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How Does an Atheist Give Comfort?

By psychman33:

Throughout my life, I have been approached by many people in need of comforting. Apparently, there is some component of my personality that draws people to me who are in this state.

Mar de Emociones / Emotional LandscapesImage by V О И via Flickr

In my former Christian life, even if I had no real practical help or advice to give, I could always fall back on the old religious saws, which basically say that one's fate lay in the hands of an almighty benevolent being. There is little argument that this idea, when implicitly believed, is very comforting.

This brings me to the crux of my posting. Recently, a friend began to confide to me some difficulties he was experiencing. I was able to give some basic advice, and to express empathy.What do you do to give comfort to others? What do you tell yourself in tough emotional times? But, after this, I felt that something more was needed, that he expected more. He was a fellow unbeliever. So, I know that he was not looking for any reassurances of a religious nature. However, we were both at a loss as to what to say next. Being the forthright fellow that I normally am, I asked him what we, as unbelievers in gods, could do to get through tough emotional times. His response was, "all we can do is to get over it, and go on". I agree with that idea. But, I would like to be able to do more, without resorting to any metaphysical force or being.

The question I have for all of you, my fellow unbelievers is: What do you do to give comfort to others? What do you tell yourself in tough emotional times?



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