Tag Archives: science ethics

9 Reasons To Be Kind Outside Of Religion

1: A cosmic appreciation for life

Think about this. Everything that exists in the universe is made of atoms, which are made of energy vibrations, which have been rearranging themselves according to brilliant mathematical equations for about 14 billion years. This energy is inanimate, and yet it possesses the instructions and power to assemble itself into living, breathing, reproducing, feeling, supercomputers that are supported by a growing, healing frame that’s wrapped in layers of pulleys and levers that work in tandem to create an acrobatic range of motion. Human beings are cosmic mysteries, 14 billion years in the making.

Reality is amazing. If you’re not impressed by life or the universe, then you’re not paying attention. To anyone who is paying attention, it’s blatantly obvious that life is infinitely valuable. You don’t need a prophet to tell you that it’s wrong to hurt or kill people. You just need to open your eyes and appreciate life.



2: We’re all we’ve got.

Healthy babies will die in their cribs if they’re never touched. Solitary confinement is considered cruel and unusual punishment even for violent criminals.Nobody wants to spend the rest of their life alone, and everyone’s best memories are of times they spent with the people they loved. We need each other to survive, and we’re all we’ve got.

Sam Harris may have said it best when he said, “Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?”

If you’re looking for a reason to care about people, just go look someone in the eyes, and watch them looking back at you, affirming your existence. If you ever get lonely, you can go talk to that person, and they’ll share a whole universe of ideas and stories with you. They’ll make you laugh, cry, shout, relax, orgasm and all around live. They’re a reflection of yourself and a portal to another world. As cruel as people can be, we all know from personal experience that people are worth living for and protecting.



3: The civilian’s war debt

Countless soldiers have died horrific, selfless deaths protecting your ancestors. Countless civilians have dedicated their entire lives to studying the universe, solving problems and improving the world those soldiers died protecting. Everyone who has ever held a job is a cog in the machine that turned the savage wilderness into cities with electricity and plumbing. Granted, there have been a lot of horrible, selfish people who left the world a worse place than they found it, but that just means we owe even more of a debt of gratitude to the people who carried the slackers’ share of the burden.

Even if our actions don’t have any consequences in the afterlife, it’s still logical to be grateful when someone does something nice for you. We stand on the shoulders of giants, and we owe a lifetime of gratitude to every one of our ancestors who fought, worked and died so we could have a better life than they did. The best way we can show our gratitude to them is to continue their legacy and improve the world for future generations. The very least we can do is not be mean and tear down the world we were given.



4: Fulfilling humanity’s potential

It’s not a burden of responsibility to strive to make the world better by doing things as small as being kind to strangers or as big as devoting your life to curing cancer. It’s an opportunity to be a part of something amazing and meaningful. Look at how far humans have come in 10,000 years. We went from living in caves to flying to the moon. Humanity’s knowledge and skills have been increasing at an exponential rate, and we’re very close to reaching a tipping point in technology that will revolutionize civilization more than the invention of the steam engine or the internet. That’s worth being a part of just because it’ll be fun, and it’s not like we have anything better to do. Why not play a part in fulfilling humanity’s potential?

Sure, we might not personally reap all the benefits, but at least we can enter eternal sleep with a clear conscience, and we can rest well knowing our descendants will have a better life than we did. And if you’re having trouble finding meaning in life outside of religion, or you’re still a little worried about your actions being judged after death, you can find relief in making the world a better place. If it turns out that life really is meaningless, and nothing matters, at least you’ll have spent your life feeling good about your actions.



5: A spiritual but not religious appreciation for the divine

Agnostics and people who are “spiritual but not religious” are willing to concede that there may be some force somewhere in the universe that fits some definition of the word, “God.” If there is a God, it would be nice to know it’s true name, but we play the hand we’re dealt, and agnostics are comfortable with appreciating The Artist’s work without knowing The Artist’s name. That simple, general sense of gratitude and respect for a vaguely defined, theoretical God still tends to inspire half-believers to treat God’s creations with respect and reverence.

