Atheism Inspires Hope
Some people who practice a religion have told me that being an atheist means that a person has no hope for the future. That by not believing in a god, or the supernatural, a natural consequence is that life suddenly becomes meaningless. The idea is that there is no point to living your life if there is no such thing as an afterlife in heaven, a god’s favor to gain, reincarnation at a higher level, celestial milk and cookies after you die, or many countless variations of a rewards system for obeying a religion’s teachings.
I’m not going to mention any particular religion, because I’ve heard this explained by the practitioners of many religions. The point is that some believe that a life without a belief in a god is a life without the potential for hope.
This is utter nonsense. My atheism is a source for hope. It fuels my passion for making the future world we live in better than the present world which we currently occupy. Without the shadow of a make believe god falling over me I have more hope than ever for the future, and this is despite knowing that I’m going to die someday and it will be game over for this mere mortal shell.
Yes, knowing that when my time is up it is really up gives me extreme hope. No living forever in heaven, or moving onto the next plane of existence, or coming back as the next Elvis. This life of mine is all that I have. My time is ever dwindling, and eventually I will die.
Which means that I cannot blame a god, or a devil, or the alignment of the stars for what happens to me in this life. I cannot say that “God let this happen.” or “The divine one wishes for me to suffer through this moment of tragedy.” There is no false gratitude for the greatest moments of my life being a blessing bestowed upon me by the Great Pumpkin or who knows what else.
I am responsible for this life. No one else. I may not have control over the universe and what can happen to me, but I have complete control over how I react to the universe and what happens to me. I do not have control over everything. I do not need it. I have control over that which matters the most. I have control over myself.
I am the owner of my life. You are the owner of your life. That gives me hope.
We can use our lives to build a better future. We need not wait for permission from a mythical being. We need not fear punishment from a supreme lord for being bold. We need only to embrace the fact that we will not exist beyond our natural lives, and then decide to make our lives matter by doing good work for all.
I have hope for the future, because I have you and everyone else in the world to help me build the future. We face many problems, but there are opportunities lurking within all of those problems. No god will save us, for there is no god, but we can make things better if we choose to do so.
I choose to do so, and thus I have chosen to live with hope.