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Austin Cline

With Atheism, What's the Point of Getting Out of Bed?

By April 25, 2007

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Many religious believers seem convinced that with atheism, it's impossible for a person to have any reason to do much of anything with their lives. When a person derives all of their meaning and purpose from a narrow set of theistic and religious beliefs, it may be hard for them to conceive of others achieving the same things in any other way — but it is possible. Atheists don't have trouble getting out of bed in the morning and don't need theism or religion to enjoy their lives.

Grand Rapids Atheist provides his reaction to this question:

I have never been afraid or needed to search for a reason to go to bed. I have a hard time going to sleep because I feel like I am missing out on life. I am eager for each new day and I cherish each day, no matter how boring or bad.

Why?

I don't believe in an afterlife. Once you believe in an eternal life that is infinitely better than the one you are currently in every experience, every flower, every moment, every glimpse of beauty and every human interaction becomes that much more meaningless compared to “what is to come”. This world is reduced simply to “a place to wipe your feet”.

I get out of bed and enjoy and treasure every second I get. I fill my head with knowledge and meaningful relationships. I enjoy every second I get with my son and wife, and all my family. When I am sad I am happy that I can feel enough happiness to understand sadness. I enjoy the ups and downs of real life. I have people who love me, I create my own thoughts and art. I enjoy other peoples art. I enjoy nature and the wonders of the real world.

The idea that atheists have no reason to get out of bed in the morning is disturbingly common — if not as an explicit claim, then has a premise behind some other myth or claim. Religious theists who take this position are effectively assuming that only their way of life is possible and that any attempt to do anything else must necessarily result in failure. This represents a tremendous lack of imagination — indeed, if religious theists can't even imagine how atheists can get out of bed in the morning and enjoy life, then it's difficult to see how any discussion on any other matters could ever proceed.

Comments
April 25, 2007 at 1:13 pm
(1) showme says:

Why does a theist get out of bed? After all, they believe that this world is just a prelude to the hereafter. Therefore this one doesn’t really matter.

April 25, 2007 at 2:30 pm
(2) BBQ says:

Probably to score point so they actually GET into heaven. Plus, suicide is a big no-no so the only alternative would be to lie there, wasting away, being bored out of one’s skull.

Not too hard to imagine why anybody would get out of bed.

April 25, 2007 at 3:03 pm
(3) Forrest Prince says:

This atheist gets out of bed because his back starts hurting from being in bed too long. That, and…

the desire to embrace the day, to make the best of it that I can because it will be altogether too short, just like life itself. The joy of life is the living of it; meaning in life is what we place into it. Atheists see life itself as the reason to live — we do not need faux spirituality to induce purpose to our existence. We exist necessarily, therefore “purpose” is built in, not imposed. Meaning and purpose in life becomes unbounded except by our own imaginations, which being unlimited lends unlimited meaning and purpose to our lives. Our daily life becomes rich in prospect because there is so much good that we can accomplish in our lives. There are other people who can always use a little of our help in one way or another, there is much work to be done.

Why does an atheist get out of bed? To work, that’s why.

April 25, 2007 at 7:15 pm
(4) Patrick Quigley says:

If atheism is as miserable and depressing as theists claim it to be, the why do they consider us such a threat to the foundations of society? Surely a nation which is ‘under god’ is in no danger from a small number of confused, miserable, bed-ridden atheists.

They know all too well that we find things in this world a good enough reason to get out of bed in the morning. It is the fact that non-belief doesn’t cause us to give up and die that creates a threat to their world-view.

April 26, 2007 at 9:41 am
(5) Ron says:

I have a dog. He is part German shepherd, part husky. I assume that he is also atheist. He has an enthusiasm for life can’t be beat. Tells me it is natural to all species

April 26, 2007 at 9:46 am
(6) Ron says:

Add to above post. I don’t think it would be possible to convert him to theism. Tells me that theism is not natural.

April 26, 2007 at 10:48 am
(7) Theo Timermans says:

I am out every morning at 7 and go to bet at ten and every hour in between is for me the best there is. If you look at my webalbum than you can see whay i like to be alive and wel at the age of seventy three. I have a lot of visitors to look at my landscaping and if you visit my webalbum than you see.
This is my hobby and my web-address is http://picasaweb.google.com/saskfarm
A happy atheist.

May 1, 2007 at 2:21 pm
(8) John Hanks says:

I get out of bed because the house is on fire. So many blockheads to annoy and so little time left to do it.

May 1, 2007 at 9:03 pm
(9) Kathryn says:

Quoting Patrick Quigley,
Surely a nation which is ‘under god’ is in no danger from a small number of confused, miserable, bed-ridden atheists.
Thanks for the laugh!

May 2, 2007 at 1:25 am
(10) George says:

Why does an atheist get out of bed in the morning? The coffee and bills I suppose.

January 17, 2009 at 12:34 am
(11) Neo says:

‘Once you believe in an eternal life that is infinitely better than the one you are currently in every experience, every flower, every moment, every glimpse of beauty and every human interaction becomes that much more meaningless compared to “what is to come”.’

I’m a Christian and I don’t agree. I don’t think of this life as meaningless. I admire what God has created around me. And I do find it’s much more meaningful knowing God created it instead of it being random. It seems that you believe in something to make yourself feel better. Why ignore truth just to make yourself feel better?

January 17, 2009 at 8:07 am
(12) Austin Cline says:

And I do find it’s much more meaningful knowing God created it instead of it being random.

Psst, atheists don’t believe that nature is “random.” That’s a lie perpetrated by Christians about atheists.

It seems that you believe in something to make yourself feel better.

Please point to where anyone wrote that.

Why ignore truth just to make yourself feel better?

That’s what I ask Christians — after all, they insist on using Pascal’s Wager as an argument for believing in their god, and the argument is based on the idea that it’s better to believe something that will have a more positive outcome.

So can I take it that you disapprove of Pascal’s Wager?

August 13, 2009 at 2:03 pm
(13) sunshine says:

wow! i had no idea my life was that miserable! Last time i checked despite the bull life seems to give me i love it! i love flowers and stars. i love sleeping next to someone even if its just a stuff animal.i had no idea that as a non believer i am suppose to be miserable. why didn’t anyone informed me?

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