Saturday, March 22, 2014

An Atheist's Beliefs

Many people make the mistake of thinking an atheist doesn't believe in anything. I had a professor who told me one reason for holding to a religion was that without a religion one could not have any sort of moral compass.

He was one of the best professors I ever had. He was also wrong.

What do I believe?

I believe in myself, that I exist, that I am unique, that I am utterly transient.

I believe in human beings, who are complicated, messy, inconsistent, and the only things worth my belief.

I believe this is my one shot.

I believe in now. I believe in the universe, in galaxies and stars and planets. I believe in Earth and the little patch of ground on which I stand. I believe in these two hands.

I believe we have to figure it out. We are without guidelines, save for those our ancestors have invented, which gives them no special priority whatever. We are each of us alone and we are all in it together. I believe this is our only boat, ours to sink or steer.

I believe we are so fascinated by pattern and order, we will go to extraordinary lengths to see them, whether they exist or not. Even to the extent of inventing gods.

I believe the only possibility of finding a way to smile, is to be an atheist. To believe in people rather than in gods. To believe in the universe, not in heaven. To believe in life rather than the afterlife.

I believe, along with that great philosopher William C. of the fields, that I shall have another drink.

Against all of this, the beliefs of any and all religions are pale and silly things.

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