We've all heard this before: "atheists dont believe in anything," and of course that is not true. Unfortunately, I hear this all too often. Since beliefs are an individual thing (especially among the secular community), I pose the question to you: What do you believe in?
I'd love to hear as many thoughts as possible. Hopefully this discussion will generate a diverse enough pool that it would be worthwhile to link this as a response to statements like the one above.
I believe that each of us has only so much time to live, so we should use that time as fully as possible.
I believe that our actions effect those around us, so we should be mindful of what we say and do.
I believe that the powers of kindness and simple respect can move mountains, but there is always that one person in a hundred that needs a straight up pop in the mouth to give them a little clarity and humility.
Believe in yourself!
This statement about Humanism and its Aspirations describes my life stance pretty well.
Humanist Manifesto III, a successor to the Humanist Manifesto of 1933
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance.
This document is part of an ongoing effort to manifest in clear and positive terms the conceptual boundaries of Humanism, not what we must believe but a consensus of what we do believe. It is in this sense that we affirm the following:
Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.
Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.
Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.
Life's fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.
Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.
Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature's resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.
Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature's integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.
Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.
Very well said.
I don't believe in "anything"?
Is cause and effect nothing? I believe I'm on the Earth, not the Moon. I believe I'm alive or I wouldn't be answering this question. I believe chicken tastes better than beef liver. I believe cats and dogs make good pets.
I believe all kinds of things.
What they mean is that atheists don't believe in things that can ONLY be believed because there is no evidence that would turn the belief into knowledge.
Blind faith, you mean?
They equate belief with blind faith. Yes.
That's interesting. I tried blind faith on for size, so to speak, to see if I could identify with it. The only thing that comes to mind is optimism. I am an optimist, in so many ways. I have been very lucky in my life (and yes I think it might be down to attitude, but there are a lot of 'lucky' things that have happened to me in my life).
Would you classify optimism as blind faith?
About luck - there are those who carry a rabbit's foot for luck. Just remember, the rabbit had four of them, and it didn't do him a lot of good --
They didn't carry a St. Christoper's medal with them.
Thanks Unseen, I'm co-opting this for myself with a bit of editing:
"I believe in things that can be believed only because there is evidence that would turn that belief into knowledge."
Faith is believing what you know ain't so. -Mark Twain