This I Believe

Shawn - Reading, Pennsylvania
Entered on July 31, 2007

This I Believe

This I write to all believers of all religions. To all those who hungrily latch onto conspiracy theories, UFO sightings, and “alternative and complementary medicine.” You all believe in things I do not. You are certain that your beliefs are true. You say that my failure to believe is due to my ignorance, and if only I understood things the way you do, I would believe also.

So tonight I sit and share with you what I believe. I believe that there is truth, that there are indisputable facts. I believe that many of these facts are known, and that many, many more are not. Some may never be. However, those which are not known should be sought. Answers from religion, superstition, and tradition are not useful substitutes for these truths. Accepting a belief in place of a truth is willful ignorance, which impedes the progress of the human species.

I believe that faith without evidence is not a virtue. It is responsible for hatred, unnecessary suffering, indifference, and countless murders. Any positive things credited to faith, such as charity, unconditional love, and a sense of purpose can all be found in all people, regardless of their beliefs.

I believe that all of my opinions are subject to change, should better evidence come to my attention. I believe that no idea is beyond question, or beyond critical examination.

Lastly, I believe that you are not stupid, evil, or worthy of punishment for your beliefs. I believe that your beliefs are perfectly reasonable considering your life; where you have grown, those who have surrounded you, and your conclusions drawn from looking at the world around yourself with your own eyes.

I not only ask, but humbly beg of you to question your own beliefs. If they are true, perhaps you will find proof. If they are not, perhaps you will find contradiction. If you can find neither, then you may hold or discontinue that belief as you see fit. But if you find that you can not prove or disprove your belief, please, please do not take action harmful to yourself or others based upon it. It’s just not worth it.