Today’s contribution comes from fellow FTBorg Brianne Bilyeu who blogs at the most excellent blog ‘Biodork’.
I am very aware of time. I don’t believe that there is an afterlife, or a second chance offered by reincarnation, or a ghostly plane where I will continue to exist in some nebulous form. I have a few short decades in which to experience all that I will ever know.
Because there is only this I value the friendships and family that I have. I grieve for my loss when friends and family die. I wish desperately that I could see them again, but knowing this is unlikely I love deeply and fiercely while I have the chance, and take comfort in having loved them well when they are gone.
Because I am an atheist I am never hopeless that my life is out of my control. I know that the responsibility for my decisions and actions rests solely on my shoulders. I bear my failures and recognize myself for my achievements. If I’m in a rut, I don’t waste time praying for guidance; I seek guidance from earthly sources. I thank the people who have supported me along the way and I don’t diminish their efforts by giving the praise to fabled non-interventionist beings that have done absolutely nothing to help.
Because there are no gods looking out for us, I believe that it is very important to look out for each other. No amount of prayer, sacrifice or worship will call down supernatural favors. Only human kindness and passion helps to alleviate suffering, to forge alliances and to make life better for all of us. As an atheist it is my honor and responsibility to raise my voice when I see a wrong, to contribute to the advancement of our global society, to volunteer, to donate to groups who are advancing causes I support. Upon seeing the horrors that can happen in this life I will never avert my eyes and think “it is the will of god”, but instead will consider how I can change things for the better.
Because I do not believe in gods I don’t believe that I was created for some purpose. Humans are just another evolutionary output. We are all the same – none of us inherently better or worse than the other. I do not believe that we have a “station” in life, that we should accept caste or class systems, or that there will be rewards waiting for us in heaven as long as we silently and docilely accept misery on this plane. I do not believe that hardships are challenges from god, character-building opportunities to prove our worth. The idea that we should be grateful to god for the suffering we experience in our lives is sickening, and it isolates us. It becomes acceptable to ignore someone else’s pain if we can justify it as
god’s trial for them to maneuver.
Because I am an atheist, my life if my own. All of this beauty and wonder and despair and delight is not god-given, but an anomaly, a curious happenstance, a very brief interlude. Somehow I am here to experience it, and that is amazing. And it is enough.
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