Freethought Today · August 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF Students of Color Essay Contest Fifth Place: I believe in humanity, equality, doing good: By Celestina Garcia

FFRF awarded Celestina $500.

By Celestina Garcia

Dear believer, I know the fact that I am a nonbeliever may upset you. It has perhaps already altered your view of me, but I ask that you hold your judgment for just one moment.

I have a reason for my nonbeliever status. I know you have already heard the facts, seen the evidence of Earth's true age and formation. You've heard of quantum particles. You've had high school biology and you've heard your teachers remind you that evolution is just a "theory" (even though scientific theory is as good as fact). So I come to you today with a different argument for your acceptance of my chosen path. It may seem new to you, but its message will be all too familiar.

I possess little to no spirituality, but I do possess a great faith in humanity. I believe in equality, I believe in the value of every human life and in our capacity to do good. I have always felt that the human duty is to do good for others, so I strive to do good for my fellow human. I do this not because of the threat of hell, or the reward of heaven, but because I feel the need to make the world a better place for those I share it with. Without faith, I feel free to forge my own path, to discover my own sense of self, to develop my own sense of right and wrong.

I don't believe, because I doubt the morality of those who need a doctrine to explain to them that they should do good. I doubt a world where we help our fellow human because an ancient book tells us to. I doubt to make myself free. In my eyes, all of humanity does right because deep down, they care about their fellow human, they care about the Earth and its future. Deep down, all of humanity shares this commitment to the future, whether or not they believe. I do not wish to persuade you, because you are free to follow the path you choose, but I implore you to consider what I have said to you today.

I don't believe, because, to me, leading the life of a "good person" seems obvious.

I don't believe, because I have reviewed the facts and made my own informed decision.

I don't believe, because I believe in something else. I believe in humanity.

Celestina, 18, of Bloomington, Ind., plans to enter the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. After college, she hopes to be able to provide services to nonprofits, specifically to Van-Go, a community arts program dedicated to providing free art lessons to those without access to professional art supplies. Eventually, she would like to start her own nonprofit marketing firm dedicated to providing affordable marketing services to other nonprofits.

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