This I Believe

Ted - Chestertown, Maryland
Entered on March 12, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I regularly listen to ‘This I Believe’ and although I have heard many interesting, often thought provoking, and sometimes inspirational stories from listeners I am concerned that the program is actually in danger of taking itself too seriously and becoming something of a cliche.

Belief is indeed a very powerful concept and has been used throughout history to justify all sorts of actions, including nearly all of the world’s great tragedies.

Belief is at the core of nearly all wars – from the Crusades of the Middle-Ages to the conflicts today in the Middle East. Genocides throughout history have been inspired by belief. Destruction of our environment is supported by the mistaken belief that there are no conseqences to over-population and infinite growth of our economic system

You only have to read translations of speeches by Adolph Hitler and more recently statements by our own leaders to understand how ‘belief’ can be manipulated to justify or deny responsibility for almost anything.

Now this downside to belief may be very uncomfortable for some listeners, such as those of a religious persuasion and more especially the people responsible for NPR programing. But this negative and dangerous side to belief is no less valid than the idea that it can be a good concept which should be encouraged.

Therefore I would encourage all listeners to examine more carefully where their belief actually comes from. Is it founded on experience, fact, truth, and justice? Or is it based on blind faith?

If it is soley the latter than I would suggest that belief may be a recipe for conflict and destruction which leads us all towards a failed future

This I believe