Many half-believers also speculate that God is everywhere and that humans are a reflection of God. Without outright believing in those two statements, the mere possibility of them being true still motivates some nonreligious people to respect life as much (if not more) than anyone who believes in ancient mythology.



6: Pascal’s Wager (modified)

Blaise Pascal posed the question (and I’m paraphrasing), “Isn’t it safer to believe in Jesus and be wrong, than to not believe in Jesus and be wrong?” This question is illogical for at least two reasons. First, Christianity is easily falsifiable. It’s blatantly mythology. Being a Christian doesn’t require faith in the absence of evidence. It requires active denial of reality in the face of overwhelming evidence.  Secondly, believing in Christian mythology is no more logical than believing in Buddhist or Hindu mythology. So there’s no advantage to picking Christianity over any other random mythology.



Still, the question raises an interesting point. Anything could have happened before the universe came into existence, and anything could happen after we die. We don’t know for sure that our actions will have any repercussions in the afterlife, but why not play it safe and try to behave while we’re here on Earth, just in case?

Of course, that raises the question, how do you know what’s immoral if you don’t have an instruction book written by a prophet? The answer is to think and talk about ethics using the brain and mouth you were given. There are logic-based moral codes out there that are far more humane and productive than mythology-based moral codes.

Atheists may laugh at agnostics for trying to guess what their vaguely defined, theoretical, laissez-faire God wants them to do. I’m not saying atheists are wrong, but they’re faulting people for hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Hope doesn’t cost anything, but hopelessness can literally kill you. And if fear of the unknown motivates people to do what they were supposed to be doing anyway then… that’s convenient.


7: Immediate karma

Our actions may not determine our quality of afterlife, but they do determine the quality of our experiences in the immediate present. If we spend all day being mean to people, we’ll experience an angry, ugly day. If we spend all day being nice to people, we’ll experience a full day of pleasantness. If we’re mean for 20,000 days straight, we’ll have a lifetime of painful memories to look back on. If we’re nice for 20,000 days straight, we’ll have a lovely life to look back on. Being nice will keep us in better relationships, which is the most important factor in happiness and long life.



8: Karmic cause-and-effect

There may not be a supernatural incentive program at work that magically causes good deeds to come back to good people and bad deeds to haunt bad people. However, we do live in the world we create. If you piss off everyone in town, you’re going to live in an unfriendly town. If you’re nice to everyone in town, you’ll inspire everyone to be nice to each other, and everyone will keep “paying it forward,” creating a self-perpetuating cycle of kindness. If we keep being nice to each other, eventually we won’t have to lock our doors at night or carry weapons for self-defense. So, without even getting philosophical, kindness is just practical.



9: Humility

Religions tend to divide mankind into “the chosen” and “the unworthy,” “the good” and “the evil,” “the saved” and “the damned.” Scientific thinkers don’t have any reason to divide humanity into any such categories. From a scientific point of view, everyone comes from the same place. Everyone had their ass wiped when they were children, and everyone’s shit stinks. Everyone’s body breaks down, and in the end, we all die. You can’t level up into a more transcendental being. No matter what we do or believe, we’ll always just be walking, talking puddles of dirty water.

At the same time, we’re also cosmic miracles. We’re biological robots with supercomputers in our heads that are smart and strong enough to reshape the universe itself. A lot of care and effort went into designing us. The evidence points to the conclusion that we’re all equally, infinitely valuable…. puddles of dirty water.

As smart and powerful as we are though, we were born existentially blind. We don’t and can’t know the final answers to life’s mysteries. We’re just stranded in this cold, lonely universe to stand or fall on our own. Since we don’t and can’t know what the point of life is, it doesn’t make sense to punish the hell out of people during life or after death for getting the point wrong. We’re all equally beautiful, and we’re also equally big screw ups. At the end of the day, we’re all family too. The only logical conclusion to come to in life is that we should celebrate, forgive and help each other.



If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


Secular Living
The Bible is mythology
Christianity is Harmful to Society
Preaching, witnessing and arguing with Christians
Christian Culture
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You Already Have Ethics Without Religion

When people ask, “How can you have ethics without religion?” what they’re really asking is, “How can you have ethics without mythology?” Because religion is mythology.

