“When my husband died, because he was so famous & known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me — it still sometimes happens — & ask me if Carl changed at the end & converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage & never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief & precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive & we were together was miraculous — not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous & so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space & the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me & it’s much more meaningful…
The way he treated me & the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other & our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.“
- Ann Druyan, talking about her husband, Carl Sagan
- Christopher Hitchens, god is Not Great (via doubtingmarcus)
I tried starting with "do you know what is an atheist?" but I got a mildly hostile response....so i stopped and ditched the topic. any suggestions?
thanks for the question and sorry for the long delay on this response. The approach I’m using lately is more in the lines of skepticism. My friends are well aware of my positions regarding religion and gods. So they usually avoid talking about them around me, but they do talk about the “supernatural”. spirits, ufos, hauntings etc. Letting them know I don’t believe in those things is usually much less problematic than talking about religion, plus it serves as a good anchor to help them realize the futility of the god argument without going for the kill directly if you know what I mean.
If one of my friends stands by me and says “I don’t believe in unsubstantiated woo woo” Then I say “so why do you believe in god?” sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it gets a good laugh, but overall, I don’t like to argue about this with my friends. The subjects is very important to them as it is to me, but our friendship is fa more important, so if I realize that there is no point (AKA they wont listen) I try to remember that they are my friends for a reason.
Hope this helps!
Fight the faith
“Hope you don’t mind, you said you were Catholic? Only three weeks to live? Well, listen, you don’t have to live them as a mental slave, you know; you could have three weeks of freedom from fear of the priest. Don’t be a mug all your life…” I don’t think it would be considered in very good taste.’
I don’t think it would be a kindness either, I say.
‘I think it would,’ Hitchens says. ‘Absolutely.’
- Christopher Hitchens