A while back I decided to write out my beliefs. I ended up limiting myself to three philosophical categories: 1) my ethical philosophy, 2) my epistemic philosophy, and 3) my political philosophy. So, here they are!
[My views are constantly being refined, and do not represent absolute beliefs which will necessarily remain static. I pride myself on being open to ideas, and any beliefs I have are merely a reflection of my current mindset. That being said, I wrote this about three months ago, and found it to still be an accurate representation of my views. It seems I have come to a place of moderate stability in my intellectual development since my deconversion.]
Ethical Philosophy: Secular Humanism
I believe that all actions should be taken primarily for the benefit of human beings, with consideration given to animals and the environment.
Supernatural beliefs play no role in my ethical decisionmaking and religious concepts are only valued insofar as they enforce humanistic values. I do not oppose supernatural beliefs, but I do oppose harmful consequences of those beliefs (e.g. teaching creationism in public schools; persecution of LGBTQ individuals, etc.)
I consider myself an atheist and a naturalist, but I do not seek to force those beliefs on others. I believe that people should be aware of humanism and the benefits of living a secular life so they can decide if it’s a worldview they could accept.
I respect intellectual and religious diversity, although I do not think any belief should be above appropriate criticism and scrutiny. I believe that robust and respectful discussion and debate of important issues is beneficial and necessary. Every person should be encouraged to form their own conclusions about the world and pursue truth wherever it leads.
Epistemic Philosophy: Empiricism
I believe that the foundation of knowledge is sensory experience and that the scientific method is the most effective way to gain reliable knowledge about the world.
I believe that the unfalsifiable testimonies of intuition, personal anecdote, emotion, and hypothetical entities or senses (e.g. sensus divinatus or testimony of the Holy Spirit) are not enough to support a truth claim in the absence of relevant objective evidence. These may or may not be sufficient justifications for personal belief, but they do not meet the minimum requirements of proof in an interpersonal discussion. The reason being that if these were allowed as legitimate evidence to establish truth, any hypothesis could be considered true on the testimony of personal belief; with the corollary that every belief must therefore be true.
I believe that public discussion and debate should center around identifying common values, and using reason, logic, supported by relevant, objective evidence to determine the best course of action to take.
Political Philosophy: Progressivism
I believe that we should seek to improve the conditions of life for all people, rather than resting on the accomplishments of the past. There is still work to be done to improve our nation and world, and applying a critical approach to the issues we face and suggesting possible solutions is an act of patriotism.
I believe that cultural traditions can and should undergo a constant process of re-evaluation in light of advancements in science, education, and moral attitudes. No pre-existing belief is beyond scrutiny and revision in accordance with our expanding knowledge of the world.
I believe that tolerance of others’ beliefs and practices insofar as they do not cause direct harm or infringe on the rights of others is a virtue. I believe in justice and liberty.
Democracy, human rights, and the pursuit of a reasonably egalitarian culture of prosperity, security, health, and psychological well-being are the foundational elements of my political philosophy.
Thank you for considering my perspective. Your opinion matters to me, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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