I'm Curious About You Atheists

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Hello everyone! Let me just say that I am a Christian, yet I will and shall not judge/shun/insult any of you who come to this thread. I already know a bit about atheists but I wish to know more since I like to observe other people outside of my beliefs. There's so much I can learn and understand from you all, so please let me ask this:

What are your beliefs? Not like in faith or in a God but rather your beliefs in life that matter to you? Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society? Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

I admit it's sort of hard to ask a question in such a manner but basically what I am asking is what are your beliefs that make you, you? Yeah, that's a good way to put it because beliefs do make up for a person. Not entirely, but a good portion. I'm here to listen, well... read, but still.

Caramel Frappe:
Hello everyone! Let me just say that I am a Christian, yet I will and shall not judge/shun/insult any of you who come to this thread. I already know a bit about atheists but I wish to know more since I like to observe other people outside of my beliefs. There's so much I can learn and understand from you all, so please let me ask this:

What are your beliefs? Not like in faith or in a God but rather your beliefs in life that matter to you? Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society? Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

I admit it's sort of hard to ask a question in such a manner but basically what I am asking is what are your beliefs that make you, you? Yeah, that's a good way to put it because beliefs do make up for a person. Not entirely, but a good portion. I'm here to listen, well... read, but still.

As a general rule I'm fairly open and unrestricted about my Athiesm (I'm a man of science), I don't believe in God but by the same token I have no problem or conflict with religion (I'm only opposed to it when it becomes harmful, I even apply this to non-religious beliefs such as Athiesm and Agnosticism).

As a general rule I'm not opposed to most things provided that no-one is harmed as a result of them (obviously there are exceptions but they tend to be far and few between).

I'm not really sure what exactly to go into detail about so by all means if you have any specific questions regarding my views or beliefs on certain topics then by all means feel free to ask (or message if you're worried about clogging up the thread with a back-and-forth discussion).

I would say why do we need a higher purpose? Why can't we just go through life trying to do the best at what we can do?

That's my personal philosophy. The world exists, all we can do is try to survive it as best as we can. Nothing to do with science, I only believe in what directly interferes with me and I don't consider religion a part of that.

I just try and live my life by a personal code of morality. Sometimes wonder what the point is given no-one else seems to but it's all you can do really.

EDIT: For the record, I am totally fine with religion and I accept that science doesn't answer every question, I just personally don't believe in a God. The only thing I cannot stand is people preaching their religion (or in the case of atheism, lack of religion) down my throat, and consequently I don't want to be accused of that.

I believe in being a good person and making the best of your life. I believe in enjoying yourself and not regretting anything. I believe that people should just get a grip on the fact that people have different beliefs and deal with it. As long as they don't shove their beliefs down your thought, let them believe want they want; it's their life.

I also believe that everyone should be forced to work for a year or two in retail. Then perhaps the world will become a nicer place.

I believe people's beliefs shouldn't matter. They can't impact the world in any way, so lets focus on the important things.
On a side note: I thought once that religion was like a teddy bear. A comforting piece of the past that we don't need anymore, but still makes us feel good. What kind of man shows his teddy bear off to the world and wants other people to share it?

I don't really have any beliefs, all I know is I don't believe in a man in the sky who created everything.

What are your beliefs? Not like in faith or in a God but rather your beliefs in life that matter to you?

Be nice, be friendly, be accepting, be tolerant, if it kills you.

Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society?

I don't understand the question, honestly.

EDIT: After explanation, I don't think I truly know, what my skill would be or if it could change anything.

Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

Definitely!

Jedamethis:
I don't see why it should matter. We can't communicate with any higher beings and get any result, so lets focus on the important things.
I thought once that religion was like a teddy bear. A comforting piece of the past that we don't need anymore, but still makes us feel good. What kind of man shows his teddy bear off to the world and wants other people to share it?