So, how can you have ethics without mythology? Very easily. We’ve been doing it the entire history of our species, and everyone still does it today. Before Christianity was invented people didn’t spend their days wallowing in the mud having rampant cannibalistic orgies with their families. We were building cities, navigating the globe, curing diseases, and developing the sophisticated languages we would later write religious tomes with.

Humanity has been writing its own rules since day one. Look around you today. Your entire life is controlled by rules that nobody claims God was responsible for. There are rules for how to behave in a department store. There are rules in school, rules at work, Robert’s Rules of Order, rules for sports games, rules for war, rules for taxes, international law. Moses was an amateur. The IRS makes wrote 1000000000000000000000 commandments and counting, and those commandments have real, life and death consequences in this world.



Where do these rules come from? They came from the practical need to establish best practices to accomplish practical goals. 10,000 years ago we just needed to get firewood and food. So the practical needs of our lives were pretty simple. As society progressed life got more complicated, and we needed more practical rules to address the new practical problems standing between us and our personal goals.

We understand society’s rules and why they exist, and we still follow them even though we know we’d have to play Six-Degrees-to-God to give any deity credit for saying your car has to come to a full stop at a red light. We even have our own personal philosophies on which rules we have to acknowledge as valid and which ones are bullshit and we don’t have to follow. Every member of every religion uses their personal philosophical system to dismiss parts of the religion they profess to base their life on. Every Christian has their own personal ethics that guide which passages in the Bible they cherry pick and how they interpret scripture to conform to their existing biases.

The following experiment would prove my point: Take 100 people who claim to be religious. Have them carry a notebook with them everywhere they go for a week and have them write down every place they go and every person they talk to. Have them record a short explanation for why they decided to go and do each of the things they did that week. At the end of the week, you might have 2 or 3 actions among thousands that were directly motivated by Biblical doctrine. Yet you’ll notice they got through the week relatively okay and probably accomplished a lot of good things by following rules that were publicly and unapologetically invented by humans.

You’ll find these people even made up rules on their own, broke their own rules, broke other people’s rules and broke Christian rules without their week devolving into a cannibalistic orgy with their family. Why did they behave like such heretics, yet still manage to live a happy, kind, productive life? They used common sense to identify the most productive ways to maximize their goals according to their values.



We all do this every day, effortlessly. You put more thought into calculating your personal system of ethics than a supercomputer puts into calculating the world’s most complicated chess game. You might respond to this by pointing out that the world is in chaos and pain, but I believe that is due more to people holding onto irrational beliefs and customs than people using reason.

Bad rules stay on the books because ordinary people don’t believe they have the right to decide right from wrong for themselves, even though we’re all already doing it. When we take what we’re already doing to its inevitable conclusion, and all become unapologetic thinkers and problem solvers, then we’ll be able to agree on an upgraded social contract that effectively addresses society’s problems. But we can’t do that as long as we’re living in the past.



If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


Secular Living
The Bible is mythology
Christianity is Harmful to Society
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My Tweets About Religion


The Non-Believer’s 7 Deadly Sins

1: Ignorance

Money is not the root of all that kills. Ignorance is the root of all that kills, and knowledge is the basis of wisdom. Every action is the product of a thought, and every thought is a mental equation. Just like with mathematical equations, you can’t get the correct answer without knowing all of the variables. So if there’s ever a problem in your life, you’ll have a better chance of solving it by gaining new knowledge than by praying. You should also be wary of faith-based religions that tell you that it’s taboo to learn about certain subjects. Ignorance will only cripple your ability to cope with the harsh realities of life. As Isaac Asimov said, “If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”



2: Irrational Thinking

Intelligent people still make mistakes even when they have all the information they need to solve the problems in front of them because in order to answer questions you have to know how to ask questions. You have to analyze the variables in the equation and calculate their logical conclusion objectively. Failure to do so will yield incorrect results. This is as true in math as it is in life. Thinking illogically will cause you to act illogically. Acting illogically is the definition of screwing up in life. When a large group of people acts illogically, they screw up the world. So be very wary of anyone who demonizes logic or reason. They’re a danger to themselves and others. People who think logically solve problems. People who solve problems make the world a better place for everyone.



