What An Atheist Believes

I believe in love and kindness
I believe in helping hands
I believe in strong opinions
I believe in taking stands
I believe cooperation
Overcomes the steepest odds
I believe we have a fighting chance

I don’t believe in gods.

I believe in education
I believe in learning science
I believe we see much further
When we climb atop of giants
I believe in writing poetry
And verses praising love
I believe that there are mysteries

But not a god above.

I believe in art and music
And the power of a voice
I believe in nature’s beauty
I believe we have a choice
I believe we have a future—
We’re in charge of how it looks—
I believe in sharing knowledge, too

But not in holy books

I believe we came from nothing
And to nothing we’ll return
I believe we don’t know everything
But much of it, we’ll learn
I believe we’re all connected
I believe all sorts of stuff
I believe we are humanity

And isn’t that enough?


I wrote this, over coffee, the morning of “National Ask an Atheist Day”, April 13th.  It’s (obviously) a response to the ubiquitous comments in discussion threads everywhere–you may have seen them–alleging that “atheists believe in nothing, so why are they making a fuss?”  Or “atheists already have their symbol–nothing!” Or “it must be horrible to be an atheist and believe in nothing.”

And, frankly, those are the less depressing ones.  The ones that don’t assume I worship Satan, or hate everything and everybody, or see no value in life.


  1. jacabsolute says

    Greetings in this new place.

    Enjoyed this verse. Great counterpoint to the Scientology banner above yours. Most amusing. The Cuttlefish is much more attractive.

    Good luck in everything.

  2. says

    I like this entry. Still, I have always had a problem with the word, “Beliefs”. For me, it is not “belief” but knowing and understanding. I say this because belief is acceptance without evidence or in the face of contradictory evidence.

    I can believe I will win the lottery this month even though I have never won before and the odds against winning are tremendous, even if I had bought a ticket. :D (I do not and never have played the lottery)

    A person can believe in a deity even though there is not a bit of evidence for any of them. One can believe the earth is 6,000 years old even though the evidence against that belief is as astronomical as it is against me winning the lottery.

    For me, it is not a question of what atheists “believe” is is acceptance of that for which there is verifiable evidence and rejection of anything for which there is no or contradictory evidence. I personally do not know of any atheist who would not alter his statements if evidence were presented showing he had been wrong. That’s how knowledge and understanding advances.

  3. chessnut says

    How pleasing to find
    In verse so succinct
    A fine recitation
    Of things I have thinked.

    But what is surprising
    For wordplay so subtle
    Are comments in prose
    On the fish that is cuttle.


  4. tangsm says

    *applauds the sentiment*

    Did someone actually accuse you of worshipping satan? There’s missing the boat, and then there’s desperately trying to convince everyone it’s a plane.

  5. Fexbolt says

    That’s not what atheists believe it’s what a particular atheist believes. It almost sounds like the atheist version of being sanctimonious but it’s “nice”.

    If it was about atheists in general it would have to include a lot more.

    I’m an atheist
    I don’t believe in any of the above (OP)
    but at various times I might
    But not necessarily

    I’m an atheist
    I’ll kill anyone who gets in my way
    Should I have the means and facilities to get away clean
    and deem it practical
    I might just be in a bad mood
    and feel like wasting a few of the less powerful
    I might even scheme and start a war to steal oil
    Or support dictators and ignore their torture regimes
    If they let my company operate a monopoly
    But not necessarily

    I’m an atheist
    I know I’m an insignificant atom in the universe
    So I may decide to commit suicide
    It won’t make any difference to anything if I do
    I’ll be dead, I was dying from the day I was born

    I’m an atheist
    The only time I have to do anything I can or want to do
    is now while I’m alive
    No matter what I do when my life ends, all ends

    I’m an atheist
    Everyone else is a rival sperm
    Success is out-competing as many other rival sperm as possible
    There is no right or wrong, there is only survival
    I do not love for the same reason I do not hate
    They are both pointless emotionalism
    I need only sustain, support and co-operate with,
    as many other sperm as I need for my own selfish gains.

    I’m an atheist
    If I find professing religion and promoting it
    is my best advantage then I will call myself religious
    If the rewards are sufficient I will destroy other atheists
    to raise my stock among the religious sperm
    I’m an atheist and a TV evangelist


    An atheist is not necessarily a professed atheist. It’s just a sperm who does not believe in gods but that don’t mean they have to tell anyone. What makes up the atheist movement are people who are professed atheists. In atheist organisations there are already signs of how quasi organised religions of the future will the offspring of their historical fore bearers.

  6. cuttlefish says

    Fexbolt–note again the title in the singular, and the systematic use of first person singular. I do not presume to speak for you.

    I’d suggest getting out more; I agree, there is tremendous variability among atheists, but you might not want to hang around with the ones who inspired your comment. (you’ll also note that you could have substituted “believer” for “atheist” in your comment, with little real effect. I think you are mostly describing people. But really, that’s what we all are.)

  7. Fexbolt says

    Cuttlefish: The use of the indefinite article will still confuse some people into reading it as what “atheists” believer. It might be clearer and more accurate if was called “what this atheist believes at the moment”.

    Either way you’ll notice I started by saying:

    “That’s not what atheists believe it’s what a particular atheist believes. It almost sounds like the atheist version of being sanctimonious but it’s “nice”.
    If it was about atheists in general it would have to include a lot more.”

    What I wrote after that is about those atheists who think and act in terms of a godsfree world though may never express it to others as opposed to professed atheists. You don’t need to hang around with the ones you presume inspired my comment. It’s logical to assume that an atheist doesn’t have to be a person who says they are an atheist. It’s also logical to assume that in large organisations of people who believe in god it’s an aid to advancement not to believe in a god thing. An atheist in a religious organisation will know that they have to negotiate with, and out manoeuvre other humans and no sky fairy is going to help them or get in the way. Herr Ratzinger may well be an atheist bathing in power with all he could want.

    It does not follow that people who don’t believe in gods actually spend a lot of time worrying about it or feel compelled to profess their position to others or even like professed atheists.

    It’s also quite likely that organised religions were founded by atheists.

  8. drbunsen le savant fou says

    It’s logical

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


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