As someone who was brought up in a religious family, there is something I have always wondered about when it comes to those who hold the belief that there is not God or gods of the world. Since this is the Lenten season, I thought this ramble was rather apropos.
I have only known a couple people personally who proclaim themselves to this belief system although I know there are many more. I have heard them in the public forums; news, entertainment, social media and the like. My understanding is this is a belief that there is no God. I also realize a belief in a god or God as I know him is deeply personal. We may never in this life be able to prove one way or another that a spiritual omnipotent being is real or not. It is a matter of faith.
One characteristic of atheists I have found seems to be one of intelligence and compassion. I have never met a self-proclaimed atheist who is rather, how shall we say, dull. Most as well seem to have a caring spirit for others. So here is my conundrum; why would someone who has this belief have these qualities.
The world is often seen as being divided into the camps of good and evil. On the surface they are clearly defined lines. If one struggles to stay true to these camps based on their beliefs, it is obvious the reasons a religious person would strive for good; it is the promise of the afterlife, or heaven, or whatever that belief system entails. But what of atheists? I assume there are good atheists and bad atheists. If one is a 'bad' atheist he risks nothing as there is nothing at risk in the way one lives their life. But what of the 'good' atheist? Why is he/she a good person when there is no fundamental reason to be so?
With seemingly no consequences to their actions, why would someone of this belief reach out to others to help, be it the underprivileged, the homeless or anyone else? Would being an atheist lead one to be more self-centered than anyone else in the general populace? If so why not? There is no reason based on the natures of good and evil to be any other way. Is that not the driving force behind how people live their lives?
Perhaps the Lenten season will bring me some insight into this question, or perhaps someone will reach out to enlighten me. Either way I'm sure it is a question I will ponder from time to time.