January 14 2007 Atheist / Agnostic Newsletter
Hope and Nothingness
Additional thoughts on the idea of atheists living without hope or belief.
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A little story as a bonus here. I was watching (or half-watching, as always) television last night. I think it was the History Channel. The show was about Heaven and Hell, more or less, and near the end, of course, came the question of how the idea of these places had lived so long and expanded so far. As can be predicted, the need to believe in reward and punishment, and, of course, the need to believe simply in something beyond death came up. These are worthy considerations. But then there was the one that got me. Is it better to believe even if it isn't true, just because the delusion makes one feel better? I can't accept that. I can't see how it could be better. The fact that other people might think it's better puts religion in a different context for me, and, certainly, I've considered before that some of them must be doing that- choosing to believe even while not really believing- but I can never quite adjust myself to it. I can't see how it could be any real comfort at all.
And delusion may not be wholly accurate there. If someone chooses to believe, even taking it so far as to turn it into faith, even while knowing it isn't real, what is that? Willful self-deluding? Silliness? Chemical addiction?
Jenna Sawyer, Atheist / Agnostic Editor
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