As you probably know, I’m not much for organized religion. I have been convinced a supernatural being overseeing everything is extremely unlikely and natural selection is quite likely.
Don’t argue with me. You will either lose the debate on evidence or you will simply decide to ignore the evidence. Either way, you go on and live the way you want. I’m not into telling people their religious rituals are wastes of time. If they give you comfort, more power to you. Just don’t try and convince me it’s your way or the highway.
However, I have been thinking about how one should live their life. I don’t believe we get our morals from the Bible, the Qur’an or any other “holy” book. In fact, our religious indoctrination many times skews our perception of right and wrong i.e. murder the infidels, catholics, jews, etc.
The ten commandments are fine for Sunday School lessons or debating the difference between Thou Shall Not Kill and Thou Shall Not Commit Murder. It’s fine in a philosophy or religion class, but I’m not interested in having them in my public places or thrust at me like they are the “be all” of righteousness.
So, I wanted to create a new version. None of this “Thou Shalt Not…” crap. I want edicts on what you should do to live a good life, not what you can’t do. Here’s what I came up with: Sean’s Nine Tenants for Living A Good Life.
The first three are how we deal with one another.
Don’t do to others, what you don’t want done to you.
I prefer the Confucius version rather than “The Golden Rule” version. This is the greatest catch-all. It means be kind and decent to each other. Respect one another.
Love one another.
This is the central message of the New Testament. Take out the hocus pocus and mumbo jumbo and this is what Jesus is saying. I like this and it sounds a lot better than Bill and Ted’s similar “Be Excellent To Each Other…” It also means we can’t discriminate love in all its various shapes and forms.
Be tolerant of others who are different from you.
Most religious conflicts are based entirely on two groups who believe in something just a little bit different from the other and their “Good Books” tell them to kill the infidels (Never mind that Thou Shalt Not Kill commandment…). Hate crimes are especially heinous because the crime committed was specifically targeted toward someone different be it a minority, nationality, sexuality or gender. Tolerance is something the world could use in abundance.
The middle three focus on how we should deal with societal and cultural situations.
In all things, be fair-minded.
Everyone wants to be treated fairly. Too many people buy unfair advantages and too many people fall through the cracks of unfair practices and circumstances.
In all things, keep an open mind.
I hate people who are closed minded. Having a narrow view severely limits the potential for understanding. The ability to change your mind when new information is presented is one of the greatest capacities of the human brain. Far too many people have a narrow worldview and that’s sad.
In all things, administer appropriate justice and forgive wrongdoing honestly regretted.
I want justice for all and I want my justice to be blind to special interests, money or fame. I believe people make mistakes and should be given second chances. However, I’m not a big fan of third, fourth and fifth chances.
The last three are personal rules.
Do no intentional harm.
Taken straight from the Physician’s Creed. I’d like to think everyone could use it as a personal mantra.
Continue to learn.
I shudder when I think of the masses who don’t read books or newspapers. More people can name the last American Idol winner than the last five Presidents. I want a world where continuous learning is a virtue. Encouraging the bettering of one’s mind just seems like something everyone should strive to do.
Treat the environment with respect and take the long view of existence.
No, I’m not an environmental crazy. However, I do feel the environment needs to be protected today and for future generations. It is exceedingly difficult for people to think in thousands of years. I don’t have trouble thinking just a generation down the line. Maybe its because I like science fiction and extrapolating the future, but I wonder what life will be like for my grandkids.