One Atheist’s Abbreviated World View – 7 Pillars I Try to Live By

An excellent post from the Atheist Revolution archive made its way onto the reddit atheism what’s hot list this past week.

The post is vjack’s endorsement of the secular humanism worldview (which I like to think of as a belief system), coupled with a suggestion that other atheists follow suit.

The goal in this is to communicate to the world that atheists have more – much more – of a world view than just denying the existence of god(s).

I agree. The crux of the matter is that theists, and many people still figuring out the question of God’s existence, have a hard time imagining what atheists might believe in – if anything. In fact, I think many people are afraid of atheists due to the flawed thinking that, without a religion to guide us, we are likely to be or become amoral/immoral people.

So, to vjack and anyone else who might care to know, I too declare myself a Secular Humanist. It is a beautiful, nuanced, almost intuitive world view that is extremely close to how I try to live my life. For an understanding of this world view, I recommend reading the wikipedia entry for secular humanism, as well as the affirmations and declaration on the Council for Secular Humanism website.

I’d also like to share my “abbreviated belief system” – a little graphic I drew up that captures some of the ideas found in secular humanism (with personal language interpretations/variations) that I most closely identify with. I found the process of distilling my world view down to something simple like this to be very rewarding, and I’d love to see your version.


  1. I like your pillars but they are too broad. I would combine 3 and 6 and add a few more words to make it a bit more specific:

    2. Be skeptical about beliefs in gods, mysticism, the supernatural and any claim untested by science.
    3. Avoid making the world worse off than when you were born by striving to minimize harm to the environment and all living things. (no obligation to make the world better and you are allowed to kill life for food or protection).
    4. …. using the tools of science.
    5. Be … .
    7. … as if it’s the only one you get.

  2. Sounds sensible & great to me. I’d like to follow them too.


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  2. […] July 2, 2008 by Daniel Florien Mark posted his 7 pillars to live by: […]

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  4. […] 7 Pillars I Try to Live My Life By was my first shot at conveying that, although I have no belief in god, I do have values that might connect with people examining their own beliefs. And that’s what I think we should be striving for – to connect and demonstrate alternative world views, and communicate that we do not lead empty, uncaring, valueless lives. […]

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