A Statement of Belief, Principle & Perception
Sometimes Christian organizations will post a “statement of faith” on their websites that lists the basic beliefs and principles they adhere to. This is my version of that little list, as an atheist/agnostic or whatever the heck it is that I identify as:
1. When it comes to the deities that are defined by the “big three” (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), I’m fairly certain that those entities simply don’t exist.
2. The less detail one ascribes to their deity, spirit force, or what have you, the more difficult it becomes to prove or disprove the existence of such an entity. As descriptive detail decreases, my perceptions of the phenomenon in question grow increasingly agnostic.
3. It’s a huge, mind blowingly complex universe. It’s so freaking huge and complex, that most human beings can’t grasp how huge and complex it is. I doubt that anyone can truly know how this whole mess works. This includes both theists and atheists.
4. Number 3 leaves me with a sense of wonder and mystery that I rather enjoy.
5. Evangelists make me feel uncomfortable. This includes evangelists of both persuasions: theists and atheists. I don’t like it when someone shoves a bible or a Watch Tower magazine in my face. Similarly, I imagine that folks grow annoyed when I shove a copy of my favorite atheist tome in their face. Consequently, I tend to assign equal stature to evangelists and annoyingly assertive used car salesmen.
6. I abhor attitudes that foster intolerance, hatred, and discrimination. I value promoting acceptance and tolerance between differing groups of people… including theists and atheists.
7. I try my best to value diversity of belief, as I value all forms of diversity. It is NOT my objective to rid the world of religion. If everyone came to hold the same set of beliefs, I would be saddened.
8. Religion and a belief in the supernatural do not bother me, so long as people do not harm others in the process of practicing their beliefs. If belief becomes a basis for prejudice and harm, I feel compelled to challenge that prejudice and harm.
9. I apply the same standard to atheism. If non-belief in a deity or the supernatural becomes a basis for prejudice and harm, I feel compelled to challenge that prejudice and harm.
10. No matter how you cut it, human beings are not rational creatures. We run on emotion, intuition, instinct, and perception. Logic is a wonderful and useful tool, but our brains aren’t composed of microchips and solder. Unless human beings replace their brains with motherboards, I suspect that belief in the supernatural is probably going to continue.
11. While I usually trust science when it comes to explaining how the universe works, I do not position science as my ideological god. Scientific research usually requires money and the support of large institutions. This inevitably brings the specter of power and politics into play. Power, politics, and objectivity often make poor bedfellows. Hence, science is not infallible. Science may be one of the best resources we have in understanding that which surrounds us, but like all tools, it has it’s limitations.
12. When it comes to the subject matter of human beings, everyone has an agenda and everyone has prejudices of varying forms—conscious or otherwise. Scientists are by no means exempt. Consequently, I do not fully trust science when it comes to research surrounding human behavior and human psychology. I am a cynic, and my cynicism doesn’t exempt science from its scrutiny.
13. Regardless of belief or non-belief in the supernatural, I believe that it’s paramount to make love and kindness central to one’s approach to the world. There is already too much violence and hatred in this world. There’s no need to add to it.
The weirdo in me loves the number 13, so I’ll stop here.