The Atheist’s Life Is Not Boring.

I recall reading a letter to the editor sometime ago where the writer sympathized with non believers.  He talked of them being unable to enjoy beautiful music because its source was somehow Christian.  He said Christian art was superior to any other and non believers are left on the outside.  Most of all, he wrote, atheists are deprived of the mystery provided by religious life.

I thought of that letter this evening while listening to Public Radio’s Krista Tippett.  Her program, On Being, features interviews with writers and personalities, most often focusing on spiritual ideas.  She is especially animated about the variety of spiritual concepts of her guests.

For the most part, I find atheists void of spiritual concepts.  Instead of questions without answers being attributed to spiritual beings, unknowns are simply questions not yet answered.

But, unknowns interest and generate as much energy and curiosity as spiritual beings.  This is true, not only about questions of the origin of life, but of the nature of the human mind.  While believers do not attribute their spiritual being to their minds, nonbelievers suspect that is where it resides.

If is true the spiritual realm is the product of a creative mind, this is indeed more interesting than the being itself.  That the being exists and what it says or does is not nearly as interesting as that the mind can create it.

That some minds apparently create this being while others take a pass will fascinate atheists for generations to come.

P.S. Buy tickets to Zeteticon coming soon in September.  More at

21 Responses

  1. Dean

    when thinking about origins of life and meanings of life, the believer stops at “god made it happen”. Non-believers delve deeper into why and how, and with a little science, begin to offer answers. How is this boring or uninspired? The non-believer is fully able to be awed by the wonders of nature. The believers view of reality is skewed by looking through the lens of spirituality.

    1. Michael Ross

      Nonsense Dean. Believers (not all but many) look to science. Its just that you skeptics wont allow it in the public debate.

      1. Adam Heckathorn

        Michael many Religious People have some confidence in Science based on My own experience I don’t know if I’d say most but My experience I’d acknowledge is limited to the People I know well enough to have an opinion of what they think. I know plenty of People who feel They trust Science but when it matters the most They don’t. For example look at the opinions on global warming. Science rarely tells us anything in absolute terms but The Science on Global warming is telling Us as a species We’d better act dramatically to mitigate The impact. Who are refusing to do that and Why? Is it not Those voted in of Religious convictions Who seem to accurately represent The views of Their constituents? I see global warming as a clear example of how religious belief can lead to disaster.

        1. Adam 11:42 I see global warming as a clear exampole of how religious belief can lead to disaster.

          Great point. Reduction of carbons is not a huge deal. Maybe it would inconvenience some, but mostly it would not lower our standard of living substantially. Yet, religions and other political forces refuse to lose face by demanding nothing be done.

          1. Adam Heckathorn

            Thank You Jon I was tempted to use a number of examples but thought better of it for the sake of clarity and simplicity.

          2. StanB

            It may be just an inconvenience to you Jon, but for someone who makes a LOT less money then you the price of gas and heat in the winter doubling would pretty much cut my food budget to ZERO. Nice of you to think of the little people….

          3. Stan 11:56 It may be just an inconvenience to you Jon, but for someone who makes a LOT less money than you the price of gas and heat in the winter doubling would pretty much cut my food budget to ZERO. Nice of you to think of the little people..

            I cannot deny it would take food off the table for some people if there were not a government or private programs to offset price increases. I’m a fiscal and environmental conservative and don’t believe in playing Russian Roulette with the future of our planet. Better, it seems, to take ALL the bullets out of the chamber instead of leaving one when we point it at our collective heads.

          4. entech

            Stan, it would be far more inconvenient if a succession of floods and droughts, Heatwaves and freezes reduced the agricultural capacity.

            Never mind the topic of the next post is “the lord will provide”, observation says otherwise.

          5. Wolfy32

            There are many low cost carbon free energy options. The Christians I’ve spoken with don’t believe global warming is man made, but believe it is a fact of nature. Many more indicate that global warming is prophetic, it’s not happening, but what is happening is a judgement from God, and 1/3rd of the green grass will burn, 1/3rd of the trees will die, and rivers will boil…

            From a biblical stand point Christians need the concept of “global warming” to happen to prove that God is real.

            The ingenuity of mankind’s ability to avert death by over carbonation of the planet, well, would be anti biblical and spoil the Christian goals.

