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The problem with this one is that it equates atheism with religion, a meme we're trying to squelch. Besides, some believers might very well say something similar to adherents of another religion.


Roger Ebert is an atheist and he hasn't changed his tune even though he's gone through a lot with cancer:


You know there is a small possibility that they might be right. It is possible (though unlikely) that someone would turn to Allah or Odin in a time of extreme stress. There's also a small possibility that a crisis would force a believer to abandon their faith.

Personally I don't want to put it to the test. Why would I put myself in a life threatening situation in order to examine my life's philosophy? That said there is evidence that philosophical reconstruction of the kind that forces a crisis of faith is not an instantaneous event but one that takes several years of self examination. Isn't it hubris to assume that a crisis would somehow escalate the time scales of this reconstruction AND that the direction of this reconstruction would be in the theist's favour? I think it is.


It is hard for people to think about the lack of an afterlife. We all want to think that we can make up for screw-ups in this life when we get to the afterlife. That's why it takes such a strong person to be an atheist. You have to accept that when you're gone, you're gone. You have to be more careful in your relationships because if something happens to someone, you don't get a second chance to make up for what we could have or should have done. Only the weakest of minds would turn to religion in the face of death.


One of my friends is an officer cadet in the Australian Defence Forces, and he says that most people pretend to be christian because it means you get sunday morning off and the chaplains are nicer about giving away or selling little luxuries like phone calls, chocolate, and soft drinks than the other officers.
That's another reason why, barring a national emergency, I don't see myself in the army. I don't want to have to lie to get a day off. Oh well, if it does happen I guess I'll claim to be a Subgenius and say that sleeping to noon on sundays is how I accumulate slack.

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