The (Cruel) Atheist Bus

So when the atheist bus comes by, and tells you that there’s probably no God so you should stop worrying and enjoy yourimages life, the slogan is not just bitterly inappropriate in mood. What it means, if it’s true, is that anyone who isn’t enjoying themselves is entirely on their own.

What the atheist bus says is: there’s no help coming.

But let’s be clear about the emotional logic of the buses message. It amounts to a denial of hope or consolation, on any but the most chirpy, bubble-gummy reading of the human situation. St. Augustine called this kind of thing ‘cruel optimism’ fifteen hindered years ago, and it’s still cruel.

—Francis Spufford, Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense (p. 11)

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