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Voices of Faith: I'm an atheist and a good person

September 23, 2007

HELEN GRAY
Atheist knows God

LubbockOnline.com, TX
September 22, 2007

Pastor Raymond Davis Jr., Greater Corinthian Church of the Christ: An
atheist is defined as "one who denies the existence of God." (Webster)
The Bible defines an atheist as a foolish person: "The fool has said in
his heart there is no God." (Psalm 14:1, 53:1)

It is well with God that a person is a good person. Scripture defines
such as a godly person, showing favor to others (Psalm 112). But can the
same thing be said for one who defines himself or herself as an atheist?

But this double identity - being both atheist and good - indeed casts
human beings as religious creatures, making religion essentially
absolute to our being without necessity.

Human creatures have in them an image after the order and likeness of
God. Among other interpretations of "image," one thing is clear: Image
is the casting of mankind after the God of creation, "so God created man
in his own image. In the image of God he created them male and female"
(Genesis 1:26-27).

We have been stenciled off the real thing, the God of creation.
Scripture says we are wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

An atheist is as religious as a non-atheist. He knows God enough to deny
him. I knew a man who at first believed in God, but bad experiences
soured his soul. Bitterness set in. He became an atheist, but, in
reality he personally disliked God.

Compassion a priority

Lama Chuck Stanford, Rime Buddhist Center & Monastery: We all know
people who are perfectly moral people, who lead meaningful lives but are
not religious. So it is obvious that religion alone is not necessary to
being a good person. His Holiness the Dalai Lama said: "The essence of
all religions is love, compassion and tolerance. These qualities are
necessities, not luxuries; in fact the very survival of our planet is
dependent upon them. When you are motivated by kindness and compassion,
your particular type of religious faith is unimportant. What is
important is living your life in a loving and compassionate way."

While religion or a belief in God may not be necessary for being a good
person, religion does enhance the lives of many. Through religion our
life can become a deeper path of discovery that brings us in touch with
the basic nature of who we are and how we relate to the world. It is
through the practice of meditation that we develop an awareness that our
problems have a universal quality that is part of a much larger vision.
It is this vision that can make our life fuller and richer.

All religions encourage good actions, moral virtues, personal
responsibility, and see the world and our lives as sacred and
meaningful. Regardless of one's belief about God and religion,
developing love and compassion for ourselves and others should be our
highest priority.

VOICES OF FAITH uses a panel of religion columnists to answer relgious
questions. Send questions to hgraykcstar.com or a fax to (816) 234-4787.

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