OK, debate from Monday (on Facebook) provoked a question about what I personally believe in. Here goes:
I believe in mankind’s potential for doing good things; I believe in trying to be the best person I can be; I believe in freewill and choices being based on a simple precept of what is good for me while AT THE SAME TIME not being detrimental to anyone else; I believe in hoping for the best while being prepared for the worst; I believe in life, love and family; I believe in hope; I believe in treating others as I would want to be treated and doing so until the prove unworthy of such treatment; I believe in doing whatever it takes to defend myself, my family and my friends from harm; I believe that we should ALL try to be good to one another, be tolerant , and be respectful; I believe that this is the only life that we get and we should try to live it to the full each and every day.
I DON’T believe in God, or Gods; I don’t believe in religion trying to claim that it has all the answers when, at the end of the day, it is just asserting beliefs from its own perspective (not facts); I don’t believe that the worship of a higher power should come before individual freedom, love, or choices; I don’t believe in the need for an external influence/force to inform my ethics or morality; I don’t believe that there is ‘One’ religion (or any) that is right to the detriment of all others; I don’t believe in any man made edifice, be it a book or a religion) being infallible; I don’t believe in life after death as a reward in Heaven, or a punishment in Hell.
However I wouldn’t class myself as an atheist at all. An atheist ‘knows’ there is no God and tries to uses science and facts to prove this; however the lack of hard evidence for something does NOT disprove it being possible. Just as a book, written by man over centuries and generations, translated, changed and edited, does NOT prove the existence of a supreme power any more than Lord of the Rings proves the existence of Elves.
I would say that I am an agnostic with humanist tendencies. I don’t KNOW if there is a God, or Gods, but I also don’t care. I don’t NEED a deity, higher power, divine being, sky father, God, saviour, or anything else in order to live my life. I don’t need the promise of Heaven, or the threat of Hell, in order to try to be a good person. I don’t NEED a book to give me contradicting viewpoints on how to live my life – especially not when it is fallible, and claims that insects have four legs, or that prawns are evil.
However I also don’t need the Humanist movement to tell me that I should state there is no God, that religious people are idiots for believing in fairy tales, or that they are 100% right. They are as bad as religions by trying to PUSH their own belief … the ONE TRUTH so to speak … on everyone else.
Ultimately I believe that no-one KNOWS what is true and what isn’t. It is the ultimate in pride and hubris to state that you are right and everyone else is wrong, after all. Geography and culture have as much to play in what religion you will follow as any real choice; if you’re born in Iran you probably won’t be Buddhist, for example, or Christian, just as if you are born in Northern Ireland, from generations of Catholic/Protestant family, you probably won’t be Muslim, or Shamanistic.
The Book of Me, if I were a religion, would be really small, and really simple (with no caveats or punishments for not following it – and you could end prawns if you wanted to):
Be good for goodness sake, be kind to one another, and party on dudes.