What Would Atheists Do?
This hub is an attempt to learn more about Atheism by posing some questions. This came about when I was corrected recently by someone regarding my understanding of Atheism. It was pointed out to me that Atheism is the lack of believe in the existence of any gods. Moreover, an Atheist can be also an Agnostic. It is a subtle difference and will require some deeper probing. Being a Christian, I would like to learn more about Atheism and their world view. By posing some common questions and some hypothetical scenarios, it would help me understand their position better. Let me state up front that these are honest questions from me and not tricks. Please answer them honestly. It will help clarify one's position and perhaps move the discussion forward. Finally, please be respectful of others in making comments. Thanks for helping.
What Would Atheists Do? (WWAD)
Here are some questions I have for Athiests. I want to focus on the "lack of belief in any gods" as compared to a Christian who does belief in a God. Regardless of the religious aspect of any belief system, which entails a structure such as the church for the propagation of faith, one can hold a belief and choose not to participate in any church. Keeping that in mind, I just have some questions that is relevant to this idea. To simplify the dialog, I will list each question by number. Please respond to each by number in the comment section at the end. Thanks for helping.
1. When a person is elected to office or chosen to be on a jury, they are usually asked to swear an oath usually with their right hand on the Bible. What does an athiest do and "who" does he swear to if any?
2. On special happy occasions such as weddings and births, friends and family usually offer good will and blessings. WWAD?
3. When attending a funeral or visit someone terminally ill in a hospice, a common act of compassion is to offer a prayer. WWAD?
4. When someone sneezes, we often say "God Bless You." WWAD?
5. When a person is mad or in a moment of frustration, he often resort to cursing such as "God Damn It." It is not something I condone but it does happen. We are all imperfect human beings. WWAD?
6. Is there such a thing as a "sin" in the way Christians think of sin such as the seven deadly sins? What acts do Atheists consider to be offensive and to whom?
7. When you teach your children about the founding of our country, and you read the Declaration of Independence, what do you say the word "Creator" was referring to?
8. When you teach your young children about right from wrong, what authority do you use to make your case?
9. In time of stress or hopelessness, it is comforting to rely on prayer to ease the burden and reduce anxiety. The Serenity Prayer comes to mind as a good way to offload our worries to a higher power. WWAD?
10. How do you teach your followers and descendants your philosophy or your "lack of belief..."? Each of us come to our belief system by way of life experiences. Some are born into a religion but others are converts in adult life. Once you make a commitment, you are usually part of a group of like minded. They in turn form some organizations to help propagate the faith. WWAD?
11. Most people of faith have established traditions that goes back generations. They are reminded of these traditions by various "special days" such as Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving...Over the years, some of these traditions have been adopted by secular society and some have even been declared as national holidays. What do atheists do on these special occasions?
12. Finally, my question refers to language. Our language contains numerous references to God and Devil, heaven and hell, angels and demons. Not only nouns but adjectives such as heavenly, hellish, angelic, demonic are also part of our language. Do atheists avoid using these words or do they make up their own version of these words?
The Liturgical Cycle
Here are some hypothetical scenarios to contemplate. I will list them by number. Please respond by number.
- If you are able to save only one from drowning, which would you pick, your beloved pet dog or a stranger human being?
- At what month do you think it is OK to abort a fetus? from 0-9?
- If a family member ask you to help commit euthanasia, would you do it? even if it is against the law.
- If you are in a plane crash high in the Andes mountain and survived, would you stay alive by eating the dead flesh of your fellow passengers?
- If you can test a fetus for genetic defects, would you abort it? for what deformity?
- If in the future, cloning is scientifically viable, would you condone it?
- If in the future, genetic engineering is possible, would you use it to choose the traits of your baby?
- If pot is legalized in your state, would you use it? would you allow your teenage kids to use it?
- If you won the lottery, and are given a choice to donate to one of two charities, which would you give to? The United Nations or Catholic Charities?
- If you had a near death experience similar to that of Dr. Eben Alexander, what would you change afterwards?
- On your deathbed, what would you regret the most?
When dealing with difficult decisions, it is often helpful if we are guided by some core principles. This will make it a clearer choice with some foundation. Sometimes, there are no solutions. That is OK. Everyone of us is shaped by our family, our community, our education experience and our interactions. This is called a "world view" whether we know it or not. It is helpful to spend a little time thinking about this and putting it down on paper.
What is an Atheist's world view?
What Corner Do You Belong?
In summary, I hope this hub will create a discussion about belief systems. Please don't confuse this topic with Religion and church. That's a different topic which I may address in a future hub. Peace be with you.
Some Related Information
- Faith And Religion Hubbook
My opinion on Religion and Faith and why they still matters.
- Desiderata - Words for Life by Max Ehrmann - Famous poems, famous poets. - All Poetry
- Serenity Prayer - God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time…
- The Importance of a Christian Worldview
- What We Believe
What We Believe - Catholic Nicene Creed