What do I believe?

What do I believe written on the left with the human head filled with words to indicate various thoughts

What does an atheist believe people ask? Well, I can only tell you what I believe, divided into categories, like questions and answers. No essay for now. I will write an inspiring essay about what I believe some other day. For now, this format will suffice.

One important thing to know about being an atheist is that there is very little common philosophy that all atheists can agree on. Not even all atheists can come under the same umbrella term, as there are two kinds of atheists: soft (or negative) atheists who lack belief in any god but are not prepared to go ahead and say that no gods exist and hard (or positive) atheists who explicitly say there is no god. As you need to be able to say that you looked at the arguments for god, found them not convincing and therefore you do not believe, it would seem to follow that all positive atheists are negative atheists as well. Then after they achieved this level, they go one step more. So, long story short – all atheists have negative atheism in common.

For more info about this, visit the previous post in this series.

And that’s about it. The only thing that is basically guaranteed that all atheists have in common is negative atheism. Atheism doesn’t tell you how to live, there are no rules, no commandments and almost no common values. It means you’re free to decide four yourself. If you’re looking for a life philosophy that might naturally flow from a lack of belief, check out Humanism. Visit Humanists UK to get an overview, they have many useful resources.

So, why 220+ words about atheism as an introduction to what should be a relatively straightforward post? I wanted to emphasize that what I believe might not be applicable to every atheist and more than that I have encountered a lot of them online with almost opposite beliefs. So, be warned. What follows is a brief description of my beliefs regarding a variety of topics. I will not defend those beliefs here in this article, I will simply describe what they are. So far, I have touched upon being a straight white man who believes he’s privileged and upon being a feminist, but I plan to describe more thoroughly and defend each of the following beliefs in its own post.

Note; some things here are not a matter of belief. They are proven facts. We have evidence for them. Nonetheless, as some people “do not believe” in them I want to emphasize that I do believe. So, let’s go.

Abortion

Hard to keep this one short but I will try. The further defence will be written in some other post.

I am pro-choice. I do not feel however that it’s simply “my body, my choice” issue. I feel that if abortion was wrong, then there would be further discussion to be had on bodily autonomy etc. But I believe that abortion is not immoral because even if we say that fetus is alive it is clearly not a person. It suffers far less and has far fewer interests and desires than say a horse or a cow at the slaughterhouse. It is not a person. If it were? Pretty sure I would still be pro-choice based on Thompson’s violinist and similar arguments, but I must explore more there.

Potential is not important. Prince is not a king. Acorn is not an oak. Etc. As I said, like anything here there’ll be posts explaining in more detail.

Afterlife

You’re born. You live. You die. There is no afterlife. That’s it. If we were good, kind and decent people, we survive in memory.

Animal rights; veganism

Vegans are morally superior to me. I am not a vegan or a vegetarian simply because I am weak. That is the only reason. I strongly believe is that for all intents and purposes you should be a vegan or at least a vegetarian.

The only thing I have not yet decided – and may never will, to be honest – if eating meat from an animal that had a happy life and was killed humanely, maybe in its sleep, is immoral. The trouble I’m currently having is with the possibility of these animals not existing at all if we would not eat them.

But while the possibility of animals to exist and have a happy life may or may not balance out taking that life, for all intents and purposes today this is irrelevant. Today the vastly predominant method of raising animals is factory farming and animals not brought into the world do not lose any benefits. Quite the contrary, not bringing an animal into the world of factory farming saves a great deal of suffering and renders previous points irrelevant.

Assisted Dying

I fully support the concept of people being able to choose whether to end their own lives when presented with the possibility of pointless suffering. I believe that voluntary euthanasia should be legal everywhere, especially in the case of terminally ill. However, I do NOT feel this should be limited only to the physically terminally ill but should be available to anyone who is suffering without the possibility of improvement.

Of course, this is a very complex issue. To put it shortly, I believe that current laws disregard people’s wishes far too much and that many fears about this issue are unfounded. I believe that countries can establish safeguards to ensure that this choice is made based on a person’s own free will and after extensive counselling sessions. Also, the “slippery slope” argument is used way too much. The issue is the issue. If we’re talking about the wishes of people to end their own lives, then that’s what we’re talking about. Any “slippery slope” argument to involuntary euthanasia or infanticide is simply mistaken. We should stick to things we’re talking about much more often.

