantial than a low probability euphemism like heaven.

      So back to the gist of the article, I do object to Kenneth’s correlation between atheism and despair. I think this is false. First, I think he may be tossing out a wobbly premise. Despair is on the rise REALLY? (couldn’t resist) Second, if it is, attributing that rise to a fringe population (6% of Americans are atheists) sounds a lot like scapegoating.

      In his defense though, I think Kenneth has struck on the the right path forward. Despair comes from being marginalized, ignored, and unheard. Sitting down, listening, and chatting over a cup of coffee will offer more hope to someone in need than any flavor of religious or anti-religious mumbo jumbo.

      To borrow and modify Bill Clinton’s campaign strategy – It’s the community stupid! Community is at the core of our humanity. Religions have offered it for eons, but with strings attached. Let’s dump the mumbo jumbo and be there for each other.

  9. Great post. There’s a lot of elitism both within Christianity and atheism, self righteousness and arrogance. Non believers don’t like to be lumped in there, but I often observe the same negative qualities in atheists that I do in many Christians. It’s as if many atheists somehow managed to leave the church behind, the good things, the music, the rituals, but they took the bad things with them, the judgmental attitudes, the elitism, the feelings of moral superiority.

  10. The ‘in your face’ Atheist is a shameful thing – as an old non confrontational atheist (we have corresponded previously) and a liberally minded one at that your experience with him saddens me much like the aggressive Jehovah’s Witness who was so incredibly impolite and, in her own way ‘threatening’ at my front door just last week. Best of luck Sir

    • I totally agree Mike. I hope people realize that we can all disagree, but it doesn’t mean i would “hate” on anyone. I sometimes think the problem in western culture is that people are simply scared of having intellectual conversations in which we disagree….everyone is too easily offended.

    • Couldn’t agree more – who am I to demand others believe what I believe. I might wish it were so yet to force it upon them is, in a word ‘wrong’.

  11. This “article” continues the trajectory of promoting atheism as a worldview when it says: the atheist worldview offers no hope for these people. It is not a belief system in the way that a religion is. Likening atheism to a worldview is like claiming that a political independent is a political party. It is not. It is merely a lack of alignment with any established political party. That does not elevate the independent label to the status of political platform. The article also seems to suggest that any hope is good hope, whether false or not. That idea alone is worthy of consideration. If I went to the raped and dying people exampled above, and offered hope in the form of “Santa Claus would surely remember to bring them something at Christmas,” that is lame, but it is hope. It won’t happen, but if even false hope in the supernatural is good, then anything goes. Hasn’t every trite Christmas movie with a Santa-figure told me just to “believe” and everything gets better? Frankly, this sounds like the argument in the post.

  12. As an atheist I can see how religion offers hope to some, but it also does a lot of damage. Frankly, I find the notion of everlasting life in “heaven” horrendous. The concept of peace in Nothingness, one life, and liberal attitudes I can find tremendous solace in.

  13. What I had to say after reading this post is more than can fit into a comment. So please take a look here at my response.

  14. Excellent article! People are entitled to their own opinions, but I do believe this is the issue that scares me about the rise of atheism. For the people that are happy and peaceful atheists, that’s great, but I don’t believe that it is a philosophy that is sustainable for the majority of humanity. I believe the push to “convert” or kill religion is a dangerous game. For the 90% of the rest of the world suffering, a hope that sometime things will get better long after you’re dead or even human aid is not going to be enough to help the victim. Religion gives people suffering a peace that atheism can’t provide. And when they no longer have this peace, what’s going to happen? They’re going to use force and violence to get it.

  15. I appreciate your kind words, but I still very much disagree with your stance.

    I don’t even fully accept the premise of the argument. In what way are we determining that there is more hopelessness in the world now than there ever was in the past? You say that hopelessness has increased in past few hundred years, but how are we to quantify such a notion? Are we truly more hopeless now than people were in other points in history? I suspect that we aren’t.

    But, let’s assume for a moment that you’re correct and hopelessness is (and has been) on the rise. The simple fact that atheism and agnosticism are also on the rise is no indication that one caused the other. Over the past few hundred years, we’ve also seen a pretty serious uptick in the number of breeds of dogs, but few people would make the argument that atheists are creating dogs. There is cause and there is correlation…and there is coincidence.

