This I Believe

Kia - Winthrop, Washington
Entered on May 8, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

This I believe…Nothing

I have no use for belief. I think it is harmful to a functioning mind, a developing spirit, and most importantly perilous to world peace.

Observing the world’s monotheistic religions, they share once concept, the belief that they are right. Despite the fact that the Christians, Jews, and Muslims were all in the same place, at the same time, witnessing the same events, the next two thousand years of fighting and countless loss of life hasn’t settled much. Observation shows us that our ultimate future is a mystery to everyone of us. None of us know what lies beyond our death. If we could all accept the mystery, dispense with our belief systems and see the world for what it is, we could take a significant step toward peace and respect for all people.

Our century old habit of regime change is one that we have practiced since 1893 starting in Hawaii and has moved through the Philippines, Cuba, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, Chile, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq and maybe Iran soon. We believe that we have a right to control the world’s energy sources through our creation of “Pipelinestan.” We are offended when Hugo Chavez in Venezuela or Evo Morales in Bolivia advance the idea that sovereign countries have the right to use their resources for the benefit of their citizens, rather than our multinational corporations.

The U.S. has invaded sovereign countries 177 times since WWII motivated by the belief that the Americans are a peace loving people. Our belief in Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace would certainly make George Orwell smile. As a result of our beliefs we are involved in yet another crusade in the Middle East based on the belief that resources contained in sovereign countries are ours for us to use or more often waste as we wish. We believe that we were right to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to hasten the end of WWII, but are outraged when we are targeted by bombings of the U.S. Cole, our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the World Trade Center in 1993 and again in 2001.

We believe we have the right to the services provided by illegal immigrants picking our crops, mowing our lawns, cleaning our pools and raising our children, but are outraged when they demand a path to legalization.

Beliefs in our democracy lead the government to limit the availability of abortions, stem-cell based medical treatment, science education, and same sex marriage. Never mind that gays and lesbians alike are both entitled to equal protection under the law as enshrined in our constitution.

Ideas expand one’s horizons and our capability to best observe our world. Ideas can motivate actions which have the power to transform ourselves and the world we inhabit.

Belief places one’s mind in a hermetically sealed can that precludes it’s receipt of additional information. Beliefs constrain our ability to consider the ideas of others and respect their human rights. Beliefs limit our ability to change our own minds and further our own personal development. Belief is a one way dead end.

Our beliefs are sowing the seeds of our own destruction. As we lurch into 21st century, the world’s only superpower who believes that military strength preserves our security finds itself alone, soon to be surpassed by Asian economies who understand that security in this young century is based on economic power. Meanwhile our adventurism undermines our security.

Our beliefs are blinding us to the facts of today’s world and are hampering our ability to make sound decisions and take effective actions to preserve our security and further world peace. We cling to them at our own future peril.