Books

I believe in reading. I do not believe in Hollywood or priests being our teachers. I believe that if you care about a topic you will try to educate yourself using many different sources the best of which are books which had good independent reviews. 90% (+) of the books I read are non-fiction. Look at the “Reading” category right here to see what some of the books on my list are.

Death Penalty

The death penalty is a human rights violation. Look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. First, innocent people are being executed – many people have been released from death row. I personally have read articles where the man executed might have been innocent. That seems deeply immoral. If the state intends to put people to death, it should have much stronger grounds and probably even stronger than usual “beyond the reasonable doubt”. Also, the research did NOT show that the death penalty is a deterrent.

European Union

This will come as no surprise to some. If you like my page on Facebook or are following on Twitter, you might have noticed I am strong #ProEU.

I could write about this the whole day as there are plenty of benefits to the EU. I am very glad to be a tiny part of this dream of cooperation and peace on the European Continent. Before we were fighting. Now we are cooperating and building our future together. No single European country could possibly stand alone against Russia, USA or China. We need the EU to both cooperate and compete with other large blocs.

Flag of the European Union
Image by pixel2013 from Pixabay

The Euro is the first common currency in Europe since the coins issued by the Roman Empire and it took no long and bloody conflicts this time.

While these are the biggest, there are countless benefits to the EU. EU makes your data safer. EU gets rid of roaming charges. EU makes roads safer. EU enables us to work and live anywhere. We should be extraordinarily proud that we built such a remarkable union and should work very hard to protect it.

Gender wage gap

I believe that the gender pay gap is real and that not all of it can be easily explained by adjusting the factors such as “choosing” an education or longer hours. For example, look at this study which seems to show exactly that [PDF].

But right-wingers are especially quick to point out that many times the pay difference can be explained in terms of “choosing” a certain field or an education or to work longer hours like women don’t face any disadvantages or discriminations. If you’re going to adjust for the source of the gap, you ought to explain precisely why are so many women not into STEM or why are they “choosing” not to be promoted?

It is expected that women do badly in STEM, so society discourages them from going into STEM. It is expected by the society that the mother alone takes care of the baby while it is expected from husbands to only work, even if the woman would be the one who earns more. There is also evidence that in similar jobs women are less likely to be promoted.

Even IF you could explain that there’s no wage gap and even IF it would disappear when adjusting for these factors, you still must explain where and why do these factors come from. I wrote a post about the pay gap already, so check it out. That was an introductory article and I will come back to this topic to explain it better and look deeper, so stay tuned.

Global warming

World map showing surface temperature trends between 1950 and 2014
This map of the Earth shows surface temperature trends between 1950 and 2014.

Global warming is real. Climate change is also real. They are distinct. Global warming means that temperatures have been increasing on average. Climate change is the result of that – changes in precipitation, heat waves etc. I have already touched upon that subject briefly and the evidence for it briefly, but more will come.

Miracles

Depends on the definition. If you define them as a suspension of the natural world or intervention by a deity, then no. I believe no miracles have ever occurred. Of course, I cannot prove it, but the post is about what I believe. I believe the natural world was never suspended.

Religion

I’m a negative atheist. See above.

Vaccines

Vaccines work. They are safe. They save lives and do not cause autism. Anti-vaxxers are a menace to society. The World Health Organization has declared Vaccine Hesitancy one of 10 biggest threats to global health.

Vaccines also do not contain aborted fetal tissue. The viruses do grow in human cells and these cells were first obtained from abortion in the 1960s. However, they are descendent cells. They are not cells of an aborted fetus. They are many cell generations removed from that abortion and no new sources are needed, the supply is limitless. Check out the video below.

 

That is it for now. We have discussed some issues and now it should be clearer what my opinions are in general. For more info about other views and beliefs and a deeper defence of every belief listed here be sure to come back here from time to time. Thank you.

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