Believe It! (or not)

Being the kind of person that I am, I often think about, reassess and so forth, what I believe in… and I have come to the tentative conclusion that I believe in not believing in anything! Well that’s not quite true…

“Have faith!” – they say. “They” being people who believe that having faith is a good thing. Which it is. Kind of. Or at least it is when one is not talking about 100%, unquestioning, blind faith, to the preclusion of any possibility of an alternative or opposing viewpoint. For example…

“I believe in God.”

Do you? So what is this God you believe in? Is it a He or a She? Is He/She the Universal Creator of All Things? Is He/She a Superior, Omnipotent Being, who is the Source of all Morality and Existence? What form does He/She take? What is His/Her purpose in the Universe?

Do you see where this apparently straightforward and uncomplicated statement of “faith” starts to fall apart? And where different and opposing ideas about what God is are likely to lead to trouble? (a lesser manifestation of this “trouble” being a mild altercation between two mates having a conversation in a pub, a greater manifestation being a religious crusade, holy war, etc). I would suggest, however, that trouble is less likely (and more lives may be saved, etc, which surely is at the core of what most modern religions would advocate?) if one qualifies one’s statement of faith with likelihoods and suggestions of variations on the “facts” – for example…

“I believe that it is likely that a highly advanced being exists, which may be at least largely responsible for the creation of matter and consciousness, and from which derives the source (or at least the primary source) of a moral code by which we humans should live by.”

Granted, the above is not as catchy as its simpler and less wordy counterpart, but isn’t it worth the effort to think more and be more descriptive in one’s statements of faith, if one reduces the chance of falling out with someone (an individual or a nation or a race) who may or may not, when all is said and done, believe in something which is near-as-dammit the same as what you believe, even if they arbitrarily belong to a different “religion” or whatever as yourself?

Other things people may say are…

“It is good to have strong beliefs.”

“It is good to be firm in one’s beliefs.”

Or simply…

“It’s good to believe in something.”

Blanket statements ahoy! It may indeed be easier to “believe” (or at least to say one believes) in a straightforward list of tenets or precepts, and one may seem to have a “stronger personality” if one maintains a clear and firm set of beliefs throughout one’s life, or at least consistently over a significant period of time, but is this actually the best way to be, all round, for oneself and humanity? I would say not! Wars and other physical clashes often derive from conceptual clashes, which surely cannot occur (or are far less likely to) if one surrounds oneself in vagueness and a willingness to change and at least consider opposing viewpoints as perhaps, maybe, possibly being true? What, after all, is “truth” but an evolving, coalescing, drifting consensus of opinion by those “in the know”?

Therefore I say to you…

Do not believe!

Be weak in your convictions!

Have faith, but only to the point where you are willing to change your mind utterly and completely!

Or not, whatever… 😉

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