Most of your post doesn't really relate to you though.. your post is pretty much saying I shouldn't tell people that I am a Christian. However, I like to know how others are like in beliefs (atheism or not) and share it. Understanding one another is a good step in life, least in simple terms really.

To me, this would be considered important. Like knowing how one thinks can influence good (yet these are internet posts but still are worth value of course.) To answer your question about a man showing off his teddy bear.. he could be a pastor. Pastors share their religion all the time. Politicians share their beliefs in politics all the time (mainly republicans and democrats). It's a chain you see, everyone has something of importance and I wish to know what importance you and others hold! :}

TheYellowCellPhone:
Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society?

I don't understand the question, honestly.

Ah, forgive me about that- I figured I would confuse someone with my questions. When I asked that, I was trying to ask if you have importance in life.. if you believe that your talents are meant to be used for greater good (or bad, but most go with good). Does that clarify? Please let me know otherwise.

Caramel Frappe:

Jedamethis:
I don't see why it should matter. We can't communicate with any higher beings and get any result, so lets focus on the important things.
I thought once that religion was like a teddy bear. A comforting piece of the past that we don't need anymore, but still makes us feel good. What kind of man shows his teddy bear off to the world and wants other people to share it?

Most of your post doesn't really relate to you though.. your post is pretty much saying I shouldn't tell people that I am a Christian. However, I like to know how others are like in beliefs (atheism or not) and share it. Understanding one another is a good step in life, least to me.

To me, this would be considered important. Like knowing how one thinks can influence good (yet these are internet posts but still are worth value of course.) To answer your question about a man showing off his teddy bear.. he could be a pastor. Pastors share their religion all the time. Politicians share their beliefs in politics all the time (mainly republicans and democrats). It's a chain you see, everyone has something of importance and I wish to know what importance you and others hold! :}

Fuck, just realised that I didn't answer your question at all. >.<
Sorry about that. I've thought about this properly now and I can't think of anything I believe that isn't also fact.
I know that I should do what benefits the most people. I know that I should do things that make me feel good. I know that helping others makes me feel good. Belief shouldn't affect anything.

I go with this.

"Isn't this enough?

Just this world?

Just this beautiful, complex, wonderfully unfathomable, natural world?
How does it so fail to hold our attention that we have to diminish it with the invention of cheap, man-made myths and monsters?
If you're so into your Shakespeare, lend me your ear:
"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw perfume on the violet... is just fucking silly"
Or something like that.
Or what about Satchmo?!
"I see trees of Green,
Red roses too,"
And fine, if you wish to glorify Krishna and Vishnu in a post-colonial, condescending bottled-up and labeled kind of way then whatever, that's ok."

I feel it kinda devalues what we see, the majesty of a universe so vast it may as well be a deity, but it is not, a place where everything is possible, a universe so vast and so beyond our comprehension that simply looking at the tiniest fraction of a billionth has blown us away with its beauty. I think the work is purer if we see not the artist but rather the art. That science and life and everything in the universe is natural and beautiful because it is natural. It wasnt put there, or made for us, its arrogant to assume so, we are just here, tentatively looking up into the sky and seeing so so so so so much more than ourselves. When i look at that, i dont need a god. A universe as amazing as ours doesnt need anymore to it to complete me.

That and i calls it hows i see it. I think that life, while objectively pointless, only has a point if you want it to. And look at us! We are thrown, a dust mote, into an infinite ocean of art and knowlegde, and i say the meaning of life is to explore it! Its a waste not to. Look at all this stuff! How can we live idly by while we sit in the middle of the greatest piece of natural art ever, explore it all is my view, starting with our own dust mote.

I think science and technology are our ways of viewing and understanding this amazing place we find ourselves in. If the universe is a room we are still huddling in the corner trying to work out what colour the wall is. And i think its our job to look further than that. Science is discovery, its looking and observing and documenting and appreciating the universe as it is. I think it needs the highest of priorities. The more we understand where we live the more control we have over it and the better we can make our tiny corner for ourselves.

