My cousin recently asked for my stated religious beliefs. This is what I sent him:
- I think it’s downright beautiful that we either won the universe’s life lottery or there is a God. Both are mathematically unlikely. One is true. Next to love, our existence is truly life’s greatest mystery. I believe the two are closely related.
- I believe music is extraordinarily full of magic and somehow related to God. I also believe that man-made and naturally-occurring art are somehow connected to divinity.
- As an adherent, I believe orthoprax Mormonism (i.e. “right doing”) is better than orthodox Mormonism (i.e. “right thinking”).
- In light of our molehill of evidence, I believe all humans are driven by beliefs and doctrines. Consequently, all humans are subject to cognitive dissonance and use fairy tales as a coping mechanisms—believers and nonbelievers alike.
- I believe humans are more alike than not. The world’s greatest thinkers seem to agree. I bet you do too.
- I believe in the curing power of optimism, hope, and prayer and suspect they (along with the placebo effect) are somehow related to God.
- I believe that our huge brains and complex consciousness are somehow tied to God.
- I believe God is the mother of all free-range parenting and therefore only intervenes 10-15% of the time (and even then it’s subtle and difficult to measure).
- I believe “I don’t know” is the hardest thing for humans to say, even harder than “I was wrong.” Because of this, we feign or otherwise project knowledge when there really is none. This causes us to fight more than we should. The world would be a better place if we distinguished “I believe” from “I know” when making declarations.
- I do not believe Mormon theology has a monopoly on truth (existential or temporal), but I do consider it to be the best singular guiding light and toolkit for virtuous, healthy, and remarkable living. I concede that numerous people have achieved the latter without said theology and will continue to do so. Nevertheless, I believe this doctrine can enhance anyone’s worldview, mortal existence, and fulfillment of life, regardless of race, nationality, economic class, or creed.