Are there guiding principles superior to those we see in organized religion? Yes, there are.
Don’t want to join a religion but still want a set of guiding principles? Yes. Here are nine principles that are far superior to those you’ll find in popular religions of the world.
Guiding Principles Without Religion
1) Reason, not Superstition
Logic and common sense are the basis for critical thinking. Your ability to think rationally is in direct proportion to your use of logic. So, logic is the first guiding principle.
The tools of logic include three main tools. Basic logical reasoning along with spotting logical fallacies and logical axioms. These three tools will enable you to separate fact from fiction. And will guard you against being susceptible to groupthink manipulation.
Superstition is the basis of many religions. This includes the three most popular religions in the world. These are the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. None of these are original religions. They are not new. They are the rebranding of earlier Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions. This is the bedrock of superstition in our dominant cultural narrative.
We believe logic is superior to superstition. So, we prefer logic as the basis for guiding principles without religion.
2) Ethics, not Dogma
Our behavior reflects our ethics. And our ethics reflect our thinking and values. The dominant cultural narrative shapes and programs our thinking. These are shaped by our family and trusted authority figures, and other cultural institutions of the government.
We share something common with all living things. We all share the common desire not to be free from harm. As we mature from a child to an adult, this tendency should expand. As our conscience matures, we naturally want everyone to live in peace. We wish no harm to other people and other living things.
Religion and politics can override our natural values. Instead, they install values contrary to our natural conscience. We can learn to hate to discriminate and harm others. That’s just some harmful effects of dogma and doctrine.
We need only to return to our natural state of innocence to live an ethical life. There is no need for the 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.
3) Respect, not Worship
This principle aligns with the above principle on ethics. When we operate from a standpoint of ethical thinking, we naturally respect other people and other living things. Respect for other people and the environment is the basis of a healthy culture.
On the other hand, the worship of imaginary beings divides humanity. Religion uses its God to justify war, genocide, ethnic, and gender discrimination. These attributes disqualify religion as a source of moral guidance.
4) Courage, not Fear
We need the courage to face the issues of global concern. And, we need the courage to address the aberrant behavior of people place profit above ethical and respectful behavior. This opposes the cultural narrative and why we each need to question the cultural narrative every day.
Fear is what 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.
5) 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 world’s darkest times. And, the religious extremist uses groupthink manipulation today as in times past. The disease of religion propagates all the same old prejudice and hate. Morality based on reason, ethics, respect, and courage is far superior.
6) Clarity, not Delusion
Clarity is the attribute one achieves when you can see the facts. As mentioned above, logical reasoning is key to this. Religion is the source of delusion. It is the belief in things that have no proof. To believe one must accept metaphor as facts. It teaches us to protect the belief system even though it is a fabrication.
This enables one to deny, ignore, and fight against any facts that threaten the belief system. Belief in delusion is the opposite of clarity. So, clarity is the basis for guiding principles without religion.
7) 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 Novella
Being a skeptic does not make you a cynic. Although to those who hold mythology above fact it may seem that way. It is far more healthy to be a freethinker than to submit to the cultural narrative. An informed skeptic is someone who uses the scientific method.
The scientific method is a process for investigating things. It’s the best way to gain, correct, and integrate previous knowledge. To be scientific, the method of inquiry uses measurable evidence. We can describe this process in six steps:
- Make an observation
- Record and communicate the observation accurately as possible
- Form questions concerning what we observe 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
These Six-Step either confirms the hypothesis or leads to other questions. The ability to make good observations is also essential to developing rational decisions. So, a skeptic is someone who uses this type of process to make decisions.
8) Rationality, not Nationality
Again we return to logic. Rational thinking is thinking logically and without the encumbrance of groupthink manipulation tactics. Nationality is the belief that artificial boundaries. Typically, these boundaries designate ownership and jurisdiction over natural resources.
Nationality refers to a group of people with a specific set of beliefs or ethnicity. This allows them to justify preferential treatment. Preferential treatment is a nice way of saying you justify discrimination. This leads to patriotism, which is pride and support of the national construct. Pride born out of patriotism spawns violence. This is often directed towards those in that are in the minority or that cannot defend themselves.
The underlying premise of nationalism is pride in a group based on artificial boundaries of geography. This isn’t rational. Countries are artificial creations of man. A more rational approach is to understand that we are all people of this world. We need to unite to solve the issues.
9) 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 find their basis in mythology, not logic or fact. So, an ideology nothing more than a set of beliefs, which end up becoming the basis for religious and political factions. The beliefs which underpin ideology are more often than not a religion. Whereas, logic provides guiding principles without the bias and prejudice of religion.
The study of logical reasoning will guard against becoming the follower of one of the popular organized religions. Logic is an antidote for religion.
- reason, not superstition
- ethics, not dogma
- respect, not worship
- courage, not fear
- morality, not religion
- clarity, not delusion
- skeptic, not cynic
- rationality, not nationality
- logic, not ideology
These guidelines provide antidotes to the superstition of religion. They eliminate the need for fear-based ideology. It provides clarity and perspective against nationalism. This provides is our list of guiding principles without religion.
We hope you found this article helpful, maybe even thought-provoking. You will find more interesting posts on our blog page. Use the “search” option on the blog page to find articles by key terms, topics, or category.
Does spiritual exploration interest you? If so, we offer both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. We use a blended learning process to get the best learning outcomes. This blended approach aligns with what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
The Dalai Lama, Wikipedia
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Wikipedia