What are the consequences of my writing and thinking? When all is said and done, have my decisions and actions made any difference at all?
I believe they have insofar as I look at the path my life is on and see how different things are to where they could well have been if I was still a believer in God. But are there any consequences to these thoughts beyond my own life? Maybe there are, for how I live has an effect on those around me. They will go on in turn to live and affect those around them, and so every person, or thing, in my past has an effect on me today, and I, in turn, affect those going on from me, for as long as the line lasts.
Do you realise that you are an unbroken chain to the very first living ‘thing’? There is a very strong chance that in the next 3-5 generations the chain will break, and your line will end. But for you to be here means there hasn’t been a single break since life first began. What are the consequences of our actions? Well in our small world with its narrow focus, they could be everything.
I’ve been reading more about C.S Lewis recently (no surprise there) and those that influenced him, both in his atheism and later his Christianity. Lewis claims in ‘All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C.S. Lewis’ (ed. Walter Hooper; London: Harvest, 1991, p. 28), that the following except had a profound effect on him as an atheist:
‘That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins – all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.’ (Bertrand Russell, ‘A Free Man’s Worship’, Available online: https://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/courses/264/fmw.htm)
Thanks to ‘Williams, Peter. C S Lewis vs the New Atheists. Paternoster. Kindle Edition.’ For revealing this to me (I will be writing a review on this book soon). This Bertrand Russell quote is fascinating, enduring (at least in my thoughts over the last few weeks) and devastating. Mr Russell lived his philosophy out within his life, and I have a lot of time and admiration for him and his reflections.
What Bertrand Russel does above is to create a framework for us, a framework that anyone who calls themselves ‘atheist’ can’t build outside of, and if atheism is true, nothing at all can build outside of it (full stop).
Do we raise a glass to this futile reality, enjoying today and ignoring the reality that there are no ultimate consequences to anything we do for it is all dust and ash? Or do we ask if we have missed something else within the world that suggests what our hearts seem to whisper to us in the dead of the night, when the wind and the rain batter the house? That ‘the sun will, in fact, rise again’?
My heart and my mind seem to be saying two very different things and I am in turmoil. I do not want to believe in a God for hope. But I can’t deny that it seems impossible to ground so very much without Him.
Is the framework that Bertrand Russell has given, correct? Or is there more? And why does this place that felt so free, intellectual, and exciting seem to be filled with the very shadows of uncertainty and doubts that my faith waxed then waned before all those years back?
All that is left is to continue and explore this road ahead.
_End of Blog Blurb_
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.
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When Belief Dies #68 – 'An exchange of monologues…' with Daniel Kelly – When Belief Dies
- When Belief Dies #68 – 'An exchange of monologues…' with Daniel Kelly
- When Belief Dies #67 – 'Psychedelics, History & Hope' with Pat Smith
- When Belief Dies #66 – 'Social Contracts' with Kane B
- When Belief Dies #65 – 'History for Atheists' with Tim O'Neill
- When Belief Dies #64 – 'The morality of an Infidel' with Simon Blackburn