The Life of an Atheist and Agnostic

by Golf 45 Replies latest jw experiences

  • AlmostAtheist

    Perfectly legitimate and reasonable question! I just had a JW tell me that an atheist's world is a dark, dismal, dreary one. I told him I've never heard an atheist comment to that effect, had he? He never answered.

    I live to be happy. That's really about it.

    If I help other people be happy, that makes me happy. If I make people sad, it hurts me, so I avoid it.

    If I like eating certain foods, I do. Often. I avoid doing things I don't like doing, unless doing them makes someone else happy, which makes me happy.

    I give to beggars and charities. I prefer personal giving, but giving to an impersonal charity makes me happy, too.

    Having removed the supernatural side of my life, I don't sense that I'm missing anything, living worse, enjoying life less, or less hopeful about the future. If anything, I feel much better overall. (But in fairness, I only have my JW days to compare to, so take the observation for what it's worth.)

    I dream of going on vacations to beautiful, exotic places. Might happen someday, and I'll enjoy it. Or not, and the time I spent dreaming about it will have been fun, too.

    One day I'll go to sleep (just like I do every night) and there won't be a next day for me. I won't even know I'm gone.

    Dave of the "loving life" class

  • Eyebrow2

    That is a very good question, and one I struggled with when I left the KH.

    As an Agnostic...(I guess I am afraid of commitment hahah) I no longer need to be motivated to live my life by fear and guilt. It is a good feeling.

    I just did a "talk" on Happiness Without God this past Saturday at my "church". Well, my family and I belong to a Humanist Fellowship, it is a group based on reason, not theism and belief in the supernatural. We are either agnostic or atheist. Anyhoo...I am not a great writer, nor a great speaker, but I found a very good article that addresses some of what you ask.

    If you are interested, the link to the article and my comments on it are on my blog at Please feel free to make comments if you wish.

  • Golf

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts, I found them interesting.

    Amazing how a simple question can evoke such different responses.

    I ask this question in innonence, yet I get a comment that its 'insulting and foolish.' Can't a person ask an innoncent question without attaching a wrong motive to it? Why are certain questions on this forum taken the wrong way?

    I'm a curious person and I wanted to get an insight on this subject. How else are you going to understand how and why people think and act the way they do?

    Anyways, thanks again for your thoughts.


  • Abaddon


    I hope I, and those I love, will have good lives. I hope people base their life on respect for their fellow man's rights, base their actions, their votes on what the world needs to be like in fifty years time to be better, more peaceful, than it is now. I hope when I am gone, I am remembered by those who knew me with affection.


    I think by dreams you mean unrealistic aspirations, as distinct from REM. I'm really unimaginative in this area, and can happily spend a half-hour planning how I would spend a lottery win.


    To do something that matters.

    Given, as I think, that our ability to experience lives as we do is utterly fantastic, but there doesn't seem to be a 'plan', a 'divine purpose', even if there IS a god, I cannot draw on the conventional interpretations of religions. They all claim or assume a plan. I think one must also always respect others, their right to live life their own way, and they yours, provided by doing people are not harmed. That is common-sense. But beyond that, there isn't a plan, unless it is "be excellent unto one another". And that in a way is enlightened self-interest, although of a species that makes you feel nice. And yes, there are very good reasons why we would evolve that way.

    Thus life apparently in itself is meaningless.

    This is the key, for me.

    We, ourselves, no one else, is ultimately responsible for our actions (given disease et. al.). We can give our lives meaning, make it matter, as whether something means something or matters is totally down to us. Pottery. Painting. Poetry. I can keep up the aliteration all night. Maybe. Paediatrics, for example - which whilst in some ways be 'better', is not what neccesarily will give everyone's life meaning.

    This is frightening yet liberating. The most fantastic opportunity one could ask for. One I'm sure I will balls-up to some extent, but hopefully not do too bad and have a good life.

  • under74

    I think I have many of the same hopes and dreams as believers (have a good life and have many joys)...I just don't think that if things go bad that it'll all be sorted out later in heaven or after armegeddon. I have to sort it all out now if I can or do it now and not wait.

    Anyway...despite sorrows in my life, it's been good. I've had a lot of laughs and learned much.

  • dedpoet

    I just hope to for a happy, fulfilled life for myself and for those I love. As for the hereafter, I no longer believe that there is anything beyond death, no heaven, no hell and definitely no new system, so I don't waste any time thinking about it.

  • greendawn

    The theists will say that the atheists have no hope, belief, or aspirations beyond this life, thus their prospects are therefore limited to 70 or 80 years.

    The atheists will say that the theists are labouring under the illusion of eternal life, and it's better to be realistic and accept something inferior rather than hope on something superior but imaginary.

  • cheezy


    Not at all a stupid question and I can not add anything to the great answers already given.

    But about the insulting comment: I can only think that someone is overly sensitive to the notion that without the WTS and Jehover life is empty and meaningless. When I was a little girl and heard about someone being disfellowshipped, I got this mental picture of a tragic, depraved individual in rags, with bloodshot eyes, sitting in a dark, dank cave somewhere, smoking something vile and mumbling incantations to Satan. These images have been purposely implied by the brainwashing machinations of the WTS. As I have said before, the most frequent question I got from JW's after I left was "if this isn't the truth, then what is?" I didn't know - and I still don't - but the WTS sure isn't it.

    As Barbara Harrison titled a chapter in her JW book - "The Lure of Certainty" - JWs have been conditioned to need - desperately - to have some inside track and feel superior to others. They just have to KNOW - they are uncomfortable with an open mind. It feels too ....................empty.

  • mkr32208

    It is an insulting question! It implies that without your version of god there's nothing in life worth living! Kind of like walking up to a handicapped person and saying "you can't walk like me why don't you just shoot yourself" (of course to me the christians, hindus, jews islamics etc are the handicapped ones!) Now maybe that's not the way you intended it but that's how it came across to me, sorry if I misread!

    As to being too sensitive about being atheist... Well, welcome to Bill Oreillys America!

  • garybuss

    I like funkyderek's short answer. I'll go with that. I think if it won't fly, there's an extremely good chance it's not an airplane.

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