    You also point out that with increased affluence comes increased atheism. Again, there is cause and there is correlation. The affluence of a nation depends on a great many factors, education being among the primary influences. It could also be said that as a culture becomes more educated, atheism increases, and I think we can all agree that education is a pretty swell idea.

    As for the hope atheists provide to people in terrible situations and circumstances, it is quite simple. It is the hope that people in this world are fighting *right now* to improve their circumstances…that perhaps things will improve for them and their loved ones while they still breathe, not in a distant and unknown future.

    While I think it is wonderful that you spend your time with prisoners and homeless people (I hope in an effort to improve their circumstances), I feel like the offer of sipping coffee with you “down at the bottom” smacked of falsehood and condescension. You are not at the bottom. You have the same warm house and food and car in the garage that you mentioned earlier. You clearly make frequent visits to coffee shops…where you actually order and consume things. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things, in my opinion, but you are not at the bottom. You may visit the bottom, but you don’t live there.

    But, honestly, what does that even have to do with the topic at hand? Are you upset about hopelessness or are you upset that we’ve become a hoity-toity society that desperately tries to deny the existence of social problems? Because those are two very different beasts.

    As a side note, I want to point out that you might not get such strong and hateful reactions to your thoughts if you presented them without so much condescension. This post starts with petty corrections and ends with self-righteous condescension thick enough to suffocate someone. It very much feels as though you’re preaching from “on high,” and I feel like that may be preventing people from appreciating your well-intended words. Often on your blog, you’ve said that you value conversation and discussion, but your attitude does not seem to invite a healthy discussion at all.

    • Great comment, NITB. I posted a very brief comment earlier, but it is awaiting moderation. Rather than posting a long one here, I wrote another blog with my thoughts on what Kenneth had to say today. Feel free to read it. I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts.

  16. The reaction of that “dude” and many others displayed in the comments section was brought by the tone of your latest posts. It seems like you are on a personal crusade against atheism, but in a very polite little way. You ask questions, trying to provoke reactions and then very demurely reply to any and all comments.

    That would be very proper way to deal with your audience, but your posts have this underlying current of firm and very harsh opinions about atheism, filled with condescending and generalisation. To draw a connection between atheism and great sense of hopelessness is not only stupid, but also very dangerous.

    And what hope do you offer to a woman raped in the name of God (one or the other)? Sorry, better luck in the next life? Really? To a child born with AIDS in Africa thanks to infected mother, while clergy actively oppose use of condoms? Do you really think you offer hope to homeless and sick and wounded with a promise of an after life or the next life?

    And what is atheism? The absence of belief that any deities exist. So what? How can anyone be threatened by that? An atheist doesn’t believe, but at the same time an atheist doesn’t demand you stop believing.
    You say that a greater sense of hopelessness have arisen since the rise of atheism. Really?

    How many women were burned alive under the accusation they were witches? How many people throughout the history died in wars that were fought in the name of God? How many people died of plague or even avoidable diseases, while clergy kept the knowledge of reading and writing to themselves, thus preventing spreading of information and free thinking?

    There was always hopelessness and despair, like there was always hope and kindness. There were always good and bad people, no matter what their beliefs were.

    My friend, in searching someone to blame, you are looking at the wrong place. Atheists are regular people, just like Christians, Jews or Muslims. There is lack of hope and faith in all parts of society, but the roots of our problems lie much deeper, where they always stayed hidden, throughout the centuries. Money and power.

    There are no bad atheists and good believers or vice versa, there are only people with hundreds shades of characters.

    Best regards,

    Loré Dombaj

  17. Kenneth, again, I can relate deeply. It is hard for me this question that I wish you would address: what happens to the poor people who don’t go to heaven or don’t get reincarnated. I can’t wish them damned and in hell. I think God is too much of a loving God for that. I don’t know. Very confused on the subject and could use some thoughts. Oh, and the guys comment and fuck you blog–maybe he sees the blog as alive and was addressing it. Maybe he’s not atheist at all but agnostic! 🙂

  18. Maybe it is less about ‘atheists’ versus ‘believers’, maybe it has more to do with inner peace, harmony, having a purpose what guides us beyond ourselves…

    I really like the writings of Douglas Adams, he could beautifully and interestingly write about God, in a non-offensive humorous way – and he was atheist (as far as I know).

