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Are some atheists pessimistic?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Mathsteach2, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    This is not a thread intended to find fault with atheism. I am genuinely interested in their answers and wish to compare them with my own pessimism. This post is going to be quite lengthy therefore I may have to break ìt up, working only with a smart phone.
    What has happened to my supreme optimism for life? Not my life, that I was going to live to a healthy, happy ripe old age, but my optimism was for the generations to come. As a young teacher I was fit and healthy. My optimism was that through school teaching I could make a difference. This lasted for about ten years (1966 to 76) when the pessimism set in. This realisation was promoted by my despair at the abusive management of the world's resources.
  2. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    I do not see what such pessimism is to do with being an atheist. We all pretty much feel that way having been exposed to real life, unless perhaps a sociopath type like "Sir" Philip Greed or others of his type who completely lack empathy. (There are a lot of them about).
    phlogiston, nomad and Jamvic like this.
  3. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    Pessimism is non- denominational.
  4. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    According to a programme on R4 earlier this morning, a lot of atheists believe in and /or have experienced angels and the paranormal; and join in with campaigns such as #pray for London, #pray for Manchester. They are also most likely to be under 25.

    Pessimism wasn't mentioned.
    needabreak, nomad and grumpydogwoman like this.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I'm not pessimistic.

    People are complete muppets an awful lot of the time. But that's just the way it is.

    Someone I know says the following, "How do you eat an elephant? A bit at a time." So I do my bit. Sometimes one step forward and three steps back. But hey. I try. I'm not the only one.

    Will be (or HAVE we) ruin the planet? I dunno. I'm too busy eating that elephant.

    Please note. It's an imaginary elephant. I refuse to be held responsible for the death of any elephants. I'm a vegetarian.
  6. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

  7. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Fossil fuels are limited, therefore our wealth created by coal, oil and gas could not be sustained.I know now that alternative energy sources are being developed successfully but this does not alleviate my pessimism. Wars proliferate and man's inhumanity to man remains unabated.
    Is this why I have turned to religion, and to me Christianity makes the most sense? There is no disrespect here to other faiths, nor to atheism. Good works will continue on aĺl fronts but this does not alleviate my pessimism. I therefore live by the day, doing what I can to help others which is very little now that I am old and disabled. I will continue to thank God for the good moments and keep going for my dear wife's sake. As a Christian I look forward to the Second Coming of Christ. My pessimism for the future of humanity remains but I put that aside by praying to God for the deliverance of us all from the wiles of the devil.
  8. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    When I'm feeling pessimistic, I'd say I'm an atheist. When I'm in an optimistic mood, I might consider myself agnostic.
    needabreak and sparkleghirl like this.
  9. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    As far as I understand atheists keep themselves going with good works and hopes for the future of humanity, I wish I could share their optimism. Or are there many atheists who are pessimistic about the future, they must see the wickedness and ills of our society and therefore live for the moment doing whatever they can do, here and now, for themselves and others? This is supreme altruism but does it relieve their lurking pessimism?
  10. Nanook_rubs_it

    Nanook_rubs_it Star commenter

    Atheism is just the absence of belief in God(s) claims. Atheists beliefs and outlook will be as varied as any theist; some may believe in other types of 'woo', such as Raëlism (you may be interested in them as they believe in intelligent design).

    What we believe is mainly governed by our individualo and cultural experiences and the method we use to determine whether it is true or not (some may not even care). I'm sure there are pessimists and optimists in both camps ( though I'd venture that there are about 7 billion different belief systems currently on Earth, not just two).
    border_walker likes this.
  11. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    I think the 7 billion people can be divided into 3 groups, Nanook_rubs_it. I may be wrong, there may be others. Believers, non-believers, and the don't knows. There are pessimists amongst them all, how do those atheists handle their pessimism?
  12. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Sorry my last sentence was confusing. I was, of course, not referring to all atheists, only those who are pessimistic
    about the future. I handled my pessimism by turning to God.
  13. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    My question would be then - are Christians pessimistic? Is that what drives them to believe?
  14. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    not this one. optimism is the norm here.
    Alice K likes this.
  15. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    I think I stopped being pessimistic when I realised I was actually an atheist. Being able to put behind me all those childhood pressures of "God wants you to..." enabled me to enjoy life.
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Mill rejects Bentham’s view that humans are unrelentingly driven by narrow self-interest. He believed that a “desire of perfection” and sympathy for fellow human beings belong to human nature. One of the central tenets of Mill’s political outlook is that, not only the rules of society, but also people themselves are capable of improvement.


    I am an optimistic utilitarian and atheist.

    1 I believe we can act in the interests of others as well as ourselves. Sometimes to the detriment of ourselves. At least in the immediate sense.
    2 I believe our compassion for children and for the unfortunate shows that we can improve and desire to do so.

    I also believe we are often ignorant and make egregious errors. People once thought smoking positively good for you and promoted it. That was a gross mistake.

    I view some religions with suspicion as too many people seem to be in it for their own salvation and protection rather more than they're keen for the group to thrive.

  17. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    I am sure not all Christians are pessimistic, sparkleghirl, as has already been said. By turning to God it helps me to deal with my ongoing pessimism.
    I agree with much of what gdw says, especially the last sentence.
  18. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    I think whether atheist or believer we all go through stages where we think 'what if we are wrong?' although I am not sure how a Christian deals with that.

    As an atheist I tend then to believe more we are planted, rather like how we 'plant' fish in aquariums - and some higher force gets its amusement from watching us.

    Sound absurd? Maybe but certainly no more or less than believing papers we know were written by men are somehow the work of a lone God.

    I then usually go back to the realisation I was not here 48 years ago, I cannot recall or remember a damn thing about where I was before that so why on earth should I expect it to be different when I go back to a non living stage?

    That does not lead to being pessimistic, rather enforces the belief I should try to make the most of being here and enjoy it all while I can.
    vinnie24 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  19. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    One day the Sun will explode and there ain't no human-invented deity of any denomination going to be stopping that.

    In the meantime, spread a little happiness as you go by, because if there's no long-term point to existence there might as well be a short-term point, otherwise what's the point?

    Well that's how I see it anyway.

    Oh yes, and try surfing before you pop off too - it'll change your perspective. Dude. :)
  20. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    grumpydogwoman, my Christianity is such that faith and works are both necessary, we cannot have one without the other.
    As explained earlier, my works, perhaps not always good, were driven by my optimism, then I needed faith to keep me going. I marvel at how pessimistic atheists keep going, I guess it's just their love of life. The future will take care of itself?

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