Because I’m an Atheist

Joining the bandwagon is fun. Friends Miriam, Kate, and Andrew have already written their “Because I’m an Atheist” posts. All were inspired by Mr. Cromwell. Here’s my take.

Because I’m an atheist, I am able to touch the intricate fabric of reality. I am able to breathe every moment as close to reality as possible. For there are no angels, no demons, no pixies, no gods, and no fairies. There is but this natural world. And that’s awesome.

Because I’m an atheist, I am able to join a proud community of humanists. A community that prides itself with using effective methods to deal with pressing human problems. A community that doesn’t go around hating queers, women, and non-believers. A community that respects science, that embraces reason, that promotes diversity, and promotes service to all people. A community that generally acts better than most religious ones.

Because I’m an atheist, I disapprove of silence. I disapprove of people who sit and watch the world go by, without lending their voice to what’s right. I am shocked that people aren’t angry at religion, that people seem to always be more concerned about defending the reputation of their religion than standing up unconditionally for their fellow human beings. I am stunned by the amount of nonsense and hate that this society puts up with.

Because I’m an atheist, I can tell the truth about death. I don’t have to go around and do the unethical act of telling people that they have a second life after they die, when in fact I don’t actually know. I am able to tell people that as far as we can tell, this is the only life they have, and that this fact makes their life so much more valuable, and so much more meaningful.

Because I’m an atheist, I have a better idea of how much I don’t know. I am ecstatic about the edges of human knowledge, eager to explore new fields and learn about exciting discoveries. I am thankful to the researchers who toil day and night to bring us closer to reality, and look down upon those who think they know something just because it’s in a book.

Because I’m an atheist, I can be justifiably angry at our circumstances. I don’t have to make excuses for why the universe looks exactly like a cold, godless place. I don’t have to torture my conscience to explain why millions of innocent children suffer and die, despite desperate pleas and prayers from their loved ones. I don’t have to accept the unacceptable, love what is unlovable, praise what is monstrous. I don’t have to view cancer as “god’s will”. I don’t have to accept horrifying natural disasters as “mysterious”. As an atheist, I am glad that I don’t have to reason that poorly, be that dishonest about reality, or care that insufficiently about the suffering of others.

Because I’m an atheist, I promote actions that have an impact. It means no praying, no hovering about a magic pot, no rain chants, and no alternative medicine. No deluding ourselves about salvation. We have to take responsibility for ourselves. As Carl Sagan says, as far as we know, there is nobody out there there to save us from ourselves. If we want to make it to the stars, we have to make this a better, safer planet for the next generation. And we can start by doing things that actually work.

Because I’m an atheist, I know that life does get better. Despite having the privilege of living in a secular/liberal city, during high school, I never thought that the secular movement would take off like it did. I never thought that I would meet incredibly talented, loving, and genuine people in this journey called life. I never thought that the love of learning about reality would consume me, making me more curious, more awed, and more grateful.

To the young person–the high school skeptic, the passionate social activist, the curious mind in an oppressively religious community, the naive science nerd, the questioning philosopher, the ordinary teen–my message is this. Community is much bigger than the place you come from. You’ll see and experience things you never thought would happen.

Join us, and enjoy the incredible ride.


Posted on August 2, 2012, in Humanism, Religion, Science and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You make it sound as though non-atheists are just terrible people 😦

    • Not purposefully. Unless you can show how any of the things I’ve said aren’t true, you should put the blame on religion, not me.

      • Well, for one you don’t have to be an atheist to do any of the things you mentioned. You can subscribe to any number of non-atheistic religious views, from Gnosticism to Kardecianism, to mention the most obvious, but even the more traditional ones like Catholicism or Hinduism, and still abide by said rules – including the one about telling people that in the end no one is really sure about what happens when we die,even if your personal belief is that something does happen – as long as you keep an open-minded attitude about it and accept the possibility of being wrong, as well as recognizing the value – if not factual, at least moral and cultural – of other points of view (things you don’t seem to be doing…). “Correlation does not imply causation”

  2. Well if that text proves anything, it is that it doesn’t matter what kind of self-aggrandizing dogmatic proselytism you subscribe to, it will always make you sound like an asshole

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