    If I think of my own ancestors, most of them hated God (who doesn’t exist on the other hand in their eyes) because they simply couldn’t digest the pain, grief and sorrow what the world has been through, and they have also seen themselves victims in it, blaming and so on…

    Maybe, it is also more about, that nobody has a real, true picture about God, when a young, scandallous guy came with a rather unique explanation about Him, he was brutally turtured and killed…

    God is not in the books, not in the preachings, not in the movies, not in the music, not in the money, not in the business, not anywhere near the so-called leaders – God only can settle in our heart first, temporarily, and as we grow in understanding, as we struggle and overcome successfully (and never alone) in our growing, He can stay longer, and after a while, He can be manifested through actions, deeds for others, too…

    Maybe, it is a longer path to accept, if an atheist never tries…

  19. The evidence seems to show that people need to believe in something imaginary to give hope where there is none. This however is an even stronger reason why people like me do not believe there is any magical person who will step in to fix things. It is all the more reason why people need to give them a hope not based on fantasy.

  20. There is always the hope of having mattered to someone. A feeling of significance in life can make a big difference, and I think religion riffs on that idea.

  21. Do what?

    You wrote “”I’ve worked with the homeless at shelters and in the jail system as a social worker for the better part of 10 years and for many of them; their lives are awful and are never going to get better. They are doomed to a substandard existence, I have written about them extensively. “”

    It’s not that atheism offers them no hope, rather it is that YOU offer them no hope. You have condemned them from the start by defining what a standard existence is and what a good life is. Fuck you. You disrespect them from the start and have the audacity to tell them what it is to have a good life?

    LIfe, all of it, is a shit sandwich. Some of us manage to do okay with that. Others, not so much. That you take an us vs. them attitude makes you horribly biased. How can you work with homeless people and hold that attitude?

    Yes, there are terribly disadvantaged people in society but they suffer not because of their circumstances but because the most of the rest of us do nothing to improve their opportunities. If you have ill feelings they should be directed at the society which not only tolerates conditions such people live in but ignores the need of human dignity that their situation cries out for. To me, what it appears you are doing is victim blaming. You are your brother’s keeper.

    • I really think we can do without the “f-you” trolling. You make yourself look small.

      Have you ever worked in prisons? Homeless shelters? With street people? I have. Most of the people in such circumstances (not all) are a mess. Addicted, mentally ill, brain damaged, incapable of getting life together. A few make it out. Many die in the situation. Many of the homeless who died in Anchorage while I was working in the shelter system didn’t do so from lack of shelter options, they did so because of a REFUSAL to use such options based on their own problems. It is very difficult for folks who work with an almost unreachable population.

      And if someone has a prison conversion to some belief (which, frankly, rarely lasts more than a few days beyond release) and that belief gives them the ability to cope with a nightmare situation, then I’m perfectly happy to see them get the sort of support they are getting from the belief system.

      I see strident atheists go to 12 step programs (which are not religious and which are happy to have one’s God be the tree in your front yard if that works) and rage and cause all sorts of problems for others (and themselves) when no problem needs to exist. One’s higher power can be a group consciousness.

      I don’t see Kenneth as doing “victim blaming.” Not everyone in jail is a “victim” (about 80% are there for an actual crime committed. And homelessness is a hugely complicated issue for the chronically homeless, some of whom are feral.

      I’m not a part of the Abrahamic system of beliefs. I can see good and bad points to having beliefs. I do acknowledge that we are biologically based to have beliefs. I’m perfectly find with secular humanists. I’m okay with atheists who are not abusive. I’m not okay with anyone who is abusive towards others in the name of their belief including atheism.

      Not that Kenneth needs me to defend him.

      You might want to dial your nastiness back a notch.

    • But I’m glad you defended me 🙂 You wouldn’t believe the emails i’ve gotten this week….holy cow i’ve been under attack, nice to read something in which i agree with 100% – awesome comments.

    • No one deserves to be trolled, even if we don’t agree with them. And, actually, I CAN believe the attacks you’ve endured. There are people who inhabit the web who hide behind faux names and who savage others. There are now studies being done on how people who are psychopaths and narcissists who love upsetting others use this medium to cause harm.

      I’ve seen this since the early days of the Internet (ala DARPA). This is actually sorta tame, but I don’t like abusers and I don’t like bullies. I tend to be something of a quiet mystic IRL, but online I’m more likely to point out abuse is unacceptable. Especially when it is offered towards those who truly have a good heart (which I feel you do).

