Saturday, 4 August 2018

A Positive Message from an Atheist for Kids

Commenting on an article about Richard Dawkins writing two new atheism books, one for younger kids, one for teenagers, Ken Ham had this to say: 

"What positive message would an atheist have for kids? Something like:  "Kids, you're just an animal, there's no God, when you die you won't know you existed, decide your own rules for life, treat others to benefit you. Life's ultimately meaningless""
You can see his tweet here.

The article Ken is responding to is an atrocious piece written by someone called Laura Perrins, and it first appears on a website called The Conservative Woman. I'll be writing a response to the article itself shortly. But for now I'm sticking with Ken's comment. 

Ken is a Young Earth Creationist and biblical literalist. This means he believes earth is about six thousand years old and that Noah's Ark really happened. Yes, he's *that* stupid. 

It also means his message for kids is that they're flawed. That they're sinners and they, in their default state, deserve to be punished in 'hell'...forever. How's that for a positive message for kids?

Of course he'll tell you that the positive message is that they can avoid hell by accepting Jesus as their saviour. "Kids, follow this one man exactly as I tell you to, never deviate, never think for yourself, never question what I tell you, and if you can stick to that, then you avoid eternal torture." 

Hell is terrifying. I've known atheists who still have remnants of fear of hell even after they've stopped believing the rest of the nonsense. There's no way this can be considered a positive message for kids. It's horrific. 

But what I really want to address is Ken's question about what positive message an atheist could have for kids. He asks the question, and then makes up the answer himself. Without bothering to have an atheist answer the question. So I thought I'd give it a go...

Kids, you're not "just an animal" you're part of an incredible species. One whose ability to create technology is beyond what could have been imagined even just a few generations ago. Including the ability to communicate, practically instantly, with people all over the world. You're part of a species that strives to look after each other, and care for each other, not to be rewarded after we die, but because we recognise the reward is NOW. The reward isn't eternal bliss, the reward is a healthier happier society, and a healthier, happier life for you. 

Your life...the one you get. This life. When it's over, you won't know you existed, there's no 'god' to go to afterwards...but that's not reason to be unhappy, that's reason to celebrate! You...YOU get this one life! This life that is an amazing result of literally billions of years of natural phenomena that resulted on YOU! A unique individual amongst BILLIONS. What an opportunity to have! Forget that religion is all about reminding you that you'll die one day, celebrate that fact that you're alive now! Look at the world in which you live with wonder and excitement. Be curious. Find out how you got here. Find out what makes your life possible. Find out what went on all those billions of years ago to set in progress the processes and made you, you! Revel in learning, be entertained by knowing things. Use your life to enjoy being alive. 

Your life isn't meaningless, it means whatever you want it to! Take that responsibility and own it. You only get the one chance, make the most of it! If you want to see change in the world, be that change. You don't need an eternal reward for being kind and helping people, you'll see the reward on the faces of those you are kind and helpful to. Go to bed each night thinking 'you know what, I'm happy about what I did today.' 

Sure, there's a chance you'll be kind or helpful to someone who doesn't appreciate it...but that's okay, because YOU know you did it. There'll be times you want to find out how something works, but you won't be able to...but that's okay, because you'll know you tried, you'll know you gave it your best shot. And there's be times when people are unkind and hateful towards you, and that'll be hard to deal with, but I'll give you a quote that I try to live by "No matter how low somebody else sinks, joining them there will not make things better." Ignore the haters, ignore the mean people. I know that can be hard, but trust me, it's worth the effort. Let them wallow in their misery and bitterness...it won't make your life any better if you join them there. Trust me, I know. 

Sometimes it'll be hard. Sometimes you'll feel like you can't get through things on your own. That's okay, because there are people who want to help. People who have decided to focus their lives on helping people when times are tough. There's no shame in asking for help when things are tough. Life is wonderful, but it can be hard sometimes, and when that happens, asking for help is the first step in getting back to the wonderful. 

Surround yourself with those who make you happy. Surround yourself with those who share your values and ideas. Ditch the people who are negatives. Reject people who just want to bring your down. Life is short, don't fill it with people who cause you to not enjoy it! 

If you do your best. If you focus on happiness and positivity and kindness you'll live the best and happiest life you can. And when it ends, which is hopefully many decades from now, enjoy the idea that the atoms that you borrowed, to make you, YOU, will be passed back to the universe and even though you as you will be gone, the effect your life had will be felt through the universe forever. 

21 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I am a young man who wants to limit and do not know about atheism Shi

      Delete
  2. Great piece.... Well written and meaningful

    ReplyDelete
  3. A very excellent piece. You knocked one right out of the park!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well done! That was beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm with Marianne O, beautiful!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for this, and to show people that atheists aren't evil people! Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ken Ham is an animal, specifically a maggot.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Replies
    1. I am a young man who wants to limit and do not know about atheism Shi

      Delete
  9. I am a young man who wants to limit and do not know about atheism Shi

    ReplyDelete