I’m a Believer

If you’re reading this because you think this post is about the 1967 song “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees, it’s not. Not even close.

022D0AC0-1820-43FC-91E9-2EF94E30FEDAWhat this post is about is that I was talking to a friend of mine this past weekend. He’s a fairly religious person and he knows that I’m an atheist. He told me that he didn’t understand how anyone could be a “non-believer.” Apparently he believes, like many people, that being an atheist means that you’re a “non-believer.”

Do you tend to call those who don’t believe in God “non-believers”? Well, if you do, your definition of “believer” is way too narrow. You’re thinking that the word “believer” applies only to a belief system, a religious belief system. A belief in a supreme being, a greater intelligence, a supernatural deity. And for most Americans, that means believing in God, Yahweh, Allah, or whatever you call your deity.

As an atheist, I believe that God does not exist. I believe that Christians, Jews, and Muslims made up God in the same way that Greeks and Romans, for example, made up Zeus and Jupiter and all the other gods they believed in.

But just because I don’t believe that God exists doesn’t make me a non-believer. Because that would imply that I don’t believe in anything. I believe in a lot of things.

I believe that we didn’t exist before we were born and that we will cease to exist in any form after we die.

I believe that our universe is almost 14 billion years old and that the planet we live on is 4.5 billion years old. I believe in evolution. And I believe that we are working pretty damn hard to destroy our planet’s ability to sustain human life.

I believe in a woman’s rights to choose. I believe in free speech, in freedom of (or from) religion, in equal rights for gays, and in gun control. I also believe in the separation of church and state.

But wait, there’s more that I believe. I believe that humans are fallible and that we all make mistakes. Some more than others. I believe that most people are good, decent, and moral, regardless of their religious beliefs — or lack thereof. And I believe in my country. Just not in “God and country.”

Yeah, I know. You’re thinking that these beliefs make me a liberal, which is the next worst label a person can have after atheist, right?

You’re also thinking that these are not beliefs. These are philosophies. These are ideologies. And you’re thinking that I’m expressing political opinions, not, you know, beliefs.

Sorry, I don’t believe that. Yes, these are philosophical beliefs. They are ideological and even political beliefs. But they are, nevertheless, beliefs. Other than from a very narrow religious perspective, just because I don’t believe in God, doesn’t make me a non-believer. I have a whole host of beliefs. Because I am a human being and I am alive.

There is not one of us — unless you’re dead — who doesn’t believe in something.

And now, for those of you who took the time to read my 520-word post, here’s a reward for your effort.

30 thoughts on “I’m a Believer

  1. Sight11 October 25, 2018 / 7:27 am

    I did read the post and guess what I believe like you… Also I thought you’ll be sarcastically posting the video of the song I believe I can fly…. Ha! Now that’s a good pun..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Melanie B Cee October 25, 2018 / 8:43 am

    I’m a ‘believer’ — in things spiritual. I don’t know that I embrace fully ‘religious’ which is a totally different thing from spiritual. There’s shades of gray on both sides of the God/No God argument. I have several atheist friends (on line) and this is how I explained my own view point to them (after politely listening to their arguments about their side): People like me HAVE to have something to believe in…something more than what is right here, right now. If I embraced that whole “we blink in and then we blink out when our usefulness/path/whatever it is that makes us blink in”, I’d kill myself. Today. Right now. It’s just too hopeless. And perhaps that’s why some people are believers. It’s far too depressing NOT to. I tell my atheist friends that I don’t expect them to follow my path, it’s my path. And that I appreciate it when they don’t try to force me to follow theirs. I think the best thing about existence is perhaps (besides hope), TOLERANCE. Sadly, that is dying out, just like courage, common sense and manners. Sad fuckin’ world we’ve made for ourselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango October 25, 2018 / 8:58 am

      As Stephen Colbert, a devout Catholic, said (in jest, obviously), the the proof that God does not exist is that Donald Trump is POTUS.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marleen October 25, 2018 / 3:50 pm

        I feel his pain. I think there’s a song that says “they will know we are Christians by our love.” Not evident enough right now (even contra-indicated). [But Colbert might’ve been more playing on the idea some people have that anything going wrong is God’s fault because God could control everything — while God decidedly doesn’t control everything.]

        {I have something I typed in earlier today but never posted… yet. I hope to check it over soon and post it while it’s still today.}

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marleen October 25, 2018 / 5:16 pm

          “… whatever it is that makes us blink in” is an interesting thought.

