Here is the point about myself and my co-thinkers. Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not hold our convictions dogmatically. We believe with certainty that an ethical life can be lived without religion. And we know for a fact that the corollary holds true - that religion has caused innumerate people not just to conduct themselves no better than others, but to award themselves permission to behave in ways that would make a brothel-keeper or an ethnic cleanser raise an eyebrow.
My belief is that the various religious traditions have great potential to increase compassion, the sense of caring for one another, and the spirit of reconciliation. However, I believe that a human being, without religious faith, can be a very good person - sincere, a good heart, having a sense of concern for others - without belief in a particular religious faith.
I'm a writer of faith who worries about the intolerance of religion. I look at the past and fear we haven't learned from it. I believe that humanity is capable of evil as well as great acts of courage and goodness. I have hope. Deep down, I believe in the human spirit, although sometimes that belief is shaken.
If you ask a Saudi Imam why women in Saudi Arabia can't drive, he'll say, 'Because Islam demands it.' But that's absurd, because - first of all - Islam demands no such thing; and secondly, the only country in the world in which women can't drive is Saudi Arabia. The inability to understand the difference between a cultural practice and religious belief is shocking among self-described intellectuals.
People are said to believe in God, or to disbelieve in Adam and Eve. But in such cases what is believed or disbelieved is that there is an entity answering a certain description. This, which can be believed or disbelieved is quite different from the actual entity (if any) which does answer the description. Thus the matter of belief is, in all cases, different in kind from the matter of sensation or presentation, and error is in no way analogous to hallucination. A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it.
My belief is firm in a law of compensation. The true rewards are ever in proportion to the labor and sacrifices made. This is one of the reasons why I feel certain that of all my inventions, the Magnifying Transmitter will prove most important and valuable to future generations. I am prompted to this prediction not so much by thoughts of the commercial and industrial revolution which it will surely bring about, but of the humanitarian consequences of the many achievements it makes possible. Considerations of mere utility weigh little in the balance against the higher benefits of civilization.
The darkness that we see in our world today is due to the disintegration of things out of harmony with God's laws. The basic conflict is not between nations, it is between two opposing beliefs. The first is that evil can be overcome by more evil, that the end justifies the means. This belief is very prevalent in our world today. It is the war way. It is the official position of every major nation.