Post #3,000: A description of what I believe, by request. It is perhaps rather train-of-consciousness, and I hope it isnt too difficult to follow. I also hope its what you were asking for, and I thank you for your patience. I am atheist, little a. I dont belong to any sort of organization of people who have the same or similar beliefs as me. I dont even know anyone who believes quite the same things that I believe. How I describe my faith (or perhaps lack thereof) I describe adjectivally. I am atheist. I am atheist because I do not believe I, or anyone else, or the Universe, or even existence itself was created by any intelligent thing. I do not believe in a theos, or god, and my beliefs are therefore a-theist. I dont believe .and I typically leave it at that. There really isnt that much more to say. But there is something to say about big a Atheists, or those who treat their non-belief as though it possessed understood established dogma and truths. It does not. In and of itself an atheistic belief says very little. In fact, it says, I believe there is no god, and nothing else. Any atheist is free to extrapolate from that point what they will and come to what conclusions they might, concerning life, death, morality, or any number of things, but there is no inviolable atheistic truth. People who claim to have arrived at atheism via avenues of logic are mistaken. There is no such avenue. Many atheists hold as their inviolable atheistic truth LOGIC, yet the point from which they start was not come to by logic. People, who claim to be atheists because there is no scientific proof of a particular god, or any several gods, are likewise mistaken. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Many atheists hold as their inviolable atheistic truth SCIENTIFIC PROOF, yet there is none on which they base the point from which they start. I am atheist because I do not believe there is a god. It is a matter of faith and nothing more. A matter of faith; nothing more. An Atheist will not accept this. This atheist has. As sad as this non-acceptance is, Atheism is ultimately much sadder still. Atheists dont think human beings are particularly special. Scientific proof tells them human beings are just another kind of animal, logic tells them no living thing is necessarily any better or worse than any other living thing. Thats not only sad, it is also inherently dangerous. When human beings are considered no better than cattle it is no great evil to slaughter them like cattle. Thats right, an atheist said evil. Atheists dont believe in evil. The danger this disbelief represents cannot be overestimated. Those who cannot see evil are incapable of combating it. Those who do not believe in evil are incapable of conceiving a way to defeat it. Those who do not want to believe in evil will frustrate the efforts of those who try to destroy evil. Cognitive dissonance compels them. Popular Atheism, in a world full of human evil, is not a safe alternative to organized theistic religion because it is incapable of protecting humanity from human evil, because it does not even accept the initial premise that evil does in fact exist. Quite the opposite it has instead, in most every instance that occurs to me, aided and/or encouraged human evil. Consider this, if you can, from my perspective: I am an atheist, and obviously I think I am right, but look what other people who call themselves atheists are doing to humanity? In societies where Atheism has been the State enforced norm, the wholesale slaughter of millions is commonplace. In societies where religion is the traditional belief, the Atheists seek to undermine it. In the society which is, in my belief, the historical pinnacle of human civilization, civility, tolerance, progress, happiness, freedom, liberty, and real lawful equality, the Atheists would like to tear it all down because, among other things but most importantly, it is founded upon biblical law and Christian ideology. That is terrible conceit and suicidal stupidity. They heed not the warnings against such an act, and care note for the consequences. What it comes down to is that Atheists are not socially responsible. They are for the most part a danger to humanity. As an atheist I have humoured the idea that perhaps it is my responsibility to rehabilitate other atheists, and though there may be none here (and I mean atheist in the sense of no faith at all, whatsoever, not those who posses esoteric spiritual or mystical beliefs that just happen to not explicitly contain deities), I have compiled the following list nevertheless. Ways to be a socially responsible atheist: 1.) identifying human evil So what is evil, according to this atheist? Evil is (and remember this is no inviolable atheistic truth because there is none; this is only my opinion), evil is an act of violence, be it physical or psychological, done by one emotive being against another with the explicit and sole intent to do harm for harms sake. Intent is utterly important. Some examples of what this means . .systematically exterminating a specific ethnic group because you dont happen to like them is evil. Accidentally hitting someone with your car is not. ..a human being cannot commit an evil act against a plant. Chopping down a tree is not evil. A tree does not emote. ..deliberately harming an animal solely for sadistic pleasure is a form of evil. Killing an animal because you are going to eat it is not. ..shooting someone in self-defense is not evil. One does harm to protect oneself first and foremost, not primarily to do harm. Next is . 2.)understanding and accepting the primacy of human beings Well, whats so special about emotive beings, in general, or human beings, in particular? Well, what is an emotive being? I had, in an earlier draft, originally described human beings and the concept of evil in connection with what is called a sentient being, but sentient is not descriptive enough. Sentience is the ability to sense, the possession of consciousness, and the awareness of self. All these are possible in the absence of emotion. It is our ability as human beings to emote that sets us apart from nearly all other living things. With the possible exception of some higher cephalopods, the only emoting living beings on the planet Earth seem to be a handful of advanced mammals. The most obviously emotive beings on Earth are human beings. Granted, we ourselves are human beings which makes it easier to identify in ourselves what might be the same essential kind of emoting for a different species, the characteristics of which would be difficult (if not impossible) for us to detect and define, but such is the situation as it stands. Beyond even simply emoting is our empathy. Not only can we experience emotions ourselves but we are, it is believed uniquely, capable of empathizing with each other. There is, not to my knowledge, any evidence to suggest any other species is capable of anything approaching human empathy. And this is where the possibility of human evil enters the equation, because a human who commits evil is perfectly capable of understanding that they are doing so. They understand, and do so, not anyways, but because. That is an abbreviated definition of evil: to harm because Only an emotive being is capable of committing violence with evil intent, because evil intent is itself emotional. Sadism is an empathy that thrives of the knowledge that one causes another to suffer. Therefore true evil possesses both an emotional and an empathic quality, something only