Become an Atheist

helpingothers

Just saw this as a comment on another blog. I think most of my readers will enjoy the thought behind it. The contributor indicated it’s a story from Hasidic literature.

A student asked the Rabbi, “Why did God create atheists?”

The great Rabbi replied. “God created atheists to teach us the most important lesson of them all; the lesson of true compassion. You see, when an atheist performs an act of charity, visits someone who is sick, helps someone in need, and cares for the world, he is not doing so because of some religious teaching.

He does not believe that God commanded him to perform this act. In fact, he does not believe in God at all, so his actions are based on his sense of morality. Look at the kindness he bestows on others simply because he feels it to be right. When someone reaches out to you for help, you should never say “I’ll pray that God will help you.” Instead, for that moment, you should become an atheist – imagine there is no God who could help, and say “I will help you.”

Sure beats “thoughts and prayers,” doesn’t it?

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Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

33 thoughts on “Become an Atheist

  1. Just as one can have a “sense of morality” irrespective of a belief in God, so can one believe in (at least the possibility of) a Creator with believing in the God of (any) religion. Granted, the thought of an impersonal Creator is no doubt more rational than comforting….which is why I have compassion for those who genuinely take solace in their religion (in much the same way that the Rabbi can walk in the same shoes as the atheist).

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I’ve read somewhere that the Jewish religion is responsible for more atheists than anything else. I think it was in a collection of quotes of Jewish wildmen who lived in caves up in the mountains. I’m sure it wasn’t some Old Chinese Guy, though it may have been on The Rez.

    Outstanding quote, should be a link on a blogroll somewhere …

    Liked by 5 people

    • ANY religión is, ALL religions are, responsable for atheists. In thinking persons, the mere idea of a God, a Creator (that, moreover, must be worshipped because it is a Supreme Being), either takes hold, or is rejected.
      .-

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Sure beats “thoughts and prayers,” doesn’t it?” Perhaps the religious in your neck of the wood have a belief that God does the bidding of followers. That’s not my understanding. May I quote from “Faith and Practice” -a regularly updated document within the religious tradition I practise:

    2.28
    There is little point in praying to be enabled to overcome some temptation, and then putting oneself in the very position in which the temptation can exert all its fascination. There is little point in praying that the sorrowing may be comforted and the lonely cheered, unless we ourselves set out to bring comfort and cheer to the sad and neglected in our own surroundings. There is little point in praying for our home and for our loved ones, and in going on being as selfish and inconsiderate as we have been. Prayer would be an evil rather than a blessing if it were only a way of getting God to do what we ourselves will not make the effort to do. God does not do things for us – he enables us to do them for ourselves. [emphasis mine]
    ELISABETH HOLMGAARD, 1984

    2.29
    The sick and those caring for them have need of our prayers. But let us not imagine … that a few sentimental good wishes from a distance are all that is needed. Whenever we intercede in prayer we must be prepared for an answer which places a practical obligation upon us. A prayer is always a commitment. [emphasis mine]
    THOMAS F GREEN, 1952

    My understanding of prayer, and my experience of religious people I personally know is that it is a call to action, not of God, but of ourselves. YMMV

    Liked by 4 people

  4. “Beliefs are choices. First you choose your beliefs. Then your beliefs affect your choices.” – Roy T. Bennett

    “Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.”
    – Sukhraj Dhillon

    “It is pointless to ask from the gods what one is fully able to attain for oneself.”
    Epicurus

    The blessings and the commandments of God only come to us through the hands and lips of man. (Mankind.) I don’t think any of us can testify that we have received anything directly from God.

    When someone prays for a thing and they don’t get a response, their first recourse is to look inward and try to find the flaws that made them ‘unworthy’ of the blessing. The Pastor/Priest is quick to encourage that self-examination. Never is there a question that maybe it’s God’s fault.

    First, believers are taught that “God is spirit” and we are not able to understand His ways. Then we are told that we must become spiritual and godlike. The Pastor/Priest will show believers the goal, but they will always keep it just out of reach. One can never live a life that meets God’s approval. Just when you think you have asked forgiveness for each and every sin, if you ask He will forgive, you learn that the audacity to think you are free of sin is also a sin. The church owns you as long as you are weak enough to accept its dominion.

    I have noticed a thing in Christianity at the upper levels of its current leaders: They lie furiously and fearlessly. If they believe in and fear ‘a wrathful God’ then why do they make it a laughing stock? They know it’s BS. They have no fear of retribution from the God they claim to serve.

