This was originally written by Derek, one of our regular commenters here and a personal friend of mine (though sort of indirectly). His intent, in his words, was…
…sort of an attempt to capture in a semi-prosaic form the ways in which I identify with various views and beliefs of people and how no single label describes me completely in a “I believe all this and only this” sense.
I live in a world of people, animals, places, things, ideas, time, space, matter, energy, forces, galaxies, quasars, mesons, and bosons. I live in a universe that seems self-sustaining and acts a whole lot like there’s no God in it. I am an Atheist.
I believe I have not yet sufficiently investigated the myriad of religious, spiritual experiences others claim to have had, and that there are too many well-educated, intelligent people who claim religious belief without a hint of shame, to discount the existence of an otherworld completely. I am an Agnostic.
I believe the teachings of Christ regarding positive social change and mercy to the oppressed are just a bit too clear a message of the gospel to be swept up as a minor sub-plot to securing an eternal country club membership for oneself. I am a Christian.
I believe that by and large, suffering is brought on by the mindless pursuit of people’s desires, and that suffering can be mitigated by increasing one’s awareness, tempering one’s desires, and following a couple relatively intuitive guidelines. I am a Buddhist.
I believe that in small and loosely organized groups of people, the voluntary sharing and distribution of wealth provides badly needed assistance to many without the means to achieve or produce it on their own. I am a Communist.
I believe that governments should not prevent human beings from doing whatever they wish, so long as they are not a danger to others. I believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all, not just those who have the means to afford it or who act a certain way or whose skin is a particular color. I am a Liberal.
I believe in the right of all people to seek monetary gain by their own means and increase their standing in society through honest work. I am a Capitalist.
I believe in responsible control of public funds over increased taxation. I support the use of force to prevent one human being from harming another. I am a Conservative.
I believe that no self-sufficient living organism should have to fear a superfluous death for the selfish desires of another. I am pro-life.
I believe that an acorn is not an oak tree, and that what could have been is not what is. I support the right of a family to decide when raising a child is right for them, including in the early weeks of pregnancy, without fear of backlash. I am pro-choice.
I am a person who despises labels and categorizing. I am a whole person with many beliefs and views (some of which are contradictory and conflicted), hopes and dreams, worries and fears, qualities and quirks, delights and aversions. I would prefer that you take the time to get to know me rather than try and pigeonhole me from something someone said about me or something I wrote on a blog at one point or another.
I am a person who has made a conscious choice to make no overt profession of faith or disbelief. And yet, the spiritual journey continues.