From the article: Atheism & Foxholes: There Are No Atheists in Foxholes
The claim that there are no atheists in foxholes has been around for a long time, but it became especially popular after the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. For theists it may be natural to assume that such a thing is true, but it's not. Just as there have surely been atheists who converted to theism, there are plenty of atheists who haven't - and plenty of theists who became atheists after facing situations like war. Have you faced death and remained an atheist? Share Your Story
Imaginary friends not required. EVER.
- I was in the military. Went in an atheist. Stayed one the whole time. Went out an atheist. I served during peacetime, so no big deal. What I do think being an atheist has done is make me face reality, which has given me a clear head in emergency situations. I don't panic when things happen. I'm always thinking: Okay, what do we need to do, what can be done, and so on. Once when I was at home alone and half of my toe got cut off in an accident, I didn't pray to god. What a waste of time and effort! I wrapped up my foot as best I could to stop the bleeding, collected my poor toe and put it on ice while I was talking to 911. It wasn't a genocidal tyrant who saved my toe; it was my clear head and having paid attention to my RN mom's shop talk, the EMS crew that got to me and to the hospital so quickly, and the fantastic surgeon who sewed me up good as new. No genocidal space buddies necessary!
- —Guest Aquaria
Burned and still an atheist
- In 2000 I was burned severely in an industrial accident, I thought I would die or wind up severely disfigured but I never quit being an atheist. I have some scars on my arms and hands, but other than that I'm doing fine
- —Guest ModIndie
My fox-hole was a shipwreck
- I was shipwrecked on a rocky Tasmanian coast one dark night in early 2012. Fortunately I was sailing single handed and had only myself to worry about. As my boat was smashed to pieces around me it seemed most unlikely that I would survive. I never thought for a moment about asking for help from an imaginary friend, I just got on with making the preparations to abandon ship. I had made an appointment with the dentist and I remember thinking if I was about to become fish food it was handy that I hadn't wasted money on my teeth, my kids could spend the money on something useful. Afterwards it occurred to me that was a profound thought, I really believed I was about to die but my atheism was unswerving.
- —Guest Mac Hoban
Atheists share foxholes w Christians too
- I was in a convoy in northern Afghanistan when a vehicle roll-over occurred. I pulled security on the vehicle while it was being recovered and we received pretty heavy fire. Thankfully we managed to get out with no casualties. Religion/faith never crossed my mind. After returning to the states, a friend and I ended up on this very subject (he's a combat engineering that clears IEDs from the routes). His mother always told him that "there are no atheists in foxholes". Well, he went through several IED events, direct and indirect fire. Praying to a higher power never occurred to him either. We both concluded that a religious person would be prone to do so out force of habit. If you're used to turning to a higher power during a crisis, naturally you would do so in a 'foxhole'. Where as those of us with a more secular world-view, well, we're more focused on how to stay alive and keep our buddies safe. tl;dr When you're in a 'foxhole', you usually have more important things to do
Cancer sucks, but it didn't convert me.
- A few years ago i received a bone marrow transplant to treat an otherwise imminently fatal leukaemia diagnosis. The process itself has a 25% chance of being fatal. After the transplant you have to wait about 8 - 10 days to know it has taken - if it fails you're on your way out. Mine was slow and didn't give a positive cell count until day 13 or 14 - and for the few days that I truly believed I was going to be dead within a couple of weeks I did not once feel the need to ask an invisible friend for help. When my counts did signal I would probably survive I thanked the doctors and their team - not any god.
No reason to implore deities
- One of the primary reasons why I was vested with the title with which I now post this is because I operated as a part of a private personal security firm that assisted the needy with their emergencies, given that those emergencies, for one reason or another, 'fell through the cracks' of traditional emergency response. Although most of the situations to which I was subsequently a part were mundane, I eventually came to see a number of terrifying incidents and life-threatening encounters. I never saw a reason to implore any kind of god of gods; perhaps my penchant for honesty would serve as a greater impetus than some, but I refused to believe in anything for which there was insufficient evidence. I saw it no different than simply lying, even if I didn't know for sure that gods did not exist. The fact that a great abundance of the wrongdoers against whom I found myself was comprised of theists didn't help the case for an all-loving deity, either. Empathy is more important than gods.
- Not been in a foxhole but as Christopher Hitchens said. There are no atheists on death row either.
- —Guest Mark
Tragedy strikes regardless of faith.
