8/4/13

The Benefits of Atheism

Jason Wester (Evolving Ideas) has a great post on the benefits of atheism I recommend reading. He notes that many of us in Mississippi are highly critical of religion, especially the evangelical fundamentalist Christianity which surrounds us. While he acknowledges that we have several good reasons for our criticism, he suggests that there is something to be said for making a positive case for atheism.
Those criticisms aside, the point of this piece is to move beyond the criticism of Christianity and to outline why atheism is a far better choice for a person looking to lead a happy, fulfilling life.  Atheism is often cast as a negative philosophy that offers nothing positive to he or she who abandons belief in deities.  I have found the opposite to be true.  They day I woke up and admitted to myself that I not longer believed in the Christian god was one of the happiest days of my life.  A heavy load fell off my back, and I felt free.  Atheism, as a philosophical way of living, offers much that can help people find happiness in their lives.
Jason provides give examples of the benefits of atheism, elaborating on each:
  1. Atheism offers freedom of thought. 
  2. Freedom of thought leads to the ability to think more clearly, to entertain possibilities that were unavailable before. 
  3. Atheism focuses on life, not death. 
  4. An atheist need not fear death. 
  5. Atheism leads to a more developed sense of morality, a better system of ethics.
It looks like he has followed up this post with a second part, Baptized into Reality: The Benefits of Atheism, Part 2. I applaud the effort. I would be an atheist even if it had no benefits whatsoever because the evidence for gods just isn't there; however, I think Jason is right to address some of the benefits as a way of showing that atheism is quite different from what many Christians think it is.

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