I found this link while searching my favorite internet dump, reddit.com. This link is to an opinion article that briefly describes the experience of a Christian being the guest of and living with an atheist family. The following passage from the article brought out what I believe to be the core of active philosophy:
“It was interesting experience to go to a non-believer’s house because the atheist housed us, fed us, treated us very well, talked with us, and made sure our stay was very comfortable. These are basic values that any person has around the world.
For most of us, God represents love, peace, humility, kindness, forgiveness. This same person, in his early years in the villages, was hit by a snowball by a student and very angrily talked to the parent of the student but eventually forgave the person for hitting him with the snowball.
I could swear by the atheist’s actions that he believed in God. “
The line that struck me to be the most interesting is the last, “I could swear by the atheist actions that he believed in God.” I think that without realizing it the poster was touching on the most important thing we need to realize about our belief systems. To be a good person we don’t have to believe or not believe in God we just have to be good people. It is clear that she innately understands what it means to be a good person and recognizes that this other person (atheist) has arrived at the same values through a different avenue.
In the end, it has little to do with WHAT we believe but how we USE that belief system to motivate our actions.
I think that one thing that this blog has done a good job at coming to the realization that people of all backgrounds and faiths can be do both good and bad things. Furthermore, the way to get people to do more good things and less bad things is not by asking them to change their religion, rather is simply by asking them to be a better person. The common thing between all of us is that we all chose a set of values and then we take effort to honor them. However, atheist or Christian, agnostic or Muslim, people can be good by their own choices irrespective of their ‘religion.’
It’s a choice for the better that active philosophy wants to promote.
Thus I guess the point of an active philosophy is NOT to tell people what to believe, but is to promote a positive, constructive, and progressive outlook on life given their beliefs. It doesn’t matter what we subscribe to; we all know what is good and how to be good.
So… I don’t care if you’re a christian, atheist, muslim, or agnostic, just don’t be an asshole. Or in the words of the blogger I am quoting:
“These are basic values that any person has around the world… Even without God, the basic premise of being a good person was written all over him.”
Active philosophy is not God or no God, nor is it America or Iran, “[active philosophy is] the basic premise of being a good person.”
I meant to post a response to this long ago but never got to it. Need to sharpen the pencil…
This post nails it, and so much more…it seems like an old message but the refrain remains the same – we gotta come together and see past our differences and start working together on big challenges.
Time to think actively, not reactively.