I looked up the word belief in the dictionary al0ng with related words such as truth, faith, knowledge , and superstition. In that dictionary journey I discovered that faith and superstition can mean much the same thing,that we can think anything but hardly know anything,that facts are based on continually evolving knowledge and that to “know” might mean to have sexual intercourse.
I then set out to exam five things I thought I believed in; God, afterlife, knowledge, love, belief systems, and the Boston Red Sox. Here’s what happened.
There’s probably a definition of God for every person on earth.The dictionary breaks God in two; capitalized God is the supreme or ultimate Being, perfectly powerful, wise and good, worshipped as crator and ruler of the universe; uncapitalized god is a being with above average attributes such as gods of finance or gos of sports.
Like most people, I’ve thought about capitaized God for a lifetime. In my early years I thought of God as described by my church.Later ibecame agnostic. Now, I define God from a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. In the story the main character spends most of his lifetime seardhing for a common definition of God, one thatmost people would accept. He studies great theologians such as Aquinas, Pascal, and Augstine and finds that beneath all their verbage the all define God in about the same way. God is “a sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. Right now, that’s good enough for me.
Belief in afterlife is tricky. Early, I believed my church that taught that all my activity shoul be directed toward leading a “good” life that would be rewarde with membership in a country club in the sky. On the way I would make a relatively short stop at a place calle purgatory for some community service time.
Currently,I believe two about afterlife that are certain. First, for better or worse, I will live on in the minds and hearts of people who knew me and survived me. Second, I’ll have eternal sleep and that will makeme eternally happy because sleep nowmakes me completely happy.
The power of knowledge is fleeting I thought for a long time that Columbus discovered America until, travelling in New Mexico I sadi to myself “wait aminute! Weren’t people here before Columbus!” My belief in knowledge weakens and, for me, it’s too late to focus on that dictionary definition that says “knowledge is to know as in sexual intercourse as in the Bible.
The Roman Catholic Church, communism, socialism, capitalism,Buddhism, democracy, and many other “isms” attract millions of believers. Many die for belief in a system. Yet, what is believed and died for is mostly subjective. How much faith should we have in the system of Democracy when that system elected Hitler in Germany, Milosevic in Yugoslavia, and Hams in Palestine.Perhaps, as Kant argued, nothing is real and everyting we sense is in our heads.
If most of what we call reality is subjective,I think, I knw,I have faith that, I believe that love is the most constant thing in the world today. Love, unlike coal, gas, and oil, is an infinite, inexhaustible energy. Love and love’s corllary, friendship, are the best hope for civilization.
Relentlessly, love and friendship push the world together. Not long ago the United States were not united, European countries were at loggerheads, And there was no UN. I think, I believe that parallel to physical evolution, and moving just as slowly, ther is also at force a spiritual evolution. In spiritual evolution, the energy of love competes in humans with the power of good and evil. I think the energy of love is winning.
The Red Sox.
You don’t have to be a sports fan to know about the long-suffering experience of Boston Red Sox fans. The curse of the Bambino and “wait till next year” are time honored mantras Despite the miracle of 2003 when’ against the history of failure, the Red Sox prevailed, Red Sox fans are back to the belief that they face disappointment. Only Chicago Cubs fans have such failed beliefs.
To Believe or Not to Believe.
I now feel secure enough to not believe in belief. Ther is strength in doubt, to look at the essence of God as amystery,to wonder about the strength of evil versus good. Yet the truth is, the fact is,I think, I know, but especially, I hopethere is something that holds fast. It’s the Golden Rule. First set down by Confucius, the developed in the Dao, articulated by Rabbi Hillel, and acteed out by Jesus, the Golden Rule sends a changeless, unassailable message. I think, since I’ve lost my belief in almost all belief, I’l continue to believe in the Golden Rule. Oh, and also the Red Sox.
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