The Affirmations of Positive Unbelief
My refraining from belief of certain nonscientific concepts unsupported by evidence is often called, even by me, ‘unbelief,’ perhaps misleadingly so, for it affirms things as well. While refraining from beliefs does not logically entail accepting their opposites, my so-called ‘unbeliefs’ do not exist in a nihilistic void. We nonbelievers are not as we are often portrayed by believers. But I do not speak for others, only myself, and there are those things that my personal mindset and worldview focuses on of particular importance…
- I repudiate the sacralizing of any ideas, and no idea should be off the table for discussion, not religion, not politics, not even scientific claims. I affirm my belief that all claims or concepts that may be entertained by thought should be fully subject to reasoned and reasoning criticism, even reason itself.
- I affirm the value of rational inquiry and of evidence, of science, and reliable if limited and imprecise knowledge, as our most powerful and effective ways of understanding the world and ourselves to date, and I affirm these over blind belief and the denial of reason and evidence through said belief.
- I affirm the innate value and goodness of humanity, objective or not, both the wonders we bring about through our positive works, and the horrors of the world brought about by our weaknesses and shortcomings, our failings and misdeeds as something worth striving to ameliorate.
- I affirm the value of patriotism over petty and poisonous jingoistic nationalism, real patriotism for the world and my species for the good of as many as possible, not just a privileged few in positions of wealth and power all-too often unearned and frequently abused.
- I repudiate the notion that I’m a sinner in need of salvation, condemned at birth for an imaginary crime committed by a fictional remote ancestor in an equally fictitious lost paradise. I am a human being, and I affirm my humanity and reject all apocalyptic and messianic mythologies as dangerous and without reason or basis in fact.
- I affirm the rights of the individual, while affirming that these must be balanced with social responsibilities to others, and I believe that each of us has whatever rights we permit to others and only those.
- I reject all dogmas, doctrines, creeds and hardline ideologies as offering only illusory truths and being contrary to real human happiness, freedom, well-being, flourishing and reasoned inquiry.
- I affirm that all good comes from within ourselves, not the whims and commands of mystical or scriptural authorities, and that our human-derived good is just as meaningful, grounded, and valid as it needs to be, no more and no less. I affirm the positive power of human beings to be just, ethical, and moral on our own, even without certain metaphysical grounding to justify that morality.
- …I affirm the rights of others to believe as they wish, to close themselves off to any knowledge they may dislike or find uncomfortable, to disenfranchise themselves of their own free will to the extent that such will exists, and I reject as criminally and morally wrong the notion that anyone has the right to impose this same on others through acts of force or deceit.