This I Believe

John - Austin, Texas
Entered on February 7, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I do not believe. What I will voice is what I know. Why does one speak of belief? It is because one thinks a thing to be so, one has faith in it, yet clearly it is not to say that someone knows. Belief is an uncertainty, a frailty of commitment, and is too often accompanied by a lack of evidence to back itself up. To know is to not only feel something, but see it in action, to have experience or at least a solid proof of what one claims. Belief is by necessity of a degree of blindness, where knowledge holds the absolution of truth. The confusion between these two is a dangerous thing. Belief, being unable to stand on a base of proof, is forced to support itself and spread by the vile process of coercion. One may merely believe, but presume to know, and, not being able to support the belief with logic, resort to coercion, and strong-arm any opponents into submission. Thusly does violence break out, thusly do lives pass, thusly are wars fought, thusly are peoples massacred, thusly does sorrow sow its bitter fields. There was a more primal time in the progression of humanity, when we were not so analytical, when the deepest truth that could be realized was that things fall down. But because of the times, man had to believe to try and fill the void left by an understanding far too basic to explain what happened around him. As things are progressing, we are delving further into the realm of knowledge, of truth, but the wraith of blind belief still holds us between its greedy palms, ready to divert any truth that may chisel to great a part of itself away. Belief is an element of human nature that will stick with us as a reminder of the times that were, but is becoming a greater burden as we progress beyond our abilities to develop in nature. Belief is a realm of paradox, of irreconcilable self-contradiction. And, more importantly, once a belief is set in, it stays steadfast. A true dogmatic zealot will not sway in the face of the deepest anguish, nor the most joyous promise, so long as it may violate faith. We are not so rash about it as we once were, it seems, but it lays in wait, boiling up every so often. Its twisted, gnarled roots lie within humanity at depths which humanity no longer sees, and so, in light of its gilded leaves we decide it is not worth the trouble to rend it from ourselves. The cracks, the tears, the stunted progression of our true understanding, are not worth the trouble of uprooting this ancient behemoth of human emotion. But then, will this unsightly growth always stay, growing as a tumor in the deep down underbelly of the human psyche, or may we one day be rid of such a thing? Such a thing as no one can prove will surely die, with only trickery to rely upon, will it not? Will truth overtake the jeweled illusion? Such things lie beyond the realm of knowledge, but such things can be at least observed, and confirmed, so I will hypothesize that no, we will never be rid of such a thing. The greater the light of truth grows, the deeper the dark shadow of faith will become. But, as with any hypothesis, this remains to be seen.