Life,  Philosophy

The Ten Commitments

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I’m fairly open about my lack of religious beliefs and have been for a while. I’m not afraid to use the word Atheist because, when you come down to it, all that means is a lack of belief in a god or gods. I’m in a place and a stage in life that I don’t need to be afraid of the label.

I’ve also generally preferred to be identified by what I do believe rather than what I don’t, which is why I’m not afraid of the Humanist label. I actually kind of like it. In short, humanism is an outlook attaching primary importance to human matters (and by extension nature) rather than divine ones. Freely translated: the problems that plague human beings and humankind need to be dealt with by humans. We need to look to ourselves for solutions and work to make them happen.

Seems simple enough, but the openly-professed non-religious are still very much in the minority. A big minority that no one has figured out to cater to yet when looking at politics, but a minority nonetheless.

There are a lot of humanist organizations around the world, large and small, and frequently someone comes up with the idea of mimicking something from a religion, usually Christianity, to attract some attention. This normally works as well as you’d expect, as well as the same tactic works in the opposite direction, but every so often, something clicks.

At just about this time last year, the American Humanist Association Center for Education released the idea of The Ten Commitments. The content of that clicked for me.

Now, before you roll your eyes too hard, maybe we should look at what they are:

  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Ethical Development
  3. Peace and Social Justice
  4. Service and Participation
  5. Empathy
  6. Humility
  7. Environmentalism
  8. Global Awareness
  9. Responsibility
  10. Altruism

Not a lot of “thall shalt not” involved. Not any, really. These are more qualities or traits than they are commands, or even guidelines. Things we cultivate, things we aspire to, things we wish to be.

So while the label is a little cheesy, the list is a set of traits I agree with, things I’m working on building up higher in myself. There are other things, but this is a good list. For me, an 11th commitment might be kindness. There are a lot of things in the world that upset me these days, and it’s a struggle to meet some of them on an even keel. Most people, maybe even all people, deserve kindness. Some of them make it hard, but that makes the attempt even more important.

Anything you’d like to add?

Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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