Being an atheist doesnt mean a bland world, on the contrary its a world so full of colour and meaning you can start to see why we dont need a god in our hearts to be 100% content with simply what we can see and hear and touch. I for one dont feel empty at all. I dislike the statement commonly made that my life is emptier for my atheism.

Caramel Frappe:

Most of your post doesn't really relate to you though.. your post is pretty much saying I shouldn't tell people that I am a Christian. However, I like to know how others are like in beliefs (atheism or not) and share it. Understanding one another is a good step in life, least in simple terms really.

He makes a valid point though. I've noticed you mentioning you're a Christian in threads before that have nothing at all to do with religion or Christianity and I've often wondered why you've done so. Admittedly, yes, you don't do it all the time but when you do, it's so unrelated to the topic at hand, it baffles me. Just and observation, really. :P

OT: I'll nick the way TheYellowCellPhone answered as I'm having trouble putting my thoughts into a coherent paragraph. XD

What are your beliefs? Not like in faith or in a God but rather your beliefs in life that matter to you?

Pretty much be nice when you can be. And making sure I'm always there for friends and family.

Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society?

Ha, nope, not in the slightest.

Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

Eeeeeeeeh...I don't really get into those types of things. I just live my life and let others who are more knowledgeable worry about that.

Sure, our main belief (If it can be called as such) is that there is no higher power, no being that rules outside the measurable boundaries of reality. We don't really have any doctrines like the Bible or the Quran, there is probably some books published by atheist about atheism but from what I've seen they're mostly cash grabs. We generally believe that science will eventually help us uncover the answers, but with that said; We don't hold it as some sort of deity, we apply just as much scrutiny to it as we do to religion.

I'm a rather strange atheist as despite my strong disbelief in god I often come up with science fiction like justifications for "Godlike" beings. An example I came up with the "infinite painters" theory: The belief that any being can have control of the Dimension/s that are directly below its own. For example, A painter has complete control over the painting that he paints, he can make the images of suffering or he can make them about butterflies and happiness. In this belief a 'god' could simply be a denizen of the 4th Dimension who, despite not having any direct personal interaction with the 3rd dimension, shapes it how they please. Keep in mind I don't believe it, I just coined the Idea.

I believe in attaching meanings to things because it's a natural thing to do, while also reminding myself that I am simply doing it and it's all just symbolism. The human race is a random accident. It's comforting and horrible to think that we have nothing after this life and so we should create our idea of heaven and hell on earth.

Though I find it hard to see how anyone has faith because believing in a higher being means you have to believe truly in Zombie Prophets(usually) and other things I find hard to understand in 2011. We have left things behind in history before(racism etc) so maybe to some degree Its time to let go of religion.

Caramel Frappe:

TheYellowCellPhone:
Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society?

I don't understand the question, honestly.

Ah, forgive me about that- I figured I would confuse someone with my questions. When I asked that, I was trying to ask if you have importance in life.. if you believe that your talents are meant to be used for greater good (or bad, but most go with good). Does that clarify? Please let me know otherwise.

Alright, I edited my original post after reading this, thanks.

I just live day to day. I went to church for most of my life until I moved to China and realised i could find sufficient interest and meaning in a walk through an ancient suburb, or a conversation in broken english or chinese, that i didn't need to look for any more meaning.

In short, my life is interesting enough, my problems are involved enough, my triumphs are worthy enough, my computer is entertaining enough that I don't have any extra space left in my head for considering anything different.

I don't actively not believe in God, though i can imagine that the rapes perpetrated by priests (surely not just catholic) would have been harrowing for little boys and somewhat resent that, I just don't think about it.

Sassafrass:

Caramel Frappe:

Most of your post doesn't really relate to you though.. your post is pretty much saying I shouldn't tell people that I am a Christian. However, I like to know how others are like in beliefs (atheism or not) and share it. Understanding one another is a good step in life, least in simple terms really.

