Nobody is lonelier than an atheist.


(You know what would be fabulous? If this blog (and therefore my life) had taken a nice, linear trajectory of ‘Oh! Somethings missing, what is it?’ ‘Hmmm, ultimate purpose and meaning’, ‘Oh look, here is is!’ Discuss. And the kind reader could enjoy the satisfaction of a joyful ‘transformation of the individual’ type scenario. But, unfortunately (for all of us), that doesn’t seem to be happening. We have a kind of ‘two-step-forward, three-step-back’ kind of look going on at the moment. Believe me, it irritates me more than it does you).

I’ve discussed my deep-down love for John Shore in the past; when I was just starting the whole ‘surely there must be more to this Christianity caper than the literalist bigots that get so much press’ caper, there he was. Advocating genuine neighbourly love-idge and just getting on board being nice to people, dammit. He had a conversion experience that irritates me, quite frankly (basically because he had it and I didn’t) but I’m learning not to hold that kind of thing against people (You can read about it here).

He has written several books; short and pitchy, with plenty of food for though and perfectly designed for a kindle download.

In his bookPenguins, Pain and the Whole Shebang’  which is basically a book dictated by God, to John (told you he was a bloody lucky chosen one) with 9 arguments that are often used against religion addressed.  The problem of evil, which is a popular one (and oddly enough not something that I have a huge issue with) to why it’s the Christian God, in particular, rather than just a ‘God’ in general (this is something I’m going to have to come back to).

There was one particular quote that really struck me, though;

…..not believing in a God means that you’re stuck being as alone in this world as anyone can be- or at least feeling you are, which amounts to the same thing. Nobody is lonelier than an atheist.”

Which, when it comes down to it, probably sums up the reason why people search for religion in the first place. Is this how my personal journey started? Hell yes it most certainly is.

But is the fact a person is simple lonely enough to base an entire system of belief on? Well, no, of course not and that’s when my brain starts the little ‘faith lemming dance’ of sabotage and I start with the ‘buts’.

It’s not as if I’m not inventing a belief system though, is it?. I’m trying to jump on the bandwagon of a belief system that the majority of people during the history of the world have found fairly convincing and fulfilling.  And one of the things that I really hate about the ‘new athiest’ wave is the superior and arrogant stance that is so often taken; the paternalistic ‘pat-patting’ on the head of believers.

If it was honestly about just making ourselves feel better about infinity, life, the Universe and all that, would faith have the sustained richness that it obviously does? How can we explain the transcendental experiences that have defined so many lives?

Meh. I really should rename this blog ‘Woman Asks Too Many Rhetorical Questions’.

Why do you think that we have religion? Because it makes us feel good, or because it defines an ultimate reality, and therefore could not have been avoided in our evolution?

14 thoughts on “Nobody is lonelier than an atheist.

  1. Hi! Brett here (posting from my screenname for my secret blog project for my wife)…

    Why do we have religion? First, that’s a huge-ass question. It can be because (a) there’s a God who’s been trying to make himself known to humankind and we’re slowly learning how to respond or (b) there’s a ton of stuff that makes no sense or that (c) we don’t like the idea of being the be all and end all of a cosmic accident.

    There are times when my faith makes little sense to me. There are times when it seems to explain everything. At this point, for better or worse, I believe because I can’t not believe. I believe because (according to my theology) I was convicted of my sin and granted mercy. It feels good at times. Sometimes it doesn’t. I do believe it’s an ultimate reality, but ultimate reality is reality whether I believe it or not.

    Thanks for your blog!

  2. I read some of John Shore’s blog, interesting conversion experience. But I bristle at the idea that atheists are more lonely than others. I could write a whole book on the Lonely Hearts Club that made up much of my Christian life. So many hurting, lonely Christians that I met along the way. Believe me, people like John Shore irritate a lot of Christians that wish they felt as sure about God’s love as he does.

    Loneliness is part of the human experience, irregardless of one’s creed or lack of creed, in my opinion.

    • That’s true. Most of my family are committed atheists and not particulary lonely. My interpretation of his statement,(and how it resonated with me), was a feeling of lonliness on an eternal scale, if it’s true that there is no soul and no reality after death. That’s what really hit me hard, and something that really pushed me to find some ‘other’ options.

  3. I get it….I still wonder if this is all there is? Driving home at night, stars out, moon shining, the world in a peaceful slumber…..makes you wish that this life could be forever.

  4. That last sentence caused an outburst of laughter. 🙂

    This is really excellent. I’ve been thinking about this subject myself. Currently, I’m an atheist, and I’m single. And I’m not the least bit lonely. Why should I be–after all, I’m just now chatting with you. Nothing lonely about that. (Unless you don’t reply. But I think you will.) 😉

    Anyhoo, I was thinking about the Dali Lama. Here’s a guy who was told that he was God, or at least one of them, when he was a child. Wow. How hard is that to deal with. Yet, I think he’s doing fine. For instance, he says, “I’m not a god. I’m just a Buddhist monk.” That’s really profound, I think. He’s making the most of his life with the hand he was dealt. He is familiar with being a Buddhist monk, and he’s doing the best he can with. Cool, huh?

    • Ha- sorry I left you lonely for a few days- for some reason technology has been exploding everytime I touch it for the last two weeks. Ive killed my ipad and my laptop. Be impressed 🙂
      And I guess I mean ‘lonely’ in the big picture, universal use of the world. I’m seldom alone in the pracal sense of the world but sometimes when its just me and my brain, things get a bit…quiet..
      Anyway, thanks SO much for reading. I really appreciate your perspective.

      • I thought I’d let you know the online magazine I’m operating, The WordExpress Weekly, is beginning a learning/discussion group about evolution and what it all means to us. I hope you join in. It would be nice to have your company. Thanks.

  5. Hi! Just wanted to comment here…having all these questions myself…between “deconverting” and re-defining what I have believed, what I haven’t, what is “ok” with me, and so forth…twirling around in a universe of ideas and maxims, platitudes and attitudes. Thanks for sharing your questions!! My most recent one is about belief. Does it make it “true” just because I believe it?

Comments are closed.