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foxhole atheist cartoon drawing by david hayward

You’ve heard the expression “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Which means that everybody under extreme threat will seek out a divine power to intervene and save them. No one is quite sure who coined the phrase. Obviously a believer.

I’ve witnessed it. Heck, I’ve done it!

But I’ve also witnessed the opposite. Heck, I’ve even done that too! I’ve seen and personally experienced people under extreme threat who realize their faith has totally evaporated.

I’m convinced that we need to get in touch with our atheism, our unbelief. Is there a separate “Deity” out there? Is there a Divine Interventionist? If asked if I’m a deist or a theist, I say not really. If I’m asked if I’m an atheist, I also say not really. Although it might unsettle some, I’m okay with that.

Have you read the book, Touching the Void by Joe Simpson, or seen the film based on it, Into the Void? The mountaineer, all alone with a broken leg at the bottom of a deep crevasse in the treacherous Siula Grande mountain in Peru, realized the faith he was raised on had vanished. He remains an atheist.

I know this is a difficult topic for some, even terrifying. I know the absolute terror of being faced with my own belief and the possibility that all my beliefs are wrong and that faith in a Higher Power was a delusion. I know some of you are absolutely terrified of becoming an atheist. I know some of you already are atheists. Some are agnostics. Whatever you are wherever you are, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. It’s just one leg of your journey. Do not fear.

And there are wonderful people here who will be your friend along this scary path.

I have been an atheist in a foxhole. You might be one now. That’s okay.

Purchase the original or a print of this drawing.