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Spiritual Mission Statement
(A work in progress)
by Nolan Mecham, an atheist

Truth is my god

Knowledge is my religion

Love is my communion

Integrity, kindness and courage are my articles of faith

Truth as “god”:

Let me begin by saying I really don't believe in any "god", but I stand in reverence of "all that is", i.e. the universe and beyond (if there is a beyond). No one individual, perhaps not even the sum of all persons, will ever know and understand “all that is”. In a sense then, “all that is” takes on an unknowable, almost mystical, ethereal sense about it. Truth, with a capital “T”, is “all that is”. At this point in the intellectual development of human society, we only have a notion about existence in a rational sense, in my opinion. And, of course, “what we know” is, and must remain, subject to revision or even rejection. As an atheist, and as a rationalist, everything I know is provisional. Even my atheism must be provisional.

Knowledge as “religion”:

The word “religion” is used rhetorically here. “Spiritual path” would be more accurate. Even that term is a little dangerous, but part of my purpose here is to argue that spirituality is important even to this rationalist. Acknowledging spirituality as a real aspect of the human condition, and the individual as a part of that humanity, seems to me to be appropriate at this point in my development. I may even attempt to define "spirituality" later, but for now let me say that I don't mean spirit as an entity separate from physical form, but rather the commitment of the living to survive, reproduce, and even have joy.

Knowledge as religion is really my way of describing my own quest for understanding as much “Truth”, as much knowledge about “all that is” as I am able. I envision myself "worshipping" at the altar of "all that is" whenever I endeavor to learn something. I contend that faith and reason are at odds. There is no place for faith in my search for truth. Faith, in this context, is like sleeping through algebra and expecting to understand calculus. To believe something as an act of faith is to deny myself the possibility of discovering some of “all that is”. It also puts the more primitive part of myself (my emotions) at the helm.

Love as “communion”:

I once heard a biology professor say that the two-fold purpose of any organism, from a biological point of view, is to survive, and to reproduce. I believe this is also true of the human organism. The part love (in all its forms) plays in this purpose is both obvious and awe-inspiring to me. Romantic (or sexual if you wish), familial and fraternal love are the glue that binds humans in social structures that support the survival/reproduction imperative. That the experience of love is so full of potential for a joyful personal experience is enough for me to be grateful.

Integrity, kindness and courage as “articles of faith”:

If there is any place for anything like “faith” in my path, it is that I have "faith" that my experience in this life will be more rewarding for me and those I care about if I live an ethical life. All of my relationships, including the one with myself benefit when my choices are made from an ethical framework of personal integrity, kindness and courage.

I hope you have enjoyed my attempt to capsulize my "belief system". I would remind you that this is my attempt to express my mostly provisional personal truth. No preaching is intended, and no judgment of the reader's point of view is inferred. Comments, criticism and even contentious argument are welcome. [an error occurred while processing this directive]