This I Believe

Dan - Anthem, Arizona
Entered on October 9, 2006

I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows. Actually… I don’t believe that. What I do believe is that everyone is basically good and wants peace, love, and brother hood. Hmmm … I guess not. Well I believe that God is almighty and has a reason for everything that happens. Wait….no, I don’t believe that either. Could it be I don’t believe in anything?

Not quite. 60 years of direct and indirect experience have brought me to the belief that belief itself can be destructively negative. The true believer is the most dangerous person on Earth. An absolute and unshakeable belief in anything leads to hatred, intolerance and evil behavior.

The most inspirational people in our lives are open-minded people who recognize exceptions and fuzziness in their beliefs and those of others. In the political realm, for instance, there are men and women willing to listen to the other side and work with them to achieve positive outcomes. They treat their opponents in other parties, tribes, or religions with respect and honor their opponents beliefs as much as their own.

On the other hand there are politicians who are absolutists – who vilify those who disagree with them, refuse to work with them, and disdain compromise as weakness. Their accomplishments tend to be a lessening of human dignity and freedom wherever they appear.

What do I believe? I believe that we all need to emulate those who persuade rather than vilify. I believe that we all need to emulate those who listen rather than those who lecture. I believe we all need to emulate those who treat other people with respect.

I believe we must find a way to keep the absolutists from moving the world closer and closer to a future of warring tribes led by absolute rulers enforcing absolute beliefs.