3: Selfishness

Sometimes humans harm each other unintentionally or with good intentions. As atrocious as these transgressions may be, they weren’t done in malice. So we can say they were wrong but not necessarily evil. Legally the difference between manslaughter and murder is intent to kill. But what causes someone to want to kill someone else? I would argue that the most common cause is selfishness. Even when you’re committing a non-lethal crime such as stealing, fighting, trolling, slandering or abandoning someone, you probably have a selfish motive. There are times when it’s good to be selfish, but as a general rule, the more selfish a person is the more likely they are to harm others intentionally or unintentionally.



4: Anger

Sometimes people hurt others with selfless and good intentions. A good example would be parents who beat their children to teach them responsibility. There are very few instances in life where anger will improve your judgment and help you make the wisest decision. More often than not it will cloud your judgment and undermine your intentions. Even in the situations where anger is warranted, it’s best to channel that anger into motivation to analyze the problem in front of you logically and enact a well thought out solution.



5: Irresponsibility

Responsibility is doing that which will help you the most in the long run. This definition contradicts what I said earlier about selfishness being a “sin”, because doing what helps you the most in the long run is inherently selfish. I don’t see this as being hypocritical. I see it as being a paradox. I would make a categorical imperative that everyone should do what’s best for them in the long run as long as we add the condition that it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s quest for fulfillment. Whenever any individual fails to take care of their short or long-term responsibilities they lower the quality of their life in the present as well as the future. This causes unnecessary harm to themselves and lowers their life’s overall potential, which is all the more tragic because their loss of fulfilled potential makes them a burden on the rest of society instead of a boon. When a large group of people behaves irresponsibly then they become a massive burden on society.



6: Indifference

We elect leaders to solve the world’s problems, but often times our leaders end up creating more problems than they solve. Sometimes, we just fail to assign someone to solve very important problems. Then all of society goes on watching television wishing those problems would get solved while saying to themselves, “but it’s not my responsibility.” The world’s problems are everyone’s problems. That makes them everyone’s responsibility. Also, we all possess the capacity to think and to act. The ability to solve problems makes us responsible for solving them regardless of whether or not anyone else has blessed us with the authority or permission to solve them. We’re still responsible for solving problems even when we’ve been ordered not to by our leaders. Indifference to the world’s problems is complicity in the world’s problems. Failing to help others in need is morally equivalent to actively hurting them.



7: Faith

Your life is full of problems, and your life is your responsibility. Your world is full of problems, and your world is your responsibility. In order to solve any of these problems, you have to learn as much as possible and question everything objectively. The answers to life’s questions are too important to take on faith. At any rate, nobody has the authority to tell you that you can’t seek answers to life’s questions for yourself. Taking answers on faith makes you a slave to the people who sold you those canned answers. You’re capable of more than that, and you have a responsibility to fulfill that potential, which means you have a moral obligation to not base your beliefs on faith.



If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


Secular Living
The Bible is mythology
Christianity is Harmful to Society
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Should Science Be Legally Recognized As A Religion?

Religion is defined as:

“1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing amoral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.”

Science is defined as:

1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.

2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.”

People who claim to hold Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist beliefs enjoy special privileges under the law. They can demand special treatment at work to accommodate their beliefs. They can refuse to partake in activities that conflict with their beliefs. They can demand that other people alter and censor their behavior in their presence so as not to offend their religion. Religious organizations can still operate tax-free and pay their board of directors as much as they want.The military even hires chaplains to provide ethical and emotional guidance to believers and provides deceased soldiers with free tombstones in the shape of religious symbols.



