May 212013 4 Responses

How Does an Atheist Explain a Hero?

The headlines report another tragedy.

Evil is real. Calamity is all around. Suffering is far too prevalent.

It is a fair question to ask, “How can God allow this?”

It’s a question without much of an answer. “We are fallen people in a fallen world,” I often say. It doesn’t bring much comfort to the person grappling with the deep issues of life.

Yet the presence of evil doesn’t just lead to difficult questions for the believer. The Atheist has a difficult question to answer as well.

If we came from no one and we are headed no where, if we are nothing but a collection of the fittest genes, if the strong always survive and advance, why do good people run toward tragedy?

Why does self-sacrifice happen?

Why do complete strangers seek to save others?

Maybe we could explain it if the older always sacrificed themselves for the younger generation, but why do young people risk their lives for the old? Why the strongest for the weakest?

What compels people to help?

How does an atheist explain the heroes?

The Christian has an explanation. We come from Someone and we are going Somewhere. Even if people do not know God, God’s image is within them and within others. To see someone suffer speaks to something deep within us. It compels something from us. It motivates us to action. It’s an echo of God’s creation. It’s a remnant of who we were supposed to be.

So we care.

We mourn.

We act.

But why?

If we came from no one and are going no where, why do we even care? Why does the suffering of others affect us? Why is tragedy tragic?

I understand that evil is hard to understand. I struggle with understanding how a sovereign God can allow such suffering.

But it is easier for me to believe in a mysterious God which I can’t fully understand than it is for me to believe we are nothing more than a collection of genes which came from nothing and are going no where. It’s easier for me to believe in God because something within me says that evil is not right, that the world should be different, that something unique is present within each human being.

Do the headlines hurt? Are you moved by the suffering of others? How do you explain those feelings apart from God?




4 Responses to How Does an Atheist Explain a Hero?
  1. Tamra Johnson Reply

    I see Jesus in the faces of those suffering and those helping. He is everywhere! Prayers go out to all who have lost loved ones in this disaster. May God Bless you with hope, courage, faith and love.

  2. Jerry Reply

    So what if an atheist just replies with, “No one wants to live in a world of disharmony. It makes sense to act civil just to maintain a world to live in. It has nothing to do with caring. We just want to get along in order to live our life. Nothing deeper.”

  3. Jimmy Ipock Reply

    After reading many of your blog posts, I’m getting the impression that atheism isn’t something you’ve spent enough time investigating. I don’t mean that to be derogatory at all, it’s not unusual for a religious person to get all of the information from within a bubble of belief.

    There are LOTS of reasons an atheist can explain a hero, perhaps you should ask an atheist to you can get a better understanding.

  4. Jimmy Ipock Reply

    I should also say, sometimes atheist stereotype christians based on what we see in the media and on facebook. I try to remember that there are reasonable, intelligent, considerate believers in America. This is one reason I’m commenting on your blog posts. You seem to fall into that category.

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