Monday, August 3, 2015

What Do You Believe?

As a youth in the Assemblies of God and its program, Royal Rangers, I had to learn how to explain what I believed in.  I was versed in "the sixteen fundamental doctrines of the Assemblies of God". Rather than saying I don't lie, I don't cheat, and I don't steal, I could quantify the principles of my family's Christianity. When I began to identify as an atheist, I had no list of principles to quantify my belief system. So, I set about developing a guiding philosophy that would define my personal beliefs.

What do I believe?

Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them (Matthew 7:12). Christians call this the Golden Rule and it has equivalent sentiments in every known language.  This is at the center of my beliefs. 

I want the right to exist. I must respect the rights of others to exist. My life is my own and no one has the right to take it from me except for myself. I have a responsibility to others to respect their right to choose to exist, or to not exist. God doesn't tell me I can't murder; I want to live! As a result, I must defend the right of others to live; I can't murder.

I want the right to choose my own life. I must respect the rights of others to choose their lives. I want to choose my gender identity, marriage partner, vice or flavor of ice cream without restriction. I have to defend the rights of others to do so as well.

So, when I want to know what is right or wrong, I ask myself, "what would I want for me?"

1 comment:

  1. This is an oversimplification, but outlines how I choose to live my life and informs my sense of right and wrong. What keeps you from killing, stealing, lying or cheating?