Is a life without a god hopeless?

By Brian B.

What would you think of a person who came up to you, broke both your legs, and after you had wallowed in your misery for a little while, offered you a pair of crutches? Most of us would be confused and bewildered, (not to mention angry) at this behavior. Yet this is exactly what is being done to the minds of Christians everywhere.

One of the main things I've noticed about the Christians at my university is that they are utterly convinced that a life without God is a hopeless, pointless existence. They assume that people who lose their faith are wallowing in a pit of never-ending despair, that they have a hole in their hearts that they are trying to fill with 'the things of this world', but to no avail. Oh, if only those poor lost souls could know the tender mercy of our Lord and Savior!

I remember taking a writing class with a professor who loved to go off on tangents. One of the things he said struck me, because it showed me just how much Christians have this view entrenched in their minds. He said he walked by a shady masseuse parlor that promised clients "a real girlfriend experience" and that it filled him with sadness because he could see how lonely people with searching hearts might find respite there, and how it illustrated people's need for God.

That's right, people, if you don't have religion, you'd better start heading down to the masseuse parlor now. It's your only hope.

These are the type of people who think that every time you go out on Friday nights, you're not really just trying to have a good time, you're trying to fill your soul. That popping of the tab on your beer can is really the groaning of your aching heart.

Of course, like any other religious doctrine, the idea of life being pointless without a deity must be ingrained in you at a young age. Thus the crutch metaphor, and it goes something like this:

The parent is standing over his child holding the iron bar of religion over his prostrate child and begins.

"There is no hope in this squalid world!"


"Ever material thing is empty and meaningless!"


"You will never find what you are looking for down here!"


"You are a wretched sinner not worthy of any grace!"


And so on, until the child's legs are sufficiently crippled. Then, the parent sets the bar down and holds up a pair of crutches.

"But there is a big man in the sky who cares about you," he croons. "And since this world is so wicked and meaningless, you need to fix your eyes on him!" The child gratefully accepts the crutches. The parent continues, "This is the only way you can go on in this life. You part from these crutches, and you will drop dead in your tracks."

I really do believe that some people have an emotional NEED for there to be a god. But I believe that this need must be planted in them, that it is not naturally there. For a while, I believed I had that need. But when I tossed the crutches, I realized I could walk perfectly fine without them. And suddenly the world was wide-open and full of possibilities, and I needed not be frightened of them. I'm not saying that atheists are always happy, or that we never search for answers. But I will say this: A life without a god or religion is only hopeless if you DECIDE it is. If you decide that you can be a fulfilled person by having a naturalistic view of life, then it's absolutely possible. Hell, anything is.

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