My Photo

The Out Campaign

Atheist Blogroll

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2005

« "An Actual Lesbian Girlfriend," Or, Why You Should Never Listen to Dan Savage About Bisexuality: The Blowfish Blog | Main | And Now, A Brief Pledge Break »



I wrote on a very similar topic two months ago, in part because I was very uncomfortable as a Christian and I'm now very uncomfortable as an atheist, each for different reasons. But the point is that it's never been about being comfortable to me - I'm not interested in feeling good, I'm interested in being right.

Patricia Champ

It would seem to me that you have chosen to see the cup half empty, and others have chosen to see it half full.Your point is you have chosen to see what is not there, and others have chosen to see what is... or visa versa...either way it's a choice we all make, as you have, and I. to each their own decisions , so why all the preaching? you seem just as driven to make unbelievers as those who try to convience others to believe. Both camps sounds so much alike to me.
for what it is worth


Sometimes I derive comfort from the thought that I'm the creator and ruler of the universe. Of course, it seems like that's not the case, but it's only because I like it that way. It's nice to know that if I really wanted to change something, I could do so easily ...

(Or to make my point in another way: when there seems to be an empty cup in front of us, some people just see an empty cup, while others choose to believe the cup contains all sorts of fantastic invisible stuff.)


"Both camps sounds so much alike to me."

I think it could be that if both camps seem alike, then maybe you don't know one of them (or both) very well.

Greta Christina

Re Patricia Champ: We seem to have Anatomy of a Troll, Lesson One. Whatever you do, don't make your comment relevant to the actual topic being posted. Just spew generic anti- atheist canards, to shanghai the conversation away from the topic and onto your own issues.

Please don't feed this troll.


"But the point is that it's never been about being comfortable to me - I'm not interested in feeling good, I'm interested in being right."

I think you have a good point here! I think that, yeah, it is important to stress that living like an atheist does not mean that you must be miserable (as so many believers seem to think must be the inevitable result) and that it is fully possible to live a fully satisfying life as an atheist. BUT... that doesn't necessarily follow automatically either.

I have never been a believer so I have nothing else to compare with. I can't say that my life improved when I stopped believing in god, because I never started to believe in a god in the first place. My life has been rather normal, I guess. It has had its ups and downs, and sometimes it has been really shitty! Atheism didn't cause that, and theism doesn't help against it! Neither is a fullproof cure against the downsides of living - it just gives you different ways of dealing with things.

I sure prefer dealing with things the atheist way, with open eyes about reality, and I have no need for gods or any suparnatural things. But I didn't choose that way to feel good. I just can't choose to close my eyes to that which the evidence shows me is most likely closest to the truth.

You do get rid of many unnecessary pains you had as a believer when you turn atheist, as one of my best friends who have gone through that very process have described to me (and that I have read many accounts of). Most notably she felt immensely free from all the guilt that she felt religion had wrapped her in. And that she saw now way out of until she simply realized that the premises presented to her of why she should feel this guilt was simply false. So of course she feels better now. But she didn't become an atheist to feel better either, she simply could no longer ignore the logic conclusions that followed from her questioning her religion.

Getting rid of stuff like that guilt she described to me, and other things was a great bonus. But her life isn't really that much different. She has the same every day problems as before, same as mine and most other peoples'.

The satisfaction of life does not lie in getting completely rid of problems, sadness, blue periods and bad things happening... it lies in how you deal with it, and in the support you have in other people.


"Please don't feed this troll."



I come from an almost fundamentalist and certainly conservative background. I continue to feel guilty on a daily basis, but I stopped really listening to my conscience before I even stopped believing in God. It just was not a good indicator of an actual need to feel guilty - instead, it's an aspect of my innate personality that I would rather live without, but I have to live with it anyway.

As a result, the only reason why I'm less happy as an atheist is because of a guilty conscience and a need to fit into my family's expectations that I've had all my life. Not as a result of Christianity or atheism. Just me.

I always try to clarify that to those who might point at me and say, "Look, this atheist over here is unhappy."

And I know you weren't, Maria. Just explaining a little bit more.


Looking over that, I didn't explain it right - I mean that my guilty conscience is out of control. It's oversensitive. So if I feel guilty, that doesn't necessarily mean that I should. Hence why I don't give my conscience much credence.


