Atheists have a tendency to complain about the status quo — and the status quo does deserve criticism. This often creates a negative impression about atheists. After all, the religionists say, atheists don't believe in nuttin'. In one of our 2021 meetings, the North Bay Skeptics (California) was presented with an idea that has the potential to combat that wholly unfounded argument, one that accentuates the positive. But we didn't run with it. Well, I'm always starting more small projects than I should, but I simply allow natural selection take its course. I see no problem with that, so here goes...

Send me a message, especially one that puts atheism in a positive light. If I like it and find it to be well-written, I'll post it here. Be sure to include your name so that I can properly attribute the quotation. I'll start.

How has atheism been beneficial to you?
I have a lot to be grateful for in regards to my lifelong atheism. The going has been clouded by difficult times and, at times, severe depression. But it has freed me of superstition and several of the irrational shackles of modern civilization. It has allowed me to focus on what is important beyond the usual eat-sleep-shelter-sex humdrum of day-to-day life. I'm increasingly becoming more evidence-based and I better understand the consequences of — and how to react to — a lack of evidence. In other words, it's best to consider properly-acquired evidence before coming to conclusions. But how do we best proceed when a decision has to be made when there is no obvious evidence to guide us? Yes, it's okay to rely on gut feelings, instincts, or even convention or superstition as long as we understand that that was the basis for the decision. I mean, we do have to navigate through life, right? Still, such navigation works best when decisions are moderated by a number of firm principles, such as diversity over homogeneity, inclusiveness over exclusiveness, network over hierarchy, democracy over authoritarianism, and of course, evidence over prefabbed answers, all of which are good humanist prescriptions.

Atheism and humanism have set these guideposts (and much more) for me. They're applicable in nearly every aspect of my life. It took a while, but I'm now secure in myself and can proceed in life with increased confidence.

Michael Cooley
Santa Rosa, California
30 September 2021