Atheism and the Family ­ Article ­ BINA

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Atheism and the Family

Atheism and the Family

by Rabbi Aron Moss

Question:    

I have been an atheist for a while now. I don't feel I am missing anything with G-d out of my life. If anything I am more free. It has made me wonder, if I lose my religion, have I really lost anything worthwhile?

Answer: 

People often make the mistake of thinking that if you take away religion, you just get rid of G-d. This is not true. You lose much more than G-d when you drop religion. Something else you lose when you drop religion is the idea of family.

Family is a concept that cannot be taken for granted. The family is built and sustained on a belief system, a set of values, a worldview that sees marriage as a sacred covenant and parenthood as a moral responsibility. Without these supporting beliefs, the family is a baseless ideal that will erode with time. And these beliefs are religious. 

Only religion can provide a meaning to life that is higher than me. I was created with a purpose that is beyond myself. I am here to serve. I was given the gift of life, and I should share it with others. Without these beliefs, there is no ideological base for the concept of family. No secular argument is strong enough to inspire you to give up your own freedom to get married and have children.

Look around at secular societies. The less religious the society, the weaker its families. In a secular world marriage is trumped by casual relationships, and having children is tolerated as long as it doesn't interfere with career and living my life my way. The lonely, unattached individual is idealized in a godless world. The disintegration of family life in the west is a direct result of its secularization. 

Of course there are atheists and secularists who make devoted husbands and loving wives, dedicated mothers and attentive fathers. But this is in spite of their atheism, not because of it. People often do things that are not consistent with their beliefs. A secular family is one example. Having a family is an act of faith no less religious than attending prayer services.

You may not see the full of impact of secularism in one generation. But in another generation or two, the family unit as we know it will be the exclusive domain of the religious. The children of today's atheists are less likely to get married and have children of their own. 

We need G-d in our lives, not for His sake, but for the sake of our children. By rejecting G-d and religion, secularists are throwing out their babies with the bath water.

 

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