      If I hit my thumb with a hammer and use the F-bomb that’s one thing. To use it to attempt to harm another is unacceptable, IMO. It reflects far more on the person doing it. I makes them look small and ugly. I have no respect for trolls. I find such behavior beneath contempt.

      I don’t always agree with you. I don’t always agree with anyone, myself included (LOL) but I make it a point to avoid savaging others. I think you and I have debated points in the past, but always from the viewpoint of principles rather than personalities.

      Consider my shield yours, Kenneth.

  22. I agree that belief can provide hope. It also can provide hell on earth. And perhaps that is what many atheists struggle with. There is positive belief in something better after death (be it rebirth or heaven) and then there is the perversion of belief (see radical whatever belief you want) which can do so much harm.

    There are atheists I know who are not the radical, nasty type who acknowledge that while they do not believe in deity or an afterlife (and I must say that a belief in deity is not necessary for a belief in afterlife) that they can see how belief in a kind and gentle religion (many are not so kind nor gentle) can be helpful to others.

    Even if one looks at the fact that there is no energy gained or lost in the universe, then one can speculate that whatever energy it is which fuels mind/thought/consciousness (soul?) can never be lost, only transmuted into some other state of being, then there is “something” after this life.

    I tend to avoid nasty atheists the same way I avoid nasty people of any other belief system. Life is too short to deal with angry, hurtful people. That said, many atheists are people who have been harmed in some way by a religionist or a religion and they’re smarting from the pain. I feel compassion for them, but I don’t spend much time dealing with their issues.

  23. Myatheistlife’s observation is not trolling, abb; He is pointing out the hypocrisy exercised by the ‘gentle’ writer and using language to shock.

    MAL says, quite perceptively I may add, that It’s not that atheism offers them no hope, rather it is that YOU offer them no hope. You have condemned them from the start by defining what a standard existence is and what a good life is. The point of the post about atheism’s lack of substance as a world view to address such conditions is very effectively countered by what should be obvious: the CM’s lack of ability to do change what he blames atheism to cannot address. It is this sanctimonious and arrogant position the CM maintains that is the target of the ‘Fuck you’. Your willingness (nay, eagerness to try to regulate tone is noted. That, too, requires a fair bit of arrogance on your part aimed not at furthering effective and meaningful dialogue from excellent content criticism but concentrating on contextual appearances. Well, aren’t you special… if not very perceptive.

  24. also your lies are not a hope if you trust them you reach a hope if you do not they are unuseless so try to think as an atheist and you will understand your Christianity is not a hope for everyone but just for your legions sorry for my eng not mother language forget god and you will find humans this is our atheist hope that humanity reach human dimension not the god one thanks

  25. Dear Culture Monk, an atheist cannot offer hope of the possibility of eternal life, or possibility of magical healing this is true. But to steal a line from Contact , ” in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.” . We can offer the hope of friendship, love, community, being there for one another. Walking with one another.

  26. Greetings Kenneth–I too work with those ‘hard to serve’ clients–those homeless folks who are guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time because the system doesn’t have time for them or the simple solutions that exist that could improve the quality of their lives immensely. We have replaced the value for human beings with how much it costs to replace the tires on my Porshe. I guess where I either misunderstand your comments above or disagree in part is with the idea that if we live a good life and we are fortunate to have a warm home and good food to eat that we don’t have as much compassion for the less fortunate or that we, somehow, don’t or can’t feel their discomfort and their lack of hope. Pardon me if I have missed the mark on this.

    Some of us find different routes to those who are or have been beaten down by a system that doesn’t seem to care about what happens to others as long as it doesn’t happen to them or theirs. Compassion is shown where love for others exists. My particular concern more than any other is for fatherless sons and the challenges they face every day in terms of their loss of hope and their dreams that will never be fulfilled and their sense of ‘no place to be’ and their feelings of being isolated or alone–being disconnected. What are we doing for them and how do we reach out to them?

    I guess there is enough ‘hopelessness’ to go around–just pick your poison as it were–thanks for your dedication and your perspective on the world–Jim

  27. I love when people talk about atheists like they are a religion.
    You cannot generalize about atheists, because you cannot comment on what they do believe, you can only comment on what they do not believe. There is no church that atheists all go to not to pray, they do not get up and not read from a holy book, there is no doctrine of disbelieve. There is as much hope given to someone suffering by the love of a hug, than there is of someone offering prayers. Love, compassion and hope are not owned by the religious.


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