This I Believe

Aaron - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 18, 2007

I do not believe. In order to believe, I must convince myself to have absolute faith in which an idea or concept is accepted as undeniably true. This should never be done. I enable myself to have a greater level of ideas rather than beliefs.

To many people, belief brings happiness and hope. However, I have observed that people who have the most firm beliefs tend to be the most dangerous. In the wrong hands, a simple belief can be turned into a devastating weapon. Hitler convinced an entire nation to slaughter countless innocent people with the belief that one race was superior to another. Middle Eastern terrorists annihilate themselves and everyone around them, based on the belief that God will greatly reward them. People argue over beliefs. People fight over beliefs. People kill over beliefs. People go to war over beliefs. The more I study and learn from our history, the more I feel that beliefs have more destructive capabilities than helpful potential.

It may seem foolish to not believe in anything, for so many things in life seem certain. But in a world in which ideas, concepts, and aspects are constantly changing, nothing should be or can be certain. Even religion, a concept based entirely on faith, has changed and will always continue to change. How much blood has been shed because people were absolutely certain that their religion was the right one? As humans, we are a young species that has not been around long enough to say what is and what isn’t. So how did I come to hold disbelief as my personal philosophy? Since I was a child, I have embraced science, logic, and evidence. I chose to steer clear of believing in order to open up to the unknown possibilities in our mysterious world.

I see ideas as being much like living cells. It does not matter whether they are simple like a hypothesis or complex like a eukaryote; ideas and living cells are open to change and evolution. Beliefs, on the other hand, are more like sturdy rocks. They remain the same and never change positions. Throughout time, new rocks may appear, some rocks may remain the same, but in the end it is the adapting organism that has control. My ideas are able to be manipulated in order to change with my evolving understanding of the world.

Most people that I have encountered on the subject have found it strange if a person does not believe in anything. It is like existence is based on faith and belief alone. As for me, I don’t need beliefs in order to define my existence. As said by the French philosopher Descartes, “I think therefore I am”. Whether you believe in God, love, education, or barbeque makes no difference. As a whole, I feel that we will exist and will continue to exist with or without belief; our thoughts and ideas will keep us alive and thriving.