- Atheism is a lack of a belief in a divine power, usually monontheistic. While atheists have made the important step of showing some intellectual courage to rise above superstitious beliefs, they have a huge price to pay more than they’re aware: no philosophy. Atheists usually become atheists at college age when they’re finally free from their religious parents and get curious and show up to a few atheist conferences. Unfortunately, they underestimate how young and impressionable they are. They don’t realize how easy it is for them to be radicalized by new ideas that don’t depend on religion. Some atheists fall for the likes of Sam Harris. Some fall for the likes of Ayn Rand. Some go into Satanism, which is just Ayn Rand + Trolling. Some go MGTOW and blame all their problems on women. Some go radical SJW. Young and impressionable atheists unfortunately fall for secular idols and cults of personality.
Fortunately Stoicism is a good antidote to young and impressionable minds who keep falling for secular heroes who might save them from their nihilism. It gives you one simple purpose in life: to live excellently. All of the old Stoics are dead, so it’s hard to worship them as much as current fallible human beings. But the bonus is that Stoicism is critical of even the greats. And even the greats like Marcus Aurelius are critical of themselves. Seneca is a great Stoic to learn from but no one would actually worship the guy because he was a hypocrite and many of the Stoics didn’t want to be associated with him.
- Stoicism allows for atheism. It allows for theism, pantheism, monotheism, panentheism, pandeism, and deism. Atheism just allows for atheism. Sure, atheists aren’t typically motivated by atheistic reasons to kill theists. But they’re certainly more intolerant of people who disagree with them than they might think. They think by giving up religion they became pure from the sin of sanctimony. Unfortunately they underestimate how vulnerable they are to “better than thou” mentality.
- Atheists are young and giving up religion makes them very vulnerable. There’s no more pie in the sky rewards and death seems a lot more scary. So what do they do to make up for this God vacuum? They usually go around mocking religion and mocking religious people. They have some reason to do this, for one thing religion has oppressed their ability to think for years. Usually a religious parent was too strict. So atheists are just acting out. They are somewhat mad at religion. Not because they’re mad at God (who knows if one exists?) but because they’re mad at the mental abuse they felt at the hands of religious orthodoxy.
Seasoned Stoics don’t have all of these insecurities. They no longer fear death. They have a purpose in life, to live virtuously and eudaimonically. The God vacuum is filled by reason, the Socratic method, and a positive philosophy of life. Atheism is not a philosophy. It just a lack of a belief in God. Stoics don’t go around mocking religious people because they learned to deal with their anger issues long ago. They’re not mad at their parents, religion, or anything really. They understand that they are ignorant and so is everyone else, the only thing to do is to try to be more wise.
- Atheists are tribalistic. Giving up Christianity, Islam, or Judaism means you give up universal ideas that bind tribes together. Monotheistic religions have been very successful at unifying disparate tribes by making them give up their petty differences for some greater ethereal purpose. And it worked. Christianity really won over a lot of Jews and pagans in its early development. As a result of giving up a universal philosophy of life, atheists have no universal truth to bind them together. So they turn into SJW atheists, Sam Harris atheists, MGTOW atheists, whatever atheists.
Stoicism isn’t tribalistic. It’s a universal philosophy that believes ever tribe has something to offer. That everyone has reason and is capable of living a virtuous and excellent life. It believes that religious people, atheist people, leftists, rightists, etc etc. are all capable of using reason and are all capable of being virtuous despite some differences. Stoicism doesn’t believe atheists are better than Christians or Christians better than atheists. It doesn’t pick sides. It says “we’re all in this together so let’s use our reason to work together better!”
- Finally Stoicism is a coherent philosophy with a stated purpose. This was kind of implied earlier but it needs to emphasized. Atheism is not a philosophy, it is merely a lack of belief in a deity. But implicitly atheism has rejected Christianity (or Islam) which is not a particularly coherent philosophy but it is a philosophy. So when I see atheists brand themselves as atheists, I don’t see people with serious philosophies. I see them saying they’re atheists because it makes them feel special to be a rebel. But without a coherent philosophy like Stoicism, they’re scared and insecure just like all the people they think they’re better than.
By the way, this isn’t to say atheists can’t try other philosophies than Stoicism. They can. But Stoicism is a lot better than being a mere atheist starting from ground zero.