A commenter I know at Pharyngula posted this and I have embraced it. I would appreciate comments...


This I Believe. I am an atheist. I do not believe in any supernatural deities. I believe in Science, not the death cult superstitions of bronze age nomadic tribes in the Middle East.

I believe in Logic and Reason, and not in vengeful gods that demand unthinking worship.

My "Bible" is the 'CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics' and 'Mark's Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers'. My "Concordance" is 'The Pocket Ref, 3rd Edition'.

The symbol of my "faith" is not an ancient torture device, it's a slide rule. The simple three part device that helped build the Brooklyn Bridge, Hoover Dam and the Empire State Building, as well as sending humans to the Moon and returning them to Earth.

Algebra and Calculus are my "liturgy", and Physics is the celebration of all that exists, from the smallest subatomic particle yet to be discovered, to the Universe as a whole.

The "Saints" of my faith are legion. Galileo and Einstein, Sagan and Asimov, Eratosthenes and Fermi, Hawking and Feynman, Dawkins and Darwin, Jefferson and Franklin and Paine, and countless others who have sought and still seek to expand the knowledge of how the Universe works, for the betterment of all, to free the minds of humanity from the shackles of superstition and ignorance, and, finally & simply, "To Know."

I worship no god, nor bend the knee to anyone, man or god.

And yet, despite my lack of fawning obeisance to the judeo/christian/islamic deity, I do not rape nor rob nor murder my fellow man or woman. I do not defraud them nor seek to enslave their bodies or their minds. I do not turn my face from them if their beliefs differ from mine, nor do I condemn them if they choose to love someone of the same sex or of a
different "race".

My friends include the gay and the straight, the atheist and the deeply faithful, Caucasian, African and Asian.

I help the less fortunate in this world as best I can, and do not seek to convert them to my way of thought by my actions. I help merely to ease their suffering.

I choose to stand in the Light of Knowledge and Reason.

I oppose the Darkness that is ignorance and superstition.

And I KNOW that, in the end, it IS Knowledge and Reason that will triumph over ignorance and superstition, and triumph over those who would use ignorance and superstition for their own evil and ego-driven ends.

THIS I believe…

© Copyright 2008, Christopher H. Tucker.

Used with permission.

Views: 539

Replies to This Discussion


Although to be honest, manifests such as these, while inspiring and somewhat beautiful, I think would be of no use to those who are truly atheists, for I believe that most atheists will come to similar conclusions, which I personally have found with most atheists I personally know (which basiclly are a handful).

I agree - but this is intended for the believer. I have found a quick way to explain to the religious here exactly what I do and do not believe. And living in a community that is 98% Christian I have to explain it a lot I am afraid!
Richard Dawkins observed that ""Atheists are the new gays; in the closet and pretty much disqualified from public office."

This is what we are up against---an unjust traditional prejudice mounted over the centuries by a dominant church that has always ensured it has government on its side.

It is a battle which individual atheists have been ill equipped to meet.

It is a battle between the intellectually right and the neurologically-challenged superstitious wrong.

A well-prepared "manifesto" would facilitate our aim of making our basic facts and world views better known.

Believers in imagined gods have a manifestly largely-fictional bible that they use to help support themselves;and they use it to boost their pride and boast about their views of morals and ethics. What is more, they even take credit for meritable works that atheists do willingly and silently and without reference to gods in the sky.

Atheists too can boast about having a sound ethical base, and they should do so more openly and more often. We have right on our side and we have nothing to be intellectually ashamed or backward about. Quite the opposite.
A few critical comments:

This I Believe. I am an atheist

To my mind atheism is not a positivly held belief but the recognition of the absence of belief (and for good reasons)
Although that is a more nuanced position and harder to express compactly I just raise that since the 'you believe in nothing' is a rod for our own backs. I think that this phraseology doesn't do anything to detract from that.

I do not believe in any supernatural deities.

As above I would amend to "know of no evidence for the supernatural or of any deities."

I believe in Science, not the death cult superstitions of bronze age nomadic tribes in the Middle East.

Science is not about belief - again failing to make that distinction is just asking for trouble IMO.
How about: I accept and practice the methodology, rationale and evidence of Science in forming and validating my views." Possibly an appendix there contrasting that with 'faith.'
Also why limit it to just the middle East The Hindus and Buddhists and Greek Orthodox deserve just as much sceptical criticism.

I believe in Logic and Reason, and not in vengeful gods that demand unthinking worship.

Again I quibble over 'belief' How about "I employ" or "I use" in making reasoned judgements and conclusions....

I've a few other observations - like treating Scientists as comparable to inerrant saints is a bad move - because they are not. Science is and scientists are fallible. (Indeed that's almost the point!) The difference lies between science and other forms of epistemologies of human invention is that the project is well-aware of this deficit and seeks to weed out and remove personal confirmation bias and error; it is the perpetual reordering of our understanding in the light of new evidence and fresh information, and scientists can be as daffy as anyone what marks them out for veneration if you like is that their ideas are testable and verifiable which is what makes the understanding derived from them so extraordinary; precisely unlike faith.

I'll stop there.

Anyway, good effort, I applaud the sentiment - I just depart over some of the language as I feel it is a tad imprecise.

Thanks for the comments. My reply about a few of your points is this: All of these are statements of either belief or non-belief - none are statements of empirical knowledge. And the references to 'saints' and 'liturgy' etc... are merely used as a tool to explain a naturalistic worldview to the believers. I do like the point about trusting the scientific method rather than just 'Science'.

