There are gnawing suspicions of insincerity which continually dwell in a true skeptic’s mind that makes any purported human belief ultimately dubious. Such lingering doubts about human integrity nourishes my own belief that, unless a person exhibits outward evidence of an inward faith in something held dear, there is no way to actually know whether or not the believer is sincere.
I believe that every human creed worth its salt has been born in the crucible of practical expression. It is ridiculously simple for an individual to commit to paper, or state from a podium, what he says he believes, but it is, in the end, very difficult to practice what is preached. Especially in political arena is the essence of a candidate’s campaign promises proven not before the election, but afterwards, in, either, the fulfillment or negation of representations. The decline of many past civilizations has been sadly attributed to the Machiavellian conduct of both men and women who have been proven to be deceitful wolves in sheep’s clothing.
I believe that skepticism has been the basis for every human advancement in all the sciences, the humaities, and even in practical theology. While every human being has the inalienable right under nature’s God to say and write anything, and everything, that comes to mind, and to even misrepresent the truth about his or her most intimate beliefs, it is the equal right of every other person to question those assertions. For any alleged theorm, hypothesis, or credo must, by necessity, be challenged and proven as reliable and replicable, or false and incorrect, before its universal acceptance. I believe that this also applies to every interpersonal human relationship entered upon by trusting parties. If more concern by individuals was given to the practice of ferreting out truth from lies or misrepresentations, there would many fewer broken hearts and depressed minds in the world.
If I am regarded as obstinately mistrusting by other, more gullible, people, then let it be so. Surely, if there weren’t informed skeptics around to challenge the statements of purpose and assertions made by “seemingly” sincere individuals in the public eye, the world would probably go to hell in handbasket in short order. In a society of convenience, predicated upon instant gratification and unbridled hedonism, the skeptical point of view is indespensible if morality and truth are to surivie. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.