2. Living by the means of man helping man, and realizing time on earth is not a practice run, creates an urgency of life that requires fulfilling.
The first thing that occurs to me, in reading this, is to wonder if Smalley realizes that this doesn’t remotely make atheism true. I don’t think he’d really argue that something is true just because it makes us feel a sense of urgency. But, if not, why does he list it as a reason to be an atheist?
Perhaps he simply means that it is something that makes him feel better about being an atheist. If so, he’s allowed it, but I don’t see why anyone should be persuaded by this.
But, moving on to my second point: It’s simply not true that only atheists have a sense of urgency about life, or can help one another. I occasionally run into materialists who seem to think that theists have no sense that their life is meaningful, and I always find it astonishing.
Truly, we all see life as precious. But I think the atheist has a bigger problem here.
Smalley can love life, of course, and feel urgent about it. What he can’t rationally do, however, is believe that there will be any lasting difference to come out of his life. Deep fulfillment means creating things that matter in the end, and atheism denies the very possibility of this. And even temporary meaning, on an atheistic view, is purely subjective in any case.
Really, all Smalley has done is point out that atheism creates a need for fulfillment (“requires fulfilling”), not that it offers any such thing.
So as to make it clear that I’m not diving into the same fallacy mentioned above, let me state directly that this doesn’t prove that theism is true. What it proves is that, if theism were true, life would meaningful (for theists and atheists alike) and meaningless if theism were false.
Of course, this would mean that anyone who believes that life is meaningful would need to be a theist in order to be rational, but I’ll leave each to decide whether he or she thinks life has meaning for his or her self.