Atheism, Faith and Ethic


Atheism as a faith

As the son of two atheists, I was raised in the belief that no gods exist. I have kept that faith to this day.

Many athists claim that their beliefs shouldn't be called a faith for reasons I fail to comprehend.

A faith is something you believe so strongly that you cannot conceive of the possibility you might be wrong. And so my atheism is to me. The idea of a God like the religious people believe in is a total impossibility for me.

Atheism and ethics

Most ethical system in use in the world today have as their most basic reason for anything: "Because our god said so!". This makes them think of atheists: "But if they don't believe in the authority of God, they are free to go around killing, stealing and eating pork!"

I claim that what stops most people from becoming murderers hasn't anything to do with religion at all. What stops me is the simple fact that I don't want to. Why not? Well, mostly because my parents brought me up that way. (I do eat pork though)

So, lacking a religious text to tell me how to act, how can I create a set of rules of ethics? Preferably one that most people could agree to.

One basic point is that people should be able to make their own rules, in other words, one should accept that others disagree with you. There are limits to this, of course. If someone said that their rules of ethics made it all right for them to kill me, I would disagree violently.

Anyway, my prefered starting point is this:

First: Anything people do that affect only themselves is nobodys business but their own.

Second: Anything that involves more than one person, but that all participants agree to, is also nobodys business but their own.

Third: This leaves actions that involves more than one person, and that some of them might disagree with. This is the difficult part.

People live in societies and I think that ethics is basically about knowing this and defining your relation to your society.

To me, this means that you should decide what kind of society you want to live in and work to create that society, by being a good example. In other words: If you don't like stealing, don't steal.

While I haven't really worked out any details I think this really is the essence of ethics. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at following this ethic... but I try.
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