Atheists and Meaning

There is a letter in Yesterdays New York Times that merits some attention, not because I feel it has said something silly, but rather the complete opposite. It speaks for itself, so here it is …

To the Editor:

Re “The Believer’s Atheist” (column, Dec. 18):

I appreciated Ross Douthat’s thoughtful column about the death of Christopher Hitchens, but I feel the need to clear up a common misconception about atheism, reiterated by Mr. Douthat when he writes that “rigorous atheism casts a wasting shadow over every human hope and endeavor.”

One need not believe in God to believe that life has meaning. Indeed, when one considers the abundance of meaning and fulfillment to be had in art, literature, friendship, love, family, and respect and compassion for one’s fellow human beings, the whole concept of God starts to look superfluous.

This, not some flailing and unnecessary defense against the seductions of religion, was the core of Mr. Hitchens’s argument all along.

Northampton, Mass., Dec. 19, 2011

I’m guessing that “Boomer Pinches” is not the authors real name, but given the hostility some face for simply not believing, being anonymous is perhaps understandable. As for the words themselves … bang on the mark Mr Pinches, and so I salute you sir.

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