This I Believe

Niruban - Lancaster, California
Entered on August 14, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that people can be moral without God. I am a Bright, which means that my worldview is free of supernatural elements, including God. I believe that people can be moral without God because after living on three continents and travelling to nine countries, I’ve found that most societies follow timeless and universal moral codes such as: protecting women and children from harm, criminalizing murder and honoring the Golden Rule, which has been followed worldwide for centuries.

I believe that people can be moral without God because scientific research has shown that even babies understand notions of right and wrong, and that our closest animal relatives practice cooperation and reciprocal altruism on a daily basis. I don’t think that God is needed to enforce any of this. In fact, I believe morality and the universal human conscience evolved from our ancient forefathers and foremothers, who had to maintain good social standing in order to survive on the African savannah, thousands of years ago.

I have found no evidence that Brights are any less ethical than Supernaturalists. In fact, most of my friends are non-believers, and they are living proof that people can be moral without God. One is a social worker who has given her life over to fighting injustice against women and children. Another friend never litters as his own personal rule, because he respects the environment he loves. Yet another one literally

wouldn’t harm a fly. As another friend put it, “That little voice that people talk about doesn’t have to be the voice of God for everyone. For some it is. For others, it’s their own voice.” Yet, all of these individuals are godless. They live ethically and peacefully without the stress of surveillance from up above.

Like my friends, not believing in God means that I am free to choose the code of conduct that will guide my life. I don’t have to follow

someone else’s rules. Believing that God doesn’t exist forces me to come up with my own ethics and mission statement, while respecting society’s laws at the same time.

Some of my personal rules are:

Respect others’ property rights; never steal.

Seek the truth, no matter how unpleasant.

Never trample over other people’s dreams.

Don’t waste energy or natural resources, because today’s children may need it in the future.

It would be very easy for me to say, “I believe that there is no such thing as sin,” or “I believe that there is no such thing as evil,” and proceed to live as irresponsibly as I would like. But sooner or later, I would be paying for it. Failure to be ethical means that I would also have to live with the knowledge that I am not a good person. I am not a saint, but I find this unacceptable. Harming someone else would also inject un-needed negativity into the society that I care about. Neither God nor the expectation of a Judgment Day is necessary to enforce my own rules– society’s laws, the universal human conscience, my own values and basic human empathy seem to be enough. When I live as harmlessly as possible while honoring of my own values and ethics, instead of God’s, then my life feels much less forced and obligatory. It’s a wonderful feeling. And no one can take that away from me.