Aug. 31st, 2009

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Pursuant to my last entry about atheism and why I strive to be a decent guy even though I don't believe in a god, here's a link to a well-written post on Atheist Revolution, called Then What Do You Believe?. It brings up some excellent points, including some of my own core beliefs, but because I'm feeling philosophical, I'm going to write today about what I, myself, personally believe.

I believe that no gods or Supreme Beings exist. Define a Supreme Being. Define a "god". Can you reconcile the three attributes "omnipotent", "omnipresent" and "omnibenevolent" with each other? Can you show any evidence for the existence of these beings, anything concrete beyond the tenets of blind faith? These are the primary reasons why I do not believe in any supreme being.

I believe that it is not just a choice, but a moral imperative of every human to explore, question, and expand their worldview. By the same token, I do not refuse to entertain discussion about religion or religious concepts. I will happily listen to arguments, viewpoints and opinions that differ from my own. Religion makes many good points, and those few who actually espouse the good principles of their religion are, at their core, Good People even without their religion. This is my firm belief. I can learn from them just like I would learn from any atheist. Closed minds gather nothing but dust.

I believe that people should be good to others, until they give you reason to do otherwise. I went over this in the last post, but it bears repeating. It is Good and Right to be cool to others. I believe this with all my heart.

I believe that truth is always preferable to fiction. Although I'm often tempted to play ostrich when something unpleasant happens in my life, I will always confront it sooner or later. Because truth, pure truth, is the last, greatest bastion of human thought. I would prefer to see reality as it is, even if it interferes with my own worldview, even if it shakes me to the core, even if it rips me apart. Reasoned, clear thought, science and demonstrable evidence will lead -- MUST lead -- to truth, unvarnished truth, and it's that truth that I prefer to any fiction which might be more attractive.

I believe that there is no afterlife. For similar reasons that I believe there is no god, I believe there is no afterlife. Because this is the case, I also think it's a moral imperative for people to make the most of what little time they do have here on earth. Make the world a better place with your actions, your presence, and the memories and things you leave behind.

I believe that there are many things in this universe that we do not understand. Albert Einstein is the source of one of my favorite quotes: "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." By this same token, I believe that there are many strange and mysterious things out there in this universe that we don't yet understand. I say this not as a fallback position for when science fails to explain something strange, but because I freely admit that humans are tiny creatures and our knowledge is limited. Are there other races out there, beyond the stars, with greater knowledge of the cosmos? It's possible. Do I hope to meet them one day? You bet. And going back to what I said about exploring and questioning -- just because we currently don't understand something doesn't mean that we might not be able to understand it one day. I do not think that anything is "unknowable" or "unutterable", merely misunderstood due to insufficient knowledge and understanding.

I believe that people are entitled to their own beliefs and that my own is not the One True Way. I, personally, believe I am correct in my belief (of course I do). But I also believe other people are entitled to whatever beliefs they choose. I don't agree with those beliefs, and I may not understand why you believe that, but whatever gets you through the night. I'm not going to call you a Godded right-wing Jesus freak because you do believe in a God. You're entitled. I won't try to convert you, or change your mind, unless you want to discuss it freely and openly.

What about you? What do you believe?


[[The Oracle would like to know if you have a magic or lucky number.]]


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Phil C.

April 2011


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