Monday, February 28, 2011

Do Atheists have faith?

According to the dictionary that came with my computer, faith is

complete trust or confidence in someone or something


strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

I like that my dictionary acknowledges that there is no proof of an invisible omnipotent all-knowing being.

You know Atheists don't have any believe whatsoever in a God or religion, but do we have complete trust or confidence in someone or something?

Every Atheist is different. We have no doctrine that we follow. There's no handbook. There's no association we are all a part of. Some Atheists are super duper rationalists, committing to never-do-anything-without-a-good-reason. And some, like me, are ridiculously spontaneous and mindless in our actions... especially after too many beers.

This Atheist, Your Atheist Muse, does have faith, in the sense of having complete confidence in someone or something, without lots of scientific data to back up such a belief. Here is my faith:

I have faith that humanity has the capacity to be kind to each other. I have faith that humanity has the capacity to take care of the Earth and its resources and landscape in such a way as to make/keep this world a beautiful, joyous place where no species goes extinct, where every human has access to nutrition, job opportunities, learning opportunities and basic, affordable health care, and where every human can live safely and, as long as it doesn't hurt other people, the way he or she wants to. I have faith that humanity has an infinite capacity to learn and to love.

My faith that humanity will realize those capacities? Not so strong...

There's some scientific data that backs up what faith I have. There's lots of anecdotal evidence to support my faith. Sometimes my personal experience supports it and, sometimes, my personal experience is in direct contrast to those beliefs. Maybe I'm programmed by DNA and upbringing to have this faith.

No, my faith in human capacities does not come from Super Invisible Friend Guy. There has been absolutely nothing I have read, seen or experienced that has any way indicated such comes from Super Invisible Friend Guy. In fact, kindness seems logical to me, while being unkind is illogical to me: when I'm kind, then most of the time, I get a good return, excepting the occasional person that takes advantage of such. By contrast, being unkind usually leaves everyone in a bad mood, including me. Living a life that leaves less of a carbon footprint on the planet, ensuring no species goes extinct (except maybe bedbugs), and using resources wisely seems logical to me, while being a glutton seems silly, destructive and, ultimately, not enjoyable.

Could goodness be logical? Considering that so many of us are kind without any belief in God, it would seem so!

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