I think you have a good point too, Lunalelle. Guilt in itself is a human feeling that of course won't go away if one becomes an atheist. And there's different kinds of guilt. I of course feel a lot of guilt when I, for example, really have done a bad thing, or been mean to someone, let my bad mood out on a loved one... things like that. That's good guilt, I should feel bad then. At other times, I am just like you, I feel guilt about things that I really shouldn't feel guilty about. And so it still is for my friend too, of course.

But she described a whole slew of rather specific situations and things that was constantly at the back of her mind, that she constantly felt quilty about, that was directly originating from her beliefs and had been taught to her. Things of which most have never bothered me the least in my life, and that I sometimes had problems in understanding why she lost any sleep because of.

The process was made a bit easier for her though since her family and many of her best friends is not religious and do not have any expectations on her in that direction.

I hope things will work out well for you Lunalelle!

Ian Andreas Miller

Thank you for posting this, Greta.

I have been calling this the "Opium of the People" argument.


For the life of me, I don't understand how threats of everlasting torment and damnation could ever be comfortable.


On the certainty of death and dealing with it, I, too have felt a lot of fear about it--something totally normal. But I realized recently what freaks me out so much about it. Besides not knowing when or how it will happen (two things we should never waste our time on but that I'm sure we all have), I was freaked out about the whole death business.

For instance, I don't want to be embalmed or put in a casket and then inside a concrete casing in the ground. I don't want a morbid funeral service. I don't want a stranger to deal with my body. I want my family to.

I know this may seem self-evident, but there are ways in which we can control what happens to us after we die. I happen to have a living trust, and in that trust I am going to write out in detail how I want my body to be handled after I die. I don't know why, but realizing that I do have a choice in the whole death business gives great comfort to me.

Donna Gore

I once heard it said (where, I can't remember) - "I'd rather live in an ugly reality than a beautiful fantasy."

Bruce Gorton


Here is my plan for death:

My body is to be harvested for organ transplants, with my brain to go to someone who is young, fit and rich.


I'd like my unprocessed dead body to be buried at the root of a tree, so that over time, my remains would become part of it.

Until someone chopped it down, that it.

Tim Foster

There was an interesting story on the news on my way to work this morning (unfortunately I can't quickly find a link): Apparently University students who believe they have strong religious beliefs suffer from lower levels of anxiety when exposed to questions they can't answer on an academic exam.

Either the study organizers or the commentator added that anxiety can be a good thing.

Andrew @ EC

I was very, very concerned from the title of this post that it was going to be about Ray Comfort. Now there's a scary thought!


I recently watched The Case For Faith and there was a point where one of the commentators, quoting someone else, said (with a highly vicious tone in his voice) to an imagined atheist "What would you tell a dying child? You have nothing to offer! Nothing!" I laughed. We have so much more to offer than prayers and wishful thinking. We have a desire to get to the root of the problem through scientific methods and hopefully prevent another death; we have reassurances that their death will not be in vain; we have promises to remember them. For the theist, death has a reason--"God Wants YOU to die. Go enjoy heaven. Why are you crying? Don't you believe God is sending you to heaven? Why don't you think you're going to heaven? Don't worry about what you did to that puppy. I'm sure God forgives you now, on your death bed. I'll see you in heaven. What? I might not be there? But I only hit mommy once, and I asked for forgiveness, surely God will forgive me too." The only real comfort any of us can offer a dying person is "I'll remember you. I'll miss you." and possibly "I'll continue the good work you started." Those would be of great comfort to me.


I remember the day that I thought "life is pointless"... and how happy that made me. It was, as you said, like a burden had been lifted. Only a few months earlier, it had dawned on me for the first time that I really would die some day, and it had kind of been haunting me, until I thought that life was pointless in the best of ways -- if there isn't a specific purpose, how can you lose? It's yours to do with what you like and you define your own purpose.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Subscribe/ Donate to This Blog!

Books of mine

Greta on SSA Speakers Bureau

  • Greta Christina is on the Speakers Bureau of the Secular Students Alliance. Invite her to speak to your group!

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Powered by Rollyo

Some Favorite Posts and Conversations: Atheism

Some Favorite Posts and Conversations: Sex

Some Favorite Posts: Art, Politics, Other Stuff