I love this passage from a story by an atheist AA. I completely agree.
“So in this way, I have been learning from my friends. I guess it’s all about acceptance. This is a concept they push a lot in AA, and there it is mostly a very godly thing: “Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in god’s world by mistake,” it says in The Big Book – and therefore we should accept everything.
Well, right off I think this is a bunch of shit. I have to say I don’t understand why I should or would accept things any less if instead everything, absolutely everything in “god’s world” happens by random chaos. There’s almost even more reason to accept it then because there is no way at all for me to control it.
With a god in charge, I could at least try to influence god to do things my way by praying for something, in other words, not accept god’s initial decisions after all, at least until he had taken time out to consider that maybe I had a better idea than he did. But with no god there to meddle with it all, what else can I do but to accept it?
Things are so much simpler without a god. I don’t have to concern myself with whether I go to heaven or hell after I die since neither one makes sense to me. I don’t have to wonder about my score, and whether events in my life are god’s way of rewarding me for good behavior, or punishing me, or giving me a challenge to learn from or whatever. Christians concern themselves with all that stuff way too much.
I’m simply here while I’m here, and I don’t have to clutter my mind with all that. I guess I could be called an existentialist. Believers get their morals from gods. To me, common sense is enough. I don’t want to argue with anyone about the meaning of life. Life is whatever we make of it. I can see with my own eyes that things go better in this world if I speak my truth, and conduct myself in a socially kind and responsible manner.
The meaning in my life comes from what I put into it. Ultimately one could say there is no meaning to anything. But we don’t live in a vacuum. My life has meaning in the context I live in. I have a partner, a daughter, friends I care about. I have a beautiful place where I can sit by my pond and simply be one day, and with all sorts of projects to work on another day. I have my artwork and my writing. This all has meaning in the context I live in.
I don’t need to make it complicated and ponder ultimate, irreducible questions and problems. I have been raised in a society which, while mostly Christian, has given me a variety of moral values. Doesn’t mean I would call those values Christian values, I think that is putting things on their head.
Rather, over the centuries society has infused their religion with the moral values they were going to live by anyway because in the course of the development of a culture certain ways of people relating to each other make better sense than others.
So as a society, you can collectively arrive at a social contract that says don’t kill or steal from your neighbor, or you can put together a religion that tells you the same thing. It’s nice to have it sanctioned or commanded by a god. Gives it authority and weight. If you believe in that god. Otherwise, you can just arrive at the same social contract by seeing that it works, and so may as well go by it. Same difference to me. I just can’t see making life’s big questions too big. Keep it simple.”