Jean-Jacques, I appreciate you taking the time to respond, so I thought I’d respond in kind. First, there are several philosophical and moral problems regarding your stance that would still create several problems in the world were everyone to follow your two simple rules—even as noble as they appear to be. Additionally, when we claim that people should live by a set of principles we believe is best for human flourishing, that in itself, is a religious belief and no different than a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or Jew claiming that their beliefs are best.
There’s an inherent problem with this thinking for several philosophical reasons. The main reason being that it’s impossible to check your own moral/religious beliefs at the door because they’re impossible to prove. For instance, I presented the following in another article:
Let’s say Person A says we should remove safety nets for poor, get rid of welfare, and let the poor starve. Scientifically it’s the survival of the fittest after all. The stronger species will always survive.
Person B, however, says the poor have a right to live. They’re human beings like us.
Person A retorts that scientists today believe the concept of human is artificial and impossible to define. They can point to a greater ethic stating that in order for the majority to live, others must die. It’s how nature works.
Person B could try a pragmatic argument about how helping the poor makes society work better and gives us value. Person A, however, could come up with just as many reasons to let the poor die in order to create a more efficient environment.
At this point, most of us would agree with Person B and say starving the poor is unethical! But it’s just as easy for Person A (or anyone) to point out that “Who says ethics has to be the same for everyone?”
Indeed, we can see this played out in modern society. Some people derive pleasure and happiness from things many would find unjust or taboo. Think about those who are opposed to harboring refugees, even if they’re bound to die in a genocide. Their belief is that by keeping their homeland safe, their family stays safe and can keep the economy strong (and oversimplification and stereotype, but you get the point). They stay happy by keeping refugees out of the country, so if the goal of their life is happiness then the end goal is selfishness, and the more selfish you are the more you’re apt to oppress someone.
Anyway, I just wanted to give you some food for thought. I know you’re trying to live and kind and generous life, but when you claim religious beliefs of others are stupid and that you hold the truth, that’s still a claim to know the absolute truth and negates those who find joy and happiness in faith while loving their fellow man.