          And while the thought that this could be all there is isn’t the reason I believe in a creator and a future after death, I recognize finality would be hard to cope with.

          People have any number of reasons they use the wording of being a “believer.” Some I think are trying to be inclusive, to an extent (to the extent of not looking down too much on, say, a non-southern baptist [or a kind of Lutheran, etc.] or the extent of accepting a Catholic as “saved” by the hair of the chinny-chin-chin even if that church teaches and does things that aren’t perceived as Christian… and sometimes to the extent of accepting someone who doesn’t claim to be Christian but believes in Judeo-Christian traditions [I’m being very general and don’t have specific definitions] or, for some, just basically believing there is a God — as you know). There is a version of this that bothers me more than the others, and I’m not sure how to encapsulate it to respond when I hear it (not every “believer” believes it); those conveying it imply that there is an absence of ethical substance in not meeting a defined threshold of ideology (not of morality or caring, rather an entry religious talking point).

          Anyway, “believing” is a shorthand term… sort of like “choosing.” What do people mean when they say a woman should be able to choose? Does it only mean to abort or not to abort? Does it encompass women having full autonomy in life like men? Is a man’s experience the measure (thus she can decide not to be pregnant)? Could it include a raped woman deciding to have a resulting child and not being abandoned by society economically or in terms of opportunity (such as in getting an education*)? I could think of other possibilities [of course beyond reproductive rights], but you see the point. I went through a phase of being Libertarian, but thought it through (and rejected it, the kind that is dominant in this country [the USA]). I know you’re not “libertarian” Fandango [thank God… forgive me]. I concluded it’s immoral to say hey you can do whatever (so long as I don’t have to give any scheiza about you or your kids).

          It’s better to be liberal than “libertarian” — because of institutional protections that recognize reality. Freedom has to be provided for in preference over letting power/strength/money rule (not only naturally but increasingly with added force).

          [* There are also choices about how her children are going to be raised. I’m trying not to be too long-winded, so I won’t get into this in detail.]

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  3. James Pyles October 25, 2018 / 11:51 am

    I remember you once said one of your major beefs with Christians is that we go around all “holier than thou,” and at least some of us project sense of superiority over “non-believers” because we are “saved.”

    It is true that some short-sighted Christians hold these attitudes, but just like not all atheists are the same, not all Christians or other religious people are, either. The better parts of both Christianity and Judaism hold humility as a value, and I admit to struggling with that and a lot of my other attitudes.

    Sometimes what we religious people encounter from at least some atheists is a superior attitude as well. I’ve read that some conservatives call it “virtual signaling,” and, at least in the current context, pits an atheist’s adherence to science (really, the results of examining the universe using the scientific method) vs. superstitious religious people.

    The “holier than thou” attitude then is more likely to be a product of human nature, regardless of that any particular human being happens to believe.

    The term “non-believer” is Christian shorthand for “doesn’t believe in God/Christ/Holy Spirit,” and believe me, I find “Christianese” pretty annoying sometimes. Of course you “believe” or hold to values, morals, mores, and such. Human beings cannot be absolutely unbiased, and we all have are particular paradigms.

    Going into what I believe would vastly exceed the scope of a single comment, and my belief system continues to evolve (no, I don’t consider “evolve” a dirty word, although I’ve actually looked into it since I detest simply being told what to believe by news/social media – not that I’m accusing you of that).

    That said, if anyone is interested in finding out what I believe, however imperfectly, see my very first WordPress blog Morning Meditations (unabashed plug) for details (you might have to search around since I wrote a ridiculous amount on that blog back in the day). For those of you who believe all Christians are cookie-cutter creations (say that three times real fast), you might be in for a shock.

    Oh, and for the record, I also believe that our universe is almost 14 billion years old and that the planet we live on is 4.5 billion years old. I even agree that humans are fallible. Even among Christians and religious Jews, the debate rages on between Old Earth proponents and Young Earth “believers.” 😉

    Liked by 3 people

      • Fandango October 25, 2018 / 5:47 pm

        No worries. I make plenty. And yes, they’re embarrassing!

