6. Foundations: Non-Theistic Beliefs – The non-theistic/secular aspects of your faith.
In general, these are easier beliefs for me, since I’ve held them for longer. The one struggle is to be forgiving to myself, because they are the easiest beliefs to frame as “thou shalts” and then give my inner draconian tyrant free rein to beat me up for falling short. (This is just some of them!)
1. I believe that every human being has equal value, and we need to struggle to recognize and live that out, regardless of whatever our cultures may say to the contrary.
2. I believe that nobody can make choices about a person’s life except that person.
3. I believe that personal safety and well-being are the number one concerns for anybody; but as soon as that person is in a place of safety, it is their moral duty to turn around and stick their neck out for the people who are not yet safe.
4. I believe that the way we organize our social lives in my culture is dysfunctional in many ways. It is not only important to make room for alternative arrangements but to push back against the damage-perpetuating systems.
5 .I believe that the way we arrange money and livelihood and exchange and production in my culture is extremely dysfunctional, and must be opposed where possible (personal safety comes first, see point 3 – there is no point in beating oneself up for where you shop or what you eat if your choices are constrained. Do what you can when you can.)
6. I believe people of privilege need not only to listen to disprivileged people, but to actively stand aside so they may speak, and to offer their opportunities and resources to those people when they can (see point three again – this should never come from a place of penance or self-flagellation) The balance of power will be different from situation to situation, and that doesn’t change the moral imperative. There is no absolute accounting of any person’s privilege quotient. “People” includes nonhuman people.
7. The best and most effective activism is inclusive, multigenerational, and based on the understanding of a group’s shared fate.