Sunday, November 3, 2013

What I do Believe

So if you don't believe in God, what do you believe in? Well here goes...

I believe in a different moral code. My morality is based on compassion, not rules.

I have different virtues and different vices. My virtues include curiosity, tolerance, and even doubt. My vices include faith, bigotry, and willful ignorance.

I am not offended by criticism. I am offended by hate. The only words that should be censored are ones that dehumanize. People deserve respect; ideas do not.

I tolerate the responsible use of mind-altering chemicals, and recognize that those who abuse it need help, not a cage.

I tolerate other people's lifestyle choices, and respect the privacy and preferences of individuals who differ from myself.

I believe that the sanctity of a truly sacred bond between two people cannot be lessened by someone else's.

I do not forgive in the religious sense, because I do not believe in guilt. I make mistakes, but when this happens I don't turn to ritual sacrifice. Further harm to an innocent third party does nothing. It only adds to the total suffering, and does not subtract from the harm that was done. So when I trespass my neighbors, I seek to repair the damage. And when the damage is irreversible, I can only move on, learn from my mistake, accept the consequences, and try to do better, as always.

I believe I am a product of genetics and experiences, set on a predetermined path. I do not believe in free will. Yet I believe we should hold each other responsible, because this is the only way to maintain order for the greater good. Justice is our artificial karma.

I strive to be right, but reserve the right to be wrong. If I am, I deserve criticism, not hell. I cannot seek the truth objectively while under threat to reach a certain conclusion.

I believe it is far better to say "I don't know" than to fib. To assert a fable in the absence of confirmed knowledge is to be a coward of the dark. I believe it's better to embrace the unknown, and march unflinching into the darkness of our own ignorance, bearing the light of inquiry.

I begin with what I can see, hear, and touch. Reality is my starting point. Reality is my ultimate authority. No book or person is immune to criticism.

I do not equate ignorance with innocence. Instead, I strive for knowledge and understanding, to better myself.

I associate with the atheist community, but we have no leader; we are headless, but not mindless. Total submission is not an option, so we must each bear the burden of the responsibility to think. Thus, our intellect is decentralized and distributed, yet in total we move as one, because an honest pursuit of truth tends to lead to unanimous conclusions.

If I were in charge of things, religious people would still have the freedom of religion. They would still enjoy all the same rights except one: they would not have the right to force others to conform to their ways. My freedom ends where yours begins, and vice-versa.