[Hell, as illustrated in Hortus deliciarum. By Herrad von Landsberg (about 1180)]
Regardless of who is or isn't on the naughty list you have to give it to the Atheist for really sticking their finger into every religious eye they cross. It's not that they do it on purpose, although some due, but that some people can't understand why someone would NOT believe in a Divine Creator. First, Let's go over the pros and cons about being an Atheist.
- No need to worry about Hell.
- More money in your pocket every week you can spend on one of Sam Harris' books instead of spent as offering.
- Able to sleep in on Sundays.
- Be able to come to a conclusion using Reason instead of faith.
- No pointless ceremonies or arbitrary restrictions, so live it up.
- Sin doesn't exist, try and live as morally as you wish as the law allows.
- Believers from just about any faith will constantly question you for questioning their beliefs.
- Without faith, Atheists sound kind of cold and heartless to believers.
- No life after death since this is the only existence. (This is a quasi-con)
- No connection with or belief in a Divine Being or Universal Consciousness leaves you aware of the savage suffering this existence can bring; ignorance is bliss.
- If there is a God, you would only learn of his existence after death.
What I like about Atheists is that they relentlessly question EVERYTHING. This is not "rebelling" against the Creator that we can not see, but they question why we need to worship or even acknowledge the invisible Puppet Master in the sky. As humans, with a limited mental capacity, it almost seems unfair for a Divine Being to jealously strike down anyone who does not believe in His existence. That's like kicking a 6 week old puppy for chewing on your shoes. If God were to fry anyone it would be those that intended to cause harm on their fellow man for ANY reason. Intentional harm sounds more evil than doubting. If anything, God would send Atheist to heaven for reasoning out how to be moral without using Him as a crutch. I see Atheist as the Children of God who grew up and learned to take care of themselves.
I am not an Atheist because I see too much order and patterns in the Universe for there not to be a Creator (Primum movens or a First Cause God). Whether this God takes the form of an omnipotent Being outside of the universe or as the universe itself (Universal Consciousness), I do not know nor do I think is important. I see an eternal creative force present in everything throughout the universe and from this force out flows eternal beauty and eternal love. It is this eternal love that I recognize as God. Do you need to acknowledge this force to be a moral person? No, we can doubt it all we want as long as we strive to be loving, compassionate, and respectful to one another.