“So do you think that, in this situation, the truth should be held from Ulyana? Or do you, like me, think that the truth should be told?”
That depends on whether I’d be speaking as a Christian or an atheist.
As a Christian, I’d tell her the truth. But that’s also because, as a Christian, I can offer her hope. I can pray with her and for her. Give her a Bible to read. Point her to a good church. Ask the pastor to pay her a visit. Introduce her to some Christian friends. From a Christian standpoint, nothing is more important than preparing for the world to come–because the stakes are so high.
But from an atheistic standpoint, a hopeful illusion is better than a hopeless truth. Suppose, as an atheist, I had a 5-year-old with terminal cancer. Would I tell him the truth (as I see it)? Would I tell him he was going to die. Would I tell him that every thing he is, and was, and could have been would perish?
No. I‘d lie to him. I’d try to make him happy.
Why make him miserable in his final weeks or months of life–all for the sake of truth? My 5-year-old son means more to me than some imaginary obligation to truth.
“Likewise, with atheism, do you think that religion is a good thing irregardless of whether it is true or not? Or do you, like me, prefer to know the truth, no matter how painful it may be?”
You present Christianity and atheism as if they were symmetrical alternatives. They’re not.
No, Christianity is not a good thing regardless of whether it’s true or false.
However, atheism is a bad thing regardless of whether it’s true or false.
And, in a godless universe, why would I value truth over happiness? If there’s a conflict between truth and self-interest, I’d opt for self-interest every time. If I were an atheist, that would be the pragmatic pecking order.
In a godless world, it doesn’t matter how you lived or how you died. It only matters to you at the time you were alive.
I’d also add, from a Christian standpoint, that in a fallen world, we’re sometimes confronted with conflicting obligations. In that event, the higher obligation takes precedence.
In a fallen world, there are times when love and truth conflict. And there are situations where it’s better to spare the feelings of another.
In heaven, truth and love are conterminous. But here-below, that’s not always the case.
“Atheism isn't Job without the epilogue, life is Job without the epilogue (although, if your own life is really that terrible, I pity you). Some of us are man enough to accept that.”
Of course, the “man enough” line is a way adolescent boys gin each other for a game of chicken. That kind of empty, boastful rhetoric is a sign of cringing fear and weakness within. It’s what scared people tell themselves or tell each other to act tough and feel brave.
But from a secular perspective, man is just accidental monkey, who’s been cursed to realize his pointless existence, and the oblivion which awaits him when he dies.
However, the average atheist can’t face up to that, so he tries to glamorize his imaginary duty to cosmic truth, making that sound oh-so noble and heroic. Again, though, that’s just the fearful bravado of a teenage braggadocio.
Tough talk in the face of oblivion is supremely unconvincing. The grave is unimpressed by whether you died “manfully” or died on your knees, begging for another day of life.