Getting a religion legally recognized is a serious thing. The freedoms and advantages it gives to organizations and individuals effectively put them in a higher class of citizenship than those who can’t claim a legal religion on a human resource form. This leaves atheists and agnostics at a disadvantage in society. To a small but significant degree, atheists and agnostics are literally second-class citizens to Christians, Muslims, Jews, Mormons and Hindus since they don’t have a religion. Yet if you look at the definition of “religion,” you’ll see most atheists and agnostics do practice a set of beliefs and customs that are very compatible with that definition:


1: Science has a widely believed creation story

Scientists have used the scientific method to construct a far more elaborate and reliable explanation of the universe than any religious prophet. The scientific creation story has been printed in countless books that are sold in the nonfiction section of bookstores. Granted, we don’t know exactly how it all started, but we know more about the big bang than we know about Jesus. The point is that anyone who adheres to a scientific understanding of the universe holds beliefs on par with religion. Why should atheists and agnostics be punished for believing in an explanation of the universe that has independently verifiable evidence to back it up?



2: Science has widely practiced unique rituals, rites, and customs

Every religious organization has rituals, rites, and customs that define them as a unique and identifiable culture. So do scientists. By following the scientific method, scientists from different countries, who speak different languages, can collaborate on solving extremely complex problems. Science students and entry-level professional scientists get crash courses on using the scientific method to ensure conformity of behavior. These are uniquely identifiable behavior patterns that fit the legal definition of a religious organization.



3: Science has a “divine” language.

Theists may argue a belief system can’t be recognized as religious if it doesn’t have a book written by God. Though not all scientists would say math is the language of God, many have. Math is a collection of truths that predate humanity, which scientists discovered and transcribed into books. Regardless of if you believe math is the language of God, science textbooks still fit the same legal criteria religions use to justify their holy books as worthy of special honors, setting a legal precedent that science books deserve the same treatment.



4: Science has widely practiced codes of ethics.

The members of scientific organizations go to great lengths to incorporate consistent ethical values into their lives. Those organizations themselves will fire members who don’t live up to their organizational bylaws. So people live, prosper, suffer and die by secular ethical codes written in books that are already endorsed by the government.



According to the definitions of the terms “religion” and “science,” and the precedents set by protected religious groups, science should be recognized as an official religion for the purpose of honoring the rights, privileges, and freedoms due to practitioners of those beliefs and behaviors. If you think this is nit-picking and anal and not that big of a deal, then you should have no problem letting this insignificant little issue get passed into law. Or maybe we should just stop pampering people because they believe in fairy tales and let everybody be equal under the eyes of the law.


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If You Don’t Believe In God, What Do You Do Now?

Cyanide and Happiness comic of two people talking by a tree: Person 1: There is no God. Our existence is without purpose. Person 2: Oh, definitely. We are adrift in an uncaring void indifferent to all our mortal toil. Person 1: Exactly! In the end, nothing we do matters. Person 2: Totally. Person 1: We just... why are you climbing that tree? Person 2: Because the future is an adventure! Come on! Person 1: But... Person 2: Hey! I found squirrels!


Even if there really is some force somewhere out there in the universe that fits some definition of the word “God,” that doesn’t change the fact that all of the religions humans have written into books are mythologies. They’re based solely on ideas human being made up, not divine intervention.

You shouldn’t cling to a belief system that isn’t based in reality. That’s immature. Part of growing up is understanding reality and acting accordingly. The reason being sane is mature is because thoughts and actions based on reality are more meaningful and more productive than thoughts and actions based on fantasy.

Granted, at least mythology is something. It feels safe and secure. It gives your life some kind of structure and purpose even if it’s twisted. Like a drug, once you get used to it, the prospects of living without it can be terrifying. Without it, you can easily feel completely lost, like you’re doomed to walk the earth with no direction, purpose, hope or motivation until you wear out and die… for no reason.

That’s a legitimate concern that everyone who stops believing in mythology has to face. What do you do with your life if you’re not basing your decision on an instruction book? These questions may seem dizzying at first, but there are answers to life’s questions, and a lot of them are basic common sense.


If you’ve left religion and are feeling lost, here are a few things you could be doing to bring structure and meaning to your life outside of religion.


1: Commit to finding your own answers.

