A common mis-conception about atheism is that life is more empty without the promise of an eternal and blissful after-life. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, the opposite is true. Life becomes more amazing and worth living when you throw away the limiting rhetoric of religion! This article is all about my new life philosophy, which developed out of my newfound atheism.
According to many of the mainstream religions, especially the big three (Christianity, Islam & Judaism), your life is just an extremely long and complicated test to determine whether or not you get admission into paradise when you die.
If you live a religious life and follow the rules of the scriptures, most of which you probably aren’t even aware of, you get to spend eternity with your loved ones in heaven.
These rules are complex, arbitrary and in some cases unknown by religious people. Some examples pop up in the Old Testament of the Christian’s Bible. A Christian might say all these rules were overruled by the coming of Jesus and the New Testament – that just seems too convenient for me though. Here are just a few of the Old Testament rules I speak of:
- Stone your child with the townspeople if your child is undisciplined (Deuteronomy)
- Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric (Leviticus)
- Don’t cut your hair, nor shave (Leviticus)
- Don’t have a variety of crops in the same field (Leviticus)
- Women must be submissive to their husbands (Peter)
- Women must wear head coverings in any place of worship (Corinthians)
Religious people believe if they live a good life, by the rules, they score themselves a ticket to paradise. The focus therefore is on the after-life. This life is no more important than a year 12 english exam. They only do what they need to do to pass the exam/secure a ticket into heaven.
I think very differently. I am not convinced by the flimsy, at best, and clearly man-made evidence presented to us, so I made the assumption that there is probably nothing waiting for me on the other side. This isn’t a revelation that leads to joining a gang, robbing banks and kidnapping children, it rather presents more motivation to make the most out of the life I have. The focus is on this life, not the one that may or may not (probably not) come next.
Your life is so much more beautiful and awe inspiring when you think that nothing created us, it was an accident that this planet exists, and that I exist. That the chances of me being born were so ridiculously low from the time of conception, that it is freakishly lucky that I get to spend even a speck of time walking, talking, eating, writing – there is nothing that doesn’t seem wonderful anymore.
I don’t want to die, not because I fear judgment, instead it is because I want to spend as much time on this planet, in this life with our loved ones, as possible – knowing odds are I don’t get another shot at it.
Why wouldn’t you be more inspired to live a meaningful life as an atheist? Start a business. Make a new friend. Travel to Mexico. Do it, you only get one shot!
Come to think of it, I don’t understand why any religious person would fear death at all. Shouldn’t they welcome it? Wouldn’t dying young be a ‘blessing’? I know that’s a bold statement, but wouldn’t death mean you don’t have to spend any more time on this planet than you need to? You get to start the after-life early – a queue jump of sorts. Instead, and I’m sure this is true for a majority of regular religious people, they do fear death. Is it because there is still that 1% of doubt? Are they afraid they weren’t a good enough person? That is a lot of stress to be dealing with in your final moments.
In comparison, I intend to spend the time on my deathbed filtering through all my fondest memories. Awe struck by all the amazing things I got to experience in my short time on this rock in space.
I’m sure there are plenty of religious people absolutely making the most out of life, and there would be atheists who really aren’t, my point is though that atheism presents a foundation for an inspiring, motivating and thankful world view. Whereas religion really short changes the spectacle of life, and teaches people that what comes next is all that matters.
Becoming an atheist was one of the most intellectually satisfying decisions I have made in my life so far. It improved my overall outlook and continues to motivate me to be the best version of myself. With my new life philosophy, every moment is special.