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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hemant Mehta on Beliefnet

Hemant Mehta was recently interviewed by Beliefnet. It's a pretty good interview, mostly concerned with his book I Sold My Soul on eBay, but there was also this little gem:

You also said that you rarely feel lonely or apathetic, and that being an atheist actually gives you confidence and more passion to help people than, for example, when you were being raised as a Jain.

When I was religious, if we knew a friend that was going through a rough time or we saw homeless people on the street, I would always hear, "You should pray for them,"or be thankful that God didn't put you in that situation. There was nothing, when I was growing up, about whether we should actually go out and make them lunch or build houses or something like that. And once I became an atheist, it was very clear that I can do something for people who are less fortunate. No God is going to do it for them. I need to get out and donate blood or donate money to causes that help those groups of people. I'm not saying Christians wouldn't do that, but their reasoning for doing it is very different. I actually think the atheist reasoning--that we have to help them because God's not going to do it--is a more moral way than to say, “Pray for them” or “We should do it because God wants us to.”

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