        Liked by 3 people

    • amoralegria September 1, 2019 / 8:40 pm

      I’m totally with you, James! I am a “believer” and like Melanie, above, I HAVE to believe in something. I guess it is an attitude opposite of humility – the arrogance of humankind – that I feel we are on this Earth for some purpose. I don’t believe in heaven or hell, but I do believe in an afterlife – reincarnation, I guess I’d have to call it. Energy – of which we are made – cannot be created nor destroyed, so our energy goes SOMEWHERE when our body dies. I don’t really know the answer but since I don’t have the answer (no one does), I have to go on faith. Yes, I believe in science as well. I don’t know that “God” created the earth, because Earth wasn’t around 14 billion years ago. God is something more elusive – perhaps he – she? it? – is just a part of us. The “Holy Spirit” as it were. And as such, everyone’s interpretation of what God is or isn’t is valid. However, I hate hypocrisy and intolerance. People who call themselves “Christians” but deny other people’s rights to their own beliefs, or indeed even the right to LIVE (because the 2nd amendment is more important than the 1st amendment to them), in my mind are not true Christians. They are not understanding what is written in the so-called “Holy book.” I am particularly sickened today about deporting children who have rare diseases for which they cannot get treatment in their native countries. Our current leaders have no soul, and no right to call themselves religious of any persuasion. Nor do they have any claim to any sort of morality.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Marleen October 25, 2018 / 6:32 pm

    I really don’t like the term “virtue signalling” — I first saw it when a conservative was acting like conservatives so-called are now acting (not conservative) to put down someone who had morals. It’s a topsy-turvey world right now and I’m not buying into the bull…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango October 25, 2018 / 11:03 pm

      Yes, in a broad sense. But some define it more narrowly in the religious sense.

      Like

      • Marleen October 26, 2018 / 10:40 am

        I think that’s the crux of it. Even if it’s true that humans of many sorts see themselves as better than others or superior, the “holier than thou” attitude can be specifically connected to (some) religious people in a heightened sense.

        I said this earlier: … those conveying it imply that there is an absence of ethical substance in not meeting a defined threshold of ideology (not of morality or caring, rather an entry religious talking point).

        While it is so that there is often implication rather than direct statement, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a solid foundation (as adherence to particular belief systemology) that many such people simply avoid saying out loud (for various reasons).

        People of all sorts can be nudged to be more aware of what they might be doing subconsciusly, yet that doesn’t mitigate the fact that there is an established teaching propagated that true ethics cannot be recognized in or attributed to “non-believers.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Suze December 22, 2018 / 7:42 am

          I agree with your statement “propagated that true ethics cannot be recognized in or attributed to “non-believers.” I attended a seminary for my degree, and it is a part of the “Christian ethics” class I took. Very firmly stated by professors everywhere in many seminaries….and it is completely in error to make such a statement. They just don’t see their hypocrisy.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Marleen September 10, 2019 / 8:55 pm

            👍🏻Thank you for saying so and sharing your experience, Suze.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. David K October 29, 2018 / 1:10 pm

    I believe, have faith, confidence and trust just like the rest of the human population. I just reject the god claims that I have come across. 🙂 Science isn’t my “religion” but I do have “FAITH” that when the doctor writes me a prescription, I believe it will help me with whatever is ailing me.

    I just shake my head when people use faith and believe in one instance, and when you agree, they change the definition to mean something else! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rohit Prakash December 20, 2018 / 6:27 am

    Scientists haven’t seen electrons but we know that they exist and we don’t rebuff this fact. Similarly we haven’t seen God so how can we say that it doesn’t exist?? The problem is that when we hear the word God something mystical and out of the human comprehend ability thing comes to our mind or a scene from the movies but we hesitate in understanding God as a hypothesis which is necessary for the very existence of this human species just like the hypothesis of electrons.
    https://faithreligionblog.wordpress.com

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    • Fandango December 20, 2018 / 3:16 pm

      An electron capture detector (ECD) is a device for detecting atoms and molecules in a gas through the attachment of electrons via electron capture ionization. So while you cannot see an individual electron, they are proven to exist in the molecular structure of atoms. But God is a creation of man and, other than giving man something outside of himself to believe in, God’s existence is NOT necessary for the existence of the human species.

