I was born and baptized into religious ferver. I was told by everyone I trusted until I believed it so deep that I almost couldn't question it, that there is a God and God makes the rules and we, lowly fallen beings that we are, follow those rules Or Else.
The Authoritarian view of humanity and religion.
That's not what I believe anymore. I've known too many human beings. Couldn't live with the cognitive dissonance anymore, had to change.
I don't believe in God or gods or even some nebulous Life Giving Force or whatever.
This is what I believe: I am an intelligent, thinking being and, by extension, so is every other human being on this planet.
I don't believe in any kind of Saved and Unsaved. No priests, no enlightened few. Just people. Roughly 7 billion of us, trying to live our lives.
And it's, well, fucking beautiful sometimes and fucking disgusting at others.
But if I have a faith at all these days, this is it. Sort of the Golden Rule turned sideways. Not so much "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" as "Be good to others because there is no difference between you and them." In its broadest sense, of course.
My faith has only the two tenants:
1. You are human
2. So is everybody else
And therefore, if I deserve or need or want rights or freedom or love or justice or anything at all, these things ought to be for everyone. There are no distinctions based on class, race, sex, sexual orientation, or any other thing you can think of. We're all human. We all deserve equal dignity. End of story.
And really - though I don't often meet this ideal - the thing that makes life worth living is ensuring that dignity and justice and freedom and opportunity and everything else is provided to as many people as possible.
Pessimist though I am, my highest ideal is lofty indeed. I want nothing less than the highest good for the most people. In practice, this mostly means trying to treat everyone I meet with equal dignity regardless of any differences between us. It means speaking up for oppressed people when they can't speak for themselves. It means trying to understand other people's points of view.
And I'm out of time but I think you get the picture. I've said all this before anyway, but it's been on my mind today.