This I Do Not Believe

Sam - Blacklick, Ohio
Entered on November 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: question

An essay about your beliefs seems easy at first. An essay about your core beliefs seems even easier. What could be more satisfying than to hear your Advanced Comp. teacher tell you that your next essay is to just write about one of the beliefs that you live by? Well, I could think of a multitude of things that would be more satisfying. I can’t define something I believe in just one word, or in just one statement. I can always find an opposing viewpoint. I don’t believe in kindness because that belief wouldn’t exist without hatred. I can’t see courage as my belief because it wouldn’t exist without cowardice… and so on. When I first started this essay my Advanced Comp. teacher said that “it will be hard to capture all your beliefs in one essay” and she was right, but I think I’ve succeeded. This I believe, I believe that I don‘t know what I believe.

I’m not saying that I don’t believe in anything, I’m just saying that I don’t know what to believe in. Sure, I would love to believe in world peace and relieving world poverty, but those are just the ideas of broken dreams. I wouldn’t even mind believing in more achievable prospects such as equality and forgiveness. But here I am sitting on a unforgivable world that is 4 billion years old and still discriminates against the minorities. In fact, the only thing that I will allow myself to believe are the cold hard facts. For example, I believe in life and I believe in death. But what I don’t believe in is life after death, but only because it cannot be proven. All these statements might lead someone to think that I’m a rationalist, and maybe I am. But I can’t think of anything more depressing than putting all my hope into a single belief then have my dreams shatter like a delicate clay statuette of an elephant being launched from a catapult into the face of a large thick wall of marble. I just don’t think I could handle that.

I’m not trying to say that everyone’s beliefs are wrong, I’m just saying that they’re not completely right. Sure you could argue that your abstract beliefs will never let you down, but the fact is they very well could. I’m okay with not knowing what to believe. Someone once told me that if you “aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time” and I think that’s relevant to my non-existent belief. In a way, I can never be wrong. That’s why I believe in not knowing what to believe.