God and Atheists

In his eulogy for Henry Thoreau in May 1862, Emerson quotes his friend as saying:

“Nothing is so much to be feared as fear.  Atheism may comparatively be popular with God himself.”

This must have inspired FDR’s famous line, as well as whole generations of heretics!

As I often say, so much faith is fear-based (fear of disappointing or angering God, fear of punishment, fear of death, etc).  If a person can let go of these fears, and accept that if there is a God, that divinity is more pleased by those who fearlessly do not believe than by the fearfully faithful, there can be a great feeling of relief.

Maybe we could call that “Secular Salvation.”

What does Thoreau’s quote mean to you?


Categories: Atheism, UncategorizedTags: , , , , ,


  1. Hey Chris. Great quote that had eluded me for generations. I am stimulated by the idea of a god who actually may find some benefit in those that deny this existence by logic and reasonable analysis compared to those that follow blindly or only out of fear. AS a youth I think I was both, fearful of the watchful eye, hell and other prognosticated forms of damnation but rationally thinking that my sect was onto something empowering and part of developing a civil society. My church youth group didn’t have delinquents, drug abuse or objectifying of the opposite sex. We were the good people of the world. I changed slowly as I experienced what social scientists call the CRUDS of a faith. This stands for “Credibility Undermining Displays” and in my school and work met CREDS, or credibility enhancing displays by very liberal religious students and atheists scientists I worked with. Pluralism is the name of the game. Congrats on the success of your new book, which I have yet to read and give a review. Yet to be done.

    • I relate to much of what you say, once again, Marty. And, yes indeed, pluralism is the name. . .and no game. I hope you enjoy the book. A quick read, but I trust there is some weight to it. Thanks!

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