posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 03:52 PM
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common
BUDDHA'S WORDS OF WISDOM.
The second component of Humāinism is Clarity. A good dictionary definition of Clarity is "Lucidity, Clearness of thought." In other words, a clear,
sharp and well reasoned mind.
The Buddha once said, "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world." This is not meant to
be taken exactly literally. We do not actually make the physical world, for the universe objectively exists regardless of our thoughts about it.
However, we do create our human world; i.e. our societies and cultures, with our collective thoughts. It is within this human world that we interact
most meaningfully. Thus, the Buddha meant that we do not make the physical world itself with our thoughts, but rather we make our impressions of the
real world, and with these impressions we create our own human world, for better or for worse.
Our opinions and impressions of the world are formed by our thoughts, and that in turn dictates our attitude toward everything in the world. If we see
the world as hostile, then we will likely act with preemptive hostility towards it, contributing to the overall enmity in the world. Thus, a hostile
outlook becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hate begets hate. Anger, more anger. If we think the world is irrational and violent, we see it through
this lens, and the world will almost always seem irrational and violent to us, even when it is not. Echoing Buddha centuries later, though he probably
never encountered the Buddha's teachings, the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, "The universe is change; our life is what
our thoughts make it."
Clarity means careful reasoning to discern what is likely true about the world and what is likely not true about it. Using reason and evidence wisely,
we avoid the false impressions that cause humanity so much trouble and misunderstandings. Look at all things carefully, with critical reason and
logic. Weigh and evaluate everything. We must have no sacred cows because, within such incorrigible notions, absurdity finds sanctuary and atrocities
find sanction. Always seek the plain, verifiable facts, and call only those things "Truth."
The Buddha went on to advise "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your
own reason and your own common sense." Not surprisingly, modern humanists also have a high regard for reason. Issac Asimov who wrote, "Humanists
recognize that it is only when people feel free to think for themselves, using reason as their guide, that they are best capable of developing values
that succeed in serving human interests."
Thus, we each must stubbornly seek the truth for ourselves, not what others tell us it is, nor what we want the truth to be. What we believe about the
world should agree with the evidence we have about it, as illuminated by objective logic and reason, not with our prejudiced feelings and emotional
desires. The wise believe what is reasonable to believe, even if the truth is unsatisfying or unpleasant to believe. The facts always speak for
themselves, and the wise always listen to them. Conversely, the unwise believe unquestioningly what gives them satisfaction to believe.
The act of pursuing truth in earnest is more important than actually finding it. We can probably never know the whole truth of everything, but rather
only parts of the truth that make up the whole. Clarence Darrow put it well when he said, "Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free
yourself, even though you never touch its coattails."
Never think you can possess the truth, for as soon as you do, it is no longer the truth, but your truth. Those who claim to know the whole truth, or
worse yet, the only truth, should be regarding with a wary eye, for they have already corrupted their truth by attaching themselves to it. Thinking
they already have the truth, they will look no further for it, and whatever notion they possess which might have once been a gleam of genuine insight
will first stagnate into dogma, then degenerate into repression.
It is better to keep your mind open in wonder than closed in belief. Be comfortable with honestly saying "I don't know", even to the most important
questions. As Voltaire said, "Doubt may be an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is ridiculous." The human desire for certainty is a strong one
and it is a snare that can entrap the child in any one of us, if we are not careful. Be your own judge. Don't credulously take the word of others,
even if what they say is music to your ears. Truth, real truth, has nothing to fear from doubt or honest inquiry. Neither should we.
slymattb : You believe the Bible to be the word of God, but you only have your own faith to go on and no proof to backup your claim. You can't tell
someone that something is true, unless you have hard evidence to back it up. In the case of the Bible there isn't any to prove it's the word of God
or that this God you speak of is all loving and benevolent. Using one's own reasoning and common sense, most who are honest would come to a different
The GOD mentioned in the Bible has committed many acts of evil and therefore cannot possibly be the same benevolent GOD that some of us believe in and
also have faith in. One need only read the Bible with an open & honest mind to see that.