So a bunch of my atheist Facebook friends are sharing a really stupid Yahoo News article which Dan Fincke quite accurately summarized as follows:
Atheists, you would really be so much cooler if you were depressed and depressing? Why can’t you just accept that religious interpretations of existence would be awesome and that being an atheist is just awful? Because that would be HONEST. You LIARS who stubbornly insist on living outside of your intellectual opponents’ paradigms as though they, like, weren’t valid or something. But of course they must be. You liars.
(Just to show you this isn’t a distortion, the title of the article is “Where are the honest atheists?” and the first sentence is “That godlessness might be both true and terrible is something that the new atheists refuse to entertain.”)
Now I need to start my own reaction with a very big “IF.” If you define God as a perfect being, all-powerful, all-knowing, morally perfect (including just, loving, etc.), and whatever else it takes to make a perfect being, and you totally ignore what a monster God is in orthodox Abrahamic monotheism (something I don’t think atheists are under any obligation to do every time we use the word “God”)–if you stipulate that, then yeah, it’s too bad that God doesn’t exist.
But you know what else is too bad? It’s too bad that Batman doesn’t exist. It’s too bad that Superman doesn’t exist. It’s too bad that life isn’t fair, the world isn’t perfect, and–as the Rolling Stones pointed out–you can’t always get what you want. Being an adult means you deal with stuff like that, rather than wasting a lot of your and everybody else’s time talking about how terrible they are.
And part of the reason I can agree that it’s too bad God doesn’t exist is that I think that if there were an all-powerful, loving god, thinks like little girls getting raped and beaten to death wouldn’t happen. The claim that the world is the creation of a perfect god, and this is the best he could do is not one I find comforting.
(Note: in case you’re confused by the page image, that’s a picture of the Samaritan, a character from the excellent comic book series Astro City which you should totally read, using his empyrean web to hold a collapsing building together while the people inside evacuate. Wouldn’t it be nice if stuff like that actually happened?)