If you’ve stopped believing in mythology I would strongly advise against resting on your laurels and spending the rest of your life patting yourself on the shoulder for figuring out that the universe wasn’t created by a bi-polar unicorn as you go about your business simply commuting back and forth to a job you don’t really like and spending your evenings watching television, giving yourself diabetes, and popping out children to make you feel like at least something good and long-term came out of your life. Granted, going with the flow and ticking off all the boxes society tells you to is still preferable to believing in mythology, but there’s more to life than that.

If you’ve stopped believing in mythology, then the first thing you should consider doing is donning the responsibility of figuring out life for yourself. To this, you might reply, “But nobody knows or will ever figure out the meaning of life. I’m certainly no Socrates. So where does that leave me?”

Even if it’s true that you can’t conclusively prove the meaning of life, you’re still here. You still need to figure out some kind of philosophical framework that explains what you should do here despite the fact that you can’t know the ultimate meaning of life. To this, you might reply, “But that’s so vague and really hard.”

To that, I would reply, “Welcome to the universe, life and growing up.” That’s the hand we’ve been dealt. The sooner you stop complaining about it and start addressing it the sooner you can chisel out some meaningful and useful answers.

To this, you might reply, “You still haven’t explained why I should do any of that. What’s the point if we just live in an inanimate universe and that’s it? Why should I bother accepting this supposed responsibility of becoming a philosopher?”

To that I would reply, “Have you ever looked up at the night sky? The universe is a mind-blowingly vast yet intricate place. It’s nothing short of awesome. And the fact that organic life exists at all, let alone organic life capable of contemplating its own existence and deciding its own fate, makes the universe all the more amazing. Life is so surreal and amazing we should all just be sitting around all day staring at our hands in perplexed awe asking ourselves, “How is this even possible?”

Life is the rarest, grandest adventure. It’s not something to be mourned, feared or ignored. It’s there for the taking. Everything good is laying out there before you. It’s up to you to take it. You’re responsible for embracing that responsibility in the same way that if someone gives you a free all-expense-paid trip to the best amusement park in the world, you have a responsibility to not let that opportunity slip through your fingers. It’s not like you have anything better to do.

You can’t make the most out of life if you don’t understand it. So if you’re feeling lost, a great place to start getting your bearings is at school… or anywhere you can learn something new.



2: Define the value of human life.

If the prospect of figuring out life for yourself seems overwhelming, it may just be because you’re making it harder than it has to be. The corner-stone of any overall life philosophy is the value of human life. Once you establish what that is then a lot of things will fall in place. So figure that out. Then write your answer on a piece of paper and stick it to your refrigerator door with a magnet.

To this, you might reply, “Oh, well that’s easy. Life is infinitely valuable.”

To that, I would reply, “See. That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

But make sure you articulate a reason why life is valuable. The more concrete your reasoning is, the more useful it will be. The vaguer it is, the less it will mean anything to you, and the easier it will be to act contrary to that belief.



3: Create a logical system of ethics.

Once you’ve established the value of life, then you can ask yourself what logical implications that has on how you should treat others as well as yourself. The more you explore that question, the more guidance you’ll have in life. You can and should constantly question your answers and update your code of ethics. The more you improve your system of ethics, the more useful it will be. The less you define it, the more haphazard of a life you condemn yourself to.

Some of the ideas you come up with may already be written down in one or more mythological texts. Feel free to take those concepts and ignore the bad ones. Consider every idea you find regardless of the source, but don’t take or reject any of them on faith.

Write your conclusions down. That forces you to articulate them, and if you can look at all of your ideas on paper it will be easier to update them, fill in the gaps, see where they’re going and add to them, consolidate them, share them and get feedback on them.



4: Achieve self-actualization.

Even if we don’t know the meaning of life, we still know we exist. We’re proud of the fact that we’re the only beings in the universe who know we exist, can articulate that fact to ourselves and have unique names and identities. We’re proud to be alive, and we’re proud to own our own identity. Who you are is priceless, and you knew that before you ever learned to read. The thing about that is, if it matters who you are then it matters who you become. You have the potential to become more you, and that’s a big deal.

