As an atheist I’ve come to accept that, personally, there is no ‘unearthly’ punishment for heinous crimes. It’s surprisingly easy. Just as I don’t needs rewards to living a healthy, moral life…I’ve let go of the need for punishment and revenge, even for the most horrific crimes. I’ve accepted that life is simply unfair.
With complete transparency I admit that there are many times that I wish there were some way to punish people who commit these acts. But I find myself be a better, more content and kind person since I’ve let go this need for revenge. What I try to do is bring awareness and speak out against the crimes. But honestly, as an atheist, letting go of the the concept that fairness is not reality and that retribution will happen has lifted a great weight off my shoulders.
All it is is coming to terms with the fact that life is unfair. It hasn’t been easy and sadly I’m sorely tested but I feel much more free having let go of the “concept of fairness”. It’s difficult and a struggle, but life just isn’t fair. Letting go of the “idea” that a person will receive the punishment that they deserve has actually freed me!
Belief comes with need for a balance for justice. But reality has taught me there’s no such thing. By the way, your question was timely and impressive! I’ve never had anyone ask me that particular question. Well done!