Fulfilment without harm corresponds with free faith and trust in people’s ability to discern what they should do. Knowledge of self and individual purpose arises from a complex mix of personality and environment that resists comprehensive, rational analysis.
Trust in purpose and the hope of fulfilment in a world people cannot control can be equated with faith – individual’s faith in their ability to know what is right for them even when it seems irrational against the criteria of acceptable social behaviour, family expectations, and economic rationality.
How can people know if their feeling for what to do is right? What they do is right because they feel it is right for them. It can only be wrong on someone else’s conception of what is right for them, which is invalid.
Fulfilment cannot be predicted - the world is too complex for that - so people must act with faith and determination to persevere.
People can equate the feeling for what is right as coming from God – God in everything, in the universe, in nature, in individuals. Faith in God, in these terms, is unquestioning trust that what people feel is right for them is right.
Realising direction requires thought - it may be lost when people do not consider it, and they end up performing roles conditioned by social or parental expectations that are not their own. This causes a divergence, a rupture, of their lived existence with their own natures that expresses itself in unhappiness (and the related symptoms of this). It can be difficult to diagnose, but it is likely most unhappiness is a consequence of this divergence.
Only thought (meditation, contemplation) can reveal this divergence, and only faith in themselves and the universe can lead to the steps necessary for them to do what is right for them, to heal the gap between their current existence and an existence that fulfils their potential. To take these steps and to have this faith is courageous.
Holy places are still important in this conception of faith. These places and others like them (natural or manmade) are ideal places of thought and prayer. Prayer is like a form of contemplation and meditation on direction and the universe, of seeking guidance.
Most religious figures are grand examples of people who have listened to their feelings of what is right for themselves, and have exemplified, by their actions, what is right in respect to the treatment of others. Many followed difficult paths, ones that involved sacrifice and hardship, but ones they knew were right. The inner harmony that comes from equating actions with internally inspired directions more than compensates for this hardship: no real happiness is possible without it.
There is faith that at some fundamental level the universe makes sense, and that, at a more Earthly level, people will be permitted to pursue their own direction: a faith that obstructions will, in the end, be overcome. However, this is not inevitable, many religious figures died, as others have died, living as themselves, following the paths they felt were right for them. The most important element is that whatever people do it is as much as possible in harmony with what they feel is right for them to do. There is no other way to fulfilment and happiness.
Pursuing power with harm leads to exclusive religion. Most religions are inclusive in the sense that anyone can join, the exclusive proviso being that people must accept their version of God as the determiner of human purpose. They discriminate by asserting that the only faith is their faith in their God and that the only purpose is their God’s purpose. By this they disempower human faith and human purpose.
A prescribed or prescriptive God is not needed to have faith or purpose - people can have faith in themselves and their universe, agreeing their own purpose and principle, and realising their own potential. If there is a God it is a God for and in everyone and everything.
Faith reinforces perseverance and resilience. To realise potential, contribute and find fulfilment, people need to commit and persevere. Faith that things will turn out alright is an important asset.
Even if God is just a human construct, an ideal people collectively approve of, this does not make the theme less worthy. If Jesus were taken as a role model that people emulated not just worshiped his function would still be great.
Religious prejudice and moral rectitude does not allow consideration of circumstance and results in a closed mind.
Religious prejudice is not based in principle, but in the learnt morality of a particular religious doctrine, decreeing that people must not get divorced, that sex outside marriage is wrong, and so on.
In this sense, right can be wrong. Taught morality, preached precepts, religiously inspired decrees of what is right may contradict fulfilment without harm, and indeed cause harm. In this sense, the negative aspect of righteousness is illustrated, that of the morally righteous that declare how others should behave based on religious decree, regardless of the harm it does.
Moral rules are never greater than principle. People may try to reinterpret what others do as wrong and castigate them for breaking the rules. They may try to cast others actions in a different light from those performing them, seeing others acts through their own filters, their own lenses, not conceiving fulfilment without harm as allowing flexibility for everyone to shape their own lives in their own way.
These moral rules are determined as definitive instructions for acceptable behaviour in particular situations, instructions that generally accord with the principle of no harm. But rules are never right for everyone in every situation.
Unfortunately, some cling to rules dogmatically, and rather than interpreting others actions and their own lives against the purpose of fulfilment without harm, they judge lives against rules. Those who dogmatically stick to rules cause damage to themselves and those they judge and influence.
The final measure must be against the principle of fulfilment without harm. This is the measure people should use in their own ways. There can be shared guidelines, but all guides must be considered with understanding for individual circum-stance, and when guideline conflict with acts done without harm they should be overruled.
To judge everything according to rules, rather than according to principle, is to judge wrong. Rules are never greater than the purpose of fulfilment without harm.
[Excerpt from The Common Purpose Manifesto]