I believe that a person’s goodness is based on his or her relationship with other humans, and this single axiom could be used to govern each person’s life choices for the better. I believe that right and wrong are not based on which side of the aisle one sits in congress or in which pew one sits at temple or church. I believe that the basis for judging good and evil does not exist on a remote cold mountain top or in scorching desert sands, but within ourselves.
I believe that societies have given names and faces to their Gods throughout history as a way to easily instruct in interpersonal dealings and to demand that the listener take these values “on faith”. It often seems easier to say “Do this – don’t do that” based on an uncontestable proclamation from on high rather than the opinions of an individual. I believe that this avoidance of responsibility on the part of each of us is a major source of society’s aimless wandering without direction and engaging in bloody conflict. I believe that leaving Gods and politics aside and making decisions based on dealing with others as humans would take all of humanity along the path that most of us consider unobtainable – genuine world peace.
Consider the Russian submarine with 8 sailors stranded on the bottom of the north Pacific in 2005. Twenty years earlier in a different political climate their loss would have meant nothing to the majority of people in the West. By 2005 judgments were being made based on these sailors’ being real people and offers of assistance came from around the world. We removed politics from the equation and we felt free to act humanely. Remove religion and we would have that same freedom on an even wider scale, with perhaps an end to conflicts that now have us living in fear.
I believe that answering questions of morality based on doing good for another person and living examples based on the same guideline would improve humanity’s condition more than allegiance to any politician in Washington or Beijing or Moscow, or to any God or self-proclaimed holy man ruling by fear and intimidation.
This I truly believe.
Robert M. Simon
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