    Liked by 5 people

    • cagjr: “I have noticed a thing in Christianity at the upper levels of its current leaders: They lie furiously and fearlessly. If they believe in and fear ‘a wrathful God’ then why do they make it a laughing stock? They know it’s BS. They have no fear of retribution from the God they claim to serve.”

      Zoe: Especially here: ” They have no fear of retribution from the God they claim to serve.”

      I tend to agree that they know it’s BS, if not consciously, certainly unconsciously (taking into account how they ended up in the position in the first place). I don’t think they fear God, they fear exposure and the lies cover up their own truth. The God they are serving is themselves.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. My understanding is that if Christians and any religious people claim the moral high ground like they always do they should be more forgiving, more helpful, more truthful, more friendly, more loving, more giving and donating to the poor and needy than any atheists. However some, especially the extremist Trump Christians seem to be better liers, better haters, better dictators, better at conspiracies, better discriminators and better at violence and basically have become all round nasty people.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Alternatively, for many of us, as children our thoughts about the reality of this world were directed to a hazy vision of supernatural influence by our vaguely religious parents. Then we grew up, and as we read and thought our way to our own adult identity, the childish notions of an influential “God” and “prayer” got discarded, as in completely.
    Not so for this alleged “Rabbi.” He still uses the childish term of “God” to make basic point that all antheisismists know. What’s his excuse?
    At least that moron Sarah Palin got her ass kicked in her latest phony-baloney electoral attempt. i credit you, Nan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • why is it necessary to form a specify community which meets on a particular day? Most of us are enmeshed in multiple communities…families, neighborhoods, coworkers, friends. Church is not really the only or best option given how toxic many churches can be.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Could be your only option, I don’t know. Rephrase. Do wildebeests herd up or do they prefer to congregate individually with zebra’s?
        Like I’m a Catholic but my church is UCC.

        Like

    • Yes! Although smaller, and further apart. There is The Atheist Community of Austin, (check out their podcast videos on YouTube) and several other Atheist Community groups around the US. There are Humanist groups, and Free Thinker groups. My most recent Free Thinkers Group brunch, had 22, at a local restaurant. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • You misunderstand. I’m not looking for a religion. I have dozens to choose from. I don’t do phones for conversation and this medium though fun might as well be snail mail without the record. I want to see and touch the people I am talking to. In my old line of work I needed no watch for time and the phone only alerted me to where I had to be. Hard habits to break.
        Why do YOU not want it to be a “religion”? Neither believers or nons can “prove” their work so what difference does it make?
        Also thanks to Archon’s Den there is a “coffee meeting” at 1:30 that sounds intriguing.
        After the isolation of Covid don’t you people want to get out and mingle with like minds?

        Like

        • I tend to think the hang-up here is the use of the words “atheist” and “religion.” Putting those aside, try to view this as simply an opportunity to meet with like-minded individuals. Some folk need that interaction. Others don’t. In fact, for some, the Unity Universal “Church” is a solution since it often serves as a transition point for “new” atheists.

          Personally, I no longer care to be associated with any group — of any shade. But that’s me.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Social disorder often stems from failure to call things by their proper names. A religion is not a god as I rectify it nor does the fact that a “set” with nothing in it is still a “set”.
          A couple is a group. Evolution has split us in half to better extend the linage but even the hermaphrodites of the earth tend to gather in groves.

          Like

  7. That is a refreshing sentiment, and one I have thought true for a long time now.

    As Mak said, ’round these parts “I’ll pray for you,” is more a sign they refuse to lift a finger to help. In some cases it’s an out and out insult.

    Which leaves me wondering, are assholes drawn to religion, or does religion create the asshole?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I doubt, that anyone gets their morals from their religion. Most members in any religion sure do not. People, religious and atheist alike, get their morals from their personal experience, biological drive of the social species and cultural heritage – part of wich may or may not be some religious ideals. For example Christianity has not come to an agreement about suicide, or abortion. The religion in itself does not inform Christians one way, or another, but their many sects have developed very precise moralist views of these, despite the fact, that their god remains absolutely silent on the subjects even in the scibl… tures alledgedly meant as moral guidance from said god. On subjects the Christians claim they have a direct source on the opinion of their god, by far most are not interresrted to hear it at all and they invent the most complex mind games to excuse themselves from having to do what is suggested, when it is something inconvenient, like selling all your property and giving ALL the money to the poor (or to the apostols, as in the case of Ananias and Saphira). From this, I deduct, that while religion may partly inform morals, it does not dictate it, but much more likely only serves as an excuse to what the religious person would see as moral for a multitude of other reasons and sometimes it is presented as an excuse, for the rest of the people to accept as authorative moral for something that the believer wants, wether they think it is moral, or not.

    Liked by 3 people

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