My religion consists of these three ideas:

I intend to believe only what is true;
I live to fulfill my own enlightened self interest;
I am the ultimate authority over my own life.

These can be stated in many ways. Here is a version said in a way that you might 
use when instructing a child, a friend, or a loved one:

Intend to believe only what is true. Try hard to figure out what is most in your own 
enlightened self interest and live according to that. Accept the reality of the fact 
that you need to be the ultimate authority over your own life.

Why those three ideas and not others?

A vast number of guiding principles can be formed and stated. Those three are among the
most basic and important to realize and put into practice, because they are essential to any
real and lasting happiness in life. Yet other religions omit them. Some religions even
discourage them. Some religions forbid them. Those religions are not interested in the
real needs of human life but in promoting --at the psychological, biological, and moral
expense of their own believers-- other ideas that were meant to establish and maintain 
social systems which their founders preferred.

• • •

Our universe is not characterized by uniformity but by the potential for infinite variability. 
Speaking simply in accurate terms, any exact duplication of anything is impossible. Just
the fact that two material objects consist of different molecules necessarily means they are 
different, and because they are in different spatial locations also means they are different.
In practical terms, from the perspective of humans, additional differences always occur
and can be found. For these reasons, no two circumstances can ever be exactly the same,
and therefore no book or set of guidelines is ever going to be capable of perfectly and
completely describing what is good or right. Implied because of this is that every 
circumstance experienced by any human being is always going to be unique and that, 
therefore, ultimately, in workable pragmatic terms, the only entity that can ever be fully
qualified to judge the nature of a particular circumstance and whether action is suitable or
required in relation to it --and, if so, specifically what action is suitable or required-- is the 
individual human being who is subjectively experiencing that particular circumstance. 
This is one of the characteristics of reality. Of course the details of human experience 
often are extremely similar in their specifics, and because of this it is not always practical
to apply such distinctions when dealing with situations and actions. The understanding of
this fact is one of the bases on which human societies can be established and maintained.
Many of the principles actively employed by societies of all kinds tend therefore to be of
sound quality. The fact of our universe's potential for infinite variability, however, and 
the reality that no two things of any nature can ever be identical absolutely, and that 
because of this, every subjective experience is characteristically unique, does not merely
imply but demands the understanding that every individual biological organism is 
responsible, ultimately, for its own perceptions and actions, and that the dynamic process
which determines whether these are viable is life itself.

• • •

No human individual, not even humanity itself, nor life on earth as it now exists, will ever
know and understand completely every detail of every phenomenon that can possibly
occur or exist. So the founders and proponents of religions have always departed from
logic and reason to reach into areas of mental conception where causes are not fully
understood. They have sought to propose solutions to matters which they think need to be 
explained, and they have provided false answers, which many people wrongly trust.

The three principles stated above also assume and recommend ideas that cannot be fully
known and understood by human beings in every detail as they might be applied in every
possible circumstance. So how can they have any value? They have value because the ideas
they are intended to replace, which many people wrongly believe in, have now been proven
untrue, by long processes over many centuries. In some cases those ideas are extremely
harmful to those who believe in them, or to humanity in general. We need for our beliefs
to be true, because untrue beliefs produce unintended results, and every human individual
needs for his efforts to produce the results he intends.

• • •

Men and women are not the same. We fulfill different purposes biologically. This truth
should not be denied or ignored. We need to understand these differences and respect
them. Women's minds are in tune with their own needs and interests, which is as it
should be. Perhaps exceptions occur, but generally it is not a man's duty to interfere
with them. Therefore I do not try to speak for women. If men will just be men --do
what men need to do-- women's actions will harmonize with ours. History appears to
indicate this.

• • •

A man cannot be master of every possible force, and the ability of humans is not consistent 
or uniform; therefore, ultimately, it is the individual himself who is responsible for 
understanding his own character and nature, his own abilities and limitations, for
developing his own abilities, and for establishing his own authority to the degree that he
can.

• • •

Beware, my child, the enemy not yet seen

• • •

Given the nature of human languages, it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to state an
idea in a way that has no exceptions, that is always true and accurate for every person in
every possible circumstance. It is necessary that such statements be flexible in some
degree. The degree to which they should be flexible can sometimes only be determined
subjectively. This means that each person should try to figure out such things the best he
can. This is not a rule or law. It is just a fact about the way things are. Most people ignore
it.

• • •

The purpose of life resides in the fulfillment of one's own individual self interest. 
Whether this can be acted on without restraint depends in large degree on circumstance.
Careful assessment of one's circumstance, including an appraisal of its more significant 
implications regarding actions, behaviors, results, and outcomes, may lead to an
appraisal that can be thought of as enlightened.

• • •

As for myself, I am not a perfect human. I got a bad start in life. I was harmed growing up.
I had almost no help with many things every child really needs help with. This is not
unusual among humans. So I have done some ignorant things. I have made mistakes. I have
experienced many failures. I suffered badly for a long time. I sought help but it didn't
work. Eventually, over many decades, I fixed my problems myself. The results have been
very good.

The three ideas described above are not just little flashes of insight that I had one day
while dancing or fishing. I developed them over a period of many decades, and worked on
them unexpectedly hard, as I gradually realized what I needed to do to improve myself and
my life. I am still not perfect. But compared to what I was, I am better. The three ideas had
a lot to do with this fact.

One of the things I had to do, in making my life better, was understand the ways in which I
had been misled by the religion I was taught as a child. This topic is extremely unpopular,
for a number of reasons. People who have dedicated their lives to a particular religion
might feel threatened by the possibility that what they believe in is untrue or incorrect.
They might think they will go to Hell if they believe in something else. They have based
their entire lives on the religion they accepted as children. Children, however, cannot use
judgement in determining whether a belief will be beneficial to them throughout their
lives. They accept without question everything their parents or other loved ones tell them.
Later, when they are fully grown, they do not want their beliefs to be questioned, even if
their belief is false or injurious to them, because they have never questioned their belief 
seriously before and they recognize no need to believe anything different.

Jesus taught that you must never question his teachings. He said to let the little children
come unto him. This is because he was promoting ideas that were very unusual to his
people at that time, and he understood that once a child believes in something it is often
impossible to change their belief, that they will in some cases belief it their whole life,
even if better ideas are available to them.

The three ideas stated above are my honest attempt to share with my fellow humans some
of the principles that helped me achieve genuine happiness and by which I am better able
to accomplish results that I intend.

Again, the three ideas, stated in the first person:


I intend to believe only what is true.
I live to fulfill my own enlightened self interest.
I am the ultimate authority over my own life.

I think of these three ideas as "The Church of Three Principles".

co3p


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