There is no God

I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not
believing in God. Not believing in God is easy — you can't prove a
negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an
elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he
was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal
heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order,
goodness, love and a spare tire? 

So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with
no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search
for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I
write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The
atheism part is easy.

But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to
demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see
life's big picture, some rules to live by. So, I'm saying, "This I
believe: I believe there is no God."

Having taken that step, it
informs every moment of my life. I'm not greedy. I have love, blue
skies, rainbows and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to
be enough, but it's everything in the world and everything in the world
is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more.
Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I'm raising now
is enough that I don't need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I
get joy every day.

Believing there's no God means I can't
really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good;
it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people
right the first time around.

Believing there's no God stops me
from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from
all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can
keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can
really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have
faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can
shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut
up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is
less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means
more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there
is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm
learning something.

Believing there is no God means the
suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the
world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that
isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we
all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the
possibility of less suffering in the future.

Believing there is
no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth,
beauty, sex, Jell-O and all the other things I can prove and that make
this life the best life I will ever have.

Penn Jillette

From "This I Believe" NPR, November 21, 2005

Desired Things


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with the universe,
whatever you conceive it to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Original by
Max Ehrmann