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Atheists: What values, morals, social obligations, ideals, hopes, goals, etc do you believe in?

Lately I have been bombarded with the "Oh, you don't go to church" and "You don't believe in anything?!" sentiments. I have also been a little overloaded with information like atheists are the most hated minority (and largest minority in fact), atheists have no morals, they need to shut up and realize they are a minority, I am damning my children, and sending myself to hell.

So my question is, as an atheists, what defines you personally? What positive characteristics do you have that are emphasized by atheism? Or those that have nothing to do with your atheism.

This isn't really meant to be a debate. More uplifting conversations.

Answer Question

Asked by jcsscfam5 at 12:05 AM on May. 18, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 5 (87 Credits)
Answers (17)
  • For example, I sincerely believe that I am only as healthy and productive as my community. So we have made volunteering an important aspect in our lives. DH and I are involved in Habitat for Humanity, Welcome Baby, and other programs.

    Answer by jcsscfam5 at 12:07 AM on May. 18, 2009

  • I wouldn't say I'm an atheist, but I don't believe in a personified deity. My idea of 'God' is vast and impersonal and not one with a will or an agenda or anything like that. I don't see why some people seem to think that you need to believe in divine reward or punishment in order to be a good person with morals and standards. I have morals, I have ethics, I try hard to live up to them. Vegetarianism is a big one to me... I try not to cause harm to sentient beings, which includes not increasing demand by consuming the meat and hide of animals. I try to be kind and compassionate to my fellow creatures- human or otherwise. I don't do this because I think I will be punished if I'm not... I do this because I think it's the right thing to do, it will make me happier and it will make others happier. I totally disagree that you need to believe in God to be moral. If this life is all there is, it's more reason to live it right!

    Answer by Freela at 12:09 AM on May. 18, 2009

  • I try not to judge a person's charactor until I see it lived out in their life. I hope others do the same with me.

    May I ask a question, within your question? Where do you as an atheist find your moral code? I am a born again Christian and I don't know anyone who is an atheist, so I'm genuinely interested in knowing.
    Thank you.

    Freela, you believe that this life is all there is then why not do what pleases you, whether or not it hurts others? Do you find your own enjoyment in living a moral life or is it hard not to put yourself first? Again I'm not judging, just interested.

    Answer by teamquinn at 12:26 AM on May. 18, 2009

  • I get my morals from places that morals sound good. Whether it's something I just believe is good and just or whether its something from a religion. Just because I don't believe in God, does not mean the morals in the Bible should be ignored. I guess I really don't understand why people assume because you don't believe in God you are somehow immoral.

    I do a lot of educational work at a museum. I help kids learn about what makes their community. I donate a lot to the animal shelter here because without them I would have had my cat, my one cat would be half dead, and my dog wouldn't get licensed being they are the only place that has the tags LOL. I usually do Autism benefits as well. That is more personal, my brother has Asperger's syndrome. I don't think my atheism has any bearing on my giving back to the community.

    Answer by OneToughMami at 12:56 AM on May. 18, 2009

  • My code of conduct is to help others. We have all been at a point in our life where we needed someone even if it is just to listen, so if more people kept that in mind and helped those around them than it is much more likely that when it is your turn to need help that some one will be there.

    We donate to the food bank, and do all sorts of things form animal shelters. And I am really big on standing up for others rights. My daughter even came with me to protest for gay rights. I was so proud of her. She meet a couple I am friends with and when I explained to her that some people do not think that a girl should be able to marry a girl she looked and me and said "but mom did you tell them how fun weddings are? " She also said that she would be able to be a flower girl again and get cake so they should definatly be able to get married. Nothing like a 5 year old to put life into perspective.

    Answer by Alanaplus3 at 1:04 AM on May. 18, 2009

  • Teamquinn, thanks for your question! I AM doing what pleases me... what pleases me is living a moral life. Although I don't believe in a personified god, I do believe we are all interconnected and that living a life with compassion is something that decreases suffering for everyone. To quote the Dalai Lama: "If you want to be happy, practice compassion. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion." Whether or not there is a consequence in the afterlife, I don't want to hurt people. If I can get through this life doing what I think is right, trying to avoid harming other beings, and being kind and compassionate, I will feel my life has been well spent. I think it's a common belief that if there is no afterlife we are all free to do whatever we want with no consequences, but there are always consequences... if not in the next life, than in this life. I want to be a positive person, it makes me and others happier.

    Answer by Freela at 1:09 AM on May. 18, 2009

  • I don't feel a struggle about 'putting myself first'- I really don't feel I am denied anything. I'm extremely fortunate to be in a position where I have the choices I do, as far as what I eat and what I do with my life. I'm a vegetarian but I don't 'miss' meat.... I'm happier being a vegetarian because it is in accord with my beliefs. I have actually gotten stricter about what I eat as time goes by but I don't feel I'm denying myself further... if I ate it, I wouldn't enjoy it. Really, I feel like if there is no afterlife (or no 'me' in the afterlife, which is closer to my actual belief) that is all the more reason to do things right in THIS life. If I only get this brief span and this is my chance to put my energy out into the universe, I am going to make sure it is positive energy, that the impression I leave behind is positive, and that I die knowing I did the best I could do with the time I had.

    Answer by Freela at 1:23 AM on May. 18, 2009

  • Wasn't really directed at me, but... "Where do you as an atheist find your moral code?"

    I'm not exactly "atheist" either, but my moral code is based on common sense.  It doesn't take a genius to understand that if you wouldn't want someone to do it to you, you shouldn't do it to someone else. 

    That's not to say I'm a doormat.  I am the type to "let stuff go" most of the time, but when pushed far enough, I will push back.  It's like that old saying "Don't start nothin... won't be nothin"  :-)


    Answer by Laura1229 at 2:43 AM on May. 18, 2009

  • teamquinn- thats a great question! I have to agree with some of the other moms. I try to always remember that my actions will effect someone else. Even something as small as having a good attitude and being courteous. My daughter has really helped me become a better person. Rather than treating people better than I would want them to treat me (which used to be my goal), I try to treat people better than I would want them to treat my daughter. I am a little more thick skinned. I have also become more environmentally conscience. I don't want my daughters generation dealing with previous mistakes. Hope that helps a little

    OneToughMami- What kind of museum do you work? I volunteered at a museum of people and cultures for about a year. It is fun work!

    Answer by jcsscfam5 at 3:03 AM on May. 18, 2009

  • I believe in doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. I do not believe in a soul or an afterlife- this life we have now is all we have. I find my moral code in everything I see around me. Perhaps because I believe this is all we have I feel stronger that we have to do the best we can. Trivial pursuits and selfish living is a shallow happiness. But being kind and helping others brings a happiness deep inside.

    Answer by mandaday at 6:35 AM on May. 18, 2009

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