I believe that beliefs are overrated. It is important to believe in things that are important to you the individual, or even to believe that something may be better for another individual, but to let your belief tell someone that they are wrong for not embracing your belief is not right. Beliefs happen to be the single most dangerous ideas that people can conjure; after all, beliefs have the ability to cause people as much harm as good. They are responsible for countless deaths and pointless wars over the centuries. I believe people have a right to choose their beliefs, in all aspects of life.
I have changed my beliefs more times that I can remember over the years, and I continue to encourage myself to be open to knew ideas. Changing your beliefs is a form of learning: disregarding old information and replacing it with new information. For example, when I was junior high I believed that the bass guitar was a pointless instrument to play because it could barely be heard over the other instruments in the band. But now I would tell you that I believe the bass guitar is a key instrument because I have learned to listen for it in music and understand that without a bass the music would not sound full. It is important for people to know that just because they believe something, it does not make it true. The problem is that the more people who believe in something, the harder it is for them to accept the fact that they could be wrong and it causes people to be more easily persuaded to ignore their gut feelings.
An important issue with beliefs is that they immediately establish a line between believers and non-believers. Every individual has their own personal beliefs, and generally accept that what they believe differs from what the people around them believe, but group beliefs, however, define a stronger line between “us” and “them”. In groups people often times feel superior to those outside of the organization and it is possible for them to develop prejudices and stereotypes for non-believers. The type of thinking that groups can instill in people is a great example of how beliefs can influence people to do things that they would normally not do. I believe that these barriers that beliefs define between people takes away from what people should really be focused on: what they have in common with each other, not just differences.
I don’t believe that beliefs are bad, without them we would not be where we are today. Beliefs are the building blocks of civilizations and spawn ideas that lead to the evolution of society. However, when beliefs start becoming forced and are no longer personal I believe that they are in danger of being regarded as truth, and a belief is never a sure thing. It is important to have beliefs, but beliefs should work to unite people and not act as barriers between them.
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