I don’t have the nerve to believe in a god.
I am a cheerful agnostic (not-knower).* But the rule I try to live my life by is the Golden Rule; i.e. I try to treat others as I would like to be treated. And I always would like to be treated well.
In the Human Jungle of violence, corruption and greed, however, I fail every day. The honest one all too often gets a raw deal; people are treated as a means to an end; kindness is regarded as weaknes . . .
I myself have only so much time, only so much money, only so much energy . . .
I select my goals; I set priorities . . . And sometimes I am a little violent, a little corrupt, a little greedy . . .
Imperfect as I am, I try to live by this rule of which there are many versions:
“Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.”
(Ancient Egyptian, The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant 109 - 110)
“Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing.”
(Thales of Miletus)
“Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.”
(Zoroaster, Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29)
“One should treat all beings as one would like to be treated.”
(Jainism, Vardhamana Mahavira, Sutrakritanga 1.10.13)
“Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”
(Buddha, Udana-Varga 5.18)
“Do not do to others what you would not have them do unto you.”
(The Conversations of Confucius 15.23)
“. . . thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself . . .”
(OT, Leviticus 19:18)
“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your loss.”
(Taoism, T’ai-shang Kang-ying P’ien 213-218)
“. . . do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.”
(Brahmanism and Hinduism, Mahabharata 5:1517)
“Whatever thou hatest thyself, that do not to others.”
(Rabbi Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a)
“Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors.”
(Seneca, Epistle 47:11)
“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them . . .”
(NT, Matthew 7:12)
“None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”
(Muhammad the Prophet, Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13)
“Be charitable to all beings . . .”
(Shintôism, Kojiki by Ô no Yasumaro)
“I am a stranger to no one, and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all.”
(Sikh, Guru Grath Sahib p. 1299)
“Lay not on any soul a load, which ye would not wish to be laid upon you . . .”
(Bahá'i, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh 66:8)
“. . . don’t do things you wouldn’t want to have done to you.”
(British Humanist Association, 1999)
“Tweet others as U want to be tweeted.”
(Twitter, 21st century)
* Unlike the self-declared atheist who denies the existence of an Almighty, the agnostic considers that the existence of gods, respectively a God, is neither provable nor refutable. A strong agnostic would say: “I can’t know, and neither can you.”
What I believe in?
I believe that everyone can believe whatever they want - as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.
What hurts is hypocrisy, mendacity, sanctimony, bigotry, fanaticism . . .