This I Believe

Dillon - Columbia, South Carolina
Entered on February 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

A Testament to Silent Convictions

I was recently asked by an educated adult whom I have come to respect, “If there are other people that share your belief, then why aren’t there flocks of people committing suicide?” The belief to which he is referring would actually more appropriately be described as an absence of belief. Through years of introspection, learning, and questioning I have come to the very basic belief that there is no higher power; we Homo sapiens are without a God. You may classify this however you wish, as most people would choose to call me an atheist, but I myself avoid using self-descriptive titles as a way to characterize my beliefs.

As a person of science I believe that everything, including life, can be explained in a formula, through an equation, and solved through mathematics. One of my more depressive beliefs, which has subsequently stemmed from my skepticism of any form of higher power, is that there is nothing truly special in human life. I can’t help myself but to find that all of our emotions, all of our feelings and morality, all of the beauty that everyone else seems to see in life is nothing more than a series of intricately complex chemical reactions. Many people like to classify our sentience and emotions as a soul. I see it as nothing more than interactions between complex organic molecules. It is nothing more than the product of random atomic collisions, chemical interactions, and most importantly billions of years of evolution. Therefore, my belief is that from the earliest beginnings of the universe atomic nuclei were created in the cores of stars, and over eons those nuclei eventually combined in a self replicating way which we today call life. Having faith that an omniscient creator fabricated life in his greatest achievement may be enough for you, but it is not for me. Thus, to me, life is truly nothing majestic or precious. Yes, I do think that it is an incredible and statistically improbable situation that life arose, but I do not share in most people’s finding of beauty and purpose in life.

So then why haven’t I committed suicide yet and gotten this all over with? After all, I do find life to be mostly meaningless, and that after we die we will simply evaporate into nothingness; no heaven, no hell. Trust me, coming to terms with these sort of philosophical debates and dealing with the atrocities of meaningless and nihilism have lead me into a generally depressive state and to think about committing suicide frequently. But the thing that has prevented my premature demise has been my own fear of nothingness. I have come to terms with the inevitable end of my own conscience and sentience. However when I do think about the absence of purpose in life I come to an ironic conclusion, and this is why I choose to continue living. I am alive, I am here and aware at this very second, and opposed to ending everything now I choose to live. I do not want to voyage into that dark, inescapable, and barren ocean before I have to. I might as well keep living on in this life that I have; it will all be over one day, but not today.