To Truly Believe When I was 7, my parents sent me off to church for a morning with the neighbor friend in the hopes I would “mellow out” a little. After the preacher finished his sermon, I asked him whether God really existed or not. Naturally, he said, “Of course!” and started talking about the Bible and Jesus. I was unconvinced, but there was not much I could say to a man who so adamantly believed.
Some years later, I read Fullmetal Alchemist, the story of two brothers who sought a special stone to repent for their mistakes. The brothers believed in the concept of Equivalent Exchange. That “humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost”. That is the principle of Equivalent Exchange. It made perfect sense to me.
In my first year of high school, a classmate asked me in math class, “Why are you so good at this?” Up until that moment, I had not considered why. My natural response was “I’ve practiced it for two years.” The price for my experience and ability was the two years I gave in practicing. Similarly, because my classmates had not practiced this particular part of mathematics, they did not have the experience. They did not give and therefore could not gain. I could not have gained without sacrifice, hence my belief in this principle.
It was around that time that I realized that I believe skepticism lets people truly believe.
Skepticism is the doubting of what other people say. It is essentially not believing. But not believing is not necessarily a bad thing in itself.
In not believing the priest, I gave myself a choice. If I had just blindly accepted the priest’s claim without question, I would not have found what I truly believed in. For as long as I can remember, I have assumed that you don’t truly believe in something until you have experienced it for yourself. I could say that I believe that God exists, but since there is no concrete evidence on the existence of God, would I have really accepted this as my absolute truth?
I believe that if skepticism did not exist, belief would not exist. If everyone accepted the same things as true, then belief would not need to exist because it would all be considered facts. And it should be known that belief is not equivalent to fact.
Thanks to my skepticism, I chose to believe in a principle rather than God. I have seen it, experienced it, and understood it. And I truly do believe it. Even the younger brother in that story said, “…the world isn’t perfect and the law is incomplete. Equivalent Exchange doesn’t encompass everything that goes on here, but I still choose to believe in its principle, that all things do come at a price….” Like him, I chose to believe, despite its imperfectness.
Not believing allows people to truly believe. This I believe.
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