I talk a lot about human rights, equality, social justice, volunteering and being kind and helpful to others. Maybe too much, especially on Facebook. I enjoy the affirmative comments I get, but among them, very often, are comments like, “You sure sound like a Christian to me!”
Those comments are meant as a compliment. But it ticks me off. Every time.
I'm good WITHOUT GOD.
No religion has a monopoly on goodness. Or evil, for that matter. And it most certainly IS possible to be good without a “god.” Yet my Christian friends just can’t believe that I don’t believe. How can I encourage people to volunteer and be kind to their neighbors if I don’t believe in a magical, invisible Super Friend? How can I feel so passionately about the beauty of natural resources and not believe some supernatural force created it?
The natural forces that have made our world are amazing. They aren’t conscious, they aren’t caring, there’s no deliberation behind their actions or results, but they are none-the-less awe-inspiring. Observational astronomy, particle physics, evolutionary biology, plate tectonics - they’re amazing! They don’t need to have consciousness, self-awareness, souls, feelings or personalities to be amazing. And it doesn’t bother me that natural forces aren’t alive and aren’t capable of feelings or deliberation - in fact, I take comfort in knowing things like hurricanes and meteor strikes and super novas are NOT acts of a conscious being and that these have NOTHING to do with human morality. They just are. I remember feeling such despair when I was trying to be a Christian - despair over God killing children through natural disasters, despair over going through horrors in my life and never, ever feeling the comfort of a magical, invisible buddy to get me through it. That deep despair melted away when I embraced my atheism. I still get sad, maybe even overwhelmed, but I don't struggle with the "Why?!" anymore.
Our household reveled in watching “Cosmos” earlier this year. I cried at the end of a few of the episodes. I cried over how gorgeous the universe is. How vast it is. How it is full of so many possibilities, more than I can even imagine. Yes, I felt small - but I didn’t feel insignificant. I felt - and feel - a part of it all. I am star dust - and what makes me me will always be a part of this universe. That’s a rather cool thought.
More of my blogs about ethics, morality and philosophy as an atheist: