Atheism, by definition, is the lack of belief in a supreme being or power. That said, it does not exclude an atheist from believing in certain ideals of life and society. This is a common misconception of atheism. While I cannot speak for what others believe in, I can speak for myself. These are just a few things I believe in.
Truth and Honesty
For one, I believe in truth and honesty above all else. A very common misconception about atheists is that there isn’t a reason to be honest if God isn’t watching you. Why be truthful if you don’t think there is a reward waiting in the afterlife? Besides the sociological issues that being a habitual lair would pose, the reason why I am truthful is that I wish others to treat me the same way. Yes, I am well aware that is a lesson that is taught in the Bible. However, the lack of a belief in the divinity of those words does the take away the merit of the idea. While it doesn’t always work out for the best, in my day to day life I am honest with those around me. In turn, my friends are truthful with me. Also, they know they can trust in my opinion being what I really think.
Advancement of Knowledge and Understanding.
I also believe in the forward advancement of knowledge and understanding. I find myself frustrated sometimes because I see countless people walking forward blindly, closed-eyed to the knowledge of the world because of dogmatic beliefs. Sure, some may be able to parrot back figures and factoids. But, knowledge without understanding of it is wasted.
Hence, why I have them coupled together into one ideal. Knowledge without the understanding the back it up is almost as dangerous as not having the knowledge in the first place. Knowledge can make a person feel empowered. However, if the person doesn’t know how to use that knowledge, to understand it, it is easy to make wrong conclusions and choices in life. To open your eyes is one thing. To understand what you are seeing is something entirely different.
Beauty of Nature
Looking around you will also see something I also believe in, the beauty of nature. Although I do not think the world was created for us and us alone in a mere few days, thousands of years ago. This doesn’t prevent me from finding nature beautiful. Just as understanding how some of the systems in nature work doesn’t prevent me from admiring it. Just because I understand what causes the colorful display at sunset, doesn’t mean I find it any less beautiful.
One last belief I wish to cover is that of charity. Yes, despite what some may think, atheists can be charitable. Doing good because you are expecting a reward, in this life or the next, isn’t really doing good at all. It’s simply engaging a crude form of barter at that point. Trading the act of doing something good for someone in a hope that you are rewarded later.
Doing good for others because you expect to be rewarded takes away the entire point of charity. When I help someone, friend or stranger, I do so without expecting reward in this life or any possible lives after this one. Sometimes, the good deed is returned to me. However, I never expect a reward in return. To go through life, doing good only because of a possibility of reward negates the truth and goodness that those deeds bring forth.