This is a more-refined version of an earlier article I wrote. I felt it was worth expanding, clarifying and comparing my own morality with biblical teachings, in anticipation of my upcoming Biblical Morality Tour. Video and full transcript after the jump. Enjoy!
I believe in absolute and unconditional equality amongst all people. We must not make exceptions for women, gays, Asians, left-handers, no-one. Organisations that seek to curtail the rights of any demographic should be disbanded, ridiculed or lose their tax-exemption status.
I believe that the right of people to live in a manner of their choosing, self-evidently excludes any right to prevent others from living how they choose. A person's faith cannot be used to justify hindering the lives of others. This particularly applies to children, who must be protected from harm, including (and especially) harm caused by their own parents.
I believe children's wide-eyed wonder and inquisitiveness should never be stifled. They should be encouraged to explore, to experiment, to make mistakes, to make a mess, to get it wrong. This endless curiosity should be practised and celebrated by all people of all ages in all countries.
I believe that we should all be educated in several broad subjects: literature, mathematics, logic, morality, science and the scientific method. Education should be ubuquitous and free for every living soul on the planet.
I believe that young children need to be protected from religious indoctrination disguised as education. Teenagers should be taught about religious history to show how modern religions developed and the effect they have had on the world.
I believe that mankind should never stop pursuing all avenues of exploration and discovery. No ideology or political movement should hinder or discourage asking questions about the world around us. And when new discoveries are made, we should accept them, even if we don't like them. It's not anyone's fault but your own if scientific conclusions are at odds with your unexamined faith.
The most troubling reality about these beliefs is how many are in the bible. None of them are.
People aren't equal in the bible, except in that we are all equally worthy of death at Yahweh's hand. Women are repeatedly described as property. Foreigners are to be killed or enslaved. And gays aren't even good enough for slavery.
Education and discovery is discouraged and punished in the Bible. A single mistake, even one made while attempting to appease Yahweh, often leads to instant death.
The biblical books are also objectively wrong on matters such as astronomy, arithmetic, geometry, biology, and, of course, evolution.
I believe that human beings have the power of thought, reason and empathy. I believe that we all have the inate ability to determine right from wrong, without seeking guidance from warmongering goat-herders or self-righteous paedophiles. We are respecting neither ourselves nor each other if we insist that we are unable to think critically nor develop our own morality without divine assistance.
I believe that no religion has ever offered anything unique to matters of morality. They recycle values that were already universally regarded as 'good' and then claim 'ownership' of these ideas. They then make the claim, and it is almost always believed, that without faith a person cannot know right from wrong.
On the contrary, the common values that exist in the world today, are testament to reasoned, discussed, secular philosophy.
I believe that religious institutions are selling a fake product to gullible people. They promote dissatisfaction with this life, so people can look forward to the next. They offer false comfort to those in need, and they claim credit for the efforts of scientists, engineers and doctors, asserting that a saved life is a 'miracle.'
There isn't a monotheistic religion on Earth whose sacred texts don't mandate the eradication of all other faiths. Real, human advancement and self-determination is little more than a pipe dream as long as so many of us cling to bronze-age gods and demons.
So if you remain insistant that your faith is the one true faith, that non-Christians are non-human, that those without faith are without values, or that my use of the word "believe" somehow makes me religious, then I believe...
...that you can bite me.