Monicks: Unleashed

Thinking Critically


What lesson can we learn from atheists?

Chassidic literature can be inspiring. The story goes like this:

The Master teaches the student that God created everything in the world to be appreciated, since everything is here to teach us a lesson.

One clever student asks:

❝What lesson can we learn from atheists? Why did God create them?❞

The Master responds ❝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 acts are based on an inner sense of morality. And look at the kindness an atheist can bestow upon others simply because he feels it to be right.❞

❝This means,❞ the Master continued ❝that when someone reaches out to you for help, you should never say ‘I pray that God will help you.’ Instead, for the moment, you should become an atheist, imagine that there is no God who can help, and say ‘I will help you.’


5 Responses to What lesson can we learn from atheists?

  1. Mark Joseph says:

    This, plus the genocides and slavery of the bible, pretty much does it for the religionist’s argument that “morality can only come from god.”

    Or, as Steven Weinberg famously said, “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.”

  2. andrew parker says:

    That you think christians are motivated by divine punishment / reward says a lot. We are motivated because our hearts have been changed, whereas atheists dont even have a reliable moral system to start from.

    Here’s a heart that is unable to love:
    “I don’t owe you anything God. I can get my own things.” (the heart of every atheist)

  3. Bruce Lindman says:

    “We are motivated because our hearts have been changed”
    Changed from what? Because atheists act morally without having to have had their heart changed….

  4. Pingback: From the Facebook Files | Hebrew Hutong

  5. Mark Joseph says:

    @andrew parker
    Well, I’m able to love (at least, my wife, children, and friends seem to think so), so that makes me a counterexample to your “a heart that is unable to love…the heart of *every* atheist”. And somehow, I suspect that I am not the only one.
    On the lighter side, I found your comment that “atheists dont even have a reliable moral system to start from” hilarious, especially coming from someone who thinks that genocide, slavery, and misogyny are moral, as they were commanded by the god of the universe. A little thought will show that it’s actually the religious who don’t have a reliable moral system, as they kowtow to an external system, imposed by force majeure (and different in every religion), rather than having an internal system arrived at by reason, on the basis of a factual understanding of the world. Or, were you planning to provide some evidence that your particular god exists, and is the real god, as opposed to the 10,000 or so other gods that the human imagination has created in its own image?


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