This is the second of a series of entries dealing with my growing spirituality. These posts are designed with a “evolving thoughts” theme, meaning I am using this space to get my thoughts in order and come up with a solid foundation to stand on for my continued spiritual development. What I say here will change and will do so without notice or apology.
NOTE: Throughout this entry (and all subsequent entries) I will provide references in the MLA style. All sources can be found at the end of the entry in which they are contained. In other words, they are at the end of the blog entry under the title References.
The Basics. Sounds simple doesn’t it? I guess at the core of it, it is simple. Come up with a list of “rules” which will govern a whole religon or belief system, and do it without giving ruleslawyers loopholes which would allow them to wage holy wars in the name of the religons patron Deit(y/ies).
Of course, I need to decide if I want to create a new religon, like Gerald Gardner did with Wicca, or a belief system like Buddhism. I guess it all comes down to whether I believe in a particular Deity or not. Obviously, if I did, I would wish to center my New Religon around that God/dess, right? That seems a logical conclusion, to me.
So Basic Question One: Do I believe in any particular God/dess(s/es)?
Basic Answer One: I don’t think so. In my study of Buddhism, I’ve learned that a practitioner of budda-dharma doesn’t put his/her faith in any outside force (God/dess(s/es) forms) because enlightenment comes from within, not without. Thus we already have enlightenment, if we choose to see it. (Hagen 9)
This does not mean I am an Atheist. I do believe that God Forms exist. Just not for me. I have yet to feel the pull of any God Form, therefore, I have no evidence that such a form exists. Thus, any “salvation” I reap must come from within. In other words, without an all-seeing, all present Deity to “protect” me or “reveal the truth” to me, I must do it myself.
In this way, my beliefs are very close to Buddhism.
Without a Deity to worship/follow, much of the “ground rules/dogma/tenets” of this new path must focus elsewhere. Where else can we focus if we have no Deity to guide us? How about our moral and ethical compass?
The Values We Hold
The following values are examples we might think of as central to our new path. Generally speaking, adherants to this path should have these beliefs.
1.) Every living thing has the right to live. This is not to imply you cannot kill. Only kill when needed, such as for food or in war. Do not murder.
2.) Everyone must be treated equaly. Equality is an absolute. All must be treated as everyone else, otherwise certain people get privelliges they don’t deserve. Practice restraint when granting favors.
3.) Love must not be hindered. Do not be shy in loving someone, even if they are of the same sex as you. Love is beautiful. Love is powerful.
4.) Do not have sex with animals, except humans.
5.) Do not have sex with children. They are innocent and should remain so for as long as possible.
6.) Do not have sex with anyone who does not concent to the act. Sex is beautiful and should be enjoyed by both (or all) parties.
7.) Humans are a part of the natural order. However, do not be afraid of the works of Man, for they offer much. Do not be afraid of medicines, but use them in moderation.
8.) Do not poison yourself with alchohol or damaging chemicals. Your body, finite as it is, should be respected and cherised.
9.) Do not overeat. Eat until you are no longer hungry. Give food to those less fortunate.
10.) Respect those who are older than you, for they have learned much and can teach much, should you listen to them. Do not ignore the elderly, for they are now as you will be.
11.) Do not hamper youth. Youth teaches us to be adults. Those not intelligent enough to learn the lessons nature offers will die.
12.) Friendship is the greatest gift someone can give. Don’t tread on it, for it can only take so much before it ends.
13.) All that lives, dies. Everything in nature has the right to decide when and in what way it dies. This right must not be forgotten.
14.) Respect the laws of the land in which you live. You are bound by them, so long as the laws are just and fair. Act to overturn any law which is not just or fair or which leads to corruption.
15.) Every human has the right to decide his or her own beliefs. If you encounter someone who believes differently, respect their beliefs. Do not try to change their minds, persuade them, or browbeat them. Agree to disagree.
16.) Do not beg. It is acceptable for you to recieve help and assistance from others, but do not seek it out, for your demands may put someone else at risk.
17.) If you are wealthy, give to those who are not. If you are not wealthy, accept the gifts of those who are.
These values I listed here are meant to show a possible set of values. While some may feel these values are overly fluffy, I do not. They represent a person of good moral character. The example values also give a certain amount of wiggle room for different situations.
Basic Question Two: Given the values above, should their be a penalty for not keeping to them? In other words, what prevents us from manipulating this system for our own ends?
Basic Answer Two: If you act in a unethical way, eventually these actions will catch up to you. Your own actions will determine how much rope you hang yourself with, so it is best to be of high moral character in any case. No one is shaking their fist at you from On High telling you to be good or else. The Or Else should be self-evident from even the most cursitory examination.
While this stops short of the Wiccan Rule of Three, it does act as a powerful incentive to perform moral and ethical works. In any case, you determine your future, for good or ill, by your actions. In some future post, I will deal with the Afterlife and reaping what you sow in greater detail.
Once we’ve established the cental beliefs of the path, the next step is deciding if there should be an organization behind the belief system. I will deal with this in the next post in the series.
Hagen, Steve. Buddhism Plain and Simple. New York: Broadway Books, 1999.
OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES
Previous: At the Crossroads of Infinity, Prolouge
Next: At the Crossroads of Infinity, To Organize or Not?