Principles I can live by

An article about a rift among American humanists led me to the website of the newly formed Institute for Science and Human Values.

The group’s mission statement easily resonates with me.

We are committed to scientific inquiry and the enhancement of human values. This combines both reason and compassion in realizing ethical wisdom. It focuses on the principles of personal integrity: individual freedom and responsibility. It includes a commitment to social justice, planetary ethics, and developing shared values for the human family.

They argue that in a rapidly changing global community with conflicting religious, ideological and nationalist value systems, we need to discover values and principles, which can be shared by all people and which transcend dogmas and ideologies of the past.

I strongly agree with the institute’s principles for personal integrity. These principles truly transcend religious belief systems and political ideologies which tend to divide us and at worse contribute to prejudice, oppression, inequity and injustice.

1. The equal dignity and value of each person.

2. The right of each person to pursue one’s own rights consonant with the social good.

3. The right of privacy concerning a person’s own beliefs and values.

4. Each person should be treated as an end and not as a means.

5. Each person is responsible for her/his own life and career.

6. Society should provide wherever feasible the right to education and health care, safety and protection, and the satisfaction of the basic needs.

7. Each individual should have equal opportunity where feasible to fulfill her/his own unique talents and potentialities.

8. Cultivate reason, moral and aesthetic values, to raise her/his level of taste and appreciation, to expand her/his horizons for growth, to achieve creativity.

9. The right to live with a partner or partners of her/his choice in equality, in a family and to raise children

10. It is important that every effort be made to cultivate empathic and compassion attitude towards others, and altruistic concern.

11. Every person shall have the right to participate democratically in society.

12. To develop the common moral decencies and the excellences of the good life.

13. To be concerned with an enlightened self interest and also the common good.

14. Hopefully she/he will express good will toward others and develop an optimistic outlook in life in which happiness and exuberance will be realized.

15. All individuals live in a common habitat, the planet earth, hence every individual has a responsibility to be concerned with environmental integrity and to avoid the pollution of natural resources.

Perhaps if we tried to live by these principles, we’d all be in a better place.

You can follow me on Twitter @ErwindeLeon.

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