Can Atheism be True, Good, Beautiful, and Loving?

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Of course it can. But first you have to sort out all the funny things about atheism. For example, there are as many varieties of self-proclaimed “atheism” and/or “agnosticism” as there are varieties of any other dogmatic religion.  Certainly atheism deserves to be considered and recognized as a religion in most of its varieties. Only a solipsistic denier of the sensory world could be considered a fully developed atheist, and that state is hardly viable for life.

Ludwig Feuerbach—Anthropologist of Human Religions

One of the problems atheists have is that they associate religion with belief in deity; they recognize that human religions define deity according to their own fantasies based on silly myths and seek to indoctrinate that concept into their communicants. On the other hand, few would have considered that this is a mentally disordered and invalid way of approaching the motivation of human behavior and is the prime cause of the failure of human society on this planet.

A superior approach for deistic religions would be to begin with a unified acceptance of deity, set aside the varied approaches people take to the subject, and work together to realize shared purposes. Such a concept of religion is not at all satisfied by what people claim to believe, but by what they DO with their time and their lives. Anyone who lives according to their highest ideals of truth, beauty, and goodness, is living a life dedicated to love, regardless of how they may name the intellectual belief system they declare publicly.

No evolved deistic human religion can afford to adopt this position, because it would nullify the vast quantity of delusional concepts to which they are committed. Rather, they persist in propagating silly mythologies, insane homilectics, and delusional hermeneutics. This program of false teaching sustains the interest of the thoughtless in supporting a socially, economically, and politically abusive organization. And the unmitigated and unworthy power thus created is then deployed to sustain this collective disorder of human thought by the illegitimate use of force—always psychological and often physical.

By comparison, full recognition of the supreme realities of un-fantasized human existence in a friendly cosmos is easily available to the intelligent atheist of good will.

There are many self-proclaimed atheist/agnostics who live lives of extraordinary service to their fellow humans while denying the existence of G-O-D. I do not believe in G-O-D. I have an inner belief system, but when I try to explain it to others, the word G-O-D is inadequate and misleading because that word carries entirely different connotations to another person. We cannot achieve better communication about transcendent ideals as long as our conversation is limited to such an overloaded symbol.

I consider myself to be a person of faith, but my faith is in the supreme values of existence—truth, beauty, goodness, and love—not in some mythical ultra-father who is presumed to be functionally omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent within the perceptible universe of time and space. My religion, if it may be called such, is living truth, doing good, and making beauty, all in the service of becoming love. This perspective vitiates all imaginary forms of human religion. One may hold mythic tenets for a time without conflict; however, as one grows in living truth, the ancient and static ideals of the legacy of human religious mythology are finally eclipsed by a transcendent personal experience of a supremely coordinated life experience.

At the same time, we see around us the most outspoken defenders of the most regressive forms of human religion claiming a mantle of moral authority that has no relevance to real life OR real people. No amount of proclaiming “the word of god” contributes to individual growth, and missionary impulses inevitably backfire on the person and organization pushing them. Such actions are the most basic way religionists (people who believe in the value of religion without understanding the idea and ideal of a life based on faith) actually “take the name of their god in vain,” for they place their opinions ahead of the inner moral judgment of others. This hideous practice of interpersonal mental bullying and abuse is most hateful when it emerges between parents/adults and children/youth, but we see it supported by the supposed three pillars of human society—religion, government, and commerce—all of which fail the test of true relevance to the human condition and continue to exist because of their unconsidered and systematic willingness to commit crimes against Love.

As the saying goes, the Religious Right is neither. They suffer from disorders of thinking that result from their willful disregard for Truth, which causes them to fail to do Good and to make Beauty. In sum total, they reject the bounty of Love across time in which they may grow towards divine perfection. Like Lot’s wife of myth, they look only backwards and are doomed by their immersion in fateful decay. Such people are true atheists who live by enacting the false tenets of their faith in the material world while rejecting the voice of inspiration. Such people can never love nor live the truth. They are already dead to everything that is important and have deliberately severed their mental connection to reality.

Atheists that affirm the supreme ideals of living

So how about it? If the most highly publicized religious behavior can be so malign and unworthy of the name, is it possible that there is a quiet atheism that seeks only to become Love, by living Truth, doing Good, and making Beauty? And cannot such atheism be that perfect model of living to which human religions aspire, but universally fail to even attempt? Cannot such secular humanism be seen to express values of Love and doing Good to others? And is not the inner person that guides this behavior more worthy than the fanatical materialistic religionist? For they know that Love is to be given, not taken; that Truth is to be lived, not spoken; that Goodness is to be given freely, not contracted; and that Beauty is to be made, not owned.

So my answer to the question, “Can Atheism be True, Good, Beautiful, and Loving?” is “Absolutely yes.” Nothing necessitates that an atheist exhibit these qualities; however, most atheists are people of goodwill, and that is the true foundation of relevant and progressive faith, which may be easier for atheists since their ideas of history and context have not been corrupted by religious mythology. And this is the legacy of backwards-looking religions, to twist the direction and action of human faith to serve the dead hand of history and tradition. Such chains of mythic belief must fall from the minds of all people of faith, enabling them to unite in advancing human development in fulfillment of our glorious personal and planetary destiny.

—Dan Massey