It seems that in our times atheism is spreading and becomes in some circles almost the fashionable way of speaking and living. One hears more and more : I am an agnostic and an atheist. One wonders however whether those who speak as atheists really considered the meaning of the word and also the consequences of honest and serious atheistic attitude.
Of course the fundamental question here remains whether atheism is in any way true . Only if one seriously considers the fundamental questions of human existence and one does it with courage and persistence is some insight into truth available to man.
If one observes the human ability to know and the philosophical persistence and reaching the transcendent being and later the revelation of a religious tradition one is entitled to consider one ‘self a true seeker for meaning. Of course any mentioning of meaning is justified only within the context of some religious belief.
Atheism is based on the denial of an serious metaphysical reflections it refuses to use the full power and abilities of the unconquerable human mind. Atheism must therefore accept materialistic interpretation of all reality including human beings. Nothing exists for an atheist but only matter in movement. The universe is an immensity of unified forces, of impersonal, blind and ultimately chaotic, material phenomena. The immensity of the universe transcends any understanding or imagination. Atheism does not acknowledge any kind of personal creator, of course it is atheism and not theism.
Man is an accidental speck of living matter and he/she appears accidentally , exists not knowing why and disappears also often accidentally although necessarily in death . Death is as nonsensical as birth because both have no durable meaning at all. A human being is only one of the millions of other living forms living on this globe and the most murderous. With a little higher degree of sagacity he/she lives on the rest of animals life: Hundreds and thousands of animals are killed every day to feed the human animals . For an atheist this is a difficult problem to solve why the human life is more important life than the life of any other living thing: a fly, a mosquito. or a bacteria, not to talk about such living giants like dinosaurs. If human being is nothing but matter then atheism abolishes completely the personality of man .
Because man is nothing else but as David Hume mentioned a bundle of perceptions.
There is no self, conscious , human self , there is no knowledge of freedom of choice or any purpose of preferring one action over another . Atheism abolishes the importance of conscious and moral values . If there is no God as Dostoyevsky mentioned, then everything is allowed. This means , that there is no higher authority above man facing which one would feel responsible or accountable for one’s mode of living actions or any other idol which would govern my life. Nothing is anymore sacred , holy allowed or forbidden . Each one is his/her own lawgiver and creator of moral values. Therefore no one should be really de-facto condemned or praised for any action or mode of behavior.
There is only one drive in the human animal: survival on all costs, because nothing else matters. Atheists should not condemn or praise anyone in human history, whether it be an Adolf Hitler , Joseph Stalin or Jesus Christ on the cross asking God:
" Father forgive them for they do not know what they do."
Atheistic attitude abolishes any ground for talk about human dignity because there is none left, for man is an animal and there is no reason why he/she should be somehow honored as higher or better.
When man gets older , sick and weaker closer to his death, he/she becomes a nonsense a useless burden for others and his/her meaningless suffering is best solved by disposing of him/her. So euthanasia , special exterminating hospitals and such methods as were employed by the Hitler’s hordes in XXth century already practiced on a very large scale. After all such ways of extermination of undesirable persons are very efficient methods to make room for some higher chosen race. The German term was Herenvolk ( the nation of lords) .
Is what I am saying here an exaggeration? No , I don’t think so because it was practiced in many forms during the history of humans on this globe and there is no reason to doubt that in some form or other it will appear again and perhaps in far more terrible way then it appeared so far.
It is interesting how an atheist faces those consequences mentioned of his/her atheism , a specially when he/she gets sick, old and close to death. Death for atheist is a final annihilation of man’s life forever. All His/her hopes, dreams , projects and aspiration are simply extinguished forever like blowing out the flame of a burning candle.
No meaning, no future, no eternal life of any kind , no values worth mentioning and a brief accidental existence and fast disappearance into nothingness . Atheists of course create their own idols and values : many people put their meaning of life in procreation, having children. They believe that in their children they themselves somehow will endure after their physical demise. This is a nice thought but unfortunately self- deceptive because no matter how many children I have I myself will die and thy after living their lives will also die . This cycle will repeat it self, but if I am dead I will not even remember or in any way be conscious of my past life because there will be no more me.
“ What does it profit a man if the gains the whole world but loses his soul.”
Of course atheism is everybody’s choice . Everyone has the duty to Himself/herself if not to any other to seek for the right answers , for the ultimate questions.
There are very sound and valid arguments pointing to the existence of the Transcendent , Infinite Being giving a rational foundation for belief in God on the philosophical level. There also exists solid , valid historical fact of God’s revelation of Himself and His plans for mankind in human history.
We can paraphrase the saying of Hamlet: to be in eternity or not to be for eternity.
Suggesting readings :
Hartshorne,Charles and Reese, L.William, Philosophers Speak of God, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London: