So many of my readers are atheists and yet I persist in posting phrases that allude to my belief in a Power Greater Than My Puny Self. I realize the theist beliefs I hold are not provable by scientific method, and must make some of my readers squirm. Still, I am absolutely committed to secularism, separation between religion(s) and state, and tolerance of all manner of spiritual belief.
Today I read something by a non-believer that touched me, and I post it in the spirit of equal time for all manner of belief: Daily Kos: Dinesh D'Souza says I don't exist: an atheist at Virginia Tech.
We atheists do not believe in gods, or angels, or demons, or souls that endure, or a meeting place after all is said and done where more can be said and done and the point of it all revealed. We don’t believe in the possibility of redemption after our lives, but the necessity of compassion in our lives. We believe in people, in their joys and pains, in their good ideas and their wit and wisdom. We believe in human rights and dignity, and we know what it is for those to be trampled on by brutes and vandals. We may believe that the universe is pitilessly indifferent but we know that friends and strangers alike most certainly are not. We despise atrocity, not because a god tells us that it is wrong, but because if not massacre then nothing could be wrong.
I am to be found on the drillfield with a candle in my hand. “Amazing Grace” is a beautiful song, and I can sing it for its beauty and its peacefulness. I don’t believe in any god, but I do believe in those people who have struggled through pain and found beauty and peace in their religion. I am not at odds with them any more than I am at odds with Americans when we sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” just because I am not American. I can sing “Lean on Me” and chant for the Hokies in just the same way and for just the same reason.
I do happen to think it's entirely possible that there are angels, dead souls, and a sort of meeting place where we get to debrief over what just happened; but I could very well be delusional, and I am not eager to put my belief to the test. The list of things in which I do not believe would have gotten me burned at the stake in several European countries of not so long ago.
Thank goodness for Thomas Jefferson, who made sure that the Constitution protects the right of all of us to have whatever beliefs or non-beliefs we choose about the Deity(ies) and attendant religions.