Belief vs. Behavior

Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” In many religions there are countless arguments for the existence of an afterlife, but absolutely no facts. No one has risen from the dead. And I don’t much value opinions that are devoid of facts.

My philosophy of life is based less on the Bible than on the title of an old soap opera (which I never watched): One life to live. For atheists and humanists who believe life after death is a myth, the realization that this life is all we have encourages us to make the most of it in pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. This usually requires that we help others to fulfill their needs, too.

It’s sad that so many individuals spend their lives in fear of a judging god who condemns people to hell and purgatory. I feel sorry for priests, ministers, rabbis, and imams who dedicate their time on earth to appeasing a fantasy and trying to convince others to do it, also. I’m grateful that by pure chance I live at a time and in a country where it’s possible to be an open atheist and not expect to be executed as an infidel.

Read the rest of this post online at The Washington Post's "On Faith," where it was originally published.

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