Yeah. This post made my morning kinda unfold the same way. The post is old, but I get asked this question more often than Sly Stallone’s shorts got caught in his coin slot in the 80s.
In the post, by Adrian Warnock, he says it’s the one question atheists can’t answer.
Uh. Ya. We can, dude. Here: We do have hope. That’s how I live without hope. I don’t.
Exsqueeze me? What’s that Ade? You don’t like that answer? You refuse to accept it?
Well, colour me gobsmacked. I could have never predicted that a card-carrying jeebanger would refuse to accept an atheist’s answer to anything. Never.
Of course we live with hope. Where did you ever get the idea that we didn’t live with hope?
I have a great deal of hope tied up in the human race… I truly believe that one day, we will live like Captain Picard and his number one, religion-free, peaceful, highly educated, compassionate, diplomatic explorers of the great beyond. I hope that no more writers will be killed for the way they think or the things they say. I hope that no more cartoonists will face death for a joke. I hope that one day Raif Badawi will experience true freedom. I hope my son grows into a rational, free-thinking book lover whose entire goal in life is to help people. I hope that one day another sports flick will be made that rivals the feel-good quality of Rocky IV.
I could go on and on and on. Some days, I even hope I might win the lottery despite the fact I don’t even play it. I know… how’s that for some cognitive dissonance for ya?
How do you live without a hope in the after-life?
Oh, I see. You just phrased the initial question to sound sensational. You don’t actually think that atheists live without hope…. you just can’t understand how we live without hope in the afterlife. See, Adrian, it’s all about phrasing, here, because these two questions mean entirely different things.
I simply cannot understand how someone faces life each day, believing that their existence and that of those they love can be permanently snuffed out in an instant. Believing that they will never meet again with those that have died. Believing that ultimately this short life is all there is.
I guess the difference between you and I, Ade, is that I hope for a better future for humankind and our world, whereas you hope for a better future for yourself and the fairyland you’re going to when you retire from life. I can only assume these are the values you’ve derived from your “Biblical Morality”.
It’s okay. Go back to your corner. Have a sip of water. Wipe that blood off your chin. I’ll give you a minute.
the Christian believes that behind a broken world there is a sovereign God who will one day fix it all, and in the meantime is working everything round for good to those who love him. How do you live without hope that a person who is loving will one day fix the worlds woes and is already turning around bad things to cause good results?
Adrian, I am going to bring you back to the scene where Rocky defeats Drago. He wobbles, swollen-faced and bloody, draped in the Stars and Stripes, the room so quiet you could hear a Bible drop. It’s hushed as he leans into the mic and tells the audience that during the fight he “seen alotta changin'”. He talks about how the crowd has come together watching two guys “killin’ each udda”.
“I guess that’s better than 20 million” He says, and then he declares, with his basset hound eyes and crooked mouth,
“If I can change, and you can change, then everybody can change!”
The crowd goes wild and those cold-looking commies in CCCP colours all rise and start the most epic slow clap in slow clap history. It turns to full on applause which set off ripples that we can only assume entirely defrost the cold war, crumble the Berlin wall and usher in an era of Soviets and Yanks sharing hot dogs and cold ones in each other’s backyards for eons to come.
Adrian, I believe, just like yourself, that a “person who is loving will one day fix the world’s woes”. However, unlike you, I don’t think it will be just one supernatural being in the sky for whom we have no evidence. Instead, I believe it will be us who changes things. Humankind. Not only that, I believe that we already have. Our history is rich with individuals and groups who have affected much change for the better.
I guess my question to you now is, how do you live without hope that humankind can make change for itself; that we will one day be, as a whole, good enough, caring enough and capable enough to be able to build a civilization based in compassion, exploration and innovation without the guidance of some magical man in the sky? How can you live without the hope that Rocky was right when he said that everybody can change? Adrian, how do you live without hope based in things we can prove and see and touch?
How do you live without hope, Adrian?