It is understandable that most people find it easy to dismiss agnostics and atheists as complete and utter non-believers. It is true, most of us define ourselves strictly by our lack of belief in the divine. To many believers this means we live a life without meaning, hope or morality. They think we view loss wholly in a negative light and each loss sinks us deeper in despair. I suppose this is true for a few, but not for those of us that reflect deeply on how we view the universe and our interactions in it. So just what do non-believers believe in? Well, I cannot speak for everyone else, but I can speak for myself.
I believe in the interconnectedness of humanity. We all rely on one another, no matter how much we want to believe otherwise. Some of us want to deny this because we do not want to allow ourselves the vulnerability that accepting this fact imposes on us. Some do so because they want to believe themselves a colossus straddling over the rest of humanity, every accomplishment in their life solely due to their own excellence. It is folly, of course. We all rely on at least one person, usually far more than that, and those people rely on others we will never meet, and those on still more, and so on and so on. It is entirely possible that a small child in Bangladesh can draw a causal connection between what is happening to him now and something you have done.
I believe that each of our lives is excellent in and of itself. Our experiences are beautiful for their own sake. I do not know that I feel my life needs a meaning, but I know it has meaning to me. My memories are precious to me, and everyone I have ever met, even the people who have hurt me, have a special place in them. My memories are my solace in dark times. I may or may not ever see my mother on another plane of existence, but I see her almost everyday, when every reaction or action of mine bears some small portion of what she instilled in me.
I believe the universe is a wonderful and complex thing. Perhaps some divine being created it, perhaps not, but the splendor of its workings brings me joy. Subatomic particles, cells, weather systems, celestial mechanics and pictures of far off galaxies all remind me of just how interesting the world around me is. I am fascinated even by the things that creep me out (yes, centipedes, that means you too) and this fascination, this child like wonder, keeps me wanting to see what happens next, even as the weight of life’s minutiae pulls hard on my heart.
Finally, I believe humanity is capable of great things. We have displayed that in the past. Some of these things have been dark, cruel and terrible, but we have so very much potential. I believe we have it in us to explore the cosmos in peace together, once we get over ourselves and stop worrying about what others believe.