Fist of all, most any atheist can tell you that being a non-believer is not 'the easy thing to do'. This is
Then there is the thought that we are 'just lazy'. Often this is a dig at the supposed thought that we're just too lazy to wake up early, get dressed up and go to church on Sunday mornings. While it may be true that we don't get up and go to church, that doesn't mean we are eternal sloths that sit around and waste our days away. Maybe I prefer to sleep in on the weekends, but after a long work week, who doesn't? One thing for sure is that I'm far from lazy. I constantly have projects, and even though I like to get those elusive extra hours of sleep on the weekend, I'll still find myself rising early to catch a live Manchester United game, get a start on my day, or just to surprise my wife with breakfast in bed.
But I certainly wouldn't say that the lack of dragging myself into church makes me lazy. But again, if I wanted to play the easy card, I could've just pretended to still be a Catholic. You know that type. The type of Catholics that don't ever go to church except for maybe Christmas or Easter. It seems that this isn't very uncommon among many generic Christians as well. Oh, they don't go to church, but they aren't labeled as lazy since they still believe... So let me get this straight. An atheist that doesn't go to church = lazy, but a believer that doesn't go to church = a-okay?
Another area where it is clear that being an atheist is not the easy road or lazy mans choice, is those of us that really look into and research things. I'm one of those people who loves facts. The more I know, that happier I am. But knowledge does not come easy. When you really sink your teeth into figuring something out, trying to understand it, or simply trying to understand yourself, it can take dedication and a very real investment of your time. Reading books, thinking about things, discussing with others, maybe taking classes. These are not the actions of someone being lazy or looking for the easy way out.
The late president John F Kennedy once said:
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."We don't do these things because they are easy, but because they are hard... I think that can be said of many atheists. No we don't broadcast our non-belief to purposely make ourselves magnets for
potential hardship. But we do ask ourselves the hard questions. What do I really believe and why? What is the truth, and do I want to know what it is no matter what? I feel that asking that second question is a hard thing for some people to do. And I thing it takes a brave person to answer that same question in the affirmative. I am an example of such a person. It would be all too easy to just accept the stories I was told and never question them. It would be easy to assume that the warm fuzzy tales of eternal life, forgiveness and Heaven are not just stories, but actual unquestioned truths.
Yes, cheating death does sound like an attractive proposition. But it's the easy way out, and I'd wager, not intellectually honest. Instead I choose to know the truth for what it is, no matter what it is. I'd rather know the uncomfortable truth for what it is, than to live a happy lie. While the truth may not promise me never-ending bliss, it does give me understanding and mountains of appreciation. It wasn't the easy path, but knowing what I know, it would be an easy choice to make if I had it all to do again. I cast aside the manufactured assurances and false security in favor of something better... the truth. It may not all be happy, and it may not always be pretty, but it is mine, it is yours, it belongs to all of us.
Understanding our lives, what they could be, what they might be, and that we will eventually cease allows me to live my life to the full. Doing what I feel needs to be done, putting nothing off that I would later regret, trying to make change in this world here and now. No waiting around just waiting for the supposed 'next life' to get here. No, I don't think the search for easy street or laziness are inherently atheistic. In fact, my experience has shown that the inverse is often true. So keep asking those hard questions, continue making a difference, continue helping out, and maybe, just maybe this silly fable of the lazy atheist will go the way of the Dodo.
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