September 15, 2005

Aid and the Atheist

"I ask, for the atheist, what gives human beings value? "

I get this a lot. It always leads me to the same question – is "god" the only thing that gives meaning to the life of theists? Not their families, their pleasures or accomplishments – just god?

However, to answer the question:

I know evolution to be true. I’ve done far to much studying and research (on creationism/ID as well) to see otherwise. Now, while evolution is not automatically an atheistic position, it still provides for me an undeniable feeling of godless pride.

For millions of years our ancestors fought, toiled, struggled and succeeded to survive. We are the results of those struggles. Each of us is the latest point in the chain that links all humans together. Your ancestors went through all that struggle to produce you. Just as you will be a link in the chain for those that will exist unnumbered years from now.

How can that not make you feel special? How can that not make you see all others are equally rare and precious as you are? Each of us took millions of years of surviving to be here now, and those that come later will be here because of our survival.

Despite all the theist assertions to the contrary, "morality" is not religion based. It is simply the most logical results of millions of years of being social creatures. Humans like being around other humans (maybe not all other humans, but no man is an island). We would not have surivived otherwise. We didn't get here individually. We had to work together. Humans hunted in groups to be successful against other creatures with far better offences and defenses then we had. If we were going to work together, lying, stealing and murdering wasn’t going to aid in cooperation.

(that is a brief and simplified explanation, but you get the idea).

Theists ask me why, as a hardcore atheist, I spend my weekend volunteering at homeless shelters.

Were it my loved ones down on the bottom rungs of society or in desperate need of aid after a disaster, I would want them to be helped. If it were me, I would want to be helped.

In those shelters, I don’t see a bunch of random strangers, I see someone else’s brother/mother/child/etc. I see the latest results of our ancestors struggle to survive struggling to survive.

We still have to work together.

Praying is tantamount to doing nothing. As there is no god out there - there is no one but us to do something about it.

I get offended when people give credit of our survival to a deity. WE survived. WE survive.