Posted by: NotAScientist | October 27, 2008

What this atheist DOES believe…

We evil atheists are often attacked for concentrating too much on things that we don’t believe.

And there’s a certain amount of truth to that. But when you realize that the things we don’t believe are believed by so many others, and that many of those beliefs are quite dangerous and scary, you may forgive us our preoccupation.

But we do have beliefs, positions and world views. At least I do. It may surprise some of you that my world view isn’t ‘atheism’ and my positions aren’t ‘destroy religion’ or ‘end Christianity’.

So here’s what I do believe, without commentary. The horrible and scary affirmations of Secular Humanism! Run in terror from such horrible ideas!

Or, you know, just read and comment. Either works.

We are committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems.

We deplore efforts to denigrate human intelligence, to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and to look outside nature for salvation.

We believe that scientific discovery and technology can contribute to the betterment of human life.

We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.

We are committed to the principle of the separation of church and state.

We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding.

We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance.

We believe in supporting the disadvantaged and the handicapped so that they will be able to help themselves.

We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.

We want to protect and enhance the earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species.

We believe in enjoying life here and now and in developing our creative talents to their fullest.

We believe in the cultivation of moral excellence.

We respect the right to privacy. Mature adults should be allowed to fulfill their aspirations, to express their sexual preferences, to exercise reproductive freedom, to have access to comprehensive and informed health-care, and to die with dignity.

We believe in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility. Humanist ethics is amenable to critical, rational guidance. There are normative standards that we discover together. Moral principles are tested by their consequences.

We are deeply concerned with the moral education of our children. We want to nourish reason and compassion.

We are engaged by the arts no less than by the sciences.

We are citizens of the universe and are excited by discoveries still to be made in the cosmos.

We are skeptical of untested claims to knowledge, and we are open to novel ideas and seek new departures in our thinking.

We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service to others.

We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.

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Responses

  1. Hey Morsec0de. Another great post – thanks. As a fellow atheist I was particularly interested in your take on “morals” as there is a view out there (which I do not share) that defining morality is the domain of the church. Glad you focussed strongly on this aspect in your post. Look forward to reading more from you.

  2. Thank you. To be fair, the list of affirmations were taken from secularhumanism.org, which I forgot to source. I’ll do so now.

  3. two thumbs up Morsec0de!!

  4. “We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.”

    After a long list of what you believe, this sticks out to me the most of all of them. Why? Because it’s a glimpse at the way the world views Christianity, which is a sad look in my opinion. The fact that we are viewed by what we are against, instead of promoting the positive things of the Bible (which I whole-heartedly believe) is a sad piece. Christianity would be much better if we stood for the positives and reacted the way that we should, instead of carrying out pitchforks and torches. You wanted my opinion on your blog…this is it: that last paragraph was a great challenge to this Christian guy.

  5. And to be fair, it’s not just a response to Christianity, but the negatives in ALL religions.

    I’m not stupid enough to claim that religions can’t or don’t do positive things. But for all the positive, to ignore the negative would be foolish.

  6. […] post info By mrakers Categories: Atheist Arguments and Christianity Tags: Atheism, Christianity I recently reviewed the book “unChristian” and this is a post that flows out of that book, as well as from this post by morsecode on his blog. […]

  7. Just wanted to say thank you for visiting my blog today. You gave some interesting points.

  8. Excellent collection of ideals. I tried to find the original on secularhumanism.org but could not… at least not easily. I have re-posted them on my own blog with the appropriate h/t to you. The more they get spread out there, the better!


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