Atheism is Not a Belief

And if it was, it would be a poor one to follow.

For those of you who are already up in arms about me telling them what they may and may not believe, think about it. Look at the word. Define it. What does atheism mean? That you don’t believe in any god.

That’s not a belief. It’s a defined lack of belief.

So I’m not attacking your right to believe or disbelieve in anything you like. I’m drawing your attention to the fact that a lack of belief is a very poor basis upon which to define your person and your life.


Another thing to think about; if you define your life by what you don’t believe in, you are defining your life by something you don’t like. Hate, even.

Look at it in art. The moment you put “Neo-,” “Post-“ or “Anti-“ in front of any movement, you commit yourself to constantly look back to whatever you rebelled against to define what you’re doing. I was always amused by the “Folkies” of the late 1960s who turned on Bob Dylan and booed him for using electric guitars. It revealed them to be as hide-bound, biased, and tribal as the generation they professed to be rebelling against.

And What Good Does it Do?

When it comes right down to it, arguing with people about their beliefs is a waste of time. Beliefs aren’t logical, so logic has no traction against them. Especially when all your arguments are negative. Nothing pushes people more firmly into their beliefs than an attack on them.

What Should You Do?

Forget about the old, outmoded beliefs that you disagree with, and stop trying to make people leave those beliefs. The very act of attacking other people’s beliefs negates your right to the freedom of your own set. So leave theirs alone, and work on your own. Ask yourself some questions.

What Do You Really Dislike?

Let’s take a popular quote.

“I hate Christmas because of the commercialism.”

If you think about it, this statement is probably false. A more careful consideration of the facts would come out with a more accurate statement:

“I love Christmas, and I hate what commercialism has done to it.”

Better, yes? You just morphed from a nasty old Scrooge into a caring traditionalist.

What about Christianity?

Let’s apply the same trick. I often hear the argument from Atheists,

“I hate Christianity for all the evil that has been done in its name. Wars, colonialism, and yada, yada, yada.”

Try again. “I hate all the evil that has been done in the name of Christianity.”

As many Christians and critics have pointed out, the people who did the evil were hardly following Christian principles.

Or, “I dislike organized religion, because of how it manipulates its believers to support the power structure of the state.” Now, a person could get behind that.

What to Believe in?

Well, it won’t help my argument, and it might hinder it, to tell you what I believe about any metaphysical system. But I will tell you something we all ought to believe in, and that’s the human race. It’s not hard; we’re all members of it. And the next big step is to believe that in order for the human race to survive, we all have to do our little parts to keep it moving ahead. And maybe even make some sacrifices to help it along.

The only other alternative — one that far too many people take — is to believe in yourself. As in only yourself, and to hell with the rest of the world. It’s a viable belief, and it has long proven to get people ahead in this society. But, as Scrooge discovered, (once he was hit over the head with it by metaphysical beings) it only serves you to get ahead towards…what?”

Because for everyone, especially at this time of the year, and especially as we get older, there’s a certain question that pops up with increasing regularity.

Why Was I Here?

I mean, what was the point of it all? And if your answer is, “There is no point to it all, so I had a good time and made a lot of money, and that proves how wonderful I am,” then, well, in my belief set, you don’t rate very highly.

If, on the other hand, your answer is more like, “I’m a member of the human race, and I did what I could to make its continued survival more possible,” then I think you can take a certain satisfaction in your life.


The only New Year’s resolution I can come up with is to look back on my life and realize that, while I have tried to do my share for humanity, I’ve spent a lot of my time making money and having a good time, and maybe I could edge my activities a little closer to what I profess to believe in. It’s not necessary to drop everything and rush to Somalia to distribute relief supplies. You don’t have to go all Greta and tell the United Nations they ought to be ashamed of themselves. Just pick a cause that will help some portion of humanity, even a small one, and throw some weight behind it.

You’ll be glad you did.






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