      Like

  7. Rohit Prakash December 20, 2018 / 10:12 pm

    Sir, if you could check the Virtual Reality Theory please.
    And to understand God the most important thing is to first forget the image of God that we already have with us which we get usually from the movies or works of fiction.
    And sir i’m not talking about presence of electrons or God, i’m talking about the ‘hypothesis of God’ and how useful it has been which has made the people understand things even when they don’t understand anything about science. It has made the civilisations to move forward.
    Many scientists gave the wrong models of atomic structure but those models were believed to be true and on their basis only new models were created. So we can still say that ‘hypothesis of God’ or existence of God hasn’t been proved wrong.
    When we talk about God we forget the ethical importance of it.
    And God is not some mystical being it is just an energy present around us.
    The earth works in such perfect synchronisation if we look at all the nuances then there has to be some energy or consciousness which is enabling it and even the scientists are today trying to discover (LHC) the scientific community may call it by some other name ( if it is discovered), the theists call it God.
    And sir i’m not saying that being theist is good or being atheist is bad all i say is that they both are ending up believing in something without any substantial proof. So it is better to just say ‘I don’t know’ and be neutral.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango December 21, 2018 / 2:39 pm

      So belief in God “made the civilisations to move forward”? Belief in God has also been the most prominent contributing factor for the conduct of and excuses for wars and atrocities of humans against humans in the history of mankind. At least when science uncovers new evidence that some older theory or hypothesis was wrong, they update it based upon the newly uncovered evidence. Belief in God is not subject to such scrutiny. It is purely based upon faith, which by definition is belief without evidence.

      Until hard, fast, irrefutable proof of God’s esixtence is presented, I cannot remain neutral. I cannot say that I don’t know. I know that God does not exist. But to those like you who are sure that God does exist, I say “whatever floats your boat.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Rohit Prakash December 21, 2018 / 8:53 pm

        Atheists, they call themselves ‘evidentialists’ they need a reason to accept anything but when they make an acknowledged claim ‘God doesn’t exist’ they don’t give any substantial proof for others to believe which is quite contrary to the image they have created of themselves. All that the atheists say are ‘accusations’ and not ‘logics’ to prove the non-existence of God.
        So ultimately we can say that the atheists themselves are victims of ‘delusion’, delusion of non-existence of God because they don’t have any proof but they still ‘beleive’ in it.
        If you ask proof for existence of God then sir, today Quantum physics is speculating the existence of a higher contiousness which it earlier refuted ( i mentioned that in my previous comment).
        Now, when you talk about the atrocities committed against the mankind then sir it appears to me that you have no idea about the difference between God and Religion and how religion is a ‘tool’ for society and like any other tool it depends upon the person using it and how he uses it just as there are scientists who used science to create atom bombs and there are scientists who use it to cure cancer. But atheists don’t wanna understand all this and before flaying anything they don’t look into it they don’t even try to understand it because they themselves are believers, ‘believers of non-believing’.
        And also most of the atheists have been born out of watching movies and reading fiction today atheism is just a trend and they wanna follow it they don’t have any rationales behind it. So to atheists i would say that, ultimately you’re in the same boat as of theists, a boat of ‘believing’ without reason.
        And sir, when did i say that i’m a believer? I’m an agnostic so please check before you accuse. I’m neutral i just seek answers and question them. I study them both.

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        • Fandango December 21, 2018 / 10:04 pm

          I’m not accusing you of anything, so don’t be so defensive. As to atrocities committed in the name of God, yes, it is the members of the religion who promote those atrocities using God as their justification. But as I mentioned before, man created God in man’s image so as to use God for their own purposes (primarily to manipulate and control the masses). I am ready to accept the existence of God as soon as someone shows me proof. If God exists, let him, her, or it give me a reason to believe. My atheism was not borne out of movies or books of fiction, “sir.” I studied the Bible and it sounded about as real to me as did the mythologies of the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman Gods. Seriously, if the Bible is the word of God, God has a better imagination and is a better story-teller than Tolkien. Also, based upon the God of the Old Testament and the New Testament, the “One God” is bipolar with a severe case of schizophrenia.

          Sorry, but I think we should wrap this up. I’ll just reiterate that to me it’s all hogwash and there is nothing you or any other mortal being can say or do to persuade me otherwise. But whether you’re agnostic or a “true believer,” good for you. Go with God, pal.

          Like

          • Rohit Prakash December 21, 2018 / 10:35 pm

            Sir, the modern cosmology suggests the existence of a higher consciousness and that is the proof that science has given for existence of God and i’m not gonna explain them all here you can check it on the internet. But what i’m saying is that most of us are highly confused between ‘God’, ‘Religion’ and ‘Mythology’ and their metaphorical representation in religious texts to explain certain things. But, it is not my thing to explain and that also in a comment section so, okay sir believe in your non-believing and i’ll believe in whatever i’m believing.

            Liked by 1 person

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