We the People and Our Crazy Beliefs

Jacob - Fort Collins, Colorado
Entered on November 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

We the People and Our Crazy Beliefs

“How is an earthworm like a parallelogram?” One asks.

“How?” the other asks in reply.

He sits for a while in contemplation.

“Depends on how you think about it.” He says finally.

Now that I have your attention, let’s get started. The gist of this essay is for me to spew out my thoughts about one of my strongest beliefs all over this unsuspecting page, thus earning me fame and a therapeutic release of any emotions I may have bottled up over the years. So here it is— I believe in belief. I believe in the power of faith. I believe in the crazy things it can do to us, and in the crazy things we do for it. From the most terrible of atrocities to the most selfless act of kindness, and everything in between, our beliefs govern our every action.

Now when I say “belief”, I don’t necessarily mean religion. I am referring to the set of morals and other things we hold true that we keep somewhere in our minds. These different values vary greatly, and I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you, but I’ll suffice to say that people have a variety of different beliefs learned from a variety of different sources. Take Mr. N for example (I do actually have a real person in mind). He and I often find our views conflicting. He’s a devote Christian, where I am not. He is also a kinder and more forgiving person than I could ever hope to be. Because of this, we find conflict over many issues. It all boils down to belief.

But whatever our beliefs are, however we learned them, we can’t deny the presence they have on our actions. On one hand, wars and genocide, while on the other charity and self sacrifice. Whether its being kind or the exact opposite; whether for religion or not, people have beliefs, and they act on them.

I have a relative who wouldn’t vote for Obama because she believes he’s a Muslim (yes, really), despite all evidence to the contrary. She also believes that all Muslims are terrorists (seriously), despite all evidence to the contrary (not that there hasn’t been some violence between them). Which, in a moment of segue genius, leads me to my next point. Belief isn’t always the cause of good or bad things, but it can make us ignorant, which can in turn lead to bad things. Belief can make us so pigheaded that we turn a blind eye to fact, truth and common sense.

I believe in beliefs. I believe that we as a people believe some very crazy things, and I believe we do some very crazy things because of our beliefs, and for our beliefs. I believe that people can and will believe in just about anything, and that our crazy beliefs can lead us downs some dark roads. But most of all, I believe.