When the topic of labels for belief systems, life philosophies, and the like comes up, I find that I tend to become uncomfortable with labels which are also used by, well, anyone else. For this reason, I’ve named my own system “attempted orthoism,” which I will now try to explain.
First, I’ll deal with that elephant in the room: the Creator of the Universe, by any name. Does such an entity exist? Well, I simply don’t know, but I also realize that this could change. If there is a deity, and that entity chooses to make evidence of his/her/its existence known to me, I’ll pay attention to the evidence, and see where it leads me. This is, to me, given my present state, the only position that makes sense.
“Ortho-,” as a prefix, can mean “right” (as in a right angle), or “correct,” either one. The suffix “-ism” is used in words such as Catholicism, capitalism, materialism, socialism, Communism, Hinduism, etc. — the “-isms” are simply systems of belief and/or thought. The meaning of “attempted” is obvious, so if you put it all together, here’s what it means: I simply attempt to be correct. Less formally, I try do the right thing, in the various situations I encounter in life.
These are some of the features of attempted orthoism:
- The desire to hold positions on various issues which are correct.
- The desire to do the ethical thing in all situations.
- Honesty. Lies are not helpful in any effort to be correct.
- The willingness to admit it when I do not know something, once I realize that I do not know it.
- The refusal to reject the possibility that supernatural entities exist, in the absence of empirical evidence for their non-existence.
- The inability to embrace a belief in any supernatural entity, as long as no compelling, empirical evidence is found that such a being does exist.
- Respect of the rights of others peacably disagree, on these or other issues.
- Maintaining high standards for evidence, and acceptance of principles. This means using and testing hypotheses, reasoning logically, and guarding myself from error with a mental shield: my skepticism. To prove something to me, a mathematical proof would be an excellent approach. If you simply want me to accept that something happens provisionally, until and unless new evidence arises to disprove it, then the scientific method is the way to go. I place a premium on logic, and reasonable arguments.
- Refusal to accept emotional arguments, or arguments from authority, for the simple reason that such methods so often lead to serious error.
- Re-testing previously-accepted principles, for we can all fool ourselves better than anyone else.
- Reservation of the right to question anything and/or anyone.
This is not a complete list. Attempted orthoism is a work in progress.