He makes a valid point though. I've noticed you mentioning you're a Christian in threads before that have nothing at all to do with religion or Christianity and I've often wondered why you've done so. Admittedly, yes, you don't do it all the time but when you do, it's so unrelated to the topic at hand, it baffles me. Just and observation, really. :P

So you DO read my posts.. Mm :D

Haha yes I admit I tend to do that a lot. Reason being is that most of my posts contain a supportive side to the OP while notifying that even though I am a Christian (which many place Christians to be in those categories of judging people, hating gays, ect.) I am still reasonable. Perhaps I get attached to this habit but glad you picked that up. I might have to now go back and look at my posts to see if they do make any significance. Oddly, some people find out that I am Christian without me saying it! :O

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_humanism
Sums it up quite nicely. I still haven't done more detailed reading on Humanism, but that is on my to do list.

Caramel Frappe:

So you DO read my posts.. Mm :D

Haha yes I admit I tend to do that a lot. Reason being is that most of my posts contain a supportive side to the OP while notifying that even though I am a Christian (which many place Christians to be in those categories of judging people, hating gays, ect.) I am still reasonable. Perhaps I get attached to this habit but glad you picked that up. I might have to now go back and look at my posts to see if they do make any significance. Oddly, some people find out that I am Christian without me saying it! :O

I read many peoples posts.
It's one of the few benefits of being unemployed with a screwed up sleep pattern, sadly.

But while I see why you do that, have you thought that by notifying people that you're a Christian, you're coming across as the type of Christian people don't like. Yeah, I can see why you do what you do, the first thought people get when they hear someone is a Christian is "Oh god, not another Bible basher, quick, run!" due to some Christians being more than vocal about their faith but when you mention it, you could come across as someone who rubs their religion in others faces, much like some MLP fans rub their fandom in the faces of others.[1] It just seems out of place sometimes and a little egotistical, ya know? Hope that made sense to you as I'm all over the place right now. XD

And as for how some people know about it already, it is on your profile and many people profile stalk here as well, just because they can.

Isn't that right, Redlin? ;)

[1] Now, to qualify the MLP fan thingy, I'm referring to the "In your face, join the herd" fans, not the fans who talk about the show and have MLP avatars, OK?

Sassafrass:
I read many peoples posts.
It's one of the few benefits of being unemployed with a screwed up sleep pattern, sadly.

But while I see why you do that, have you thought that by notifying people that you're a Christian, you're coming across as the type of Christian people don't like. Yeah, I can see why you do what you do, the first thought people get when they hear someone is a Christian is "Oh god, not another Bible basher, quick, run!" due to some Christians being more than vocal about their faith but when you mention it, you could come across as someone who rubs their religion in others faces, much like some MLP fans rub their fandom in the faces of others.[1] It just seems out of place sometimes and a little egotistical, ya know? Hope that made sense to you as I'm all over the place right now. XD

And as for how some people know about it already, it is on your profile and many people profile stalk here as well, just because they can.

Isn't that right, Redlin? ;)

Not offended at all my good man. I completely understand where you're coming from. Usually when I think about 'rub it in your face' posts, I think about a religious/fan pushing how great the subject is that it overcomes whatever other belief/liking that person has. However that is true it may come out as egotistic so I thank you for notifying me (really, I am trying to stay off that path.) I guess the reason why I started doing so is because people kept accusing me back then of being like every other Christian just because I am a Christian. No matter, I shall only bring it up if, if needed to. Probably not. Again, thanks for the feedback champ.

.. Redlin are you stalking this thread? :I

[1] Now, to qualify the MLP fan thingy, I'm referring to the "In your face, join the herd" fans, not the fans who talk about the show and have MLP avatars, OK?

