One-Line Guides to Religion and Ethics

Sooner or later we need to be able to simplify our ideas, expressing them in in a short form which hopefully will have sufficient meaning and be memorable at the same time.  These one-line guides are drawn from my body of thought called collectively Creativism.

My one-liners fall into three categories.  The first is ethics or how to live, the second is reasons why we might accept religion, and the third is principles of religion which might underpin our ethics.


An ethical view of life



We only have one life guaranteed, so we should make the most of every moment.

Happiness can grow out of very shallow soil.  Aim rather for wellbeing: its roots are deep.

Wellbeing is the ability to ride with both triumph and disaster. To be fulfilled and to accept denial.

Make need your priority in life, not just want.



Focus, focus, focus – get the most out of everything you do.

Be open to all possibilities.  Read widely, listen and learn.

Don’t be too quick to judge, for surprisingly, other people are right more often than you are.

Be humble, for we are so, so small.

The simple things are usually the most important.



I am because you are.  This is the meaning of Ubuntu.

Live simply that others may simply live.

The more we give, the more we get.

The best gift we can give another person is their freedom.

Cultivate true friendships by looking for the truth that lies within these friendships.

Walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone (George Fox).



I am my will, and my will is measured by what I do.

Do the right thing and never stop doing it.

The right way is tough sometimes but in the end it is the easier way.

Make gentle the life of this world (Robert Kennedy).

Discipline is calming for it makes us forget the self.

Don’t leave everything to chance: take every opportunity and organize for success.

Creation is in everything, even in leisure.  Leisure is more than just a veg-out.



Be pushy but be patient as well, for things happen in due season when the time is ripe.

Wait and hope (Alexandre Dumas)

Accept, appreciate and commit.  Accept realities, appreciate the good and commit to increasing it.


From ethics to religion


Ours to choose

Ethics can stand alone or be grounded in religion.  It’s our choice.

We are free to choose religion, or not.  There is no right way or wrong way.

A religious life is inherently more demanding, but no one can prove it is better or worse.

People are religious for all sorts of reasons.  This we simply have to accept.


The leap

We can live a good life and be happy, but how can we get the absolute most out of life?

To get the most out of life we need to embrace it fully in all its dimensions.

To get the most out of life we need to step outside our self – and the further outside the better.

Religion offers a dimension to life which is limitless.

A religious view of life allows for all sorts of possibilities.  This surely is liberating.

I love a good mystery.  And God is a mystery – the biggest mystery of all.


A religious view of life


Ultimate mystery

Existence is wrapped in mystery (why things are, how, etc.) and this mystery we call God.

We must acknowledge mystery in our view of the world, for a part cannot fully know its whole.

We apprehend God but cannot comprehend.


The Divine (commonly called God)

What people call God is not the real God.

God is beyond everything we can imagine.

God is not just beyond – God is within us as well.

God is the engine of all that is: it is also the engine room.

God is not just good but beyond good (beyond bad too).

God is not a person but has human attributes which we can access (if that is what we want).

God is not limited to He or She.  God is They.

God is all capability, perhaps, rather than almighty.

God is as much the smell of dung as the scent of a rose.  God is everything.

God is everything, like a rainbow: every colour, every shade - and the whole lot together.

God is infinite resource, like a menu for living that goes on and on and … on.

God is our creator, sustainer and completer all in one.

God as creator encompasses all possibilities: all order, all disorder.

God is the great reliability and the great adventure.


God watered down

God has made us but we in turn have made our own versions of God.

We need a God which is good; but God is more than good, for God is all things.

Providence is the aspect of God that I respond to.

Providence is, quite simply, that which keeps us going and completes us.

At the heart of Providence is creation - creation which never ends.

We may relate to God in a personal way, if that is what we want, but God is not a person.

As long as we identify God first and foremost as all-powerful, we diminish God - and ourselves.

Religious traditions which adhere to a patriarchal God are forever doomed.



At the bottom of everything there is truth, the reality we cannot deny.

Truth has many faces, some of which seem incompatible, but truth is ultimately one.

Life is what it is and we must accept it in its totality, warts and all.  This is the ultimate honesty.



What makes our world special is creation – creation that never ends.

Creation arises through acts of positive will which energise truth and its potential for new life.

Truth + love = creation.


Why we exist

We are on this Earth to be part of creation.

Our reason for living is not just to keep things moving but to do so in a way that adds value – our value.

There is no inequality in nature, other than in our own minds.  Everything exists, everything is equal.


Evil and suffering

Evil, suffering and everything else bad is negation – the negation of Providence.

Providence needs negation as yin needs yang: so we need good things, but we also need the bad.

Fifty percent of life may be bad, but out of this bad comes good.

Things that are bad lead to things that are good.

Shit happens, no matter what we do, but Providence gives us toilet paper – and a clean flush.



The idea of a divine plan is a fiction, though the way the universe works makes it a possible fact.

Part of the overall balance of the universe is that the foreordained is subject to chance.

Fifty percent of life is chance.

Things cannot be unduly rushed: they happen in due season, when the time is ripe.

What will be will be.  Just desserts are not guaranteed.

The future’s not ours to see.

Wisdom is often expressed through aphorisms - short pithy statements which stay with us and resurface at times of need.  An example is “a stitch in time saves nine,” meaning we should do things promptly and not delay.  Extended reasoning has its place in the transfer of wisdom, but sooner or later all that discourse comes down to one-liners such as the ones set out here.  These particular one-liners express the thinking of Creativism, which is a combined philosophy, ethic and approach to religion.  Creativism sees creation as the defining aspect of our life on this Earth and recommends we live creatively through truth and love, or truth and goodwill.


The ethical principles I offer are not particularly unusual: many people would hold at least some of these views.  The essence of them is that we do best for ourselves by living a life of virtue.  As such, they fit within the overall tradition of virtue ethics which stretches as far back as Socrates and probably earlier.  Virtue ethics can be seen as standalone or they can, as in this case, be seen as grounded in a religious view of life.


The case for religion is not overwhelming though for me it is persuasive.  My religion is syncretic, that is, it blends elements from different faith traditions across the globe.  Like the early Greeks I have sought to base my thinking on the best available offerings from all manner of sources, including philosophy and science.  The essence of it is this:


there is a mystery about the universe which is best explained by the idea of divinity

human interpretations of this divinity are tailored to our needs but inevitably fall short

the ongoing creativity of the universe arises from a substrate of truth which is energized by individual acts of free will

evil and suffering, though abhorrent, are necessary as triggers for this process

our role is to support the creative process as best we can, in the hope it will one day resolve conflicts and lead us to some sort of unity.


As a Creativist I seek to be both realistic, seeing things as they really are, and idealistic, seeing their inherent possibilities and advancing them.