This I Believe

Matias - Kamas, Utah
Entered on May 4, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: good & evil

I am an ordinary Atheist, no invisible comfort to turn to when filled with self-doubt, no graven image to worship when suffering great loses or experiencing un-satiated want. Yet I am not lonely. I suffer my loses with grace often taking years to heal. I face my desires as others, sometimes gracefully, other times awkwardly. I often counsel myself, the voice within one that my mind has created, a deeper self. What some call prayer though take no credit for the wisdom there-in.

I am an ordinary Atheist because I’m without special training. Unlike Richard Dawkins, I am not a Scientist although I understand the basics of Darwinian Evolution and am humbled by the process. I am not a Philosopher, as Daniel Dennett, though I have studied some Philosophy and as Paul Simon said in reference to a more physical pursuit “I do declare I took some comfort there”. Alas, I am ordinary. I have no deep theological, scientific, or philosophical foundation of which to convince you of or justify my beliefs.

Although I have no God, no dogma to support, I do believe. I believe in human goodness. Altruism is everywhere. I don’t know why and I don’t feel the need to seek an answer whether divine or biological. I just know that people can be good to each other and that gives me comfort. The actions always speak louder than the words and the heroes always seem humble when pressed to explain the deed. I like that. I don’t want to see the goodness they practice given away to an outside agent, an agent who is only ascribed the good and excused the vile. I believe in human goodness for its very humanness.

I also believe that humans can be cruel and self interested. The headlines are filled with these stories, our collective interest often more to the prurient than pure. I see religion used as an excuse often in the case of supposed ‘evil’. One man’s faith another’s devil incarnate. What more noble than to become the sword of God, the sword of your God, for humans have many deities each as true to its creator as the next. If biology provides us the insanity defense, it is only a latecomer to something religion has done for ages. What, if not insanity, is violence in the name of an unseen construct of the imagination?

And so I have no god and only a belief in human goodness. A belief that tells me that at the endgame man will decide to treat his fellow man in a fair and just way. As I treat you, so too you will treat me. Perhaps I’m naïve and biology will ultimately dictate strict self interest or perhaps I am ‘misguided’ and angels will descend from the heavens to set thing right amongst us. But for now I have only the self-knowledge that I have no God and that man is good. It’s all I have. It’s enough. For this, I believe.