Caramel Frappe:

Not offended at all my good man. I completely understand where you're coming from. Usually when I think about 'rub it in your face' posts, I think about a religious/fan pushing how great the subject is that it overcomes whatever other belief/liking that person has. However that is true it may come out as egotistic so I thank you for notifying me (really, I am trying to stay off that path.) I guess the reason why I started doing so is because people kept accusing me back then of being like every other Christian just because I am a Christian. No matter, I shall only bring it up if, if needed to. Probably not. Again, thanks for the feedback champ.

.. Redlin are you stalking this thread? :I

No worries, just thought I'd point that out and try and avert any potential trouble.

And nah, probably not. I've just got the feeling he profile stalks me, is all.

I'm a slightly unusual atheist in that while I don't believe in God, I do consider the possibility that there might be something supernatural in the world, or at-least beyond what we humans can explain. Science is a great tool, I'm studying a science degree right now (damn difficult too) but can it explain everything? Maybe not. I like to believe that there's such a thing as destiny, that each person has a role to play in their life and if they do good, they have fulfilled the purpose they were created for and if they do bad, then they've failed. I don't know whether it's actually true or not but I like to hope so. I haven't a clue what my own destiny is yet, but I hope it's worthwhile.

I have no problem with religion, in fact somewhat ironically I think that the declining numbers of religious people isn't 100% a positive, nowadays a lot of people have seemed to have replaced religion and community with materialism and money, which are ultimately unsatisfying. Every society has it's faults and while ours is one of the most tolerant and freest so far, I think we need to find our community and family spirit again.

Though I don't believe in a God, I also don't think reason is some kind of perfect force that we should worship, let alone structure our lives by. Too often do logic and reason become destructive or negative forces, and it's my belief that the modern world is still dragging the ball and chain put on us by Socrates and Plato; that there is some universal truth to discover, that perfection not only exists, but is attainable. It sounds pretty, but I think it's ultimately quixotic.

I believe in anything that can be proved or is rationally possible.

By rationally possible I suppose I mean genetic alteration for example. Not on the level of super powers but if you can alter yourself to make you better. Never age, never sick, better hearing, seeing or strength. Make ourselves better through science.

The sky up there is impossibly huge. Trillions of trillions of light-years in every direction, endless space where stars turn, galaxies die and nebulas are born. Uncountable stars in uncountable galaxies, and we think we are alone? Impossible. If we are truly alone then I pity the future for once we get out into the stars and explore new planets we will find nothing. No point in doing so and then we will turn back to our planet and live out our existence until war destroys us.

But if there is... if there is life out there and we find it. It will unite humanity in a way gods or leaders ever can. It will unite us with purpose. Purpose in that we can take our place amongst the races of the stars with pride and do what humans do at their very best. Exploration. Curiosity at what we don't know and won't know until we go there and find out for ourselves. That is why we will travel the stars, we will find out what's out there, whether it be nothing or everything. Either way we are so tiny. So meaningless in this vast cosmos that we have to make the very best of what we do in our short lives. Whatever I choose to do there is very little chance it will matter. But dammit that won't stop me from doing it. Because there are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. We've got work to do.

I believe you should leave the world a little better than how you found it.

Unfortunately I think that Hitler was of the same opinion, it really comes down to your interpretation of "better".

I'm a lifelong atheist, I base my understanding of reality primarily around science, I try to keep an open mind about things that are poorly understood, I believe we aren't alone in the universe, I believe that we probably haven't been visited by aliens. That roughly covers worldview, now for philosophy: I'm essentially what one might call a "moral hedonist." Hedonism gets a bad rap because the belief that pleasure is the only purpose to existence is invariable associated with the selfish, the truth is that there are a LOT of people like me, who make it a bit less self-centered. My worldview boils down to this basically: You're here, you might not have too long, have fun with it, do something cool to be remembered by (science, art, tech, whatever), and help other people to accomplish their own goals (whether through directly aiding them to do cool things or have fun, or through aiding their general existence).

lengthy tirade about the place of law to someone with my philosophy, not directly related.

