The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Un-fragmented heart: An atheist’s view

 Un-fragmented heart
Un-fragmented heart

Un-fragmented heart

As I read part two of a two-part piece (of which the first I missed) by Reed Hansen, I found the piece a perfect segue into a topic that often goes untouched: life without god.

I truly believe morality is not contingent upon a devoted belief in a superior being. My strength of heart comes from my desire to live an upright life that is conducive of encouraging self-betterment that will in return help me contribute the most to society. I am not denouncing your beliefs or your faith, and I truly understand that everyone chooses their own path.

Reed stressed qualities such as overcoming temptation and struggles, maintaining patience, humility, love and demanding more of oneself. These are all aspects of my life, which I embrace also, as an atheist.

This word sometimes elicits the kind of reaction one would expect from a diagnosis of some incurable disease rather than one’s belief (or non-belief). My choice is based on the rationality of the objective and my conviction in human potential. At this point a wealth of words like humanist, positivist and existentialist may come to mind, but in the simplest terms I believe we should be respectful ,moral agents that believe in progress.

Whether a heaven or a god exists is not relative to the individual desire to live a meaningful and purposeful life based on a functional moral structure. My purpose in life is to live it for the benefit of those that will continue to live after I die. This will ensure the continual survival of our planet in the most peaceful manner possible. There are various secular mediums of finding meaning in life. Whether you chose to dedicate your time to conservation efforts in order to preserve an endangered species or you decide to become a lawyer and work for the American Civil Liberties Union or you chose to be an activist for Amnesty International, you are doing something to contribute toward global betterment.

Instead of seeing this time on earth as “too short,” and merely a stepping stone to something better, we should instead focus on the empirical. The subjective ideals of some beliefs can be positive for acting as motivation but can also be a tremendous impediment. When we take for granted our ability to encourage change through secular action, evidence and education, because of bias piety we are in fact impeding human potential.

I cannot state something I am unsure of as being true, and I will not attempt to prove or disprove the existence of god or heaven. I can however, with confidence, say that the only thing I know to be true is the high probability of continual earthly existence for some time to come. This being so, I have chosen to dedicate my life to becoming an educated, moral and compassionate person who can help people in such a way that they too will continue to change this world even after I am gone.

I do not fear dying because I know I have lived — and if, by some fluke, I’m wrong, and a heaven and hell does exist, it would not change a thing. Because, frankly, any god that would condemn me to eternal damnation for being a good person is not the type of god I would want to worship in the first place. My goodness as a person precedes my unbelief in god.

With all this aside, Reed and I aren’t all that different. I truly feel that if mutual respect is encouraged and maintained between Christians, Atheists, believers and non-believers, we can achieve the greatest possible difference in this world by focusing on our most basic common moral obligations. These may include, but are not limited to, sustaining freedom and equality, supporting society, helping better the lives of those less fortunate, educating our youth and giving them the tools to become contributing citizens of the world and respecting the differences and the commonalities of all human beings.

 

Betina Matoni is a junior sociology major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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