Statements of Belief

The "Rough Diamond" blog has an interesting entry about statements of belief. I think it's a good thing for people to have an answer when they're asked, "What is your philosophy of life?" besides "Umm, be nice to one another?"

Back in 1991 or so, somebody on the GEnie system asked me just that question. Without much thought, I wrote back the following:

I find that with greater understanding comes deeper satisfaction.

I find that gaps and dead ends in my understanding discomfort me.
I find that if I'm afraid, further seeking reveals misunderstanding.
I believe that it will always be thus.
This is my faith.
I desire to seek truth
Not for fear of loss
Not for want of gain
Not for need of words
And will endeavour to pursue it
No matter what it is
No matter who says it
No matter what I already believe.
This I affirm.
Over the years I dragged out that little bit of blank verse from time to time to see if I still believed in it. I did, and I still do.

Indeed, I included a copy of it in my game "Order Out Of Chaos", with some pretty graphics. A doctor friend of mine liked it so much that I made a framed copy for him, which he hung in his waiting room. Within two months it was stolen. Since the frame was only worth five bucks, I decided to take that as a compliment. But I do wonder what the person who took it really thought of the message.

When I put the verse into my game, I gave it the title "The Generic Prayer". I did that because I found it hard to find anybody who didn't think it reflected the way they approached life. It didn't matter if they were theist, atheist or agnostic: they all said it was the way they looked at things.

I don't think I've hit upon some universal truth, though. Rather, I think I've uncovered a common delusion. Some of the precepts (such as "No matter who says it") are more honoured in the breach. While I still like "The Generic Prayer", I think that asking people, "Do you agree with this?" is like asking, "Are you open-minded?" Try finding somebody who will answer "No" to that.

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