I don't believe in a higher purpose nor do I understand why I should need to. I'm an Atheist and I believe in making my own life better for myself and do my part to secure it for future generations. Sure I will be dead in 100 years, but my kids might live on, my grandchildren may live on. So in simple terms I believe in being a part of changing the worls rather than doing things for fear of an afterlife.

Religious people are OK as long as they don't try to get me to believe what they do and use the bible as a source for their knowledge.

Always like people say that other people are pointless, or that some creatures don't deserve to exist. Listen here, you as a mammal are pointless in every sense of the word. Basically pointless as well. Everything you do has no impact at all except on yourself. Really are some people that are changing the world, but you bitching on internet forums and eating food, making waste, giving nothing is okay to accept. The people that walk around with this kind of attitude that they deserve everything that they have makes me sick.

Whit:
I'm a lifelong atheist, I base my understanding of reality primarily around science, I try to keep an open mind about things that are poorly understood, I believe we aren't alone in the universe, I believe that we probably haven't been visited by aliens. That roughly covers worldview, now for philosophy: I'm essentially what one might call a "moral hedonist." Hedonism gets a bad rap because the belief that pleasure is the only purpose to existence is invariable associated with the selfish, the truth is that there are a LOT of people like me, who make it a bit less self-centered. My worldview boils down to this basically: You're here, you might not have too long, have fun with it, do something cool to be remembered by (science, art, tech, whatever), and help other people to accomplish their own goals (whether through directly aiding them to do cool things or have fun, or through aiding their general existence).

This, pretty much.

We get one go of it, so be excellent to one another and have fun.

Caramel Frappe:
Hello everyone! Let me just say that I am a Christian, yet I will and shall not judge/shun/insult any of you who come to this thread. I already know a bit about atheists but I wish to know more since I like to observe other people outside of my beliefs. There's so much I can learn and understand from you all, so please let me ask this:

What are your beliefs? Not like in faith or in a God but rather your beliefs in life that matter to you? Do you believe in a purpose like your writing skills in literature can be a great influence on society? Or perhaps you believe that science needs to be considered a higher priority in modern society?

I admit it's sort of hard to ask a question in such a manner but basically what I am asking is what are your beliefs that make you, you? Yeah, that's a good way to put it because beliefs do make up for a person. Not entirely, but a good portion. I'm here to listen, well... read, but still.

My religious faith is kind of a confusing one that even I don't fully understand (which to me seems just right.) I was born into a Jewish home and for the most part practice the cultural aspects of it, and I study the philosophical ideas of many important rabbis and theologists of the Jewish faith. That said, however, I cannot accept the Jewish, or even Christian or Muslim concept of God, this idea of an all powerful, benevolent being that watches over all of us. The main issue I come to is the immediate reversal of personality that he seems to go through. At one point he destroys a man's entire life, his family, home, cattle, etc. all as a TEST of faith. Then next we find him guiding the Jews out of Egypt? It all seemed too inconsistent to me.

What I eventually settled on came from complaints I have about religious and non religious people. The relgious, whenever something negative happens, will say it's man's fault, but whenever something good happens, they praise God. The non religious, whenver something negative happens, instantly blame God, but as soon as something positive occurs, they praise man. It just struck me as a horrible double standard. So what I settled on was the idea of Humanism, that we alone, mankind, are responsible for all the good and bad in this world. We should take responsibility and credit for everything we do here.

With this, I took that God started everything, put the universe into motion, and then let us be. Everything that has happened since creation is a result of man.

After all, how can you say God cared enough to take us out of Egypt, but when the Holocaust happened, he was nowhere to be found?

I've just recently become a full atheist, I used to be an agnostic, but over the past year I've become increasingly of the opinion that god is less likely than not-god. So, first of all I wish to say I appreciate your non-judgemental attitude, and as a philosophy student I will do my best to answer your questions.

