Lately, I've been on a religious jag. I'll step down from the pulpit soon, but I've been enjoying the process of figuring out what I believe?#34;the subject of my last two columns?#34;and stating those beliefs. Why should conservative Christians and Muslims monopolize the public pulpit?
Two weeks ago I quibbled with the Catholic creed, which got me thinking about my own. Here's what I've come up with thus far:
I believe we are not alone.
I believe in God, who is love personified and love magnified far beyond our poor powers presently to comprehend what it means to love.
I believe that life is good and a great gift and worth living.
I believe that human beings are good and capable of greatness?#34;individually and collectively.
I believe that all human beings are redeemable, however damaged they might be by their own choices, life's circumstances, or heredity.
I believe every human being is capable of a much greater love than we ever dreamed possible.
I believe loving one another is the purpose of our existence and what creates meaning in our lives.
I believe God wants us to find a balance between loving our neighbors and loving ourselves.
I believe compassion is our true nature and unhappiness comes from denying our true nature.
I believe when we finally achieve universal compassion, we will, as a species, take the next step on our evolutionary journey.
I believe all of life is connected in a way we don't fully understand and that our experience of ourselves as separate entities is an illusion.
I believe the more disconnected and isolated we are, the unhappier we become.
I believe that more than devotion, more than praise, more than worship, God wants to be loved.
I believe when two people love one another, God is present and the divine presence can be felt.
I believe we are only beginning to understand and tap the power of love.
I believe Earth is our birthplace, but the universe is our home.
I believe Earth is the Garden of Eden, we are its gardeners, and it is our moral responsibility to tend this garden.
I believe that only when we look back at Earth from space will we fully understand that life is sacred.
I believe that God wants us to grow up spiritually and pursue wisdom more than material possessions.
I believe that humanity's spiritual childhood is coming to an end and that we need to regard ourselves as God's partners?#34;junior partners to be sure, but partners nonetheless.
I believe the measure of any religion is how well it helps its adherents mature spiritually.
I believe we are capable of happiness and that God wants us to be happy.
I believe that without equality, there is no justice, and without truth, there is no beauty.
I believe that humanity's collective spiritual journey has just begun.
If you haven't done so already, I recommend writing your own personal creed. Be honest and resist simply listing what your church might like you to say. Take the time to put into words what you believe.
You might surprise yourself.