Principles

A: In the search for personal and spiritual growth we give the primary place to the evidence, for our knowledge of what promotes well-being. We look especially to the science of psychology and to the philosophies of Epicureanism and Stoicism.

B: Unhealthy emotional states are the chief enemy of well-being, and they are produced and maintained by certain habits of thought. Specifically, absolute value judgements (such as unconditional ‘shoulds’, awfulising and global rating) perpetuate unhealthy emotional states. Relative value judgements, on the other hand, promote healthy emotional states.

C: As a consequence of the foregoing, the concept of “worth” in individuals is meaningless, and maintains unhealthy habits of thought such as global rating.

D: We hope to exemplify both honesty and generosity in all our dealings. Dishonesty and meanness of spirit are the fruits of absolute value judgements, and rooting them out is a prime tool for personal growth.

E: Human well-being is best promoted within a community; others who are following the same principles can support, encourage, inspire, mentor and correct one another.

F: The universe is frequently terrifying, dangerous and horrific, but it is never less than awesome and sublime. It is in keeping with our principles that we never blame nature for being what it is, though we are quite entitled to protect ourselves from it. It is not for nothing that nature is referred to as a ‘mother’.

G: Every person has the absolute and unconditional right to behave as they see fit. This does not mean that they can do so without consequences; and those consequences may include death, disease, injury, imprisonment, rejection, shame and many other painful outcomes. The wise person will choose to behave in a way that will make them happy over long periods.

H: Other than the right to behave as we see fit, we recognise no other rights.

We respect the right of everybody to pursue their own well-being in whatever way seems most promising to them (in keeping with Principle G) – whether that way be religion, drugs, sex or money. We are confident that some ways are more fruitful than others, and that some are positively toxic, but we say that it is better for the church to promote what is good than to waste energy criticising other people.

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