Death: The Atheist’s Nightmare

Saw this on Way of the Master Radio’s website.  Man is prideful in life but fearful in death.  As the Scripture says:

Isaiah40:6-8 – “…All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”

So often people wait until tragedy strikes to consider their lives before the Almighty.  For many however, this putting off and ignoring of their conscience goes on too long.  Don’t put off for tomorrow what can be done today.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by grinningthorn on April 25, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    While I’m sure the thought of atheists trembling in their death beds satisfies a dark sense of self righteousness for some, it has not been my experience that atheists face death in this way. I have personally known one atheist, one of two people in my life I have called my “best friend”, who when suffering a long fatal illness never altered his views on religion and suffered no anxiety over retribution in an “afterlife”. Carl Sagan is a more public example that comes to mind. Never once during his battle with Leukemia did he alter his lifelong atheistic stance. There are others.

    People of faith should not find it threatening to think that there are people of good education and sound personal principles who lead fulfilled, happy, creative and meaningful lives- without utilizing any concept of God– right up to the end. If all “God” does for you is stave off a fear of existential meaninglessness, then you don’t have faith, you have Marx’s “opium of the masses”.

    Would that those who call themselves religious in this world behaved with half of the dignity and respect for others I have seen in many an atheist. (While not an atheist myself I am a scientist and hence my occupation places me among many atheists.)A few more atheists in the moslem world and what a different place we would all be in. Northern Ireland could use a few also, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of people tortured, burned,boiled, sawed and stoned in the name of God through out history.

    Reply

  2. Certainly not everyone would be this way – but it was interesting to note the words of some of the people cited in that video don’t you think?

    Belief in God does not ensure a happy life, as much as denying His existance means you will have trouble in this life. That isn’t the point – the point is when it comes down to it, suffering and death of any person often will cause them to reconsider their views on God.

    As to your final point – would you agree also that the world could use a few less atheists – like Pol Pot and Stalin and others who have caused so much tragedy in the world?

    Calling yourself a Christian does not ensure one behaves like one. But those who truly do follow the words of Jesus do not cause others to suffer while those who hold to no moral standard don’t have to care either way.

    Reply

  3. Posted by grinningthorn on May 6, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Victor, Sorry I took so long to read your reply.
    Regarding the video: I don’t know that I found what those people had to say particularly intersting. It certainly doesn’t tell me anything new.
    The point– I was not trying to argue that being a theist or an atheist makes one happy or sad in this life. In fact, I was arguing that neither guarantees anything in this life– a view you seem to share. But then you go on to say that facing death causes people to reconsider their view on God. Again, what I tried to show by a few (admittedly) examples is that what you say is not a rule. Atheists don’t as a rule reconsider their view of God when dying or suffering. If I have seen anything it is that suffering and death often cause theists to question their beliefs.

    Finally, I do agree that those who struggle to honestly follow the teachings of Jesus with a humble heart, fully aware of their frail humanity, do not cause suffering to others, as a rule. I would not state that however, categorically, as you do. I think you have a much too simple view of atheism and morality. God and morality are in no way necessarily linked. It is entirely possible to do good things and not believe in God.

    …and yes, (although I suspect you will make of it more than it means), the world would be better off without people like Pol Pot. However, I don’t think being an atheist caused Pol Pot to do the horrible things he did. Rather I think it was the fact that he was first and foremost a man who loved evil. The atheism I suspect was just icing on the cake. The causes of good and evil behavior are never simple.

    Reply

  4. Thanks for continuing this conversation. To your second paragraph’s comment about categorically followers of Jesus don’t cause suffering on others -that is a hard statement for me to make because in reality, according to the standards that Jesus’ own words make, those who aren’t really following him aren’t really his followers (earth shattering isn’t it? 🙂 ). So those who do follow him won’t hurt others..that will be the way it is, and those who do, aren’t his followers…

    As to your third paragraph, why wouldn’t being an athiest allow Pol Pot to do what he did? Without the final moral authority and standard that his own conscience initially gave him (which he eventually ignored) there is no need for him and others to not do the evil they want to do.

    What do you think the causes of evil and good are?

    Reply

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