Is it possible to have guiding principles without religion? Yes, it is.
Don’t want to join a religion but still want a set of guiding principles? How about this?
Reason, not Superstition
Logical reasoning is the basis for critical thinking. Hence, your ability to reason is in direct relation to your use of logic. The tools of reason include the basic toolbox of logical reasoning along with its companion tools for spotting logical fallacies and logical axioms. These tools enable you to separate fact from fiction. And, as such will guard you against being susceptible to groupthink manipulation and the superstition.
Superstition is at the basis of many religions including the Abrahamic traditions. These are the Western Organized Religions of Semitic origin including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. None of these are original ideas. They are an eclectic rebranding and combination of the ancient traditions of Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian. This is the bedrock of superstition. And, so, reason can be the basis for guiding principles without religion and its superstition.
Ethics, not Dogma
Our thinking and values are directed by our ethical behavior. In turn, this affected in a great part by our environment, specifically the cultural narrative. The cultural narrative includes our family and trusted authority figures, as well as, other cultural institutions of the government. We also have something that is inherent to our nature. Our natural tendency is not to be harmed. If we allow this natural tendency to mature then we also do not wish harm to come to other people and other living things. However, groupthink manipulation and cultural narrative can override this and install deviate thoughts and values.
As such we need only return to our natural state of innocence in order to live an ethical life. There is no need for laws, regulations, doctrine or the dogma of religion. The virtues of the spirit will come to the surface. This is how our natural nature of ethics can be the basis for guiding principles without religion.
Respect, not Worship
This principle aligns with the above regarding ethics. When we operate from a standpoint of ethical thinking we naturally respect other people and other living things. Above all, respect for other people and the environment is the basis of a healthy culture. On the other hand, the worship of imaginary beings does nothing except to provide a diversion or excuse to act in ways that do not respect live. Respect for everyone, everywhere and all living things including the planet are the basis for guiding principles without religion. Religion is a distraction and in many cases provides excuses for war, genocide, ethnic and gender discrimination. These attributes are less than respectful.
Courage, not Fear
Courage is what is needed to face the issues of global concern. And, courage is what is needed to address the aberrant behavior of people place profit above ethical and respectful behavior. This is in opposition to the cultural narrative and why we each need to question the cultural narrative every day. Fear is what is the cultural narrative uses to manipulate. Courage to do the right thing can be the basis for guiding principles without religion. This is because religion is the main propagator of fear.
Above all, fill your life with hope and allow yourself to become vulnerable. Open your eyes to social injustice. Learn to live a courageous life. Face your fears.
Morality, not Religion
Morality does not have a basis in religion. Ethics and respect for everyone and every living thing do not require membership in any belief system. In fact, religion is anything but an example of moral behavior. In the past, it has been the basis of many of the worlds darkest times. And, the religious extremist uses groupthink manipulation today as in times past. The disease of religion propagates all of the same old prejudice and hate. Morality based on reason, ethics, respect, and courage is far superior.
Clarity, not Delusion
Clarity is the attribute one achieves when you are able to see the facts clearly. As mentioned above, logical reasoning is key to this. On the other hand, religion is the source of delusion. That is a belief based on inadequate grounds. To believe one must accept the delusion of religion through the process of groupthink manipulation in order to be able to ignore the facts. Clarity is the basis for guiding principles without religion.
Skeptic, not Cynic
“A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient…— Steven Novell
Being a skeptic does not make you a cynic. Although to those who hold mythology above fact it may seem that way. Nevertheless, it is far more healthy to be a freethinker than to submit to the cultural narrative. An informed skeptic is someone who utilizes the scientific method.
The scientific method is a process for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. We can describe this process in six steps:
- Make an Observation
- Record and Communicate the observation accurately as possible
- Form Questions concerning what is observed to find out more
- Form a Hypothesis based on the Evidence and what it could mean
- Conduct an Experiment
- Analyze the Data and Draw Conclusions.
The Six-Step either confirms the hypothesis or leads to other questions. The ability to make good observations is also essential to the development of other science process skills: communicating, classifying, measuring, inferring, and predicting. So, Skeptic is a Freethinker guided by Logic.
Rationality, not Nationality
Again we return to logic. Rational thinking is, in essence, thinking logically and without the encumbrance of groupthink manipulation tactics. Nationality is the belief that artificial boundaries. It is set around a landmass are separate from other landmasses on the planet. Or, a group of people with a specific set of beliefs or ethnicity which allows them to set themselves apart from other people. The underlying premise is that those in the nationality are able to take pride in this division. This isn’t rational since both are artificial boundaries. There is only one planet and we are all people of this world.
Logic, not Ideology
Lastly, for emphasis logic, not ideology. Ideology is a system which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. Most ideologies are based not in logic or fact but on mythology. So, an ideology nothing more than a set of beliefs, which end up becoming the basis for political factions. The beliefs which underpin ideology are more often than not based on religion. Logic provides guiding principles without religion.
This provides us a list of guiding principles without religion. Reason, ethics, respect, courage, morality, clarity, healthy skepticism, and rationality. All of these supported by logic. These provide antidotes to the superstition of religion, and its dogma and fear-based ideology. It provides clarity and perspective against nationalism and ideology in general.
If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. Also, you may be interested in learning about our blended learning process. This is our curriculum which we use to teach several mind-expanding tools. It also aligns the Hero’s Journey. This is the term Joseph Campbell gave the pattern of consciousness development. Our learning process is available in two forms. You can take part in the virtual learning module or in our workshops.
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