This is a question all of us get asked: If you don’t believe in God, what do you believe in?
There are also a lot of similar answer most of us tend to give: I believe in the goodness of people, I believe in nature, I believe we all find different ways to answer that question, I believe in the Golden Rule, etc.
It’s really just a bad question. Just because we don’t believe in a God doesn’t mean we don’t believe in anything. And just because someone says they do believe in God doesn’t mean we know anything else about them.
Reader Claudia is trying to find a perfect answer:
… I do believe in plenty of things (love, the beauty of the universe, the joy of inquiry and discovery) but when confronted by a religious person with that question I always get the feeling that they want me to give one clear and simple “God substitute” that gives final and total meaning to my life.
I have no pseudo-God so I end up hesitating or appearing to be much less clear on what I do believe in than what I don’t.
I think it’s important to be able to answer a question like this because failure to do so only reinforces one of the more insidious stereotypes: that atheists “don’t believe in anything.”
How do you respond to the question?
Do you know of any response that just leaves the questioner breathless?