I wrote recently about how one of the valuable functions that religion fulfils is that it offers a powerful motivational force. If we believe that God (or luck, or some other supernatural notion) is on our side, then we are empowered to fearlessly take on life’s challenges.
At face value, Atheism appears to offer nothing like this. After all, in some people’s view, the atheist’s universe is a cold, indifferent (maybe even downright hostile) place for us to live our miserable lives.
But wait, here’s a suggestion.
It’s not my suggestion. I found it listening to Sister Sledge sing We are Family. Here’s their proposal:
Here’s what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won’t go wrong
This is our family jewel.
That seems to me to be a powerful motivational formula for success. It clearly worked for the Sisters. Maybe it can work for us all. And is having faith in yourself any harder than having faith in an unseen Deity? It might be a little egotistical, so we should probably temper it with some humility, tolerance and reason. That could be a good cocktail for success.
Is this a set of principles that we could teach our children? I think it is, although perhaps it’s not the main focus of present day education and parenting. Maybe we need to think a little more explicitly about instilling these values in the next generation. Then perhaps they would have less need for prayers, good luck charms and the rest. I suppose you could always use those things as a backup, just in case.
Here’s some more of the same thinking (plus some lovely photos) at Strong is the new Pretty, and Be Yourself is the new Happy.