Good comments...Thanks
I do think we make a mistake when we use theistic language to describe our world view. It is very difficult to get through to theists on this point. This love they have for their gods, these feelings of god watching over them, the imminent feeling of being whisked off to heaven, the whole box and dice just doesn't exist for me.

When we give in and describe the world in their terms it validates their world view. They think: "Well, he's got most of it he just missed the God bit" and they keep pestering.
Richard - agreed.
The distinction between "faith" and "belief" is important.
gain I quibble over 'belief' How about "I employ" or "I use" in making reasoned judgements and conclusions....

I agree with you, but maybe it is just I believe since it is a thing of the I believe series?? I do think that changing all the I believe parts to something as I merely do this, or I use that would greatly improve it for somekind of public use, since as you state atheism is a state of lacking of faith (religious find our lack of faith disturbing lol) and faith is commonly said to be bonded to belief. I do understand that there is a distinction between having faith and believing something. But most common folk will not see a clear distinction.
We in fact need something like this if we are to have a coherent, unified, and most important of all, constitutionally protectable RIGHT NOT TO BELIEVE IN GOD OR GODS, a completely different right from the right to worship or practice religion.
OK - get your critical thinking hats on and improve this!!! I have tried to keep it as short as possible - and I tend to wield the English language like a blunt instrument rather than a precision scalpel. So I will take all the criticism and suggestions I can get.

With a nod to Isaac Asimov

(The United States version)

I, Atheist

I am an atheist. I do not believe in anything supernatural. I base my
beliefs on empirical evidence - not blind faith in ancient religious texts
or the authority of religious leaders.

I am a member of the most hated minority in my country, yet I am your neighbor,
co-worker and friend. I vote, volunteer my time to the community and help others
as best I can. I refuse to be ostracized and outcast simply because I do not share
your religious convictions. Nor will I withhold criticism of religion which may cause
offense. The Constitution guarantees my right to these criticisms and does NOT
guarantee freedom to not be offended.

Though I do not share your 'faith' I am a moral being and these morals do not come
from any supernatural source. I believe in the equality of all people regardless
of race, creed or sexual orientation. I believe that all humans have the right
to intellectual and physical freedom. I believe we all have a responsibility to
alleviate suffering as best we can while we are here.

I believe in logic, reason and open debate. Delusional and irrational thinking
has no place in a civilized society. I believe that no idea is off-limits for
honest criticism - including mine. I believe that one should attack ideas - not
engage in ad hominem attacks on the person that holds them.

I believe that the scientific method is the most successful way the human race has
devised to learn about the amazing universe we find ourselves in. I believe that
rational scientific inquiry is the best hope for the future of our species.

I choose to stand for reason, rationality and freedom. I am an atheist.
Posting a gustavized (sounds funny) version:

I am atheist.

I believe not in any deity. I believe not in supernatural beings nor events. I have no supersticions.

I am a minority, and I know that most will never treat me equal. Yet I struggle to treat everyone, from the homosexual to those of different race to those of different economic status, with the same respect, I am sure they deserve.
I will even be segregated from groups and have my voice tried to be silenced. Yet I have a strong voice, which will always roar for equality and freedom of speech and thought.

I am a heretic, I am the hatred. But I do not hate anyone without having a solid base for it. I will never feel hatred for anyone nor segrerate him or her based on their beliefs nor their (lack of) faith. I will never attack anyone´s beliefs nor faith without being provoked.

Some call me a non-believer, I can´t see how they are any more wrong. I believe that anyone can achieve happiness, are they willing. I believe in equality, they willing to see we are all human afterall. I believe in freedom, for the founding fathers of most countries fought endlessly for it. I believe the scientific method to be the best way of researching, for it has proven its usefullness in spite of it not being perfect. I believe that it is reason and logic that will help one in the path of enlightenment.

Some even dare call me having a lack of faith, how disturbing. They dont know I have faith in science to enlighten any willing person. I have faith in those who are willing, for they are destined to make our wisdom and understanding of nature grow even more. I have faith that knowledge is the ultimate source of power, for I dont like thinking war to be the ultimate source of power.

I am not perfect, I am sure I will errate in my life countless times. But I am merely human. It is because i am human that I can distinguish between right and wrong. I can feel inside myself that killing is not the answer to any question. I have been raised human, not so different from you. My mother also grounded me for doing wrong, even when she was an atheist herself.

I stand for reason, logic and freedom. I am human, yet I am an atheist.

(And I do not eat babies... well maybe just on sundays ;) )

I do not know if this is good or not... but I just felt like writing, so here it is. I also believe that this is proof that us atheist may also do or write using emotion XD. I do believe it is somewhat emotional (not in a sad way).
"Atheism is the absence of god-belief. All else is embellishment."

I wrote that in the introduction to my book, mere atheism: no gods...no problem!

Frankly, I don't like the idea of anything called an "atheist manifesto" or "atheist creed" because it suggests there is more to atheism than there really is and adds impetus to the charge that atheism really is a religion with its own dogma and so on, ad nauseum.

I realize that is not the aim here. Certainly, atheism provides a starting point for a life that is rich and filled with all sorts of possibilities. But it is just that, in my view, a starting point. There is no requirement for membership in this club except the lack of belief in deities. In many ways, the most important question for an atheist to ask himself or herself is "OK. Now what?"

To the extent this effort is an attempt to answer that question, I think it has some value. However, I think it is a mistake to call it an "atheist manifesto," which implies it is something that must be accepted by all atheists. Perhaps "an atheist's manifesto" would be a better title.



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