Slightly off-topic for the discussion but relevant to my first paragraph I would like to say that I find religion a very attractive idea, the idea that when we die we can go into the sky and live forever in the company of our loved ones, but intellectually I simply cannot bring myself to give any serious commitment to the theory simply because of its attractiveness.

I've given much thought to the 'famous' type of immortality, the Einstein kind, where you are remembered forever, which is what your comment about making your mark put me in mind of. Call me a pessimist or cynic, but I recognise that the chances of leaving such a mark are very slim, and consequently it has ceased to matter. I've learned to live without the idea of some huge overarching purpose for my life, or any idea of living beyond my own mortal span. It's a hard and lonely road to begin with, but I've found myself in it nonetheless, and so I believe in this.

First, doing what is right. Without god or any set of objective moral truths, I recognise that the vast majority of 'right' I do can be severely debatable, but as these are little things it doesn't matter hugely. What matters is that I do my best to be a good man, and consider myself to be one.

Next, I believe in being reasonable. I could be judgemental, extremist, curse other people for their beliefs or try and change them, but in the end, to what purpose? I don't have a problem with people's beliefs, I have a problem with their attitudes. Live and let live is what rules my interactions with others; I'm more than happy to debate theology or philosophy with you, in fact it's one of my greatest pleasures, but if you don't enjoy it it makes no real difference to me. If you condemn me for my beliefs be prepared to take some venom in return, but I don't pre-judge.

Lastly, I believe in happiness. Would I like to be rich? Certainly. Would I like a big house, gorgeous bisexual wife, well-behaved children, a fantastic car and my very own domesticated panther? Absolutely. But none of these are things I need. Ultimately, what matters is being happy and satisfied. A girl who loves me, a mostly waterproof house (my fellow new zealanders should know what I mean by that) that isn't infested by poisonous spiders, enough money to look after myself and my family and a job that doesn't feel like pulling teeth, and I can be better than rich, famous and lucky all rolled into one; I can be happy. Happiness doesn't come from any particular circumstance; not money, not property, not fame, not the love of god, or anyone or anything else. These things can help, but ultimately happiness and satisfaction comes from within; unhappiness and dissatisfaction come from wanting more than you can have, having a reach that exceeds your grasp. In my opinion, the best skill you can ever learn is to be satisfied with what you have, because even if it's next to nothing, it will still be satisfying.

So that's what I believe, and what shapes who I am and how I live. Being a good man, being reasonable and just, and above all, being happy. Take it or leave it, spread around or send it back, I don't mind, I have a good life and the love of a sweet girl, so I'm happy.

I love religion. It makes millions of people feel like they belong in a world to which they might otherwise feel alien. Personally, I'm not religious in the slightest, but even for all the bad that's come of it, religion is a very, very good thing, and I'm glad it exists. One thing I do take exception to, however, is people who attempt to convert me because of how accepting I am. I get this a lot, going to a Catholic school. It's just that, on a totally personal level, I prefer to think that the universe, and everything in it, came to be out of a few million years of nothing and a pinch of luck, which is every bit as (un)believable as the teachings of Christianity and Islam, and asshats like Richard Dawkins who can't take the fact that some people *gasp* enjoy their spirituality and didn't have it indoctrinated into them by a religious cult trying to conquer us all, make me sick.

BiscuitTrouser:
I go with this.

"Isn't this enough?

Just this world?

Just this beautiful, complex, wonderfully unfathomable, natural world?
How does it so fail to hold our attention that we have to diminish it with the invention of cheap, man-made myths and monsters?
If you're so into your Shakespeare, lend me your ear:
"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw perfume on the violet... is just fucking silly"
Or something like that.
Or what about Satchmo?!
"I see trees of Green,
Red roses too,"
And fine, if you wish to glorify Krishna and Vishnu in a post-colonial, condescending bottled-up and labeled kind of way then whatever, that's ok."

