I don’t believe in God. For a long time I didn’t believe because my dad doesn’t believe. Then I didn’t believe because God seemed so much like my father, handing down judgment from on high. Then I had an eye opener: It’s not a matter of whether you believe or not, it’s why you chose to do so.
There are good people and bad people and mostly those who are good have thought about their beliefs and have chosen their path.
I believe those thinking souls to be better people, doing more good, being more willing to sacrifice themselves for others and to help where others would fight, all because they’ve taken the time to ask themselves why.
In that why lies the recognition that there might be other ways to perceive the world, other ways to think, to explain. Other values to follow, other stories to tell, other ideologies to support, all equally worthy of our consideration.
The one who asks why realizes that he doesn’t have the singular answer, doesn’t have the right to foist his definition of the world upon others. A person earnestly asking why can’t be bigoted or fundamentalist – these views don’t admit to the possibility of alternatives, they’re too sure of their own righteousness.
A person earnestly asking why can be sure of himself but can’t dismiss everyone else out of hand. They why won’t let him; the drive to understanding which lies behind it will force him to evaluate and re-evaluate everything he knows with every answer he gets.
Perhaps that is why so few people do ask why. Why we prefer the how, the when and the who, questions whose answers can be turned, twisted and fitted into a rigid world view of good and evil, us and them.
That’s why I always ask why. Not only about beliefs and people but about everything. Why the sky is blue (because the air absorbs short wavelengths and emits them in all directions), why water is wet (because it has low viscosity) and why the phone cable stays twisted no matter how many times you unwind it (because of the way we lift and replace the receiver). I ask, I learn and with each answer I become more of a whole person.
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