It doesn’t have preachers, buildings, rules, gods, books, inclusive or exclusive criteria.
I don’t impose it upon others, I don’t judge others that do not share my faith, I do not try to change people.
My faith doesn’t involve labels or belonging or rituals.
It doesn’t involve me hating and rejecting or accepting and embracing other people because of their differences or similarities.
It doesn’t involve arguments, wars, zones, barriers or worship.
It is quite simply this:
I have faith in people.
I believe that everything is real, physical, tangible.
I believe in one life. One chance.
I believe in doing good and being good simply because other people matter, not because an invisible force may be looking down on us or we are scared of punishment. I believe that thinking how your actions impact upon others is a much less selfish motive than thinking about your rewards or living in fear of your judgement. Being good for the sake of being good rewards others by bringing more good. It is a healthy perpetual thing.
I believe we have feelings, strengths, weaknesses, and that some people have better luck in life because of the places we are born, the experiences we have, the love we are – or are not – given, and the genes that carry information to make us who we are.
I believe that impartial information and education give beneficial stimulation that cause our brains to develop and us to see the world better. I do not believe we are blessed – or not – by a higher entity. How unfair would that be?
I do not believe in a god or gods that would make bad men rich and babies suffer. Or a god or gods that would sit back and let that happen.
I do not complain that others have a faith that I do not want to embrace. I do not fight others whose faith competes with my own. I do not stop people from blessing me or praying for me. I do not believe it will do any good but if it gives them comfort, who I am I to take that away from them?
I turn on the radio on a Sunday and religion is everywhere, I do not write to the BBC that this goes against my faith. The church bells strike at 10.45 to call the local community to worship. I do not complain. In fact I believe most places of worship to be very beautiful because man is very clever and, when he wants to, can work very hard.
I believe human kind when it works well is a wonderful thing that should be celebrated.
I believe nature when it works well (and it usually does get by better than man without any religious restraints) is a wonderful thing and this morning I stood in the garden and celebrated the combination of man and nature working together, the coffee in my hand – brewed by my husband, the songs of the birds in our trees and Devon hedgerows – attracted by the provided-by-man safe places to hide, the sun on my face – brought by the tilt of the earth, the flowers and weeds in the garden – placed and misplaced by the harmonious combination of the deliberate and accidental, the guitar-playing from my daughter’s bedroom – not because she has a gift but because she inherited musical genes and has played a lot to improve herself.
I do not worship on a Sunday, but I do feel pleased, lucky and grateful for the things that have gone well. My lack of worship does not make me self-important, higher than anyone or anything – quite the reverse: it makes me feel a small equal part of an interesting world. My admiration for others takes the place of any worship: people with sound reasoning, people with huge intelligence, and people with great kindness.
People. I believe in people.
I think invisible beings get given too much credit for the marvellous-ness of man’s wisdom, hard work, creativity and kindness. When humans do wonderful things they really are amazing.
I believe a cluster of information from my body and a cluster of information from my husband’s body grew into our beautiful, clever children. I believe that every step of their existences is due to something physical.
You can call me an atheist if you want to. But only if you do it in a gentle way. It’s not something I have studied, though and I am not part of a group. You can call me a humanist if you like but, again, I have no books or groups. You can call me unholy if you want to but not if it means you judge me or worry for my soul.
I believe what I believe. It’s what I feel to be right. It’s how I am.
And the best thing about it? It doesn’t hurt anyone.
I don’t argue with anyone else’s faith. So why should anyone argue with mine?
Oh and I also believe man’s discovery of creating a tasty, stimulating drink from some roasted beans was absolute genius.