The Prudent Atheist

Are you simply a prudent atheist?Family Sitting in Church Clipart

Do not answer “no” too quickly.

A prudent atheist would recognize the need for community at least for his mere psychological well being, and thus ensure he weekly attends (only in a nice suburb, of course) a gathering of reasonable individuals who all take some similar thing seriously. He understands the importance of a regard for symbolism in one’s life, and might even approach some “solemn” act, perhaps one he would even call a “sacrament,” with apparent devotion.

A prudent atheist would easily see that adultery, drunkenness, gluttony, crime, and similar behaviors, will quickly destroy a man, and therefore he will carefully rid his life of any such thing.

A prudent atheist, rather, would see that virtue will lead one to live a much more smooth and happy life, and the relatively small sacrifice of a few pleasures of the flesh pays off with far greater rewards, even in the short run. Thus he will indeed pursue virtue.

A prudent atheist wouldn’t use (or want his wife to use) contraception, either; knowing how damaging that is in its own right. Instead, he’d use NFP to ensure he only had 1.8 kids (or at least not enough to interfere with regular Disney World vacations).

A prudent atheist, knowing that structure to one’s days and “stepping back” from stressful concerns is truly its own reward, might even start and end his day with saying a “prayer” of some sort.

A prudent atheist would know that even mere emotional well-being requires some sense of satisfaction in one’s own rendering aid to others, thus he will occasionally lend a hand and give charitably — so long as it doesn’t hurt too much.

A prudent atheist — knowing that when we commit injustices we benefit from admitting this to others — might even regularly engage in some form of therapy (maybe even in a ceremonial fashion) in which he formally acknowledges such acts to another in secrecy.

A prudent atheist, if he be a family man, would recognize that this family of his is clearly the bedrock of his life, and thus he would take great care to provide well for his family, treat them well (so that they may treat him well), ensure his marriage is a happy one, read books on marriage and family (and perhaps even write them), and generally do a very solid job at being a “good husband and father.”

(Are, then, all priests and religious exempt from this examination? By no means.)

A prudent atheist who doesn’t feel particularly drawn to marriage anyway, or who is too fearful of the sacrifices that raising children entails, might even take a “vow” (which he of course won’t take too seriously in his heart, knowing he’ll abandon it in the future if the going gets tough) of celibacy — maybe even of “poverty” and obedience —  to gain him entrance to a comfortable way of life with a secure (even if modest) satisfaction of his material needs which entails little risk.

So, dear Christian, you say you truly believe that the very same God who created the entire Universe physically entered into it two thousand years ago, promised He will come again in glory soon to judge the living and the dead, and has invited you to hasten this Coming of His Kingdom. This is what you claim to believe.

Well, prove it.

And do not presume to have succeeded in thus proving by merely doing what even a prudent atheist would do.


st francis