This I Believe

Max - Hillsboro, Oregon
Entered on April 30, 2007

I believe that the world will be a better place when there are more religions, 6,592,167,328, to be exact. That’s right, one religion for everyone! No one should have to share! When people have to share a religion, religious leaders are allowed to exploit the hopes and fears of millions for their own personal gain. The inevitable rivalries between religious groups seem to make it all too easy for people to decide whether or not to go to war. During the start of the Iraq war, it seemed that many of my fellow Americans found it acceptable to attack innocent people because they may have shared the same religious beliefs of the September 11th hijackers. Cleary, our world needs a change in religious membership. Humans have evolved a need for faith, so it is unrealistic to hope for a religion-free world. Instead, we need to start our own religions and let our democratically elected governments, not religious leaders, decide how we interact with each other.

I’ll get this movement started by describing my own religion: It has only one member and contains elements of Judeo-Christian morality and human evolution because I was raised catholic and educated as a biologist. My religion has no desire to win converts, but I’m happy if anyone takes inspiration from it to form their own religion. Two important aspect of my religion are belief and uncertainty. Belief gives me a place to start when contemplating human nature or the natural world, and uncertainty tells me that I must always weigh my beliefs against evidence for or against them that I gain from life’s experiences.

I believe that there is a god, but I am not certain. I believe that God is love and beauty, evidenced by the love I receive from my family and friends and by the beauty I see in the natural world. Church is everywhere in my religion, any place that I can see things like birds, plants, mountain, or rivers that are representatives of God’s beauty, or where I have great times with my friends and family that represent God’s love. I worship my god by showing children birds they had never seen before, by writing a paper that will help managers protect an ecosystem, and by celebrating life with my friends and family.

My religion has no laws about how I must behave; I’ll leave that to our earthly lawmakers. Our behavior has been shaped by two evolutionary drives: the drive to gain resources and reproduce, and the drive to coexist peacefully with others, also known as morality. These drives often conflict with each other, and I believe that I will be rewarded every time I choose the morality drive over the resource and reproduction drive. Now that you have heard about my religion, I hope you will get started your own. Of course, you do not have to start your own religion, but I believe that the world will improve if you do. Of course I am not certain about that.