This I Believe

Gil - Eugene, Oregon
Entered on September 11, 2006
Age Group: 65+
Themes: question
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I believe that the vast majority of human beings in the world have surrendered the one thing that they could have retained possession of—their minds—to a bunch of charlatans who call themselves ministers, priests, rabbis and other shamans. It is a pity (and a grievous loss to be mourned) that so many people have allowed themselves to be duped by quacks, into relinquishing control of their brains to a subculture of professional con men, whose raison d’etre is to convince others that they have a pipeline to the unknowable; and that they are marketing it. Desiderius Erasmus said, “They are searching in the darkness for that which does not exist,” but I would say, “They are selling in the darkness, that which exists only in their own fantasies.”

I believe that we are all born without belief. All babies are, in effect, born as Atheists and agnostics with nowhere to go but ahead and upward until they are filled with the misguided beliefs of some adult human beings. Too often, these beliefs weigh them down and send them on paths of deceit, meanness and conflict. I believe that Atheists like myself, afford the young—the untrained and unindoctrinated—the best chance of learning to think for themselves and to develop the full potential that human beings usually possess. That chance comes when they are taught to think scientifically, using reason, logic and common sense, instead of archaic ideas composed by ignorant desert nomads millennia ago.

I believe that we are all born without the desire to be malicious and do not become so until we are shown, by example, that the short-term benefits of selfishness temporarily outweigh the long-term results of being loving and considerate—in fact, in being most of the things I learned to be sixty-five years ago as a Boy Scout—trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. I believe that it is the misfortune of too many people, that religion dominates their lives.