One Question I Ask My Atheist Friends

by Melissa Cain Travis

I’d like to preface this post by clearly stating that my observations are not necessarily representative of the atheist population as a whole. What follows is merely a description my personal encounters. I’ve been having discussions with non-believers for a long time. Over the years, I’ve noticed distinct trends in how thoughtful, educated atheists and agnostics tend to respond to various arguments. As an apologist, it is important that I am able to better anticipate objections, so this field experience has been priceless in helping me better prepare myself for effective dialogue. One of the reasons I maintain this blog is to share the insights I’ve gained. It occurred to me a while back that it would be very interesting to pose this very simple question, as an experiment of sorts, to see how my atheist friends would respond.

“Are you glad that atheism is the truth?”

Whenever I’ve asked this question, the conversation has usually gone something much like this:

“Let me ask you something totally unrelated to the evidence for God and Christianity.”


“Are you glad that atheism is the truth?”

“Of course I’m glad it’s true! Why would I argue for its truth if I wasn’t glad about it?”

“What makes you glad that it’s true?”

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“Well, for one thing, it’s the only way that humans can have genuine free will. Under Christianity, there’s no free will, there’s only God’s will. Under atheism, I choose how I live my life.”

This response is psychologically revealing, theologically erroneous, completely out of step with materialism (the philosophy that nothing besides the material universe exists), and frankly, absurd.

Let’s think about it.

If atheism is true, then we are merely a brief blip in the cosmic scheme of things. We were not intended; we evolved from non-living, non-rational matter, and whenever the maturation process of our sun eventually and inevitably makes human life impossible in our solar system, mankind will pass out of existence, and the cosmos will remain oblivious and unconcerned.

If atheism is true, our consciousness does not live on, and whenever we and our loved ones die, there is no hope for future existence.

If atheism is true, no one has the ultimate authority to decide what is right and wrong for everyone in all places at all times. Rather, we must bend our desires and behaviors in accordance with the mandates of whichever man-made government we happen to live under or else suffer the man-made consequences. But, in the end, it doesn’t matter how anyone lives, because our ultimate fates are all the same…

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