The more you grow and find/create yourself the easier, more enjoyable and meaningful life will become. Growth is its own reward, and it affects every aspect of your reality. After all, your mind is your reality. Everything you know and experience happens in your mind. When you improve your mind you effectively improve your entire universe. If you want your life to be ten times better than it is now, then learn ten times more knowledge. Reflect on your life ten times more. Ask ten times more questions. Become ten times more self-actualized, and your life will get ten times better. Even if there are external forces like shitty bosses and unmanageable bills that are making your life suck, you’ll be ten times more likely solve those problems once and for all if you become ten times more self-actualized.

If there really is any such thing as a soul that maintains your unique perspective after death, then it must be based on your identity… or at least, that’s what we hope. We hope that the conscious sum of our identity and perspective continues to exist after we die. Well, if you’re so worried about what happens to your soul after you die then you should be putting an equal amount of emotion into cultivating who you are before you die and don’t have any more chances to improve the one thing you expect to take to eternity.



5: Do what you will, harm no one.

What do you do with your life if there are no ultimate answers and we were all born doomed to wander the earth so lost we don’t even know how lost we are until we finally die a meaningless death that is unaffected by our mortal deeds?

Well, have you ever tried swimming? If you’ve never been swimming, it’s pretty fun. You should try it. If you have tried it, and you liked it then you should think about doing it again. Sex is also good. I highly recommend safe sex. And if you ever make it to Italy, try the gelato. It’s to die for.

If you’re still looking for something to do, there are plenty of rewarding hobbies available on earth as well. If you liked swimming you could get into scuba diving. Other things that a lot of people find really rewarding are: hiking, skydiving, drawing, painting, sculpting, making music, theater, construction, teaching, designing… the list goes on.

Life is here to be lived, and there are a lot of fun, rewarding things to do out there. Go do them. That’s living. That’s where happiness comes from. You don’t need to be a prophet or a professional philosopher to know that it’s important to enjoy the world we were given.

More importantly, having new experiences and doing the things you love is half the process of finding/creating yourself. So if you don’t know what else to do in life, go have some fun. You might find yourself along the way.

Just don’t hurt anyone. You may have the might, but you don’t have the right.



6: Make the world a better place.

If you just can’t make heads or tails of life and are completely confused about what to believe or do, the very least you could do is try to make the world a better place. And it’s a safe course of action if you believe there’s any chance that reincarnation, karma or the afterlife are real. If you’re gripped with fear over what happens after you die, you should consider exerting that amount of emotion into making the world a better place. If you think the answers may be out there but we’re just too primitive to grok them, you should consider devoting some of your time and energy to making the world a better place for future generations to set them up to fulfill humanity’s potential. If you value life at all you should devote some of your life to making the world a better place.



If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


Secular Living
The Bible is mythology
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Christian Culture
My Tweets About Religion

The Non-Believers’ 10 Commandments

Etching of Moses holding the Ten commandments over his head as lightening flashes overhead and people flee in fear below him


Religious believers often ask where non-believers get their morals without God. This is ironic, because to the non-believer, all religions are tantamount to mythologies. So to them, it’s like being asked, “Where do you get your morals, if you don’t believe in mythology?”

The answer lies in the question, because if all religious rules were written by men, then the only way anyone has ever defined any moral rules was by making them up. That doesn’t mean no rules have any value. The value of a rule isn’t determined by who says it, or how they came by it, but by how useful it is.

For example, it’s no accident that multiple religions and governments all around the world had already invented the rule, “Do not murder,” before the authors of the 10 Commandments. Anybody tasked with making rules for a society would immediately come to the logical conclusion that forbidding murder should be one of the first rules on the list.

At the same time, the authors of the 10 Commandments also list human beings as things that can be legally owned as property, but any rational person would come to the immediate conclusion that legalizing slavery dishonors the value of life and should be forbidden.