- In 2010 I cared for my mother in the last stages of colon cancer. My mother refused treatment for her cancer and the colitis that led to it, because she believed she could pray herself well. That if she just had enough faith that "GOD" would hear her and she would be healed. My mother was a good person. She would literally give a stranger the shirt off of her back. She is dead. Her faith and her god didn't save her. At no time during my mother's last days did I join her in her belief. I changed her diapers combed her hair clipped her nails and read to her. I cooked and cleaned and took care of her business. I convinced her to make a will even though she didn't believe she would need one and I watched my mother die. I wished that I could have convinced her that she should take care of herself instead of trusting in a fairy tale to do it for her. Maybe she would still be here.
- —Guest menotme
Why do you need foxhole protection?
- If you truly believe, then why do you need the protection of a foxhole?
- —Guest Commentor
There Certainly Are Atheists In Foxholes
- i have never believed in a deity. this is not for want of trying, but the more i educated myself about religion, the less likely it seemed that i would ever believe. i simply cannot believe in gods, and especially the ghastly tyrant of monotheism. 2 years ago, my supposedly cured cancer returned and is now incurable and 100% fatal. i have felt no desire to look for any metaphysical causes or meaning for my ilness, and no desire to pray to a god, or hope for supernatural healing. why would i? i am living each day fully and as a free person.
- —Guest Chris J
- After 17 years in the Navy and counting, I have never asked any diety for safety on the ocean. I simply did my job and trained those to do theirs to the best of my ability and whatever happens will happen. Irritatingly enough, they force nightly prayers over the ship's loudspeaker system and you would not believe the outlandish things they give credit to god for. I feel bad for those that are so delusional they turn to fairy tales to keep them safe. I will keep relying on presence of mind, calmness in stress, and the belief that mythical creatures or not, my Shipmates will do what they have been trained to do.
Currently in Iraq third time
- Athiest since 16. 3 tour to iraq usaf, seen combat and engaged in firefights. I think einstein put it best "I beilieve in a god who reveals itsel in the nature of all things not in a god that concerns itselfs with the fates and actions of mankind." so there may be a force or a mover of the cosmos that we cannot explain but there is no personal god When I realized I was not a christian, it was the most mind opening day of my life, suddenly everything got better, everything was simpilier, I enjoyed living so much more, and I have become a better person because of it. If one religion I respect it is buddhism but the strict kind not the sublime, I like how it tells you flat out life is suffering and wants and desires are the cause, I felt this way before I read what buddhism was about, I still strive to do the best and I have desires but I dont let them consume me. I love how gautama(buddah) said god is irrelevant if you wish to reach enlightenment.
- —Guest guest jake
- In the few life or death situations I have experienced, my mind has always, without exception, concentrated on solving the problem at hand, as calmly and as rationally as I can, without haste...there is always only one source of salvation and that is 'self' ...determination. Entertaining a 'well, maybe?' thought is, naturally, out of the question, has never happened. I beleive in my view of reality without question, as strongly as any Theist beleives in theirs, its automatic. ...and more power to them, what ever works for them, is fine...for them. Besides, irrational thinking or 'wishful thinking' is a waste of time during critical circumstances and is more likely to get you killed. When one finally comes to terms with the reality that this life, this consciousness is all there is, then life becomes much simpler..and understandable......and precious. If I can save a fly, a snake, a dog a mouse...I will. Why kill? We share this planet, this space with other earthlings. Enjoy.
- —Guest Mike O'Neill
- In 1956 my best friend joined the 82nd Army Airborne. I opted for the U.S. Marines in '58. It took me 51 years for me to get up the nerve to jump from an airplane. Preceeded by two weeks of cold sweats and dry mouth thinking about the 40 seconds of free-fall from 10,000 feet (tandem jump)before the chute opened, I didn't give a thought to god. When it came time to jump all I worried about was "Can I get my right foot onto the landing gear at 90 miles-an-hour?" YouTube: Clay's 1st Jump May 30, 2009
- —Guest Grandpa_In_The_East
There Certainly Are Atheists In Foxholes
- I've been an atheist since grade school. As an adult, I lived in L.A. for about ten years. Once, during an extremely powerful and terrifying earthquake, my old apartment building started falling apart. I was pretty sure I was going to die. The quake was so strong I could not get out of the building. As soon as I was sure there was nothing I could do, I relaxed. I did not call out for any god or gods. I did not pray, I did not imagine being in an afterlife. No thoughts of a religious nature came to me at all. As I said---I'm an atheist.
- —Guest James
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