The members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation are spreading their religion again. Their latest attempt at atheism evangelism is with a banner that reads: “Relax: hell does not exist, or heaven either, enjoy your life.” The following is my attempt to show what could happen if a person followed this atheist ‘scripture’ verse consistently.
A conversation begins as a newly converted atheist follows a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation into a bar.
First Atheist: I noticed your banner that I should enjoy life because there’s no hell. Do you mean that after death there won’t be a God to judge me for what I do or don’t do while I am alive?
Second Atheist: Yes. In fact, there won’t be anyone or anything to judge you and me. There’s no karma or transmigration of the soul. As the song says, “All we are is dust in the wind.” Furthermore, God is a fictional character that humans created a long time ago to give meaning to life before there was science. When something in the world could not be explained, humans attributed the unknown to supernatural entities like gods and devils, spirits and sprites. Since the advent of science, we know that only matter matters. If it can’t be seen under a microscope or its properties can’t be measured, it doesn’t exist. Invisible beings like gods, ghosts, and goblins can’t exist in a world that is now defined by the physical sciences.
First Atheist: So if I can’t see it or examine it, it does not exist. If a claimed entity does not have any physical properties, it does not exist.
Second Atheist: Yes. Science has come a long way to remove many religious superstitions of the past. They’re still with us, but our organization is working overtime to eliminate every vestige of religion and the supernatural from our world.
First Atheist: I’m so relieved. All my life I was taught that there was a divine being who brought the world into existence, expressed His character in a specific moral code, and one day would judge me based on how I measured up to that moral code. So you’re saying that no such entity exists and I’m free to enjoy life on my terms. I want to be sure about this. There’s a lot riding on your belief system.
Second Atheist: Yes. As our banners say, “Relax: hell does not exist, or heaven either, enjoy your life.”
First Atheist: I’m so glad you said that. Your banner caught my attention and makes my life worth living. I have purpose. Any guilt I had is gone. Now give all your money and the keys to your car. I also want the PIN numbers to all your accounts. If you don’t do what I say, I’m going to blow your brains out.
Second Atheist: We are free to enjoy life as long as our enjoyment does not infringe upon the rights of others.
First Atheist: Who says? On what basis is this true and obligatory?
Second Atheist: It’s common decency.
First Atheist: Who gets to determine what’s decent?
Second Atheist: It’s wrong to steal and murder.
First Atheist: No. At this moment in time it’s unlawful to steal and what religious people claim is murder. Laws are social conventions that are a holdover from our superstitious religious past. Survival of the fittest is the true basis of non-religious evolutionary origins. Laws are constantly changing. That shows that there are no moral absolutes. As atheists we can’t prove that moral absolutes exist since no one has ever seen a moral absolute or has been able to study one. They’re like the phantasms we dismiss as being unreal.
Second Atheist: But there all kinds of moral absolutes that can be studied.
First Atheist: Show me one. You said that only the physical is real. God is not a material entity that can be studied by the standards of science, so He cannot exist. That’s what we atheists claim. Show me the physical laws against murder and stealing. Of course, you can’t because they don’t exist given our materialist assumptions.
Second atheist: Reason tells us that murder and stealing are wrong.
First atheist: That’s the best you can come up with? Reason? I think it’s very reasonable to take your stuff because I’ll enjoy all of its benefits. Your sign tells everybody to enjoy themselves. This is how I want to enjoy myself. Anyway, whose version of reason should I follow? Yours? It seems reasonable to me to take your stuff since you aren’t really being consistent with your belief system. You’re holding on to the remnants of religion and the fictional worldview that it spawned. Every so-called tyrant (atheism can’t say if anything is tyrannical) believed he was being ultimately reasonable. Adolf Hitler didn’t believe he was being irrational. Neither did Lenin or Stalin, and they killed (not murdered) millions for what they claimed were very rational reasons. The French fought a revolution for the absoluteness of reason. Guess what? They took people’s stuff and killed people in the name of reason and called it “virtue.”
Second Atheist: But civilization depends on laws and morality.
First Atheist: A consistent atheist cannot account for meaning, morality, or rationality. If there is no judgment after death, then there is no difference between Adolf Hitler and the world’s greatest humanitarian. Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Josef Stalin would argue that they were working for a world that they believed would bring the most joy for themselves and those like them. . . . Now that I think about it, I don’t like this atheism thing. If I can rob and kill you with no eternal consequences, then other people can do the same to me. Your banner is pretty stupid. You need to think through your belief system before you end up like fellow-atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair who along with her son Jon and granddaughter “had been cut into dozens of pieces with a saw.” An atheist killed other atheists. “Relax,” he said to himself. “Hell does not exist, or heaven either, enjoy your life.” And he did just that.