"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17


Nobody speaks for God. Every moral rule you’ll ever encounter was created by existentially lost humans, but that doesn’t mean we’re helpless. We all have cosmic supercomputers inside our skulls, and rules are nothing more than guidelines or best practices for accomplishing goals. So if you can use your brain to figure out that people should wear safety goggles when operating a table saw, you can invent useful rules for any and every aspect of your life.

If you don’t know where to start, try looking at other people’s rules and finding what you like or dislike in them. Use that as a springboard to developing your own list of life’s best practices. You can start by constructively criticizing mine:


1: All life is infinitely valuable. Treat it accordingly.

You don’t need God to tell you all life is infinitely valuable. Even if there’s not enough evidence floating around the universe to deduce why life exists, there’s enough evidence lying in plain sight, a child could come to the conclusion that all life is infinitely valuable.

The universe may seem like a savage, cruel place, but that’s just because it’s indifferent. The universe is operating on autopilot, and it might seem like the universe is out to get you when it runs you over, but if you step back and look at the grand design, you’ll find so much elegance and perfection you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that the universe is too elegant and genius for a human being to comprehend.

From what we know, the universe shouldn’t even exist at all, let alone life. Yet we live in a universe that has been meticulously designed to sprout life on giant, spinning balls of compressed matter that perpetually rearrange themselves according to fixed rules. The universe is an inexplicable life machine that shouldn’t exist. Every living thing is lucky to be here, and we only have a flicker of time to make the most of the privilege. Value life according to its rarity, elegance and the amount of work that went into creating it. Treat your life and others accordingly.



2: Your life is your responsibility.

The universe is not out to get you or help you any more than it already has by giving you the universe and the tools to make the most out of your life. You don’t deserve, and will not receive, any miracles, bargains or any other entitlements from the universe.

You may receive aid and instruction from people, but you’re not entitled to any. Society doesn’t owe you anything you haven’t signed a contract for. The responsibility to make sure your life is good and complete falls entirely on your shoulders.



3: You are lost. It’s up to you to find life’s purpose.

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but you have all the tools necessary to find answers, and ultimately, purpose, in life. Your life will only be as effective and meaningful as the purpose you live towards. Nobody can decide your purpose for you, though many will try. You must find it yourself for it to be yours. Choosing not to find purpose is choosing to live without it.


4: Consider and honor the cost/benefit analysis of your actions.

The value of your actions are determined by how productively they accomplish a goal. Ultimately, the value of all actions are relative to how productively they fulfill the meaning of life. Whatever you do, ask yourself if the benefit to the end goal outweighs the cost. Take risks at your discretion, but always honor the cost/benefit analysis of your actions.



5: Never stop learning and studying.

You are your mind. The quality and quantity of your mind is relative to the information inside it. Never stop learning and teaching yourself so that you may never stop growing.



6: Think rationally.

Mastering the art of thinking is a moral imperative because every mental and physical action you’ll ever perform are based on decisions you calculate in your mind. The more effective your reasoning skills are, the more effective you’ll be at everything.



7: Put everything you learn to the test of truth.

Nothing is true by divine authority. The truth of a fact is determined only by the quality of the evidence supporting it. So question everything, especially your answers, because the more reality-based your beliefs are, the more effective they’ll be in the real world.



8: Find and define yourself

Some aspects of your personality were set at birth, and others you get to pick. Discover what makes you who you are, decide who you want to be, and then become that person. The more you, you are, the more you exist, and the more able you are to fulfill your purpose. The less you, you are, the less you exist.



9: Take care of your body.

Your mind and body are parts of the same machine. The better you take care of your body, the better your mind and body can do what they’re designed to do. The less care you take of your body, the less you can do and the harder everything is.



10: Enjoy the moment.

No one knows why we’re here or what happens after death, but we do know we’re here now. If we can’t know anything else about life, we know the current moment is an opportunity to enjoy yourself. No one has found any irrefutable reasons why we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves. If you take nothing else from this life, find ways to take joy out of it before it’s too late.



If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


Secular Living
The Bible is mythology
Christianity is Harmful to Society
Preaching, witnessing and arguing with Christians
Christian Culture
My Tweets About Religion


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