Well, for one thing, Mercedes, I offered you information, but you've ignored my "friend" request for two days now, so I'm not sure you really want to learn. In fact, I notice you haven't accepted anyone's friend request, and I suspect I'm not the only one who made one.
Everybody remember the wide-eyed 13-year old ingénue we had visiting us a little time ago, who suddenly had to go because her mother was coming, and never returned? I'm beginning to sense the same song, second verse. I sincerely hope I'm wrong.
Mercedes, I hope you are finding the answers helpful. Asking what atheists believe is a bit like asking what ...say... people who are not interested in baseball believe. Some of them might have had experience with baseball and are turned off by it. Some of them may have never heard of the game and they have no frame of reference from which to have an opinion of it. Some might really despise it. Baseball fans may insist non-baseball fans are sorely misguided or evil. Some people might have watched a baseball game and were bored so they went surfing instead, or painted a picture, or just breathed in and out.
You get the picture, I hope. We are a hugely diverse bunch of people who don't believe in a deity. Whatever may be said about us by others may or may not be correct. I applaud you asking us for yourself. We are just people who don't believe in a god.
I have thought about what I DO believe in, a lot. I cut-and-pasted my previous answer to this same question.
I believe that, in a general sense, what goes around comes around. I believe in the importance of freedom of religion and separation of church and state. I think that mankind creates concepts of “god” because, as complex as we are and as much as we have evolved, much of what happens to man over time is seemingly violent and random. Even though I don’t believe in a god who dictates morals, I think it is important to live according to ideals that make good moral sense.
I believe that I have the duty to protect my children from being taught mythology, albeit modern, as science in school. I believe that Jesus could have been a real person and would be mortified at the actions of many of his followers now and throughout the past 2000 years.
I know that all life on this planet evolved from a common ancestor through the process of natural selection, and I know this because of the overwhelming evidence in support of the scientific theory of evolution. There is a huge difference between faith and knowledge.
I do believe we have a creator of sorts - the Earth, the cosmos, the stars. I believe that there is a divine melody playing in the universe, and I don’t need to assign a composer to it. It is there to listen to or not.
I believe that the creator, if there is such an entity, is inherently ineffable. I think that religions are created by humans, and are a weak guess at what or who may be at the root of the cosmos. Deep down, when I ask myself what will happen when I die, I don’t have an answer. I highly doubt that any one group of homo sapiens has somehow, out of the infinite possibilities that could have been settled upon, picked the exact form of the creator around which to form a religion. Do I believe in some force greater than myself, than mankind? Yes. I don’t know what it is and I don’t need to know. I don’t think it cares what I think: It just is.
I am a passionate, soulful person on a path of my own. As Martin Luther said when asked to recant his criticism against The Catholic Church, “Here I stand. I can do no other.” If I had to say I believed in a deity to save the life of a loved one, I would say it, but I would believe it even less inside.
My “creator” lives in mitochondria. It is in the beautiful blue atmosphere of the Earth. I see it reflecting back at me when I look at pictures of the Whirlpool Galaxy. It is in my back yard. It is in this moment. It is in each breath.
"Asking what atheists believe is a bit like asking..." what flavor of ice cream atheists like.
(Diane is just waiting for Baskin-Robbins to come out with a beer and Twizzlers flavor.)
Gross! That made my stomach turn a little.
I wish I had saved your comment as to how much you liked the combination, but you can't save everything you may or may not ever need!
After your comment, I even had Suzanne OlsonHyde (Australia) ask me, "What's Twizzlers?" and I had to email her a jpeg - don't try to wiggle out of it - oh, wait, maybe you're sober now --
Mercedes you might find this video interesting, it is a theory on whether Jesus existed.
It is only another viewpoint but I have done a little research on some of the information presented and I cannot find anything to prove that the information is false or exaggerated.
I come from a pretty poor family and we've always trusted God to get us through. I think that's why I believe in him. We've been thru hard times.
Mercedes, welcome to the forum. The more you think about this, the more one-sided you might see it. You give credit to God for getting you through the hard times, but wouldn't the hard times also be because of him?
Sometimes you might say that God sent you someone to help you. Try to imagine what would have happened if there was no God. Would that person still show up? If they did or did not, would it be because they are just a good person, or because they also believe in a God? If your answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no, then the all-knowing part doesn't hold up, does it?
I know that this site can get you thinking. Enjoy it.
We tend to mob believers.
Some of us here have never believed. Some, like me, believed unquestioningly until I arrived at a tie in my life when I started really thinking about what made sense and what didn't.
Here's one of the hardest beliefs you might have to give up: a belief in spirit. Souls, spirits, ghosts...they are all pretty much the same thing.
The hard truth that follows on giving up the soul is a belief in an afterlife. We believe that death is it. When you die, you're dead. It's not eternal blackness or even eternal nothingness, for that implies that there is someone experiencing the nothingness. You're no longer around. Just like you weren't around before you were born, You won't feel or know you are dead, just like you didn't feel unborn before you came into the world.
RE: "We tend to mob believers." - who's "WE," got a ferret in your pocket?
I sometimes ask people to reserve two places for me and tell them I'm bipolar.