For a few years I’ve been listening to the podcast This I Believe. Each episode is a statement of belief from an individual, some famous, some just everyday people like you and me. It was originally an American radio program done by Edward R Murrow in the 1950s, and was brought back by NPR in the 2000s. Some statements I nod in agreement with, others make me want to argue with the speaker. But they are all heartfelt and considered, and they all make me think.
After reading one of In the Pink’s posts, I was inspired to write my own statement of belief. If you have the time, I’d be interested to hear what you believe in too.
More than anything, I believe in the power of the truth. And I believe the best things come when the truth is spoken and acted upon. Without truth, we have nothing.
I believe that all we are is a brain in a body, in the physical universe. No souls, no gods, no angels and demons. Just the world around us. And the world around us is plenty. In a lot of ways I think we trivialize the world when we anthropomorphize it.
Contrary to what many would like to believe, there is no skydaddy, nor guardian angels or spirits of our ancestors coming to save us. It is essential to realize that any saving will be done by ourselves or by the real people in our lives.
I believe that there are many things wrong with the world, and that to be a fully satisfied human being it is necessary to stand up and be counted when wrongs are being committed. I believe that the apathy, cowardice, and selfishness that I see so often displayed in the world around me is unacceptable.
I believe in treating others as I would wish to be treated, and I do this as much as possible. I believe that ethics do not require any supernatural backing to be valid. To the contrary, I find the actions of the god of Christianity in particular to be terribly immoral. A being of infinite capacity that needs to be worshiped by his puny creations, and who tortures them for eternity if they refuse? For a long time I have failed to see how such a being would be worthy of respect, much less be capable of generating a workable moral code.
I believe that in a civilized society we all have the right to freedom of speech, association, religion, and expression. This rights have generally been gained through struggle, not given from on high. I also believe that we have the obligation to make our voices heard as citizens, and to speak truth to power. For those of us fortunate enough to live in democracies, I believe that voting is a duty, not only a right.
Finally, more than anything, I believe that action is the only thing that changes us or the world around us. Talk is cheap. Thought is even cheaper. Action is the only thing that matters in the end.