This I Believe

David - Australia
Entered on October 11, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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Why I don’t believe anything.

My mother sent me to church because she thought it was necessary to know about those things and to know about those people who were a majority in the fifties. The Anglican faith proclaims, “I believe in one god, the father almighty, maker of all things (including himself), judge of all men, and in Jesus Christ his only son who…” I said these things and learnt a few similar poems so that I could be admitted at the age of 12 by the Bishop of Melbourne as a full member of the church.

I knew even then that I was lying when I recited the poetry, but I knew also that there was an advantage in being a member of a church. The most obvious evidence of that is that I met a very suitable lady in the Church tennis club who is now my wife. We send the kids off to Church and try to explain to them, without upsetting their trust, how we see it and how it is their decision what to believe.

I hope that explains my use of the word “believe”. Personally, I don’t believe anything. There are many things which I am quite sure are true. There are even more things which I rate as probably true. There are quite a few things which I doubt strongly but wouldn’t say that in public for fear of upsestting someone or getting myself into trouble.

I have what is usually called a science-based belief system. There must be proof or at least strong evidence for anything I rate as true. Anything relating to the supernatural is very very doubtful. In fact, there are very few ideas, concepts and propositions which logical analysis can’t touch and the sort of ideas which cannot be analysed and given a probability of truth of falsehood are not of much significance anyway. Someone who takes their horoscope seriously adjusts their own interpretation of the message in such a way that it recommends exactly what they would have done without reading it.

So that’s why I don’t have beliefs. I see your beliefs as a coat you wear when you are in unfamiliar cold places. Christians put it on when they leave their warm church. I’m usually too busy thinking and arguing with myself to get cold and I never need to wear a coat.