human beings are capable of generating. Evil is simultaneously a distinguishing characteristic of humans, and the reason for the need of the development of a code of human morality to control it. The human being is the only species we know of that would in a moment of anger deliberately, consciously, wipe out all other members of its species. Not just because it is physically capable of it, but because it is emotionally capable of it. Emotions are powerful and important. Our emotions define us as a species, and are, more than any single other factor, responsible for our actions and interactions between one another. Human society is not a conglomeration of unfeeling and unconnected automatons. Our actions with respect to another cannot help but have an emotional impact on the other. We are thinking beings unable to read the thoughts of others but capably of imagination. So we interpret, we guess, we attempt to empathize, and all this creates an emotional response within ourselves. A human being affects, in one way or another, all other human beings they come in contact with. This unique, multi-layered, and externally influential nature of human beings and human emotional and empathic behavior is what sets human and human society apart and above all other living things on Earth because it follows that it is of paramount importance for anyone and everyone to strive to better understand themselves and to understand their fellow man. You, as a human being, are intrinsically connected to every other human being. The most important thing a human being can do is learn to understand and socialize with his fellow human beings in order to do their part to contribute to a healthy human society. Therefore for any human being, all other human beings hold a primacy of importance over all other things, living or otherwise. The first step to containing the impulses of human evil is to learn to empathize with ones fellow man. Which brings us to . 3.) developing and supporting a socially responsible form of morality, i.e. a healthy respect for human life This one is simple: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This maxim is so simple to understand, and so perfectly indicative of the nature of interaction between emotive, empathic, beings. It is in fact the instruction manual for empathic thought. Before you commit any act with regard to another human being one must first consider how one would feel if the same act were perpetrated against ones self. One is thereby instructed to consider the emotional impact their actions would have on another by way of their own cognitive ability and experience with their own emotions. They are forced to empathize. And what is the result? Civil behavior. What is the course of action of those who would commit acts of human evil? They mentally devolve their target to the level of sub-human, to an individual or individuals incapable of human emotion and who therefore cannot be considered legitimate targets of empathic thought. How does one empathize with an unfeeling animal? One does not. One is therefore freed of any further moral consideration. However they might delude themselves, the fact of their deliberate violence against an emotive being remains, and therefore the act is irrevocably evil. The attempt to devolve any human being to the level of sub-human, for whatever reason, must at every turn be fought and defeated. Any cheapening of an individual human life cheapens all human life. Therefore, to protect ones own life (people are after all selfish, and I wholeheartedly support selfishness), one should at all times seek to protect the lives of others. And finally 4.) adopting a co-operative, live and let live attitude, concerning theists The atheist does not believe in the existence of a god or gods, therefore no atheist should overly concern themselves with the beliefs of those who do, especially to the point of ridicule, mockery, or aggression. Too many atheists I encounter are really just anti-Christians. I once came across a television talk show that was basically a forum for a panel of Atheists to discuss certain things amongst themselves. All they ever talked about were Christians and how awful they were. This is unproductive to say the least. Any atheist by definition believes a theist is wrong, but it is important for the atheist to understand that that belief works both ways. Even if one possessed first hand evidence of the proof of their beliefs, though it might be understandable for them to try and convince another of the truth of their belief it would be neither wise nor beneficial to adopt a condescending or otherwise insulting attitude with regards to the pursuit of such a goal. Ultimately it comes back to the golden rule of doing unto others. There is no civilization without civility, and civil behavior is the responsibility of every member of society. Other assorted things I, as an atheist, believe: Even though I believe so strongly in the importance of emotion and feeling I understand that they are only the result of complicated chemical interactions within my brain, that the difference between love and hate is predominantly a disparity in neurotransmitter and hormone concentrations. I believe when I die the chemical reactions that occur in my cerebral cortex will cease and therefore my consciousness will end, forever. I dont believe I have an immortal soul but I believe I am in some fashion immortal if humanity goes on forever, particularly if my descendants exist forever, this is why I enthusiastically support such things as space exploration and any and all scientific advancements. I do not believe the Old and New Testament contain any sort of literal truth; however I do believe they both teach important and valuable lessons on human morality. I believe people who commit acts of evil should be destroyed. Not as punishment, not as revenge, not to discourage others who might do the same, but to protect innocent members of human society. Innocent people are more important than murderers. I believe people who deliberately murder another forfeit their own right to live. Innocent people should be protected from evil people, whatever the cost. I consider removing the evil people from human society forever as essentially cost free. This may seem like a contradiction to other points I made earlier on, but its not because they are those who cheapen life through their actions, and they are the ones who most therefore be fought. They have demonstrated their inhumanity, which is inaccurate terminology since it is actually a demonstration of their inability to control the more savage aspect of their own animalistic-human nature. To exist in human society one most learn to control their own anti-social or savage tendencies. If they cannot, and they are a danger to their fellow man, no responsible society can permit their continued existence. The safety of human society trumps the rights of evil people. Finally, they have done unto others, and now society will do unto them. I believe in evolution, I believe human beings are the pinnacle of terrestrial evolution and I believe it is our evolutionary role to spread life throughout the Universe. I believe the purpose of life is to live and spread life. Thats all for now. Perhaps Ill add more as I think of it but at this point, if anyone would like, we can turn this into an ask the atheist thread. However, dont be surprised if you dont get the answer you were looking for, and it may take me awhile to respond in any event. Cheers.