I feel it kinda devalues what we see, the majesty of a universe so vast it may as well be a deity, but it is not, a place where everything is possible, a universe so vast and so beyond our comprehension that simply looking at the tiniest fraction of a billionth has blown us away with its beauty. I think the work is purer if we see not the artist but rather the art. That science and life and everything in the universe is natural and beautiful because it is natural. It wasnt put there, or made for us, its arrogant to assume so, we are just here, tentatively looking up into the sky and seeing so so so so so much more than ourselves. When i look at that, i dont need a god. A universe as amazing as ours doesnt need anymore to it to complete me.

That and i calls it hows i see it. I think that life, while objectively pointless, only has a point if you want it to. And look at us! We are thrown, a dust mote, into an infinite ocean of art and knowlegde, and i say the meaning of life is to explore it! Its a waste not to. Look at all this stuff! How can we live idly by while we sit in the middle of the greatest piece of natural art ever, explore it all is my view, starting with our own dust mote.

I think science and technology are our ways of viewing and understanding this amazing place we find ourselves in. If the universe is a room we are still huddling in the corner trying to work out what colour the wall is. And i think its our job to look further than that. Science is discovery, its looking and observing and documenting and appreciating the universe as it is. I think it needs the highest of priorities. The more we understand where we live the more control we have over it and the better we can make our tiny corner for ourselves.

Being an atheist doesnt mean a bland world, on the contrary its a world so full of colour and meaning you can start to see why we dont need a god in our hearts to be 100% content with simply what we can see and hear and touch. I for one dont feel empty at all. I dislike the statement commonly made that my life is emptier for my atheism.

Excellent quote from the Minchin there. I agree with it totally. I've never understood how you can't see beauty in the world. Personally the more I learn about it, the more incredible I find it.

I don't believe anybody has a "purpose". I don't believe life has a "point". I don't believe that what I do really changes anything!

However, this doesn't lead me to feel bad, or sad about anything. In fact, coming to this realization has made me happier than I ever could have imagined. It's hard to explain why though...

Other than that, I believe in two thing: Happiness and Human Exploration.

I think every person should find a way to make themselves happy however they see fit.

In terms of the second one, I have always felt that the only real progress that humanity can make is to go into the stars. Maybe I'm just a huge Sci-Fi nerd, but nothing makes me happier than thinking of where humans might be in 1000 years...

undeadexistentialist:

I've given much thought to the 'famous' type of immortality, the Einstein kind, where you are remembered forever, which is what your comment about making your mark put me in mind of. Call me a pessimist or cynic, but I recognise that the chances of leaving such a mark are very slim, and consequently it has ceased to matter. I've learned to live without the idea of some huge overarching purpose for my life, or any idea of living beyond my own mortal span. It's a hard and lonely road to begin with, but I've found myself in it nonetheless, and so I believe in this.

As someone who's been an Atheist since he learned how to think, I believe in trying to leave a big mark on the world, but remember to be content with the fact that you don't have to be someone who's remembered for all time to have a deep impact on the future of humanity. You may not be the guy who changes the world, or the guy who fathers the guy who changes the world, or even the guy who teaches the guy who fathered the guy who changes the world, but the interactions you have with those around you send out ripples that affect the future of mankind. For example, you might donate to a charity, your donation saves the life of someone who's great great great great grandchild does something that will be remembered for all time. You aren't the one who's remembered, but it couldn't have happened without you, and so while your memory may not, your actions live on. Or, in the realm of worthwhile accomplishments that don't seem world-changing, you invent a cheaper transistor, this makes a certain piece of medical equipment cheaper, this allows it to be put in place in more hospitals, saving hundreds or even thousands of lives, you probably aren't remembered, but what you did will still affect the long term development of mankind. Or, again, in the realm of smallish accomplishments, say you're a comedian, you probably won't be remembered 100 years after you die, but good comedy actually saves lives, a good laugh helps prevent the depressed from committing suicide, and a life saved, in addition to its own value, as I established earlier, has great potential to ultimately lead to something of lasting significance.

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