• My beliefs are based on the best available evidence, logic and reason.  I care more about the truth than being satisfied and not being anxious.  A scientific theory is a framework of well supported facts which have been tested, not mere conjecture.  Faith is the acceptance of a conclusion without evidence.  I have no faith.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to be believed and it is the responsibility of those who make a claim to provide the evidence for the claim.  There is no reliable evidence of the supernatural.  I do not believe in God.
  • Humans are fallible.  Our senses are limited relative to the total spectrum available.  Our brains often misinterpret our senses and can create hallucinations.  People lie intentionally and because they believe their fallible brains.  Personal experience without external validation and corroboration is unreliable.  Although authorities may help determine and interpret evidence, my beliefs are not based on the number of other people who believe them and do not depend on any particular authority to confirm them.
  • I don't know everything.  I don't know how the Big Bang happened and life started. No one knows everything.  That something is unknown does not mean that a consciousness explains what is not known.  The unknown is not currently known, but may be discovered or explained in the future.  I may change my mind.  Current conclusions may be modified based on new evidence or the discovery of flawed reasoning.
  • I am a single being, produced through the process of evolution, on a planet circling a star among billions of stars in a galaxy among billions of galaxies which began from the Big Bang and have a reality outside my mind.  I am extremely lucky to be alive at this time in this place.  I don't celebrate holy days.  Every day in my short life is precious.  My purpose is whatever I make it to be.
  • There are consequences to my actions in this life.  My impact on the world is primarily through interaction with others. If I hurt others, I will not be respected and will be more likely to be hurt by others.  Hurting others intentionally when it can be avoided is evil.  If I help and enjoy myself with others, I can develop a circle of friends who will enrich my life and help me when I am in need.  Living my life in a way that develops me mentally and physically and helps others is good.
  • I cannot leave this planet and it and my ability to live on it may be destroyed in many ways.  The Earth will be destroyed in the death of the Sun.  The Universe is expanding and heading towards a heat death. I will die.  When I die, my consciousness will end and my body will disintegrate.  My intellectual products, physical creations, and the impact that I have had on others are the only things that will survive me.  Humans must continue to explore space and understand science to survive or avert  the end of the Earth and the Universe.

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Comment by Michael Penn on March 13, 2013 at 7:35am

My current state of belief came about after hearing a series of lectures on YouTube by Jerry DeWitt. Like him, I was also trained for the ministry and thought his ideas made sense. Soon I was thinking for myself and not just taking the existence of a devine creator as a starting point for everything. I firmly believe that most people in the world assume we have a creator and that the Bible is how this creator communicates with us. The fairy tales start at this point, so the next step is to re-examine "the evidence." To my surprise I found the Bible to be full of holes and contradictions while what they call "faith" is blind ignorance. This then, would be your evidence for the existence of a creator? Suddenly the book with all the "answers" creates a whole new set of questions. The Christian world at large seems to be a group of "Bible and God" apologists with a new word-slant just to keep the gullible happy and the "faithful" going. How could any of this be valid? Why would anyone believe that our creator is providing us a guidebook that he dictated centuries ago through nomadic tribesmen? It makes no sense! All of the worlds "sacred writings" have relatively the same message.

Mankind has a desire of knowledge, and we find that we do not know. Many cannot accept that we know nothing and they get involved in a "devine plan" with religious groups that have all the answers. Not only are they smarter than everyone else, they are also being "rewarded" for doing the right things. The world should wake up because this mindset is very dangerous! We need to realize that 9-11 was also about "religion." Recently a "letters to the editor" piece in our local newspaper proclaimed that "Christianity was the true religion because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ." My mind was quickly asking why they would print such trash. The writer was as dangerous as the rest of them, and the subject matter is not editorial. We appear to be in a war of "who has the greater imaginary friend." This makes religion the scariest thing on earth!

A store clerk friend of mine recently asked me how I thought everything would "play out?" It soon became apparent that she is talking book of "Revelation" and the "end times." She was shocked when I asked her how an ancient book could possibly contain futuristic events yet to occur? Gullible people are taught that these events have to occur. I told her that the book was written for people alive at the time of the writer. Suddenly I'm reminded of a Christian woman wanting to explain herself to Bill Maher. She says "let's suppose that you are hungry." He quickly answers that he is not hungry.

Can I prove that their is no God? No, I cannot. What I have proven is that the "guidebooks" are greatly flawed. If the message is hazy and contradictory, then it can be assumed that their is no messenger. The real salvation of mankind is to go only with what is known.

Comment by Janine White on January 11, 2013 at 2:08pm

Asa,

I did not lose a faith.  I never had one.  I was raised in conservative Jewish household, but never believed the stories in the Bible nor God are real.  I have always described myself as "culturally" Jewish and not believing in God.  I am not an atheist because of anything, other than I was never successfully convinced to believe in a God.  I am an atheist who believes the above and my beliefs are consistent with atheism.  I am curious if other atheists have different beliefs or find my beliefs inconsistent with atheism, as I am open to new evidence and reasoning.

