Monday, July 12, 2010

Nothing Happens When You Lose Your Faith?

I was on the Friendly Atheist (click here for the link) and saw this comic (from David Howard). The name of the post was Nothing Happens When You Lose Your Faith.

This is the comment by Hemant Mehta.
Has God gotten nicer? Of course not. Hell, Christians today still think you’re going to burn in hell eternally if you don’t buy into their mythology.
The first panel mixes fiction with fear.
The second panel is honest. Nothing happens when you lose your faith. God doesn’t smite you. The outside world doesn’t change. Your mindset shifts and you look at the world differently (more accurately, atheists would argue). My only gripe: Why is the guy in the second panel so sad? He lost his faith! That’s a great day in my book.
I had to change to formatting a bit because the damn blogspot word processing program is giving me grief.

I agree with Hermant that the Christian God hasn't gotten niceer. JAWEH is a S.O.B.. There is a point where I have a different spin on the comic and Hermant's comment. Here it is.

It's disingenuous to say that there are no psychological or social ramifications from becoming an Atheist (especially if you were brought up in a faith). A person has to work through that. However, it is true that the Earth isn't going to open up and devour you.

I understand that the artist wanted to convey a divine sense of loss of being separated from God and that is simply Theistic propaganda. I agree that it's a good day (ultimately) that someone understands in their gut that there is no god. I don't think it's OK to make light of a person's legitimate pain (per the title of the post: Nothing Happens When You Lose Your Faith and Hermant's comment) of going through a transition from believing to nonbelieving. Stuff happens when you lose your faith - good and bad stuff.

I wouldn't even say that Atheism is automatically going to make you a happier person either.

It reminds me of a Buddhist story I heard (it's been a while so I am paraphrasing it)...

There was a Buddhist monk by the river Ganges and a peasant woman was doing her laundry.

Another person came up to the monk and said, "Look at her. She is a simple, happy person and when she dies she believes that her soul will float on the Ganges to heaven. Why do you live the hard life of a monk?"

The monk turns to him and says, "We're not in this life simply to be happy."

Atheism is not a golden ticket to happiness.

Atheism is the opportunity to get rid of all that Sky Fairy baggage.

If you put in the work, sort out your feelings and understand what it means to be without god(s) you will be a better (and probably) happier person.

But nothing is guaranteed...

In Purgatory.


  1. What happens when people lose their faith all depends on how much faith a person had to begin with. When I was a kid I believed in God simply because nobody told me any different, but religion was never a huge part of my childhood, and so when my brain developed further and I began to think about things, "losing my faith" was simply a gradual part of growing up. On the other hand, someone very close to me was raised Catholic and spent his elementary years in Catholic school and at mass three times a week (no lie), and "losing his faith" has been a much harder process for him.

  2. @ nakedpastor - thanks!

    @ Sarah - I coulodn't agree more. There is a great diversity of experience regarding folks who find Atheism

  3. Very true. And as far as happiness goes, I believe the phrase is, "Ignorance is bliss" (ignorance otherwise known as theism, of course). Even if we atheists aren't happier, we still can't choose to be ignorant.


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