08 March 2008

The Atheist's Creed

PZ Meyers posted this at Pharyngula to explain to those with gods who mistakenly believe the atheist's life is empty just exactly what we believe in. I find it very accurate.

An atheist's creed

I believe in time,
matter, and energy,
which make up the whole of the world.

I believe in reason, evidence and the human mind,
the only tools we have;
they are the product of natural forces
in a majestic but impersonal universe,
grander and richer than we can imagine,
a source of endless opportunities for discovery.

I believe in the power of doubt;
I do not seek out reassurances,
but embrace the question,
and strive to challenge my own beliefs.

I accept human mortality.

We have but one life,
brief and full of struggle,
leavened with love and community,
learning and exploration,
beauty and the creation of
new life, new art, and new ideas.

I rejoice in this life that I have,
and in the grandeur of a world that preceded me,
and an earth that will abide without me.


David said...

I think that's way too strong of a statement. It's the creed of a scientist and a materialist, of one who prefers rational thought, but it makes far too much of a statement to be about atheism proper.

David said...

Er, that is to say, atheism is more of a stance on claims made by others than a worldview in itself. Believing in "reason, evidence, and the human mind, the only tools we have" pretty much entails atheism--but atheism itself does not imply anything about an atheist's stance on other issues. One could just as easily claim that nothing was knowable, that the universe is a figment of a diseased mind, that nothing means anything and the fact that there seems to be a world around you is just a lone mind trying to see patterns in absolute chaos...

Which is not to say I think you're wrong in any particular statement of belief there--just that I think you're defining 'atheist' away from its literal meaning.

Jackson said...

It is probably too strong of a statement for atheism in it's abstract sense. In a vacuum, without any of the meanings we have attached, it simply means without a belief in god(s). But among the majority of those who actually identify themselves as atheists, the word has become virtually synonymous with materialism and a belief that science is the only way to truly understand our universe and I therefore think it is fairly accurate.

David said...

Fair enough.