            That said, back to my original point. We’re on the verge of being able to create nuclear fusion. right now it takes more energy to produce a fusion reaction than the amount of energy received from the reaction, but that will get better with time.

            We’re improving solar energy panel efficiency, wind energy is increasing, Ground source heating and cooling is becoming more and more common. The feds have approved a nationwide implementation of fuel cell car technology starting in California. Right now 50+ gas stations have fuel cell recharge stations and more are being implemented with federal subsidies. As the infrastructure grows, car manufacturers are starting and will continue producing the new fuel cell automobiles.

            As these nearly 0 carbon emission technologies implement, we should start seeing a global reduction in carbon emissions.
            Maybe it’s too late, who knows, or maybe we are going through a change/ cyclical change in climate / nature.

            For all we know every 10,000 years a new ice age forms, and we’re just on the cusp of the next climate change. When looking at the grand scheme of things, who can say that there isn’t multiple 10,000+ year natural cycles….

          6. Wanna B Sure

            Wolfy; @8:48: “From a Biblical standpoint Christians need the concept of “global warming” to happen to prove that God is real”. That is a crock of crap ! It may be so in your former affiliation, but not all. In fact, it could be said your understanding is the minority. You really need to watch your conflation on this and other subjects.

          7. StanB

            I had a 1996 Geo Metro 1liter that got 55 miles to the gallon, can’t build it now. Doesn’t meet Government regulations…

          8. Chen K

            @Lindgren 11.18 – I am looking forward to that car too. Would be interesting to how 3 wheeler performs in the MinDak winter.

          9. Chen 2:48 There is discussion on its website about winter performance. They are a little guarded about how well it would go through snow drifts–light and low to the ground. The traction, they say, should equal other small cars.

    2. QuietOne

      Dean 2:54 “Non-believers delve deeper into why and how, and with a little science, begin to offer answers.”

      Doing a search to tie into this topic, I was led to “Dialectical Materialism” (A. Spirkin). It discusses a very interesting (& to be respected) philosophy which defends humane ideals and realistic ways for a just social order. I’m certain I will be reading more of it when time allows.

      A Ch. 4 quote: “Everything that is truly scientific must inevitably, directly or indirectly, sooner or later, be realized in life.” If something is realized *indirectly*, what exactly does that mean??

      The writing seems to support the creativity of one’s life and mind when it comes to spiritual aspects, so no doubt things that occur indirectly – and are not replicable – would not bear much weight.

      Of note, the writing was copyrighted in 1983 and has gone through transcription. Unlike the Bible, it is a philosophy that most likely can only be improved. If this was the clear philosophy of the Bible…more people might believe it. But…is it not a philosophy that is there…just intertwined with too much social order of those times?

  2. Michael Ross

    Atheists, as much as believers, are made in the image and likeness of God and therefore are inventive and creative. Believers acknowledge it, atheists deny it.

  3. Adam Heckathorn

    Yesterday at the freethinkers meeting I heard an excellent talk given by David Cope on How do We know Our beliefs are right. there was lots of lively discussion and I found Myself rereading My notes and thinking about some of the points this morning. I would encourage all regardless of Your viewpoints to attend these third Sunday of the month meetings as there is always interesting conversation. The meetings are usually at The plains art Museum at 1:00 pm except when there is a potluck. Jon I think it’s great that You and Your Wife are near family, that’s how I ended up in the FM area but I enjoyed talking with You both here and wish I had had a longer opportunity to do so.

    1. Adam 2:02 Glad to hear about the good Freethinkers meeting Sunday. We were back for a brief business visit last week. I so wanted to hear Davis’ talk but we were unable to stay.

      I enjoyed visiting with you as well. I hope we can link up in mid September when I’ll be there for the conference.

  4. Heidi Carico

    No, the life of an atheist is never boring because he thinks about God more than most professed Christians do! I wonder how often atheists think about Darth Vader. 😉 And of course, the goal of an atheist is to support and engage in as much sin as possible. And since sin never satisfies, the atheist has to keep increasing his sin to give him the pleasure it once held for him. But one day, that will all stop and after he dies, he will miss the pleasures he lived for on earth. There will be no more satisfaction for his soul in all of eternity, especially since he couldn’t achieve his number one goal on earth, to prove that God doesn’t exist. If he had already proven it, he wouldn’t need to keep trying to prove it. But that will be as vain an effort as everything else he lived for. 🙁

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