If theists agree or not with my beliefs is not an issue for me, unless our disagreements lead to them trying to proscribe my behavior in some way.  The more theists agree with me, the more likely we are to get along peacefully and I welcome it.  I do not go out of my way to challenge theists on their faith and am fortunate that I rarely have them challenge me personally.

I disagree that theists believe that they have no evidence to support their faith.  Most theists will point to something as the source of their faith, their holy book(s), feeling God in their lives, the apparent design of the universe ..., but I believe that the things that they point to are not reliable evidence of any God(s).

Yes, I would add Scientists, Philosophers, ... , any authority.  What matters is the evidence and reasoning that someone presents, not who they are or the position they hold.

Comment by Asa Watcher on January 11, 2013 at 1:01pm

Janine, when you write:

"I'm using "belief" in the primary sense, "something believed; an opinion or conviction." This is not intended as a justification of Atheism, but rather a statement of my convictions, how I live my life and the foundation of my morality as an Atheist, which is why the title is "What I believe as an Atheist".  

Let me try to understand.

Are you saying: 

“I believe these things because I am an atheist”?

 instead of saying:

 “My atheism is a conclusion I’ve reached because of my beliefs.”?

I am of the notion that people who become atheists are those who evaluated scientific evidence, weighed observable reality, assumed the obvious virtues of self reliance and responsibility for one’s moral behavior, and, in so doing, came to the apparent conclusion that we here at A/N all share.

". . . . most Theists would not agree with the core of my beliefs, including:

There is no reliable evidence of the supernatural.

Actually, most theists would agree, because were there “reliable evidence” there would be no reason to engage faith, and faith is the foundation of religion.  Without faith there is no religion.

Faith has nothing to do with “reliable evidence”.

That’s why you don’t share faith with the theists; yet you share many “beliefs”.

"• Although authorities may help determine and interpret evidence, my beliefs are not based on the number of other people who believe them and do not depend on any particular authority to confirm them. (God, Holy Books, Prophets, Sages, Clerics, Psychics ...)"

I’m sure you’d be inclined to add Scientists, Philosophers, Reporters, Economists ...

"• That something is unknown does not mean that a consciousness explains what is not known. (God of the gaps)"

Did your atheism prompt this belief, or did this belief simply add to your decision to abandon faith in the existence of a god?

"• My purpose is whatever I make it to be. (God's plan)"  

Most theists believe, like you, that they possess Free Choice (Will) and are not pre determinists. (their logical inconsistencies abound within this construct, but that is a subject they, not we, have to deal with.)

"• When I die, my consciousness will end and my body will disintegrate. My intellectual products, physical creations, and the impact that I have had on others are the only things that will survive me. (Heaven, Hell, Reincarnation, After Life)"

The idea of an afterlife was one more element of faith you rejected on your path to becoming an atheist.

I know this all sounds kinda nit picky,  (sort of a chicken/egg argument) but this an important concept to master when discussing your atheism with a theist.

Comment by Janine White on January 11, 2013 at 11:13am

I'm using "belief" in the primary sense, "something believedan opinion or conviction." This is not intended as a justification of Atheism, but rather a statement of my convictions, how I live my life and the foundation of my morality as an Atheist, which is why the title is "What I believe as an Atheist".  There is no implication that all Atheists believe the same things.

Although there is great variation in beliefs in Gods and their understanding of the scientific method, most Theists would not agree with the core of my beliefs, including:

  • There is no reliable evidence of the supernatural.  I do not believe in God. (God is supernatural.)
  • Although authorities may help determine and interpret evidence, my beliefs are not based on the number of other people who believe them and do not depend on any particular authority to confirm them. (God, Holy Books, Prophets, Sages, Clerics, Psychics ...)
  • That something is unknown does not mean that a consciousness explains what is not known. (God of the gaps)
  • My purpose is whatever I make it to be. (God's plan)
  • When I die, my consciousness will end and my body will disintegrate. My intellectual products, physical creations, and the impact that I have had on others are the only things that will survive me. (Heaven, Hell, Reincarnation, After Life)
Comment by Asa Watcher on January 11, 2013 at 9:55am

Actually, none of what you list as your "beliefs" is dependent upon being an atheist.

With the possible exception of your last point, I can easily imagine a theist sharing your beliefs.

What defines an atheist is not what the atheist “believes”, rather, it is the absence of a belief.

What “I believe as an atheist” might be more appropriately titled:  “Beliefs I hold that resulted in my being an atheist”.

Again, atheism does not need to be justified by a list of “beliefs”.  That is a necessity sholdered by the theist’s assertions, not the atheist’s, who should not feel any need to justify atheism with a list of why we’re atheists.  After all, we were born atheists. 

If a theist is so stupid as to ask you why you are an atheist, you simply look them in the eye and say:  “Well, just like you, I was born that way, and have not seen any compelling evidence to change my mind”.

Comment by booklover on January 11, 2013 at 9:22am

I agree.

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