Things I do believe

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  • I believe in the power of logic, reason and evidence to explain the world in which we find ourselves.
  • I believe we have to deal with what ‘is’ first, over what ‘ought’ to be.
  • I believe faith to be harmful, whether it be religion, ideology or anything else. Believing without evidence to support what you believe is fundamentally flawed – even dangerous.
  • I believe atheism to be the only honest position on the question of god/supernaturalism.
  • I believe freedom of expression is one of the paramount human rights and that it includes ‘icky speech’.
  • I believe you have the right to be offended.
  • I believe I have the right to offend you.
  • I believe you’re responsible for your own intake.
  • I am a ruthless egalitarian. I believe everyone should be treated equally regardless of race, gender, sexuality etc, only modified by their differing needs and the empirical facts of the situation.
  • I believe in education for its own sake.
  • I believe in art for its own sake.
  • No matter how poorly you regard my work and art, I believe I’m worse. It makes me try harder.
  • I try not to, but I loathe hypocrisy. If someone’s a hypocrite it at least shows that they’re trying to be a good person, even if they’re failing. This is why I rage so much at people who say they’re for social justice, but whom display their own prejudices. They disappoint me and break my heart.
  • I believe misandry is a thing, because misogyny is a thing.
  • I believe a little flirtation is harmless fun.
  • I believe *ism to be wrong, whether it flows to or from marginalised groups. Prejudice is prejudice.
  • I believe if you’re against something, you shouldn’t do it yourself.
  • I believe complementary and alternative medicine is absolute bollocks.
  • I believe I look fly in hats.
  • I believe the best way to create an equal and fair society is to treat people equally and fairly. Without exception.
  • I believe you’re allowed to ‘slip’, when you’re angry.
  • I’m an ideological left-anarchist, but a pragmatic socialist. I believe in individual rights, but when you group individuals together the best guarantee of those rights is to consider the group.
  • I believe there’s almost always another option to violence.
  • I am a naturalist, a materialist.
  • I believe the ‘best’, most objective moral system is a combination of Utilitarianism and Epicureanism. Pleasure has value.
  • I would believe in democracy more if the electorate were better informed and the system were more representative.
  • I believe in fidelity and honour, though it’s not for everyone.
  • I believe respect must be earned.
  • A care about people. I have a deep sense of empathy, I get embarrassed for others. When that quality of empathy is ignored or denied I feel it as a personal attack upon a part of my essential identity as a human being.
  • I believe in being ‘decent’. In the sense of morally upright, respectable, kind and obliging. I put myself out for others often. I pay more than I should. I give people time. I am very forgiving. I am unforgiving of myself in this respect and I expect the same from others. I get upset when they fall short.
  • I believe in a ‘hands off’ approach. Let people find their own way and motivation and they’ll do their best.
  • I believe everyone deserves a second, and a third, chance.
  • I believe the crux of human existence to be a struggle between altruism and selfishness.
  • I believe in the power and importance of consent and the principle of ‘Ask and tell’.
  • Do what thou wilt, so long as it harm none.
  • I believe Scotch whisky is superior to Irish whiskey.
  • I believe curry is one of mankind’s greatest inventions.
  • I believe in taxation to support important social, educational and material infrastructure from which we all benefit.
  • I believe in universal healthcare, free at the point of use. The right to life is the most basic right of all.
  • I believe in abortion, up until the onset of consciousness.
  • I form friendships quickly and easily, and often deeply. I may consider you a friend even if you don’t consider me a friend and I consider myself obligated to that friendship.
  • I believe in treating people as individuals.
  • I believe almost everyone is interesting.
  • I try not to judge, I try to understand. I sometimes fail.
  • I like most people. You have to be an absolute cunt for me not to get on with you.
  • I believe sexy fun times and sexy fun art are harmless, positive even.
  • I believe prostitution should be legalised – and regulated
  • I believe drugs should be legalised – and regulated.
  • I believe escapism is important.
  • I believe you can find someone attractive and still appreciate them as a human being as well.
  • I believe the internet should be free.
  • I consider The Singularity to be a likely outcome for the human race.
  • I believe games and the act of play to be more important than they’re normally considered to be.
  • I believe you can entertain an idea without accepting it.
  • I believe humour is important.
  • I believe satire is a powerful way to undermine something you hate.
  • I believe in crediting people with intelligence. I hate patronising or talking down to people.
  • I believe in taking the long term view.
  • I believe the human race has to get off this rock.
  • I believe in greater human unity over greater balkanisation.
  • I believe in free will.
  • I believe stories can be powerful, but not overriding.
  • I believe cats are better than dogs.
  • I believe Flash Gordon and Big Trouble in Little China to be the greatest films ever made.
  • I believe love is an unlimited resource.
  • I believe you’ve gotten the wrong end of the stick.
  • I believe creativity should be unfettered.
  • I believe 2000AD is the best comic ever made.
  • I believe fantasy is distinct from reality.
  • I believe it’s not butter.
  • I believe I can convince you of the things I believe, given enough time.

Truth

This is a very nuanced and detailed argument, but I’m going to keep it as simple as possible for the sake of this post, even though it isn’t that simple. This should, just about, cover it.

Theists love to throw the word ‘true’ and all its derivatives around. They like to claim a special  privilege to truth in and of themselves and often beg to those who don’t believe to ‘seek the truth’ or similar, patronising phrases.

The problem here is that when an atheist speaks of truth, he’s generally speaking of what is objectively true while when a theist speaks they’re generally talking about what is subjectively true for them.

There’s a difference between ‘I believe in god’ and ‘god exists’ and this is where the disconnect comes.

It is subjectively true, to me, that I don’t like the taste of courgette. That doesn’t mean nobody else can like it or the courgette is necessarily disgusting, it’s a matter of taste.

It is objectively true that when I drop something the Earth’s gravity will pull it down to the floor at my feet. This is true.

When a theist says ‘I believe in god’ we may as well take them at their word, there’s no real way to tell whether that’s true or not (other than, maybe, an MRI machine or a lie detector). When they make an absolute and objective truth claim – ‘god exists’ – we need more.

We can easily and repeatedly confirm the existence of gravity by the evidence. The same goes for so many other things that we can say – and show – to be objectively true from the existence of an object to the fact of evolution.

If you want to claim that something is TRUE, that’s what you need, evidence. If you could show your god was true, I – and other atheists – would believe.

Reality is not subjective, what is true must be able to be shown to be true. That something is ‘true’ to you, does not mean that it is actual, real or true in terms of reality.

Ever wish you were religious?

Sometimes it’s tempting to wish that I was. That level of absolute certainty about things is seductive, as is the idea of having all the answers without having to work for them. If I lived in the US I imagine there’d be a lot more social pressure brought to bear as well which might make it a lot easier with family and friends if one were religious. I don’t though and there’s no such pressure this side of the pond.

Alluring as all that is no… I definitely prefer the universe as it is, rather than as we might wish it would be. I place truth higher than comfort or safety and I think religion is a defiance or perversion of man’s natural curiosity. It makes us settle, stop questioning and because it is founded on nothing but blind belief and the authority of its interpreters there can be no negotiated middle ground between opposing faiths.

The sheer amount of harm religion causes isn’t worth the tiny amount of good it does – which can be accomplished by other means.

So no, other than in very rare moments of weakness I don’t wish I were religious and even in those moments, I’m not really tempted at all.