I think people find his essay compelling not simply for its commitment to no God and its clever twist of the ‘state what you believe, not what you don’t believe’ rule.
I think people like his essay because it is a compelling step into that public dialogue about belief that the website claims as their purpose.
NPR asks people not just to write about what they believe; they specifically ask people to avoid creeds, doctrines, dogma, and instead focus on one core belief or principle.
The guidelines they offer are: Name your belief, tell a story, be brief, be personal, and be positive.
Interestingly, there is a secular parallel thanks to Edward Murrow and his 1950’s NPR “This I Believe” series.
The rules are a little different for the National Public Radio series.
That is certainly the goal of all the personal witnessing of my own faith and beliefs that I have offered over the years from the pulpit: to create an atmosphere of engagement and an example of stepping into the conversation.
When I’ve written my credo, which I’ve done a couple of times over the years, I find I too want to talk about the nature of God and the implications it has on human nature.
Each piece, whether poignant or humorous, compels the reader to think about how they have formed their own personal beliefs and about the extent to which they express them to others.
This edition also contains an appendix on how to write a This I Believe essay. "This I Believe II features 75 pithy essays by authors young and old, famous and unknown, and engaged in every walk of life.