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The Atheists Live Without Hope Argument

One of the big issues that I often have with fundamentalist religious people is that more often than not they will make wild accusations about atheists and sometimes these accusations even come in the form of a question. These questions often have implied answers which are not true and are just mean spirited toward atheists. For example: As an atheist, what is it like to live without hope?

Seriously, that was the question that a Christian friend asked me recently and it wasn’t the first time I heard such a question from a Christian either. It certainly wasn’t an isolated incident. I am pretty sure that other atheists have heard similar questions asked to them by the religious. How should an atheist answer such an absurd question or accusation? While there are many possible responses and every atheist is welcome to give their own, I do have a suggestion.

For starters, I love answering questions with more questions. It must be the philosopher in me. I usually ask the particular religious person, why they hate people? Of course I don’t think that the person actually does hate people (necessarily), but the point is that the question implies that the person does hate people and asks why that might be. Just like the question about hope implies that I don’t have hope and inquires about the reason for such a view.

I think it is important to explain this to the religious person and take a moment or two to call them out on the hateful tone of the question and on the unfounded assumption that the question implies. The religious person in question should have asked, as an atheist do I have hope and if so, what is it that I hope for? While still an ignorant question to ask, it at least doesn’t imply unfounded assumptions and accusations.

Then I attempt to explain to the religious person in question that as a humanistic atheist, I actually have a great deal of hope. I hope to make the world a better place and I hope for the continued progress of humanity and for our continued survival as a species. I also have hopes and dreams for particular people in my life.

The way I see it, fundamentalists Christians tend to be more selfish with their hopes. They usually hope for eternal bliss in Heaven for themselves. So I guess the real question is, why are Christians so selfish?

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