A Re-evaluation: What is my religion now?

First, I think "religion" is probably the wrong term for it. If a large group of people believe the same thing, it's a religion; a small group, a sect or cult; if an individual has his own distinct set of beliefs, it is a spirituality or life philosophy. I definitely have my own idiosyncratic take on the world, and we'll see how many people I can convince of it.

The name I give to my philosophy is "omnilibertarianism". It is totally naturalistic, that is, it does not prejudge any question that can be decided by experiment, so it poses no threat to, nor is threatened by, the humane practice of scientific inquiry. It also seeks only minimal ethical and legal constraints on persons. Its only requirements: you cannot destroy or torture conscious beings; you cannot act on other persons or their property without their implicit or explicit consent; and you cannot engage in any activity that poses a serious threat to the existence, well-being, or freedom of other persons.

An omnilibertarian world would be a maximally free world, but it would also be one in which we embraced a path of (eventually total) non-violence. While coercion would sometimes be necessary (for instance, if one person kills another, they must pay the price that justice requires, some kind of imprisonment or rehabilitation, but no torture or death), the preferred weapons of preserving law and order would be incapacitating but not deadly or harmful. In general, the most lethal weapons (not including weapons that had other established purposes, like knives) would not be allowed.

If people lived according to my ethical principles, certain activities would be prohibited. While hunting and warfare simulators are perfectly acceptable (and, ideally, they would take place in a kind of virtual reality indistinguishable from ordinary experience), actual killing of others would not be allowed, nor would the possession of lethal weapons like guns.

A lot of people won't like this, but I'm afraid that my morality demands it. (People may have other views, of course, which I will try to answer.) Fortunately, we will soon be able to grow meat artificially, so that we no longer have to have factory farms to satisfy the carnivores among us. Until then, though, it's vegetarianism for me.

I think, though, that questions about specific guidelines for the treatment of animals and persons can be something decided autonomously and locally, as well as the means for distinguishing between property, conscious beings, and persons--or whatever particular ethical/legal distinctions a society wants to employ.

As you can see, my "religion" has now merged with my ethics and politics and the rest of my philosophy, in a way that makes it difficult to isolate. I have not even mentioned here my notion of an omnilibertarian God. If you'd like to hear more, give me some time; in November, I'm scheduled to give a presentation at a conference in Montreal on "Transhumanism and Religion", and before too long, I will start to publish my work.

My general policy will be this: if a person asks me for a particular published work, I will send it to them for free (electronically). Donations will be appreciated, but entirely optional (I won't even ask for them). But, since I need a means to provide for myself, I will also sell whatever books I can.

I'm hoping I can get people to take my views seriously. I've said some things on this blog in the past that I now judge as ridiculous, and some which I regret saying. That which I most forcefully renounce is my former misanthropy, because I see now that I thought I hated humanity so much only because I found myself so hateful.

Still, despite my reformed sunnier outlook, my opinions are decidedly unorthodox. I think they are consistent and coherent, but I don't believe that they are right for everyone. Nevertheless, they have brought me great happiness, more than I thought beliefs were capable of giving. I practically feel like I'm living in heaven everyday now, and I just want to share this feeling with others. I hope people who know me can understand that, and can be supportive.

I am still a professional philosopher--I still hold myself to the standards of my peers--but my vision of the world is just very different now. I think it's a kind of informed optimism.

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